Muang Thong United closed the gap on Buriram United to just one point at the top of Thailand‘s Premier League in today’s midweek round of matches with a 3-2 home win against Ratchaburi. Prayad Boonya had given the visitors the lead but Edivaldo and Dagno Siaka struck back for Muang Thong United before Brazilian striker Douglas equalised for Ratchaburi just before half time. Teerasil Dangda got the winning goal for Muang Thong in the fiftieth minute. Earlier, Buriram United had been held to a goalless draw away at Songkhla United. Third placed Chonburi dropped further ground when they were edged out in a thrilling 4-3 defeat away at struggling Pattaya United, Laksana Kamruen grabbing a last minute winner for United meaning it looks increasingly like a two horse race for the title.
The full set of results from the twenty first matchday is as follows:
Chainat 1-0 Police United
Songkhla United 0-0 Buriram United
Bangkok Glass 2-0 Samut Songkram
Bangkok United 0-4 Army United
Pattaya United 4-3 Chonburi
Suphanburi 2-1 Osotspa Saraburi
TOT 0-5 BEC Tero Sasana
Muang Thong United 3-2 Ratchaburi
Chiangrai United didn’t play in this round as they had been scheduled to face Sisaket, who have been expelled from the league.
There was more misery for bottom club Karuturi Sport in the Kenyan Premier League this afternoon as they went down 1-3 at home to mid-table Ulinzi Stars. The game was goalless until the interval but a brace from Kevin Amwayi Serenge in the second half gave Ulinzi Stars the lead and it proved enough to secure the three points despite a dramatic end to the game. Dancan Owiti gave Karuturi Sport a glimmer of hope with a goal in the last minute of normal time but any chance of an unlikely fight-back was quashed by Stars’ Steven Waruru, who scored a minute later to make it 3-1 to the visitors.
Karuturi Sport have now gone seven league matches without a win since their success against Bandari back in May and they remain two points adrift of Homeboyz at the bottom of the table with fifteen points from their twenty games, three points away from safety. The victory for Ulinzi Stars takes them to thirty points and moves them up from ninth to fifth in the congested middle of the table where they still have a game in hand on many of the teams around them. A win in their next match could see them go as high as second. Gor Mahia are the league leaders with thirty seven points from nineteen games.
Tajikistan made it four wins from five matches so far in 2013 with a 3-0 win against India at the Stadion 20-letie Nezavisimosti in the northern Tajik city of Khujand. Midfielder Nuriddin Davronov of Serbian club Sloboda Uzice opened the scoring in the twelfth minute to put Tajikistan one up and Serbian manager Nikola Kavazovic’s side doubled their lead just six minutes later through Istiqlol’s Fatkhullo Fatkhulloev. That remained the score until the closing stages of the game when Akhtam Khamrakulov of Regar-TadAZ struck to make it 3-0 and seal the win.
Win Koevermans’ India squad were preparing for next month’s South Asian Championship in Nepal in which they will face Pakistan, Bangladesh and the hosts in Kathmandu. However, their form is looking worrying as they have now lost twice in succession and three times in their five outings so far in 2013 and haven’t scored in either of their last two matches.
Oman moved into top spot in Asian Cup 2015 qualification Group A with a 2-0 win against Singapore away at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Qasim Said gave Paul Le Guen’s side the lead in the fourteenth minute and Eid Mohammed doubled the lead on the stroke of half time to seal the eventual win. Oman‘s second win from as many group matches puts them three points clear of Jordan, who play their own second fixture against Syria in neutral Iran tomorrow. Oman had beaten Syria 1-0 in their opening fixture whereas Singapore, who lost 4-0 to Jordan in their first group match now find themselves propping up the table with no points and no goals scored from their two matches and six goals conceded. The table now stands as follows:
South Korea were held to a goalless draw by Peru in a friendly match at the Suwon World Cup Stadium today. The Koreans were playing with a team made up of players from clubs in their own domestic league and the Japanese J League whereas the Peruvians had brought along Bundesliga stars such as Claudio Pizarro and Jefferson Farfan, as well as Paolo Guerrero of Corinthians. However, none of the South Americans’ attacking talent could unlock the resolute Korean defence and the game ended 0-0.
That result makes it five matches without a win for South Korea with only one goal scored in that period. Since their 1-0 win over Uzbekistan in World Cup qualifying, they have lost at home to Iran and been held to goalless draws by Australia and China in the East Asian Cup before losing to Japan in the same competition. Their next scheduled fixture is a friendly at home to Croatia on the ninth of September.
Peru had lost away at Colombia the previous time out following a decent run of results and they will hope to get back to winning ways when South American World Cup qualifying resumes next month. They face Uruguay at home on the 7th of September and a tripp to Venezuela two days later, with their two final fixtures in October.
Liverpool’s want away striker Luis Suarez was on the mark for his country today in their impressive 4-2 friendly win over Japan in front of a crowd in excess of forty five thousand at the Miyagi Stadium in Rifu. Suarez set up his Uruguay team mate, Diego Forlan, currently of Internacional in Brazil, to open the scoring in the twenty seventh minute and Forlan grabbed his second of the game only two minutes later to double the advantage before the Japanese defence could recover from the shock of falling behind. Suarez himself scored the third in the fifty second minute as things went from bad to worse for Japan, but the goal spurred them into life and they reduced the deficit through Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa two minutes later when he was set up by playmaker Keisuke Honda of CSKA Moscow. However, the fight-back was short lived as, to the disappointment of the home fans, Lazio’s Alvaro Gonzalez made it 4-1 to the visitors in the fifty eighth minute to round off a frantic six minutes of action. Honda got his own name on the scoresheet with twenty minutes to go to give the Japanese renewed hope of a come-back, but it wasn’t to be and the Uruguayans held on for the win with Suarez having played the full ninety minutes to maintain his match fitness whilst he remain estranged from the Liverpool first team squad.
UEFA have announced that Ukrainian club Metalist Kharkiv are being banned from European competitions this season following the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings against them. The proceedings related to match fixing allegations from 2008. Metalist Kharkiv were due to play German club Schalke 04 in the Champions League play-offs later this month and the UEFA Emergency Panel will meet later today to decide what to do about that fixture. The options they will consider will presumably include giving Schalke 04 a bye into the group stage or handing a reprieve to Greek side PAOK, who were beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Metalist Kharkiv in the last qualifying round for the Champions League.
The new Scottish Premier League season kicks off today with reigning champions Celtic unsurprisingly listed as strong bookies favourites at one hundred to one on with many bookmakers. They get their campaign under way on Saturday evening at home against Ross County. Last season’s runners-up Motherwell start away at Hibs on Sunday lunchtime and 2012-13 third placed side Inverness start at home to St. Mirren. Newly promoted Partick Thistle host the season’s curtain raiser this evening at Firhill against Dundee United. The full details of the opening round of fixtures are as follows:
Friday 2nd August 2013
19:45 – Partick Thistle v Dundee United
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English League One club Coventry City are today facing up to the prospect of liquidation after they failed to agree a Company Voluntary Arrangement with their creditors. Coventry City, who have been in administration since March, were deducted ten points last season for entering administration and ended the campaign in fifteenth spot, but they now face a further penalty of at least a fifteen point deduction for this season. They will still be able to start their new campaign on Saturday, when they have an away match at Crawley, but they will have a nervous wait to see how many points the Football League decide to deduct.
Coventry look set to be playing their home games outside the city this season following a rent dispute with Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), which operates their usual home ground, the Ricoh Arena. A reduced annual rent had been proposed but the sides were unable to agree the exact terms and Coventry have arranged to share the Sixfields Stadium with Northampton Town for the next three seasons. However, that move has disenchanted many fans and will ultimately result in reduced gate receipts as reports this week suggested that the club have sold fewer than three hundred season tickets for 2013-14. It remains an extremely worrying time for supporters and employees of Coventry City Football Club.
Liverpool have made a £21 million bid for Atletico Madrid’s Brazilian striker Diego Costa, which will trigger a release clause in the player’s contract with the Spanish club allowing him to discuss terms with the reds. Costa, 24, has two caps for the Brazil national team, having made his debut as a substitute against Italy in March this year. He grew up playing street football in Brazil before moving to Europe at the age of seventeen where he joined Sporting Clube de Braga in Portugal and was swiftly sent out on loan to gain experience at second division Penafiel. He impressed there and was snapped up by Atletico Madrid, who immediately loaned him back to Braga and then to Celta Vigo and Albacete in subsequent seasons, where he started to build a reputation in Spain‘s second level. His career continued in an upward trajectory when he was sold to Valladolid at the start of the 2009-10 season and enjoyed first team football in the Primera Division, doing enough to convince Atletico to exercise their buy-back option on him at the end of the season. Since then he has gone on to play eighty three times for Atletico in all competitions, scoring twenty eight goals, either side of a loan spell at Rayo Vallecano, for whom he scored nine goals in sixteen appearances. The highlight of his club career to date was scoring in Atletico Madrid’s historic Copa del Rey final win over rivals Real Madrid at the end of last season.
It is thought that Liverpool are interested in signing Costa to bolster their attacking options, rather than to replace Luis Suarez, who is contemplating a move away from the club. A couple of high profile signings like Costa might convince Suarez of the club’s ambition and convince him to pledge his immediate future to Liverpool, and signing more top strikers will relieve Suarez from some of the burden of pressure to provide goals that fell so heavily on his shoulders last season. Meanwhile, Suarez has been receiving conflicting advice from all quarters about whether or not to stay with the club. Yesterday, former Liverpool Chief Executive Rick Parry was reported as saying that he should be allowed to leave as it’s counter productive to keep a player who wants to leave at a club, but today former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has said that he thinks Suarez should stay at Anfield. Arsenal are the only club to have made an offer for Suarez, but Wright told the BBC “if I was Suarez, when you look at everything, it does seem strange he would want to go to Arsenal. I would give Liverpool another season … if you look at Arsenal, not won anything in eight years, just challenging for fourth place, not really any players there who will make him say ‘I’m going to play with him and him’.