Suarez unfazed by spectator abuse

2 August 2012 04:36

Uruguay forward Luis Suarez insists the abuse he received during Wednesday’s defeat to Great Britain was borne out of fear of his ability.

Suarez was roundly booed every time he touched the ball in the 1-0 loss at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and was well below his best as the South Americans were knocked out of the Olympics football tournament.

But the Liverpool striker insists he was unaffected by the reception he received, although he branded the crowd’s decision to boo him during the Uruguay national anthem as ‘a total lack of respect’.

“I think they jeer me and they boo me because they must be scared of facing a player like me,” he told reporters.

“They fear me, but that doesn’t affect me. I’m hurt because we lost and are going home. We all had a dream and that was to win the gold medal here.

“I can take the abuse. I don’t mind. But I think it was a total lack of respect from the crowd to boo when we were trying to sing our national anthem. Those things should not happen.”

Suarez’s reputation in English football reached an all-time low as a result of his perceived lack of contrition after being found to have racially abused Manchester United striker Patrice Evra during a Premier League clash at Anfield back in October.

He re-opened the row with Evra last month with comments made to Uruguayan television, in which he alleged that both the Football Association’s judgment against him and the eight-match ban he subsequently received were the result of United’s ‘political power’.

But Sebastian Coates, Suarez’s team-mate with club and country, believes the abuse the striker receives in England has gone too far and needs to stop.

“I’m tired of this situation with Luis,” he said.

“I think it has gone on too far and I don’t like to see him being treated like this.

“I know the kind of person he is and I think the abuse he gets is very unfair. He knows all his team-mates and the whole country are fully behind him and I think fans over here should leave him alone.”

Breitner brands Dortmund ´childish´

2 August 2012 04:12

Bayern Munich legend Paul Breitner has labelled Borussia Dortmund ‘childish’ over their Bundesliga title defence.

Dortmund are persisting in downplaying their hopes of retaining the Bundesliga this season because of their desire to go beyond the group stages of the Champions League.

The two-time defending Bundesliga champions were out of European competition by the winter break last year and are determined to make amends this time around.

Breitner, though, does not buy into the suggestion that their hopes of winning a third successive title should necessarily suffer as a consequence.

“It is childish,” the former West Germany international told Eurosport.

“I am sure that Dortmund would rethink their stance very quickly if they got to hear what all the other sides thought. People, stop with this childishness, it’s ridiculous!

“I expect that they (Dortmund) will still be involved in Europe in the second half of the season. Dortmund will not be able to bow out of the Champions League with a whimper this time.”

For that very reason, Breitner believes that the playing field will be levelled in this year’s battle for the Bundesliga, alluding to the fact that Bayern Munich were involved in Europe’s premier club cup competition right up until the final.

“Therefore, you will see this season who is really No.1 (in Germany) and not only who is No.1 due to lack of games, but the No.1 over a decent season, with many games in the Champions League.”

Breitner, who also represented Real Madrid during his illustrious playing career, enjoyed two separate stints with Bayern.

Interest grows in signing Sali

2 August 2012 04:06

Striker Safee Sali is attracting interest from Malaysian and Thai teams while the Indonesian Super League takes a break.

Several news outlets have reported that a number of teams from Malaysia are interested in Sali for the upcoming Malaysia Cup, while a couple of clubs from Thailand are looking at the option of taking him on loan.

“I’m still waiting for a concrete offer from interested clubs and I hope to make a decision before Eid ul-Fitr,” Sali told reporters.

“It’s vital for me to continue playing and maintain my fitness levels in order to be at my best during the AFF Cup.”

Safee’s Pelita Jaya will only resume action early next year after a long break by the ISL.

The player has had a run of poor form for his country, with his last international goal coming in a 3-2 friendly defeat to India eight months ago.

Champions League qualifying wrap: Celtic grab narrow lead

2 August 2012 02:04

Celtic had to come from behind to post a Champions League qualifying victory on Wednesday, while Anderlecht and Helsingborg also won.

Neil Lennon’s side went behind at Celtic Park when HJK Helsinki midfielder Rasmus Schuller struck just after half-time, but goals from Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew shortly after sealed the 2-1 result in the first leg of their third-round qualifying tie.

The hosts enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening half, but failed to turn that advantage into a goal as HJK Helsinki goalkeeper Ville Wallen looked assured on the last line of defence.

Then, just after the re-start, Schuller turned in Sebastian Mannstrom’s ball on the second attempt to give the visitors an unlikely lead.

But Celtic were back on level terms seven minutes later when Georgios Samaras set up Hooper for the easiest of finishes.

The Scottish champions pushed forward in search of a winner and were rewarded when Mulgrew nodded in Kris Commons’ corner just after the hour mark to make it 2-1.

James Forrest and Hooper had chances to add a third in the closing stages, but Celtic had to settle for a one-goal lead heading into the second leg in Finland next week.

Anderlecht were the most impressive winners on Wednesday as they cruised to a 5-0 thumping of FK Ekranas.

Deiudonne Mbokani scored a brace, while Tom De Sutter, da Rocha Kanu and Milan Jovanovic also got on the scoresheet for the Belgians.

Swedish club Helsingborg were also notable winners as they defeated Polish champions Slask Wroclaw 3-0.

Alfred Finnbogason got the ball rolling when he scored for Helsingborg in the opening half, before Christoffer Andersson and Daniel Nordmark netted in the final 20 minutes to seal victory.

In other results, Hapoel Kiryat Shmona triumphed 4-0 at home against Neftchi, FC Basel edged 10-man Molde 1-0, Dinamo Zagreb won 1-0 at Sheriff Tiraspol and Patrick Vouho scored the only goal in AEL’s 1-0 victory over Partizan Belgrade.

NK Maribor won 4-1 at home against F91 Dudelange, Ricardo Cadu converted a penalty in CFR Cluj-Napoca’s 1-0 triumph over Liberec, while Fenerbahce and FC Vaslui (1-1), BATE Borisov and Debrecen (1-1) and FC Copenhagen and Club Brugge (0-0) shared the spoils in their matches.

Great Britain top group, Egypt move through

2 August 2012 01:39

Great Britain progressed to the knockout phase of the Olympics as Group A winners after a 1-0 win over Uruguay.

Stuart Pearce’s men controlled much of the match before some late pressure from the South Americans, and although there were few clear-cut chances in the first half, the hosts went into the break in the lead as Daniel Sturridge netted in stoppage time.

Britain qualify ahead of Senegal from Group A, after the Africans played out a 1-1 draw with the United Arab Emirates.

Moussa Konate scored his fourth goal of the Games shortly after half-time to salvage a point for Senegal, who trailed following Ismaeil Matar’s opener on 21 minutes.

Awaiting them in the quarter-finals will be Group B winners Mexico, who defeated Switzerland 1-0 thanks to Oribe Peralta’s 69th-minute strike, set up by Tottenham midfielder Giovani dos Santos.

South Korea move through alongside the North Americans after playing out a scoreless draw with Gabon.

In Group C, Brazil maintained their 100 per cent record at the Games courtesy of a 3-0 win over New Zealand, with Danilo, Leandro Damiao and Sandro getting on the scoresheet for the tournament favourites.

Egypt also moved out of the group and in the process ended Belarus’ campaign after a 3-1 victory over the Eastern Europeans.

Mohamed Salah gave Egypt the lead in the 56th minute before goals from Marwan Mohsen and Mohamed Aboutrika sealed the win, with Andrei Voronkov’s 87th-minute strike mere consolation for Belarus.

Two scoreless draws in Group D rounded out Wednesday’s action, as Japan sealed top spot after their stalemate with Honduras, who also qualified. Spain’s winless – and scoreless – campaign ended after a draw with Morocco.