Champs Dortmund shocked by Hamburg; Leverkusen held

Updated 10 February 2013
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Champs Dortmund shocked by Hamburg; Leverkusen held

BERLIN: Champions Borussia Dortmund slumped to a 4-1 home defeat to Hamburg SV but held on to second place in the Bundesliga after Bayer Leverkusen conceded a late equalizer in a 3-3 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach yesterday.
Latvian Artjoms Rudnevs and South Korea international Son Heung-min each scored twice as Hamburg ended Dortmund’s run of four wins, with both teams reduced to 10 men by red cards.
The results will allow first-placed Bayern Munich, on 51 points, to extend their lead to 15 if they beat out-of-form Schalke 04 later on Saturday. Dortmund are second on 39 points and Leverkusen a point further behind in third.
Eintracht Frankfurt failed to take advantage of Dortmund’s and Leverkusen’s slip-ups, grinding out a goalless draw against Nuremberg to remain in fourth place on 37 points.
Werder Bremen beat VfB Stuttgart 4-1 with the hosts left licking their wounds after their fifth straight defeat that adds pressure on coach Bruno Labbadia, who only last month extended his deal to 2015.
VfL Wolfsburg climbed further away from the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory over bottom-placed Greuther Fuerth thanks to Bas Dost’s eighth goal of the campaign to move up to 12th on 26 points.
Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski made the most of a defensive blunder by Hamburg captain Heiko Westermann to latch on to an awkward Mats Hummels cross to slot in his 14th league goal in the 17th minute.
Their lead, however, lasted only a minute as Rudnevs, left unmarked in the area, tapped in after a well-timed cutback from Dennis Aogo on the left.
The visitors went ahead when Son drilled home a superb shot off the post.
To make matters worse for the hosts, Lewandowski, a transfer target for several major European clubs, was shown a straight red for kicking Per Skjelbred on the half-hour.

The numerical balance was restored after 60 minutes with Jeffrey Bruma sent off after a foul on Dortmund’s Marco Reus, but Rudnevs responded with his 10th goal, beating two markers at the far post to head in a Rafael van der Vaart cross.
Son completed a memorable evening for the northern German club when he slotted in from close range after connecting with a Marcell Jansen cross as Hamburg moved up to fifth and in contention for a European spot.
Leverkusen twice came from a goal down to level against Gladbach, and then Andre Schuerrle put them in the driving seat with a third in the 64th minute.
But Patrick Herrmann secured a point for the hosts with his 86th minute header, which enabled Gladbach to hold on to seventh place.


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 58 min 47 sec ago
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.