Ligue 1 wrap: Ibrahimovic rescues point for PSG, Bordeaux edge Evian

11 August 2012 23:52

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late penalty has salvaged a 2-2 draw for big-spenders Paris Saint-Germain against Lorient in the first round of Ligue 1.

Lorient led 2-0 at half-time in Paris as PSG’s expensive stars struggled in their first league game together but Ibrahimovic eventually got the job done, scoring twice in the last 30 minutes to earn a point.

The match could not have started in worse fashion for the home side as Lorient’s Kevin Monnet-Paquet played a one-two with Alain Traore in the fourth minute before smashing a low cross into the box, which PSG defender Maxwell could only deflect into his own net.

Lorient, who have spent around one-30th on transfers in the off season compared to PSG’s reported bill of around 145 million euros, doubled their lead in first-half injury time when Jeremie Aliadiere cut in from the left wing, stepping past a couple of opponents and then firing the ball home.

PSG dominated the second half but had to wait until the 64th minute for their first goal when Ibrahimovic brought the ball down on his chest and then struck it into the bottom corner of the net.

The Swedish striker’s second goal came from the spot in the 89th minute after Lorient defender Gregory Bourillon brought Blaise Matuidi down in the penalty area.

Bordeaux held on for a 3-2 victory away to Evian after the home side scored in second-half injury time to force a nervy end to the game.

Ludovic Obraniak and Yoan Gouffran gave the visitors a 2-0 lead after 15 minutes before Danish fullback Daniel Wass scored for Evian in the 17th minute.

Henri Saivet’s 51st-minute strike looked to have given Bordeaux a comfortable win before Saber Khelifa scored in the 94th minute, however, the visitors held on for an opening-round win.

Promoted side Bastia also won 3-2 away from home, overcoming Sochaux to take top spot in Ligue 1, while Valenciennes defeated Troyes 1-0.

A stunning 90th-minute free kick from Benoit Pedretti stole a 2-1 win over Saint Etienne, while Lyon, Nancy and Ajaccio won 1-0 against Rennes, Brest and Nice respectively.

Belgian First Division wrap: Brugge, Waregem held to draws

11 August 2012 23:07

Belgian First Division leaders Club Brugge have been denied a third straight victory by fourth-placed Mechelen in a pulsating 3-3 draw.

Lior Refaelov was the star for Brugge, scoring twice and setting up his club’s other goal but Mechelen fought back on each occasion, equalising for the third and decisive time through Steven de Petter with 15 minutes to play.

Brugge went in front in the 32nd minute when Refaelov finished off Jim Larsen’s lead-up work before the home side hit back just two minutes later through Thomas Enevoldsen.

Israeli midfielder Refaelov created a goal for Thomas Meunier in the 40th minute as Brugge took a 2-1 lead but Mechelen were level again by half-time thanks to a 42nd-minute strike from Wannes van Tricht with Enevoldsen providing the final pass.

A penalty 15 minutes after the break gave Refaelov his second goal of the match but Mechelen were not to be denied and De Petter’s 75th-minute equaliser ensured both sides finished with a point.

Brugge remain top of the Belgian First Division despite Saturday’s result as Zulte-Waregem also drew, leaving both clubs on seven points after three rounds.

Wim de Decker gave Beerschot a 1-0 lead over Waregem in the second minute of the second half and the visitors had Franck Berrier to thank after the French midfielder scored in the 81st minute to salvage a 1-1 draw.

In other Belgian First Division results on Saturday, Charleroi defeated Kortrijk 1-0 and Mons drew 1-1 with Lierse.

Yanga-Mbiwa talks down Milan move

11 August 2012 21:40

Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is not buying into speculation linking him with a move to Serie A giants AC Milan.

The 23-year-old featured in Montpellier’s Ligue 1 opener against Toulouse on Friday, an encounter which saw three red cards brandished at the Stade de la Mosson.

Yanga-Mbiwa has been earmarked as a potential replacement for Thiago Silva, who left Milan for Paris Saint-Germain last month.

However, defender Yanga-Mbiwa has suggested he would prefer to remain with the Ligue 1 champions.

“I am looking for perfection (in my playing style). I’m here, with the club that bred me, Montpellier,” the captain told beIn Sport.

“I don’t know what my future holds, but I’m doing as well as I can.”

Montpellier travel to face Lorient in the second round of matches next week.

Lukaku: Clarke influenced loan switch

11 August 2012 21:36

Romelu Lukaku says a combination of Steve Clarke, Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton convinced him to join West Brom for the 2012/13 season.

The 19-year-old striker joined Chelsea from Anderlecht in August 2011 after scoring a total of 41 goals in 98 appearances over the course of four seasons in Belgium.

However, the Belgian international failed to break through into the Chelsea line-up last term, leaving him looking for first-team opportunities elsewhere.

Fulham were linked with a potential loan move but Lukaku said former Chelsea assistant coach and present West Brom manager Clarke showed a real desire to bring him to the Hawthorns.

“Since the first day I spoke to Chelsea about going out on loan, I’ve spoken to the gaffer here a lot,” he told WBA’s official website.

“He (Clarke) was the first person who contacted me and that means a lot.

“He’s been speaking to me every week since, even when I was in America with Chelsea, asking me about my situation.

“When you have a gaffer like that who has a desire to bring you to his club, as a young man, you feel confident to make the step into the unknown, because I don’t know the Birmingham area that well.

“But I believe that will be good for my development as a young man and I’m very happy to be here.”

Lukaku added the advice from Chelsea manager Di Matteo and his assistant Newton, both formerly at West Brom, helped persuade him.

“I heard lots of positives about the club from Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton,” he added.

“They really convinced me to come here.

“Frank Lampard and John Terry also spoke highly about the gaffer.

“When you get that advice as a young player, you listen, and hopefully this is a good step for my career.”

West Brom begin their English Premier League campaign at home to Liverpool on August 19.

SPL wrap: St Mirren off the mark, Inverness draw

11 August 2012 21:03

St Mirren claimed their first victory of the season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park in the Scottish Premier League.

Danny Lennon’s St Mirren side drew 2-2 against Inverness CT in their opening match of the Scottish Premier League campaign and they ensured maximum points on Saturday courtesy of goals in each half from Kenny Mclean and Sam Parkin.

Midfielder Mclean broke the deadlock with six minutes left on the clock in the first half, before striker Parkin put the result beyond doubt just past the hour mark.

Meanwhile, 10-man Inverness drew their second successive match, playing out a 1-1 stalemate against visiting Kilmarnock.

Andrew Shinnie found the back of the net on eight minutes to give Inverness the lead and send the faithful at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium into raptures, but Italian striker Manuel Pascali restored parity on the stroke of half-time.

Welshman Owain Tudor-Jones saw red with 10 minutes remaining in the match, but the hosts held on for a share of the spoils.

Elsewhere, Motherwell earned a 1-1 at home to St Johnstone, in a match which saw both clubs end the match with 10 men.

St. Mirren defender Steven Hammell was dismissed 12 minutes into second half and the hosts were dealt another blow just seconds later when Murray Davidson scored for St Johnstone.

The visitors’ lead was cancelled out after 79 minutes following Robert McHugh’s equaliser and only two minutes had passed before St Johnstone player Rowan Vine received a red card for his second bookable offence of the afternoon.

And in Saturday’s other result, Aberdeen and Ross County could not be separated in a goalless draw.