AFF Suzuki Cup: Thailand 2 Malaysia 0 (3-1 agg)

14 December 2012 01:24

Thailand have moved a step closer to their first AFF Suzuki Cup title in 10 years, with a 2-0 semi-final win over Malaysia on Thursday.

The two sides drew 1-1 in the first leg, but Teerasil Dangda and Theerathon Bunmathan scored two second half goals in four minutes the seal the 3-1 aggregate win.

The three-times winners have been present in five of the eight finals since the tournament’s inception in 1996 and will now contest their ninth over two legs against Singapore.

With their last four clash closely poised at 1-1 after Sunday’s opening leg, Malaysia and Thailand had everything to play for in Bangkok.

But Malaysia’s chances of progression suffered a setback on 44 minutes when Mohd Fadhli Mohd Shas was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Replays showed he shoved Datsakorn Thonglao, who also received a booking, but it was advantage Thailand going into the second half.

After the break, the hosts took just 20 minutes to break the deadlock, with Dangda capitalising on some poor defending to slot past the goalkeeper.

Bunmathan then made it 2-0 four minutes later, tapping home the spilled ball from Jakkraphan Pornsai’s free-kick.

The first leg of the final takes place in Singapore on December 29, with the return leg back in Bangkok three days later.

Copa del Rey wrap: Betis held by Las Palmas

14 December 2012 00:33

Real Betis have been held to a 1-1 draw by Segunda Division side Las Palmas in the first leg of their round of 16 Copa del Rey clash.

Neither side could find an opening in the first half with Betis striker Ruben Castro scoring in the 67th minute to put the away team ahead.

However, Macauley Chrisantus drew Las Palmas level in the 85th minute to send the home crowd into raptures and give his side a fighting chance ahead of their second leg clash in Seville early next year.

In Thursday’s other game, Real Zaragoza left it extremely late as they overcame Levante 1-0 at the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia.

Zaragoza forward Carlos Aranda scored in the 92nd minute to give Manuel Jimenez’s side a vital buffer as they look ahead to the second leg on home soil.

Ferdinand slams UEFA over Serbia sanctions

14 December 2012 00:13

Rio Ferdinand has slammed UEFA’s decision to fine the Serbian FA 66,000 pounds in the aftermath of the racism row during an Under-21 clash.

Serbian coaches Andreja Milunovic and Predrag Katic were banned from all football related activities for two years following their part in the incident, while four players from the Serbian team have been given short-term suspensions.

The Under-21 side will also have to play one game behind closed doors, but Ferdinand believes the punishment is sending out a weak message on dealing with racism within the game after the alleged abuse of Three Lions left-back Danny Rose ignited the incident.

He said on his Twitter page: “UEFA are not serious at all on racism. Fines do not work at all. They have zero impact on federations/clubs/fans/players. #fact.”

The 34-year-old believes harsher punishments are needed to deter racism from happening in all tiers of the sport and feels the people in charge of European football’s governing body need to take a stand.

He added: “UEFA need to talk to this generation…..they don’t seem to be up to date on this issue?? Harsh punishments needed as a deterrent #simple.”

Rio’s brother, QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, who was found by the FA to have been the recipient of racial abuse from Chelsea captain John Terry in a Premier League match last October, believes UEFA needs to toughen its stance against racism.

He expressed his disbelief that the severity of the sanctions is less than what Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner received for showing a sponsor on his clothing while celebrating a goal at Euro 2012.

“Wow UEFA ain’t serious with there punishment… So showin a sponsor is worst than racism and fighting!” he tweeted.

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FA Cup: Hastings 1 Harrogate 1 (5-4 pens)

14 December 2012 00:04

Hastings United have advanced to the third round of the FA Cup after beating Harrogate Town 5-4 on penalties at the Pilot Field.

In an enthralling encounter between the two non-league sides, Sean Ray’s men sent the home crowd into raptures after going ahead through a Lee Carey penalty in the 47th minute after Zac Atwood was brought down by Matt Bloomer.

Hastings held out for the most part of the second half and looked set to advance into the next round before Tom Platt made the most of an error from goalkeeper Matt Armstrong-Ford to level the scores in the 90th minute following a dangerous Dave Merris cross.

With neither side able to break the deadlock in extra-time the match went to penalties where both sides missed one penalty apiece in the first five to send the shootout to sudden death.

Harrogate’s Lee Elam missed his spot-kick to hand Hastings, who are one league below their opponents on the English football pyramid, the chance to face Middlesbrough at the Riverside in the third round.

Dee Okojie stepped up and hammered the ball into the top left corner to seal the victory, sparking jubilant scenes inside the Pilot Field as fans rejoiced in Hastings’ biggest win in its 119-year history.

Bendtner injury blow for Juve

13 December 2012 23:50

Juventus striker Nicklas Bendtner has been ruled out for at least two months after copping an injury in the Coppa Italia on Tuesday night.

The Denmark international was given a rare start by Antonio Conte against Cagliari, but was forced off before half-time with what originally appeared to be a groin injury, though tests have confirmed a more serious problem.

“Nicklas Bendtner underwent magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound that showed a tear in the tendon of the adductor longus left. Prognosis will be better defined after further examinations to which the Danish striker will undergo in the coming days,” read a statement on the club’s official website.

Bendtner arrived in Turin during the summer on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal, but has failed to settle in Serie A so far.

There was some good news for the Old Lady however, with the statement revealing Arturo Vidal’s injury is less serious than originally feared.

“After sustaining bruising in the first half of yesterday’s cup game, Arturo Vidal had an MRI scan today which came back negative. The player worked out in the gym as he looks to return to fitness.”