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Aug 27, 2014

Soccer-Bilbao oust shambolic Napoli, Arsenal qualify again

BERNE, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Athletic Bilbao took advantage of shambolic defending to beat Napoli 3-1 on Wednesday and reach the Champions League group stage for the first time in 16 years, leaving the Italians counting the cost of their premature exit.

Arsenal qualified for a 17th successive season with a nervy 1-0 win at home to Besiktas and Malmo made it for the first time with a 3-0 win over Salzburg, whose participation ended in the qualifiers for the ninth time in a row.

Aug 27, 2014

Soccer-’Team X’ on fixture list in Italy’s chaotic Serie B

Aug 27 (Reuters) – Italy’s second division campaign is due to kick off on Saturday with one of the 22 teams still to be decided after a summer of confusion and legal wrangling.

Serie B organisers referred to the missing club as “Team X” as the season’s fixture list was finally unveiled on Wednesday amid continuing uncertainty.

Aug 26, 2014

Brahimi, Hulk shine while Celtic go out again

BERNE (Reuters) – Porto and Zenit St Petersburg swept into the Champions League group stage, helped by inspired displays from Yacine Brahimi and Hulk, on Tuesday while hapless Celtic were knocked out of the competition for a second time in three weeks.

Brahimi, who shone for Algeria in the World Cup, curled in a majestic free kick and set up a second goal for Jackson Martinez to give Porto a 2-0 win over Lille in their playoff round second leg tie.

Aug 26, 2014

Soccer-Brahimi, Hulk shine while Celtic go out again

BERNE, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Porto and Zenit St Petersburg swept into the Champions League group stage, helped by inspired displays from Yacine Brahimi and Hulk, on Tuesday while hapless Celtic were knocked out of the competition for a second time in three weeks.

Brahimi, who shone for Algeria in the World Cup, curled in a majestic free kick and set up a second goal for Jackson Martinez to give Porto a 2-0 win over Lille in their playoff round second leg tie.

Aug 23, 2014

Champions League qualifiers may be better in May

BERNE (Reuters) – On the same day hosts Brazil were crushed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup, another remarkable match took place almost unnoticed, thousands of kilometres away, in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

There, on an historic night for Andorran football, Eloy Casals, goalkeeper for the champions of the principality FC Santa Coloma, rifled in a 94th-minute effort to secure an away-goals win over Armenia’s Banants in a Champions League first round qualifier.

Aug 23, 2014

Soccer-Champions League qualifiers may be better in May

BERNE, Aug 23 (Reuters) – On the same day hosts Brazil were crushed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup, another remarkable match took place almost unnoticed, thousands of kilometres away, in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

There, on an historic night for Andorran football, Eloy Casals, goalkeeper for the champions of the principality FC Santa Coloma, rifled in a 94th-minute effort to secure an away-goals win over Armenia’s Banants in a Champions League first round qualifier.

Aug 21, 2014

Zenit, Porto close in on group stage with away wins

BERNE (Reuters) – Zenit St Petersburg and Porto both put a foot in the Champions League group stage with 1-0 away wins in the first leg of their respective playoff ties on Wednesday.

Oleg Shatov’s first-half goal gave Andre Villas-Boas’ Zenit a 1-0 win at Standard Liege and a second-half effort from Hector Herrera was enough for the Portuguese coach’s former team Porto at Lille.

Aug 20, 2014

Soccer-Zenit, Porto close in on group stage with away wins

BERNE, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Zenit St Petersburg and Porto both put a foot in the Champions League group stage with 1-0 away wins in the first leg of their respective playoff ties on Wednesday.

Oleg Shatov’s first-half goal gave Andre Villas-Boas’ Zenit a 1-0 win at Standard Liege and a second-half effort from Hector Herrera was enough for the Portuguese coach’s former team Porto at Lille.

Aug 20, 2014

Italy federation chief faces UEFA racism probe

BERNE (Reuters) – Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio is to face a disciplinary investigation by European football’s governing body over allegedly racist remarks made during his election campaign, UEFA said on Wednesday.

Tavecchio, who was elected FIGC president last week, made a speech in the run-up to the election in which he referred to a fictitious player he called Opti Poba who, he said, “previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first team player with Lazio.”

Aug 20, 2014

Soccer-Italy federation chief faces UEFA racism probe

BERNE, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Italian soccer federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio is to face a disciplinary investigation by European soccer’s governing body over allegedly racist remarks made during his election campaign, UEFA said on Wednesday.

Tavecchio, who was elected FIGC president last week, made a speech in the run-up to the election in which he referred to a fictitious player he called Opti Poba who, he said, “previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first team player with Lazio.”