Zaha fires Crystal Palace to Wembley

13 May 2013 23:12

A Wilfried Zaha double saw Crystal Palace beat Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Monday and book a place in the Championship play-off final.

The forward notched twice within 18 second-half minutes to ensure Palace will meet Watford at Wembley on May 27 during a tight game.

Both sides had good chances to score with Ashley Barnes forcing a wonderful save from Julian Speroni for the home side before Zaha grabbed the first of his two on 70 minutes.

The 20-year-old, who will join Manchester United in the summer, lost his marker and got on the end of a Yannick Bolasie cross to head past Tomasz Kuszczak and put the visitors in front.

Soon after, Zaha killed off the tie as he turned well in the box before firing high into the roof of the net, sending his side through 2-0 on aggregate.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Zaha said he was delighted to have got Palace within touching distance of promotion to the Premier League.

“I can’t explain it I’m just glad. We’re going to Wembley, I’ve got no words to express how I feel right now,” he said.

“It means the world to me, I’ve played for Palace for 10 years so doing this for Palace is just perfect for when I leave.

“I’m just happy I scored, I wanted to finish one of my finishing games really strongly and getting two goals is just a dream for me.”

Manager Ian Holloway added: “I said a couple of weeks ago we’d turned the corner and that’s six undefeated, two wins. We came to this place, everybody said we didn’t have a chance. How proud am I of these people and for them (Palace fans).

“We’ve got a chance to go to Wembley now and take on Watford, and who says we can’t do that as well?

“I’m so proud, I’m bursting. Absolutely bursting.”

PSG title parade marred by violence

13 May 2013 22:08

A parade to celebrate Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 title success has been cut short after crowd violence.

The event at the Jardins de Trocadero had been scheduled to last roughly an hour, with members of the squad due to address the fans, but was called off after just five minutes.

Riot police moved in to disperse the issues and fired tear gas into the crowd, who had lit flares and climbed onto scaffolding, reportedly invading an area set aside for media present.

The squad were also due to celebrate with a barge ride on the River Seine, but this was cancelled after the earlier trouble.

PSG wrapped up the Ligue 1 title on Sunday with Jeremy Menez firing them to a 1-0 win over Olympique Lyonnais.

The league success is the club’s first since 1994 and has been largely thanks to the riches brought in by the Qatar Investment Fund, fronted by Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

The funds have brought players such as Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the Parc des Princes, with the Sweden international netting 27 of his side’s 63 league goals in his debut season.

Turkish Super Lig Wrap: Fenerbahce win derby, Besiktas seal third

13 May 2013 21:33

Fenerbahce came from behind to beat Istanbul rivals Galatasaray 2-1 in the pick of Round 33 action in the Turkish Super Lig.

Galatasaray had already wrapped up the league title but saw their lead above Fenerbahce cut to seven points after their defeat on Sunday.

In the penultimate match of the league campaign for both sides, Super Lig top-scorer Burak Yilmaz gave the champions the lead after 25 minutes from the penalty spot.

The spot-kick was given away by Gokhan Gonul and Yilmaz’s 31st goal of the season silenced the home crowd at Sukru Saracoglu Stadyum in Istanbul.

Cameroon striker Pierre Webo – who has formed part of a damaging front three with Moussa Sow and Dirk Kuyt this season – quickly responded for Fenerbahce on 32 minutes though, and just moments later he bagged his second.

A fiery second half – which saw Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan Demirel and Galatasaray substitute Sabri Sarioglu sent off – was goalless, as the hosts held on for victory.

Fenerbahce fan Burak Yildirim was sadly murdered after the match, with fans from both sides reportedly clashing with each other.

Besiktas confirmed third place with a 3-0 home win over Genclerbirligi on Saturday.

Austrian Veli Kavlak opened the scoring after 14 minutes for Besiktas, while Olcay Sahan doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Slovakan Filip Holosko scored the third and final goal with 17 minutes remaining as Besiktas won their third match in a row.

Also on Saturday, Antlayaspor beat a 10-man Orduspor 1-0 while Kayserispor edged Kasimpasa 2-1 and Gaziantepspor and Elazigspor played out a 1-1 draw on Friday.

On Monday, Trabzonspor defeated Istanbul BB 4-3 in a thriller, Sivasspor were 2-1 winners over Karabukspor and Akhisar Belediye beat already-relegated Mersin Idmanyurdu 1-0.

The day’s other match saw Bursaspor and Eskisehirspor play out a goalless draw.

Chiellini wants Diamanti at Juve

13 May 2013 21:20

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini said he would be “delighted” if his club sign Bologna attacker Alessandro Diamanti.

The 30-year-old has enjoyed a good season in the Serie A, scoring seven goals from 33 appearances.

His form has seen him linked with a move to Turin, with La Gazzetta dello Sport reporting that Juventus were keen on signing the Italy international.

And Chiellini would be pleased if his side can secure the former Brescia, Livorno and West Ham United player, who is also his close friend and international team-mate.

“I’d be delighted,” Chiellini told Sky Sport Italia.

“First of all because Alessandro is a great player. He’s turned out to be decisive for the national team despite playing for Bologna, and we know how difficult it is to make an impact at a provincial team.

“And secondly because he is a great friend. I have known him for years. I hope he arrives here.”

Agger urges Eriksen to join Liverpool

13 May 2013 21:13

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger has urged his fellow Denmark international Christian Eriksen to join the Merseyside club.

The 21-year-old has been strongly linked with a move away from the Amsterdam Arena, with Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund touted as potential suitors.

And, having captained the playmaker at international level, Agger believes Eriksen would fit perfectly with Brendan Rodgers’ passing philosophy.

“We want to play attacking football with the ball on the ground and that is exactly what Christian Eriksen is all about. That is the kind of player we need,” he told Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

“It all depends on which team he plays for. If he plays for a team who want to keep the ball on the ground, then the answer is yes – due to his passing, his runs and his hard work.

“He has to do what he believes is best and no-one else but him should decide his future. You must never listen to anyone else other than yourself.”

Eriksen scored 10 goals and provided 17 assists in 33 Eredivisie appearances in the 2012-13 campaign.