Egypt to play Ghana in Cairo
Egypt will play in Cairo for the first time in two years for a spot in next year’s World Cup. The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) decided on Wednesday to hold the second leg of the World Cup playoff against Ghana in November at a military stadium in the violence-hit capital. The EFA also said that fans would be allowed in to watch the Nov. 15 game at the 30 June Stadium. The decision to play in Cairo was taken after discussions between the national soccer body, Minister of Sports Taher Abouzeid — a former Egypt international — and state authorities. Egypt have not qualified for the World Cup since 1990, but under former US manager Bob Bradley, they progressed to the final two-leg playoffs for a place in Brazil with a perfect six wins in their group, the only team out of 40 to do so. Egypt’s last game in Cairo was a 3-0 win over Niger in October 2011, four months before a deadly riot at a league game in Port Said left more than 70 fans dead in the midst of the country’s political turmoil. Since then, Egypt have played in Alexandria and more recently in the Red Sea resort of El Gouna. The first leg of the playoff is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Ghana.
Monaco extend stellar start
Ligue 1 leaders AS Monaco extended their best start to a league campaign with a 3-0 victory at home to SC Bastia on Wednesday, while Paris Saint-Germain kept pace with a 1-0 win at Valenciennes. A fifth win in seven games for the principality outfit moved them onto 17 points, two ahead of defending champions PSG, with Olympique de Marseille one point further back. Defeat for Valenciennes extended the northerners’ losing streak to six, leaving them second from bottom on just three points. Elsewhere, goals from Salim Arrache and Aboubacar Demba Camara gave Fabrizio Ravanelli’s AC Ajaccio their first victory of the season as they recorded a 2-1 win at home to Olympique Lyonnais. Martin Braithwaite’s 72nd-minute winner handed Toulouse a 1-0 win over Lorient, while promoted En Avant de Guingamp routed basement club Sochaux-Montbeliard 5-1, Nantes beat OGC Nice 2-0 and Girondins de Bordeaux drew 0-0 with Stade de Reims.
Bayern destroy Hannover
Holders Bayern Munich crushed Hannover 96 4-1 with two goals from Thomas Mueller to reach the German Cup round-of-16 on Wednesday. Schalke 04 were far less convincing, but managed to recover from their 4-0 demolition by Bayern last week to beat third-tier Darmstadt 98 3-1. Second-tier Kaiserslautern came from a goal down to dump out Bundesliga Hertha BSC 3-1. Last season’s runners-up, VfB Stuttgart, also bowed out with a 2-1 defeat at SC Freiburg. Saarbrucken beat Paderborn 2-1, while Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Bochum 2-0. FSV Frankfurt went down away to Ingolstadt 0-2 and Osnabruck lost away to Union Berlin 0-1.
Roma keep Serie A lead
Arsenal reject Gervinho scored his maiden goal for AS Roma as they beat UC Sampdoria 2-0 and moved two points clear of stumbling SSC Napoli to stay top of Serie A on Wednesday. Roma now have 15 points after five wins in as many games, while Napoli sit two points adrift after a 1-1 draw with US Sassuolo. Champions Juventus moved up to third with a fortuitous 2-1 win away to feisty AC Chievo Verona, while SS Lazio outclassed second-from-bottom Catania 2-1 at the Estadio Olimpico to sit sixth. Injury-hit AC Milan, without Mario Balotelli, faced the banana skin of a trip away to Bologna and secured a lucky 3-3 draw.