PSV cruise to the summit
PSV Eindhoven went top of the Dutch league after scoring four second-half goals as they cruised to a 5-1 home win over SC Heerenveen on Sunday for their seventh successive victory. PSV have 30 points after 12 matches, one ahead of long-time leaders Twente, who dropped to second after being held 0-0 by third-placed Vitesse. Daniel de Ridder headed home the opener for Heerenveen in the sixth minute after the Eindhoven defense failed to clear a throw-in, but midway through the first half Luciano Narsingh equalized for the hosts. Seven minutes after the break, Dries Mertens put PSV ahead with a superb curled long-range drive, followed by Georginio Wijnaldum’s close-range header. Tim Matavz added two more goals in the final 10 minutes. Twente had been top of the table from the start of the season, until the stalemate at Vitesse, who have won all six away matches so far, but failed to impress at home with only victory from six. Danish teenager Viktor Fischer struck as Ajax won 4-2 at strugglers PEC Zwolle, but they lost striker Ryan Babel after six minutes with a dislocated shoulder. Ajax are fourth with 21 points and ahead on goal-difference of archrivals Feyenoord, 5-2 winners over Roda JC, and Utrecht, who slumped to a 4-0 defeat at RKC Waalwijk on Saturday.
Leaders remain unbeaten
Super League leaders Olympiakos maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 4-0 away win over 10-man AEK in Sunday’s derby at the Olympic Stadium. Leonardo Jardim’s champions went ahead in the 23rd minute through Djamel Abdoun’s penalty after AEK defender Yago Fernandez was sent off for a professional foul on Kostas Mitroglou. It came as no surprise when Mitroglou added a second for Olympiakos three minutes before the hour mark with a fine individual strike. Goals late on from David Fuster and Mitroglou completed Olympiakos’ biggest win against AEK away from home and capped a miserable night for Ewald Lienen’s side, who are fast becoming isolated at the bottom of the table with just five points from 10 matches. Olympiakos have 28 points and a five-point lead over second-placed PAOK, who ran out 2-0 winners at home against Platanias thanks to goals from Greece striker Dimitris Salpingidis and midfielder Alvez Lino.
Porto, Benfica both triumph
Porto and SL Benfica both remained unbeaten through nine rounds with wins on Sunday to retain their joint share of the league lead. Porto beat 2-1 Academica de Coimbra with goals from James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho, while Benfica won 1-0 at Rio Ave. Rodriguez opened the scoring in the 50th minute after Silvestre Varela recovered the ball near midfield to spark an attack. Moutinho then added a second goal for Porto in the 62nd minute, before Eduardo Wilson pulled one back for Academica in the 79th. Benfica striker Lima scored from Eduardo Salvio’s cross flicked on by Jardel in first-half stoppage-time. Porto and Benfica have 23 points. Third-placed SC Braga fell five points behind after losing 1-0 at Sporting.
Celtic held by St Johnstone
Celtic followed up their memorable victory over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League by being held to a 1-1 draw by St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League on Sunday. The draw leaves defending champions Celtic with two points from their past three matches to sit two behind leaders Hibernian at the top of the standings.
Fluminense win title
Fred struck two minutes from time to hand Fluminense the Brazilian championship title after a 3-2 away win over Palmeiras on Sunday. “Flu” opened an unassailable 10-point lead over Gremio, who climbed to second with a 2-1 home win over Sao Paulo while Atletico Mineiro were held 1-1 at Vasco da Gama and dropped to third. Fred led his team to their second title in three years and third overall. “It’s a mixture of happiness with emotion. The squad is marvellous, these fans follow us always,” Fred told reporters. “I thank God, the [club] board, the players, the [coaching] staff, the fans.” Palmeiras held the match at Presidente Prudente in Sao Paulo state far from their city base for fear of trouble from angry fans, who had already staged violent demonstrations as their team totters on the brink of relegation. Fred opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime, stroking the ball home from a rebound after goalkeeper Bruno parried a shot from Wellington Nem. Fluminense went two up in the 54th minute with an own-goal by Mauricio Ramos as he tried to clear a cross. Palmeiras hit back with two goals in four minutes just past the hour, the first from Hernan Barcos with the equalizer coming from Patrick Vieira. Fred volleyed the winner from Jean’s cross two minutes from the end.
Molde retain championship
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Molde retained the Norwegian title on Sunday as substitute Daniel Chukwu’s header gave them a 1-0 victory over Honefoss and Stromsgodset suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Sandnes Ulf. The victory over Honefoss gave Molde 59 points and an unassailable four-point lead over Stromsgodset with one match to play. Solskjaer said he was delighted with his side’s professionalism in defending their title. “The boys have been very focused on getting this done,” he told Norway’s TV2. As Molde struggled to break down Honefoss at home, the title race looked like it would go down to the wire when Stromsgodset took the lead through Abdisalam Ibrahim. The midfielder, on loan from Manchester City, opened the scoring after 32 minutes against Sandnes Ulf. However Stromgodset conceded second-half goals to Christian Gytkjaer and Avni Pepa, both from corners, snuffing out their title hopes. At the Aker Stadion, Solskjaer sent on Chukwu as a half-time substitute and he repaid his coach’s faith by heading home at the far post on the hour.
Lampard set for China move
Chelsea star Frank Lampard is poised to follow former teammates Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka with a lucrative move to China, after Guizhou Renhe confirmed yesterday they were in talks with him. The midfielder has been linked since March with a move to the Chinese Super League. Speculation intensified after Renhe chairman Dai Yongge was quoted on Saturday as saying that Lampard had signed. Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo played down the reports on Sunday, but a Renhe official confirmed in a statement that talks with Lampard were underway. “Yes, we are in contact with Lampard, but so far nothing has been settled,” deputy board chairman Yang Xiaoyu said. Dai was quoted by the China Daily as saying Lampard would join Renhe in January. Renhe qualified for their first AFC Champions League competition with a fourth-place finish in the league. The club is based in Guiyang in Guizhou Province. It is bankrolled by Dai, who is the boss of underground shopping center developer Renhe Commercial Holdings.