‘La Viola’ down Genoa
Fifth-placed ACF Fiorentina beat struggling Genoa 1-0 on Thursday to move into contention for a UEFA Champions League place in Serie A. Manuel Pasqual, the Tuscan club’s captain, scored in the 14th minute with a lob over former Fiorentina goalkeeper Sebastien Frey following a perfectly placed long pass from defender Gonzalo Rodriguez. With 18 points, Fiorentina moved to within a point of fourth-placed SS Lazio. Defending champions Juventus lead with 28 points, followed by Inter (24), SSC Napoli (22) and Lazio (19). Genoa remain fifth from the bottom with nine points.
Neymar not expecting award
FIFA world player of the year nominee Neymar expects Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta to be the main contenders for the award later this year. Brazil striker Neymar, who is among the 23 finalists picked for the Ballon d’Or award, said on Thursday he is having a terrific year with Santos, but does not expect to make the final three-player list announced by FIFA later this month. Neymar says “there are a many great players today” who could finish ahead of him. The 20-year-old striker says he thinks Messi should win the award because “he is ahead of everybody else,” with Ronaldo “close behind.” It is the second year in a row that Neymar has made the 23-player list. He won the Puskas Award for the most beautiful goal last year.
Leverkusen get court date
Bayer 04 Leverkusen are challenging UEFA at the Court of Arbitration for Sport after being fined for breaking anti-doping rules. The court said it would hear the appeal on Nov. 30. A verdict is expected several weeks later. UEFA fined Leverkusen 25,000 euros (US$32,350) in January for repeated failures to say where its players were available to provide doping samples. UEFA’s appeal panel upheld the sanction in March. Champions League and Europa League clubs must file accurate and updated details of players’ whereabouts. UEFA rules state that “club violations are recorded and accumulated over five years, with each violation being treated more seriously than the last.” Leverkusen played in the UEFA Champions League last season and were eliminated by Barcelona in the round-of-16. They are in the UEFA Europa League this season.
City eye Japanese teen
Premier League champions Manchester City are set to take Japanese wunderkind Hideki Ishige to England to run the rule over the midfielder, his club Shimizu S-Pulse said. However, contrary to Japanese reports, City have yet to make an offer to sign the Asian Youth Player of the Year. The teenager has shone in recent months and has been key to Shimizu’s march to the Nabisco Cup final today, as well as their late surge in the league. Although Shimizu team manager Afshin Ghotbi wants to keep the 18-year-old within his ranks, he is also keen to give Ishige experience of a spell at City. “If you want to build top-class players, you have to give them various experiences and opportunities to see first hand what the world level is about, and what better experience for Ishige than to train with the first team of Manchester City, the champions of England, and have [manager Roberto] Mancini see him first hand and train with some of the top players in the world,” Ghotbi said to Japan’s Kyodo News. Ishige is set to spend time with City in January.