Malaga, Valencia draw 0-0
Malaga and Valencia failed to start the second half of their La Liga seasons with a victory, playing to a 0-0 draw on Friday in Malaga. The teams took a total of 28 shots, including a combined 10 on goal, but could not score at La Rosaleda Stadium. Malaga nearly broke through in the 66th minute, but goalkeeper Diego Alves was quick to deny Roque Santa Cruz’s volleyed shot. Moments later, Valencia saw Tina Costa’s effort ruled offside, before only Diego Alves’ quick reaction kept Pablo Perez’s low shot out in the 76th. Valencia stayed eighth, while Malaga moved five points clear of the relegation zone.
Beckham closes on team bid
David Beckham could have a Major League Soccer expansion team in Miami within 30 days. MLS commissioner Don Garber said an announcement is expected in the next month regarding Beckham’s bid for a Miami club, what would be the 22nd team in the North American league. That is the most encouraging sign in the ongoing story of the retired English star midfielder’s bid to obtain a team in Miami, which has been stalled as talks for the building of a new stadium have continued with city officials. Beckham was given the opportunity to purchase an expansion team at a discount, reportedly US$25 million, as part of the 2007 deal that lured him to play for the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy.
‘Quenelle’ threatens deal
West Bromwich Albion’s shirt sponsors are threatening to withdraw from a multimillion-pound deal because of Nicolas Anelka’s quenelle goal celebration, according to a report in Marketing Week published on Friday. The magazine said Zoopla, a property portal co-owned by Jewish businessman Alex Chesterman, could pull out of the two-year contract as soon as next week should former France striker Anelka play against Everton tomorrow because it does not wish to be associated with a gesture some people say is anti-Semitic. Anelka, 34, sparked a media storm last month when he celebrated the first of his two goals in West Brom’s 3-3 Premier League draw at West Ham United by putting one arm across his chest and straightening the other. The gesture, popularized by French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, has been described by critics in France as an anti-Semitic “inverted Nazi salute,” but Anelka has insisted that it was merely “a dedication” to the comic. Anelka faces a minimum five-match ban if the FA decides he is guilty of discrimination.
Player charged with fixing
A third player has been charged as part of an ongoing investigation into match-fixing in English non-league soccer, Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) announced on Friday. Moses Swaibu, 24, a former Conference South soccer player from the Croydon area, south of London, was charged with conspiracy to defraud. He has been bailed to appear before magistrates in Cannock, England, on Tuesday. Swaibu is the fifth person and third soccer player to be charged in connection with an NCA investigation into an alleged international illegal betting syndicate. Last month, soccer players Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, both 22, and alleged co-conspirators Chann Sankaran, 33, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, 43, appeared in a court in Birmingham, England, for a brief preliminary hearing.