Dellas handed AEK job
Former AEK defender Traianos Dellas has been appointed as the club’s new coach until the end of the season, the Greek Super League team said yesterday. The 37-year-old, a Euro 2004 winner with Greece, takes over from German Ewald Lienen, who left the club on Tuesday. The club also announced that former AEK players Akis Zikos and Vassilis Borbokis would be assistant coaches. Dellas made more than 150 appearances for AEK in three separate spells with the club from 1999 to last year. AEK have been struggling in the lower reaches of the table for most of the season and Monday’s 2-0 loss at PAS Giannina means the Yellows are one point above the relegation zone with two matches to play. Lienen was appointed in October last year and initially guided the cash-strapped club to some positive results after they experienced their worst ever start to a season under Vangelis Vlachos, but in the wake of their latest setback, the club opted to change things ahead of Sunday’s vital clash against fellow strugglers Panthrakikos.
Van der Vaart given armband
Hamburg SV coach Thorsten Fink has made Dutch midfield star Rafael van der Vaart captain for the last six league games of the season in a bid to halt his team’s slump and win a Europa League place. Hamburg are reeling after losing their past three games, including the 9-2 hammering at Bayern Munich, before being floored by a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of SC Freiburg last Saturday. Germany defender Heiko Westermann has been relieved of the captaincy, with the armband handed to former Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Van der Vaart with Hamburg four points from a Europa League place with six games left. “I want to make him more responsible, he has to be a role model on the field and a leader,” Fink said of Van der Vaart, with Hamburg at FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday.
Cardiff City slip up at home
Championship (second tier) leaders Cardiff City conceded a dramatic late equalizer to draw 1-1 at home to Barnsley on Tuesday. Stephen Foster scored with a deflected shot that trickled over the line in stoppage-time to cancel out Ben Turner’s 59th-minute opener and earn a valuable point for the visitors, who are battling to stay in the division. Cardiff are six points clear of second-placed Hull City and remain on course for promotion to the Premier League. Barnsley are sixth from bottom and two points clear of the drop zone. FA Cup semi-finalists Millwall were also rocked by a late sucker-punch, losing 2-1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday after Chris Maguire scored a 90th-minute winner. Millwall, who face Premier League Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday, opened the scoring through Nadjim Abdou after 63 seconds, before Miguel Llera equalized five minutes before the break.
Dunfermline docked points
Dunfermline have been docked 15 points after going into administration, the Scottish Football League (SFL) said on Tuesday. The second-tier side have also been barred from registering any players over the age of 21 and will be deducted a further 10 points if they are still in administration at the start of next season. Dunfermline went into interim administration two weeks ago and seven players were made redundant as the club tried to avert a winding-up order over a ￡134,000 (US$205,000) tax bill. The sanction leaves them ninth, the relegation playoff spot in the 10-team table.