Saturday, January 26, 2013

Death sentences in Egypt soccer riot spark new clashes

Death sentences in Egypt soccer riot spark new clashes

Violence erupted in Egypt again on Saturday as at least eight people were killed in protests in Port Said following the verdict for the soccer stadium massacre one year ago. The clashes came as Egypt reeled from deadly protests that killed nine people across the country marking the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution.

A judge announced the death penalty for 21 of the 73 defendants on trial for the Port Said massacre. Clashes in Port Said following the announcement of the verdict left at least five dead and dozens more injured, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram.

Seventy-four people died in riots at a soccer stadium in Port Said on February 1, 2012. Eyewitnesses said police did nothing to stop the melee that broke out between two rival soccer teams and even refused to open the doors to allow people to escape. The massacre was held up as proof of the country’s slide towards anarchy.

Over the past week, the “ultras,” or young soccer hooligans who are often at the head of protest marches and responsible for much of the violence at Egypt’s protests, posted online threats promising to destroy and burn buildings across Cairo if they are unsatisfied with the verdict.

If it is anything less than capital punishment, “the country will burn,” one 19-year-old ‘ultra’ named Ahmed told The Jerusalem Post on Friday in Tahrir Square. “We are angry because we haven’t received our rights… it’s not just a football match, the [Muslim] Brotherhood wants to continue to burn the country so they can continue to rule,” he said. “There’s no justice.”

In the aftermath of clashes on Friday night to mark the two-year anniversary, pundits and politicians focused much attention on a new group of protesters who also could be linked to the ultras: the black bloc. For the first time on Friday, teenagers and young people came out in force dressed head-to-toe in black, many wearing black balaclava ski masks.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Soccer-Real Madrid stuttering as Manchester United clash looms

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid's domestic struggles are increasingly becoming a cause for concern in the Spanish capital with the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash against Premier League leaders Manchester United looming.

Missing suspended top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho's side were held to a 0-0 draw at lowly Osasuna in La Liga on Saturday and looked a shadow of the team that romped to the title last season.

They had only one shot on target at Osasuna's Reyno de Navarra stadium in Pamplona, their worst record in a La Liga game under Mourinho, and the result left them languishing in third. Unbeaten leaders Barcelona can go 18 points clear of their great rivals with a win at Malaga on Sunday.

Real's Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain toiled ineffectively before being hauled off in the second half and even the introduction of Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil and France striker Karim Benzema failed to inspire the nine-times European champions.
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, a high-profile signing from Tottenham Hotspur in the close season, was largely anonymous, while little-used Brazil playmaker Kaka had a night to forget when he received two yellow cards in quick succession after coming off the bench and was sent off.

Real's poor performance prompted the headline "Madrid is nothing without Cristiano" on Marca's website, while the sports daily's main rival As wrote "No firepower without Cristiano".

The Portuguese forward, who has scored 16 goals in La Liga this season and is joint Champions League top scorer with six, will be looking forward to facing his old club when United visit the Bernabeu on Feb. 13.

On Saturday's evidence, however, if Ronaldo was to be unavailable through injury or suspension then Real's chances of winning the tie and going on to lift a 10th European crown that has eluded them since 2002 would be severely dented.
Mourinho said he was not going to use injuries or suspensions as excuses for Real's erratic form.

"I am not talking about players being out injured even though some were missing for one or two months," he told a news conference after the Osasuna game.

"Neither will I make excuses because of those who were suspended," added the Portuguese.

"I liked the team's attitude and there were players who had a great game.

"It's not easy to create chances here because of the way the opponent plays but we had opportunities to score. Not many, but we had them."
Miguel Pardeza, a former Real player and now club director, acknowledged that their chances of a second straight La Liga title were slim but said they would never give up.

"There is a big gap," he told broadcaster Canal Plus.

"But if one thing has set us apart it's that we don't throw in the towel and we keep fighting," he added. "Our reputation is at stake in every game."

The return leg of the Champions League tie against United is at Old Trafford on March 5. (Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ken Ferris)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Parker to make first Tottenham start since May against Coventry

Parker, Tottenham, Coventry

Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker is set to make his first start for the club since May 2012 in its FA Cup clash against Coventry at White Hart Lane.

The 32-year-old had been out since aggravating an Achilles injury on international duty with England which required surgery, but has made five appearances as a substitute in his comeback, and is now set to play against the League One side.

"Sandro and Mousa [Dembele] are doing a fantastic job for us - 10 points in the last four games - but I'm really proud about Scott Parker," assistant coach Steffen Freund told reporters.

"His expectations are always high and has been involved in England squads and went to the European Championship.

"To be patient is not easy, but that shows how strong we are, especially in central midfield. We have a lot of players - Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Tom Carroll. They are waiting to start too.

"He knows he will improve with games and that makes me proud as a coach that an England international plays with fun and enjoyment with the Under-21s so that he can be back in the starting XI.

source: yahoo

Restaurants in Bahrain Hope to benefit from a major Soccer event

Restaurants in Bahrain are hoping to cash in as thousands of football fans descend on Bahrain for a major tournament.

They have already made preparations to accommodate coverage of the 21st Gulf Cup which is being held from today until January 18 at the National Stadium, Riffa.

Popular outlets have also put up additional screens and created special offers in anticipation of the expected rush.

An official at a popular Lebanese restaurant on the Exhibition Avenue said additional television screens were being put up to show the games live.

Three-star hotels in the same area also hope a major boost in business as they expect hundreds of visitors from neighbouring countries to stay in the area.

Another hotel manager, also on the Exhibition Avenue, said he was optimistic there would be huge rush in hotel bookings over the next few weeks.