Great Britain crash out, Brazil charge on

5 August 2012 00:05

Great Britain suffered penalty shootout heartbreak against South Korea to miss out on a place in the semi-finals at the London Olympics.

The home crowd at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff were left stunned as Englishman Daniel Sturridge failed from the spot with Great Britain’s fifth attempt to lose it 5-4 after scores ended 1-1 at the end of normal time.

South Korea took a deserved lead through Sunderland’s Ji Dong-Won on 29 minutes but Aaron Ramsey hit back for Great Britain from the penalty spot seven minutes later after a South Korean handball inside the area.

Neither side could break through in the second half and despite the introduction of crowd favourite Ryan Giggs late on, Great Britain were struck by the curse of England’s poor penalty shootout record.

Brazil survived a scare against nine-man Honduras to book their date with South Korea in the last four with a 3-2 win, courtesy of Damiao’s double at St James’ Park.

The Internacional striker cancelled out Mario Martinez’s stunning opener to make it 1-1 and scored the winner on the hour mark with a blasted shot after rounding the goalkeeper.

Roger Espinoza set the game alight again with a superb finish in the 48th minute but Brazil hit back from the penalty spot through Neymar two minutes later after a trip on Damiao.

Honduras battled hard after Wilmer Crisanto was sent off and their night was further soured when Espinoza was given his marching orders at the death, both for two yellow cards.

Earlier, Mexico blew a two-goal lead but came back to reach the semis with a 4-2 win over Senegal at Wembley.

Poor defending allowed Mexico to go 2-0 up through Jorge Enriquez and Javier Aquino but the lead was dashed with just over 20 minutes remaining when Moussa Konate scored his fifth goal of the tournament and substitute Ibrahima Balde headed in within seven minutes.

Tottenham forward Giovani dos Santos and substitute Hector Herrera punished terrible defensive errors in extra time to clinch the win for Mexico and set up a semi-final match with Japan.

The men joined Japan’s women’s team in the final four with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Egypt.

Kensuke Nagai, captain Maya Yoshida and Yuki Otsu were all on target at Old Trafford against 10-man Egypt, who had Saadeldin Saad sent off.

Nagai opened the scoring on 14 minutes and Saad was shown a red card four minutes before the interval after he clipped Manabu Saito on the edge of the penalty area as the last defender.

Japan took until the 78th minute to make it 2-0 through Yoshida before Otsu headed in Takahiro Ohgihara’s delivery five minutes later.

Club friendlies wrap: Chelsea lose at Brighton

4 August 2012 21:33

Chelsea concluded their summer preparations for the Premier League campaign with a 3-1 loss to Brighton on Saturday.

Manager Roberto Di Matteo named a strong starting line up for the match at Amex Stadium.

Petr Cech started in goal with Gary Cahill partnering John Terry in central defence, while Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole completed the back four.

Raul Meireles, Frank Lampard and Michael Essien formed a midfield three as Ramires and Eden Hazard flanked Fernando Torres up front.

And despite Lampard opening the scoring for the Blues, efforts from Vicente, Ashley Barnes and Andrew Crofts secured a shock win for the Championship side, meaning Chelsea ended their pre-season with three consecutive defeats.

In other pre-season results around England, Lewis McGugan scored twice and Marcus Tudgay grabbed a goal as Nottingham Forest ran out 3-1 winners against Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa.

League One club A.F.C. Bournemouth held Premier League newcomers Reading to a 2-2 draw at Dean Court, with number one goalkeeper Adam Federici competing in his first match for the Royals this pre-season.

Ipswich Town handed West Ham a 3-1 loss courtesy of goals from Michael Chopra, Luke Chambers and Jason Scotland, and West Bromwich Albion had Peter Odemwingie to thank for their fortunate 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Southampton made the most of their opportunities to beat Wolverhampton 2-0 and Fulham cruised to a 4-0 win against Nice, while Newcastle United were unable to score an elusive goal as they drew 0-0 at Eredivisie side ADO Den Haag.

Elsewhere in Europe on Saturday, German champions Borussia Dortmund reached the final of the Liga-total Cup following a 1-0 victory over hosts Hamburg in front of 44,000 fans.

Polish international Jakub Blaszczykowski scored from a Lukasz Piszczek to hand Dortmund a win in the competition consisting of 30-minute halves.

And their opponents in the final will be Werder Bremen after Thomas Schaaf’s men prevailed 4-2 in a penalty shootout against Bayern Munich.

Nils Petersen, on loan from Bayern, hit the back of the net on 12 minutes before new signing Xherdan Shaqiri restored parity in the 27th minute.

Niclas Fullkrug fired Bremen ahead on 43 minutes but his goal was cancelled out by Toni Kroos’ effort with the last kick of the game, which sent the match to a shootout.

Kevin De Bruyne, on loan from Chelsea, converted the decisive spot kick to make it 4-2 and book a meeting with Dortmund, meaning Bayern and Hamburg will contest the determining third place.

Di Matteo unhappy with lack of effort

4 August 2012 21:29

Manager Roberto Di Matteo expected more from Chelsea in the 3-1 defeat to Brighton in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.

Frank Lampard gave the Premier League side the lead but a goal from Vicente was followed by another from Ashley Barnes to give the hosts the advantage.

New signing Andrew Crofts completed the turnaround for Gus Poyet’s men, leaving Di Matteo visibly frustrated on the sidelines.

The loss was Chelsea’s third in row, following on from defeats to both AC Milan and a MLS All-stars side in their final two games of their tour of the United States.

“I was expecting more from my team in terms of urgency and movement,” the Italian told the club’s official website.

“I was looking for a better performance than the one we gave today.

“We were too stretched, never aggressive enough and didn’t get the ball back quickly enough when we lost it.

“With the ball, there wasn’t enough movement and there were a lot of things we didn’t do. We have to be a bit more focused and sharper.”

Di Matteo highlighted that the club’s new signings still need time to find their feet whilst noting some of the players involved in Euro 2012 had only been back with the squad for a couple of weeks.

“We haven’t had the whole team together yet,” he added. “Some players have only been back nine days, some 16, some 21 and some are not back at all, but when they are back we can all work together.

“Hazard played on the left, we want him to be incisive, he had good spells but we need to be patient, he’s a young man coming from a different league and it takes time to adapt.

“I was looking to get some players 90 minutes so I didn’t want to make many changes, seven played the whole game and we left some players back at Cobham to train.”

Chelsea take on Manchester City at Villa Park in the Community Shield next Sunday.

Pardew hopeful over transfers

4 August 2012 19:49

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is remaining calm over his business in the transfer market despite so far failing to capture his main targets.

The Magpies’ biggest off-season signing was expected to be Lille’s French international right-back Mathieu Debuchy, but the move has stalled despite the player himself expressing his intention to swap northern France for Tyneside.

Pardew says he is still hopeful that move will go through and insists Newcastle are able to attract their main targets to the club after a fifth-place finish in the English Premier League last season.

“It’s out of my hands now,” Pardew told the Shields Gazette.

“We’ve done the selection process and put a number of players in front of Derek and Lee (Charnley, club secretary), and now it’s about getting the players who can take the club forward.

“It’s never easy at this level. But the one thing I do know is that we’re getting the right noises from the players.

“As has been reported, the players want to come.

“That’s because of the success we had last year – that bodes well.

“It’s just about getting the deals right.”

While attempting to take the club forward with new signings, Pardew’s job has also involved keeping his best players at the Sports Direct Arena.

Demba Ba had been the star name most expected to leave the club but this week saw the expiry of a release clause in his contract which now means he is unlikely to leave the club.

“I’ve always been relaxed about it,” Pardew said.

“I think Demba’s said all he needed to say – he’s a Newcastle player, and he enjoys playing here.”

O´Neill desperate to keep Sessegnon

4 August 2012 19:43

Martin O’Neill says he would love to keep Stephane Sessegnon at Sunderland but has not ruled out a possible departure.

The Benin international has been linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light but the Black Cats are yet to receive a serious enquiry.

The 28-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder played an integral part in Sunderland’s resurgence under O’Neill, scoring six goals and helping the club to a 13th place finish in the English Premier League, and his manager wants him to stay with the club.

“We would very much like to keep Stephane – any manager would want to keep him,” O’Neill told The Journal.

“He gives us that extra creativity and he is very important to us so I would genuinely like to keep him.

“I would love to give a ‘hands-off’ message but I wish it was as easy as that.

“If I was to say ‘You cannot touch him’ then I might have to come back here two days later and say ‘sorry’.

“That would be all bravado speak and then he’s gone, so I couldn’t give that sort of message.

“However, I definitely want to keep him at this football club.

“I echo the sentiments of all of us, including the supporters on that front.”

O’Neill revealed that Sessegnon had settled in to life at Sunderland and even sends text messages in perfect English.

“He texts in perfect English now. He understands. There is an element of that (whether his family are happy) but there’s only so much you can do,” O’Neill said.

“If some families can’t settle in areas or countries then you have to take it into consideration.

“That was an issue and I just hope that issue disappears again this year – I don’t want that to rear its head again.”