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Fast-flowing football the aim of Collins

A DELIGHTED John Collins today demanded "more of the same" after watching his new-look Hibs side demolish English Premiership outfit Bolton Wanderers.

Collins believes last night's performance will go a long way to easing the worries of Easter Road supporters in the wake of the departure of a string of high-profile players over the past few months.

He said: "It's understandable that the fans have been a bit anxious but they have to trust us and get behind the players we have. Their response last night was fantastic but we have to continue to produce the goods and ensure they continue to back us.

"The supporters are a big part of it, they know the way we want to play - fast-flowing football and scoring goals.

"That's what we are after and what we work to try to achieve Monday to Friday and then taking it on to the match. Free-flowing football is what we all want to watch and the style Hibs fans certainly want to watch.

"We scored three goals against a very good Premiership side and we could have scored more as we created six or seven other chances. I'd have been delighted with our performance against any team but Bolton give the Manchester Uniteds, the Chelseas, the Arsenals and Liverpools difficult games, no-one likes playing against them."

And, for Collins, Hibs' second goal epitomised the style of football he wants to see, full-backs David Murphy and Kevin McCann combining on the edge of the Bolton penalty area for the former Middlesbrough player to score.

He said: "I think that said everything about the way we want to play football. I don't want players classified as defenders, midfielders and strikers but as football players, all comfortable on the ball and capable of interchanging positions. "We had a terrific pass from Lewis Stevenson for Steven Fletcher to score the first goal, a wonderfully disguised pass from Kevin to David for the second and a typical piece of magic from Benji for the third."

Bolton manager Sammy Lee was making no excuses, instead praising the performance of Collins' side, revealing he knew exactly what to expect having come across the Hibs boss during a coaching course.

He said: "It was a great test for us but that's what these games are for.

"We came up against a very well-organised and disciplined Hibs side, an excellent team with great movement all over the park and some outstanding individual performances.

"I'm not one who slates the Scottish game, I have far too much respect for the people up here to generalise in that manner.

"I always knew we'd face a tough test because I know John Collins very well.

"I'd overseen a Pro-Licence course he was on and I knew he would have his team organised."

HIBS reserves will face Gala Fairydean at Netherdale tonight (kick-off 7.30pm).


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What does F1 spy verdict mean?

Interview: Spyker technical boss Mike Gascoyne

By Andrew Benson

If McLaren were found guilty on Thursday of possessing confidential Ferrari information, why have they not been penalised?

This is a very serious charge, and as such it carries very severe penalties, including being thrown out of the world championship.

Felipe Massa of Ferrari and McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso
Massa, Hamilton and Alonso can now rejoin their title battle
But to apply those penalties, governing body the FIA would need conclusive proof that McLaren had used that information to their benefit, and the FIA says that did not exist.

To impose in those circumstances the heaviest penalty of exclusion from the championship would risk a civil lawsuit, which the FIA would lose without cast-iron proof McLaren had used the information to their advantage. That would bring severe financial penalties to the FIA.

What exactly does being in "possession of Ferrari information" mean?

The ruling means that McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan has been found to have a 780-page document of confidential Ferrari technical information, and that as teams are responsible for the actions of their employees, McLaren technically broke the rules.

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But the FIA accepted McLaren's claim that they immediately suspended Coughlan as soon as they knew he had the Ferrari documents - and that at no point did the team use or benefit from the information in Coughlan's possession.

In a sworn affidavit as part of Ferrari's High Court case against him, Coughlan is reported to have said he showed the information to his colleagues, but they distanced themselves from the documents and insisted he destroy them. The ruling does not exclude that happening.

Ferrari, though, believe senior McLaren managers not only knew of the documents, but acted on them, too.

Are McLaren off the hook?

Not entirely.

If they produce any parts for their car that appear to be a copy of - or made with reference to - anything that was in the information possessed by Coughlan, they risk being called back in front of the FIA and handed a severe punishment.

Some in F1 suspect - and a suspicion is all it is - that some senior McLaren employees probably did know more about the Ferrari documents than the team is letting on

Equally, Ferrari are pursuing their lawsuits against Coughlan and their former performance director Nigel Stepney - who the team sacked because they believed he leaked the information to Coughlan.

If those lawsuits throw up any new information that incriminates McLaren, then Ferrari can take the issue back to the FIA.

Do people in F1 believe McLaren got away with it?

Opinion is split.

Some believe, as McLaren boss Ron Dennis has contended, that the episode is more about personal ambition than industrial espionage - that Stepney and Coughlan were unhappy with their current roles and wanted to get more lucrative jobs with greater profile elsewhere.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso leads Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen at the European Grand Prix
Ferrari believe McLaren benefited from confidential information
According to this view, McLaren were inadvertently dragged into - and incorrectly besmirched by - a saga that fundamentally had nothing to do with them as a team.

Others suspect - and a suspicion is all it is - that some senior McLaren employees probably did know more about the Ferrari documents than the team is letting on, and possibly even acted on that information.

If they did, would that have been wrong?

According to the rules, yes. But that is not the same as saying it does not ordinarily happen in F1.

Engineers frequently move from team to team, and inevitably take with them the knowledge of what they were working on before.

The problem with Ferrari's position is that their car was illegal

Equally, teams are constantly observing the cars of their rivals to try to establish whether a) there is a part they could benefit from; or b) there is anything potentially dodgy about them. In either case, once that knowledge is established, teams inevitably act on it.

What is rare, though, is an engineer from one team having in his possession what appears to be a document containing almost a complete technical breakdown of a rival's car - as Coughlan appears to have had on the Ferrari.

However, if a team did come across such information, many familiar with the workings of F1 believe that team would take some advantage from it.

So are Ferrari right to be angry?

If they are right about the way McLaren used the information, probably. If not, no.

Among Ferrari's claims is that Coughlan was tipped off before the start of the season in March about the design of their car's diffuser - where air from under the car exits out of the back.

In-depth: Inside an F1 car
The rules say this part must be rigid, but Ferrari's was flexing downwards, giving their car a marked aerodynamic advantage.

They say he passed that information on to McLaren colleagues, who passed the information on to the FIA, which then banned the diffuser.

It has not been made public how McLaren knew about the Ferrari floor.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis
McLaren boss Ron Dennis insists his team have acted with integrity
But this information is not relevant to the FIA charges against McLaren because it was separate from the documents - and pre-dates Coughlan getting them.

Equally, in sporting terms the problem with Ferrari's position on the diffuser is that their car was illegal.

And there will be widespread astonishment at Ferrari complaining about the FIA's decision "violating the principle of sporting honesty" given the number of times they have been involved in contentious behaviour in recent years.

On top of that, there have been numerous occasions over the years when Ferrari have successfully had parts on the McLaren car banned in a similar manner.

Are Stepney and Coughlan being used as fall-guys?

Stepney has said he believes so. And as far as both are concerned, certain things do not add up.

Given that Coughlan was in possession of such sensitive documents, it seems odd he was not more discreet about it

Ferrari claim they found out Coughlan had the information when they were phoned by an employee from a Surrey photocopying shop to which Coughlan's wife had taken them.

Yet, given that Coughlan was in possession of such sensitive documents, it seems odd he was not more discrete about it.

However, McLaren's decision to suspend Coughlan suggests the team are innocent. To kick an employee out, one would imagine a company would have to be sure he was guilty and they were not, otherwise he would have nothing to lose by talking about what really went on.

F1 is often a whirl of conspiracy theories - and this case has sent them into overdrive.

Some have even wondered aloud whether the whole spy saga was started by Ferrari as an attempt to discredit and/or penalise their arch rivals when they were beating them for the first time in years.

Uusually, though, conspiracy theories are found to be just that - and for now that is what they remain.

Is there more to come out?

Almost certainly. Ferrari are pursuing their court cases against Coughlan - in England - and Stepney - in Italy. It is hard to believe that more information about what has happened in the last few months will not come out.

How comfortable McLaren's senior managers feel about that only they know.

Have Ferrari made themselves vulnerable by so heavily criticising the FIA?

Theoretically, yes. In the past, teams and drivers have been hauled before the World Council to account for critical comments made about the FIA.

In practice, it is unlikely anything will happen to Ferrari in this case.


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Inter, the Valencia remains taboo Press Article Press article | Invia Article Sendes to article | Comments: 82 Di' yours Nerazzurri defeats 2-0 from the Spanish in the friendly one of lusso in the first day of the Emirates Cup 2007 to London. Spanish decidedly more ahead in the preparation: little mark them positi to you for Mancini Luis Figo (34 years) engaged against Ivan Helguera. Afp Luis Figo (34 years) engaged against Ivan Helguera. Afp LONDON, 28 July 2007 - Inter packed and sent back to the first examination of English. The occasion is the first day of the Emirates Cup 2007, in the splendid frame of the Emirates Stadium of London. The Spanish, that esordiranno in the Liga 28 August in house against the Villarreal (mix a lethal one for the tifosi nerazzurri) have shown themselves decidedly more in ball. FIRST TIME - the nerazzurri contracts leave decidedly: the young employ (four to you, two defenders and two centrocampisti) accuse the repercussion begin them of the important European stage. The ball remains constantly between the feet of the Spanish, in numerical superiority to centrocampo. To the 12 ' the net of the Valencia di Gavilan (to the left flight of) with complicity of Francisco Toldo, incapable to reject a shooting arrives not irresistibile. Materazzi pecked from the public for its old one passed to the Everton but above all for the declarations yesterday of the champion of the world (“Henry was worth half of the attack”), while to the 26 ' the first true danger carried to the poles of Canizares is signed from Cruz, launch from Ibrahimovic that exits little after touching the usual inguine: Adrian (34 enters hardly ') after an other risk for Toldo on conclusion of Villa. After the income of the Emperor pole of Maxwell to battered porter but to the 38 ' ugly memories for the colors nerazzurri: David Villa strikes a punishment from the limit that is threaded to low angles it to the left of Toldo, after is leggermente had from an other Spanish (Gavilan). In the end other danger blanketed from Toldo on an incursion of Joaquin. Technical tests of Mancini who withdraws Cesar in defense and door Maxwell in the centrocampo to three, with trequartista Figo. ACCORDING TO TIME - In start good sudden decision of Cruz on cross from the left of Maxwell; the income of Suazo seems risvegliare the offensive wefts of the nerazzurri. Turning it of substitutions from both the parts, Cruz wastes an optimal punishment then Baraja for two times arrives to the shooting, but without to create dangers. Around to the 75 ' a pair of incursions in speed of Suazo that it exchanges with Cruz but arrives little polishes to the conclusion towards the door. The game is dragged until to hisses final without other important episodes. FIGO - “the games like those of this afternoon, in the phase begin them of the season, serve in order to acquire possible the rhythm before contest - has said the Portuguese little minuteren after the end of the match -. The square is working strong and here in England we must complete first part of the job begun in withdrawal to Brunico”. Tomorrow challenge against the Arsenal for the second and last game of the Emirates Cup of the nerazzurri. FORMATIONS - INTER (4-4-2): Toldo (46 ' Julio Cesar); Philippine (46 ' Solar ones), Materazzi, Fatic, Maxwell; Figo (46 ' Dacourt), Maaroufi (46 ' Suazo), Bolzoni, Cesar (70 ' Jimenez); Ibrahimovic (34 ' Adrian), Cruz. All. Mancini. VALENCIA (4-2-3-1): Canizares; Caneira (66 ' Lillo), Helguera, Marchena, Moretti; Albelda (60 ' Sunny), Baraja; Joaquin (46 ' Angulo), Villa (46 ' Arizmendi), Gavilan (46 ' Mata); Silva (61 ' Morientes)


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Chivu: “Inter, more strongly” And endured it flies to London Press Article Press article | Invia Article Sendes to article | Comments: 193 Di' yours The romeno evening to Linate is disembarked yesterday, then the supper with Branch and the company of the contract in a from Milan restaurant. Today after the visits one will become a member of to the companions in tournée and will meet Moratti. Probable debut the first August Christian Chivu, 26 years, with Mark Branca to Milan. Bozzani Christian Chivu, 26 years, with Mark Branca to Milan. Bozzani ROME, 28 July 2007 - Cristian Chivu has passed its first from Milan night in a hotel of the center, but it has of already new the suitcase in hand. Today afternoon would have to leave to the time of England in order to become a member of to the new companions of the Inter. The nerazzurri, in fact, they have in program four Oltremanica contests with adversaries of all respect: they begin today with the Valencia, they will then follow Arsenal, Manchester United and Aston Villa. FIRST Chivu ASSAY, after to be exited from Linate around to midnight (“the Inter is the square more strongly of Italy. They are tired for the travel, but happiest to be finally to Milan. It is ended like I wanted, now I do not see the hour to meet the Moratti president”, it has said to Sky endured after the disembarkation), has gone to supper in a restaurant in the zone of Brera, with its proxies, the Becali siblings, with the director of the technical area interista Mark Branca and its collaborating strait Piero Ausilio, and with assistant manager general nerazzurro the Stefano Filucchi. It has officially signed the contract that the alloy to the Inter for five years and the 2,30, after to have rested with the new mesh, has gone to sleep. TODAY TO LONDON Today visits and in the afternoon the probable departure for London where it will probably meet the new companions and also the president Massimo Moratti, that it would have to catch up the nerazzurri tomorrow in order to assist to the contest with the Arsenal. Even if for the sordio of Chivu in nerazzurro the test with the Manchester United of the first August will have probably to be attended.


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Or Jogo: “Milan on Deco” Press Article Press article | Invia Article Sendes to article | Comments: 99 Di' yours The portuguese daily paper reveals that Ancelotti would have demanded to Berlusconi and Galliani the centrocampista of Barcelona, and the rossoneri would be ready to offer 25 million to the Catalans. It would be a new name regarding presumed Mister X Deco to relationship from Rijkaard in a training of Barcelona. Reuters Deco to relationship from Rijkaard in a training of Barcelona. Reuters LISBONA (Portugal), 26 July 2007 - the Milan would be making of all in order making sure the portuguese centrocampista of Barcelona Deco. True Mister X, or even the alternative than Motta, of which moreover it is similar of square. The portuguese daily paper Or Jogo is convinced some, second which the rossonero club would want to make sure the fantasista the first possible one and to strike therefore the competition of the Inter. Ancelotti would have manifested its interest for the player to Berlusconi and Galliani, within the end of this week would have to arrive the offer of the Milan to Barcelona and second Or Jogo would pile to 25 million euro, a third party of the rescissoria clause of the player, fixed to 75 million. TOO MUCH? Deco, 29 years, Portuguese been born in Brasi them, has a contract with the 30 the Catalan club until june 2010, but in the new iperoffensivo Barça - with Eto'o, Henry, Ronaldinho and Messi in ahead - the place in favor of players with greater propensioni to the interdiction could risk.

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We'll use your suggestion to improve translation quality in future updates to our system. Or Jogo: “Milan on Deco” Press Article Press article | Invia Article Sendes to article | Comments: 99 Di' yours The portuguese daily paper reveals that Ancelotti would have demanded to Berlusconi and Galliani the centrocampista of Barcelona, and the rossoneri would be ready to offer 25 million to the Catalans. It would be a new name regarding presumed Mister X Deco to relationship from Rijkaard in a training of Barcelona. Reuters Deco to relationship from Rijkaard in a training of Barcelona. Reuters LISBONA (Portugal), 26 July 2007 - the Milan would be making of all in order making sure the portuguese centrocampista of Barcelona Deco. True Mister X, or even the alternative than Motta, of which moreover it is similar of square. The portuguese daily paper Or Jogo is convinced some, second which the rossonero club would want to make sure the fantasista the first possible one and to strike therefore the competition of the Inter. Ancelotti would have manifested its interest for the player to Berlusconi and Galliani, within the end of this week would have to arrive the offer of the Milan to Barcelona and second Or Jogo would pile to 25 million euro, a third party of the rescissoria clause of the player, fixed to 75 million. TOO MUCH? Deco, 29 years, Portuguese been born in Brasi them, has a contract with the 30 the Catalan club until june 2010, but in the new iperoffensivo Barça - with Eto'o, Henry, Ronaldinho and Messi in ahead - the place in favor of players with greater propensioni to the interdiction could risk.

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E' one Lazio from high five Press Article Press article | Invia Article Sendes to article | Comments: 0 Di' yours Five nets to the Southampton (English series B) with doppiette of Mauri and Rocchi and goal of Pandev. And with a convincing, fluid and at times spectacular game Rocchi celebrated from the group after one of the two goals. G.Neri Rocchi celebrated from the group after one of the two goals. G.Neri SOUTHAMPTON (England), 28 July 2007 - Goleada of the Lazio in England. Against the Southampton, formation that is about to dispute to the Championship (championship equivalent to our series B), the Red square of confirmation of being already in optimal conditions of shape. It marks five goal, others it grazes some and of it embeds a single pair thanks to as many gifts of the Taylor arbitrator. The heads of household, in fact, succeed to too much attenuate to the dimensions of the defeat in virtue of two rigors granted with end good will from the contest director. PADORONI OF the FIELD - Well the Lazio above all in the first time. Biancocelesti masters of the field and maneuver that slides at times fluid and spectacular. After hardly six minuteren the Roman thanks to the nets of Pandev are already on the 2-0 (on punishment) and Mauri. Then around the quarter of hour Rocchi is unblocked also that rounds off the score on 3-0. Therefore, to horse of the mezzora, the first net of the heads of household from the floppy disk (Jones) comes endured made useless from the net of Mauri (but the merit of the goal is of Pandev). In the resumption cove the rhythm of the square of Red, but the Southampton does not succeed to be useful of. Us an other rigor wants therefore in order to make to scaldare little tifosi of house (transforms it Rasiak). But the game is not reopened because some minute after still thinks Rocchi to us to punish the defended glad of the English square.



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Ronaldinho enjoys himself in the Edinburgh sun...

Ronaldinho sparkle warms record crowd


EXCELLENT crowd, moderate match, disappointing atmosphere. Given the scale of the build-up, an element of anti-climax to this friendly was almost inevitable, but the occasion would not have fallen quite so flat had Hearts been able to sustain a challenge.

Instead, Barcelona played more incisively than they had done against Dundee United, and controlled the game pretty much from start to finish. Players of such artistry can be exciting, but they can also use their skill to close down a match, and once they were two goals up Barcelona ensured there would be no way back for their opponents.

Not that they should be blamed for doing so. They provided a fair amount of entertainment, particularly through Ronaldinho in the first half and teenagers Giovanni and Bojan after the break, but their visit to Scotland was also a serious part of their pre-season preparations: for all their extravagant skills, the Catalan team were never going to treat their mini-tour as the footballing equivalent of a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition.

It is no disgrace to lose to a team of such quality, and Hearts at least showed some enterprise during stages of the first half. They should in fact have gone 2-1 ahead ten minutes before the break when Michael Stewart put Audrius Ksanavicius through on goal, but the trialist's weak effort was easily gathered by Victor Valdes.

The Scottish side lost most of their cohesion after the break, when they ended up with an entirely different team, but the worrying thing for the home support was the lack of any viable shape to the side in the first half too. Stewart and Laryea Kingston played well enough in midfield, and could become an effective partnership in the SPL; but, with Kingston facing suspension from the opening weeks of the league, there is only so much Stewart can be expected to do on his own. He needs support, and it is not clear yet where that support is going to come from.

Hearts' rustiness looks especially glaring when contrasted with the pre-season progress made by Hibs, whom they play a week today in their first fixture of the new season. Stephen Frail, the assistant coach, implicitly acknowledged more team-shaping work was required when he said afterwards that they would look into the possibility of arranging another match this week.

Frail hopes to have his own position clarified this week by the club's owner, Vladimir Romanov. He believes he and Anatoly Korobochka, the interim head coach, work well together and deserve to have their roles confirmed. But the joker in the pack is Eduard Malofeev, the "advisor on sports matters to the board" whose brief spell in charge of the first team was markedly unsuccessful. Malofeev took training when the squad were in Germany and Austria, and appears to retain at least some of Romanov's trust. "He won't be back in a coach's role," Frail said, before adding that he was sure Malofeev would still "pop in" to the club every so often.

Going back to Saturday's match, the Edinburgh club obviously hope that some of those attracted to Murrayfield will decide to pop in to more Hearts matches from time to time. There were of course a lot of neutrals in the new record crowd for a Hearts home game of 57,857, but even by the most conservative of estimates the number of Hearts supporters was considerably greater than the 17,000 which is the current capacity of Tynecastle.

Away from such showpiece occasions as the visit of one of the world's greatest clubs, however, the obvious way to attract bigger crowds to Hearts matches is by having a successful product on the pitch. With several experienced players still on the injury list, Frail and Korobochka still have a lot to do to find a convincing line-up for the start of the SPL campaign.

Juho Makela, the Finnish striker, is one who should be considered for a regular start. Although beginning the game in a wide midfield berth, he looked sharper than Andrius Velicka, who was playing up front on his own.

It was Makela who brought Hearts back into the game when he scored from a corner after Barça's account had been opened by a Ronaldinho penalty - a debatable award by Dougie McDonald after Gianluca Zambrotta had gone down following a challenge by Ksanavicius. The Brazilian got a straightforward second with a header from a Sylvinho cross not long before half-time, then after five minutes of the second half Thierry Henry provided the pass from which Giovanni scored to ensure Barcelona's record in Scotland would be played two, won two.

Hearts: Gordon (Banks 75), Karipidis (R McGowan 84), Berra (Neilson 46), Zaliukas (Jonsson 68), Wallace (Elliot 58), Makela (Ivaskevicius 46), Tall (Pospisil 58), Kingston (Palazuelos 46), Stewart (Mikoliunas 46), Ksanavicius (McCann 46), Velicka (Beniusis 46).

Barcelona: Valdes (Jorquera 46), Thuram (Crosas 73), Presas, Toure (Thiago Motta 65), Zambrotta (Belletti 46), Ezquerro (Bojan 46), Xavi (Delgado 86), Iniesta (Deco 46), Sylvinho (Abidal 46), Eto'o (Henry 46), Ronaldinho (Giovanni 46).
Barça could return, says Rijkaard

BARCELONA coach Frank Rijkaard has declared the club's pre-season training camp a success and says he would love to bring the team back to Scotland.

The Catalan club spent the week based in St Andrews and flew home on Saturday night following their win over Hearts. They also played Dundee United at Tannadice last Thursday, winning 1-0.

On the prospect of a return to Scotland, Rijkaard said: "I wouldn't say we had a wonderful time if it wasn't true, but it is. I think that the players have had this experience, that we are welcome here and that we have the circumstances to work really well. Later on, you never know what's going to happen. If it's my decision, then, yeah - we have to come back up here."

Barcelona were comfortable winners at Murrayfield but Rijkaard paid tribute to Hearts. "I think they gave us a hard time, especially in the first half," he told Hearts News. "I think we controlled the game, though. But I think that we had good opposition, a good crowd, it was a nice atmosphere to play in, and so it was a good test case for us."

Barcelona begin the second stage of their pre-season on Thursday when they fly to the Far East for games in China, Japan and Hong Kong.


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Celtic finally give supporters reason to cheer


AIDEN McGeady ensured Celtic's pre-season programme ended on a positive note yesterday as the Scottish champions produced reasonably persuasive evidence they are ready for the defence of their title.

The Republic of Ireland international winger, who has stated his personal desire to be more productive in front of goal in the new campaign, struck five minutes from time to earn Celtic a merited victory over Parma in their final friendly fixture.

The improvement in McGeady's level of performance was matched by most of his team-mates following last Thursday night's 4-1 defeat by Newcastle United at St James' Park and an appreciative crowd enjoyed passages of eye-catching football from their team in which summer signings Massimo Donati and Scott Brown were prominent.

Manager Gordon Strachan would also be gratified by what was only Celtic's second clean sheet in their eight pre-season games as his back four, in front of deputy goalkeeper Mark Brown, looked far more solid and assured.

Donati and Scott Brown were greeted enthusiastically by the home supporters as they made their first appearances for the club at Celtic Park and the central midfield duo responded with far livelier and more effective displays than they had managed in Newcastle.

Donati, while effectively inheriting former captain Neil Lennon's role as the anchorman in midfield, showed plenty of appetite to get into forward positions and the £3 million recruit from AC Milan drove Celtic's first attempt on goal just wide of the target after good build-up work from full-back Mark Wilson.

Stephen McManus, again wearing the skipper's armband, should have given Celtic the lead when he found himself unmarked in the penalty area to get on the end of Lee Naylor's free-kick from the left. The big defender had the goal at his mercy, but contrived to guide his free header wide of Luca Bucci's right-hand post.

Parma, while some way behind Celtic in terms of their pre-season preparations, looked fairly sharp and did not lack ambition or aggression. Mark Brown had to react quickly to keep out a powerful shot from Daniele Dessena, but the keeper was less convincing shortly afterwards when he dropped a barely threatening effort from Andrea Pisanu and had to scramble to retrieve the situation just ahead of onrushing Brazilian forward Reginaldo.

Celtic missed another premium scoring opportunity after an excellent flowing move involving both Donati and Scott Brown. The ball eventually found its way to McGeady, whose shot was parried by Bucci straight into the path of the unmarked Maciej Zurawski, only for the Polish striker to wastefully drive his shot wide of the target.

Just before half-time, Scott Brown further endeared himself to the Celtic supporters, if not to referee Iain Brines, with an example of the combative attitude he marries so vibrantly to his technical aptitude.

The young Scotland international was involved in an acrimonious fracas with Parma defender Fernando Couto, with the Portuguese player's team-mates angrily surrounding Brown and claiming he had struck out with an elbow. When Brines restored order, he booked both Brown and Couto.

Both the pace and flow of the match were diminished in the second half by an avalanche of substitutions, but Celtic were generally the more cohesive and slicker side. Scott Brown was moved to the right flank to swap positions with Paul Hartley.

It seemed as if they would be frustrated in their efforts to make a breakthrough, however. Bucci made a tremendous save to keep out a fine header from the otherwise out-of-touch Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, the keeper arching backwards to flick the ball over the crossbar. From the resulting corner taken by Donati, John Kennedy should have done better than head over from close range.

When McGeady hit the crossbar with a wonderfully struck free-kick from 22 yards in the 80th minute, it appeared Celtic would have to content themselves with parity and the knowledge they had been given a good work-out.

But the Parma goal was finally breached when a long throw-in from Hartley caused confusion in the visitors' defence.

Substitute Kenny Miller's attempted overhead kick saw the ball break kindly for McGeady, who turned and buried a first-time right-foot shot low beyond Bucci into the corner of the net.

Celtic: M Brown, Wilson (Caddis 77), Kennedy, McManus, Naylor; McGeady, Donati (Caldwell 82), Brown, Hartley; Zurawski (Killen 71), Vennegoor of Hesselink (Miller 77). Subs not used: McGovern, Riordan, Jarosik, McDonald, Gravesen, Pressley, Balde.

Parma: Bucci, Coly (Ferronetti 46), Couto (Paci 46), Rossi (Contini 68), Castellini (Bochetti 68); Dessena, Cigarini (Parravicini 46), Morrone; Reginaldo (Gasbarroni 77), Budan (Papone 68), Pisanu (Tombesi 68). Subs not used: Virgili.


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Hibs triumph with minimum fuss


WHILE Hearts rubbed shoulders with the superstars of Barcelona, Hibs went about their business in a customary low-key, but satisfactory, fashion at Easter Road on Saturday.

Young striker Ross Campbell is making a habit of scoring in warm-up matches against English opposition and followed up his only other first-team goal - against Charlton last summer - with a last-minute winner to claim victory over Middlesbrough.

Former Chelsea winger Filipe Morais, whose signing was confirmed as the players left the field, came close to a debut goal at the end of a half-hour cameo performance which suggested he would fit into the entertaining style of play favoured by manager John Collins and assistant Tommy Craig.

The visitors may be a week behind in their preparations for the new term but, coupled with Wednesday's 3-0 triumph over Bolton, Hibs fans were enticed into proclaiming their confidence for the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League opener at Hearts with choruses of 'Bring on the Jambos'.

Collins was careful not to follow suit, however. "I was delighted with the victory," he said. "We started the game a bit sloppy, our passing was not as it should have been. But we got going when a few of them could have gone into their shells. It's pleasing, but we're not getting carried away, we're keeping our feet firmly on the ground and the real work begins next week."

Having fielded a potential first-choice line-up against Bolton, Collins opted to leave out skipper Rob Jones, Abdessalam Benjelloun, Merouane Zemmama and Guillaume Beuzelin for the start against Middlesbrough.

All were introduced after the break, adding a fresh impetus, which eventually led to Campbell's late winner when he bundled in Benjelloun's precise left-footed cross with his knee from four yards.

With Steven Fletcher and David Murphy having come within inches of an opener in a first half where Hibs recovered well from a shaky start, Benjelloun was twice denied by Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones after the interval.

At the other end, Yves Ma-Kalambay provided a solid defence with a new-found confidence and youngsters Lewis Stevenson, Kevin McCann and Ross Chisholm showed they will all be key components in Collins' new-look squad this season.

Morais almost stole the show with a drive three minutes from time which Jones had to claw away from his top corner and the Portugal Under-21 international, Collins' seventh summer signing, could be joined by further fresh faces before the Edinburgh derby. Collins added: "Filipe is Hibs' type of player. He's got great technique, a good turn of pace, a powerful shot and is only 21, so he's only going to get better. He's a winger and wants to get forward, and the fans like to see that.

"I still think the squad needs two more to complete it. I've got a couple in mind and we should find out in the next week to ten days whether they are coming."

On a less positive note, an ankle injury looks likely to keep Republic of Ireland midfielder Alan O'Brien out of the trip to Tynecastle a week today, for which Steven Whittaker is also missing through suspension.

Hibs: Ma-Kalambay; McCann (Lynch 75), Joneleit, Hogg, Murphy (Jones 68); Shiels (Zemmama 57), Kerr (Gathuessi 46), Chisholm (Beuzelin 57), Stevenson (Morais 61); Fletcher (Benjelloun 46), Donaldson (Campbell 75). Subs not used: McNeil, McCormack.

Middlesbrough: Jones, Young (Hines 61), Davies, Wheater, Taylor; Tuncay, Morrison (Euell 61), Boateng (Kennedy 87), Arca, Downing (Cattermole 84); Yakubu (Grounds 84). Subs not used: Craddock, Knight.


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Rooney fractures foot and United stumble


WAYNE Rooney suffered a suffered a hairline fracture of his left foot as Manchester United stumbled at the first hurdle in their Barclays Premier League title defence, held to an Old Trafford draw by ten-man Reading.
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It would be a big surprise if the striker was not sidelined for a couple of months at least. Certainly, he will miss United's forthcoming Premier League encounters with Portsmouth and Manchester City, plus England's friendly with Germany on 22 August.

In all probability England coach Steve McClaren will also be without his first-choice striker for the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia at the beginning of next month.

Rooney went down immediately after Michael Duberry had accidentally landed on his foot and he then failed to reappear for the second half.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: "There was no point in him continuing because there was a lot of swelling and he had quite a lot of pain."

A hospital visit later confirmed supporters' worst fears. Even at the age of 21, Rooney has already suffered two broken metatarsal, one of which hampered his appearances at the 2006 World Cup finals.

The striker's injury aside, the damage of the draw was all too apparent to Manchester United. With Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all scrambling victories from their opening fixtures, United immediately find themselves adrift after a game of missed chances. Not even the dismissal of Dave Kitson, just 37 seconds after his introduction as a second-half substitute, could provide the opening United so desperately searched for.

Twelve months ago, United struck four times in the opening 20 minutes against Fulham, setting the tone for a glorious campaign which ended with their ninth Premier League title.

Having seen all their major rivals collect three points over the weekend, the demand was there, if not for something similar, then for an effective, clinical, and winning performance.

This time round though it was just a painful struggle. While Rooney buzzed around dangerously, Ryan Giggs prodded and probed and Cristiano Ronaldo - man-marked by Nicky Shorey - threatened after a slow start, United did not really trouble Reading goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.

After the injury to Rooney, the only positive for Ferguson was that his replacement, £17 million new boy Nani, has caused plenty of havoc himself during pre-season.

Yet, with Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer injured, Ronaldo found himself in the rather uncomfortable position of central striker. Within 12 minutes of the restart he was joined by another unlikely forward in John O'Shea after Mikael Silvestre limped off. The Irish international has been used in a variety of roles during his United career - including in goal at Tottenham last season. Never before had O'Shea been asked to play up front though, even if his goals at Liverpool and Everton last term proved crucial to United's ultimate triumph. O'Shea did manage to force Hahnemann into an instinctive save after Ronaldo and Paul Scholes had combined to set him up but a dramatic contest was given another twist 18 minutes from time when Kitson flew in at Evra with his studs raised.

Kitson had been on the field for only 37 seconds, but referee Rob Styles had no hesitation in brandishing the red card. United launched into a furious assault, peppering the Reading goal.

The best chance arrived in the final minutes when Darren Fletcher nodded Nani's cross in Scholes path.

The former England star looked certain to score but, from seven yards, headed straight at Hahnemann.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown (Fletcher 77), Ferdinand, Vidic, Silvestre (O'Shea 57), Ronaldo, Scholes, Carrick, Evra, Giggs, Rooney (Nani 46). Subs not used: Kuszczak, Pique.

Reading: Hahnemann, De la Cruz, Ingimarsson, Duberry, Shorey, Murty, Ki-Hyeon (Oster 57), Harper, Gunnarsson, Hunt (Bikey 87), Doyle (Kitson 72). Subs not used: Federici, Cisse. Sent off: Kitson (73).


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Mourinho on course for 100 home wins

Chelsea 3
Pizarro (17), Malouda (31), Essien (50)

Birmingham City 2
Forssell (15), Kapo (36)
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JOSE Mourinho has set his sights on a century of unbeaten league games at home after Chelsea beat Birmingham to take him to 99.

His last league loss at home came in 2002 when Beira Mar beat his Porto team, and avoiding defeat against Portsmouth later this month will see him reach his ton. "I'm on 99 and I hope my friend Harry Redknapp doesn't kill my record in the next game at home because I would love to reach 100," said Mourinho.

Claudio Pizarro and Florent Malouda scored on their home debuts after Mikael Forssell had put Birmingham ahead, although goalkeeper Colin Doyle should have kept out Chelsea's first strike. Olivier Kapo levelled for the visitors nine minutes before the interval, but Michael Essien grabbed the winner, with Doyle palming his effort into the top corner of the net.

Scotland striker Garry O'Connor was an unused sub for City.


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Mourinho on course for 100 home wins

Chelsea 3
Pizarro (17), Malouda (31), Essien (50)

Birmingham City 2
Forssell (15), Kapo (36)
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JOSE Mourinho has set his sights on a century of unbeaten league games at home after Chelsea beat Birmingham to take him to 99.

His last league loss at home came in 2002 when Beira Mar beat his Porto team, and avoiding defeat against Portsmouth later this month will see him reach his ton. "I'm on 99 and I hope my friend Harry Redknapp doesn't kill my record in the next game at home because I would love to reach 100," said Mourinho.

Claudio Pizarro and Florent Malouda scored on their home debuts after Mikael Forssell had put Birmingham ahead, although goalkeeper Colin Doyle should have kept out Chelsea's first strike. Olivier Kapo levelled for the visitors nine minutes before the interval, but Michael Essien grabbed the winner, with Doyle palming his effort into the top corner of the net.

Scotland striker Garry O'Connor was an unused sub for City.


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McLeish praises his super-sub as Boyd stakes claim for starting berth

Scotland 1, South Africa 0

ALEX McLeish last night savoured his fourth win in five matches as Scotland manager and tipped successful debutants Jay McEveley and Barry Robson to play a significant role in the remainder of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
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Kris Boyd stepped off the substitutes' bench to grab the only goal of the challenge match against South Africa at Pittodrie and while McLeish admitted his experimental team were outplayed at times by the visitors, he considered it a fully worthwhile exercise after Derby County left-back McEveley and Dundee United midfielder Robson impressed in their first appearances for the country.

"You are always happy to win any game and keep a clean sheet in the process," said McLeish. "We got a bit of a chasing in the first part of the first half, to be honest. South Africa were sharp and slick, so we had to re-organise. Plan B paid off.

"It keeps our momentum going towards the qualifier against Lithuania next month and there were some good performances out there. Jay McEveley slotted into the left-back position really well. He made a fantastic recovery tackle for us on one occasion when South Africa had cut us open. Jay didn't do himself any harm at all tonight.

"Barry Robson also never looked fazed by it when he came on in the second half and also did a good defensive job for us when he cleared an effort off the line. I like players like Barry who feel they can handle it at this level and say so. Why not have that belief? He has integrated into the squad well.

"There was a lot to take from it. The back four we had out there had very little international experience, but Alan Hutton and Jay were exceptional on the flanks and Stephen McManus and Russell Anderson are two central defenders with tremendous club experience who we trust.

"It was also great to see Kris Boyd come off the bench and get the goal. He preys on defences dropping close to their goal and he lives off the shoulder of defenders. If he gets the kind of terrific service he did with that pass from Darren Fletcher, then the chances are Kris will score nine times out of ten.

"He has a great scoring record for Scotland, better than one every two games, and we also have increased competition for striking places now. We have seen strikers similar to Kris through the years, guys like Ally McCoist and Tony Cottee. People always wanted something extra from them, but guys who can put the ball in the net the way they can are few and far between." Boyd's goal was his sixth for his country in only ten appearances, five of which have been as a substitute.

Carlos Alberto Parreira, the South African coach, generously said Scotland deserved the victory but the veteran Brazilian was unhappy at Russell Anderson's challenge on striker Subisiso Zuma which earned the Sunderland defender a booking and saw the visiting player taken off on a stretcher.

"It was a bad foul from behind," said Parreira, "and it shouldn't happen in this kind of game. The match was fair otherwise, but we lost out main striker after just ten minutes because of that.

"I think the result was fair, but I was pleased with the performance of my team. It was good for them to be exposed to playing a team of Scotland's style.

"As I say, Scotland are very direct and that's fine because it is the way they want to play. Scotland should keep that way and they have possibilities to qualify for the European Championships."

McLeish defended Anderson's actions, insisting: "I spoke to Mr Parreira after the game and asked him how Zuma was. He said he was okay and didn't complain about the tackle. It was a strong challenge, but it happens in the game. Russell is not a malicious player, he is hard but fair."

Boyd said he was hoping to reclaim his place in the Scotland starting line-up for the next European Championship qualifiers. Kenny Miller and Garry O'Connor started in attack last night but could not make the breakthrough between them.

Boyd said: "We were fortunate when I came on, a chance just fell to me and I put it away. Hopefully I can get myself back in. I said that yesterday, it was my main aim to get myself back into the starting line-up, obviously for club before country."

Pleased by his goal, Boyd added: "I managed to stay onside. I managed to put it away. It was a great ball from Darren Fletcher in the first place and I managed to get on the end of it."

Miller added: "It was a brilliant result. They were a great team but once we got to grips with them in the second half I thought we did really well. It was a great goal from Kris. You know he's going to give you that. He's had a hard start to the season but his goalscoring has never been in doubt."


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Keane welcomes Cole to Sunderland

Keane welcomes Cole to Sunderland

ANDY Cole has completed his move to Sunderland after signing a one-year deal. The 35-year-old striker put pen to paper yesterday afternoon after passing a medical, and although he will not be involved in today's Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool, he is eager to take up his new challenge.

He told the club's official website, "I'm very excited to be here. It is another challenge and hopefully I can use my experience to help the young players at the club. I had a few options and I just thought this is a good one. I want to get a good week or ten days' training under my belt and go from there."
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Sunderland head for Luton in the Carling Cup second round on Tuesday and then for Old Trafford in the league next weekend, handing Cole the chance of an emotional return to his former club.

In his time at Old Trafford, Cole collected five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a Champions League winners' medal. He has 188 Premier League goals, second only to Alan Shearer.

Sunderland manager and former United team-mate Roy Keane said: "He has had a fair few clubs, but I have played with Andy and been in the same dressing room and I know he likes to win. He is someone I have always got on all right with - it might be different now I am a manager, that might change.

"But a player with Andy's history - you look at his goals record and his experience, and he is someone we had to consider.

"People might say Andy is not a great talker and a big talker, but his actions and what he does on the training pitch, his movement will be important. He is quite happy to disagree with people and I don't mind that. But his experience will be vital."

Meanwhile, Keane has leapt to the defence of the under-fire Rob Styles and his refereeing colleagues. Keane, 36, freely admits he was the scourge of officials during his playing career. But, in the wake of Styles' high-profile punishment for his error in awarding Chelsea a crucial penalty at Liverpool last Sunday - he will not take charge of a game this weekend - Keane has called for pressure on referees to be eased.

He said: "I know it might sound crazy, but I do believe a lot of people are putting too much pressure on the referees. I know I did as a player, but that was then. The pressures are pretty intense, but that's the way of the world, it's not going to change. I do not really speak about referees after the game. You do need a cooling off period.

And I am a great believer that these things pan out over the season."


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Released Murray wants central role at Norwich

NORWICH City new boy Ian Murray has told manager Peter Grant he wants to be central to the club's plans. Murray completed his move from Rangers to Carrow Road yesterday, having been released by the Ibrox club.

The Scotland international, who has six caps for his country, did not have the Rangers career he had hoped for after joining from Hibernian, where he was captain, in 2005. He struggled with reactive arthritis last season and has been squeezed out of the first-team squad this year. But he is now fit to play again, with his own ideas about where he should be deployed.
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"I quite like it at centre-half and midfield, although I'm not so keen playing at full-back," he said, "although I'll play wherever the manager wants me."

Murray, 26, becomes Norwich boss Grant's ninth signing of the summer and could go straight into the squad for today's trip to Hull.

Murray said: "I knew Norwich were interested last week, so it's good to get it all sorted out now.

"I knew Norwich were a big club before I even got here, because they've obviously played in the Premiership - and it's a good city too where the people are passionate about their football. It's an exciting move for me."

Meanwhile, Carrow Road striker Ryan Jarvis has moved to Scotland - after securing a loan deal with Kilmarnock.

Jarvis, 21, takes the place of Paul di Giacomo in the Rugby Park squad after manager Jim Jefferies let the 25-year-old move to Partick Thistle, also on loan.

Jefferies said: "He's done very well whenever I've seen him recently. It's good for us to bring a new face into the club and it's good for the boy to have a chance to play first-team football.

"You only have to look at the examples of Anthony Stokes and Kasper Schmeichel at Falkirk to see how a move like this can benefit clubs and players."

Jarvis could make his Kilmarnock debut in today's Rugby Park clash with Rangers in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.


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McClaren warns Robinson to tough it out

ENGLAND coach Steve McClaren has challenged Paul Robinson to be "tough enough" to withstand the criticism that has accompanied his miserable Wembley howler on Wednesday evening.

Robinson's position as England's undisputed first-choice goalkeeper is under severe threat following the blunder which gifted Germany the equaliser in their 2-1 victory.
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The 27-year-old has retained McClaren's confidence throughout a spell of poor form which was triggered by a mishap against Croatia last October when an unfortunate bobble meant he aimed a fresh air shot at a Gary Neville back-pass which rolled past him into the net.

Robinson's below-par performances have continued this term, with Sky TV pundit Andy Gray singling the Tottenham Hotspur man out for criticism after he was beaten by a long-range Alan Stubbs free-kick in the home defeat to Everton a week ago.

The former Leeds player must now bounce back from another major misjudgement when, instead of taking the easy option of palming Bernd Schneider's cross over his own bar on Wednesday, he pushed it back out into play - straight into the path of Kevin Kuranyi, who promptly tapped home from six yards.

At a time when England were ahead and in control, the incident changed the course of the game - with German coach Joachim Loew pinpointing the equaliser as the obvious moment which launched the visitors towards their win.

McClaren has refused to condemn Robinson. But the coach knows the reaction his goalkeeper is likely to face - and how he expects him to respond.

"Individual players have to be tough enough to take the rough with the smooth," said McClaren. "When you get criticism - which, no doubt, he will get - you have to take it and show your reaction on the park."

In the aftermath of his error, Robinson admitted he was "hurting" - and McClaren acknowledged the player was a subdued figure in the dressing-room afterwards. "Paul is obviously disappointed," added the manager.

"It is only natural he felt that way, because he believed he could have done more for the first goal. That is what happens when you make mistakes."

The inescapable truth for McClaren as he formulates his strategy for the crucial Euro 2008 qualifier with Israel on 8 September is that, while he can excuse Robinson a game-changing blunder in a friendly, a repeat in the five-game battle for qualification over the next two months could prove disastrous.

That goes not just for England's hopes of reaching Austria and Switzerland next summer, but for the coach's own job prospects as well.

David James' international career has hardly been mistake free, but his Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp is not alone in believing the 37-year-old is the best goalkeeper available to England.

James had little to do after his introduction as a half-time substitute against Germany. But McClaren must be tempted to stick with the veteran - knowing what a destabilising effect a goalkeeper lacking in confidence, as Robinson appears to be, can have on an entire defensive unit.

So, all eyes will fall on James in Portsmouth's visit to Chelsea tomorrow and the trip to Arsenal a week on Sunday to see if he can have England's No1 shirt for keeps. "I want that to be for me doing well and not at the expense of someone else not doing well," said James.

"Ultimately, everyone in the England squad wants to play. So between now and the next squad [announcement] I'll be trying to do what I can to jog the manager's mind and hopefully get a shout. I wasn't expecting to play [against Germany] so this was a major achievement in my book.

"Hopefully in the next two weeks I will give myself another opportunity to be in the next squad. If the opportunity to play arises I am up for it of course."

Although it would be easy to look at the 2-1 scoreline and condemn England - especially because the Germans were without a host of key players, including Michael Ballack - the minor boos at the end were unjustified. John Terry, David Beckham and Michael Owen all got valuable match practice under their belts; Joe Cole was dangerous, and Shaun Wright-Phillips' late cameo suggested he will be a major threat against tiring defences.

The anticipated return of Steven Gerrard and Owen Hargreaves next month will strengthen England's midfield immeasurably and should help erase the sloppy passing which undermined Wednesday night's effort.

1 Ray Clemence allowed tame Kenny Dalglish effort through his legs to gift Scotland a 2-1 win at Hampden Park in 1976.

2 Robert Green missed the 2006 World Cup with a ruptured groin after sclaffing a goal-kick to Belarus striker Vitaly Kutuzov, who scored in a 2-1 'B' team win.

3 David James let a long-range shot from Andy Ivanschitz squirm through his arms in a 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw in Austria three years ago.

4 Peter Bonetti replaced the ill Gordon Banks in the 1970 World Cup quarter-final against West Germany and conceded three goals in the last 20 minutes of the 3-2 defeat.

5 Paul Robinson's wayward slice will forever ensure Gary Neville is credited with an own goal in Croatia last year.

6 David Seaman was left in tears after a long-range Ronaldinho free-kick floated over him in the 2002 World Cup quarter-final.

7 Peter Shilton allowed Poland striker Jan Domarski's shot between his legs in 1973 as a 1-1 draw denied England a place in the World Cup finals.

8 Ian Walker's England career flopped when a Gianfranco Zola strike for Italy went in at the near post in 1997.


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Chelsea bring in Barca's Belletti

CHELSEA'S search for a right-back has finished with the signing of Juliano Belletti from Barcelona on a three-year deal.

After declaring an interest in Dani Alves but not agreeing a fee with Sevilla, Chelsea closed in on Belletti - underlining chairman Bruce Buck's insistence that they would not be held to ransom in any transfer deal.
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Buck has also described Arjen Robben's move to Real Madrid as a "very good business result", with Jose Mourinho's squad taking shape as Chelsea look to win back the Premier League title.

Robben's move to Spain is worth around double the £12million Chelsea paid PSV Eindhoven in 2004 for the Holland winger - a healthy return for a player who did not want to stay at Stamford Bridge.

"Value is not the right word - we had a very good business result there," said Buck.

"We pretty much doubled our money in terms of the transfer fee we paid three years ago."

Chelsea's transfer policy has shifted since Roman Abramovich first became owner, with chief executive Peter Kenyon outlining in the summer that money is available for the right players at the right price.

"It goes both ways in terms of not being held ransom, in respect to players we might be selling and not being held ransom in respect to players we might be buying," said Buck.

"In all those situations we are looking to get the price we think is appropriate, either buying a player or selling a player."

Buck added: "In the first year we spent quite a bit of money because we felt we had catch-up to do.

"Always, the plan was for the amount we spent on aggregate for transfers each 'window' to go down every time. It has.

"It just makes sense for the club - we're looking to bring more players through the academy, which takes time to implement."


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Confirmed Transfers

Confirmed Transfers
Date Name Type From Team To Team Pos.
Sep 2007 Quincy Owusu Abeyie Loan FC Spartak Moskva - Russia Celta de Vigo - Spain Forward
Sep 2007 Alaa kalaf mansour Full Al Talaba - Iraq Al Quwa Al Jawiya - Iraq Forward
Sep 2007 Mohammed Kalaf Mansour Full Al Talaba - Iraq Al Quwa Al Jawiya - Iraq Midfield
Sep 2007 Nizar Khalfan Signed contract AlTtadamon - Kuwait Midfield
Sep 2007 Danny Mrwanda Signed contract AlTtadamon - Kuwait Forward
Sep 2007 Bonaventure Kalou Full Lens - France Al-Jazira - United Arab Emirates Forward
Sep 2007 Ziad Sha’abo Full Piroozi (Perspolis) - Iran Al-Karamah - Syria Forward
Sep 2007 Augustine (Jay Jay) Okocha Full Qatar - Qatar Hull City - England Midfield
Sep 2007 Mohammed Kallon Full Monaco - France Al-Arabi - Qatar Forward
Sep 2007 Vincent Candela Retired Messina - Italy Defense
Sep 2007 Mubarak Al-Khaleefah Full Al-Khaleej - Saudi Arabia Hajer - Saudi Arabia Forward
Sep 2007 Full al-Swab - Saudi Arabia Hajer - Saudi Arabia Forward
Sep 2007 Bosko JANKOVIC Full Real Mallorca - Spain Palermo - Italy Midfield
Sep 2007 Moustapha Salifou Full Brest - France Aston Villa - England Midfield
Sep 2007 SEOUL Ki Hyeon Full Reading - England Fulham - England Forward
Sep 2007 Mattia Biso Loan Catania - Italy Spezia - Italy Midfield
Sep 2007 Krisztian Vadocz Full Auxerre - France N.E.C. Nijmegen - Netherlands Midfield
Sep 2007 Daniele De Vezze Full Messina - Italy Livorno - Italy Midfield
Sep 2007 Gabriele Cioffi Loan Torino - Italy Ascoli - Italy Defense
Sep 2007 Christian Nade Full Sheffield United - England Hearts - Scotland Forward
Sep 2007 Andrea Ranocchia Full A C Arezzo - Italy Fiorentina - Italy Defense
Sep 2007 Ruben De la Red Loan Real Madrid - Spain Getafe - Spain Midfield
Sep 2007 Adrian Gonzalez Loan Real Madrid - Spain Celta de Vigo - Spain Midfield
Sep 2007 Sam Sodje Loan Reading - England Charlton Athletic - England Midfield
Sep 2007 Tchite Mohamed Full RSC Anderlecht - Belgium Racing de Santander - Spain Forward
Sep 2007 McDonald Mariga Loan Helsingborg - Sweden Parma - Italy Midfield
Sep 2007 Jadid Abderrazzak Loan Brescia - Italy Cesena - Italy Midfield
Sep 2007 Liam Rosenior Full Fulham - England Reading - England Defense
Sep 2007 Mirco Gasparetto Full Genoa - Italy Chievo Verona - Italy Forward
Sep 2007 Maximiliano Pellegrino Loan Vélez Sarsfield - Argentina Atalanta - Italy Defense
Sep 2007 Mounir el Hamdaoui Full Willem II Tilburg - Netherlands AZ Alkmaar - Netherlands Forward
Sep 2007 EDGAR ALVAREZ Loan Roma - Italy Livorno - Italy Defense
Sep 2007 Danny Szetela Full Columbus Crew - United States Racing de Santander - Spain Midfield
Sep 2007 Cristian Stellini Full Genoa - Italy Bari - Italy Defense
Sep 2007 GARY O'NEIL Full Portsmouth - England Middlesbrough - England Midfield
Sep 2007 Erjon Bogdani Loan Chievo Verona - Italy Livorno - Italy Forward
Sep 2007 Manuel Belleri Loan Lazio - Italy Atalanta - Italy Defense
Sep 2007 Jason Euell Full Middlesbrough - England Southampton - England Forward
Sep 2007 Lassana Diarra Full Chelsea - England Arsenal - England Midfield
Sep 2007 Papa Bouba Diop Full Fulham - England Portsmouth - England Midfield
Sep 2007 Salomon Olembe Free Marseille - France Metz - France Defense
Sep 2007 Shabani Nonda Full Roma - Italy Galatasaray - Turkey Forward
Sep 2007 Danny Murphy Loan Tottenham Hotspur - England Fulham - England Midfield
Sep 2007 Christian Schulz Full Werder Bremen - Germany Hannover 96 - Germany Midfield
Sep 2007 Nolberto Solano Free Newcastle United - England West Ham Utd - England Midfield
Sep 2007 Jose Mari Romero y Poyon Full - Spain Real Betis - Spain Forward
Sep 2007 Fernando Escudero Moran Free Cadiz - Spain Albacete - Spain Midfield
Sep 2007 Albert Meyong Ze Loan Levante - Spain Albacete - Spain Forward
Sep 2007 Shefki Kuqi Loan Crystal Palace - England Fulham - England Forward
Sep 2007 Paul Gallagher Loan Blackburn Rovers - England Preston North End - England Forward
Sep 2007 Kenny Miller Full Celtic - Scotland Derby County - England Defense
Sep 2007 Paul Dickov Loan Manchester City - England Crystal Palace - England Forward
Sep 2007 Sufian Abdullah Retired Al-Wihdat - Jordan Midfield
Sep 2007 Rogier Molhoek Full AZ Alkmaar - Netherlands NAC Breda - Netherlands Midfield
Sep 2007 Purrel Frankel Loan Vitesse Arnhem - Netherlands De Graafschap - Netherlands Midfield
Sep 2007 Angelo Obinze Ogbonna Loan Torino - Italy Crotone - Italy Defense
Sep 2007 Enrique Mateo Loan Fiorentina - Italy A C Arezzo - Italy Defense
Sep 2007 Karamoko Cisse Full Atalanta - Italy Hellas Verona - Italy Forward
Sep 2007 Ersen Martin Full Trabzonspor - Turkey Recreativo de Huelva - Spain Midfield
Aug 2007 Harry Worley Loan Chelsea - England Carlisle - England Defense
Aug 2007 Tim Matavz Full Gorica - Slovenia FC Groningen - Netherlands Midfield
Aug 2007 Ceara Full Internacional - Brazil Paris Saint-Germain - France Defense
Aug 2007 Paul Huntington Full Newcastle United - England Leeds United - England Defense
Aug 2007 GRANERO Esteban Full Real Madrid - Spain Getafe - Spain Midfield
Aug 2007 Anthony Le Tallec Loan Liverpool - England Le Man - France Forward
Aug 2007 Yiannis Okkas Full Olympiakos - Greece Celta de Vigo - Spain Forward
Aug 2007 Dejan Stefanovic Full Portsmouth - England Fulham - England Midfield
Aug 2007 Mohamed Shawky Full El Ahly - Egypt Middlesbrough - England Midfield
Aug 2007 Henri Camara Loan Wigan Athletic - England West Ham Utd - England Forward
Aug 2007 Glen Johnson Full Chelsea - England Portsmouth - England Defense
Aug 2007 Danny Mills Loan Manchester City - England Charlton Athletic - England Defense
Aug 2007 Marcus Bent Loan Charlton Athletic - England Wigan Athletic - England Forward
Aug 2007 Martins Bolzan Adailton Full Genoa - Italy Bologna - Italy Forward
Aug 2007 Dani Koevermans Full AZ Alkmaar - Netherlands PSV Eindhoven - Netherlands Forward
Aug 2007 Francisco Javi Guerrero Loan Celta de Vigo - Spain Recreativo de Huelva - Spain Forward
Aug 2007 Miguel Angel Lozano Ayala Loan Real Betis - Spain Levante - Spain Midfield
Aug 2007 Thiago Motta Full Barcelona - Spain Atletico de Madrid - Spain Midfield
Aug 2007 Patrick Kluivert Full PSV Eindhoven - Netherlands Lille - France Forward
Aug 2007 Peter Bernard Luccin Full Atletico de Madrid - Spain Zaragoza - Spain Midfield
Aug 2007 Eric Cubilier Loan Nantes - France Metz - France Defense
Aug 2007 Pierre Ducrocq Full Le Havre - France Strasbourg - France Defense
Aug 2007 Amady Moustapha Faye Loan Charlton Athletic - England Glasgow Rangers - Scotland Midfield
Aug 2007 Alvaro Recoba Loan Internazionale - Italy Torino - Italy Forward
Aug 2007 Borja Oubina Melendez Loan Celta de Vigo - Spain Birmingham City - England Midfield
Aug 2007 Hernan Paolo Dellafiore Loan Palermo - Italy Torino - Italy Defense
Aug 2007 Curtis Davies Loan West Bromwich Albion - England Aston Villa - England Defense
Aug 2007 Abdoulaye Faye Full Bolton Wanderers - England Newcastle United - England Midfield
Aug 2007 Lee Barnard Loan Tottenham Hotspur - England Crewe - England Forward
Aug 2007 Nabil Taider Full Toulouse - France Stade Reims - France Midfield
Aug 2007 Ahmed Jawachi Full Club Sportif Sfaxien - Tunisia E.S. Sahel - Tunisia Goalkeeper
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Aug 2007 Caleb Folan Full Wigan Athletic - England Hull City - England Forward
Aug 2007 Santos ALVARO Loan Sochaux - France Strasbourg - France Forward
Aug 2007 Adriano Pereira da Silva Full Atalanta - Italy Monaco - France Midfield
Aug 2007 Fabio Caserta Full Catania - Italy Palermo - Italy Midfield
Aug 2007 Youssouf Mulumbu Loan Paris Saint-Germain - France Amiens - France Midfield
Aug 2007 Larrys Mabiala Loan Paris Saint-Germain - France Plymouth - England Defense
Aug 2007 Jean-Christophe Vergerolle Full Strasbourg - France Guingamp - France Defense
Aug 2007 Habib Beye Full Marseille - France Newcastle United - England Defense
Aug 2007 Fabrice Pancrate Loan Paris Saint-Germain - France Sochaux - France Forward
Aug 2007 Gonzalo Vargas Loan Monaco - France Sochaux - France Forward
Aug 2007 Dennis OLIECH Loan Nantes - France Auxerre - France Forward
Aug 2007 Agus Full Real Madrid - Spain Celta de Vigo - Spain Defense
Aug 2007 Grafite Full Le Man - France Wolfsburg - Germany Forward
Aug 2007 Moussa SOW Loan Rennes - France Sedan - France Forward
Aug 2007 Anthony Basso Full Auxerre - France Hearts - Scotland Goalkeeper
Aug 2007 Kenwyne Jones Full Southampton - England Sunderland - England Forward
Aug 2007 Aleandro Rosi Loan Roma - Italy Chievo Verona - Italy Midfield
Aug 2007 Rachid Bouaouzan Full Sparta Rotterdam - Netherlands Wigan Athletic - England Forward
Aug 2007 Cesar Gonzalez Navas Full Malaga - Spain Racing de Santander - Spain Defense
Aug 2007 Danny Higginbotham Full Stoke City - England Sunderland - England Defense
Aug 2007 Jose Zahinos Free Atletico de Madrid - Spain Recreativo de Huelva - Spain Midfield
Aug 2007 helmi hmam Full J.S. Kairouanaise - Tunisia Club Africain - Tunisia Midfield
Aug 2007 NATHAN ELLINGTON Full West Bromwich Albion - England Watford - England Forward
Aug 2007 Arouna Kone Full PSV Eindhoven - Netherlands Sevilla - Spain Forward
Aug 2007 Nicolas Anelka Renew Bolton Wanderers - England Bolton Wanderers - England Forward
Aug 2007 Thomas Gravesen Loan Celtic - Scotland Everton - England Midfield
Aug 2007 Ian Harte Free Levante - Spain Sunderland - England Defense
Aug 2007 Gustavo Adrian Lopez Free Celta de Vigo - Spain Cadiz - Spain Midfield
Aug 2007 Gerard Lopez Free Monaco - France Recreativo de Huelva - Spain Midfield
Aug 2007 Jose Maria Movilla Loan Zaragoza - Spain Murcia - Spain Midfield
Aug 2007 Asier Del Horno Loan Valencia - Spain Athletic de Bilbao - Spain Defense
Aug 2007 Javier Garcia Full Real Madrid - Spain Osasuna - Spain Defense
Aug 2007 Lorenzo D´Anna Full Chievo Verona - Italy Piacenza - Italy Defense
Aug 2007 CARLOS EDUARDO Full Gremio - Brazil TSG Hoffenheim - Germany Midfield
Aug 2007 Julian Vara Lopez Loan Atletico de Madrid - Spain Celta de Vigo - Spain Defense
Aug 2007 William Pianu Full Bari - Italy Treviso - Italy Midfield
Aug 2007 Gennaro Scarlato Free Spezia - Italy Frosinone - Italy Defense
Aug 2007 Javi Jimenez Free Recreativo de Huelva - Spain Albacete - Spain Forward
Aug 2007 Srdjan Lakic Loan Hertha Berlin - Germany Heracles Almelo - Netherlands Forward
Aug 2007 Asier Arranz Martin Loan Valladolid - Spain Charlton Athletic - England Defense
Aug 2007 Csaba Fehir Full PSV Eindhoven - Netherlands NAC Breda - Netherlands Midfield
Aug 2007 Jermaine Jenas Renew Tottenham Hotspur - England Tottenham Hotspur - England Midfield
Aug 2007 Tomasz Radzinski Free Fulham - England Xanthi - Greece Forward
Aug 2007 Zat Knight Full Fulham - England Aston Villa - England Defense
Aug 2007 Angel David Lopez Ruano Full Celta de Vigo - Spain - Spain Defense
Aug 2007 Marco Motta Loan Udinese - Italy Atalanta - Italy Defense
Aug 2007 Jesus Olmo Lozano Loan Barcelona - Spain Racing de Ferrol - Spain Defense
Aug 2007 Antonio Giosa Loan Reggina - Italy Messina - Italy Defense
Aug 2007 Emanuele Manitta Free Livorno - Italy Messina - Italy Goalkeeper
Aug 2007 COLTORTI Fabio Full Grasshopper - Switzerland Racing de Santander - Spain Goalkeeper
Aug 2007 Michael Johnson Renew Manchester City - England Manchester City - England Midfield


"Vanity is definitely my favorite sin"
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Player loyalties in spotlight as Chelsea start life without Jose

Player loyalties in spotlight as Chelsea start life without Jose

AS THE English middle-classes mix stiff gin and tonics to rue parallel humiliations in the gentlemen's World Cups in cricket and rugby union, the people's game reasserts its primacy tomorrow afternoon.

That's to say, the Premier League club that is the plaything of a capricious Russian oligarch who likes to get his own way so much that he is prepared to give £20 million to someone to make them go away, heads north to visit the club that is mortgaged up to the hilt on behalf of a bold American billionaire speculator. Assorted stellar Portuguese, Argentine, French and Serbian employees, along with a smattering of old-school English professionals will provide the entertainment.
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Most of the headline-grabbing already occurred earlier this week with Jose Mourinho's flamboyantly shocking decision to walk out of Chelsea. That story had such global resonance that it even made the front page of Friday's South China Morning Post. If the owners believe that they are pulling the strings, the ebullient Portuguese genius proved that he was a particularly unruly sort of puppet. Sunday's match will now become a voyeur's spectacle where everyone tunes in to see what kind of apparition Chelsea will be without Mourinho prancing around like a well-dressed gibbon in the technical area.

What will be intriguing is witnessing where the players feel their loyalties lie. Some, like John Terry, have suggested in the past that they would follow the coach to the ends of the earth (although Madrid would be nicer). On the other hand, their increasingly ludicrous salary demands are coming out of the over-padded wallet of Roman Abramovich, the demanding overlord whose interference provoked Mourinho's departure.

Mourinho was a prickly, preposterous but always compellingly quotable addition to the English football scene. Assuming he isn't about to walk into White Hart Lane as Martin Jol's successor, the Premier League will be substantially poorer for his absence. He was his own greatest fan, but he had plenty ready to join in the applause, not least those Chelsea supporters who had waited half a century for a league title, when, like buses down the Kings Road, two came in quick succession. FA Cups and League Cups were added as a light condiment to the main dish, and if Mourinho had been allowed to pursue his own vision of how to build a side at Chelsea, the Champions League was within reach.

Mourinho's amour-propre was the stumbling point. He has no truck with diplomacy or compromise. Even if he towed the Abramovich line to an extent this season with his willingness to deploy a more attacking formation, his sardonic asides made it clear who was to blame for its lack of immediate success.

Apologies to the (temporary?) replacement Chelsea coach Avram Grant, but Sunday's match is now left without one of its above-the-title cast members. Sir Alex Ferguson is left high-and-dry as one half of a bitter rivalry. You would sooner get blood out of a slab of Aberdeen granite than hear Ferguson admit it, but Mourinho's departure is a greater boost to Manchester United than anything the manager could have hoped for. Lacking the diversion of such passionate anuimus on the sidelines, we might have to content ourselves with what is going on on the pitch.

If Manchester United against Chelsea is not quite the Premier League summit decider it might have been last season, it is already eminently significant. It is only the downslope of September and yet these two sides have been exhibiting unwonted vulnerability.

United seem to have got the worst of their season out of the way in August, with a terrible start compounded by Wayne Rooney's injury and Cristiano Ronaldo's suspension. They have yet to find their attacking stride, although they have picked up wins through tenacity rather than verve. Indeed their last four games have been won 1-0.

Chelsea lost at Newcastle and but for refereeing ineptitude would have lost at Liverpool. For goals they will have to rely on the piqued pride of the player Mourinho dismissed as a "second-class egg" Andriy Shevchenko, as his beautifully-speckled free-range first-graders Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard are unlikely to make the trip to Old Trafford. As a parting shot and with customary asperity, Mourinho pointed out that these two form Chelsea's most reliable source of goals, pointedly ignoring or denigrating the capabilities of the Ukrainian, one of the greatest goalscorers of his generation.

On Sunday Shevchenko might be the only player in the Chelsea starting XI emerging down the tunnel with a smile on his face. His mate and fellow devotee of the Cyrillic alphabet Abramovich might be grinning back at him from the directors' box. The visiting fans will be less sanguine about life after Mourinho.


"Vanity is definitely my favorite sin"
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Grant vows to go his own way

AVRAM Grant described himself as the "normal" one as he vowed to coach Chelsea in his own way after taking over from Jose Mourinho.

Grant was unveiled as first-team coach at Stamford Bridge last night, taking over from Mourinho following the shock events at the club this week, but he made a less dramatic immediate impact than his predecessor. While Mourinho famously called himself "special", Grant said: "I am a normal person. I have my own philosophy.
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"I respect everything that was here in the past and I'm sure what I do in the future will be respected. I fully respect Jose Mourinho. In the two months we worked together I enjoyed working with him.

"I respect everything he did for the club. In the three years here he had a lot of success. I want to follow that success."

He added: "In all of the world there are billions of people and they are all different. Not two people have the same opinion."

Grant could not have asked for a tougher start, with Manchester United tomorrow his first game and Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday today, meaning he will not be working with his squad prior to the match.

Mourinho's close relationship with his players has led to suggestions Grant will have to win over the squad as he moves up from his role as director of football at the club. "I would be more disappointed if the players did not have a good relationship with Jose," Grant said.

"He was the coach for three and a half years and won games and trophies.

"I need to look at the future, the near future especially. I think we will have a good relationship with the players and continue what we started in the last two days.


Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon stated that the squad were supportive after a turbulent few days.

"At the training ground it was business as usual," Kenyon said. "It was Avram trying to prepare the team. As professionals they all want to turn their attention to the Manchester United game.

"After our initial meeting with the players there was a meeting with the team on their own and unanimously they came out in full support of the changes that have been made.

"They want us to support them in getting back to football."