UCL: Cavani downs Chelsea, Benfica beat Zenit

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Match-winner: Cavani.

John Obi Mikel scored a vital away goal for Chelsea as Paris St Germain inflicted the first defeat of Guus Hiddink’s second spell in charge at Parc des Princes.

Mikel made amends for conceding a free-kick from which Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored to put PSG 1-0 up in the Champions League last-16 first leg. The striker’s shot deflected off Mikel, who equalised from close range for a rare goal, before substitute Edison Cavani struck to earn PSG a 2-1 win and end Hiddink’s 11-match unbeaten run.

The Dutchman will be content, though as Mikel’s first Chelsea goal since December 2014 means the Blues have a vital away goal ahead of the March 9 return at Stamford Bridge.

Away goals have separated these sides in the Champions League in each of the last two seasons.

Chelsea might have had theirs sooner had it not been for a fine reflex save from Kevin Trapp. Trapp stuck out a hand to save a Diego Costa header which had looked destined for the back of the net and ended up hitting the bar.

Lucas Moura had impressed early on and almost provided the opener for Ibrahimovic – but the Swede headed the ball into the ground.

Moura then burst by three Chelsea players before he was tripped by Mikel, who was booked. Ibrahimovic’s free-kick hit the midfielder and wrong-footed Thibaut Courtois.

Six minutes remained until half-time and Chelsea replied when Costa met Willian’s corner ahead of Ibrahimovic, getting enough of a flick-on for the ball to drop for Mikel. He finished emphatically from six yards for his sixth goal in 358 Chelsea games.

Trapp raced off his line to deny Costa early in the second half before Courtois repelled PSG time and again – only for his defences to eventually be breached for a second time.

First Courtois tipped Angel di Maria’s effort over, then he blocked an Ibrahimovic shot and next he saved from Moura.

Chelsea were defending deep, inviting pressure.

Courtois denied Di Maria from a free-kick before the former Manchester United winger played a fine ball over the top for Cavani, who stayed onside before tucking the ball under the goalkeeper from a tight angle.

Elsewhere, Benfica have a slender 1-0 advantage over Zenit St Petersburg after striker Jonas’ injury-time goal at the Estadio da Luz.

Neither team really ever got going in Portugal and it looked destined to finish goalless until Jonas popped up with his 25th goal of the season, shortly after Zenit left-back Domenico Criscito was sent off for a second yellow card.

He will miss the second leg in three weeks’ time along with team-mate Javi Garcia and Benfica duo Vieira Jardel and Gomes Andre Almeida, who all came into Tuesday night’s game one booking away from a suspension and received a caution.

Most popular

Related Sections

Cruyff 'very positive' over battle against lung cancer

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Holland legend Johan Cruyff was diagnosed with lung cancer last year.

Dutch footballing legend Johan Cruyff said Saturday he has received “very positive” results which have boosted his conviction he will win his battle against lung cancer.

“After several medical treatments I can say that the results have been very positive, thanks to the excellent work of the doctors, the affection of the people and my positive mentality,” Cruyff said in a statement released by his company Cruyff Management.

“Right now, I have the feeling that I am 2-0 up in the first half of a match that has not finished yet. But I am sure that I will end up winning.”

Cruyff was a heavy smoker until undergoing heart surgery in 1991, at the age of 44 years.

The 68-year-old, who captained the Netherlands to the World Cup final in 1974 and was one of the proponents of the “total football” philosophy, announced he was suffering from cancer last October.

The three-time Ballon d’Or winner played for Barcelona from 1973 to 1978, winning La Liga in his first season at the Camp Nou which featured a superb performance in a legendary 5-0 win away to Real Madrid. He later coached the club from 1988 to 1996, leading them to their first European Cup in 1992.

Most popular

Related Tags

FIFA bans Jerome Valcke for ticket and television deals abuse

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Jerome Valcke.

The former right hand man to FIFA’s scandal tainted president Sepp Blatter was also fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($100,000).

The 55-year-old Frenchman had denied any wrongdoing after he was implicated in the sale of black market sales of tickets for the 2014 World Cup.

A FIFA statement said however that “several other acts of potential misconduct” during his nearly 10-years in office arose as the ethics committee investigated the accusations.

It highlighted “in particular abuse of the FIFA travel expenses policies and regulations, cases involving related-parties issues and the sale of TV and other media rights, and the destruction of evidence”.

FIFA said a sports marketing firm “gained an undue advantage from the selling of FIFA World Cup tickets” and that Valcke had helped.

“Not only did Mr Valcke do nothing to stop these activities, he even encouraged the persons responsible to do so. Furthermore, Mr Valcke repeatedly encouraged them to breach an agreement concluded between FIFA and the sports marketing firm.”

The statement also highlighted a contract for the sale of television and media rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in the Caribbean.

Valcke attempted to grant the rights to “a third party for a fee far below their actual market value and had taken concrete preparatory action in this regard”.

Valcke was also found to have “deliberately” tried to obstruct the FIFA investigation by “attempting to delete or deleting several files and folders relevant to the investigation”.

FIFA said the Frenchman had also cheated on his expenses.

It said Valcke and his family travelled “at FIFA’s expense purely for sightseeing reasons as well as repeatedly choosing private flights for his trips over commercial flights without any business rationale”.

Valcke has also been linked to a $10 million payment made by South Africa to corruption-tainted former Caribbean football chief Jack Warner. US investigators reportedly believe this was a bribe to secure votes for the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA did not say whether this was part of the investigation.

The world football body fired Valcke on January 13, the latest high profile figure to be brought down after Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini were banned for eight years for separate ethics violations.

FIFA first suspended Valcke on September 17, when investigators began probing the ticketing scheme.

After ending the inquiry, the ethics committee had called for a lengthy ban and the 100,000 Swiss franc fine.

Valcke has long been a controversial figure in football.

When FIFA’s marketing director in 2006, the Frenchman was sacked over a battle with credit card sponsors Mastercard. Valcke negotiated a deal with rival Visa even though Mastercard had a first-option deal that was not respected.

FIFA later had to pay $90 million in compensation. A New York judge said Valcke had lied to both companies. He was sacked as marketing director, but shortly after the compensation deal was agreed, Blatter reappointed Valcke as his deputy.

Valcke’s lawyer said after he was fired that Valcke “is proud of all that was accomplished for the game of football during his long tenure as secretary general”.

The Valcke ban came as FIFA’s corruption storm again enters the spotlight.

Blatter and Platini will next week launch appeals against their bans at a FIFA appeals committee.

The world body will on February 26 vote for a new president who has a mountainous task ahead rebuilding FIFA’s name.

Blatter was banned by FIFA judges in December over a two million Swiss francs ($2 million, 1.8 million euros) payment to Platini, who received the same ban.

Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal case targeting Blatter over the payment, and Valcke’s emails have been turned over to investigators in Bern as evidence in the case.

Switzerland is also investigating the attribution of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

The US justice department has charged 39 people and two companies over more than $200 million of dollars bribes paid for football television and marketing deals.

Most popular

Related Tags