SPORTS SOCCER SHORTS

Agencies

Sat, Jan 08, 2011 - Page 18

SPAIN

Real lose, but still advance

Real Madrid, cushioned by an 8-0 first-leg lead, secured their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Thursday despite a 2-0 defeat in the return match at Levante. Levante’s two second-half goals by Xisco Nadal and Sergio Gonzalez were not enough to overturn Real’s huge advantage, and the Spanish giants pushed through 8-2 on aggregate. Atletico Madrid, who took a 1-0 lead to Espanyol, made it through to the last eight after clinching a 1-1 draw to wrap up a 2-1 aggregate win. Real Betis ended the hopes of top-flight Getafe with a 3-1 win that overturned the Madrid’s club’s 2-1 advantage from the first leg. The Seville-based side are now the only lower-tier club left in the competition. The Seville-based team advanced 4-3 on aggregate. Almeria scored four first-half goals in a 4-3 win at Real Mallorca to advance 8-6 on aggregate, while Villarreal made it to the quarter-finals after defeating Valencia 4-2 following their goalless draw last month.

ARGENTINA

River to release Ortega

River Plate have decided to dispense with brilliant but troubled former Argentina forward Aril Ortega. The 36-year-old veteran of three World Cups, who has a drinking habit, missed Wednesday’s first practice of the summer recess, turning up on Thursday, but slinking away without speaking to reporters. “It’s true Ortega won’t be staying at River,” said a club source, who asked to remain anonymous. “They told me they would not be taking me into account,” Ortega was later quoted as saying on the sports daily Ole’s Web site when asked whether he would be part of the team for the championship starting next month.

ENGLAND

Beckham a gamble: Keegan

Signing Los Angeles Galaxy’s David Beckham on a short-term loan would be a big gamble, former England manager Kevin Keegan said on Thursday. The 35-year-old midfielder is hoping to clinch a temporary move to the Premier League during the MLS off-season, with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur keen to do business, but Keegan said the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player would find it difficult. “I think it’s too high risk. If I were a manager, I don’t think I would do the deal because there’s a chance it could upset the apple cart,” Keegan said. “You would get a lot of publicity. It might work, but it might backfire. It’s a risk.”

ENGLAND

Ipswich sack Roy Keane

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has been sacked as manager of English Championship club Ipswich Town, local media reported yesterday. Ipswich, who travel to Premier League champions Chelsea in the FA Cup third round tomorrow, did not make an immediate comment on the widespread media reports, but said on their Web site they would be holding a press conference later yesterday.

GERMANY

Ballack back in action

Injury-plagued Michael Ballack played his first game in four months when he came on at halftime in Bayer Leverkusen’s friendly against Rot-Weiss Oberhausen on Thursday. Ballack helped his team win 2-1 against the second division outfit in his first match since Sept. 11, when he fractured his shinbone in a 2-2 draw with Hannover 96. “I needed match practice and this was a good start,” the 34-year-old said on Kicker magazine’s Web site.