Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 29th 2015 Contents A60
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt March 29, 2015
The Netherlands and Italy needed late
equalisers to rescue draws in European
Championship qualifying yesterday. And a
pair of goals plus an assist by Gareth Bale
put Wales atop its group.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored in injury time
as the Netherlands drew with Turkey 1-1 in
Amsterdam, and Eder scored the key goal
on debut for Italy, which drew 2-2 with Bul-
Still, Italy dropped two points behind Croa-
tia in Group H after Croatia routed Norway
5-1.Bale led Wales to a 3-0 win over Israel
The top two finishers from each of the
nine groups qualify automatically. The best
third-place team also qualifies, and eight
more teams can advance through playoffs.
Here is a look at the three groups in action
Huntelaar deflected a Wesley Sneijder shot
two minutes into second-half injury time to
salvage a 1-1 draw for the Netherlands against
Turkey in Amsterdam.
Burak Yilmaz s first-half strike, also deflect-
ed, long looked like sealing a win for Turkey.
The draw kept the Netherlands in third
place in the group. Coach Guus Hiddink was
relieved with the result. "If you lose this
match, you totally lose your grip on qual-
ification," he said.
Group leader the Czech Republic also left
it late to steal a point with Vaclav Pilar s
equaliser in the last minute of regulation
time earning a 1-1 home draw against Latvia.
The draw marked the first dropped points
by the Czechs in qualifying.
Latvia led on the half hour thanks to a
swift counterattack goal by Aleksejs Vis-
Iceland continued its strong form in qual-
ifying by beating Kazakhstan 3-0 in Astana.
Veteran Eidur Gudjohnsen celebrated his
return from international retirement by open-
ing the scoring with his first goal since 2009,
and Birkir Bjarnason scored in each half to
complete the win.
Bjarnason s first came when he rose
unmarked to head home a Gylfi Sigurdsson
free kick, and the second was a deflected
shot in second-half injury time.
Even a hat trick was not enough for Edin
Dzeko to be the dominant player of Group
B. Dzeko scored all three goals for Bosnia in
its romp over Andorra, but all eyes were on
Bale and his extraordinary performance.
"He never lets us down and it was a great
performance," coach Chris Coleman said of
Bale, as Wales remains on course to qualify
for its first big championship since the 1958
Bale s performance gave Wales 11 points,
two more than Israel, which lost its perfect
In Brussels, Belgium s slew of quality play-
ers made sure to remain in contention for
Euro 2016 with a convincing 5-0 win over
Cyprus. Marouane Fellaini scored twice to
keep Belgium close in the standings with 8
points. "We have Marouane back at his best,"
captain Vincent Kompany said.
Belgium travels to Israel on Tuesday.
"We could not do any better, we go to
Israel with a clear head, and the next game
wil be just as important," Kompany said.
Eder rescued a 2-2 draw for Italy to extend
the Azzurri s unbeaten streak in qualifying
to 25 matches.
Italy took the lead with an own goal from
Yordan Minev, but Bulgaria struck back with
scores by Ivelin Popov and Ilian Micanski in
the opening 17 minutes.
In the 84th, Brazilian-born Eder controlled
well just beyond the area, spun around his
marker, and curled a shot into the far corner.
It was a perfect response to controversy over
foreign-born players this week, with Inter
Milan manager Roberto Mancini saying "The
Italian national team should be Italian."
"I respect everyone s opinion but I think
all this controversy is useless," said Eder, who
has nine goals for Sampdoria this season. "I
just hope I can secure some more playing
time with this shirt."
In Zagreb, Croatia convincingly beat Nor-
way 5-1 with goals from Marcelo Brozovic,
Ivan Perisic, Ivica Olic, Gordon Schildenfeld
and Danijel Pranjiic.
Norway s Alexander Tettey cut Croatia s
lead to 3-1 in the 81st and Tarik Elyounoussi
failed to convert a penalty for Norway in the
Croatia played the last 20 minutes without
red-carded Vedran Corluka.
Also, Azerbaijan beat visiting Malta 2-0
with early and late goals from Cavid Huseynov
and substitute Dmitri Nazarov.
Croatia tops the group with 13 points. Italy
has 11, Norway nine, Bulgaria five, Azerbaijan
three and Malta one. (AP)
Netherlands, Italy need late
equalisers in qualifiers
Wales' Gareth Bale makes a free kick against Israel during Euro 2016 group B qualifying
football match in Haifa, Israel, yesterday. Wales won 3-0. AP PHOTO
MOSCOW---Russia has demanded to be
awarded a victory after its European cham-
pionship qualifier against Montenegro was
abandoned due to attacks on Russian play-
The match in Podgorica, Montenegro, was
abandoned at 0-0 on 67 minutes on Friday
after Russia s Dmitry Kombarov was hit by an
object, sparking a brawl between players.
The game had previously been suspended in
the first minute when goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev
was was struck in the head by a flare, requiring
Russian Football Union president Nikolai Tol-
stykh said in a statement that his organisation
would file a protest to UEFA and that "in our
view, it should be a technical defeat for Mon-
He added that the match should have been
abandoned following the attack on Akinfeev,
but that UEFA match delegate Barry Bright
overruled Russia s objections.
"The Russian national team was forced to
continue the game, but I want to emphasise
that we warned the delegate and UEFA that we
would submit a protest," Tolstykh said.
In addition to the attacks on Akinfeev and
Kombarov, the RFU said that Russia midfielder
Alan Dzagoev had been struck by coins thrown
from the stands while receiving medical treat-
ment for a thigh injury.
Akinfeev was treated in a hospital in the
Montenegrin capital Podgorica for minor burns
and a neck injury. The RFU said Saturday the
CSKA Moscow keeper had also suffered con-
cussion but would be able to return to Russia
with the rest of the team.
"I want to say thank you to everyone who s
been worrying about me. I feel fine," Akinfeev
said on the RFU website. "It turns out that
even this kind of thing happens in football. I
hope that nothing similar ever happens again,
neither in Montenegro nor in any other country
in the world." (AP)
WASHINGTON---Ever Banega scored on a
deflected shot, Federico Mancuello added a
late goal and Argentina beat El Salvador 2-0
in a friendly match yesterrday.
Argentina played a lackluster game without
its star Lionel Messi, who stayed on the bench
with a right foot bruise. The Barcelona star took
a knock last Sunday in the Spanish league cla-
sico against Real Madrid, and missed several
training sessions this week with the national
Messi had tests done on Tuesday, which
revealed no serious injury.
Banega scored with a 54th minute shot that
deflected off defender Nestor Renderos and beat
goalkeeper Derby Carrillo. Mancuello sealed the
win with a free-kick from a tight angle in the
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino started Car-
los Tevez for the first time since taking over
the team last year, but the Juventus forward
was ineffective in attack with Gonzalo Higuain
and Angel Di Maria.
Argentina faces Ecuador on Tuesday in the
Meadowlands, in its last warm-up match before
Copa America in June. (AP)
El Salvador 2-0
Russia demands win
match called off
MADRID---Barcelona says defender
Jordi Alba has a right leg muscle injury
and will be sidelined for around 10 days.
Tests yesterday morning "confirmed
a Grade 1 injury to the abductor muscle
in his right leg," the club says in a state-
Alba asked to be substituted in the
77th minute of Spain s European Cham-
pionship qualifier against Ukraine on Fri-
Spain won the match 1-0 thanks to
an 18th minute goal by Alvaro Morata
on his first start with the national squad.
Barcelona s next league game is away
at Celta on April 5. The Catalan team
travels to Paris Saint Germain for the
away leg of its Champions League quar-
terfinal ten days later. (AP)
AGADIR---Edinson Cavani scored from
the penalty spot as Uruguay managed a
scrappy 1-0 win over Morocco in a friendly
The hosts had the better chances but
their profligacy was punished when Cavani
sent Morocco goalkeeper Munir Mohand
Mohamedi the wrong way after Diego Rolan
was fouled in the area by Nabil Dirar in the
Uruguay played without Luis Suarez, who
is set to feature in a charity football match
at his former Liverpool club on Sunday.
Suarez will also be unavailable for the Copa
America in June because of his suspension
from competitive international games for
biting Italy s Giorgio Chiellini at the World
Cup. It was Uruguay s final game before
coach Oscar Tabarez announces his squad
for the Copa.
Morocco should have taken the lead just
before halftime when Abderrazak Hamdallah
hit the post from close range before Cavani
broke the deadlock against the run of the
Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera was
then decisive to parry away Omar El Kad-
douri s effort with a diving save, and denied
Mehdi Benatia s attempt from the rebound.
Cavani had a chance to double his tally
15 minutes from time but he could not con-
nect with a fine cross from substitute
Girogian De Arrascaeta, who fired over
moments later. (AP)
Barca's Alba out for
ten days with injury Cavani scores as Uruguay
edges Morocco 1-0
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