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Cretaro keeps Sligo on track

Raffaele Cretaro bagged a brace as Sligo Rovers moved eight points clear at the summit of the Airtricity League Premier Division table with a 4-1 home win over Derry City.

Sligo hit the front in the 14th minute when Joseph Ndo's corner caused panic in the area and Derry defender Ryan McBride, under pressure from Gavin Peers, put the ball into his own net.

Then the Bit O'Red ruthlessly punished a Stewart Greacen error in the 35th minute with Cretaro confidently sweeping Sligo further ahead. Eleven minutes after the restart Ndo and Lee Lynch crafted a chance and the impressive Cretaro converted. David McDaid pulled a goal back for Derry on 69 minutes, but seven minutes later normal service was resumed when Lynch scored.

Irish young guns firing

IRELAND'S under 17s withstood late Swedish pressure to open their UEFA qualifying campaign with an encouraging 1-1 draw yesterday.

In manager Tom Mohan's first qualifier at the helm, Ireland lived dangerously for the opening half against the Nordic Cup champions, but settled once Dean O'Halloran's breakthrough strike arrived three minutes after the interval.

The nippy winger from Waterford beat Hampus Strömgren with an excellent finish after Jack Byrne's sublime pass had created the opening.

Top seeds Sweden always carried a threat in the form of Chelsea playmaker Isak Ssewankambo, and equalised on 68 minutes when substitute Anton Jonsson squared for Gustav Engvall to convert.

With the top two of the four nations from the mini-group progressing to the elite qualifying stage, Ireland remain confident in doing so by claiming enough points from their remaining fixtures against hosts Macedonia tomorrow and Romania on Thursday.

Lambert lauds Agbonlahor

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert insists he has no favourites and price tags will count for nothing when he selects his side for today's derby with visiting West Brom.

Lambert has welcome competition for places after Villa achieved a shock 4-2 win over Manchester City in the midweek League Cup tie at the Etihad Stadium.

Gabriel Agbonlahor impressed with two goals after recovering from knee ligament damage suffered during the pre-season tour of the United States.

Lambert is looking to 25-year-old Agbonlahor to "drive his career forward" after his return to action and the end of a 17-game run without a goal.

"Gabby's at an age now where he's not a young pro and not an elder statesman. He has got the potential to do it, and Tuesday night at Manchester City proved it's there in abundance."

QPR on right track -- Nelsen

Ryan Nelsen thinks QPR will trigger a "monsoon" of victories if they pick up their first win of the season at West Ham tomorrow night.

Hopes were high for QPR this summer after Mark Hughes brought in 10 players including Esteban Granero, Julio Cesar and Park Ji-Sung, but the Londoners are still searching for their first league win of the season after five games. Defeats against Swansea, Manchester City and Tottenham, and draws against Chelsea and Norwich, have left the west London outfit second from bottom.

The New Zealand defender is confident that it is only a matter of time before the wins start rolling in for the club.

"With the characters we have in the dressing-room, it is only a matter of time (before we get the win) and when one happens it will be like a monsoon after that," Nelsen said.

Hoops return to top spot

Celtic leapfrogged Motherwell to the top of the Scottish Premier League by dismantling the Steelmen in impressive style to win 2-0 at Fir Park. In-form striker Gary Hooper opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a low drive before Motherwell defender Adam Cummins put Scott Brown's cross past Darren Randolph and into his own net four minutes later.

A sterling display by Randolph -- along with some poor finishing -- prevented the scoreline reflecting the Hoops' dominance.

Elsewhere, Irishman Cillian Sheridan netted a hat-trick and Kilmarnock cruised to three points with a 3-1 win over Hearts, opening the scoring with a first-half header before doubling the away side's advantage five minutes after the restart.

He completed his hat-trick by capitalising on an error from Hearts goalkeeper Jamie McDonald.

In other action, Richie Foran's double helped Inverness hammer Dundee United 4-0 and secure their first league win of the season. The Irishman curled in a beauty in the 31st minute and netted a close range header four minutes later.

Bayern keep up hot streak

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich left it late to beat Werder Bremen 2-0 yesterday with goals from Luiz Gustavo and Mario Mandzukic as they extended their perfect start to the season to six wins in six matches.

Sunday Indo Sport