Tue, Apr 24, 2012 - Page 18 News List

SOCCER SHORTS

Agencies

NETHERLANDS

Ajax edge closer to title

Ajax moved closer to retaining the Dutch league title as they won their 11th league game in a row by beating Groningen 2-0 on Sunday to move six points clear at the top. Derk Boerrigter broke the deadlock against struggling Groningen, who have lost 10 of their past 12 matches, netting after a Siem de Jong shot was blocked on the stroke of halftime. De Jong also had a hand in the second goal, setting up Kolbeinn Sigthorsson 10 minutes before time to settle the match. Ajax have 67 points with three matches remaining and they need four more, starting on Sunday away at fourth-placed Twente, who beat rock-bottom Excelsior Rotterdam 1-0 on Saturday to move to 60 points. AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord are joint second on 61 points after both registered 2-1 victories over VVV Venlo and ADO Den Haag respectively. They meet on Sunday in Rotterdam in their battle for second place, which brings a place in the Champions League qualifying round. Brett Holman put Alkmaar ahead two minutes into the second half, but Quin Kruysen equalized from close range just before the hour mark. US international Jozy Altidore restored the lead six minutes later with a well-placed header. Feyenoord grabbed the lead early in the second half when Ruben Schaken fired in a cross from Guyon Fernandez, who doubled the lead 20 minutes before time. Lex Immers converted a penalty a minute before the end to pull one back. PSV Eindhoven, fifth on 60 points, came from behind to beat NEC Nijmegen 2-1.

SWITZERLAND

Confusion over Swiss title

Confusion reigned in the Swiss championship on Sunday as Basel apparently won the title, but refused to recognize the achievement. The episode was the latest twist in the long-running saga centered on Sion, which nearly resulted in Switzerland receiving an international ban. Basel won 3-0 at Sion on Sunday to take an unassailable 16-point lead over second-placed Luzern, who have five matches to play, at the top of the Swiss Super League. However, Basel had stated before the match that, as Luzern could still win a further two points from a protest they have taken to a sporting tribunal, they would not recognize themselves as champions at this point. Basel currently have 62 points and Lucerne 46. “Basel will only celebrate our 15th title if Luzern cannot catch up by winning their remaining five games plus two possible points from the tribunal,” Basel said in a statement. Sion were deducted 36 points by the Swiss league for fielding ineligible players, who they had signed while being subject to a transfer ban. However, Luzern claim that they should have been awarded a walkover in a match in September last year that they drew 1-1 with Sion, who fielded some of the ineligible players. That would give them a further two points. The case is with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

PORTUGAL

Sporting grab late winner

Ricky van Wolfswinkel came off the bench to score a late penalty and give 10-man Sporting a 3-2 win at Nacional on Sunday in the Portuguese league. Striker Diego Rubio and Renato Neto gave Sporting a two-goal lead by the 31st minute, but Mateus Galiano quickly pulled one back for Nacional. Sporting played with 10 men from the 59th minute after Rubio received his second booking and Nacional substitute Ladji Keita equalized with 15 minutes to play. However, Van Wolfswinkel, who had come on after Rubio’s dismissal, converted the spot-kick in the 77th minute after Marcelo Valverde fouled the Dutch striker in the penalty area. Sporting remain fourth.

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