PSV go on the rampage
Belgium’s Dries Mertens scored a hat-trick as PSV Eindhoven crushed Excelsior Rotterdam in a 6-1 rampage in the Dutch league on Sunday. PSV moved into third with nine points after four matches, three behind leaders Twente, who beat VVV Venlo 4-1 on Saturday. Ajax, 4-1 winners over Vitesse Arnhem on Friday, are second with 10 points. Mertens opened the scoring for PSV after 30 minutes, but Mitchell te Vrede equalized for Excelsior six minutes before the interval. PSV sealed their third straight win in the first six minutes after the break, with Ola Toivonen and Mertens on target, before Jeremain Lens and Toivonen with his second completed the rout. AZ Alkmaar cruised to a 3-0 win at Groningen to move into fourth with nine points. Feyenoord slipped to fifth after being held to a 2-2 draw by nine-man Heerenveen.
Neuchatel players petrified
Players from Swiss Championship side Neuchatel Xamax have admitted to being petrified by the club’s Chechen owner, with one of them claiming he feared for his life, according to the Web site 20minutes.ch on Sunday. The players were reacting after Bulat Chagaev had stormed into the changing room following Neuchatel’s draw with Lausanne on Saturday and terrorized them, while he had to be physically restrained by his armed bodyguards from assaulting coach Joaquin Caparros. “This cannot go on like this,” a player told the Web site — which also cited a player saying that he feared for his life — under condition of anonymity. “It is impossible to work under these conditions. Everyone’s confidence is completely shot. It has reached a point where if we make a bad pass or we fail to control the ball, that we are afraid of the consequences. Today [Saturday night], there was almost a punch-up with the coach. Mr Caparros answered him [Chagaev] back and the bodyguards prevented Chagaev from throttling him.”
Spurs to offload Palacios
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp says midfielder Wilson Palacios has undergone a medical examination at Stoke City. The Honduras international has not played for Spurs this season and the transfer window closes tomorrow. While confirming Palacios’ impending move, Redknapp said he did not want Peter Crouch to follow him to Stoke, with the striker also linked with a transfer to the Britannia Stadium. “People say we want to sell Crouch to Stoke and it’s in the papers every day ... as far as I know he is staying,” Redknapp said. England midfielder Scott Parker could be joining Spurs after West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce confirmed that “there are some negotiations going on.”
Fans shot, coach has stroke
Two supporters of Palmeiras suffered gunshot wounds and were taken to hospital on Sunday after fighting between fans and police that marred the team’s 2-1 victory over Corinthians in a Sao Paulo derby. In further drama to hit the Brazilian championship, Vasco da Gama’s young coach Ricardo Gomes had emergency surgery in hospital after suffering a stroke during his team’s 0-0 draw with Flamengo. “Two fans of a supporters’ organization who came from the city of Sao Paulo were shot,” an officer of the Sao Paulo State police said after the incident. The match at the Engenhao was interrupted during the second half when the 46-year-old Ricardo suffered pains while on the bench and was taken to hospital, where the diagnosis was a stroke with hemorrhaging.