Callejon wary of Sevilla threat

13 September 2012 08:59

Real Madrid attacker Jose Callejon has warned his team-mates not to underestimate Sevilla when they meet in La Liga on Saturday.

The reigning champions have won their past five encounters against Sevilla, but the winger was quick to point out his team’s struggles at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

“We know that whenever we go to Seville, it’s going to be difficult. This is because of the team and its great players who always put us in a tricky situation,” Callejon told the club’s website.

“But I’m always saying it, we are Real Madrid and we have to go to whatever length to win because it’s our objective.”

The versatile attacker also looked ahead to Real Madrid’s Champions League campaign, and said they had set their sights on top spot in Group D, which also includes Manchester City, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund.

“We’re really looking forward to the Champions League. It’s a tournament which we all enjoy playing,” Callejon said.

“We’ve got some very difficult teams and we hope to play as well as possible to try to be first in the group.”

Inquiry continues despite Rangers snub

13 September 2012 08:41

The independent commission investigating Rangers’ alleged use of dual contracts will continue its inquiry despite a boycott.

The former Scottish Premier League giants did not attend the initial meeting of the commission, appointed by the SPL, but the commission plans to press ahead.

Rangers are able to be represented at the next hearing set for November 13 should they wish.

The allegations relate to alleged employee benefit trusts being used by Rangers’ former company from 2001-2010.

The club’s use of the scheme was the subject of a long-running tax tribunal with the verdict on the matter to be announced in October.

The Scottish Football Association requires all payments made to players in terms of their earnings to be declared, with the SPL’s investigation launched on March 5 determining whether that was the case.

A documentary, ‘Rangers, The Men Who Sold The Jerseys’ found evidence to suggest a number of Rangers players had been given cash for their sub-trusts.

The League has the authority to strip Rangers of titles if they are found guilty in relation to side payments.

Rangers were placed in the Scottish Third Division at the end of the 2011-12 season when the old company ‘Oldco’ became insolvent and entered administration.

The ‘Newco’ company, which acquired Rangers FC, had their bid to buy the club’s SPL share rejected after buying Oldco’s assets.

Gerrard slams Hillsborough cover-up

13 September 2012 08:27

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has welcomed the latest findings surrounding the Hillsborough disaster of 1989.

At an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, congestion outside the stadium saw police open the gates and as a result, a deadly crush saw 96 fans die, while over 700 more were badly injured inside the ground.

To their disgust, Liverpool fans have been blamed for the horrific scenes for 23 years, with authorities citing drunk and ticketless supporters as the cause of the incident.

Tabloid newspaper, The Sun, took things further and accused fans of the Anfield outfit of picking the pockets of victims and urinating on and fighting with police trying to save troubled fans, allegations that were never founded.

Liverpool fans have fought for justice ever since and as a result, The Sun is largely boycotted on Merseyside.

The allegations tarnished the name of Liverpool fans though, with their battle for justice continuing until British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed his deep sympathy to the victims and their families on Wednesday.

Cameron’s comments were based on the release of a new, independent report that took over two years to compile.

The report found ‘clear and repeated evidence of failures in leadership and emergency response coordination’ while a staggering 116 witness statements – largely from police who worked on the day – were amended to shift the blame from the police and onto the fans.

It also found that 41 of the 96 lives lost could have been saved if emergency workers, who were present, were allowed to access the Liverpool fans.

Only one ambulance was allowed onto the Sheffield ground despite the clearly distressful situation, as fans were forced to help one another in a bid to stay alive.

The report also found that the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service had amended statements from their officers, deflecting criticism that was originally aimed at the police.

The 392-page report, and the apology that followed, will finally help the city move on from the most tragic day in English football.

And while it will never be forgotten, Gerrard – whose 10-year-old cousin died in the disaster – welcomed the new developments in the case with a brief statement on the club’s website, while he also condemned those involved in covering up the issue.

“The courage and dignity shown by the Hillsborough families and survivors is an example to all of us,” Gerrard said.

“For 23 years they have fought for truth and justice on behalf of the victims and survivors of this terrible tragedy and all Liverpool supporters.

“Victims and survivors suffered not just on April 15, 1989 in Sheffield, but for over two decades afterwards with the shameful slandering of their actions by people who abused their position and power.

“Speaking as someone whose family directly suffered, I know the pain and hurt will remain.

“However, I hope that today’s report helps bring some comfort, now that everyone knows what happened on that day.”

Brazil Serie A wrap: Atletico Mineiro, Fluminense win again

13 September 2012 06:26

Atletico Mineiro continued their quest for their first league title since 1971 as they defeated Sao Paulo 1-0 in Brazil Serie A.

In a fiery encounter on Wednesday, Sao Paulo were reduced to 10 men in the first half after Douglas’ rash challenge on Leandro Donizete.

But Leonardo’s second-half header was enough to win the game for Mineiro.

Bernard’s pin-point cross was headed home by Leonardo, to send the home faithful wild.

Former Barcelona and AC Milan midfielder Ronaldinho continued to terrorise the Sao Paulo defence, and his delicate pass found Neto Berola who struck the crossbar.

Mineiro sit in second place and two points behind league leaders Fluminense, who beat Portuguesa 2-0.

Vasco da Gama heaped more misery on struggling Palmeiras with a come-from-behind 3-1 victory.

Luan had given Palmeiras a 24th-minute lead but goals from Carlos Tenorio, Nilton and ex-Lyon midfielder Juninho Pernambucano lifted Marcelo Oliveira’s men to their 12th league win of the season.

Palmeiras remain second from bottom on 20 points, seven points away from safety.

Corinthians continued their move away from the relegation zone following a 1-1 draw at home to Ponte Preta.

The Copa Libertadores champions now occupy ninth position, level on points with Ponte Preta, who are unbeaten in their past six league games.

Santos left it late to beat the freefalling Flamengo 2-0 at the Estadio Urbano Caldeira.

The match seemed destined for a draw before two goals in the final five minutes from Victor Andrade and Brazil star Neymar helped end Santos’ four-game winless run, while handing Flamengo their fourth successive defeat.

In other results on Wednesday, visiting Coritiba overcame Atletico Goianiense 2-1, Figueirense accounted for Cruzeiro 2-0 and Bahia salvaged a draw in the closing moments against Sport Recife.

Iniesta out for a fortnight

13 September 2012 05:09

Barcelona star Andres Iniesta will be sidelined for at least two weeks because of an adductor injury.

The Spain playmaker, the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award winner, completed 90 minutes of Spain’s 1-0 win over Georgia in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

But an adductor injury has ruled Iniesta out of Barcelona’s La Liga clashes at Getafe and at home to Granada, as well as their Champions League opener against Spartak Moscow.

A statement from the La Liga giants read: “FC Barcelona’s medical services announced that Andres Iniesta has pulled the adductor in his right leg.

“The midfielder, who will be out of action for 10 to 15 days, returned Barcelona after featuring in two matches for the Spanish national team.”

Talented full-back Jordi Alba is in doubt for Saturday’s meeting with Getafe because of the flu, but will undergo further tests on Friday.

Meanwhile, captain Carles Puyol has posted a picture of himself on Twitter sporting a new face mask to protect the injured cheekbone he is nursing.