Aspas nets to hand Celta win
A late goal by striker Iago Aspas gave RC Celta de Vigo a 1-0 victory over Real Zaragoza on Monday in La Liga. Aspas connected with a cross from leftback Roberto Lago to beat goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez in the 83rd minute. Celta goalkeeper Javier Varas had been forced to save twice in the 46th minute, first from a powerful shot by Zaragoza forward Victor Rodriguez and then a header by striker Helder Postiga. Aspas came close to having a brace, but his left-foot shot was saved by goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez diving rapidly to his right in the 71st minute. Celta rise to 15th place after 13 matches, while Zaragoza remain 13th in the standings.
Espanyol fire Pochettino
Bottom of La Liga after 13 games, RCD Espanyol have fired both their Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino and the club’s director of sports, the Barcelona-based club said on Monday. “Pochettino will stop being coach of our first team as of tonight [Monday], after we agreed terms this afternoon to terminate the contract we had,” the Catalan club said. Director of sports Ramon Planes has also been fired by Espanyol. Pochettino had been in the job for three seasons, but with just two wins after 13 games, newly elected club president Joan Collet decided to shake things up. National sports daily Marca suggested on Monday that Espanyol were in negotiations with Mexican coach Javier Aguirre, who has had previous spells in Spain with Atletico Madrid and Real Zaragoza. Espanyol have just nine points so far, but there are five clubs within just three points of them in what looks set to be a relegation dogfight.
Guardiola talk dismissed
Brazilian Football Confederation president Jose Maria Marin on Monday dismissed reports the five-time world champions are going to sign former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola to lead their 2014 World Cup campaign. “There is a very little chance it will be a foreign coach. We have won five World Cups with Brazilian coaches and I don’t think it will be necessary,” Marin told the Terra Web site. A source close to Guardiola said on Saturday that Brazil were the only team in the world that Guardiola was ready to coach after Mano Menezes was sacked on Friday. “The past is the past. We must now think about the future and it is the moment to analyze the ideal candidate, who is going to lead a team that has picked up inconsistent results,” Marin said. During his time in charge, Menezes guided Brazil to just 21 wins in 40 matches, including the London Olympics campaign earlier this year where they lost to Mexico in the final.
Stindl praised for fair play
A Hannover 96 player is proving that there is still fair play in soccer. Midfielder Lars Stindl has been suspended for a Bundesliga match after pointing out he should have been banned for getting five yellow cards this season. The 24-year-old Stindl kept count better than German soccer authorities, who failed to register an earlier booking. When Stindl was cautioned on Saturday in a 5-0 loss to leaders Bayern Munich, he told his club it should trigger a one-match ban. Stindl said he was not tempted to exploit the official error, asking: “Why should we hide something?” Hannover published the story on their Web site with the headline: “Hats off, Lars.” Coach Mirko Slomka praised Stindl as “an extremely fair sportsman” — who will watch the home match against struggling SpVgg Greuther Fuerth from the sidelines.