Sydney, June 4, (Agencies): New ly-married Mathew Leckie scored

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SYDNEY, June 4, (Agencies): New-

ly-married Mathew Leckie scored 

with the last kick of the game to give 

Australia a 1-0 win over Greece in 

Sydney on Saturday.

The Socceroos dominated the 

friendly but could not convert that 

into goals before German-based sub-

stitute Leckie scored only his third 

goal in his 30th international deep into 

stoppage time.

Tim Cahill had a goal disallowed 

only minutes before when a corner 

was deemed to be crossed the line 

before the veteran Socceroo headed 

home and set off on a celebratory run, 

waving his shirt above his head.

It was only what the Australians 

deserved hav-

ing dominated 

possession and 

chances against 

a Greek team, 

which missed 

out qualifying 

for this month’s 

Euro 2016 in 


“There is a 

lot of talk that 

I don’t score 

enough as a forward and I always 

try and keep it out of my mind and I 

would like to score more for the na-

tional team,” said Leckie, who got 

married this week.

“Lucky enough that I got one today 

and hopefully I can start a bit of mo-

mentum with goals.”

Greece, who play Australia again 

in Melbourne on Tuesday, have an 

injury worry with their first-choice 

goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis, who was 

taken to hospital for X-rays for pos-

sible broken ribs after a first half col-

lision that forced him from the field.

Karnezis came off worse after a 

heavy collision with Australia captain 

Mile Jedinak going for a high corner 

midway through the opening half, and 

was subsequently replaced by Stefa-

nos Kapino.

❑       ❑      ❑

Kosovo, accepted as FIFA mem-

bers only three weeks ago, won their 

first fully-recognised international 

when they beat Faroe Islands 2-0 on 

Friday despite playing for nearly one 

hour with 10 men.

Albert Bunjaku scored Kosovo’s 

historic first international goal when 

he headed in from close range just 

before halftime at the Volksbank Sta-

dium, home to third tier German club 

FSV Frankfurt.  Elbasan Rashani 

finished off a counter-attack to score 

the second for Kosovo in stoppage 

time amid jubilant scenes.

Bursant Celina, who plays for 

English Premier League Manches-

ter City, had the dubious honour of 

receiving Kosovo’s first red card in 

the 35th minute for what appeared to 

be little more than a push on an op-


The Faroes had Bogi Petersen dis-

missed 10 minutes from time.

“I expected a difficult game and it 

was even more difficult with 10 play-

ers,” said Kosovo coach Albert Bun-

jaki. “We have to work hard but I can 

say Kosovo has a good future in the 


❑       ❑      ❑

A Czech amateur regional league 

game on Friday ended up in one of the 

world’s longest-ever penalty shoot-

outs with 52 spot-kicks, video footage 

of the game showed on Saturday.

Playing in the fifth tier of the Czech 

league system, SK Batov 1930 beat 

FC Frystak 22-21 on penalties fol-

lowing a 3-3 draw after 90 minutes.

The longest shootout in a profes-

sional game registered in the Guin-

ness World Records mentions 48 

spot-kicks executed in the final of the 

2005 Namibian Cup, in which KK 

Palace beat Civics 17-16 on penalties 

following a 2-2 draw.

In the game pitting teams from two 

small towns in the southeastern Czech 

Republic, Frystak had three chances 

to win the shootout at 4-4, 11-11 and 

14-14, but each time their players 


In the 26th round, Batov midfielder 

Petr Janovsky scored while Frystak 

midfielder  Jan  Hrebacka sent the 

ball over the crossbar, earning a re-

lieved applause from 148 spectators, 

one of whom could be heard saying 

“at last!”.

❑       ❑      ❑

Arsenal are trying to lure England 

striker Jamie Vardy away from Pre-

mier League champions Leicester 

City in a move worth around £20 

million ($29m, 25.5m euros), Brit-

ain’s Guardian newspaper reported 


Vardy scored 24 league goals as 

Leicester, 5,000/1 rank outsiders, 

were crowned champions of England 

last season, finishing 10 points in 

front of second-placed Arsenal, one 

of the Premier League’s established 


His club form saw Vardy force his 

way into England’s squad for the up-

coming European Championship.

Signing Vardy, who is already 

29, would mark a major change in 

Arsenal’s transfer policy under long-

serving French manager Arsene 


But the Guardian said “the striker’s 

availability for a relatively modest 

fee, and the alternative option that 

he provides in attack with his searing 

pace, has fuelled the manager’s inter-

est”. However, it was only in Febru-

ary that Vardy signed an improved 

three-and-a-half-year contract with 

Thai-owned Leicester.




Racist daubed on Deschamps house

Unlucky own goal helps Swiss scrape win over Moldova

Germany see off Hungary as Schweinsteiger returns

Ibrahimovic could use days off to sign for United

STOCKHOLM, June 4, (Agencies): 

Sweden captain and record scorer Zlatan 

Ibrahimovic may be allowed to leave the 

squad’s Euro 2016 training camp to sign 

for Manchester United, coach Erik Ham-

ren said on Saturday.

The 34-year-old, who is available on 

a free transfer after leaving Paris St Ger-

main, has been strongly linked in media 

reports to a reunion with former coach 

Jose Mourinho, who was named manager 

of the English Premier League side last 


“We have days off. We plan our activi-

ties and the players can act based on that,” 

a mildly irritated Hamren told reporters. 

“I’m not going to speculate about such 


Ibrahimovic sat out Tuesday’s drab 

goalless draw with Slovenia to rest a 

sore calf, but will start in Sweden’s final 

pre-Euro 2016 friendly against Wales in 

Stockholm on Sunday.

The Swedes have named a strong start-

ing team to face the Welsh and Hamren 

plans to use all six substitutions to get a 

good look at his fringe players.

“My idea is that as many as possible 

would get game time,” he said.

“That won’t be the case for the goal-

keepers, but otherwise it is my hope that 

everyone will have some minutes in their 

legs before we go to France.”

Sweden kick off their Group E cam-

paign against Ireland in Paris on June 13 

before facing Italy and Belgium.

❑     ❑     ❑

The word “racist” was daubed on the 

wall of a house owned by Didier De-

schamps days after the France man-

ager was accused by 

Karim Benzema of 

bowing to “pressure 

from a racist part of 


The  Real Madrid 

striker made the accu-

sation after being left 

out of Deschamps’ 

squad for the Euro-

pean championships 

starting in France next 


Police confirmed to AFP on Saturday 

that the Deschamps’ property in the Brit-

tany town of Concarneau had been tagged 

with the word “racist”.

It was quickly wiped off again.

Deschamps’ lawyer Carlo Alberto 

Brusa later announced his client was su-

ing for “trespassing and damage to private 


Benzema was excluded from France’s 

squad after being charged with complicity 

in an attempt to blackmail France team-

mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sextape.

The 28-year-old was widely con-

demned for suggesting it was his Algerian 

roots rather than the Valbuena scandal 

that had triggered his omission.

France Prime Minister Manuel Valls 

was among those to take the Real Madrid 

star to task, saying he was “shocked” by 

the outburst.

❑     ❑     ❑

Belgium’s defensive woes ahead of 

Euro 2016 continued on Friday as coach 

Marc Wilmots announced that centre-

back  Thomas Vermaelen will miss 

Sunday’s friendly against Norway with a 

muscle strain.

Wilmots said that the Barcelona player 

was forced to leave training on Friday in 

Genk early and becomes the latest de-

fender on the sidelines for a team seen as 

one of the favourites to win the European 


Wilmots has already seen skipper 

Vincent Kompany and Bjorn Engels 

withdraw from his squad while fellow 

defenders  Nicolas Lombaerts and  De-

dryck Boyata pulled out at the start of 

this week.

Belgium will leave for their Euro base 

in Bordeaux next Tuesday with their first 

match against Italy in Lyon on June 13.

Colombia shatter US dream in opener

James, Zapata score


States, June 4, (AFP): Co-

lombia wrecked the United 

States’ hopes of a winning 

start to the Copa America 

Centenario as goals from 

James Rodriguez and Cris-

tian Zapata gave the South 

Americans a comfortable 2-0 

victory here Friday.

AC Milan’s Zapata and Real Ma-

drid star Rodriguez struck in the first 

half before a sell-out 67,439 crowd at 

the Levi’s Stadium in northern Cali-

fornia to puncture American hopes of 

emerging from a difficult Group A.

US coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s side had 

hoped to score an upset victory to emulate 

the Americans’ famous defeat of Colom-

bia at the 1994 World Cup in the United 


But for long periods here Friday Klins-

mann’s men were chasing shadows as the 

skilful 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists 

delivered a stinging reality check.

Klinsmann sought to put a positive 

spin on the game, insisting his team had 

competed as equals.

“For our players it’s really important 

that they can see we can beat them,” 

Klinsmann said.

“The end result is 2-0. But the players 

will take a lot out of this game.”

Klinsmann admitted the defeat left his 

team with little margin for error in their 

remaining group games against Costa 

Rica and Paraguay.

“Obviously we have even more hunger 

in our second game now,” Klinsmann 


“We have our backs against the wall 

and we need three points against Costa 

Rica. But there’s a lot of positives.”

A disastrous first half for the host na-

tion saw Colombia take a vice-like grip 

on the contest.

The Colombians took the lead after 

only eight minutes, when poor marking 

at a set-piece gifted a chance to the Italy-

based Zapata.

Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron 

was caught ball-watching as Edwin Car-

dona’s corner was curled in, and Zapata 





Geoff Cameron #20 of United States collides with Carlos Bacca #7 of Colombia during the 2016 Copa America Centenario Group match between the United States 

and Colombia at Levi’s Stadium on June 3 in Santa Clara, California. (AFP)

stole in front of his man to thunder home 

the finish.

The USA struggled to build any sort 

of momentum after that, with Colombia 

flooding midfield and pressing the Ameri-

cans relentlessly.

Colombia dominated territory and pos-

session and carved out the better chances 

with Sebastian Perez forcing a diving save 

from Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan in the 

16th minute with a rasping drive.

Monterrey’s Cardona proved to be a 

menace to the USA back four throughout

tormenting Cameron and DeAndre Yedlin 

in quick succession midway through the 

half before shooting on goal.

The only USA chance of note was 

a 36th-minute run and shot from Clint 

Dempsey, whose curling effort whistled 

just past Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospi-

na’s upright.

But within minutes of that fleeting US 

opportunity, the hosts were dealt a killer 

blow when Yedlin was adjudged to have 

flicked a hand out to block Farid Diaz’s 


America’s players protested but Mexi-

can referee Roberto Garcia was in no 

doubt and pointed to the spot. Rodriguez 

duly stepped up to stroke home the spot-

kick and Colombia were in total control.

Colombia threatened again early in the 

first half, with Cardona testing Guzan 

once more with a fierce shot on 50 min-


It started to look ominous for the hosts 

soon after, with Colombia passing the ball 

between themselves to draw cheers of 

“Ole” from their large contingent of noisy 


But home hopes were raised when 

Dempsey saw his header from a Michael 

Bradley corner cleared off the line by 


Germany’s Benedikt Hoewedes (right), and Hungary’s Tamas Kadar challenge for the ball during the international friendly 

soccer match between Germany and Hungary in Gelsenkirchen,  Germany on June 4. (AP)

Kosovo win

Aussies top

Greece 2-1

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany, June 4, 

(Agencies): Germany laboured to a 2-0 

friendly win over Hungary on Saturday in 

their final Euro 2016 warm-up match as 

captain Bastian Schweinsteiger returned 

after three months out with injury.

A first-half own-goal by Hungary de-

fender Adam Lang and a second from 

Thomas Mueller in Gelsenkirchen gave 

the Germans a confidence boost before 

their opening match against Ukraine 

next Sunday in Group C of the European 


This was no more than a satisfactory 

performance from the world champions, 

who have a habit of raising their game for 

major tournaments, and this was the first 

time Germany had kept a clean sheet in 

the last year.

The biggest boost for the Germans was 

the return of Manchester United midfield 

general Schweinsteiger, who came off the 

bench for the final 20 minutes to play his 

first football since tearing the medial liga-

ment in his knee in March.

After an experimental side, boast-

ing four new caps, was humbled 3-1 by 

Slovakia in last Sunday’s friendly, Ger-

many’s head coach Joachim Loew named 

a full-strength side, starting with seven of 

the team which finished the 2014 World 

Cup final.

Having toyed with playing a three-man 

defence, Loew reverted to the 4-2-3-1 

which won Germany the title in Brazil.

He started with Cologne’s Jonas Hec-

tor at right-back for the first-half, then 

Liverpool’s Emre Can for the second, in 

the only defensive position still to be de-

cided before the Euro starts.

World Cup winner Mario Goetze put in 

a lively performance for his 78 minutes, 

threatening as a striker, then dropping 

back when Mario Gomez came on for the 

second half and helped set up Mueller’s 


Germany had the ball in the Hungary 

net after just 59 seconds.

Goetze’s pass across the box was 

drilled home by Julian Draxler, but the 

goal was ruled offside although replays 

showed the Wolfsburg midfielder was 

onside when the final pass was made.

Centre-back Antonio Rudiger then 

headed wide with ten minutes gone as 

the Germans hunted the opening goal in 


The hosts finally took the lead when 

the ball deflected off the shin of Lang, 

who was jostling with Goetze at the near 

post following a cross from Hector, and 

flew past Hungary’s 40-year-old goal-

keeper Gabor Kiraly on 39 minutes.

Mueller added Germany’s second on 

63 minutes after Jerome Boateng floated 

in a superb cross.

Gomez unleashed a powerful header 

which Kiraly could only parry, but Muel-

ler was on hand to tap in his 32nd goal on 

his 71st international appearance.

Lukas Podolski came on for Goetze for 

the final ten minutes to make his 128th 

appearance for Germany on his 31st 


Germany open their Euro 2016 cam-

paign against Ukraine on June 12 in Lille 

while Hungary play Austria in their first 

Group F match two days later in Bor-


Swiss 2, Moldova 1

In Lugano, Switzerland, an unlucky 

own goal by Moldova goalkeeper Stan-

islav Namasco gave Switzerland a helping 

hand as the Euro 2016 finalists scraped a 

2-1 victory in a warm-up match.

The hosts, who had lost their three 

previous friendlies, went ahead in the 

12th minute when Blerim Dzemaili sent 

a looping header against the underside of 

the crossbar before the ball hit Namasco 

on the back and went into the net.

Switzerland experimented with Steve 

von Bergen and Fabian Schaer at the cen-

tre of the defence as coach Vladimir Pet-

kovic continued his search for a reliable 

back line but they still looked vulnerable.

The Swiss, who face Albania, Roma-

nia and hosts France in Group A of this 

month’s European Championship, cre-

ated a flurry of chances early in the sec-

ond half and were repeatedly thwarted by 


The home team were stunned when 

Radu Ginsari equalised for Moldova in 

the 69th minute with a viciously dipping 

shot from 25 metres that caught goal-

keeper Roman Buerki off his guard.

Forward Ahmed Mehmedi, who scored 

only two Bundesliga goals for Bayer 

Leverkusen this season, then spared 

Switzerland’s blushes when he fired the 

winner from close range six minutes later.

Romania 5, Georgia 1

In Bucharest, Romania scored two 

early goals on their way to a leisurely 

5-1 victory against a listless Georgia side 

at the National Arena in their final Euro 

2016 warm-up.

Anghel Iordanescu’s team, who play in 

the tournament’s opening game against 

hosts France next Friday, took the lead 

after 68 seconds when Adrian Popa pun-

ished a defensive blunder by dribbling 

past Georgia keeper Roin Kvashvadze to 


The home side doubled their advantage 

two minutes later when Georgia captain 

Aleksandr Amisulashvili slid the ball into 

his own net from Romania captain Raz-

van Rat’s left-wing cross.

The last time the Romanians scored 

twice in the first three minutes was in a 

4-2 win over China in a friendly in 1984.

Romania, who have been struggling 

with injuries and players not featuring 

for their clubs, had conceded six goals in 

three friendlies in the last 10 days against 

two in Euro qualifying, and Iordanescu 

was determined to tighten the defence.

On the back of a 4-3 loss to Ukraine 

he fielded Cosmin Moti in the centre of 

defence instead of Vlad Chiriches after 

the Napoli defender’s disappointing per-

formance on Sunday and they were never 

under any serious or sustained pressure.

Georgia, ranked 137th in the world, 

barely registered a shot on goal and al-

lowed the home side to dictate the play, 

with the hosts hitting the post twice mid-

way through the first half.

Florin Andone got a chance up front, 

having missed Romania’s training camp 

in Italy and their last two friendlies 

against DR Congo and Ukraine due to 

club commitments with Spanish second-

tier side Cordoba for whom he scored 21 

goals last season.

But it was Nicolae Stanciu who made 

it 3-0 after the break with his fourth goal 

in five internationals although Iordanescu 

would not have been pleased when Geor-

gia substitute Levan Mcedlidze scored 

after 68 minutes following an error by 


However, Romania’s Gabriel Torje 

restored the home side’s three-goal lead 

with an easy close-range finish in the 

80th and fellow substitute Claudiu Kes-

eru completed the rout with a deflected 

25-metre shot four minutes from time.

After kicking off their Euro 2016 

campaign against France in Paris, Ro-

mania will take on Switzerland five days 

later before meeting Albania in their final 

Group A game.


Soccer Roundup

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