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Lance Knight2010-05-08 05:35:36 +0000 #1
Djalminha set to leave Deportivo

MADRID, May 28 (Reuters) - Brazilian midfielder Djalminha is to leave Deportivo Coruna after agreeing to end his contract with the Primera Liga side.

The 33-year-old former international, who joined Deportivo in 1997 from Palmeiras, had been in dispute with the club over money owed to the Spanish tax authorities as a result of earnings derived from his image rights.

The two parties settled the dispute late on Thursday, reaching an agreement whereby Djalminha will be released from the remaining year of his contract while the club will pay part of the money owed to the tax authorities.

Deportivo said the deal also included a clause which prevented Djalminha from signing for another Spanish club.

Djalminha, who played a key role in helping Deportivo to their first ever league title in 2000, said he was relieved to have settled the dispute and wanted to thank the fans at the club for all the support they had given him.

'I'm never going to forget the fans, especially because they have always helped me when things haven't gone well and that has given me a great deal of motivation,' he told a news conference after the deal had been agreed.

'Now I'm beginning a new stage in my career and I hope to find a new team as soon as possible because I am keen to get back to work.'


Lance Knight2010-05-08 05:37:28 +0000 #2
Full Time Report: Shelbourne 0-0 Deportivo

pa

Shelbourne held Spanish giants Deportivo to a draw at Lansdowne Road on Wednesday as they bid to upset the odds and reach the Champions League group stages.

Pat Fenlon's eircom League side moved the first leg of this qualifying tie across Dublin from their usual Tolka Park home, and a sell-out crowd of 24,000 saw the Irish minnows make sure they go into the second leg in two weeks with a chance of progress.

In a game of few chances, Alan Moore went closest 11 minutes time with a glancing second-half header which was kept out by substitute goalkeeper Gustavo Munua.

The Irish champions were never overawed by their more illustrious opponents and regularly tested the Depor defence.

Stuart Byrne had a powerful shot blocked by Jorge Andrade in the seventh minute after a fine passing move involving six Shelbourne players was only half cleared by the Spaniards.

Two minutes later, former Ireland international Moore almost reached a Wes Hoolahan ball only for first-choice keeper Jose Molina to race quickly off his line and make the save receiving a strong challenge from Moore in the process.

But, largely, defences were on top in the first half with both sides wishing for a more favourable bounce of the ball in the penalty area with a number of dangerous moves ending with defenders making no-nonsense clearances.

It was not until the final minute of the first-half that either goalkeeper needed to make a save when Steve Williams did well to hold a Victor Sanchez long-range effort.

However, seconds later Ireland striker Jason Byrne had a wonderful opportunity to put the Irish side in front when he miskicked Owen Heary's pull-back right in front of goal.

All Shelbourne's good first-half work was nearly undone in the opening three minutes of the second period.

In the 47th minute, David Crawley needlessly gave the ball away in his own half to Victor Sanchez, whose first time pass put Alberto Luque clean through - only for the winger to pull his right foot shot wide of the post.

A minute later, Shelbourne were again fortunate when Jamie Harris failed to deal with a hopeful clearance upfield by right-back Manuel Garcia, allowing Walter Pandiani in behind him - only for Heary to race across and make a timely intervention just as the striker was about to shoot.

Sensing the victory, Depor pushed forward in increased numbers but Shelbourne regrouped and held firm. Clearly frustrated, Deportivo began to lose their discipline at the back - and they were nearly punished in the 79th minute when Munua needed to go full length to keep out Moore's header from the edge of the box after Hoolahan had again found space on the left.
Lance Knight2010-05-08 05:59:42 +0000 #3
Spurs swoop for Naybet

Tottenham have signed Moroccan defender Nourredine Naybet from Deportivo La Coruna, subject to a work permit.

Morocco's international captain has been a regular member of the Primera Liga side's defence since 1996.

Naybet was not included in the Deportivo side held 0-0 by eircom League side Shelbourne in front of 24,000 fans in a Champions League qualifier first leg at Lansdowne Road last night.

Spurs are believed to have agreed a fee in the region of £700,000 for the 33-year-old.

Naybet had already rejected a lucrative move to Qatar side Al-Arabi before Spurs coach Jacques Santini made his move.

Naybet had at one time been strongly linked with Manchester Untied but a move to Old Trafford never came to fruition.

A key figure for Deportivo, where he has scored 10 goals in 212 appearances, Naybet had spells in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon and France with Nantes and previously stated his intention to play in the Premiership.
Lance Knight2010-05-08 06:12:26 +0000 #4
Irish eyes are smiling

Steve Bradley

The history of knockout competitions worldwide is littered with heroic feats of David versus Goliath. Most have turned out to be mere blips on the historical trajectories of the teams involved - the big guys dust themselves down and resume normal service; the little guys bask in the glory of their short-lived fame before returning to their proper place within the footballing food-chain. Rare is it that a vastly uneven pairing in important knockout competitions has served as a genuine turning-point for a club, let alone an entire country.

The Riazor Stadium. (TonyMarshall/Empics)

But when Referee Alain Hamer blew his whistle in the Raizor Stadium at 8pm BST on Tuesday, he will bring the curtain up on what may just prove to be one of those milestones. Dublin side Shelbourne were 90mins away from the first ever appearance by an Irish club in the Champions League group stages. This was the single biggest game in the history of Irish club football, and ranks up there with key performances by the international team at the World Cup and European Championships as the most important game in Irish soccer.

To give the game its David v Goliath credentials, you need only look at the respective standings of Irish and Spanish club football. Spain has the No.1 ranked league in Europe, if not the world. Ireland is ranked No.40 - below the likes of Moldova, Belarus and Liechtenstein. Whilst Deportivo have a solid record in UEFA competitions - losing just one of their 13 home Champions League games to-date, and reaching the semi-finals last season - Shelbourne's record is mediocre, having managed wins in only 4 out of their 42 European outings to date.

It would therefore be easy to dismiss Shels appearance in the third round of the Champions League this year as a mere fluke. However, to those familiar with Irish club football there is a belief and a hope that this is no mere blip. Irish clubs have been slowly but surely laying the foundations for European success over the last number of seasons, with Shelbourne leading the way.

Last year, the domestic teams in Ireland switched to a Summer League - intended to place clubs in a better position to compete in European competition. At the same time a number of clubs have gone full-time and are exploring ways to increase their revenue.

The FAI, usually more prone to forgetting that it has any responsibility towards domestic football, has also done its bit. This year it introduced a licensing scheme for stadiums to ensure they meet UEFA standards for European club competitions. These and other changes have been made across Irish football, and all with the primary intention of improving performances in Europe.

Whilst it's early days yet, there are signs that these seeds are starting to grow. Although Bohemians and Longford Town disappointed in their European outings this year, Cork City became the first Irish team ever to progress to the third leg of a European competition. They swept aside Malmo and NEC Nijmegen in the early rounds of the Inter-Toto Cup this summer, where they then drew with Nantes in the Quarter Final before finally exiting in the away leg.

Meanwhile, the build-up to Tuesday's game saw Shelbourne knockout Icelandic champions KR Reykyavik and out-play Croatian stalwarts Hadjuk Split, before taking a very creditable home 0-0 draw against Deportivo in a game that they could feasibly have won. The behind-the-scenes focus upon European success therefore appears to be paying early dividends for Irish clubs, though as Shels themselves admit, their current run has probably come a season or two early for even an ambitious club like them.

As the green shoots of UEFA success have begun to appear on the pitch, the knock-on effects on the Irish footballing public may likewise prove to have its own further impact upon future European success. Club football in Ireland is very much a poor relation in the eyes of both fans and the media. Whilst the Irish international team is praised for the passion, colour and behaviour of its fans when they follow their team around the world. The majority of these same fans are very dismissive of domestic football - preferring in the main to support English and Scottish teams from the comfort of a sofa or a barstool.

“ The behind-the-scenes focus upon European success therefore appears to be paying early dividends for Irish clubs. â€?

Even the Irish Prime Minister himself persuaded the local version of 'Match of the Day' to grant him an appearance on the show so he could wax lyrical about his love of Manchester United. Imagine, if you will, the reaction in England if Tony Blair appeared on national television to reveal to the country that he was a Bayern Munich fan and had no interest in local football!

Any views on the Eircom League that can be solicited from Irish football fans are overwhelmingly negative and dismissive. With average crowds at club games in their low thousands, this view is, however, based less on actual experience of the home-grown product and more on a perception of its relative merits.

The public antipathy/antagonism towards domestic football is mirrored within the Irish media. Whilst pages and pages are given over to the English Premiership and SPL, many major national newspapers provide minimal coverage of the Eircom league, with results of games often going unreported.

At least one major paper even has a policy of not covering the local game. TV coverage is likewise all-but negligent - with the domestic season currently two-thirds of the way through, only one game has been shown live to-date, whilst the teletext service of the national broadcaster often seems incapable of reporting results correctly.

However, just as the Republic of Ireland's international form in the 1988 European Championships awoke a nation that before then had only limited interest in the fortunes of their national team, Shelbourne's run in the Champions League has likewise caught the imagination of the Irish sporting public. For the first time ever a domestic club has made front page news across a number of papers, with numerous column inches inside also devoted to the clubs performances in Europe.

Victory over Hadjuk Split started the ball rolling, and gave Shels the confidence to gamble on switching the Deportivo game from their 10,000 capacity home stadium to Lansdowne Road. The gamble worked - a club that attracts an average crowd of only 2,000 to its home games saw all 24,000 tickets snapped-up within hours.

For the first time ever ticket touts appeared in sizeable numbers at a game involving an Irish club side. But the public weren't just there to watch the Spanish team - sales of Shelbourne scarves and replica shirts rocketed, and the atmosphere in Lansdowne Road was electric.

Large numbers of people who'd never been to watch an Irish club side before in their life screamed and roared for Shelbourne as passionately as if they were at Anfield or Parkhead. Big time European football came to Dublin with an Irish team at the helm, and people wallowed in the experience. The Manchester United-loving Irish Prime Minister even put in an appearance to see the proudest night in the history of his home constituency club.

Shelbourne's Ireland international Jason Byrne. (Photo/Empics)

The match was televised live by the national broadcaster in direct competition to the Manchester United v Dinamo Bucharest game on another Irish channel. The impact the Deportivo game had upon the public imagination was confirmed when viewing figures for both matches were released: 55 per cent more people opted to watch Shels rther than United's Irish trio of Roy Keane, John O'Shea and Liam Miller. In all, 10 per cent of the entire population opted to watch Shels. For a nation where every other kid seems to own a Manchester United jersey, that statistic says it all.

Win or lose it is hoped that some of the new fans caught-up in the euphoria of the games will have their view of domestic football challenged, with a hoped-for impact on attendances around the country. No-one expects the impact to be of the level, for example, that England winning the Rugby World Cup had upon English club rugby. But in a football-mad country where very few people support their local teams, the influence can only be positive.

History may therefore cast an eye back on Tuesday's match at the Riazor stadium as a milestone in the history of Irish club football. Only time will tell whether the combination of initiatives on and off the field at club-level will continue to build a credible presence for the country within European competitions.

Meanwhile, if you can find a bookie who will offer you odds on an Irish side reaching the group stages of the Champions League within the next three-five years, I strongly advise you to take them. And remember - you heard it here first.
Lance Knight2010-05-08 07:00:11 +0000 #5
Irish eyes are smiling

Steve Bradley

The history of knockout competitions worldwide is littered with heroic feats of David versus Goliath. Most have turned out to be mere blips on the historical trajectories of the teams involved - the big guys dust themselves down and resume normal service; the little guys bask in the glory of their short-lived fame before returning to their proper place within the footballing food-chain. Rare is it that a vastly uneven pairing in important knockout competitions has served as a genuine turning-point for a club, let alone an entire country.

But when Referee Alain Hamer blew his whistle in the Raizor Stadium at 8pm BST on Tuesday, he will bring the curtain up on what may just prove to be one of those milestones. Dublin side Shelbourne were 90mins away from the first ever appearance by an Irish club in the Champions League group stages. This was the single biggest game in the history of Irish club football, and ranks up there with key performances by the international team at the World Cup and European Championships as the most important game in Irish soccer.

To give the game its David v Goliath credentials, you need only look at the respective standings of Irish and Spanish club football. Spain has the No.1 ranked league in Europe, if not the world. Ireland is ranked No.40 - below the likes of Moldova, Belarus and Liechtenstein. Whilst Deportivo have a solid record in UEFA competitions - losing just one of their 13 home Champions League games to-date, and reaching the semi-finals last season - Shelbourne's record is mediocre, having managed wins in only 4 out of their 42 European outings to date.

It would therefore be easy to dismiss Shels appearance in the third round of the Champions League this year as a mere fluke. However, to those familiar with Irish club football there is a belief and a hope that this is no mere blip. Irish clubs have been slowly but surely laying the foundations for European success over the last number of seasons, with Shelbourne leading the way.

Last year, the domestic teams in Ireland switched to a Summer League - intended to place clubs in a better position to compete in European competition. At the same time a number of clubs have gone full-time and are exploring ways to increase their revenue.

The FAI, usually more prone to forgetting that it has any responsibility towards domestic football, has also done its bit. This year it introduced a licensing scheme for stadiums to ensure they meet UEFA standards for European club competitions. These and other changes have been made across Irish football, and all with the primary intention of improving performances in Europe.

Whilst it's early days yet, there are signs that these seeds are starting to grow. Although Bohemians and Longford Town disappointed in their European outings this year, Cork City became the first Irish team ever to progress to the third leg of a European competition. They swept aside Malmo and NEC Nijmegen in the early rounds of the Inter-Toto Cup this summer, where they then drew with Nantes in the Quarter Final before finally exiting in the away leg.

Meanwhile, the build-up to Tuesday's game saw Shelbourne knockout Icelandic champions KR Reykyavik and out-play Croatian stalwarts Hadjuk Split, before taking a very creditable home 0-0 draw against Deportivo in a game that they could feasibly have won. The behind-the-scenes focus upon European success therefore appears to be paying early dividends for Irish clubs, though as Shels themselves admit, their current run has probably come a season or two early for even an ambitious club like them.

As the green shoots of UEFA success have begun to appear on the pitch, the knock-on effects on the Irish footballing public may likewise prove to have its own further impact upon future European success. Club football in Ireland is very much a poor relation in the eyes of both fans and the media. Whilst the Irish international team is praised for the passion, colour and behaviour of its fans when they follow their team around the world. The majority of these same fans are very dismissive of domestic football - preferring in the main to support English and Scottish teams from the comfort of a sofa or a barstool.

“ The behind-the-scenes focus upon European success therefore appears to be paying early dividends for Irish clubs. â€?

Even the Irish Prime Minister himself persuaded the local version of 'Match of the Day' to grant him an appearance on the show so he could wax lyrical about his love of Manchester United. Imagine, if you will, the reaction in England if Tony Blair appeared on national television to reveal to the country that he was a Bayern Munich fan and had no interest in local football!

Any views on the Eircom League that can be solicited from Irish football fans are overwhelmingly negative and dismissive. With average crowds at club games in their low thousands, this view is, however, based less on actual experience of the home-grown product and more on a perception of its relative merits.

The public antipathy/antagonism towards domestic football is mirrored within the Irish media. Whilst pages and pages are given over to the English Premiership and SPL, many major national newspapers provide minimal coverage of the Eircom league, with results of games often going unreported.

At least one major paper even has a policy of not covering the local game. TV coverage is likewise all-but negligent - with the domestic season currently two-thirds of the way through, only one game has been shown live to-date, whilst the teletext service of the national broadcaster often seems incapable of reporting results correctly.

However, just as the Republic of Ireland's international form in the 1988 European Championships awoke a nation that before then had only limited interest in the fortunes of their national team, Shelbourne's run in the Champions League has likewise caught the imagination of the Irish sporting public. For the first time ever a domestic club has made front page news across a number of papers, with numerous column inches inside also devoted to the clubs performances in Europe.

Victory over Hadjuk Split started the ball rolling, and gave Shels the confidence to gamble on switching the Deportivo game from their 10,000 capacity home stadium to Lansdowne Road. The gamble worked - a club that attracts an average crowd of only 2,000 to its home games saw all 24,000 tickets snapped-up within hours.

For the first time ever ticket touts appeared in sizeable numbers at a game involving an Irish club side. But the public weren't just there to watch the Spanish team - sales of Shelbourne scarves and replica shirts rocketed, and the atmosphere in Lansdowne Road was electric.

Large numbers of people who'd never been to watch an Irish club side before in their life screamed and roared for Shelbourne as passionately as if they were at Anfield or Parkhead. Big time European football came to Dublin with an Irish team at the helm, and people wallowed in the experience. The Manchester United-loving Irish Prime Minister even put in an appearance to see the proudest night in the history of his home constituency club.

The match was televised live by the national broadcaster in direct competition to the Manchester United v Dinamo Bucharest game on another Irish channel. The impact the Deportivo game had upon the public imagination was confirmed when viewing figures for both matches were released: 55 per cent more people opted to watch Shels rther than United's Irish trio of Roy Keane, John O'Shea and Liam Miller. In all, 10 per cent of the entire population opted to watch Shels. For a nation where every other kid seems to own a Manchester United jersey, that statistic says it all.

Win or lose it is hoped that some of the new fans caught-up in the euphoria of the games will have their view of domestic football challenged, with a hoped-for impact on attendances around the country. No-one expects the impact to be of the level, for example, that England winning the Rugby World Cup had upon English club rugby. But in a football-mad country where very few people support their local teams, the influence can only be positive.

History may therefore cast an eye back on Tuesday's match at the Riazor stadium as a milestone in the history of Irish club football. Only time will tell whether the combination of initiatives on and off the field at club-level will continue to build a credible presence for the country within European competitions.

Meanwhile, if you can find a bookie who will offer you odds on an Irish side reaching the group stages of the Champions League within the next three-five years, I strongly advise you to take them. And remember - you heard it here first.
Lance Knight2010-05-08 05:54:03 +0000 #6
Deportivo La Coruña 3-0 Shelbourne: FT Report

PA

Shelbourne's Champions League adventure ended as they fell to a 3-0 defeat against last season's semi-finalists Deportivo La Coruna.

Deportivo reached the group stages for the fifth successive season courtesy of a second half double by Victor Sanchez and a late free-kick by Walter Pandiani.

But they were made to struggle in a nervy first half during which the eircom League side matched their more illustrious opponents.

Shelbourne were expecting a difficult opening as Deportivo looked to grab an early goal to settle the nerves of their fans and the opening minutes of the match went entirely to script.

Juan Valeron shot straight at Steve Williams within 90 seconds of the opening while Williams was again called into action to stop a powerful Albert Luque shot which almost beat the goalkeeper at his near post after the winger had slipped into the penalty area unnoticed.

Luque then hit the sidenetting with a viciously curling free-kick in the 13th minute.

But at this stage Shelbourne were defending well - allowing the Spanish side possession but nicking in quickly to dispossess them any time they came close to their goal.

Even when Deportivo did threaten to open up the Shelbourne defence, the Irish side's defenders made fine tackles, most notably when Owen Heary and then Jamie Harris thwarted the lively Luque.

Shelbourne's solidity made Deportivo increasingly nervous and too often they lost possession carelessly and were almost punished by the Dubliners in the 25th minute.

Ollie Cahill did well on the left wing, racing to the by-line before crossing to Jason Byrne - who headed straight at Jose Molina after momentarily wriggling free of Jorge Andrade's tight marking.

The home side continued to be frustrated with Pandiani firing well wide in the 38th minute, before Shelbourne gave them another scare moments later when Andrade cleared the ball from out of his goalkeeper's hands when a Harris header threatened to fall for Jason Byrne.

But Deportivo finished the half the stronger of the two sides with Dave Rogers conceding a corner with Pandiani close to getting on the end of a Luque cross, before Pandiani was just over with a snapshot.

The Spaniards started the second half in the same vein, though once more Shelbourne defended strongly conceding ground on the wings but defending any crosses very well.

However, they were almost punished in the 58th minute when Sergio Sanchez's cross picked out Pandiani - who headed only inches wide with Williams beaten.

But less than 60 seconds later, Deportivo were in front.

Shelbourne were caught in possession deep in their own half allowing Victor to race in and beat Williams at his near post with a low angled drive from the edge of the area.

Seven minutes later, Victor grabbed his second with a wonderful 35-yard strike which gave Williams no chance and from then on, a Shelbourne comeback looked unlikely.

Byrne went close with a deft lob which drifted wide after a mistake by Aldo Duscher allowed him a clear run on goal, before the Spaniards wrapped up the game when Pandiani scored with a deftly curling free-kick with two minutes remaining.

The game ended on a sour note for Shelbourne as manager Pat Fenlon was ordered from the dugout and Alan Moore was sent off for a second booking.
GiorgioII2010-05-08 08:25:44 +0000 #7
Haven't Deportivo just signed Andres D'Alessandro from Wolfsburg?
Highway Penguin2010-05-08 07:38:14 +0000 #8
Deportivo might pick up Riquelme.

Roman & Cash for Luque.

Barca want to pick up a striker...

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