SPL wrap: Commons steers uninspiring Celtic

4 August 2012 18:46

Kris Commons pounced on a goalkeeping error to hand Celtic all three points and get their SPL campaign off to a winning start.

The Scottish champions were heading into their first season without arch rivals Rangers, but never looked convincing against visitors Aberdeen on Saturday.

Hoops legend Sean Fallon unfurled the SPL flag before the game, but in the first half the home side failed to excite the Celtic faithful, as Aberdeen snuffed out their early attacks and dampened the party mood.

The breakthrough finally came in the second half.

With just over 10 minutes left Commons played a short corner on the right wing and unleashed a strike which Jamie Langfield looked to have saved comfortably, however the ball squeezed under the Aberdeen keeper and into the net.

Celtic next travel to Helsinki for their Champions League second leg qualifier against HJK on Wednesday with a 2-1 aggregate lead.

At Tynecastle, coach John McGlynn celebrated his first match in charge of Hearts with a 2-0 victory against St Johnstone.

Hearts were awarded a penalty in the 30th minute and English striker John Sutton stepped up to convert, following a foul on David Templeton.

St Johnstone were reduced to 10 men five minutes later after Gregory Tade received his marching orders for violent conduct.

And having won the first-half penalty, Templeton eventually scored with eight minutes remaining to double Hearts advantage and secure maximum points.

In other league results, 10-man St Mirren salvaged a dramatic point in their 2-2 draw against Inverness CT, while the matches between Kilmarnock and Dundee and Ross County versus Motherwell both finished goalless.

CSL wrap: Drogba strikes twice in Shanghai

4 August 2012 17:02

Didier Drogba opened his account for Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League on Saturday, while Guangzhou Evergrande faltered.

The former Chelsea striker scored twice for the hosts but it was not before Hangzhou had taken the lead on seven minutes, an all familiar tale for Shenhua.

However, their advantage was short lived as Drogba hit the back of the net two minutes later, his first since arriving from England almost two weeks ago.

And Shenhua went into the interval with a 2-1 lead thanks to Feng Renliang’s 34th minute goal.

Sergio Batista’s side then added three more goals in the final six minutes through Drogba, Giovanni Moreno and Joel Griffiths to extend their unbeaten run to six matches and they now occupy eighth position, five points clear of the drop zone and eight points adrift of third spot.

It was not good news for league-leading Guangzhou Evergrande, who conceded a late goal to slip up 2-1 at third-placed Guizhou Renhe.

Bosnian international Zlatan Muslimovic beat the keeper with ten minutes left on the clock in the first half but Evergrande levelled proceedings eight minutes later through Gao Lin.

The match seemed destined for a draw before Renhe’s Chen Jie hit the winner on 80 minutes, meaning Evergrande could possibly lose top spot before the end of the weekend with Jiangsu Sainty two points behind and scheduled to play Shandong Luneng on Sunday.

In other results on Saturday, struggling Henan Jianye came from two goals down to clinch a vital point at Changchun Yatai, fourth-placed Beijing Guoan edged Dalian Shide 1-0 and Qingdao Jonoon climbed out of the relegation zone following a 3-1 victory against Liaoning Whowin.

K.League wrap: Uribe keeps Seoul second

4 August 2012 15:57

Seoul consolidated second position on the K. League table on Saturday after overcoming a gallant Gangwon outfit 3-2.

The four-time domestic champions had won seven games in succession against Gangwon since losing 2-1 back in the 2009 season but they made a poor start as Weslley found the back of the net after eight minutes.

However, leading league goal scorer Dejan Damjanovic got the hosts back on level terms with his 17th goal of the season on 32 minutes.

And two in goals in the space of four minutes from Colombian attacking midfielder Molina Uribe opened up a 3-1 lead before Sung-Min Jung scored with three minutes remaining to ensure a nervy finish.

Meanwhile, a hat-trick from Brazilian striker Caique inspired Gyeongnam to a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Daegu at the Changwon Football Center.

Caique converted a second minute spot-kick before Australian defender Luke DeVere netted his third goal in as many league matches on 49 minutes to give Gyeongnam a 2-0 lead.

Gyeongnam soon found themselves three goals to the good courtesy of Caique just after the hour mark and he completed his hat-trick 10 minutes later, while Il-Soo Hwang pulled a goal back for the visitors with less than 15 minutes left.

Elsewhere, Gwangju’s winless streak extended to eight games after they were beaten 2-0 by Busan I’Park at Guus Hiddink Stadium.

A 15th-minute goal from Fagner and Ji-Hun Yoo’s strike deep into injury time helped move Busan level on points with Jeju United, who were edged 2-1 away at Sangju Sangmu courtesy of a brace from Sang-Hee Lee.

And Jun-Jae Nam’s 58th goal was enough to hand Incheon United a 1-0 win and three points against Chunnam Dragons.

J.League wrap: Tanaka shines for Grampus

4 August 2012 14:58

A rampant Nagoya Grampus trounced Vissel Kobe, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima tasted defeat for the first time in eight matches.

Grampus suffered a shock 2-1 loss at bottom-placed Consadole Sapporo in the previous round but four goals from defender Marcus Tanaka guided the hosts to a 5-1 victory on Saturday and fifth place on the table with 32 points.

The former Japanese international opened the scoring after two minutes and Yoshizumi Ogawa doubled their advantage after 26 minutes.

Tanaka popped up again six minutes before the half-time break to make it 3-0 and he completed his hat-trick tp make it 4-0 five minutes after the interval.

Grampus rounded off the dominant display with a fifth goal on 88 minutes through Tanaka before Keijiro Ogawa netted a consolation for the hapless visitors.

And at the Hiroshima Big Arch, Sanfrecce Hiroshima missed the chance to consolidate top spot, falling to Shimizu S-Pulse 2-1.

Hisato Sato put Sanfrecce ahead after three minutes, his 16th goal of the campaign, but two goals in the final 10 minutes from Shimizu handed the home side their first defeat in eight league matches.

Gamba Osaka, meanwhile, gave their survival chances a boost with an important 3-1 win against fellow strugglers Omiya Ardija.

A brace in the space of a minute from Leandro gave the 2008 AFC Champions League victors, languishing in 17th place, a priceless three points to move them within four points of safety.

Elsewhere, Vegalta Sendai salvaged a 2-2 draw against Yokohama. F Marinos. It was their third successive draw and it was enough to claim top position with 38 points.

Third-placed Urawa Red Diamonds extended their unbeaten run to 11 matches with a 2-2 draw at home to FC Tokyo, Sagan Tosu accounted for Kashima Antlers 2-0 and Cerezo Osaka hammered the visiting Consadole Sapporo 4-0.

Albirex Niigata drew 1-1 with Kashiwa Reysol and Kawasaki Frontale held Jubilo Iwata 2-2.

Cahill keen on Brighton start

4 August 2012 11:50

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill is hopeful of starting in Saturday’s friendly at Brighton as the Community Shield approaches.

With just over a week until Chelsea take on Manchester City at Villa Park in the traditional season warm-up, the 26-year-old defender wants to feature in a side he predicts will be close to full strength.

“The squad will more than likely be the one generally involved at the start of the season,” Cahill told the club’s official website.

“Everyone wants to play, to start, and show what they can do. I’m no different and there is a lot of competition.

“There will be times when players are rested with the amount of games we play, and there is depth, but you want to be the one in the big games, and hopefully I can play that part this season.”

Cahill was a second-half substitute in Chelsea’s 1-0 friendly defeat against AC Milan in Miami on Saturday.