Saint Etienne win at last
Saint Etienne ended their three-year losing French Cup record on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Bordeaux to reach the last 32 and keep coach Alain Perrin on course for an unprecedented Cup treble. Bafetimbi Gomis grabbed the only goal of the game in the 76th minute on a treacherous and slippy surface at Bordeaux’s Jacques-Chaban-Delmas Stadium. Bordeaux, coached by former Manchester United defender Laurent Blanc, were missing a host of their South American stars who had been given permission to stay on their Christmas vacation. Meanwhile, Lyon’s march to a possible second successive league and cup double was put on hold when their tie at fourth division Concarneau was called off because of a frozen pitch. No first division team lost to lower division opposition on Saturday, although Le Mans, Grenoble and Lorient all needed to win shoot-outs to progress.
Olympiakos extend lead
Luciano Galletti converted a first-half penalty to give Olympiakos Piraeus a 1-0 win at Asteras on Saturday to extend their lead at the top of the Greek league. Olympiakos now have 39 points from 16 games, nine more than PAOK Thessaloniki. Asteras controlled play from kick-off, but it was Olympiakos who came closest to scoring first in the 18th minute when a powerful shot by Fernando Belluschi sailed over Giorgos Abaris’ crossbar. Olympiakos took the lead in the 27th minute from a penalty awarded when defender Nikolas Lazaridis fouled Brazilian striker Diogo in the area. It was Galletti’s seventh goal of the season. Four minutes before the end of the first half, Asteras nearly leveled when a header by Manolis Psomas went just wide. A blistering shot by Diego grazed Abaris’ post in the 52nd, eight minutes before Lucio Filomeno’s low drive hit the base of Olympiakos’ post. Also on Saturday it was Ergotelis 0, Panthrakikos 1 and Xanthi 0, Panionios 0.
German team takes title
Germany won the team competition of the Nordic combined World Cup event on Saturday in Schonach. The German team of Georg Hettich, Eric Frenzel, Bjoern Kircheisen and Tino Edelmann finished 16.9 seconds ahead of Norway in the 4x5km relay. Austria were third. Finland, who have won the event every year since 2001, trailed in fourth. Germany were missing reigning world champion Ronny Ackermann, as well as teammates Sebastian Haseney and Johannes Rydzek who were sick. “I am surprised that the team won in its reduced form,” Germany coach Hermann Weinbach said. The new-look team went into the relay with a three-second lead following the jump and extended it for a comfortable win. Earlier on Saturday, the German team also won the ski jumping part of the combined event, ahead of Austria and Finland.
Leitner and Resch victorious
Four-time world champions and 2002 Olympic winners Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch of Germany won their first World Cup doubles race this season on Saturday. They finished in 1 minute, 34.616 seconds to edge Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany by 0.07 seconds for their seventh consecutive victory on the Koenigssee course since 2001 and their 32nd overall win. Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger of Austria finished third. In the women’s singles race, two-time world champion Tatjana Huefner of Germany posted her third win this season. She finished in 1 minute, 34.948 seconds to beat compatriots Natalie Geisenberger and Anke Wischnewski.