CONCACAF Champions League: Houston 1 Santos 0

6 March 2013 06:02

Brad Davis grabbed a late winner as Houston won the opening leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final 1-0 over Santos Laguna.

Playing at home, the MLS outfit knew the pressure was on them to get the result.

And the men in orange had the better of the early going, but Santos Laguna centre-back Felipe Baloy managed to get the upper hand in the aerial battle against Will Bruin.

The Mexican side nearly broke the deadlock with their best chance of the game in the 57th minute. A cross from Herculez Gomez dropped in the box for the unmarked Oribe Peralta, who probably should have scored, but his shot went right into the arms of Tally Hall.

Houston went close in the 75th minute, Ricardo Clark unable to turn on Kofi Sarkodie’s low cross into the box and hitting wide after good work by Bruin to play into the fullback’s overlapping run.

Baloy nearly saw red a few minutes after that. Unable to dispossess the darting Oscar Boniek Garcia, the big Panamanian defender stuck his studs high into the Honduran’s ankle.

Houston grabbed the game’s only goal just before stoppage time. Corey Ashe surged down the left flank, dishing inside to Davis.

The USA international gave a flick of his left foot and flashed a shot across Oswaldo Sanchez’s net and into the far corner.

The one-goal cushion preserves Houston’s undefeated record at BBVA Compass Stadium and could be vital if the Dynamo are to escape from the March 13 second leg with a berth in the semi-finals.

Copa Libertadores wrap: Universidad Chile go top

6 March 2013 05:50

Universidad Chile have taken the upper hand in Copa Libertadores Group 7 thanks to a 2-1 away win over Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys.

A goal from Guillermo Marino and a Charles Aranguiz penalty gave the Chilean team a 2-0 lead inside 17 minutes at the Estadio Marcelo Alberto Bielsa on Tuesday, and although Ignacio Scocco pulled one back for the home side in first-half stoppage time, there would be no equaliser.

The result lifted Universidad into top spot in Group 7 on six points, with the pool’s other two sides – Paraguayan club Olimpia and Venezuelan side Deportivo Lara – playing out a 2-2 draw in Asuncion.

A Fredy Bareiro brace had the home side in control early in the second half, but Marlon Fernandez halved the deficit in the 71st minute and when Jose Torrealba netted five minutes from the end, Deportivo had done enough to escape with a point.

Both Olimpia and Deportivo are locked on four points, with Newell’s Old Boys in fourth place on three points.

In other results, Brazilians Gremio moved top of Group 8 on goal difference courtesy of a crushing 4-1 win at home over Venezuela’s Caracas.

Hernan Barcos and Werley put Gremio two goals up at half-time, and a second-half brace from Ze Roberto sealed the result and rendered Andres Sanchez’s goal on the hour mark no more than a consolation.

Colombian club Millonarios posted their first win in Group 5 thanks to a 2-1 home triumph over Bolivians San Jose, an 81st-minute winner from Wason Renteria proving the difference between the two sides.

The group’s top two teams, Tijuana and Corinthians, meet in Mexico on Wednesday.

And in Group 4, Ecuadorian club Emelec moved level with the leaders on six points thanks to a 2-1 win over Chile’s Deportes Iquique.

Keane tips United exit for Rooney

6 March 2013 03:39

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane believes Wayne Rooney may be approaching the end of his time with the club.

Rooney was left on the bench for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid at Old Trafford, with Danny Welbeck preferred by manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Real won the second leg 2-1 to advance to the quarter-finals, with Rooney coming on as a second-half substitute.

Keane, who spent 12 years under the stewardship of Ferguson at Old Trafford, feels the decision to bench Rooney was not purely tactical and that the former Everton man may be soon be moving on from the Premier League giants.

“It surprised us all that he (Ferguson) left Wayne Rooney out. Maybe the writing is on the wall for him,” Keane said.

“Wayne needs a game or two, to be honest. He did okay in the second half against Norwich, but he needs a game.”

Lucescu concedes Dortmund superiority

6 March 2013 03:10

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu believes Borussia Dortmund deserved their 3-0 win over the Ukrainians on Tuesday.

Goals from Felipe Santana, Mario Goetze and Jakub Blaszczykowski saw the Bundesliga champions to a comfortable victory in the Champions League round-of-16 second leg at Signal Iduna Park.

It gave Juergen Klopp’s men a 5-2 aggregate victory, sealing their spot in the quarter-finals.

Lucescu conceded his team deserved nothing more from the second leg, rueing Santana’s opener which allowed the hosts to take control.

“Dortmund’s win was well deserved. Now they are through to the next round. It was a difficult game against a good opposition,” he said.

“Until the 30th minute we were hoping for a goal which we didn’t manage to score. We did not succeed in converting our scoring opportunities.

“Dortmund of course were controlling this game after taking the lead. For us it then became more difficult getting into the game. It was a deserved win for them.”

Lucescu urged his men to swing the momentum in the second half after going into the break 2-0 down, needing two goals to force extra-time.

He rued his side missing chances after the break and said he hoped Dortmund reached the final.

“At the half-time break I told the players that we needed to change the game, and you could see that on the field,” Lucescu said.

“We had our chances and it’s a pity that we didn’t take them.

“The mistake by our goalkeeper (for Dortmund’s third goal) meant it was all over. Overall, the result corresponds with what we all saw on the pitch.

“I hope Dortmund reach the final as they are a really strong side.”

Valverde wary of PSG threat

6 March 2013 02:54

Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde is wary of the threat posed by Paris Saint-Germain on the counter-attack ahead of their clash on Wednesday.

The La Liga outfit head into the second leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie trailing 2-1 after being beaten at the Estadio de Mestalla.

PSG will be without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was sent off in Spain, but Valverde said the Ligue 1 giants will still be threatening.

It will be a tough balancing act for Valverde, who said he was focused on ensuring his team scored at Parc des Princes.

“What do we have to prioritise? We have to score because we are aware that we have to make up a big disadvantage and we have to score more than a goal,” Valverde said.

“That is what we have to do and try to protect ourselves at the back.

“They are not going to have Ibrahimovic but they have other strong players, as they showed in the first leg, who can launch dangerous counter attacks.

“We have to be aware of them, but the most important aspect is for us to score.”

Carlo Ancelotti’s men go into the clash after a shock 3-2 loss to Sochaux in Ligue 1, and will be eager to respond to the defeat.

Valencia midfielder Sofiane Feghouli said his side had the belief and feels they can advance if they take their chances.

“We have the confidence to win, otherwise we wouldn’t come here. We think we can beat PSG,” he said.

“We are so ambitious and from the beginning we have to push and be intensive in our play. We will have chances and exploiting our chances will be very important in the knockout.”