League Cup wrap: Sheffield United out as Wolves, Hull survive

11 August 2012 20:17

Sheffield United lost on penalties to Burton Albion in the first round of the League Cup on Saturday, as Wolves and Hull survived scares.

United twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Burton after extra-time at Bramall Lane. Adi Yussuf gave visitors Burton the lead in the 33rd minute, with Nick Blackman equalising for the hosts five minutes into the second half.

Cleveland Taylor restored Burton’s advantage six minutes into the additional 30, this time it was Neill Collins’ turn to get United back on level terms.

The comeback was ultimately to no avail, as Burton ran out 5-4 winners in the resulting shootout.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Wolverhampton Wanderers, relegated from the English Premier League last season, were held 1-1 at home to lowly Aldershot Town, but progressed courtesy of a 7-6 shootout win.

Hull City too were fortunate to advance, also winning 7-6 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at home to Rotherham.

In other matches, goals from Marvin Emnes and Grant Leadbitter helped Middlesbrough get past 10-man Bury 2-1 away from home.

Matty Robson’s strike was enough for Carlisle United to down Accrington Stanley 1-0, while two goals apiece from Max Clayton and Mathias Pogba helped Crewe Alexandria smash Hartlepool 5-0.

Doncaster Rovers came from behind to draw 1-1 with York City, before reaching the next round 4-2 on penalties.

New signing Luke Varney was on target as Leeds dispatched visiting Shrewsbury 4-0, and Bradford City won 1-0 at Notts County.

Barnsley survived going down to 10 men as they beat Rochdale 4-3 in extra-time.

Finally, Walsall downed Brentford 1-0 at home, and Watford overcame Wycombe by the same scoreline.

Hyypia open to Liverpool return

11 August 2012 19:43

Bayer Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia says he would like to return to Liverpool in the future, but believes he still has a lot to learn.

Former Finland and Liverpool stalwart Hyypia will return to the club where he played for 10 years for a friendly match on Sunday.

“It’s good to be back at Anfield,” he said.

“We have the last game of our preparation and hopefully we can play a good game and of course we want to win. Tomorrow we will try to win. There’s nothing wrong with it now because I represent another club, hopefully I get a good reception from the Liverpool fans.

“I would like to come back here but I haven’t really thought about it.”

The second managerial tenure of Liverpool favourite Kenny Dalglish ended in the off season, with Brendan Rodgers recruited from Swansea City to replace the veteran Scotsman.

Hyypia declined to offer an endorsement of the decision, preferring to wish the club well as they seek a return to Champions League contention.

“Kenny (Dalglish) has a special place with Liverpool but difficult to say if it was a good or bad decision to fire him,” Hyypia said.

“In football that can happen and everybody has to accept the decision. Hopefully Liverpool can return to the state of 10 years ago.”

And when quizzed on the issue of England international Andy Carroll, who does not appear to fit into Rodgers’ plans, Hyypia said he would be more suited to facing the powerful striker than livewire Uruguyan Luis Suarez.

“I can’t say I’m a fan of Andy Carroll but I can’t say anything against him,” he said.

“If I was thinking I had to play against a striker I would rather play against Andy than Luis Suarez. The type of player Andy is, that would suit me better than Suarez.”

Supercoppa Italiana: Juventus 4 Napoli 2 (aet)

11 August 2012 19:21

Juventus came from behind twice to defeat a nine-man Napoli 4-2 after extra-time in the Supercoppa Italiana in Beijing on Saturday.

Edinson Cavani handed Napoli the lead after 27 minutes at the Bird’s Nest Stadium, but his strike was cancelled out by Kwadwo Asamoah 10 minutes later.

Goran Pandev pounced on a defensive error to regain Napoli’s advantage before half-time, with a penalty from Arturo Vidal tying the score at 2-2 in the 76th minute.

Napoli self-destructed towards the end of normal time as Pandev, their coach Walter Mazzarri, and Camilo Zuniga were all sent off.

Juve then capitalised on their man advantage in the extra time that followed as a Cristian Maggio own goal was followed by a winner from Mirko Vucinic.

Due to Antonio Conte’s 10-month suspension banning him from the touchline, his assistant Massimo Carrera took charge of the Bianconeri for the game.

They assumed control inside the opening 15 minutes but for all of Stephan Lichtsteiner’s continual forays down the right flank, the creation of a clear-cut opportunity remained elusive.

Juve’s inability to test Morgan De Sanctis ended up costing them in the 27th minute when a high defensive line allowed Cavani to stream through on goal.

He attempted to round Buffon and although the keeper got a hand to the ball and forced him wide, the Uruguayan remained composed and stabbed his effort home.

Napoli failed to capitalise on a poor throw-in from Asamoah as Buffon held Pandev’s volley from inside the area but the Ghanaian more than atoned for that lapse in the 37th minute.

A long ball from left to right by Vidal was lashed into the bottom corner with a perfectly executed 18-yard volley from Asamoah.

However, the scores were not tied for long as the Azzurri regained their advantage four minutes before the break.

Leonardo Bonucci’s clearance rebounded off of Pandev’s chest and put him in on goal from the left wing. The defender’s efforts to chase him down were in vain as the forward produced a delicate finish, dinking the ball over Buffon and into the net.

Vucinic replaced Alessandro Matri for the Turin outfit at half-time and his introduction certainly galvanised his side. After three minutes he rattled the bar and he then, after rounding De Sanctis, he saw his goal-bound effort blocked by Paolo Cannavaro.

Andrea Pirlo also had a long-range free kick saved but Juve’s improved attacking display eventually paid dividends with 16 minutes left on the clock. Vucinic was dragged down in the area by substitute Federico Fernandez and Vidal converted the penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way.

The game became increasingly ill-tempered and Pandev and Zuniga were shown red cards, the former for dissent and the latter for two clumsy challenges, in the closing stages, while coach Mazzarri was also sent from the touchline.

With the score level at the final whistle the game went to extra time, which Napoli were forced to contest with nine men.

The reigning Serie A champions made their two-man advantage count with a pair of goals in the first half of the additional 30 minutes.

Maggio diverted a Juve free kick from the right into his own goal after De Sanctis failed to clear and Vucinic added the finishing touch to a delightful flick from Claudio Marchisio to put the game well beyond Napoli’s reach.

Mexico stun Brazil to win gold

11 August 2012 19:09

Mexico have claimed gold at the London Olympics by beating Brazil 2-1 in the men’s final at Wembley Stadium.

Mano Menezes’ men had gone into the game as favourites to win their first ever Olympic title but were stunned early on as Mexico took a shock first-minute lead.

A mistake by Manchester United full-back Rafael allowed Oribe Peralta to drill home an early opener after just 28 seconds to leave the Selecao shell-shocked.

Brazil struggled to assert themselves in the game and indeed the best chances fell to Mexico, particularly in the second half.

On the hour mark Brazil breathed a sigh of relief when Marco Fabian hit the crossbar, before Peralta had a goal ruled out for offside.

However, Luis Fernando Tena’s men would not be denied and with a little over 15 minutes to go Peralta grabbed his second of the game with a superb header to give them breathing space.

A late strike from substitute Hulk reduced the deficit and Oscar had a glorious chance to equalise in the dying seconds but it was too little, too late as Mexico held on to seal the win and the gold medal.

Hitzfeld intrigued by Sammer-Zorc contest

11 August 2012 16:42

Ottmar Hitzfeld is relishing the rivalry between Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc and Bayern Munich’s Matthias Sammer.

Hitzfeld coached both sides and former players Zorc and Sammer in a stellar managerial career, taking over the reins at Dortmund between 1991 and 1997 and subsequently at Bayern from 1998 to 2004 and again from 2007 to 2008.

Zorc and Sammer were team-mates in the early 1990s, with Sammer coaching Dortmund to the Bundesliga title in 2002.

“I brought Mathias Sammer to Borussia Dortmund from Inter (Milan), he wasn’t particularly happy in Italy,” Switzerland coach Hitzfeld told Bundesliga.de

“So then, we were working together, and he was always was one of the leaders of the team, he wasn’t the captain, Michael Zorc was. But he was always critical, and calling things into question. With him, it was always relevant criticism, aimed at helping the team being successful.

“Zorc had been the captain for years before I joined Dortmund, he was a leader as well. He invariably put the team before himself. He had come up the ranks there himself. He was very popular of course. He always represented the team’s interests and was always an easy captain to work with.

“Obviously, I am fascinated by this duel between Zorc and Sammer. But I think they are two personalities who each play a supporting role to the coach, and it is the coach who is always in the public eye, not the sporting director. And that’s how it should be in the future.

“Now, they’re going head-to-head. That’s just the passage of time, when you have two former players taking over in top positions, and that’s something that German football profits from.

“I think both are heading into the German Supercup with very high expectations, it’s a chance for them to see where they stand, as well as being a prestigious duel.

“Dortmund were very clearly the dominant side last season, while Bayern ended up with nothing. That will be a real thorn in their side of course. Now is the start of a new season, this can give them a pointer as to what they can achieve for the rest of the season. As far as that goes, there is a lot more at stake for Bayern than Dortmund.”

The DFL-Supercup clash between Dortmund and Bayern will be played at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.