Oman beats Singapore to go top of Asian Cup qualifying

Updated 20 August 2013
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Oman beats Singapore to go top of Asian Cup qualifying

SINGAPORE: Oman swatted aside a tentative Singapore 2-0 on Wednesday to make it two wins from two as they went top of Group A in Asian Cup qualifying.
Singapore, under the guidance of new coach Bernd Stange, dominated possession in the first half but offered little in attack with Paul Le Guen's side proving clinical with their few chances.
Qasim Said eased past a static home defense to fire Oman into a 15th-minute lead with his fellow midfielder Eid Al-Farsi blasting a low drilled shot from 22 metres to double the advantage on the stroke of halftime.
The home side wilted in the second half with Oman guilty of wasting several chances to improve their goal difference in the four-team group, also featuring Syria and Jordan, where two sides will qualify for the finals in Australia in 2015.
"I think we did the job, it was vital to win and we did it," Le Guen, who had been concerned before the game that his players would still be feeling the effects of fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadam which ended last week, told reporters.
"During the first half we were average, not many chances but efficient.
"I was afraid of the context, the artificial pitch. But we prepared well ... the players accepted to leave Oman before Eid which is not easy for them and I want to thank them for the effort."
Syria host Jordan in Iran on Thursday in the other Group A match in the second round.
The teams are back in Asian Cup qualifying action in October along with the other 16 sides trying to reach the finals in Australia where the hosts, holders Japan and South and North Korea all have places and do not need to qualify.

Suarez scores as Uruguay beats Japan 4-2
In Rifu, Japan, unsettled Liverpool striker Luis Suarez scored for an impressive Uruguay in their 4-2 friendly win against Japan on Wednesday.
Suarez capitalized on some calamitous defending by the hosts to stroke home Uruguay's third goal seven minutes into the second half. Diego Forlan's two goals, including a fine free-kick, earlier gave the visitors a comfortable halftime lead.
Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa scored a tap-in to pull one back soon after Suarez's effort, but Alvaro Gonzalez restored Uruguay's three-goal advantage following a goalkeeping error by Eiji Kawashima.
Keisuke Honda responded with a free-kick to make it 4-2.
Suarez spent the summer pushing for a move away from Liverpool, but a newspaper in his home country on Wednesday quoted him as having had a change of heart and deciding to stay.
Japan, who lost all three of their Confederations Cup games in Brazil this summer, were back to full strength but remain far from convincing ahead of next year's World Cup finals.
"We haven't learned our lessons (from the Confederations Cup). There is still a lot to work on before the World Cup," Kagawa said.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, meanwhile, praised the strength of the opposition.
"You have to give credit to Uruguay," said Zaccheroni. "They are one of the best teams in the world. They showed that again by reaching the Confederations Cup semifinals this year."


Cristiano Ronaldo ready for emotional return to Manchester United in Champions League

Updated 52 min 10 sec ago
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Cristiano Ronaldo ready for emotional return to Manchester United in Champions League

  • Ronaldo returns to former home but backs new side Juve to do the damage at Old Trafford.
  • Portuguese will want focus to be on the football after rape allegations levelled at the former Real Madrid man.

MANCHESTER: Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo is ready for an emotional return to his former club Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday but believes the Italian side can win by executing their gameplan.
Ronaldo is back at Old Trafford for the first time since 2013 when his goal for Real Madrid sent the Spaniards through to the Champions League quarter-finals at United’s expense.
“Emotional? I can remember what it was like when I was at Manchester,” the Portuguese said.
“I won lots of trophies here. I remember the support as well, the support was fantastic.”
Ronaldo lifted three Premier League titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups plus the first of his five Champions League crowns during six years at United and expects a tough game against Jose Mourinho’s team despite their recent struggles.
United are 10th in the Premier League after a sluggish start to the season and second in Champions League Group H, two points behind Juve after a win and a draw in their first two matches.
“It will be a difficult game. Manchester have a good team, they play at home,” Ronaldo said. “It will be tough for us, but we have our weapons. We have a chance, I know if we play the way the coach wants, we have a good chance to win the game.”
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, whose team are four points clear atop Serie A after eight wins and a draw, said they would have to match United’s physicality and revealed he would play with a back four to give the side more stability.
“It will be a physical game, we will have to approach it with great concentration, manage the ball and set up well on a technical level to avoid one of the greatest dangers that they can bring us, namely high balls,” Allegri said.
The Italians will be without their Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic due to an ankle injury, while their Germany midfielder Emre Can will miss the match because of a thyroid problem.
“I’m sorry there’s no Mandzukic, though it is not anything serious with him. I’d already thought about playing with others in attack,” Allegri added. “We’ll probably play with a back four because in midfield we’ll have to numerically match them.”