Mexico, Panama advance
Mexico booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the Gold Cup on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Martinique, while Panama also advanced from Group A after a goalless draw with Canada. Mexico, who were stunned by Panama in the group opener, but got their bid for a third consecutive Gold Cup title back on track by winning their remaining games, went ahead in the first half through Marco Fabian and Luis Montes, before Kevin Parsemain’s penalty made it 2-1. Martinique had opportunities to equalize in the second half, but could not make the breakthrough and Miguel Ponce scored from close range in the 90th minute to make the game safe for Mexico. In the earlier Group A match, Panama settled for a 0-0 draw with Canada to top the group on seven points.
Hamburg SV lift the Cup
Hosts Hamburg SV claimed a 2-0 win over Danish champions Copenhagen in Sunday’s final of the Nord Cup, while Eintracht Braunschweig enjoyed a 2-1 playoff victory over Bundesliga rivals VfL Wolfsburg. Germany midfielder Marcell Jansen put Hamburg ahead with an early goal, while former Chelsea midfielder Michael Mancienne put the result beyond doubt with the decider on 50 minutes to win the pre-season tournament for the hosts. In the third-place playoff, newly promoted Braunschweig raced into a 2-0 lead with goals by midfielder Kevin Kratz and Canada international Simeon Jackson, before new signing Stefan Kutschke pulled a goal back for Wolfsburg.
Ref given YouTube lessons
A Lebanese referee jailed for accepting sex in exchange for agreeing to fix matches testified yesterday that a Singaporean businessman used YouTube to show him how to fix a game. Ali Sabbagh, speaking on the first day of the trial of Eric Ding Si Yang, said the businessman sent him “20 to 30” YouTube links to “teach me how to make wrong decisions.” “The videos had too many decisions where the decision made by the referee is not the right decision,” Sabbagh said. Ding is accused of providing Sabbagh, 34, and two other Lebanese officials with women who gave them free sexual services ahead of a match in Singapore in April in which they were supposed to officiate. Sabbagh and the other two officials were pulled out and placed under investigation before the match. Sabbagh was found guilty last month and sentenced to six months in jail.
Clubs angry about league
The nation’s top clubs are up in arms against the national federation over moves to stage a cash-rich franchise-based tournament inspired by cricket’s popular Indian Premier League early next year. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and its commercial partner, IMG-Reliance, plan to hold the eight-city tournament from January to March featuring international and local stars, but the clubs have declined to release their players for the tournament, which they say will threaten their existence and ruin the I-League. Valanka Alemao, the chief executive officer of club Churchill Brothers, vigorously opposed the proposed tournament. “I do not understand why the AIFF wants to hold a new league,” he said. “This new entity will eventually supersede the I-League and cause the slow death of existing clubs. The common goal should be to improve Indian football. How does it help if you get some retired or semi-retired players to grab a few eyeballs for a minute?”