Sport Soccer

Friday 23 February 2018

Brown seals Hoops victory

Celtic tightened their grip on first place in the SPL yesterday, beating St Mirren 2-0 and seeing closest challenger Rangers held 1-1 by Aberdeen.

Second-half goals by winger James Forrest and captain Scott Brown secured the leaders a 12th straight league victory, stretching back to October 29, and put them four points clear.

"I'm thrilled with the win and thrilled with the clean sheet," Celtic manager Neil Lennon said.

"It was a huge win in the context of the season."

Forrest strengthened his burgeoning reputation a week after being named by FIFA as one of 13 young players to watch in 2012.

Rangers required a 67th-minute equaliser by midfielder Maurice Edu to rescue a draw, with Kari Arnason having opened the scoring for Aberdeen four minutes earlier.

Paris Saint-Germain appear no closer to signing Carlos Tevez from Manchester City, with the player's adviser Kia Joorabchian reportedly saying "there is still some way to go before reaching an agreement".

The big-spending French club are desperate to sign a big name after missing out on David Beckham and AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato.

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti has made Tevez his priority, but Joorabchian said yesterday that "we are continuing discussions with other interested clubs".

AC Milan and Inter Milan are among the clubs reportedly keen on signing the Argentina forward, who has not played for City since last September.

Schalke brushed aside Stuttgart 3-1 to draw level on points with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich yesterday.

Joel Matip put Schalke ahead in the third minute, Kyriakos Papadopoulos scored in the 57th, and Julian Draxler sealed the win by finishing a wonderful team move in the 80th minute. Japan striker Shinji Okazaki scored an 87th-minute consolation for Stuttgart.

Freiburg climbed off the bottom of the table when 18-year-old Matthias Ginter headed an 88th-minute winner to beat Augsburg 1-0 and leave the visitors last.

Nuremberg beat Hertha Berlin 2-0 in their 1,000th Bundesliga game, Hoffenheim drew 0-0 with Hannover and Wolfsburg beat Cologne 1-0.

Kaiserslautern hosted Werder Bremen later yesterday evening.

Thousands of fans forced their way into the Bata Stadium complex in Equatorial Guinea for yesterday's opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations, prompting police to use tear gas.

Police tried to check fans' tickets one-by-one at the main gate to the complex ahead of Equatorial Guinea's match against Libya. But several times the crush proved too much and the gates were opened to allow scores of supporters through without being checked.

On at least one occasion, tear gas was used on the crowd. The gate opens on to a road leading to the stadium proper. In theory, fans still needed a ticket to get inside.

As the crush threatened a potential disaster, Israeli security advisers ordered the gates to be opened.

Earlier, it appeared security forces had the situation in hand. Police had set up roadblocks within a few kilometres in all directions from the stadium approach, while all vehicles entering the stadium complex had to pass through a giant metal detector. Rifle-toting guards wearing all-over body armour were frisking fans.

Inside the complex, a police canine patrol was at the ready, along with armoured vehicles with heavy-calibre gun turrets.

Roma captain Francesco Totti sealed his place in the Serie A record book with two early goals in a 5-1 win over Cesena yesterday.

With 211 goals for Roma in Serie A, Totti broke 1950s AC Milan standout Gunnar Nordahl's previous mark of 210 for the most goals with one club in the Italian league.

Totti put Roma ahead after 40 seconds at the Stadio Olimpico and doubled the lead in the eighth minute, before Fabio Borini made it 3-0 a minute later.

Eder pulled one back for Cesena in the 58th but Juan restored Roma's three-goal lead in the 62nd and Miralem Pjanic completed the rout in the 70th, as Roma moved into sixth place, eight points behind Serie A leader Juventus.

West Ham took advantage of Southampton's inactivity to move three points clear at the top of the Championship with a 2-1 win at home to Nottingham Forest.

Mark Noble's penalty double, on 45 and 63 minutes, proved enough for the Hammers, who will remain top unless Saints can beat Leicester tomorrow.

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