Toothless Marseille held
Olympique de Marseille’s title hopes suffered another setback on Friday when they were held to a 0-0 draw at home by AC Ajaccio. It was the second successive goalless draw for Elie Baup’s team following last weekend’s stalemate with title rivals Lyon. Third-placed Marseille moved to 51 points, six behind league leaders Paris Saint-Germain who go to AS Saint-Etienne today and two behind Olympique Lyonnais who were at SC Bastia yesterday.
Dinamo chief in hot water
Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb’s chief Zdravko Mamic was detained on Friday after making slurs against an ethnic Serb minister, police said. Mamic was detained for questioning by Zagreb police after insulting Education Minister Zeljko Jovanovic, who he labelled “Croatophobe” in an interview to a local radio station. Jovanovic “hates everything Croatian,” Mamic told the Soundset radio, adding the minister was an “insult to the Croatian brain.” “When he looks at you, blood squirts from his eyes ... Looking at his smile, one can only see eye-teeth ready for slaughter,” Mamic said.
Rehhagel faces tough task
He pulled off one of soccer’s greatest upsets. Now Otto Rehhagel has been handed a task equally challenging: to make Germany popular again in crisis-hit Greece. Germany’s embassy in Athens said on Friday that the 74-year-old would visit Greece this month as a goodwill ambassador. The German led Greece to a stunning victory in the 2004 European Championships, building a team that went on to qualify for two other European tournaments and the 2010 World Cup. Germany is the lead creditor in Greece’s financial bailout program, but its reputation has been hit by successive austerity measures that have caused an increase in poverty and unemployment.
Depor boost survival hopes
Bottom club RC Deportivo de La Coruna boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation by beating 10-man RC Celta de Vigo 3-1 in the Galician derby on Friday, a first victory in 10 La Liga outings. Forward Riki fired the home team ahead in the ninth minute at the Riazor when he controlled a Juan Carlos Valeron pass with his thigh and volleyed brilliantly past goalkeeper Javi Varas. Celta were reduced to 10 men in the 29th minute when striker Iago Aspas was shown a straight red card for butting Depor defender Carlos Marchena in the face. Silvio made it 2-0 in the 64th minute with a stunning long-range volley and substitute Diogo Salomao added a third goal 14 minutes later, moments after replacing Riki. Park Chu-young pulled a goal back for Celta 10 minutes from time, but it did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the home supporters.
Wolfsburg held at home
Ivica Olic scored for VfL Wolfsburg to salvage a 1-1 draw at home with promoted side Fortuna Duesseldorf in the Bundesliga on Friday. Olic struck with a low shot past Fabian Giefer in the 51st minute, cancelling out Mathis Bolly’s 38th-minute strike for the visitors. Wolfsburg remained 12th ahead of the rest of the weekend’s games, while Duesseldorf climbed two places to 13th. “I think the draw was fair. With a bit of luck we could have won, with a little bad luck we could have lost,” said Duesseldorf midfielder Adam Bodzek.