Bayern edge Madrid in UCL semi final first leg

Bayern Munich put a leg in next month’s Champions League final at their Allianz Arena home after star striker Gomez hit a late winner to earn a 2-1 victory over Jose Mourinho’s men in Tuesday’s semifinal first leg.

France winger Franck Ribery gave Bayern an early lead while Real’s Mesut Oezil equalised before Germany striker Gomez hit the 90th-minute winner ahead of next Wednesday’s return leg at Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium.

“We knew Real are capable of scoring lots of goals and it’s a pity we conceded one,” said Bayern’s goal-scorer Ribery.

“We’ll have some chances in the return leg and we have to make the most of them.”

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes was delighted with his team’s performance as they fought until the end.

“All in all, we deserved to win,” said the Bayern coach.

“Madrid started well, but we took command and played very cleverly.

“I had said we would play with passion for 90 minutes and the players did just that.

“A great compliment to my team, they ran very hard and played a great game. They gave everything.”

Real coach Jose Mourinho is however confident his side can overturn the deficit in the second leg and progress to the final.

“We have the second leg to come and it’s not like we have to make a historical comeback, what we have to do is very achievable,” said the ex-Chelsea boss.

“If we win at home, we are there.

“I am optimistic we can return here to play the final.

“It’s the first defeat in this Champions League for us but it’s not one that leaves me with negative feelings.”

The Bavarians preserved their remarkable record of having never lost at home to Madrid, with nine wins and a draw in their 10 meetings in Munich since 1976.

“It’s a pity that we conceded a goal at the end as until then we had defended well, but it’s over now,” said Real captain Iker Casillas.

“We also managed to score which is obviously very important.

“We both had chances and we have to score at home in the second leg now, simple as that.”

Bayern are now in pole position to return to Munich for this year’s Champions League final on May 19, when they will face either holders Barcelona or Chelsea, who meet in the first leg of their semifinal on Wednesday.

Both teams started at full-strength, with wingers Ribery and Arjen Robben either side of Toni Kroos behind Gomez in Bayern’s attack.

Mourinho opted to start with France’s Karim Benzema as striker in front of Oezil, who was flanked by Argentina’s Angel di Maria and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo.

After Ribery had seen a penalty appeal turned down, he then fired past Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas from close range on 17 minute after Madrid failed to deal with a Kroos corner and the ball fell kindly to the Frenchman.

The goal injected some confidence into the Bayern attack as midfielders Kroos and Luiz Gustavo got the better of their Real opponents, while Bastian Schweinsteiger forced Casillas into a diving save.

Bayern picked up two first-half bookings, with both defender Holger Badstuber and Robben earning cautions, but neither will miss the second leg.

The visitors got back on level terms just seven minutes into the second half.

Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer managed to save Ronaldo’s shot, but when Benzema fired the ball back across goal, the Portugal star teed up Oezil for a simple tap-in as Neuer watched on helplessly.

Having squandered several chances and had a penalty appeal turned down, Gomez finally found the net in the 90th minute after Bayern captain Philipp Lahm squared for the German star to bundle the ball home from close range.

A brawl was quickly thwarted after a harsh tackle on substitute Thomas Mueller by Real’s Brazilian defender Marcelo who was shown a yellow card for his action much to the chagrin of the Bayern fans.

 

Nigeria/Egypt duel cancelled

The highly anticipated duel between the Super Eagles and the Pharaohs may have been cancelled as a sponsorship glitch has forced the Egyptians to fold up their camp in United Arab Emirates (UAE). The match which was billed to take place in Abu Dhabi has been officially called off.

Coach Diaa Al Sayed revealed that they had received the letter yesterday from the UAE Football federation advising them of the development and were now scrambling to secure another sponsor.

Diaa also further informed that” Since we don’t know if the new camp will be in the UAE or not , we certainly cannot etch any games especially that against the Super Eagles in stone and have to cancel.”

The Coach also relayed that Egypt would try and reschedule the game as they really looked forward to playing Keshis new look Eagles whom they now ranked among Africa’s most improved teams. “We like Nigeria because they are local” added the Coach.

Next Egypt had hoped to face Angola but that too may now be a probability.

 

Papiss Cisse sinks liverpool as Tottenham spanks Swansea

Newcastle further dented Liverpool’s hope of a top four finish and a chance to compete in Europe’s elite competition next season as Tottenham brushed aside a Swansea team I the English Premier League on Sunday.

Papiss Demba Cisse scored both goals as Newcastle inflicted fresh Premier League misery upon 10-man Liverpool with a 2-0 victory at St James’ Park.

The Senegal striker made it seven goals in as many Premier League games for Newcastle with a 19th minute header and a close range-finish just shy of the hour mark to boost their challenge for a Champions League place.

Liverpool were reduced to 10 men with eight minutes remaining as goalkeeper Pepe Reina was sent off after he appeared to headbutt Newcastle’s James Perch.

By then Liverpool had used all their substitutes, so full-back Jose Enrique, one of several former Newcastle players in the visitors’ team, had to go between the posts.

The result condemned Liverpool to a sixth defeat in seven league matches and left them in eighth place, one position below Merseyside rivals Everton – and 11 points adrift of Newcastle.

Cisse’s dislay was in marked contrast to that of Andy Carroll, the former Newcastle striker signed by Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish for £35 million in January last year.

Carroll, who has scored only five league goals since arriving at Anfield, was booked for diving when, with the game still goalless, he went to ground after rounding Magpies’ keeper Tim Krul rather than shoot at his old home ground.

Victory left Newcastle in sixth place but level on points with Chelsea (fifth) and just two behind Tottenham Hotspur, currently occuping the fourth and final Champions League place on offer to English clubs.

Tottenham beat Swansea 3-1 at White Hart Lane with goals from Rafael van der Vart and  Emmanuek Adebayor. Sigundsoon restored parity to the game after Van der Vart’s opener before Adebayor’s brace late in the game sealed the points for the north Londoners. Tottenham sits Fourth on the table, level on points with Arsenal sitting on third.

Meanwhile Premier League leaders and reigning champions Manchester United will go five points clear of second-placed local rivals Manchester City, with seven games remaining, if they beat Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford on Monday.

 

I am the right man for Nigeria football – Saintfiet

channels_television_saintfeltTom Saintfiet said on Friday that he is confident he is the ‘right man’ to help put Nigerian football back on track.

He disclosed this in an interview with the BBC after his four-year contract as Nigeria’s technical director was ratified by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Wednesday.

“It doesn’t matter where you worked before, it doesn’t matter the age or the rich CV you have, ” he told a BBC correspondent.
“It’s the quality you have and the determination and the way you want to work together and the knowledge.”

And the 39-year-old was quick to outline his role and ambitions as he returns to Africa after previous spells in The Gambia, Namibia and Ethiopia.
“My main role will be to assist and advise the local coaches who are there [already], to create the circumstances, the structure and the ideas to reach our goals,” he said.

“Nigeria has to be at the big tournaments and wants to win things.

“My role will be to assist the coaches who are there to work together and reach our goals.

“I’m looking forward to the task, I’m not losing sleep, I know my qualities, I’ve proved in the countries that I’ve worked that I can do a very good job and that I know African football.”

Saintfiet is well aware of the opposition and severe criticism that will greet his appointment.

“I expect such questions, but let’s not forget that the big names who worked in the last years in Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria for the World Cup, they under performed and even after that,” he pointed out.

“I’m a young boy, I’m 39 with 15 years of experience as coach, but that show that I have some quality and I know African football very well.

“Let me remind you that former Chelsea coach Andres Villas Boas worked for Virgin Islands as coach and no one questioned if he would be the right person for Porto or Chelsea.”

Instead of challenging the opposition he says he is going to concentrate on working with all those involved in Nigerian football.

“I’m very convinced that there are a lot of quality coaches in Nigeria. They have achieved a lot with the local clubs and qualifying for big tournaments,” he said.

“I would like to to work with them to take Nigerian football back to the big level and make them one of the big nations again in world football.”

Wolves’ Coach Terry Connor hails team spirit

Wolves Coach;Terry ConnorCoach Terry Connor is upbeat concerning his palyers attitude and fighting spirit as they struggle to be above the waters of relegation from the English Premier League.

Presently,Connor’s Wolves are at the bottom of the table as the club is fighting hard to notch up four points so as to be safe from relegation after winning just one game in their last 10 matches.

As Wolves meet Bolton who are also not far away from being relegated on Saturday in a must win-game at Molineux,Connor assured that the attitude his players are carrying has shown that they are hungry to earn victory begining with Saturday’s game.

Connor said all 20 players he has in his kitty to choose from are all fired up as they report for training on time, eager to play and those returning from injuries want to prove that they are worthy of making a change to the squad’s recent performance.

The coach however promised that amidst the trove of players he has who are all willing to play against Bolton come Saturday he would be working really hard to make the best selection to come up against Bolton and score victory against them at Molineux.

Connor could have his options boosted this weekend with Karl Henry, Dave Davis and Stephen Hunt back in training, while Michael Kightly has shaken off the knock which forced him off against Norwich during the 2-1 defeat on Saturday.