Top teams advance in Cup
Francois Clerc produced a nasty shock for his former club as Nice knocked Olympique Lyonnais out of the French Cup with a 1-0 extra-time win as most top-flight teams advanced to the lasts 16 on Sunday. While Saturday was a day of upsets, on Sunday the elite teams generally enjoyed better fortunes. Tulio de Melo’s goal in the 40th minute was enough for Ligue 1 leaders Lille to beat neighbors Wasquehal of the fifth division 1-0. Stade Rennais initially struggled at minor league (sixth division) Vaulx en Velin, but prevailed 2-0 with second-half goals by midfielders Alexander Tettey and Yacine Brahimi. Holders Paris Saint-Germain looked on course for a routine win at fifth division Agen when Mathieu Bodmer opened the scoring in the 13th minute, but the amateurs did not give up without a fight. Mamoudou Daffe headed home four minutes before the interval to level the match, but Nene was at his brilliant best after the break, setting up Peguy Luyindula and Guillaume Hoarau as PSG opened up a two-goal lead. Anthony Vandersnick pulled one back for Agen to make the final score 3-2.
Honduras edge Costa Rica
Honduras beat ten-man Costa Rica 2-1 to win the Central American Cup on Sunday — the third time they have clinched the regional title. Honduras, who have not won the competition since 1995, took the lead in the eighth minute of the final with a close-range effort from Walter Martinez. Costa Rica, six times winners of the Cup, enjoyed the better possession, but sank a further goal behind in the 53rd minute to a lovely curling free-kick from Emil Martinez. Costa Rica then found themselves a man down after Dario Delgado was dismissed for an elbow on Walter Martinez, but that incident sparked Los Ticos into action and Marco Urena pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute with a half-hit low shot from the edge of the area which sneaked past unsighted Honduras keeper Noel Valladares.
AC Milan sign Emanuelson
Serie A leaders AC Milan signed Ajax left wingback Urby Emanuelson to a permanent deal on Sunday to increase their defensive and midfield options for the title run-in. “AC Milan announce the purchase from Ajax of Urby Emanuelson, who has signed a contract until June 30, 2014,” a club statement said without adding any financial details. Dutch media reports said Ajax would receive 1.7 million euros (US$2.3 million) for the player. With Gianluca Zambrotta injured and Luca Antonini inconsistent at left back, the 24-year-old Dutch international will provide competition in Milan’s defense, but could also be used further forward in Massimiliano Allegri’s 4-3-3 formation.
Ba bound for West Ham
Hoffenheim’s want-away Senegal striker Demba Ba is set to join Premier League side West Ham United on loan until the end of the season, the Bundesliga club said on Sunday. The 25-year-old fell out with Hoffenheim recently when he refused to attend a training camp, but a transfer to Stoke City fell through last weekend when he failed the medical examination. Ba is now set to join West Ham on a short-term deal, Hoffenheim manager Ernst Tanner confirmed. “Nothing has been signed, but everything points to the fact that he will go on loan at West Ham,” Tanner said. Ba passed the medical on Saturday and the deal is due to be finalized soon. Hoffenheim are still hoping to recruit Liverpool’s Dutch striker Ryan Babel as a potential replacement.