Ze Carlos takes early bath
Libertadores Cup finalists Cruzeiro had Ze Carlos sent off in a Brazilian-record 15 seconds after kick-off for elbowing Atletico Mineiro’s Renan during the Belo Horizonte derby on Sunday. Atletico won 3-0 against a Cruzeiro team full of reserves, while their leading players were rested for Wednesday’s second leg of the South American tournament’s final at home to Estudiantes of Argentina. They went top of the Brazilian championship standings with 21 points from 10 matches as Internacional lost 3-2 at Atletico Paranaense and are now second, a point behind. “I slipped, went to control the ball, turned and my arm hit Renan in the face. I even said sorry, but I ended up being sent off,” a distraught Ze Carlos told reporters. “It was not on purpose.” Atletico scored twice in the last four minutes of the first half through fullback Junior and Alessandro, and two minutes from time Eder Luis lobbed keeper Andrey, who had come out of his area. Palmeiras beat Nautico 4-1 at home and are third with 19 points. Champions Sao Paulo, down in 12th place with 11 points, drew 2-2 with Flamengo despite being a man short for all of the second half after defender Renato Silva was sent off for a second booking.
Johnson slams Mourinho
England defender Glen Johnson said on Sunday that a breakdown in trust with former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho lead to his departure from the Premier League club. Johnson, who this week completed a £17 million (US$25 million) move from Portsmouth to Liverpool, accused Mourinho of breaking promises when they were both at Stamford Bridge. Johnson said he knew he could not continue with the club when he did not feature against Barcelona in the Champions League. “I remember the lowest point was when Chelsea were set to play Barcelona in the Champions League,” Johnson said. “We had a couple of Premier League games to play before we played Barca and Mourinho picked me for one of those games, and told me in front of five witnesses that if I played well, I would keep the shirt. I immediately told my agent that it didn’t matter how well I played, I would be dropped — because Mourinho wouldn’t want me anywhere near the team for the Barcelona game. Sure enough, I was voted man of the match — and I was dropped from the squad.”
JFA boss calls league boring
Calling the domestic J-League “boring,” the head of the Japan Football Association (JFA) said Japanese players need to shoot more on goal. “[Shooting] is not practiced enough among children and they don’t do enough of it in games,” JFA president Motoaki Inukai said in Sunday’s edition of Nikkansports. “The J-League doesn’t have enough shots on goal — it’s boring.” Inukai was speaking at a function where he pointed out that a Brazilian player takes on average 300,000 shots before turning pro, as compared with 5,000 for a Japanese player.
Leandro hounded by fans
Former Fluminense defender Leandro left the club after only four months following threats of violence from fans angry about his below-par performances, the player said on Sunday. “They phoned me, threatening, saying they would beat me up,” Leandro told TV Globo in an interview screened on Sunday, going on to allege a club insider could have been involved. “They called my home number and only a few people have it, so for me, it’s someone from inside,” Leandro said.