UEFA names team of year
UEFA has announced its 2012 Team of the Year, with players from Premier League teams being snubbed for the second time this month. The lineup chosen by fans voting at UEFA’s Web site includes players from Spanish, German, Italian and French clubs. Last week, FIFA announced a World XI elected in a global poll of players run by their union, FIFPro, which only selected Spain-based players. UEFA says 5.3 million votes were cast for its team: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Thiago Silva (AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain) Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Mesut Oezil (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid).
Italian Cup tie heats up
Three players were sent off and 10 booked as AS Roma snatched a 1-0 extra-time win at unlucky ACF Fiorentina in a fiery Italian Cup tie that ended amid ugly scenes on Wednesday. Mattia Destro scored the winner in the seventh minute of extra-time, while Fiorentina hit the woodwork three times, in a match marred by a brawl centered around Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado and Roma’s Dodo. The Colombian and the Brazilian pushed each other several times after tussling for the ball, prompting other players to try to intervene. Both were given straight red cards, but they continued to argue as they left the pitch, leading to another scramble which also involved several stewards, one falling over backwards, before their teammates intervened to calm the situation. Roma also had Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo Taddei sent off in the 117th minute after he picked up two yellow cards in three minutes, the second for obstruction on Borja Valero off the ball.
Rennes through to final
Julien Feret and Mevlut Erding struck in either half as Stade Rennais sealed their place in the final of the French League Cup on Wednesday after a 2-0 home victory over Ligue 1 rivals Montpellier Herault. Feret netted the opener for Frederic Antonetti’s men at Route de Lorient on seven minutes. Erding doubled the Brittany outfit’s advantage six minutes after the break as he skipped past visiting goalkeeper Laurent Pionnier to slot into an empty net. Rennes are to meet AS Saint-Etienne in the April 20 showpiece at Stade de France.
Players offered bonuses
National team players have been promised more than US$100,000 each if they win the Africa Cup of Nations on the country’s return to the tournament after a 30-year absence. Ethiopian Football Federation president Sahilu Gebremariam said on Wednesday that the players would get US$111,000 each to win the Cup and US$55,000 to make the final in South Africa. Sahilu said coach Sewnet Bishaw and his assistant coach would be rewarded with “significantly higher prize money” if the team progresses to the final. Ethiopia won the Cup of Nations in 1962, but last qualified for the final tournament in 1982. They were drawn alongside tough opposition in Ghana, Mali and Congo this year and are not expected to get out of the group. Coach Bishaw said: “It’s football; there is room for anything, any surprise.”