Scottish Cup wrap: Hibs, Dundee United into semis

3 March 2013 18:26

Hibernian and Dundee United booked their places in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup thanks to victories on Sunday.

Pat Fenlon’s Hibs side had a hat-trick from Leigh Griffiths to thank for their 4-2 win at Kilmarnock.

Griffiths opened the scoring for the visitors at Rugby Park after 15 minutes, but James Dayton had Kilmarnock back on level terms 11 minutes later.

A goal from Matt Done six minutes before half-time restored Hibs’ advantage and the visitors held the lead until the 72nd minute, when Paul Heffernan’s penalty tied things up once again.

But Griffiths put Hibs 3-2 ahead with 10 minutes to play and Kilmarnock went a man down in the 86th minute when Ross Barbour pulled back Griffiths and was given his marching orders by referee John Beaton.

Griffiths made sure of the win in the 89th minute, converting a penalty after William Gros was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.

Dundee United, meanwhile, secured their place in the last four thanks to a 2-1 win over cross-town rivals Dundee at Dens Park.

United took the lead 11 minutes in when Brian McLean headed home from a Barry Douglas free-kick, but Jim McAlister equalised in the 19th minute.

Gary Mackay-Steven scored the winner 10 minutes before half-time, when he buried a shot past Robert Douglas from the edge of the box.

Hibs and Dundee United join Celtic and Falkirk in the final four, with the semi-final draw to be made on Monday.

Serie A wrap: Inter comeback boosts Champions League hopes

3 March 2013 17:56

Inter Milan came from 2-0 down to snatch a 3-2 away win over Catania in Sunday’s Serie A action.

The hosts raced to a 2-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes thanks to goals from Gonzalo Bergessio and Giovanni Marchese, before Ricky Alvarez reduced the deficit just after half-time.

Rodrigo Palacio, whose introduction inspired Inter’s second-half revival, got the equalising goal, and the hosts were left to rue the number of chances they missed as Palacio struck the winner deep into added time.

The win saw Inter move level with fourth-placed Lazio on 47 points, with both clubs a point behind AC Milan.

In other results, Fiorentina stay in sixth spot thanks to their 2-1 home win over Chievo.

Manuel Pasqua put Fiorentina ahead five minutes in, but Isaac Cofie levelled proceedings seven minutes before the interval.

Argentine substitute Marcelo Larrondo scored the winner in the 78th minute, giving Vincenzo Montella’s side all three points.

An early goal from Antonio Di Natale handed Udinese a 1-0 win at relegation-threatened Pescara, while a strike from exciting prospect Mauro Icardi just before the hour mark gave Sampdoria a 1-0 triumph against Parma at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Atalanta had a brace from Giacomo Bonaventura to thank for their 2-0 away win over Siena, and Bologna cruised to a 3-0 victory over Cagliari, who had defender Francesco Pisano sent off in the second half.

Rooney: Norwich game was crucial

3 March 2013 17:24

Wayne Rooney feels Manchester United’s 4-0 win over Norwich was more important than their upcoming Champions League clash against Real Madrid.

Shinji Kagawa’s hat-trick and a late strike from Rooney secured a victory which moves the Old Trafford side 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League table ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Aston Villa on Monday night.

And despite Tuesday night’s last-16 tie against Jose Mourinho’s side, Sir Alex Ferguson opted to pick a near-full-strength team, with the likes of Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic included in the starting 11.

“I’m sure you can see by the team the manager picked, he put a lot of experienced players out and made us aware that the Norwich match was more important than the game on Tuesday,” Rooney told MUTV.

“It was a massive game for us, we wanted to extend the lead at the top of the league, so it was a good, professional job and a well-deserved win.”

Kagawa staked his claim for a place in the team against Real Madrid with three goals and Rooney had only positive things to say about the former Borussia Dortmund man.

“He was fantastic, he keeps putting himself in positions where he can maybe get a shot at goal or play someone in,” the 27-year-old said.

“If you can see him and pick him out, he’s cool with his finishes as well. He works hard and he’s a good team player, and we’re all delighted that he got the three goals.”

The win saw Sir Alex Ferguson’s men keep another clean sheet – their fourth in a row – and Rooney believes that run of form at the back will stand the team in good stead ahead of their meeting with the Spanish champions.

“Early on in the season we were conceding too many goals,” Rooney said. “We seemed to have coped with that, we’re not conceding and we’re scoring goals so we’re in a great position at the minute.

“So, hopefully we can continue for Tuesday. Obviously it is two of the biggest clubs in the world, so it will be an exciting night, we’re all looking forward to it.

“Three points against Norwich were vital to put us in good spirits for the game on Tuesday.”

Leonardo: PSG passt nicht in die Ligue 1

3 March 2013 16:53

Leonardo glaubt, dass Paris Saint-Germain nicht für die französische Liga gemacht ist. Der brasilianische Sportdirektor sieht den Klub in der Champions League besser aufgehoben.

Paris. Nach der jüngsten Niederlage in der Ligue 1 gegen Reims (0:1) sagte Leonardo gegenüber dem französischen TV-Sender “Infosport”: “Wenn wir die Situation analysieren, kann man sagen, dass wir für solche Spiele nicht gemacht sind.”

“Wir sind ein Team, das für Europa gemacht ist”, so der Sportdirektor des Pariser Hauptstadtklubs. “PSG ist für Europa, nicht für Frankreich gemacht. Die Platzverhältnisse erschwerten die Aufgabe gegen eine ultra-defensive Mannschaft. Zudem spielen wir alle drei Tage”, versuchte Leonardo, die Niederlage zu erklären.

Leonardo: PSG hat Probleme in kampfbetonten Spielen

Die Generalprobe für das Achtelfinal-Rückspiel am Mittwoch in der Champions League gegen den FC Valencia ist mit dem blamablen 0:1 bei Stade Reims gründlich misslungen. Paris Saint-Germain verpasste es, sich vom ärgsten nationalen Verfolger Olympique Lyon abzusetzen.

Leonardo analysierte: “Wenn Spiele kampfbetont sind, kommen wir nicht zum Erfolg. Wir müssen lernen, auch solche Spiele richtig anzugehen. Spiele wie diese sind in der Ligue 1 gängig und das wird nicht das letzte Mal gewesen sein.”

Autor: Marco Nehmer

Jones targeting England place

3 March 2013 16:32

Manchester United defender Phil Jones is determined to become a regular centre-back for England.

The 21-year-old has struggled to impose himself at the heart of Sir Alex Ferguson’s defence with various injury problems and the form of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand limiting his appearances in the middle.

However, the former Blackburn youngster is confident he can force his way back into Roy Hodgson’s national squad and is glad to be able to learn from such experienced professionals as fellow Red Devil Rio Ferdinand.

“I would love to think I could be England’s centre-half – that’s my target,” he told reporters.

“It’s hard to break into the team as a centre-half at United, with Ferdinand and Vidic playing so well. They’re well ahead of me in terms of experience but I have said all along that I enjoy playing at centre-back.

“I’d like to think I can squeeze myself back into the England squad. I have to keep performing well for United and see where that takes me but I love putting the shirt on and playing for my country. There’s no better honour.

“It’s not up to me what happens with England. What will be, will be. I will just try to do a job wherever I am asked to play because I really enjoy being at United and playing for England.”

The 16 million-pound signing was deployed in a defensive midfield position to man-mark Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League round-of-16 clash on February 13 and credits Ferdinand with helping him through the game.

“Rio is a fantastic player,” he said. “He is great to play alongside. He talks to you all the time. He really helped me through the game in Madrid.”

Jones is rated as doubtful for the return leg on Tuesday with an ankle injury.