Copa Sudamericana wrap: Catolica, Millonarios held

3 August 2012 05:18

Universidad Catolica earned a 1-1 draw in first leg of their Copa Sudamericana first-round tie at Blooming on Thursday, as Liga de Loja won.

Chilean heavyweights Catolica led through a goal from Alvaro Ramos in the 58th minute of the match at Estadio Tahuichi Aguilera.

But the Bolivian hosts equalised through Limbert Mendez two minutes later, and they will go into the second leg on level terms when the return fixture takes place in Santiago on August 9.

Also on Thursday, Ecuadorian side Liga de Loja won 2-0 at Venezuelan side Monagas, thanks to a brace from Fabio Renato.

Monagas’ fellow Venezuelan side Mineros fared better, with Alejandro Guerra’s 25th-minute strike enough for them to win 1-0 away to Colombians La Equidad.

Finally, Peruvian club Inti Gas Deportes were held to a 0-0 draw in their match at home to Colombian club Millonarios.

Proud Rodgers pleased with winning start

3 August 2012 03:54

Brendan Rodgers says he is honoured to be managing Liverpool after guiding the team to victory over FC Gomel in his first competitive match.

Liverpool downed their Belarusian opponents 1-0 away from home on Thursday night in a Europa League qualifier and Rodgers was delighted with their players as they balanced a competitive fixture with pre-season preparations.

“I’m pleased and it was an excellent test for us,” he told reporters.

“Gomel are well into their season so for us it was a great game for our fitness, but it was also competitive.

“It was really special for me as it was the first competitive game. It wouldn’t have mattered where the game was, whether it was in Belarus or Brazil, it’s an honour for me to manage the club and I’m very proud to lead the players and be their manager.

“Hopefully this can be the start of many more wins and positive games for us.”

Liverpool were tested at times by unfancied Gomel, and needed Stewart Downing’s long-range goal, just his third for the club since joining last year, to seal the victory.

“It was difficult and Gomel’s tactical idea for the game was to sit back, close the spaces and play on the counter attack,” Rodgers said.

“You have to be patient. My message to the players at half-time was continue to be patient and the spaces will start to open up as Gomel tire.

“I was delighted for Stewart Downing. It was a wonderful strike and that’s why we put him on that side, so he could come in and shoot.”

Joe Cole was substituted during the first half of the match and Glen Johnson departed at the interval, but Rodgers was not worried by the withdrawals, revealing Johnson had been due to only play 45 minutes.

“Glen was only scheduled to play 45 minutes anyway so he was taken off as planned,” he said.

“Joe just felt his hamstring a little bit. I don’t think it is totally pulled and it was just a little bit of tightness so we had to take him off. It disrupted our plans a little bit but it was better to have him come off rather than risk injury.”

Krasic swaps Juve for Fenerbahce

3 August 2012 00:26

Fenerbahce have announced they have completed the signing of Juventus winger Milos Krasic for seven million euros.

The 27-year-old Serbian has agreed a four-year contract with the Istanbul giants worth 2.3 million euros per season to finally put an end to speculation about his future.

Krasic signed for Juventus from CSKA Moscow for 15 million euros in 2010, but after a positive first season in Italy he found himself out of favour upon the appointment of coach Antonio Conte at the beginning of last term.

Several clubs, including Fenerbahce, had expressed an interest in signing Krasic on loan in the January transfer window, but the player held out in hope of securing a permanent transfer.

The 46-cap Serbia international will fly into Istanbul on Friday to be presented by Fenerbahce, who finished second in the Super Lig last season.

Federici extends Reading deal

2 August 2012 23:36

Australian goalkeeper Adam Federici has signed a new contract that will keep him at Reading until the end of the 2014/15 season.

The 27-year-old joined Reading in December 2004, and has gone on to make 163 appearances for Brian McDermott’s side, who secured their return to the English Premier League in April by winning the Championship title.

Federici said he was delighted to have committed his future to the club.

“It’s absolutely great to have signed this new contract,” he said.

“I’ve been here a long time, I’ve put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears so it wouldn’t have been right to do anything other than sign again.

“The club has got great backing, there’s a real good feel around the place, the club is only going in one direction and that’s upwards.”

Reading manager McDermott was pleased to see his first-choice goalkeeper re-commit, and hailed Federici’s discipline and desire to succeed.

“I am really pleased to have secured Adam for another three years,” McDermott said.

“I have known him for a number of years now, it seems like time has flown and he has constantly been developing into a top-class goalkeeper.

“He is a lesson to young pros about what is required to get to the top of your game. His workrate, diligence and desire are second to none and we’re delighted he’s chosen to commit to us again.”

Sydney-born Federici has earned six caps for Australia since making his full international debut in 2010.

Europa League wrap: Rodgers off the mark at Liverpool

2 August 2012 23:27

Brendan Rodgers’ managerial career at Liverpool began with a fortunate 1-0 win away to FC Gomel in a third-round Europa League qualifier.

Liverpool looked well off the pace in the first half on Thursday, with the Belarusians’ greater fitness and match practice showing, and the home side had a number of good chances to score, especially through striker Aleksandr Alumona.

The second period continued in a similar vein, with Gomel creating chances but failing to convert, and they were made to pay by Stewart Downing, who let fly with a superb long-range shot to give Liverpool a precious win and away goal.

Liverpool selected an experienced side, captained by Jamie Carragher to commemorate his 700th appearance for the club, and also including Steven Gerrard and new signing Fabio Borini up front.

In other first-round, first-leg qualifiers, Inter Milan had goals from Wesley Sneijder, Yuto Nagatomo and Philippe Coutinho to thank for their 3-0 win over Hadjuk Split in Croatia, while Dutch outfit Twente were 2-0 winners at home against Czech club Mlada Boleslav.

Vitesse Arnhem were not so fortunate, going down 2-0 in Russia against Anzhi Makhachkala.

Another Eredivisie side, Heerenveen, took a 4-1 win at home over Rapid Bucuresti, while Scottish side Dundee United were held to a 2-2 draw by Dinamo Moscow, who had a 90th-minute strike from Alexnader Kokorin to thank for keeping them level ahead of the second leg in Russia.

There were mixed fortunes for the Belgian sides in action, with Racing Genk winning 2-1 at home against Kazakhstan club Aktobe Lento, gut Gent went down 1-0 away to Hungarian outfit Videoton FC Fehervar.

Turkish side Bursaspor were upset 1-0 in Finland by KuPS Kuopio, while last season’s Champions League surprise packets from Cyprus, Apoel Nicosia, enjoyed a 2-1 victory at home over Norwegians Aalesund.

Ligue 1 club Marseille drew 1-1 away to Turks Eskisehirspor K, while Hannover cruised to a 3-0 in Dublin over St Patricks.