Wed, Feb 15, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Sociedad’s Vela and Pardo spoil Michel’s Sevilla debut

Reuters and AFP, MADRID and SOCIEDAD, SPAIN

Real Sociedad’s Inigo Martinez, right, battles for the ball with Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo in their La Liga match at the Estadio Anoeta in San Sebastian, Spain, on Monday.

Photo: EPA

Real Sociedad’s Carlos Vela and Ruben Pardo scored to spoil Michel’s debut as the new Sevilla coach in a 2-0 La Liga victory on Monday.

Former Real Madrid and Spain player Michel replaced Marcelino as Sevilla boss last week, but he failed to make an immediate impact and the sliding Andalucians have now taken only two points from their past eight matches.

Mexico striker Vela, on loan from Arsenal, volleyed the opener in the 65th minute at the Estadio Anoeta and three minutes later Pardo struck a blistering drive past Andres Palop.

Sevilla dropped down to 13th, only three points above the relegation places.

Sevilla were the latest Spanish-based sports stars to protest against the image of them being doping frauds during the game by wearing shirts emblazoned with the logo “Liberty, Equality and Superiority.”

The Sevilla players wore the logo, a dig at France’s national motto, though the Spaniards substituted “superiority” for “fraternity,” on their shirts during the match with Sociedad — who refrained from such a gesture — in the latest offering in a bitter war of words between France and Spain.

The Spanish have been up in arms since French satirical puppet show Les Guignols implied that tennis superstar Rafael Nadal and other athletes are drug cheats following the two-year ban imposed on two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador for doping last week.

Sevilla issued a statement explaining why they had allowed their players to take to the pitch with the slogan on their shirts.

“This is to show our support for all sportsmen in the country,” the club said. “We also wanted to take the movement a step further in our resolute defense of the Spanish sporting world.”

The sketches on French TV prompted the Spanish foreign minister to order a formal protest to French media.

One sketch featured a puppet likeness of world No. 2 Nadal refueling the tank of his car from his own bladder, a fill-up which powers up the car and leads to him being pulled over by police.

In another, a satirical advert asks people to donate blood to Contador and therefore share in the glory of his cycling victories.

Also in La Liga on Monday, struggling Sporting de Gijon put former Spain coach Javier Clemente in charge in a bid to avoid relegation.

Clemente, 61, was to be presented yesterday afternoon, the club said in a statement.

He replaces Inaki Tejada, who was promoted following the sacking of Manuel Preciado two weeks ago.

The north-coast club gave Tejada the job until the end of the season, but one draw and a 4-0 defeat to Valencia on Sunday prompted a quick change.

Gijon are 19th in the standings with 19 points and they have only won once since the turn of the year.

The outspoken Clemente has a vast range of experience having managed clubs such as Athletic Bilbao, a team he led to two league titles in the 1980s, Atletico Madrid and RCD Espanyol. Clemente was sacked by Cameroon in October after they failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.

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