Drogba eyes loan spell
Ivory Coast international striker Didier Drogba has asked FIFA for special permission to leave China’s Shanghai Shenhua on loan before the January transfer window, Chinese media reported yesterday. With the Chinese Super League season over, the former Chelsea forward wants to keep himself sharp for the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on Jan. 19 next year. “The FIFA administration services are looking into it,” FIFA said in a statement. The 34-year-old teamed up with former Chelsea strike partner Nicolas Anelka at Shanghai in June after agreeing a two-and-a-half-year contract with the big-spending club. Under current rules, Drogba, who spent eight seasons with Chelsea after joining the European champions from French side Olympique de Marseille, cannot play for another club until Jan. 1. Ivory Coast, currently on a 22-match unbeaten run, are favorites to win the Cup of Nations in South Africa, which runs until Feb. 10.
Brazil win ‘Superclasico’
Brazil defeated Argentina 4-3 on penalties to win the Superclasico de Las Americas on Wednesday, a trophy contested by national team players with local clubs in Argentina and Brazil, and excluding top stars such as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. The trophy was settled by penalties after the teams finished the two-leg series level at 3-3 on aggregate. Argentina won the second match 2-1 on Wednesday, with two second-half goals from Ignacio Scocco, who scored from a penalty in the 82nd minute, then saved Argentina with a winner in the 90th minute. Fred scored for Brazil in the 84th minute to make it 1-1 and it looked like it would give Brazil the trophy without penalties. Brazil won the first leg 2-1 in September.
Seoul run away with title
Runaway South Korean champions Seoul have helped put some cheer back into domestic soccer after a humiliating match-fixing scandal threatened to shut down the K-League. Seoul clinched their second title in three years with Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Jeju United, putting them 12 points clear of Jeonbuk Motors with three games remaining. Manager Choi Yong-soo praised his players for uncomplainingly slotting into his rotation policy, boasting his side’s team spirit is second to none in the country. “I think our ‘family’ atmosphere has been the major reason behind our success,” Choi said yesterday. Seoul have been a breath of fresh air after wide-ranging arrests, life bans and even suspected suicides by players linked to the corruption-rocked K-League last year. “We were blessed with a great striker [Dejan Damjanovic] with a great nose for goal,” Choi said of his talismanic Montenegrin forward. Damjanovic’s 30 goals set a new record for the K-League.
NHL owners reviewing offer
National Hockey League owners were reviewing the latest offer from the players’ union on Wednesday, but both sides remain far apart as they attempt to end the two-month-long lockout. The NHL Players Association made the new offer on Wednesday morning as the two sides met in New York. The owners said they would review it. “We’re still far apart, but hopefully there’s some momentum so we can bring this process to a successful conclusion,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Wednesday. Bettman said the league is losing between US$18 million and US$20 million per day, while players are losing between US$8 million and US$10 million per day.