Agents paid US$123m
The Premier League’s 20 clubs paid players’ agents ￡77 million (US$123 million) in one year, with Manchester City spending 14 percent of the total, the league announced on Friday. City, last year’s champions, paid ￡10.5 million to agents from Oct. 1 last year to Sept. 30, accounting for two transfer windows. The second-biggest spenders were Liverpool, who handed agents ￡8.6 million, but finished eighth last season and are currently 12th. Third on the list are Queens Park Rangers, who spent ￡6.8 million, but are currently win-less and bottom of the league after avoiding relegation on the last day of last season. Tottenham Hotspur were fourth on the list with ￡6.6 million, followed by Champions League winners Chelsea with ￡6.5 million and Arsenal with ￡5.6 million. However, league leaders Manchester United only paid ￡3.7 million.
Ajaccio hold Saint-Etienne
AS Saint-Etienne missed a chance to claim top spot in Ligue 1 when they were held to a goalless draw at AC Ajaccio on Friday. Les Verts climbed from fourth place to second on 26 points, trailing leaders Olympique Lyonnais, who hosted champions Montpellier Herault yesterday, by two points. Ajaccio are 16th on 16 points, two points above the relegation zone. Saint-Etienne enjoyed most of the possession in a game hampered by rain and gusty winds, but they were toothless up front. Adrian Mutu had a good chance for Ajaccio in the first half when his header shaved Stephane Ruffier’s post. The Romanian was then replaced on the hour mark. Saint-Etienne’s Brazilian striker Brandao went off 15 minutes from time because of a strained leg muscle.
Fortuna destroy Frankfurt
Fortuna Duesseldorf demolished 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0 on Friday to move further away from the Bundesliga relegation zone and inflict a second straight defeat on their rivals. The Duesseldorf club are up to 13th place on 18 points while Frankfurt, with only one win in seven matches, are stuck in fifth spot on 24 points. The visitors had Karim Matmour sent off in the 34th minute for a second booking and four minutes later Stefan Reisinger put Fortuna in front, driving past two defenders to score. Promoted Fortuna made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute when Oliver Fink curled a 22m shot past ’keeper Kevin Trapp after shaking off two markers. Nando Rafael was left completely unmarked in the box as he grabbed the third goal in the 58th minute. Axel Bellinghausen sealed Fortuna’s second successive home win five minutes from time, scoring through Trapp’s legs.
Rayo lose 1-0 to Osasuna
CA Osasuna beat Rayo Vallecano de Madrid 1-0 thanks to an early goal from striker Kike Sola on Friday, provisionally lifting the team out of La Liga’s relegation zone. Sola ran onto Alvaro Cejudo’s pass down the right flank and beat goalkeeper David Cobeno with a chipped shot in the fifth minute at the Estadio Reyno de Navarra. Rayo’s best chance of equalizing came four minutes later, but Osasuna goalkeeper Andres Fernandez blocked an effort by Francisco “Piti” Medina. Osasuna kept a clean sheet for the fifth straight game without a loss, including in the Copa del Rey. “We had that little bit of luck that they were lacking,” Osasuna manager Jose Mendilibar said. “We didn’t play particularly well. We created few chances, but we managed to pull out the victory based on our effort and pressing them as much as possible.”