Sport Soccer

Friday 23 March 2018

Celtic forced to share spoils

Aberdeen came from behind to draw 4-4 against Celtic in an eight-goal thriller at Pittodrie and put a dent in the Hoops' SPL title hopes.

The first half ended level after goals from Diomansy Kamara and Marc-Antoine Fortune had been cancelled out by Michael Paton and Darren Mackie.

The Parkhead side went two clear with goals from Robbie Keane and Aiden McGeady and it looked like the Hoops had sealed the three points. However, there was much more drama to come.

Dons striker Steve MacLean reduced the deficit from the spot after Edson Braafheid had handled. MacLean then grabbed an 88th-minute equaliser. There was more woe for Celtic as defender Darren O'Dea was sent off in the final stages for his second yellow card following a foul on Gary McDonald.

"It is disappointing to lose the lead three times," Celtic manager Tony Mowbray said.

"The game is never over but it should have been. At 4-2 their 'keeper made two great saves and it looked like the flow was going our way but we gave them a lifeline by conceding a penalty kick which was unexplainable.

"The performance was not very good and the result was not very good but we got one point and we will wait and see."

Carroll breaks Swans' hearts

Andy Carroll's 87th-minute header took Newcastle back to the top of the Championship and broke Swansea hearts as they drew 1-1 at the Liberty Stadium yesterday.

A single goal was always likely to settle a clash between the division's two meanest defences and it was David Cotterill who looked to have proved the difference for the hosts with an exquisite effort from the edge of the area shortly after the restart.

It was nothing less than the Swans deserved having enjoyed more possession over the course of the game.

Coyle looking for FA Cup joy

Bolton boss Owen Coyle has promised to give the FA Cup his full attention at the same time as keeping sight of his survival objectives.

Coyle's predecessor Gary Megson and even the popular former manager Sam Allardyce both earned criticism from fans for fielding under-strength sides in cup competitions.

With Wanderers now embroiled in the Premier League relegation fight, Coyle could probably be excused for adopting a similar approach but he feels a good run would be advantageous.

Bolton host Tottenham in an all-Premier League fifth-round tie at the Reebok Stadium today.

"For me it is the best club competition in world football and in any competition you enter you want to do your best," said Coyle.

"I believe we have got an opportunity to reach the last eight and if we can do that, who knows what the draw holds?"

Van Nistelrooy grabs brace

Ruud van Nistelrooy came on as a second-half substitute and scored two quick goals, his first for the club, to give Hamburg SV a 3-1 win at VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga yesterday.

The Dutchman entered the fray in the 65th minute and made the score 2-1 in the 75th after Marcell Jansen headed the ball into his path from a free kick. Two minutes later the striker scored again.

Leaders Bayer Leverkusen stayed unbeaten in the league when they beat holders VfL Wolfsburg 2-1 thanks to Stefan Reinartz and an own goal by Andre Lenz. German Cup holders Werder Bremen ran riot at Hanover 96, scoring four first-half goals on the way to a 5-1 win.

Hiddink set to leave Russia

Guus Hiddink has announced he will leave his post as Russia coach when his contract expires in the summer.

The 63-year-old Dutchman, who has been linked with a number of club and national team jobs recently, has been at the helm of the Russia team since 2006.

Hiddink steered them to the Euro 2008 semi-finals, having beaten England to a place in the tournament, but Russia then failed to qualify for this summer's World Cup in South Africa.

Hiddink confirmed that, following a meeting with Russian federation president Sergei Fursenko, they had decided to part ways.

"After a very pleasant conversation with the new federal president it was decided that after my contract expires on June 30 we will part ways," Hiddink said.

"We decided this now in order to give the federation sufficient time to find a successor."

Hiddink, who managed Chelsea for a spell last season, was linked in newspaper reports with Juventus and Liverpool last month.

Sunday Independent

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