Ref changed for big match
The referee for yesterday’s decisive Brazilian championship match between Goias and Sao Paulo was changed after the country’s soccer federation (CBF) said it had been told of a plot to try and fix the result. The CBF said it trusted Wagner Tardelli, the official originally selected to take charge of the match on the last day of the season, but had decided to appoint a new official as a precaution. It did not give any details as to who might have been behind the attempted bribery or how the situation came to light. “On Saturday morning, the CBF received an alert that an attempt was being made to manipulate the result of the Sao Paulo-Goias game,” the CBF said on its Web site. “A new draw was made for the match in question, despite recognizing the honesty and good character of referee Wagner Tardelli, who in 20 years of refereeing has always demonstrated the most correct behavior and conduct.”
Cuba through to semis
Cuba beat Antigua and Barbuda 3-0 to become the first team to reach the Caribbean championship semi-finals at Trelawny Stadium on Saturday. Meanwhile, Guadeloupe beat Haiti 3-2 to put the champions’ title defense at risk. Yenier Marquez (7th minute), Roberto Linares (20th minute) and Jaine Colome with a 35th minute penalty led Cuba’s first-half dominance. Antigua, handed six yellow cards, finished with 10 men when Ranja Christian was sent off 10 minutes from time. Cuba, who had beaten Guadeloupe in their opening game, had a maximum six points in Group B, followed by Guadeloupe on three, and Antigua and Barbuda and Haiti with one each.
Victorious Alkmaar stay top
Ari and Mounir El Hamdaoui scored for AZ Alkmaar to beat Heracles Almelo 2-0 and remain top of the Dutch league on Saturday. Australia midfielder Brett Holman set up Ari for the opening goal in the 19th minute and El Hamdaoui increased the lead in the 85th minute with his 14th league goal. Substitute Otman Bakkal scored twice to help defending champions PSV Eindhoven to a 4-2 comeback win over FC Groningen. Marcus Berg and Goran Lovre scored to give Groningen a 2-0 lead, before Bakkal pulled one back. Captain Timmy Simons fed Bakkal for the equalizer in the 57th minute and Danko Lazovic added goals in the 60th and 69th minutes. Steven McClaren’s Twente followed their midweek UEFA Cup win over Schalke with a 6-2 routing of Sparta Rotterdam. Twente’s Blaise N’Kufo scored in the 30th and 38th minutes after teammate Kenneth Perez found the net in the 22nd minute. Sparta’s Donovan Slijngard scored an own-goal in the 43rd minute. Marko Arnautovic and Youssouf Hersi also scored for Twente, while Rydell Poepon and Arne Slot replied for Sparta.
Porto win to keep in touch
FC Porto beat Setubal 3-0 to get back in touch with the Portuguese league leaders on Saturday. Three second-half goals allowed the three-time defending champions to collect their third straight win and improve to 20 points with a game in hand. Leixoes lead with 23 points. Bruno Alves opened the scoring two minutes before Freddy Guarin scored in the 68th minute, while Lucho Gonzalez capped the scoring in the 80th minute. Nene scored twice as Nacional joined Porto on 20 points following a 4-2 victory over Belenenses. Nene has seven goals and only trails Pacos Ferreira striker William, who scored in a 2-1 loss to Academica, who snapped a seven-match winless run.