Cahill thrilled with winning start

11 August 2012 15:24

New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill says he is delighted to have marked his competitive debut with victory over Houston Dynamo.

Cahill, who joined from English Premier League side Everton last month, played the full 90 minutes in the Red Bulls’ 2-0 home win over MLS rivals Houston on Friday.

The Red Bulls are still unbeaten at home this season, but Australia international Cahill has claimed his new team-mates are not getting carried away and remain focused on their next fixture.

“For me, I just wanted to win, you could see on my face how happy I was,” Cahill said.

“It didn’t matter if I scored or somebody else scored … Be it a tackle or a header which I won. The main for me was that I showed intent in every little thing which I did.

“I don’t get carried away though, that’s the thing in football, yes it’s a great win but you have to see what happens next week.”

“I feel pretty good but the main thing is that it was a great team performance.

“That was what we wanted from the start, what we discussed at the start of the game was to be disciplined, not to concede and to win the game. I’m happy that on my debut, I won my first game with my new football club.”

Red Bulls head coach Hans Bakke said despite his side’s fantastic home form they need to remedy their away tactics, which has seen them lose their last four matches.

“When we go on the road we have to change this mindset, to press the opposition and press like today,” he said.

“Rather than like last week when we sat back and gave them too much time to take us on,” he said, referring to his team’s 2-0 defeat away to Houston in their previous fixture.

“So far you can say that we look like being a better home team.

“We try to play the same both home and away, after about 14 or 15 games of the season we were one of the better ‘on the road’ teams – we had four wins.

“But then of course since we have picked up four defeats in Chicago, New England, Montreal and Houston.

“So we have one more home game, then we can see upon what type of style we play away because something needs to be changed.”

J.League wrap: Consadole Sapporo stun Vegalta

11 August 2012 14:45

Cellar dwellers Consadole Sapporo produced the shock of the J. League round, overcoming league leaders Vegalta Sendai 2-1 on Saturday.

Sapporo beat fifth-placed Nagoya Grampus a fortnight ago but had only emerged victorious in one of their past 11 league matches, however, they made it two wins in three courtesy of a 90th-minute own goal.

Sendai had taken a 12th-minute lead through Kodai Watanabe and they seemed destined for all three points but Takuma Hidaka levelled proceedings with little over 10 minutes remaining.

And a 90th-minute own goal snatched victory for the hosts and extended Sendai’s winless run to four games.

They also relinquished top spot to Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who defeated Omiya Ardija 2-1 on the road to go two points clear at the top.

Urawa Reds also lost on Saturday, falling to 13th-placed Vissel Kobe 1-0 courtesy of a 23rd-minute penalty from Yoshito Okubo.

The result means third-placed Urawa drop down to fourth after Kashiwa Reysol managed a point against Tokyo.

Brazilian striker Lucas stepped up and converted an 11th-minute penalty for Tokyo before Jorge Wagner hit the back of the net on 67 minutes to ensure the match ended 1-1.

At Nissan Stadium, Yokohama F Marinos prevailed 3-2 against visitors Albirex Niigata courtesy of a second-half brace from Yuji Nakazawa.

Atomu Tanaka ensured Niigata went into the interval 1-0 up through his 18th-minute strike but Nakazawa equalised just after the hour-mark.

Tanaka netted his brace three minutes later to restore his side’s lead, however, Marquinhos brought the match level once again.

And Nakazawa clinched maximum points and fifth spot thanks to a goal three minutes from time.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Jubilo Iwata were beaten 2-1 at Kashima Antlers, Sagan Tosu accounted for Kawasaki Frontale 2-1, Gamba Osaka recovered from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Cerezo Osaka and Shimizu S-Pulse upstaged Nagoya Grampus 3-2 in a five-goal thriller.

Gill defends Glazers´ United flotation

11 August 2012 14:35

Manchester United chief executive David Gill says the club’s owners understand the importance of sustained on-field success.

Gill spoke following United’s flotation on the New York Stock Exchange this month, an attempt by the club to obtain additional funds and reduce the level of debt at Old Trafford.

He stressed the new financial structure put in place by the club means they will continue to be able to spend money on improving the squad.

“We fully understand and the owners fully understand that what happens on the pitch is crucial to us and we will make sure there are sufficient funds to invest in the team going forward,” Gill told reporters.

Referring to the club’s owners, the Glazer family, the chief executive said: “The level of debt that we’ve had at the club since they’ve taken over hasn’t impacted on what we’ve done as a team.”

The 55-year-old pointed to the club’s recent success in the English Premier League and the Champions League, as well as the agreement of a seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet, to underline his point that the club can continue to progress regardless of the debt.

“We’ve won four Premier League (titles), we’ve been to the Champions League final three times (under the Glazers), we’ve had ongoing success on the pitch,” he said.

“We’re comfortable with the leverage we’ve had and we believe that given the growth opportunity we’ve got ahead of us – for example we’ve signed Chevrolet to a seven-year shirt sponsorship commencing in 2014, which is over twice what our current shirt sponsors make – we’ve got a lot of interesting and good opportunities to improve our cash flow going forward.”

Mexico´s Tena plots Brazil upset

11 August 2012 14:10

Mexico manager Luis Fernando Tena says his team are capable upstaging favourites Brazil in the men’s football Olympic final on Saturday.

Brazil are red-hot favourites to end their gold medal drought at the London Games after booking their spot in the final for the first time since 1988.

Tena’s side beat Japan 3-1 in the semi-final on August 7 to advance to the final game of the competition and he believes a shock could be on the cards at Wembley Stadium.

“We are happy knowing that at least we’ll get the silver medal, but at the same time we are ambitious so we’ll try to close these games in the best fashion,” the 54-year-old said.

“We can play well against Brazil even though they are favourites. Even before the Games started, they already were alongside Spain and Team GB (as favourites) but mainly, it was Brazil.

“Yesterday I read about the odds for this game in Las Vegas and apparently they’re favourites by far but still, we believe in ourselves and I think we can surprise Brazil.

Tena also spoke about Giovani dos Santos’ injury, saying Mexico would miss the Tottenham attacking midfielder but hoped they could compensate for his loss.

“Unfortunately Giovani dos Santos, who’s a great player and was showing great character in the training sessions and games in order to overcome his injury, won’t be pickable in the end,” he said.

“It’s a pity for him and sensitive for the team but we have shown that we are strong enough mentally. We can overcome these adversities and we know that we have a good enough team and alternatives.

“As I just said, it’s a shame he’s injured because obviously we wanted him to play this final. But our team his strong and we trust in ourselves.”

Meanwhile, head coach Mano Menezes is adamant his Brazil squad will not underestimate their opponents.

Brazil have claimed victory in all five matches en route to the final, scoring a total of 15 goals in the process but the former Corinthians manager insists the players are focused on the task at hand.

“The players are very calm, not over-euphoric about being in the final,” he said.

“But our team should be congratulated, they have come a long way since May when they were nowhere and now they are in an Olympic final.

“It has been 24 years since Brazil have been in the final, which shows how difficult it is to get there.”

Report: Torino chase Drenthe

11 August 2012 13:37

Former Real Madrid winger Royston Drenthe could be on his way to Torino, according to reports.

The Turin side are eager to add some fresh blood to their squad in order to be competitive at the highest level following their promotion to Italy’s top tier last season, and head coach Giampiero Ventura sees the Dutchman as a useful addition to his team, Tuttosport reported on Saturday.

Drenthe came through the ranks of the Feyenoord youth academy, but left the Eredivisie side for the Bernabeu in 2007.

Nevertheless, the 25-year-old failed to live up to the high expectations at the La Liga champions, and was released on a free transfer after loan spells at Hercules and Everton in the past two seasons.

He has since been linked with clubs such as Feyenoord and Galatasaray, but could now be on his way to Italy instead following Torino’s interest.