Valencia, Malaga through to King’s Cup quarters

Updated 09 January 2013
0

Valencia, Malaga through to King’s Cup quarters

MADRID: Valencia eased past La Liga rivals Osasuna into the quarterfinals of the King’s Cup on Tuesday night, while Malaga flirted with danger against third-tier Eibar before a flurry of late goals put them safely into the last eight.
Valencia will play 2011 winners Real Madrid or Celta Vigo for a place in the semi-finals, with Celta holding a 2-1 advantage from last month’s last 16, first leg ahead of their visit to the Bernabeu.
Malaga are facing a probable last eight clash with holders Barcelona, who host Cordoba tonight having won their first leg 2-0 at the second-division Andalusian club.
Valencia went into their second leg against Pamplona-based Osasuna with a 2-0 lead and were cruising at a half-empty Mestalla when Tino Costa smashed in a free kick to open the scoring in the 34th minute.
However, Joseba Llorente pulled a goal back with a powerful low drive three minutes later and both sides squandered a number of chances before substitute Roberto Soldado struck with the last kick of the game for a 2-1 victory that sent Valencia through 4-1 on aggregate.
In the earlier kickoff at Malaga’s Rosaleda stadium, Argentine midfielder Diego Buonanotte saved the Andalusian club from potential humiliation when he scored twice and created another in a 4-1 comeback win against lowly Eibar.
Lying second in their regional section of the Segunda B division and never having played in the top flight, Eibar knocked out 2012 finalists Athletic Bilbao in the previous round and held Malaga to a 1-1 draw at their tiny Ipurua stadium in the Basque Country in the first leg.
They took a surprise lead in the 12th minute of the return game when Ruben Arroyo was quickest to the rebound from a long-range Mikel Arruabarrena effort and goalkeeper Carlos Kameni could only deflect his weak shot into the net.
With Malaga fielding a weakened side, Eibar held on relatively comfortably until the 74th minute when Buonanotte exchanged passes with Javier Saviola and struck the ball high past Eibar keeper Xabi Iruretagoiena.
Two minutes later, Buonanotte set up Seba Fernandez to make it 2-1 on the night and substitute Francisco Portillo glanced a header into the net from a Nacho Monreal center in the 82nd minute as the visitors’ defenses crumbled.
Their misery was complete when Guillermo Roldan was shown a straight red card four minutes from time and Buonanotte scored his second in added time to make it 5-2 on aggregate and set up a quarter-final meeting with holders Barcelona or Cordoba.
Sevilla are virtually assured of a place in the last eight after they won their first leg at Real Mallorca 5-0 and host the Balearic Islanders on Wednesday before Real Zaragoza seek to maintain a 1-0 advantage at home to Levante.
Lazio in semis
In Rome, Lazio beat Catania 3-0 on Tuesday to waltz into the Italian Cup semi-finals and keep their so far successful season on track for silverware.
The Rome club, riding high in second in Serie A, never looked in difficulty once Romanian defender Stefan Radu headed in a corner on the half hour.
Brazilian midfielder Hernanes converted Sergio Floccari’s assist midway through the second half to seal matters before adding another classy goal in stoppage time.
Serie A leaders and defending champions Juventus host old rivals AC Milan in Wednesday’s last-eight clash while Inter Milan welcome Bologna and Fiorentina play at home against AS Roma next week in the often unloved competition.


Al-Nassr ready to challenge for title after signing Brazilian Giuliano

Updated 21 August 2018
0

Al-Nassr ready to challenge for title after signing Brazilian Giuliano

  • Riyadh club have not won the title since 2015 and have set their stall out to win it for the ninth time.
  • Brazilian Giuliano is the latest star to sign for Al-Nassr, joining Nigeria international Ahmed Musa.

LONDON: Al-Nassr are ready to challenge for the Saudi Pro League title after a busy summer in the transfer market and elsewhere. That is the message from the Riyadh club who have their sights set on reclaiming the title they last won in 2015.
The side finished third last season but under the energetic leadership of new president Saud Al-Suwailem, the eight time champions ended the transfer window on Monday by confirming the signing of former 
Brazilian international Giuliano from 
Fenerbahce for a fee of €10 million ($11.5 million).
It is the second biggest deal that Al-Nassr have done since the end of last season after the Ahmed Musa transfer, the Nigerian international arriving in early August from Leicester City Premier League. And having seen the 28-year-old attacking midfielder score 14 goals in the Turkish league last season, the club feel Giuliano is a great addition to their expanding squad.
Not only that, the club has brought in former Liverpool and Feyenoord goalkeeper Brad Jones, former Watford star and Morocco international Nordin Amrabat, Peru international defender Christian Ramos and also welcome back Saudi star Yahya Al-Shehri from his loan in Spain.
“We are very happy with the squad going into the new season,” an Al-Nassr official told Arab News.
“It was already a good one but we have strengthened in every area and especially have added some very exciting attacking players. If the coach can get the new signings to settle quickly then we could have a good season.”
There is no automatic demand for the title but an improvement on last season when Al-Nassr finished 12 points behind champions and Riyadh rivals Al-Hilal is required.
“We know that it won’t be easy as the top teams all look to be stronger after spending on some good talent from overseas,” added the official.
“We want to be challenging for the title, that is where we should be. It helps that we also have a coach that has done it before.”
For Al-Nassr, the return of Jose Daniel Carreno could be a game-changer. The Uruguayan tactician had a successful spell with the club and lifted the 2013 league title and the Crown Prince Cup in the same year. He returned to the club in March and his knowledge of Al-Nassr and the league is seen as vital.
“I think the changes to the team have been of great benefit,” Carreno said after last week’s 2-1 win at UAE side Al-Jazira in the Arab Champions Cup. “We have more firepower going forward and we will look to be aggressive and put teams on the backfoot, and press higher up the pitch than before.
“There is still work to do but we are moving to where we want to be. The league is going to be tough this time with Al-Hilal looking strong and signing players, and Al-Ittihad will not have the kind of season they had last time but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
There have been developments off the pitch too. President Al-Suwailem was appointed in April and has been working hard to improve standards at the club and increase revenues.
Earlier this month, the president went to the UAE to sign a four year sponsorship deal with Etihad Airlines that is reportedly worth SR50 million ($13.34 million) a year.
“There is more energy at all levels of the club,” said the official.
“Of course, it depends on what happens when the season starts but we can’t wait for the season to start.”