Belgian First Division wrap: Mbokani hat-trick sends Anderlecht top

12 August 2012 23:18

Dieumerci Mbokani sent Anderlecht top of the Belgian First Division, scoring a hat-trick in his side’s 3-0 win over Cercle Brugge.

The 26-year-old striker from the Democratic Republic of Congo scored twice in the first half before wrapping up his hat-trick and the win with a delightful chip with 15 minutes to play.

Sunday’s victory has sent Anderlecht to the summit of the table, just ahead of Club Brugge and Zulte-Waregem on goal difference.

Anderlecht, Club Brugge and Waregem are all on seven points after three games with the leaders on plus-four goal difference and the other two clubs one goal behind.

In Sunday’s game in Brugge, Anderlecht hit the home side hard early with Mbokani scoring his first goal in the fifth minute, tapping in Dennis Odoi’s cross at the back post.

The Anderlecht striker doubled his side’s lead 19 minutes later when he scored from a tight angle and Mbokani finished off an impressive performance in the 75th minute, collecting Guillaume Gillet’s pass, before he lifted the ball over Cercle’s goalkeeper from the edge of the area for a brilliant third goal.

Genk leapfrogged Lokeren into fifth in the Belgian First Division with a 1-0 triumph on Sunday.

Thomas Buffel scored the in the 87th minute to secure victory for the home side over Lokeren.

Genk have moved to five points, just one ahead of Lokeren and three other clubs.

In Sunday’s other result, Gent drew 1-1 with OH Leuven.

Rodwell completes City move

12 August 2012 23:12

Jack Rodwell has completed his transfer from Everton to Manchester City on a five-year deal.

The England international midfielder joins the Premier League champions for an undisclosed fee, which reports place at between 15 million and 18 million pounds, including a chunk in add-on payments.

The Toffees accepted a bid from Roberto Mancini’s side on Sunday and Rodwell completed a medical while his new side were defeating Chelsea 3-2 in the Community Shield.

“It is an honour to be signing for the champions,” the 21-year-old, who will wear the number 17 shirt, told the official Everton website.

“I relish the opportunity of playing with some of the best players in the world and continuing my development.

“I look forward to working with Mr Mancini and his coaching staff and ultimately playing in front of the City fans at the Etihad Stadium. It will be an amazing experience to make my debut in front of them if I am selected to play next weekend.

“The hard work starts today as I start to help contribute to the club winning more silverware.

“I have a special relationship with the [Everton] chairman, Mr (Bill) Kenwright, who did not want me to leave but this was an opportunity I could not refuse,” Rodwell added.

“I would like to place on record my thanks to everyone at Everton Football Club. The manager (David Moyes) has been brilliant for me and helped make me the player that I am today.

“I would like to place on record my thanks to him and all the coaching staff and players who have worked with me since I joined the academy as a seven-year-old.

“Finally I would like to thank all the fans who have been amazing during my years at Everton. I have enjoyed every minute of my time there and I wish everyone at the club the best of luck for the new season and beyond.”

German Super Cup: Bayern Munich 2 Borussia Dortmund 1

12 August 2012 22:48

Bayern Munich ended a run of five straight defeats to Borussia Dortmund by collecting the German Super Cup in a 2-1 victory on Sunday.

The Bavarian giants capitalised on a woeful first-half performance from the Bundesliga champions, with new arrival Mario Mandzukic opening the scoring before Thomas Mueller doubled the advantage five minutes later.

Dortmund rallied in the second half, eventually pulling one back through Robert Lewandowski, but they were unable to find another, allowing Bayern to claim the spoils at the Allianz Arena.

It was Jupp Heynckes’ men who emerged with attacking impetus, and quickly took control of the contest.

Franck Ribery’s marauding run led to him producing a low ball across goal, and Dortmund’s defence could only look on as Mandzukic slotted home to net on his competitive debut for his new club.

On 11 minutes, it was two. Arjen Robben’s run deep into Dortmund territory led to him producing a delicate chip that rebounded from the upright, only for Mueller to be on hand to lash the ball into the net, and leave Juergen Klopp’s side reeling.

Bayern cruised through the remainder of the half, experiencing minimal resistance from their old adversaries; indeed, this Dortmund performance looked a far cry from their dominant German Cup final win of just three months earlier.

As the second half commenced, however, they began to advance into Bayern territory. Manuel Neuer had to react quickly to beat away a Lewandowski effort from close range, and then Marco Reus got his angles ever so slightly askew, curling his shot marginally wide of the target.

Mats Hummels then glanced a Reus free kick a whisker wide of the post when he should perhaps have found the target, and suddenly Bayern’s two-goal advantage seemed far from secure.

Mario Gotze and Ivan Perisic were summoned from the bench by Klopp, replacing Kevin Grosskreutz and Moritz Leitner, and the changes should have provided instant reward, but for the profligacy of Lewandowski.

Gotze combined to excellent effect with Reus, laying the ball perfectly into the path of the Pole, who allowed Philipp Lahm to interject and his eventual strike went wide of the target.

But Lewandowski made no mistake 15 minutes from time, setting up a grandstand finish in the process.

The frontman swivelled inside the area and placed his shot expertly inside the post, leaving Neuer helpless and Bayern nervous.

New Dortmund arrival Julian Schieber almost made himself an instant hero moments later, but after collecting Gotze’s through ball, he contrived to guide his effort narrowly wide of goal.

Bayern were hanging on, and Heynckes took action, replacing Ribery with Anatoliy Tymoshchuk in an effort to stem the flow of pressure.

There was still time for controversy, as Lahm appeared to handle the ball inside the area, leaving Klopp apoplectic on the touchline, but the referee waved play on and Bayern were able to maintain their composure and clinch the first silverware of the German season.

International friendlies preview: Youth to shine in Bern

12 August 2012 21:50

England’s friendly against Italy in Switzerland headlines a busy day of international football on Wednesday.

The two nations face each other at the Stade de Suisse in Bern, giving managers Roy Hodgson and Cesare Prandelli a chance to experiment with youth.

Chelsea left back Ryan Bertrand and Tottenham duo Steven Caulker – who spent the season on loan at Swansea – and Jake Livermore have been handed their first call-ups to the England senior team, while Michael Carrick returns to the international fold.

Hodgson has also decided to rest captain Steven Gerrard as well as Wayne Rooney and John Terry in England’s first match since bowing out of Euro 2012 at the hands of Italy.

The Italians, meanwhile, have named eight uncapped players in the 22-man squad, which includes the likes of AC Milan debutants Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio and Francesco Acerbi, and charismatic Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.

At Easter Road, Scotland and Australia go head-to-head for the first time since the Australians ran out 2-0 winners in November 2000.

Brazil manager Mano Menezes will use the Olympic squad when the silver medallists meet Sweden in Stockholm, with David Luiz, Ramires and Paulinho the only new additions.

Olympic gold medallists Mexico continue their long-standing rivalry against the United States at the famous Estadio Azteca, while Euro 2012 semi-finalists Portugal hosts Panama.

The Croatians play Switzerland with former international defender Igor Stimac taking control of Croatia for the first time as they begin life without Slaven Bilic.

Netherlands, who endured a catastrophic tournament in Poland and Ukraine, take on the Belgium national team as Louis van Gaal’s begins his second stint as manager.

Fabio Capello makes his debut in charge of Russia against the Ivory Coast and the Republic of Ireland travel to capital city Belgrade to play Serbia.

Chris Coleman’s Wales face off against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland clash with Finland and Venezuela do battle against Japan, an Asian Cup winning side featuring new Manchester United signing Shinji Kagawa.

Waldemar Fornalik will lead Poland in Estonia, Czech Republic play Ukraine less than a year since thumping the Euro 2012 co-hosts 4-0, while Denmark welcome Slovakia to the Parken Stadion and 2004 European champions Greece tackle Norway.

In other fixtures on Wednesday, Romania make their way to Slovenia, Macedonia entertain Lithuania, Chile and Ecuador square off, Abdullah Avci’s Turkey play Austria, Paraguay come up against Guatemala and Albania hosts Moldova.

China welcomes Ghana to Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou, Zambia make the trip to South Korea, Armenia face Belarus, European minnows Azerbaijan play Bahrain, Luxembourg hosts Georgia, Israel travel to Ferenc Szusza Stadium to play Hungary, while Montenegro and Latvia lock horns.

Canada encounter Trinidad & Tobago at Central Broward Regional Park, El Salvador do battle against Jamaica, Costa Rica and Peru go head to head, Cyprus flies out to Bulgaria and Iceland play the Faroe Islands in Reykjavik.

Club friendly: Liverpool 3 Bayer Leverkusen 1

12 August 2012 21:33

Liverpool will go into the English Premier League season on a high after beating Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 in their final pre-season friendly.

Liverpool finished in eighth place in the league last season but looked rejuvenated at Anfield following the arrival of Brendan Rodgers as manager.

Young striker Raheem Sterling fired in after just two minutes to put Liverpool in front.

Leverkusen never looked like scoring in the first half and a frustrating tackle on Luis Suarez gave way to a Liverpool free-kick.

Stuart Downing passed inside to Suarez and the move was finished by Brazilian Lucas Leiva, who doubled Liverpool’s lead.

Liverpool continued to challenge Leverkusen and twenty minutes into the second half, Andy Carroll shot from distance to beat Bernd Leno and make it 3-0.

With less than 15 minutes remaining, Leverkusen got a goal back as Sidney Sam exposed the gaps in Liverpool’s defence – but it would prove little more than a consolation as Liverpool closed out an easy victory.

They will face West Brom in their opening match of the new Premier League season next week.