Paul Scholes to retire, again
Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes announced his retirement for a second time on Saturday — just days after veteran manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he would be standing down at the end of the season. Former England international Scholes, 38, first quit in 2011 to take up a position on United’s coaching staff, but returned to first-team action in January last year. “Yes, I am finally hanging up my boots for good,” said Scholes, who was expected to make his first appearance since January in yesterday’s Premier League match against Swansea City at Old Trafford. “Playing football is all I have ever wanted to do, and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United, under the greatest manager of all time, has been an honor,” Scholes said.
Hornets win thrilling playoff
Troy Deeney’s last-minute goal earned Watford a dramatic 3-1 win over Leicester City yesterday and a place in the championship playoff final with a 3-2 aggregate victory. Leicester, trailing 2-1 after winning the first leg 1-0, looked poised to reach the final when they were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute, but Hornets goalkeeper Manuel Almunia made a brilliant double save to deny Anthony Knockaert. Watford broke quickly and Jonathan Hogg headed a deep cross back into the danger area for Deeney to smash the ball past Kasper Schmeichel. Brighton and Hove Albion host Crystal Palace in the second playoff semi-final today.
Juve’s record bid foiled
Newly crowned champions Juventus were foiled in their record-breaking Serie A points bid when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Cagliari on Saturday. Juve secured their 29th title the previous weekend, but Antonio Conte’s side had a new objective — beating the 91 points garnered in 2005-2006 when they were stripped of their Serie A title for match-fixing. That feat has now alluded them after the stalemate in which Victor Ibarbo’s 12th-minute goal was canceled out by Juventus’ Mirko Vucinic just after the hour mark. Saturday’s late game saw Catania climb to 55 points for the first time with a 1-0 win over Delfino Pescara 1936.
Porto go one point clear
Porto beat archrivals SL Benfica 2-1 thanks to a dramatic stoppage-time winner on Saturday, moving ahead in the title race with only one game to play and inflicting a first league loss of the season on the Lisbon-based club. Porto’s win gave them a one-point lead at the top of the standings with one match to play. Benfica scored through Lima in the 19th minute, but Porto soon leveled when Benfica’s Maxi Pereira scored an own-goal. A draw would have kept Benfica in command of the title race, but Kelvin raced down the left flank to score the winner and put Porto in prime position.
Olympiakos claim double
Two extra-time goals by Algerian players lifted Olympiakos to a 3-1 win over PAE Asteras Tripolis in the Greek Cup final at the Olympic Stadium in Athens on Saturday. It was their 26th Greek Cup win and their 16th league and cup double after they won the league title last month. It was also the second straight double for Olympiakos. Striker Rafik Djebbour scored in the 98th minute and winger Djamel Abdoun added a goal via the penalty spot in the 119th to break a 1-1 deadlock. Asteras took a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute through Ruben Rayos, but Olympiakos leveled in the 42nd through David Fuster.