Security first for Villarreal chief

9 August 2012 09:07

Villarreal president Fernando Roig says settling the club’s debts was the main reason for selling key players in the close season.

The Spanish club were relegated from La Liga last term and have since seen a mass exodus of many of their top assets.

But despite the discontent that this may have caused among supporters, Roig took solace in the financial stability of the club.

“We are looking for economic balance and we are getting there. We have paid everything up to date and do not owe money to anyone,” Roig told reporters.

“We have paid out to the treasury and as I said, this is a healthy club, which for me is very important for the future.

“In football we are at that point and it is therefore key to have the economic balance. It is essential to have that balance and Villarreal will have it.”

The club have lost multiple stars including Nilmar, Borja Valero, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Carlos Marchena and Cristian Zapata.

But Roig is hopeful they can hold onto Bruno Soriano in order to return to the top flight.

“Having Bruno at Villarreal means we can rest assured that we can 100 per cent return to La Liga,” he said.

“The players are outstanding and are eager for recruits and signings, but some must first leave and after that we can enter (the transfer market).

“The first thing that has been done is this.”

Canales makes permanent Valencia switch

9 August 2012 07:33

Real Madrid have confirmed the sale of Sergio Canales to Valencia for an undisclosed fee, but have included a buy-back clause in the deal.

The 21-year-old originally joined Valencia on a two-year loan at the start of last season but only made 11 league appearances for the club as he struggled with injuries.

However, Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have still exercised their right to purchase the player permanently.

A statement on Real’s official website read: “Real Madrid and Valencia have concluded the agreement for the transfer of Sergio Canales. Real Madrid reserves a right of repurchase.”

The Santander-born youngster has represented Spain at every level from Under-16 to Under-21 but is yet to make his first senior international appearance.

Canales struggled to make his mark during his time in the Spanish capital and becomes the second player to swap the Santiago Bernabeu for Valencia this season after Fernando Gago made the switch last month.

Ligue 1 preview: PSG seeking powerhouse status

9 August 2012 07:25

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has warned rivals that the capital club’s big signings will improve throughout the season.

PSG are set to begin a season considered by many as a foregone conclusion when they host Lorient in their Ligue 1 opener on Saturday.

Head coach Carlo Ancelotti has brought in the likes of Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi since last season to improve an already expensive squad that finished second in 2011/12.

PSG impressed in their last friendly before the season, drawing 2-2 with Barcelona, and Ibrahimovic is convinced his new team-mates will build up steam as the year progresses.

“We showed that we have what it takes to mix it with a huge team,” Ibrahimovic said.

“The more we play, the better we’ll get.”

Reigning champions Montpellier will get the new season underway on Friday with the visit of Toulouse.

Montpellier coach Rene Girard will have to do without three of his main midfielders against Toulouse, with Younes Belhanda and Anthony Mounier injured, while Marco Estrada is suspended after his red card in the Trophee des Champions match held last month.

Girard’s other main concern will be how his side manage without Olivier Giroud, after Ligue 1’s top goal-scorer from last season left for Arsenal.

Lille will have to wait a week to play their first match at their new stadium as they travel to St Etienne on Saturday.

With Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard having transferred to Chelsea in the close season, Lille’s main focus will be on who will score their goals.

The club based near the France-Belgium border scored the second-highest number of goals in Ligue 1 last term and have brought in Marvin Martin from Sochaux and Salomon Kalou from Chelsea to help out in the forward third.

Rennes will host Lyon in a match that pits two of last season’s top-six sides against each other, while Evian’s meeting with Bordeaux should also be an interesting game.

Promoted sides Bastia, Reims and Troyes will take on Sochaux, Marseille and Valenciennes respectively.

In other opening-round fixtures, Nancy will host Brest and Ajaccio travel to Nice.

US Open Cup: Sporting KC 1 Seattle 1 (3-2 on pens)

9 August 2012 07:22

Sporting Kansas City defeated the Seattle Sounders 3-2 on penalties to claim their second US Open Cup on Wednesday.

With the game tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation and extra-time, Sporting kept their nerve best to take the shootout in front of a sell-out crowd at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City.

Kei Kamara, Matt Besler and Paulo Nagamura were all successful with their spot-kicks in the shootout and when Seattle striker Eddie Johnson put his attempt over the bar, the title was decided.

Earlier, Kamara scored the opening goal of the game with just six minutes left in regulation when he converted from the penalty spot.

Zach Scott was adjudged to have handballed in the area and Kamara stepped up to convert the spot-kick.

But two minutes later Seattle were on level terms when Scott headed home a Mauro Rosales free-kick to make it 1-1.

There were no goals in either of the two 15-minute extra-time periods, leaving Sporting to clinch the trophy from the penalty spot.

The victory earns Sporting a berth in the 2013/2014 CONCACAF Champions League, where they will take on the best clubs from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Copa Sudamericana wrap: Big wins for Barca, Cerro

9 August 2012 05:44

Ecuador’s Barcelona have destroyed Deportivo Tachira from Venezuela 5-1 to advance to the second round of the Copa Sudamericana.

Michael Quinonez and Matias Oyola starred for Barcelona at their home ground with each scoring a goal, while they compiled three assists between them.

Oyola set up Jose Perlaza for Barcelona’s first goal of the game after a quarter of an hour before also providing the crucial pass for Quinonez to make it 2-0 in the 32nd minute.

Just before half-time, Oyola also got on the scoresheet, making no mistake from the penalty spot.

In the 52nd minute, Holger Matamoros scored Barcelona’s fourth goal and 13 minutes later, Quinonez set up Brayan de la Torre.

A penalty from Cesar Gonzalez gave Deportivo Tachira a consolation goal in the 81st minute.

After a scoreless first leg, Barcelona’s four-goal victory on Wednesday handed them a win on aggregate and a spot in the second round.

In Wednesday’s other match, Cerro Porteno smashed O’Higgins 4-0 to complete a 7-3 victory on aggregate.

The Paraguayan hosts needed just 15 minutes to take the lead against their Chilean opponents thanks to a goal from midfielder Jonathan Fabbro.

Cerro doubled their lead just a minute later when Fidencio Oviedo hit the back of net to put his side 5-3 up on aggregate.

Santiago Salcado made it 3-0 in the 74th minute before Alejandro Da Silva finished off a poor match for O’Higgins with a goal in the 90th minute.