Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekending

* Reborn Napoli celebrated returning to the top of Serie A with a 3-1 home win over Milan, with echoes of titanic clashes between the north and south's giants in the era of Diego Maradona. Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani scored a hat-trick.

*The quest for a level playing-field in Spain goes on.

After Valencia finished 21 points behind Barcelona and Real Madrid last season and the big two began their 2011-'12 campaign with big thrashings, Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido decided to speak out and campaign for an equitable distribution of TV rights.

But a meeting of club directors in Madrid last week proved fruitless.
Sevilla director general Jose Maria Cruz said the meeting was, “An afternoon tea of pessimists and good for nothings. We only had a praiseworthy defence from Espanyol and Betis. The rest of those that attended have remained silent as if it wasn’t an issue for them.”

With three games gone, Real Betis and Valencia are on 9 points, two ahead of Barcelona, who tanked Osasuna 8-0, and Sevilla. Real Madrid are on six having lost 1-0 at Levante.

*In the Netherlands, FC Twente and AZ Alkmaar top the Eredivisie after six games with 15 points, two ahead of Ajax and Feyenoord. PSV are in fifth with eleven. In Portugal, Porto and Benfica top the Primeira Liga with 13 points from five games.

*Meanwhile in France, Marseille, tipped by some for a title challenge, are at the bottom of Ligue 1 following a 2-0 loss at table-toppers Lyon. Didier Deschamps' OM have drawn three and lost three so far.

*In England, the two Manchesters sit atop the table. United despatched third-place Chelsea 3-1 at Old Trafford, while City squandered a two-goal cushion at Fulham to draw 2-2. Fulham, Bolton and West Brom are in the drop zone with three points; Arsenal, who lost 4-3 at Blackburn, are one ahead on four after five games. Liverpool's title aspirations took a blow in a 0-4 rout at Tottenham.

*Bayern Munich are top of the Bundesliga after six games, two points ahead of Werder Bremen and Borussia Moenchengladbach. Hamburg are bottom with one point.

*In Japan, Gamba Osaka lead the J-League a point ahead of Kashiwa Reysol, while Vasco de Gama lead Sao Paulo by the same amount in Brazil.

*The USA's Major League Soccer has revealed its top ten annual wages packets for 2011:

  1. David Beckham - LA Galaxy $6,500,000
  2. Thierry Henry -New York Red Bulls $5,600,000
  3. Rafa Marques - New York Red Bulls $5,544,000
  4. Landon Donovan - LA Galaxy $2,127,778
  5. Juan Pablo Angel - New York Red Bulls $1,918,000
  6. Nery Castillo - Chicago Fire $1,788,060
  7. Julian De Guzman - Toronto FC $1,717,546
  8. Freddie Ljungberg - Chicago Fire $1,314,000
  9. Mista -Toronto FC $987,337
  10. Branko Boskovic - DC United $516,200
* Eight of the twelve finalists for the 2012 Olympic Games women's football tournament have been decided: Great Britain (England), Japan, North Korea, Brazil, South Africa, Colombia, France and Sweden. Two more will qualify from CONCACAF and one each from CAF (Africa) and Oceania.

- Sean O'Conor

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