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.

Moura transfer drives up Neymar price

9 August 2012 05:25

In the wake of Lucas Moura’s big-money transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, Santos president Luis Alvaro says prize-asset Neymar is priceless.

The 19-year-old winger ended an off-season of speculation by completing his move to French club PSG for a reported fee of 44 million euros.

With Lucas commanding such a significant price, Santos chief Alvaro has declared the potential value of his side’s own superstar, Brazil international Neymar, is considerably more.

“I am adamant in saying that Neymar is priceless,” Alvaro told Lance.

“Millions and millions of euro, dollars and reais could not pay for him.

“He is a unique player. (He is) distinguished… (he) is the great idol of Brazilian football, (for whom it is) impossible to negotiate for.

“I also understand that the amount spent for Lucas is deserved. Both are players who represent a new stage of Brazilian football. Along with (Leandro) Damiao, they are impressing the world.”

Neymar signed a new contract with Santos in December of last year, including a buy-out fee of 65 million euros.

Such a fee could be by only a handful of clubs, with Alvaro happy to have the forward tied down until 2014.

“I do not regret anything,” he said.

“On the contrary, I am even more convinced that the service paid to the history of Santos is priceless.

“We are seeing the affection of the fans, how important it was for the young fans to see Neymar remain at the (Vila) Belmiro. I am privileged to have secured Neymar until 2014, at the end of his contract.”

Finally, the president offered his view on the transfer of Lucas to PSG, saying: “Sao Paulo has lost a player who always took great risks against Santos. His trip to Europe is a relief.”

Stramaccioni: No panic at dormant Inter

9 August 2012 03:17

Andrea Stramaccioni claims he is not concerned about Inter Milan’s lack of activity in the transfer market as the Serie A season approaches.

Inter have been beaten to the signings of both Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura by Paris Saint-Germain in the close season.

And according to head coach Stramaccioni, his squad remains in need of reinforcements before the campaign begins later this month.

“I would be worried if by August 31 the players with the characteristics I am after have not arrived, but I’m not worried at this time,” Stramaccioni told reporters.

“I get on with him (president Massimo Moratti) very well. For all the decisions I take the final responsibility. So far, no player has arrived without my welcome.

“I think it’s important that we focus on players who are useful and functional. The characteristics of the team go beyond a single name.

“I would see a problem if a player arrived who did not function in the way we play. What is important is that the players who do arrive are functional.”

Inter face Hajduk Split in the third qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday and despite holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg, Stramaccioni feels there is still room for improvement from his players in the return fixture.

“With my eyes I also saw things going wrong and I am trying to work on them,” he said.

“I defy anyone not to get things wrong on August 10, but for personality and our style, we are there.

“Now we must improve the things that went wrong. We are neither elated by the result nor concerned about the mistakes.”

Ferguson: Van Persie deal in the balance

9 August 2012 01:23

Sir Alex Ferguson is still hopeful Manchester United can secure a deal for Arsenal star Robin van Persie.

Netherlands international Van Persie has been the subject of much speculation during the close season, with United, Manchester City and Italian giants Juventus all linked with the striker after he announced he would not be signing a new contract with the north London side in July.

However, no club has been able to agree a fee with Arsenal, and the prospect of the 29-year-old remaining at the Emirates Stadium for another year has begun to look an increasingly likely, even after Arsenal’s signing of Santi Cazorla.

Speaking after United’s pre-season penalty shoot-out defeat to Barcelona, Ferguson said: “We have made a bid and they’ve been trying to negotiate with other clubs. We just have to persevere.

“Hopefully it will come our way. We’re trying our best but there’s no progress at this moment in time.”

Sir Alex also claimed Arsenal’s unwillingness to sell their captain was proving a stumbling block.

“I don’t have a gut feeling on it at the moment, I must admit,” he said.

“We’re not getting any breakthrough with Arsenal.

“It’s difficult to say why they’re operating this way. I don’t know what their thoughts are because they’re not giving anything away.”

Zapata arrival cheers Allegri

9 August 2012 01:08

Massimiliano Allegri says more recruits could be on the way after AC Milan’s capture of Cristian Zapata on a season loan from Villarreal.

Head coach Allegri is delighted Milan have managed to bring Colombian defender Zapata to the club and hopes for more signings before the Serie A campaign begins later this month.

“I welcome the arrival of Zapata. Cristian is one of those players who were on the list of potential acquisitions,” Allegri told Milan’s television channel.

“He is a player that I had already met in 2006 … Zapata will be able to play in the centre of defence or in the flanks. With him, we are set in defence.

“We’ll see for the rest of the departments. There is still 20 days left before the market closes.”

Press speculation has also mooted a return to Milan for Real Madrid attacking midfielder Kaka, but Allegri claimed there have been no developments regarding the Brazil international.

“On Kaka, I can say that currently there is no big news,” he said.