Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 28th 2015 Contents A60
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, February 28, 2015
United could be without its first-
choice striker for a critical stage
of the season after Robin van Per-
sie was ruled out for a "long time"
by manager Louis van Gaal yes-
The Netherlands international
was hurt in United s 2-1 loss at
Swansea last Saturday and left the
Liberty Stadium on crutches, with
a protective shoe on his foot.
Van Gaal didn t give an exact
timescale of Van Persie s absence
but said it was an injury that "takes
a long time---it s not one week or
That would mean Van Persie
definitely missing United s next
two Premier League games---
against Sunderland today and
Newcastle on Wednesday---and also
the FA Cup quarterfinal match
against his former club, Arsenal,
on March 9. After that, four of
United s next five matches are
against Tottenham, Liverpool,
Manchester City and Chelsea---all
members of the current top seven.
Van Persie s latest injury has
come just as United clings to the
final Champions League qualifi-
cation spot in the Premier League,
which is a minimum requirement
for Van Gaal in his first season at
United dropped to fourth in the
standings after the Swansea loss,
and Tottenham and Liverpool are
one and two points behind, respec-
"It is because of the rat race
between five clubs that we have to
win, we have to be there," Van Gaal
said ahead of the Sunderland
match. "You have to win your
matches because the other clubs
are winning their matches."
Van Persie has remained United s
first-choice striker, despite scoring
just 10 goals this season---way
down on his total from recent years.
He was top scorer in the 2011-12
and 2012-13 seasons, with 30 and
26 goals respectively.
In his absence, Van Gaal has to
decide who to recall out of Radamel
Falcao, United s expensive loan
signing from Monaco, and young-
ster James Wilson. Wayne Rooney
has recently returned to his usual
role as a second striker after playing
for two months in midfield.
United could also do with
Argentina midfielder Angel Di
Maria replicating the lively per-
formances he produced at the start
of the season.
"I ve had a couple of games
where things haven t gone as well
as they could have," Di Maria said.
Sepp Blatter wants the 2022 World
Cup final in Qatar to take place
no later than December 18, a date
that would avoid a conflict with
the powerful Premier League over
the Christmas schedule in Eng-
A Fifa task force this week rec-
ommended moving the tournament
to November-December to avoid
the summer heat in Qatar. At that
time, a December 23 final---a Fri-
day---was proposed. December 18
is a Sunday, the day on which the
final is traditionally played, and is
Qatar s national day.
The dates of the 2022 tourna-
ment will be confirmed in March
by the Fifa executive committee,
which Blatter heads.
"The 23rd, definitely not (for the
final). We have to stop at the 18th,"
Blatter said yesterday while dis-
cussing the proposal for the first
The Premier League, which
always plays a full set of games on
December 26, wants the World Cup
to remain in its traditional June-
July slot. Chief executive Richard
Scudamore said earlier this week
that a November-December tour-
nament "disproportionately impacts
the sporting integrity of our com-
Fifa has the backing of Uefa and
other continental federations for
the switch in dates despite what
the Premier League wants.
"They are not so very happy and
it s so good now to make a little bit
of noise about Fifa and about the
World Cup in Qatar," Blatter said
in Northern Ireland ahead of a
meeting of football s rulemakers.
"There are more than six years---
particularly seven years---to prepare.
And there is a goodwill.
"There will be a solution and I m
sure everybody will be fine," Blatter
said. "No doubt, the Fifa ExCo will
make the decision that we will play
English Football Association vice
chairman David Gill said the game
should be willing compromise
rather than arguing over a Qatar
decision that now seems final.
"Some of these other leagues
that have breaks in January have a
bigger problem than the Premier
League does, in fairness," Gill said.
"There will still be 380 games in
the Premier League."
But there might be fewer games
for national teams and cuts to
domestic cup competitions as a
result but Gill believes a December
18 World Cup final would allow the
Premier League to resume in time
for the traditional December 26
Boxing Day programme.
"There will have to be compro-
mise on all fronts," said Gill, who
sits on the Uefa executive commit-
tee and is seeking a place on Fifa s
top panel. "So, friendlies given up,
there may be some FA Cup replays,
League Cup semifinal being one
FRANKFURT---Bayern Munich cel-
ebrated its 115th anniversary with a
4-1 victory over Cologne in the Bun-
Bayern scored twice inside the first
ten minutes but was made to work
harder than expected to overcome
Cologne, the team with the second
best away record after Pep Guardiola s
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck
Ribery scored the early goals, before
Anthony Ujah pulled one back for
promoted Cologne in first-half stop-
Manuel Neuer had to produce three
outstanding saves before Arjen
Robben and Robert Lewandowski
secured the victory for the defending
champion and runaway leader.
Robben notched his league-high 17th
goal of the season before setting up
"It was a funny game," Robben
said. "We got off to a great start but
they got back into the match and
played really well."
"Manuel made some great saves
and really brought us victory," Robben
Bayern forced four consecutive cor-
ners to start the match and Robben s
delivery from the last one produced
the first goal in the third minute as
Schweinsteiger connected with a
Ribery cut inside from the left and
shot low inside the post to double
the lead in the 10th.
Ujah reduced the deficit when he
rose to meet a cross from Matthias
Lehmann, sending the ball under the
crossbar with time running out in
the first half.
Cologne closed its ranks and
defended well, while causing prob-
lems for Bayern on the counterattack
after the break.
Neuer was forced to dive to turn
way shots by Ujah and Marcel Risse
early in the second half, then denied
Daniel Halfar despite having his view
Bayern increased its lead when
Ribery broke through on the left and
crossed to the far post, where the
unmarked Robben scored with a per-
fectly timed header in the 67th.
Lewandowski completed the vic-
tory in the 75th, after more fine work
by Robben, whose cross was chested
across the line by Lewandowski.
Guardiola s team has now scored
18 goals in its last three games in the
Bayern, the most successful Ger-
man club, was founded on February
27, 1900. (AP)
Abraham Gonzalez scored shortly
before halftime to earn his side a 1-
0 home win over bottom-placed
Cordoba in the Spanish league yes-
Gonzalez drove in a strike from the
edge of the area after striker Felipe
Caicedo had headed the ball back to
him two minutes before the interval.
Cordoba improved after forward
Bebe was introduced at the start of
the second, but Espanyol goalkeeper
Kiko Casilla saved Federico Cartabia s
header with five minutes remaining.
Espanyol provisionally moved into
eighth place, while Cordoba was left
five points from safety.
It was the 29-year-old Gonzalez s
first goal in his second season in
Spain s top flight. Previously he had
played in the second division.
"It even sounds strange to hear you
call me a goalscorer," Gonzalez said
to a reporter after the match.
"It was critical to win today to
remain at ease in the league and for
a boost of confidence for Wednes-
Espanyol hosts Athletic Bilbao on
Wednesday in the second leg of their
Copa del Rey semifinal. Espanyol drew
1-1 at Bilbao in the first leg.
Real Madrid leads Barcelona by four
points at the top of the standings.
Madrid hosts Villarreal on Sunday, a
day after Barcelona visits Granada.
contender Monaco faces further
UEFA probes for possible over-
spending on player transfers and
wages. The ongoing case was
announced yesterday, two days
after Monaco s 3-1 win at Arsenal
made it a strong favourite to
reach the Champions League
quarterfinals and earn at least 40
million euros (US$44.9 million)
from UEFA this season.
UEFA said its club finance panel
also ordered more scrutiny of
accounts from Inter Milan, Roma
and several other clubs for poten-
tially breaking Financial Fair Play
However, the panel closed a case
against Liverpool after accepting
the five-time European champion s
explanation for its losses since
UEFA investigated the clubs
accounts on their return to Euro-
pean club competitions this sea-
son, which is the second year of
sanctions being applied in the FFP
Manchester City and Paris-
Saint-Germain were each fined
20 million euros (US$22.5 million),
deducted from their Champions
League prize money, in the first
round of penalties.
The champions of England and
France are still under UEFA inves-
tigation and face further fines
totalling 40 million euros (US$44.9
million) each if they breach spend-
ing limits imposed last May.
"Monitoring work is ongoing,
including requests for additional
information and audits, on all other
previously opened investigations
and settlement agreements which
are still ongoing," UEFA said in a
UEFA said four clubs---Hapoel
Tel-Aviv, Hull, Panathinaikos and
Ruch Chorzow---accepted paying
200,000 euros (US$225,000) fines
to settle probes of their excessive
Blatter wants 2022 W Cup
final no later than Dec 18
Van Gaal: Van Persie set for
long absence with ankle injury
UEFA extends probe of Monaco accounts Espanyol edges Cordoba 1-0
Bayern's Franck Ribery from France, Arjen Robben from the Netherlands and
scorer Robert Lewandowski from Poland, from left, celebrate after scoring
during the football match between FC Bayern Munich and 1 FC Cologne in the
Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, yesterday. Bayern won 4-1. AP PHOTO
Bayern scores early,
beats Cologne 4-1
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