MLS wrap: Resilient Kansas move clear

2 September 2012 08:08

Sporting Kansas City moved four points clear atop the MLS Eastern Conference with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Toronto on Saturday.

Ryan Johnson gave Toronto the lead just before half-time, but second-half goals from Paulo Nagamura and Oriol Rosell saw Peter Vermes’ side to the win at Livestrong Sporting Park.

The win moves Sporting further clear of the New York Red Bulls, while the struggling Toronto are bottom of the conference.

But Sporting’s win came after a scare, with Johnson giving the visitors a 44th-minute lead.

Richard Eckersley picked out the Jamaican with a lofted pass and, left unmarked at the back post, Johnson side-footed his effort past Jimmy Nielsen.

Nagamura equalised on the hour-mark as he volleyed an effort into the ground and saw it bounce over a hapless Freddy Hall.

Hall’s outing went from bad to worse three minutes before full-time as Rosell struck the winner.

A neat move led to Chance Myers being released down the right and his cross found Rosell, whose tame effort from just inside the area crept under a diving Hall.

David Beckham was on the scoresheet as the Los Angeles Galaxy recorded their fourth straight win in all competitions with a 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Juninho gave the Galaxy a 41st-minute lead, rifling a 30-yard drive into the top corner that Whitecaps goalkeeper Brad Knighton had no chance of saving.

Beckham struck in trademark fashion, curling a long-range free-kick into the top corner as a stationery Knighton watched on.

Galaxy remain fourth in the Western Conference thanks to the win, while the Whitecaps are clinging on to fifth despite their fourth straight loss.

Columbus Crew jumped into fourth in the Eastern Conference as Chad Marshall and Emilio Renteria netted late on to give them a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact.

Will Johnson was the hero as Real Salt Lake edged DC United 1-0, while the New England Revolution and the Philadelphia Union played out a scoreless draw.

Lamela hails ┬┤true great┬┤ Pirlo

2 September 2012 06:45

Roma midfielder Erik Lamela has labelled Andrea Pirlo as the key to Juventus’ bid for a second successive Serie A title.

Zdenek Zeman’s side take on Inter at the San Siro on Sunday as they look to bounce back from last week’s 2-2 draw against Catania, while Juventus travel to Udinese, with Lamela paying homage to the veteran Pirlo.

“Pirlo is a true great, and Juventus have an advantage with him,” the 20-year-old told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Roma are also hoping for the Scudetto however. We and Inter will be waiting directly behind them. Our match at San Siro promises to be a lot of fun.

“There will be plenty of goals, and I believe we can aim to win.”

The Argentina international has come under criticism from fans for his lacklustre performances since arriving from River Plate in August last year, but he remains unfazed.

“The fans say I’m paid too much? I don’t mind such comments really, criticism now and then for a player is natural,” Lamela said.

Pires confident in Arsenal signings

2 September 2012 06:36

Former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires is confident all of the club’s new signings will prove to be successful.

With Robin van Persie now at Manchester United, the pressure is on attacking summer recruits Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and midfielder Santi Cazorla to bring goals to the side.

Arsenal have far drawn their opening two English Premier League fixtures 0-0 against Sunderland and Stoke, but Pires is confident that with time and patience, Arsene Wenger’s new additions will come good.

“It takes time to adapt, and it is especially hard for attacking players, but I am optimistic that both Giroud and Podolski can be a success,” he told the Daily Mirror.

“I have seen Giroud playing in France and he has the qualities you need in England. He is strong and he has a good touch. He can be like van Persie in my opinion.

“Podolski is very mobile around the pitch and he is a Germany international with many caps. They will adapt.

“Santi Cazorla is someone I know well. He has adjusted to England very quickly and the fans will love him.”

Arsenal have once again lost some of their biggest stars with both van Persie and Alex Song moving on.

Pires believes the past few seasons have shown they know how to adapt to losing key players.

“This is a difficult time for Arsene Wenger. He has lost important players in the last year like Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas, van Persie and Song,” he said.

“But he has lost players in the past and replaced them and I am sure he will do it again.”

Pazzini thrilled with hat-trick

2 September 2012 06:25

AC Milan striker Giampaolo Pazzini was left delighted after netting a hat-trick in his team’s 3-1 win over Bologna on Saturday.

The former Inter striker crossed the Milan divide in a swap deal which saw Antonio Cassano move in the opposite direction.

Pazzini wasted no time in securing his new team their first three points of the Serie A season.

“It’s (the treble) is a sign for me and for all those who believed in me,” Pazzini told Sky Sports Italia.

“I feel great joy after the time I endured last season on the bench.

“The fact we won with great satisfaction just made things better. We wanted to start our season off with a win, but didn’t manage it. Now, we’ve strengthened with many new players however.

“Our problems already feel in the past, and Milan now can target the Scudetto until the very end.”

Brazil Serie A wrap: Vasco return to winning ways

2 September 2012 06:01

Vasco da Gama have ended a three-match losing streak with a 2-0 triumph over Portuguesa in the Brazil Serie A on Saturday.

Alecsandro and Carlos Tenorio scored the goals for Vasco as they moved into fourth, while Portuguesa remain 13th.

Having not won in five matches, Vasco desperately needed a victory against Portuguesa and Alecsandro gave them the lead in front of their home fans in the 37th minute.

Portuguesa were reduced to 10 players three minutes later when Valdomiro received a straight red card and in the 48th minute, Vasco took advantage with Ecuadorian striker Tenorio doubling their lead after finishing off Juninho Pernambucano’s good lead-up work.

The home side held on for the win despite losing Pipico to a red card in the 80th minute.

Bottom-club Figueirense fought back from two goals down to hold second-placed Fluminense to a 2-2 draw.

After a goalless first half, Fluminense scored just two minutes into the second half when Samuel Rosa set up Digao for the opening goal of the game.

Rafael Sobis made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute and Fluminense looked to be cruising towards their third win in four matches.

But Figueirense fought back at home with Aloisio scoring in the 68th minute and then Joao Paulo completing the home side’s comeback with his goal three minutes from time.

The draw denied Fluminense top spot in the Brazil Serie A.

Instead they are tied on 44 points with Atletico Mineiro, who top the league based on more wins, and they have played two less matches than Fluminense.

In the other match, Palmeiras drew 0-0 with Gremio.