Champions held by Amkar
Reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg remain two points adrift of current league leaders CSKA Moscow after being held to a 1-1 draw by Amkar Perm on Sunday. The slip-up comes 24 hours after CSKA were held to a 1-1 draw away to Rubin Kazan. The Red Army side remain top of the table with 42 points from 20 matches, two points ahead of Zenit, with Dynamo Moscow third on 38 points. Zenit looked in command early on at the Petrovsky Stadium, but it was Amkar who netted the opening goal midway through the first half when Aleksandr Kolomeytsev converted Georgi Peev’s cross. Danko Lazovic missed a penalty for Zenit just before the break, but Alexander Kerzhakov leveled seven minutes after the restart with a header from Viktor Faizulin’s cross. On Saturday, Bibras Natcho gave Rubin the lead from the penalty spot against CSKA, before the visitors won a spot-kick of their own midway through the second half. Sergei Ignashevich blazed his effort over the bar. However, Leonid Slutsky’s side did draw level courtesy of substitute Alan Dzagoev five minutes into stoppage-time.
Chen back to winning ways
Taiwan international Javier Chen’s KV Mechelen got back to winning ways on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Lierse SK at the Argosstadion Achter de Kazerne. The hosts took the lead on 18 minutes courtesy of Alessandro Cordaro, only to be pegged back on 58 minutes when Peter Kovacs struck for Lierse. French midfielder Julien Gorius struck the winner for Mechelen in the 83rd minute. Chen played the full 90 minutes. The result saw Mechelen move into third place in the Jupiler League table on six points, behind leaders Club Brugge KV, seven points, and second-placed RSC Anderlecht, six points, on goal-difference.
Porto off to a flying start
Champions Porto beat Vitoria Guimaraes 1-0 on Sunday to take a head start over title contenders Benfica and Sporting, who were both held to draws in the opening round of matches. Brazilian forward Hulk scored Porto’s match-winner from the spot just before halftime after Sapunaru was brought down in the area by Leonel Olimpio. Porto have played Guimaraes in their last three matches, thrashing them 6-2 in May to claim the Portuguese Cup and 2-1 a week ago to lift the Super Cup. Last season’s runners-up Benfica drew 2-2 at newly promoted Gil Vicente after failing to defend an early two-goal lead. Spanish forward Nolito and Argentine striker Javier Saviola scored one each for Benfica in the first 20 minutes, before Gil Vicente striker Hugo Vieira pulled one back on 37 minutes. Brazilian forward Laionel then completed Gil Vicente’s comeback midway through the second half. Sporting drew 1-1 at home with Olhanense.
Dunga threatens to sue QPR
Former Brazil coach Dunga is threatening to sue Queens Park Rangers to recover a loan he claims he gave to the Premier League club. In a statement issued through his lawyers, Dunga said QPR owe him ￡750,000 (US$1.2 million) after he helped the club in 2006. “I loaned my money to QPR in good faith when they needed it and am very disappointed that the new owners, who are very wealthy, are now refusing to pay it back,” Dunga said. “I am fully confident in the English system of justice and that the court will help me recover my loans.” The club is owned by Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, the wealthiest person in Britain.