Tue, May 01, 2012 - Page 18 News List

SOCCER SHORTS

Agencies

PORTUGAL

Porto claim the league title

Porto won the league title after Benfica drew 2-2 at Rio Ave on Sunday. Porto hold a six-point lead over Benfica with two games to play, but they successfully defended their title due to a better head-to-head advantage over their closest rivals. Porto, who won 2-0 at Maritimo on Saturday, secured the title for the sixth time in seven seasons. Rio Ave opened the scoring through Christian Atsu, before Manuel Agudo and Oscar Cardozo put Benfica ahead by halftime. Yazalde Gomes’ 50th-minute equalizer earned the hosts a draw. “Mathematically we lost the championship today since we have no more chances, but the only thing that matters is our game,” Benfica coach Jorge Jesus said.

PORTUGAL

Leiria scrape together team

Premier League club Uniao Leiria took to the pitch with only eight players for their match against Feirense on Sunday after 16 squad members submitted collective resignation letters over delays in salary payments. The professional players’ union said on Saturday that the resignations meant the match would not take place, but Leiria managed to scrape together a team. Eight stern-faced Leiria players lined up in formation for the pre-match photograph and they then resisted bravely on the pitch until just before the halftime whistle, when they conceded the first goal. Feirense went on to win the match 4-0. Leiria president Joao Bartolomeu said in a post-match press conference that Malian midfielder Keita, who was expected to take part in the match, stole a suitcase of money from the club just before the match.

SWITZERLAND

Basel acknowledge title win

Basel, having twice refused to accept the Swiss title in the past week, finally recognized themselves as champions on Sunday after a 3-1 win over Lausanne Sport. Both Basel and the Swiss League agreed on their respective Web sites that the team were champions for the third time in a row and the sixth in the past nine seasons. The confusion over whether or not Basel had won the title capped a chaotic season marred by court battles, hooliganism and financial problems, which led to Neuchatel Xamax being kicked out of the league and Servette Geneva filing for bankruptcy. Basel took an unassailable 16-point lead over Luzern the previous weekend, but they would not accept the title because their rivals could theoretically have won two points from a case they had taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. On Saturday, Luzern drew 2-2 with Grasshoppers, meaning they could no longer catch Basel even if they won the case. However, Basel again refused to celebrate on the grounds that Sion could still catch them should they win an appeal against the decision to deduct 36 points for fielding ineligible players. The confusion ended on Sunday when Basel’s win over Lausanne meant they could not be caught, even if Sion won back their 36 points.

SERBIA

Partizan secure 24th title

Partizan Belgrade secured their 24th league title and their fifth in a row with Sunday’s 4-0 win at Borac Cacak, finally giving coach Avram Grant success after the Israeli suffered a series of setbacks in England. The result gave Partizan an unassailable 12-point lead over traditional city rivals Red Star, who they meet at home on Saturday. Midfielder Sasa Markovic sent Partizan on their way with a long-range effort in the first half, before Bulgaria defender Ivan Ivanov and a late brace from Senegalese striker Lamine Diarra sealed matters.

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