Inter Milan today confirmed the appointment of Claudio Ranieri as their new coach on a deal until June 2013.
Former Valencia, Chelsea and Roma coach Ranieri succeeds Gian Piero Gasperini, who was sacked yesterday after a short, unsuccessful spell in charge. Ranieri’s first game will be on Saturday at Bologna.
A statement from the club read: “Claudio Ranieri is officially the new coach of Inter. Ranieri has signed a contract with Inter until 30 June 2013. All of Inter has the pleasure of welcoming Claudio Ranieri and his staff. Ranieri will guide today’s training session and will be unveiled tomorrow to the press.”
Inter sacked Gasperini after Tuesday’s shocking 3-1 defeat at newly-promoted Novara – the team’s fourth loss in five games this season.
Ranieri, 59, becomes Inter’s fifth coach in the past 15 months. Gasperini was appointed in June after Leonardo elected to leave I Nerazzurri and become the sporting director at Paris Saint-Germain.
Leonardo had replaced Rafael Benitez in December. Spaniard Benitez had been brought in six months earlier following the departure of Jose Mourinho to Real Madrid. Ranieri had been out of a job since leaving Roma earlier this year.
Ranieri wants to “wake up” Inter
News of Ranieri’s appointment had been widely expected after he gave an interview vowing to “wake up the team”. Ranieri told Domenica Sportiva: “Inter are a great team. They have had a bad start to the season and I will have to talk to the team to understand why that was.
“I will have to bring enthusiasm and a change of gear in order to wake up the team. I cannot promise that we will win this or that but I believe this team has a lot to give and we must prove it.”
Ranieri praised Gasperini’s efforts despite his short tenure at the club. “Gasperini wanted to bring his ideas and make them work at all costs but he didn’t manage to do it,” the 59-year-old said. “I will try to make this team play as it knows how, with all of its strength.
“Gasperini didn’t make a mistake and we have to say well done because he tried everything to make his ideas work.”
Rwanda Football Federation, FERWAFA, has paid tribute to late Manasseh Simba, first President of APR FC from 1994 to 1999, who passed away on Monday.
Mr. Simba, born 1948, was again chosen to be the club President from 2002 to 2005.
FERWAFA paid their respects on behalf of the whole football fraternity in Rwanda.
“It’s a sad period; we have lost an inspiration, role model and a colleague. He did for football what the game represents, fair play, dedication and excellence. He is an inspiration to many of us and his memory will never be far from our minds,” a statement from FERWAFA read.
As APR FC President, late Manasseh Simba helped the club reach its peak by winning local, regional silverware and stage good performances in the Africa Champions’ League.
Mr. Simba will be laid to rest on Friday at Remera Cemetery while the church service will be held at St. Etienne Church in Kigali City. May his soul RIP.
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has donated a coaching trophy awarded for his treble-winning season with Inter Milan for auction in memory of mentor Bobby Robson.
Former England and Barcelona manager Robson died of lung cancer two years ago at age 76. He is credited with helping launch Mourinho’s career in football.
“The entire family is completely astounded by this generous gift from Mr. Mourinho,” Robson’s son Mark said. “We are thrilled and so thankful to him.”
Proceeds of the sale of the Fifa coach of the year award Mourinho won in 2010 will go to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
“My dad would have been so proud by the way all the different clubs and football managers around the world are pulling together by contributing such incredible prizes,” Mark Robson said.
Mourinho had a low-key playing career and his break in football came as a result of being hired as an interpreter for Robson at Sporting Lisbon in 1992.
Robson took Mourinho with him when he was hired as coach of Porto and the duo also worked together at Barcelona during the 1996-97 season.
Mourinho moved into management at Benfica, but made his name back at Porto where he won the 2004 Champions League, before joining Chelsea and winning the Premier League twice.
Mourinho became Real Madrid coach in 2010.
Real Madrid suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Levante as city rivals Atletico Madrid enjoyed a first victory of the new Primera Division season.
Arouna Kone scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half on Sunday as Levante’s unbeaten start to the campaign continued with a surprise success over Real at the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia.
Jose Mourinho’s side had scored 10 goals in their opening two matches, but could not find a way past Levante after also being reduced to 10 men in the first half.
Sami Khedira was sent off for a second bookable offence four minutes before the interval and Levante took advantage to grab the winner through Kone.
Summer signing Radamel Falcao grabbed his first league goals for Atletico as his new club thrashed Racing Santander 4-0 at Vicente Calderon.
Falcao was brought in from Porto to help fill the void created by the departures of Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan, and he scored Atletico’s first Primera Liga goal of the season on 23 minutes.
He added another from the penalty spot before half-time and completed his hat-trick on 55 minutes before substitute Adrian wrapped up the scoring on 78 minutes.
Real Zaragoza were another team to score for the first time this season on Sunday as Luis Garcia’s brace snatched a 2-1 home win over Espanyol.
Garcia opened the scoring for Zaragoza just before the half-hour mark, but Espanyol levelled on 71 minutes through Javi Lopez.
However, Lopez was sent off for a second bookable offence four minutes from time and Garcia then pounced for Zaragoza’s winner two minutes into stoppage-time, having earlier missed a penalty.
Real Betis maintained their 100 per cent start to the season by hanging on for an impressive 3-2 success away to Athletic Bilbao.
The visitors were quickly in command at San Mames as Benat and Nacho scored inside the opening 13 minutes before Bilbao reduced the arrears through Oscar de Marcos on 38 minutes.
However, Salva Sevilla’s penalty restored Betis’ two-goal cushion on the stroke of half-time and Mario was then sent off for the away side with 15 minutes to go.
Bilbao set up a tense finale when David Lopez converted from the penalty spot on 87 minutes, but home defender Fernando Amorebieta was dismissed for the ninth time in his career in stoppage-time.
Rayo Vallecano maintained their unbeaten start to the season as Michu’s fourth minute goal was enough to claim a 1-0 win away to Getafe.
Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League campaign got off to an inauspicious start, as they conceded a last-gasp equaliser to draw 2-2 with an experienced AC Milan side. Elsewhere, the two Premier League-Bundesliga clashes saw Chelsea emerge 2-0 winners from their duel with Bayer Leverkusen and Arsenal secure a precious point in Dortmund.
Just 17 goals were scored during the first matchday, an average of just over two goals per game.
The big game
Barcelona-AC Milan, Group H
Goals: Pedro 36, David Villa 50 (Barcelona); Pato 1, Thiago Silva 90+2 (AC Milan)
Milan came close to pulling off the result of the night at the Camp Nou. The Italians got off to the perfect start, Pato catching the Catalan defence off guard by running at them and explosively accelerating through on goal. One-on-one with Victor Valdes, the Brazilian made no mistake, slotting the ball through the Spanish goalkeeper’s legs in a composed fashion, with just 25 seconds showing on the clock. Barcelona, and their central defensive pairing of Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets in particular, appeared rattled for a while, incapable of dealing with Pato’s dangerous incursions.
Barça coach Guardiola then changed things around, moving to three at the back, which led to the European champions gradually gaining a foothold in the match. An equaliser was clearly on the cards, and that it was created almost singlehandedly by Lionel Messi came as no surprise. The skilful Argentinian burst into the left-hand side of the box, drawing three Milanese defenders away from goal in the process. He then sent in a low far-post cross that was dispatched decisively into the net by the unmarked Pedro.
After Messi hit the post with a free-kick and then saw a shot brilliantly saved by Christian Abbiati, it was the turn of David Villa to show his skills, giving his side the lead with a marvellous bending free-kick. The match appeared to be over as a contest, with the Italians posing very little threat in the second half. But they dug deep to force a draw in the final seconds of the game, when Thiago Silva powerfully headed home Clarence Seedorf’s corner.
The other games
In a hotly contested and lively Group E encounter, Chelsea finally broke down Bayer Leverkusen’s resistance after 67 minutes, central defender David Luiz finishing off a move he had started by expertly curling a lay-off from Fernando Torres low into the net. In injury time, Torres took his assist count to two, setting up fellow Spaniard Juan Mata for the Blues’ second. Leverkusen’s Michael Ballack, a former Stamford Bridge favourite, was given a standing ovation by the home fans as he was substituted in the second half. In the section’s other match, Genk drew 0-0 with Valencia. Despite dominating the match, the Spanish outfit failed to find a way past a stubborn Belgian defence.
For 88 minutes, Arsenal drew on all their European experience to take control of their match atBorussia Dortmund. Robin van Persie’s first-half goal looked to have earned the Gunners all three points, but Ivan Perisic struck a fabulous volley to give the hosts a share of the spoils. Things could have got worse for Arsenal too, had Wojciech Szczesny not pulled off a fabulous reflex save in injury time. Marseille, meanwhile, made the perfect start to their Champions League campaign by earning a 1-0 win at Olympiacos. Lucho Gonzalez grabbed the all-important goal, turning home a Jeremy Morel cross to earn the side from the southern French coast their first win of the season.
Porto edged past Shakhtar Donetsk to take pole position in a group that appears wide open. The Ukrainian visitors took the lead, Luiz Adriano profiting from an error by Porto goalkeeper Helton to fire home. Hulk had earlier missed a penalty for the home side, but made up for his error by scoring a sublime free-kick to draw Porto level. James Rodriguez then combined with Kleber and the latter hit the winner. Shakhtar were down to ten men by that point, and finished the match with nine on a night to forget for the Ukrainians. APOEL Nicosia pulled off arguably the performance of the night by downing Zenit St-Petersburg 2-1. The underdogs came from a goal down, with Gustavo Manduca and Ailton Almeida finding the net to make history for the Cypriots.
Outsiders Viktoria Plzen and Bate Borisov played out an interesting 1-1 draw in which both teams dominated proceedings at different stages of the match.
Porto’s Givanildo Vieira de Souza, better known as Hulk, was the top goalscorer in Portugal with 33 goals in all competitions last season. He had an up-and-down evening against Shakhtar Donetsk, striking the post with a penalty early in the first half, but shrugging off this disappointment to net a superb long-range free-kick 20 minutes later.
Goal of the night
Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal (Robin van Persie 42)
Robin van Persie pounced on a wayward pass by Sebastian Kehl and deflected the ball in the direction of Theo Walcott, before quickly pulling himself up off the ground and making a run deep into opposition territory. With a slide rule pass, Walcott fed the ball back to the Dutchman, who outpaced the German defence and slotted calmly past Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller for the opener.
7 – The number of UEFA Champions League matches that Viktoria Plzen have now played without tasting defeat. One of this year’s lesser-known participants, the Czech champions remained unbeaten during three qualifying rounds, eliminating Norwegian giants Rosenborg along the way, and kicked off the group stage by drawing with Bate Borisov.
Have your say
Can APOEL Nicosia qualify for the knockout stages?
Brig. Gen. Jean Bosco Kazura has resigned (Monday, September 12, 2011) from his position as the chairman of the Fédération Rwandaise de Football Association (FERWAFA).
“I am happy to inform you that due to my personal reasons, I have resigned as the President of FERWAFA with effect from 12/09/2011.”
The letter also read in part “I am so thankful for your efforts in all that have been achieved during the years that I have guided FERWAFA as well as your kind support in the development of football in Rwanda.”
“Because of those reasons, your are invited in an extraordinary General Assembly which will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2011 (Federation’s Headquarters) at 10.00 AM.”
Gen. Kazura has guided FERWAFA since 2006 and he was in his second term which was due to end on 2013.
Since taking over, so many things have been achieved like being able to have Rwanda U-17 national football team finish second in the Africa U-17 Championship where it earned an automatic ticket to compete in the FIFA U-17 World Cup finals in Mexico.
Germany have already won this group last weekend.
Austria are now without any chances after dropping another 2 points at home.
Turkey are favourites to claim the 2nd price and only some unexpected result with Belgium’s only outside chance seem to be a win away in Germany.
Instead of getting some clarification, the group has got even more tangled after some unexpected results from yesterday. Russia must consider themselves as a team who lost 2 points in their goalless draw with Ireland while Armenia (about whom we warned of not being pushovers) produced the shock result of the day by beating Slovakia 4-0 away !
All 4 teams are now in contention and the most telling fixture to come is Slovakia vs Russia next month.
Italy have won the group and Serbia are favourites to claim the 2nd place.
Some great results from Estonia lately but is that going to be enough to catch Serbia for 2nd place ? Slovenia are almost out.
It looks like France will keep the first place and Bosnia only requires to beat Luxembourg in their next home fixture to guarantee themselves at least 2nd spot.
Belarus are out after conceding late goal last night while defending with 9 men and Romania’s hopes are almost zero unless Luxembourg can take some points from Bosnia next month, which is unlikely.
Holland needing only 1 point from remaining 2 fixtures to win the group.
Sweden requires at least one win to confirm 2nd place and failing to do so would still provide outside chance for Hungary to overtake them.
Croatia moving to first place ahead of Greece by 1 point.
Next month’s fixture (Greece vs Croatia) is likely to decide outcome of this group.
Israel lost their chances with two consecutive losses.
England are only 1 point away from winning the group after their narrow win against Wales.
Montenegro are now only 3 points ahead of Switzerland with 2 games to go and the last fixture next month (Switzerland vs Montenegro) may just decide who claims the playoff spot.
Denmark’s win over Norway last night means that Portugal, Denmark & Norway are now sharing top 3 spots, all on equal number of points however Norway played one more game.
These are the possibilities now :
If Portugal can beat Iceland at home then they only need a draw in their last fixture away in Denmark to win the group.
Denmark only need to beat Cyprus at home to guarantee themselves at least second place and can still win the group by beating Portugal.
Norway are left with little hopes unless either Denmark or Portugal lose points against the two smaller teams in the group.
Spain have qualified for the Euro 2012 finals.
Assuming Scotland can beat Liechtenstein away from home (not guaranteed) then they would likely need some help from Lithuania in their last home match against Czech Republic.
Both contenders for 2nd spot (Czechs and Scots) still have Spain to play but we don’t expect them to get any points even if Spain fields their “B” team.