Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 31st 2015 Contents A68
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, January 31, 2015
Bayern Munich 4-1 yesterday to
hand the Bundesliga leader its
first defeat of the league season
in the first game after the winter
Dutch forward Bas Dost scored
twice in the first half and Belgian
midfielder Kevin de Bruyne scored
twice in the second as Wolfsburg
racked up as many goals as Bayern
had conceded in the entire first
half of the season.
Juan Bernat scored Bayern s sole
response in the 55th minute, two
minutes after De Bruyne claimed
Second-place Wolfsburg cut
the gap at the top of the table to
eight points after 18 games. The
last team to make up 11 points at
the halfway stage and win the title
was Wolfsburg in 2009. Hoffen-
heim was leading at the time.
"Perhaps it was good that it
happened to us today because
there is no way we can play like
that again," Bayern defender
Jerome Boateng said.
Before the game, fans and play-
ers from both sides paid tribute
to Junior Malanda with a minute s
applause. Fans held giant hearts
and green and gold colors under
a giant picture of Malanda accom-
panied by a banner saying "For-
ever in our hearts." The Wolfsburg
midfielder was killed in a car crash
on January 11.
Dost opened the scoring in the
fourth minute when De Bruyne
picked him out to finish inside
the far post after a fine pass from
Bastian Schweinsteiger had an
effort cleared off line as Bayern
sought a response, before David
Alaba---making his return from a
knee injury---tested Wolfsburg
goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.
Bayern s players lacked their
usual coherence and were almost
made to pay when Dost missed
another good chance with only
Manuel Neuer to beat in the 41st.
The striker more than made up
it for it when he nailed Robert
Lewandowski s attempted headed
clearance and sent the ball flying
in off the far post with the last
kick of the first half.
Schweinsteiger earned a yellow
card for a nasty challenge on De
Bruyne early in the second, sum-
ming up Bayern s frustration with
the Belgian running the play.
De Bruyne responded by scor-
ing with a cool finish in the 53rd,
and he ensured Bernat s effort
was only a consolation by com-
pleting the scoring on another
Maximilian Arnold-led counter-
attack in the 73rd.
Benaglio made a couple of out-
standing saves to preserve the win
"We made a lot of mistakes and
let ourselves be caught out on
counterattacks. It can happen. It
wasn t our day," Schweinsteiger
striker Ezequiel Lavezzi scored
one of the best goals of the season
so far in a 1-0 win over Rennes
that lifted the defending cham-
pions within one point of French
league leader Lyon yesterday.
Lavezzi s goal was the only high-
light of a close battle with few
chances, as PSG had just two shots
The Argentina forward finished
off a superb collective move in the
29th minute with a left-foot shot
from close range for his first league
goal in more than two months.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Javier Patore
and Adrien Rabiot were all involved
in the build-up with a succession
of quick passes that opened the
Rennes defense, before Pastore set
Lavezzi up with a fine touch.
PSG s fifth consecutive win in
all competitions provisionally lifted
the club to second place in the
standings, three points above Mar-
seille, which hosts Evian Saturday.
Lyon travels to in-form Monaco
"We had up and downs tonight
and we did not play well consis-
tently," admitted defender David
Luiz, whose partnership with Thi-
ago Silva in the heart of the
Parisian defense was one of the
rare positives for PSG.
Rennes created two good
chances either side of the interval,
but goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu was
decisive on both occasions. He first
denied Abdoulaye Doucoure s fine
shot from the edge of the box from
Pastore s miscued back pass in the
34th minute. Substitute Christian
Bruls then could not make the
most of some sloppy defending
when he fired an angled shot that
forced Sirigu to another good save
with his fists in the 75th.
Lavezzi has been lacking impact
this season as his team failed to
produce sparkling football and his
goal was only his third this term.
Lavezzi was banned for three
matches by coach Laurent Blanc
this month for missing a training
camp during the Christmas break
alongside Edinson Cavani. The
Uruguay striker, who joined PSG
for 64 million euros ($77 million)
was whistled off the pitch when
replaced by Lucas 20 minutes from
time, seconds after failing to extend
PSG s lead from Pastore s powerful
but mishit shot in the box.
"I ve heard some whistles, but
I ve also heard some fans chanting
his name," Blanc said. "I told him
he was coming off because his
overall performance was not good
enough, not because he missed a
BATA---It s a list of pretty unlikely
Hosts Equatorial Guinea has just
one previous appearance at the African
Cup of Nations. Republic of Congo
hadn t won a game at the champi-
onship in over 40 years before last
week. Congo missed out completely
in three of the last four tournaments.
Even Tunisia, the champion in 2004,
has been humble about its chances in
Yet two of them will come through
today s quarterfinals to play in the
African Cup semifinals---and maybe
even the continent s biggest football
game if the run goes on.
Helped by a lopsided draw which
placed top-ranked African team Alge-
ria, star-studded Ivory Coast and four-
time champion Ghana on the other
side, it s one of the best chances in
years for some of the so-called under-
dogs to have their day.
"I know we re not the best. We re
not the most beautiful," Tunisia coach
Georges Leekens said after reaching
the quarterfinals. "But we did qualify.
We worked hard for it."
That can be said about all four teams
after scrapping their way to the knock-
In the African Cup s first quarter-
finals today, Republic of Congo plays
neighbour Congo, and host Equatorial
Guinea and Tunisia meet later the
same evening at the same stadium.
In front of its rowdy home fans,
Equatorial Guinea has the chance to
make the semis for the first time, a
pretty good result for a team that
wasn t even meant to play at the tour-
nament after being disqualified in
qualifying for fielding an ineligible
player. Equatorial Guinea has been
worth the $4 ticket money for the
thousands of Equatoguineans who
have packed Bata Stadium to watch
Tunisia now has the unenviable task
of going up against that surge of home
Another team seizing their chance
is Republic of Congo, coached by
Frenchman Claude Le Roy, now a vet-
eran of eight African Cups. The Con-
golese have won their first games at
the tournament since 1974, left Gabon
and 2013 finalist Burkina Faso behind
in the group stage, and are promising
to keep playing their carefree brand
of attacking football.
Their quarterfinal opponents are
the other Congo, once known as Zaire
and once a power at the Cup of
Nations, winning titles in 1968 and
1974 before a gradual slide out of
African football s elite. A win today
would put the country into the semis
for the first time in nearly two decades,
and only the second time since the
long-forgotten glory of 74.
It would also set up a semifinal
against top-ranked Algeria or Ivory
Coast s array of stars. And that really
would be back in the big time. (AP)
GENEVA---Two would-be Fifa pres-
idents stepped up campaigning yes-
terday after nominations closed to
challenge Sepp Blatter for the most
powerful job in world football.
Luis Figo identified the five national
federations that formally nominated
him, and Fifa vice president Prince Ali
bin al-Hussein of Jordan pledged not
to "dodge my responsibility" if elected
to lead the scandal-hit governing body.
Portugal great Figo said in a statement
he received the endorsement of Den-
mark, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mon-
tenegro, and Poland.
He was also backed by his own
national federation before the entry
deadline on Thursday.
Figo joined Netherlands federation
president Michael van Praag in having
nominations only from Europe, where
opposition to Blatter is focused.
Blatter, who has headed Fifa for 17
years, has not said which five of Fifa s
209 members nominated him for the
May 29 election.
The 42-year-old Figo has little track
record in football politics, and was a
surprise entry this week.
"I would like to thank my colleagues
and friends from the nominating FAs
and across the global football family
who have already given their backing
to my campaign, and sent messages
encouraging me in this mission," he
Blatter is strongly favoured to win a
fifth presidential term from members
who show little desire for change,
despite bribery and election scandals
implicating several of his colleagues on
the ruling executive committee.
On the 78-year-old Blatter s watch,
the World Cup has been a huge com-
mercial success. Fifa has built a US$1.5
billion cash reserve, and distributed
around US$200 million from 2014
World Cup profits in bonus payments
to members and continental confed-
Uefa is the only one of Fifa s six con-
tinental bodies actively campaigning
Van Praag named the five European
associations nominating him, at his
campaign launch on Wednesday: Bel-
gium, the Faroe Islands, Romania, Scot-
land and Sweden.
England has said it is formally backing
Prince Ali who shapes as the only non-
European in the contest.
Prince Ali issued a statement yes-
terday saying he was prepared to
"accept accountability at all times."
Prince Ali said he plans a news con-
ference next week in London, and to
spend time meeting federation leaders
and hearing from football stakeholders
before publishing his manifesto.
Former Fifa official Jerome Cham-
pagne, a longtime Blatter ally from
France, also sought to enter the race,
though he has not confirmed if he sub-
mitted nomination papers.
It could be two weeks before the
field of candidates is confirmed. (AP)
Bayern slumps to 1st
jump for the
PSG won 1-0.
Lavezzi leads PSG past Rennes 1-0
Figo names five European
nominees for Fifa election bid
Underdogs have their day
in African Cup quarterfinals
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