Sunday, February 28, 2010

Terry hits back at Bellamy jibes

John Terry warns Craig Bellamy that "people in glass house shouldn't throw stones."
John Terry's offer of a handshake was snubbed by Wayne Bridge on Saturday

Chelsea's John Terry has hit back at Craig Bellamy after the Welshman's comments about him following Manchester City's win at Stamford Bridge.

Striker Bellamy scored twice in City's 4-2 victory on Saturday and made a blunt attack on the former England captain's off-field behaviour.

"I know what JT is like, everybody in football knows what he is like. That's off the field," stated Bellamy.

"People in glass houses should not throw stones," said Terry in response.

Bellamy's comments added further frustration to the Blues skipper Terry, who was arguably at fault for at least one of the Manchester City goals.

Defender Terry also suffered the ignominy of seeing Bridge publicly refuse his offer of a handshake before the game.

Bridge's snub went down badly with the Stamford Bridge crowd and the former Chelsea star was booed by the home fans, a development that baffled some of his Manchester City team-mates.


"I don't know why the crowd reacted the way it did," said Manchester City captain Shay Given. "I don't see what he has done wrong."

"Being the person Wayne is, he didn't want to rub anything in," added Bridge's Manchester City and England team-mate Gareth Barry.

"He used to play for Chelsea, he kept his emotions to himself and his performance was brilliant.

Bridge announced last week that he did not want to be considered for England's upcoming friendly with Egypt on Wednesday, and also ruled himself out of the World Cup.

Wayne Bridge and Fabio Capello
Bridge has played 36 times for England

His decision followed allegations that Terry had an affair with his ex-girlfriend.

"Of course, I am sad to see Wayne has pulled out of the England squad," added Barry.

"He is a great player and would improve the squad and team when he plays. But like many other people have said I respect his decision.

"You can't imagine yourself in that position and what you'd do unless it happens to you."

England coach Fabio Capello said on Saturday that he had not given up hope that Bridge might change his mind and feature in his second World Cup.

The Italian also confirmed that Terry will not regain the captaincy while he is in charge of the England team.

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Celtic challenge Brown red card

Scott Brown clashes with Kyle Lafferty
Brown and Lafferty clash at Ibrox on Sunday

Celtic have confirmed that they will appeal against the red card shown to captain Scott Brown during Sunday's 1-0 defeat by Rangers at Ibrox.

The midfielder was sent off after wrestling with Rangers forward Kyle Lafferty in the 65th minute.

Celtic's website described ref Dougie McDonald's decision as "controversial".

"And, certainly, any fair-minded person looking at the incident at the time or subsequent TV replays could see it wasn't a red card," it claimed.

It follows last week's story broken by BBC Scotland that Celtic had made representations to the Scottish Football Association, aggrieved by decisions they believe had gone against them in matches this season - including the two previous games against Rangers.

Brown's red card will add fuel to the debate, despite former referees Kenny Clark and Stuart Dougal both backing McDonald's decision.

The Celtic support in the Broomloan Road Stand and beyond were left mystified and angry at yet another refereeing decision in a derby game this season which has gone against the club

Celtic website

They stated to BBC Scotland that, by thrusting his head into Lafferty's chest, Brown had been deemed to have displayed violent conduct.

The two former Grade One officials did, though, suggest that Lafferty was lucky not to have received a yellow card for his part in the tussle, a point also made on the Celtic website.

"It was a decision which had a major impact on the game and Celtic will now appeal against the red card, which saw Tony Mowbray's side down to 10 men for the last half-hour of the game," it stated.

"Certainly, the Celtic support in the Broomloan Road Stand and beyond were left mystified and angry at yet another refereeing decision in a derby game this season which has gone against the club.

"In the first derby match of this season at Ibrox back in October, Celtic were denied a blatant penalty by referee Craig Thomson, who admitted after the game that he had made a mistake.

"And, in the game against Rangers at Celtic Park, referee Steve Conroy disallowed a Marc-Antoine Fortune goal, though replays showed that there was nothing wrong with the goal."

Former referees backed Conway's decision at the time, saying that Fortune had stuck his elbow into the arms of Allan McGregor as the goalkeeper went to clutch the ball.

And the latest backing for McDonald is unlikely to hold much sway among Celtic ranks feeling hard done-by again following a match against the reigning champions, this time won by a stoppage-time Maurice Edu goal.

The defeat leaves Celtic 10 points behind Rangers, who have a game in hand, in the Scottish Premier League, with Celtic boss Tony Mowbray saying that, as far as the title race is concerned, "it's fair to say it's there for Rangers to lose".


Mowbray tried hard to refrain from criticising McDonald, who booked Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra and Celtic striker Marc-Antoine Fortune early in the game and then ruled out a goal by Edu for handball by his Ibrox team-mate, Kenny Miller.

However, asked if Bougherra was perhaps fortunate to escape further punishment after subsequently committing several more fouls, the former Celtic defender said: "I don't want to comment, I will get into trouble, but the referee gave himself a difficult job with early bookings.

"There was a sense early on that the game wasn't going to finish with 22 players on the field, but maybe that was his tactic, to stamp his authority on the game, but I think he gave himself a few problems.

"But there are probably one or two challenges worse than the one he got his booking for.

"There were silly things like a booking for Fortune for a handball in the first few minutes then he disallows a goal for a handball.

"Why isn't there a booking for both handballs? Is he trying to say that one was deliberate and one wasn't? If it isn't deliberate then it shouldn't be handball, so there were a few inconsistencies."

Celtic and the SFA confirmed last week that meetings have already taken place about refereeing standards, but Brown's sending-off will reignite the debate.

Mowbray denied he would have to exert a calming influence on the fiery midfielder, whom he only recently made his captain.

"I'm not there to change Scott Brown from the combative footballer he is, that's what makes him the player he is," he added. "He hasn't got a case to answer with me."

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Mahan snatches victory in Phoenix

-16 H Mahan (US) -15 R Fowler (US) -14 YE Yang (Kor) -13 M Goggin (Aus), C Couch (US), C Howell III (US) Selected others: -9 I Poulter (Eng), P Mickelson (US) -3 Rose (Eng), G Ogilvy (Aus)

Hunter Mahan
Mahan now has two PGA Tour wins to his name

Hunter Mahan came from four strokes back to beat Rickie Fowler by a shot and win the Phoenix Open title.

Mahan, 27, had an eagle and a pair of birdies between holes 13 and 16 for a six-under-par 65, 16 under overall and his second PGA Tour victory.

Fowler, only 21 and a tour rookie, had a final-round 68 for the second runner-up finish of his young career.

England's Ian Poulter, winner of last week's Accenture Match Play, finished seven shots back after a 70.

South Korea's YE Yang, the defending US PGA champion, had led until he found water off the tee at the 17th. He carded a final-round 65 to finish third on 14 under.

Third-round leader Brandt Snedeker struggled to a final-round 78 at TPC Scottsdale to finish well back on seven under.

Mahan, who played on the United States' 2008 Ryder Cup team and had six top-10s in 2009, said: "It's just finding a way to win. I just haven't been able to do it.

"So obviously it feels great to win in my fifth tournament of the year. It gives me a lot of confidence in myself that I'm doing the right things in my game, and it feels great, it really does."

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell has kept his place in the world's top 50 and will therefore be part of the field for next week's WGC-CA Championship in Miami.

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Vidic decision lucky - Ferguson

Nemanja Vidic (left) and Gabriel Agbonlahor
Vidic (left) brought down Agbonlahor in the fifth minute

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Nemanja Vidic was lucky not to be sent off in Manchester United's 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa in the final of the Carling Cup.

Villa won a penalty when Vidic fouled Gabriel Agbonlahor, but the Serb remained on the pitch despite denying the striker a goalscoring opportunity.

"We got a lucky break, he could have been sent off," said the United boss.

"I think it would be universally accepted they should be down to 10 men," said Villa boss Martin O'Neill.

"It's not a good decision by an otherwise fine referee, it's poor."

Vidic was outpaced by Agbonlahor and when he brought the Villa striker to the ground, it appeared he had prevented him from a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Vidic denies sending-off claim

However, referee Phil Dowd - who showed four yellow cards during the game, including one to Vidic in the second half - opted against even cautioning the United centre-half at the time.

O'Neill added: "Obviously at Wembley, we score the penalty, they are down to 10 men for virtually the whole game. It's a major point in the game.

"It does not matter if it is in the first second or the 89th minute of the game, the decision is straightforward. It is so straightforward it is incredible."

Vidic himself accepted he had committed a foul, but did not believe it was worthy of a dismissal.

O'Neill furious at Vidic decision

The 28-year-old said: "I don't think I deserved a red card as I did not tackle him from behind. But I admit it was definitely a penalty."

Former Premier League referee Graham Poll agreed that Dowd had made the correct decision, arguing that when Agbonlahor was brought down, he was facing away from goal.

"The referee would have looked for any reason he could not to send that player off because of the occasion," Poll told BBC Sport.

"People will say there's nothing about a cup final in the laws of the game, but you try to apply some common sense and understand the occasion and in that situation there was within law a technicality which meant he could leave Vidic on, and so he did."

Phil McNulty

United recovered from going behind to James Milner's resulting penalty to win 2-1, courtesy of a first-half Michael Owen strike and Wayne Rooney's 74th-minute header.

"It's hard to take," said O'Neill. "I thought we played splendidly, particularly in the first half, and we got in front. At half-time I felt we were very, very capable of winning the match. They are young and resilient and they'll fight back again."

Villa defender Richard Dunne was at fault for United's equaliser when he lost possession to Dimitar Berbatov and then his recovery tackle fell straight to Owen to score.

"It's very disappointing," said Dunne. "Both teams went for it, they got the goal in the last 20 minutes but we gave it a good go.

"We got a great start and that's what we wanted to do, but I made a mistake on halfway and against United they score. We had a few chances but unfortunately today wasn't our day."

Unlike his manager, Dunne felt the decision not to dismiss Vidic was not crucial to the outcome of the 50th League Cup final.

Dunne was part of the Villa side that failed to beat a United outfit reduced to 10 men in the Premier League earlier this season.

He said: "They got a man sent off at Villa Park and it didn't make a difference. It's better to play against 11 men and it made it a better game. It's their day today."

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Monday's gossip column

Transfers Other gossip And finally


Birmingham City are interested in signing Kris Boyd from Rangers, with the Blues set to send scouts to see him play for Scotland against the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
Full story: Daily Mail

Arsenal have become the latest Premier League club to monitor West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans, who is believed to command a price tag of £6m.
Full story: Daily Mail

John Rooney, the 19-year-old younger brother of Manchester United superstar Wayne, will have a second trial for Nigel Clough's Derby County this week.
Full story: Daily Mail
Liverpool's highly rated new 15-year-old recruit, Raheem Sterling, who has been signed from QPR, was enticed to Anfield with a £300,000 contract offer.
Full story: Daily Mirror
Burnley manager Brian Laws wants to sign 29-year-old Cameroon international winger Salomon Olembe, who is a free agent after leaving Turkish team Kayserispor.
Full story: Daily Mirror


John Terry is seething over Craig Bellamy's insults, directed at the former England captain after Manchester City's 4-2 win on Saturday, saying: "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
Full story: Daily Mirror

Aaron Ramsey's broken leg is not as bad as the fracture suffered by team-mate Eduardo, and the Wales international could return for the Gunners in just six months' time.
Full story: Daily Mirror

AC Milan's Alexandre Pato may miss his team's Champions League second leg tie against Manchester United on 10 March after the Brazilian international hurt his right thigh in the Rossoneri's 3-1 Serie A victory over Atalanta on Sunday.
Full story: Daily Mail

Blackburn's El-Hadji Diouf was warned by police following his confrontation with Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, which spilled into the tunnel at half-time, during the home side's 2-1 Premier League win at Anfield on Sunday.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Midfielder Jack Wilshere will not be recalled prematurely to Arsenal from his loan spell with Bolton, despite his club-mate Aaron Ramsey's leg break which has reduced Gunners boss Arsene Wenger's options in the centre of midfield.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Cardiff City boss Dave Jones is considering leaving the financially stricken Championship club in the summer after being told by chairman Peter Ridsdale that he must sell players and rely on free transfers in the close-season.
Full story: Daily Mirror

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Vancouver bids Olympics farewell

Amy Williams

BBC Sport looks back at Vancouver

The Vancouver Winter Olympics drew to a spectacular close on Sunday after 17 days of intense competition.

Canada topped the medal table, with 14 golds, seven silvers and five bronze medals, while the United States won the most medals with 37 overall.

Amy Williams clinched skeleton gold to win Britain's only medal at the Games.

Olympic chief Jacques Rogge said: "This extraordinary embrace by the entire city is something unique and has given a great atmosphere for these Games."

The closing ceremony began with the comedic emergence of the fourth ice crystal, which failed to work during the opening ceremony.

The Olympics, which featured 2500 athletes from 82 competing nations, had begun in the worst possible way with the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.

The 21-year-old was killed when his sled flipped and he hit a steel pole during a training run on the much criticised, high-speed Whistler Sliding Centre track.

Amy Williams

GB's Williams slides to skeleton gold

Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, admitted the death of Kumaritashvili had hit him hard, before going on to praise the efforts of the Games organisers who battled unseasonably warm, wet weather and a resulting lack of snow.

"It is clear that the death cannot leave you indifferent," said Rogge.

"It hit me very strongly from a personal point of view. I didn't sleep for two consecutive nights.

"In my profession (Rogge is a doctor) you are used to seeing people pass away, but for acceptable reasons - disease, age.

"But when you see a young athlete pursuing his dream at the Olympic Games end in such an accident, it hurts.

"I'm sure no-one will forget (the death), but you have to be fair to Canadians, to the athletes and the organisers and to judge the Games on their own merit without forgetting what happened before.

"The Games began with teething pains but I commend VANOC (Vancouver Organising Committee) for rapdily correcting that and from then on things went extremely well.

"So in all, I can say that the IOC is happy with the Games."

It took until day three, but when Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada's historic first home Olympic gold medal with his performance in the men's moguls, thousands of Canadians partied in the streets of Vancouver.

And the Canadians went on to become the most successful ever hosts of a Winter Olympics, thanks in part to their controversial 'Own The Podium' programme, which gave Canadian athletes more practice time at venues.

The men's ice hockey team provided a fairytale ending to the Games, with a 3-2 overtime victory over America to win the final gold medal in front of a wildly expectant crowd at Canada Hockey Place.

Elsewhere, American Shaun White lived up to his favourite's tag to retain his men's half-pipe title with the 23-year-old scoring 46.8 out of a possible 50, in a run which included his trademark double McTwist 1260.

The men's downhill, traditionally the blue ribbon event of the games, was won by Swiss skier Didier Defago, while Lindsey Vonn of the United States sealed the women's title.

After missing our four years ago, despite being tipped to win five medals, Bode Miller finally won gold.

The American became Olympic champion in the super-combined and completed his set with silver in the super-G.

Switzerland's Simon Ammann became the most successful ski jumper in Olympic history after winning his fourth individual gold, while Norway's Marit Bjoergen won two gold medals, taking the women's 15km pursuit after success in the women's 1.4km sprint classic and bronze in the 10km cross country.

America's Shaun White wins half-pipe gold

Half-pipe highlights - White soars to gold

The British team, which came home from Turin four years ago with only Shelly Rudman's skeleton silver, improved on that showing overall with Williams' gold.

But several medal prospects disappointed, with the men's curling team, the current world champions, one of them.

Britain failed to even reach the semi-finals of the event, eventually won by Canada, after a 7-6 play-off defeat by European champions Sweden.

The team, led by skip David Murdock described their exit as "heart-breaking".

Meanwhile, Britain's women's curling team, led by 19-year-old Eve Muirhead, also failed to make it to the semi-finals - with Sweden winning the gold medal.

And there was more frustration when world champion bobsleigh partnership Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke crashed out on the third of their four runs - with the men's two-man and four-man teams also crashing out of contention.

The lack of medals won by Team GB, which consisted of 52 athletes, prompted Olympic legend Sir Steve Redgrave to suggest creating Britain's first long-track speed skating venue and housing other winter sports within it - an issue which may gather pace in the aftermath of the Games.

Learning lessons from Vancouver has been a key phrase from British officials throughout, not just in terms of sporting performance.

The national outpouring of support from the Canadian public has been noted, with the London 2012 organising committee (Locog) paying particularly close attention.

"The four 'S's we've identified - sport, service, stadia and sites - give us real food for thought and an added level of detail to our planning as we become the next taxi off the Olympic Games rank," said chairman Sebastian Coe

"Over the next two and a half years, we will use this information to ensure that we stage a Games for everyone in London."

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Zimbabwe stun Windies in Twenty20

Twenty20 international, Port of Spain:
Zimbabwe 105 all out (19.5 overs) bt West Indies 79-7 (20 ovs) by 26 runs
Match scorecard

Hamilton Masakadza
Masakadza's innings inspired Zimbabwe to a famous victory

Zimbabwe recovered from a disastrous start to pull off a remarkable win over the West Indies in their Twenty20 international in Port of Spain.

The visitors could not have made a worst start to their innings as they slumped to 0-3 but Hamilton Masakadza hit 44 to help them to 105 all out.

Zimbabwe then bowled 18 overs of stifling spin to leave the home side no hope of getting close to their target.

They were left needing 33 off the final over and fell 26 runs short on 79-7.

The match was the first ever Twenty20 meeting between the teams, and was important for Zimbabwe as another step on their hoped-for return to Test status - but even they would not have expected quite such a remarkable match.


The West Indies looked well in control as Zimbabwe got off to a disastrous start and Darren Sammy (5-26) and Sulieman Benn (4-6) produced the third and fourth best bowling figures in Twenty20 history.

Benn bowled Vusi Sibanda with the first ball of the match, then claimed Tatenda Taibu lbw and had Stuart Matsikenyeri caught behind in his second over.

Brendan Taylor became the fourth duck of the innings before Masakadza and Greg Lamb put on 40 for the fifth wicket.

Sammy claimed both their wickets, Lamb for 11 and Masakadza for 44, before removing Chigumbura, Shingirai Masakadza and Prosper Utseya.

Ravi Rampaul claimed the one wicket not taken by Sammy or Benn, bowling Graeme Cremer for two.

Masakadza saved Zimbabwe's innings from complete collapse and Elton Chigumbura's late knock of 34 from 19 balls gave them some hope, but a West Indies' victory seemed likely as they made a steady if not inspiring start.

Openers Adrian Barath and Shivnarine Chanderpaul did not seem troubled as they scored 21 off the opening six overs, but once Barath was out for eight, the rot set in.

Cremer (3-11) and Lamb (2-14) did much of the damage, with their spin strangling the West Indies middle order.

Chanderpaul did his best to keep the innings going, but once he was out for 20, the writing was on the wall, and not even Dinesh Ramdin's 23 could save the West Indies from a shock defeat.

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Rooney a doubt for Egypt friendly

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney may miss Wednesday's friendly with Egypt

Carling Cup hero Wayne Rooney is a doubt for England's friendly against Egypt at Wembley on Wednesday, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Manchester United boss said Rooney was suffering from discomfort in his knee after the win over Aston Villa.

"He got a whack right away," Ferguson said. "He has been complaining about that for a few weeks and I thought we might have to take him off.

"The doctors are assessing it. I don't know what England are going to do."

Rooney, 24, came off the substitute's bench to score his 28th goal of the season in United's 2-1 victory at Wembley and was allowed to join up with the rest of the England squad on Sunday evening where he will be assessed by a medical team.

A decision on whether England manager Fabio Capello will have his talisman striker available for Wednesday's game against the African Nations Cup winners is expected on Monday or Tuesday.

Rooney revealed he knew on Wednesday that he would not start the final but said it was not because of the knee problem.


"I had a little bit of a stomach bug and the manager was looking for an excuse to leave me out," the forward said.

"When he found out about that it made his mind up. I was still disappointed but it was the correct decision by the manager."

Rooney's Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand confirmed he would not be heading to the England camp in Watford.

Instead, he will have further treatment on his back injury in the hope of being fit for Manchester United's Premier League trip to Wolves on Saturday.

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Russians to make World Cup debut

Sergey Trishin
Russian centre Sergey Trishin will be at the World Cup in New Zealand

Russia have qualified for their first ever Rugby World Cup thanks to a 21-21 draw with Romania in Sochi on Saturday.

The Russians cannot be overtaken in second in the European Nations Cup table, guaranteeing their 2011 place.

Georgia beat Spain 17-9 to go top of the group by two points and seal their qualification with two games remaining.

The table-toppers, likely to be decided by the Georgia v Russia match on 20 March, will face England, Scotland and Argentina in Pool B in New Zealand.

The European Nations Cup runners-up will compete against Australia, Ireland, Italy and the USA in Pool C.


Portugal or Romania, who will battle it out for third spot in the European qualifying section, will meet either Lithuania or the winner of European Nations Cup Division 2A for the right to enter a cross-continental play-off which will decide the last Pool B berth at the World Cup.

Another place in Pool A is also to be decided, with the team to qualify coming from the winner of the Asian Five Nations.

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Benitez mocks Blackburn's style

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce (left) and Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez
There is no love lost between Allardyce (left) and Benitez

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez sarcastically compared Blackburn's style to European champions Barcelona after his team beat Rovers on Sunday.

Benitez saw his team win a physical encounter and then stoked up his feud with Rovers boss Sam Allardyce.

"I think it is a model for all the managers around the world, their style of football, his behaviour," he said of Rovers tactics and their manager.

"The style of football, I think, Barcelona are thinking of copying."

Benitez suffered his first defeat in the Premier League in a match against a Bolton side managed by Allardyce in 2004.

Former Reds defender Sami Hyppia suffered a broken nose early in that contest and the relationship between the two managers has been fractious ever since.

We try to do our talking on the pitch

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez

Allardyce accused Benitez of showing a lack of respect after a gesture during Liverpool's 4-0 win against Rovers last season.

And the Blackburn boss said in the build-up to Sunday's game that Liverpool had been reduced to a team scrapping for points as the battle to finish fourth in the Premier League hots up.

Asked about Allardyce's comments, Benitez added: "It doesn't matter - we won.

"We try to do our talking on the pitch. If they are pleased with the way they play under this manager it is their decision.

"They have a style and they are a team that plays this way under this manager.

"Some people have to talk before the press conference or after because it is more difficult for them to do a football job."

Benitez was unhappy with the physical approach of Blackburn on Sunday.

Steven Nzonzi was yellow carded after pushing Lucas in the face at Anfield and Benitez clearly thought the Blackburn player should have been sent off.

"See the replay of the incident, it was very clear," added the Reds boss.

"We have had four of five players with problems, bleeding, and Maxi with stud (marks) in his abdomen. Interesting - but we won."

Unfortunately when we come to places like Anfield they are very good at swaying things their way

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce

Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres scored as Liverpool won for the first time in three attempts in the Premier League.

But it was a match that occasionally threatened to boil over, with Gerrard and El-Hadji Diouf exchanging angry words before half-time and the duo had to be separated as they walked off at the interval.

"It is an unfortunate reflection on our performance that we had about 25 fouls and five cards against us," added Allardyce.

"But unfortunately when we come to places like this they are very good at swaying things their way."

And Allardyce mounted a stern defence of his pre-match comments about Liverpool.

"It was only because Liverpool have a go at me and because I am entitled to respond when I get criticised by Rafa Benitez," said the Rovers boss.

"If you don't understand that over the last few years you must be deluded.

"Not this time but many other times I have been criticised personally by the manager - all I said was they got six bookings at Manchester City away so they are digging games out now rather than the flowing football they played last year."

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina sustained a shoulder injury after the break challenging for the ball but was able to carry on.

"We knew it would be a tough game and nothing surprised us," he said.

RKW - Bred Pole

"They play that way and to be honest I felt a little under-protected, but the most important thing was that we won."

The win lifted Liverpool to within one point of Tottenham as they continue the battle for fourth spot - and saw Torres start a game for the first time since 13 January.

"We know it will be tough until the end but we have to keep going," added Benitez.

"But it is always important to have players back and feeling fresh."

Rovers have won once away from home in the Premier League this season - and Allardyce pointed to a lack of composure in front of goal when explaining his team's failure to take something from Anfield.

"Our problem is that we did not have a goalscorer to finish off our good work and chances," he said. "If we did we would have had a draw at least.

"That has been our downfall away from home all season. It was disappointing we did not convert at least one of our openings before Gerrard opened the scoring.

"In the second half we again did more than them but our failure in front of goal cost us."

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Latest score - Leeds v Melbourne


Latest score from Elland Road:

Leeds Rhinos 2-2 Melbourne Storm

Kick-off 1830 GMT

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Rooney heads Man Utd to cup glory

Aston Villa   1 - 2   Man Utd

Wayne Rooney started on the bench but finished as the hero
Rooney started on the bench but finished as the game's match-winner

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Wembley

Wayne Rooney started the Carling Cup final on the bench - but emerged to make the decisive contribution with a late winner as Manchester United beat Aston Villa at Wembley.

Rooney entered the action just before half-time to replace the injured Michael Owen and enabled Sir Alex Ferguson's side to come from behind and retain the trophy.

Aston Villa's Wembley showpiece started perfectly when James Milner put them ahead from the spot after five minutes following Nemanja Vidic's foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Villa clearly felt referee Phil Dowd should have sent Vidic off after he hauled down Agbonlahor as he closed in on goal - and their burning sense of injustice was fuelled even further when United quickly restored equality.

Richard Dunne lost possession to Dimitar Berbatov, and when he attempted to repair his error he could only find Owen, who slipped a perfect finish past Villa keeper Brad Friedel.

Owen looked sharp in front of watching England coach Fabio Capello, but his lingering hopes of persuading the Italian to include him in his World Cup plans for South Africa may have ended when he pulled up as he ran into the area and was forced to leave the action.


It was hardly good news for Villa as it allowed Rooney to come on, with the striker clearly desperate to make an impact after starting on the bench.

Ji-Sung Park hit the post for United before Rooney rose to head the outstanding Antonio Valencia's cross past Friedel with 16 minutes left.

Rooney almost extended United's victory margin when he hit the woodwork with another header, but his amazing season continued as his 28th goal of the campaign gave Ferguson another piece of silverware.

Vidic was fortunate to see Emile Heskey's cross deflect off him on to the bar late on, but by that stage United were firmly in control and well on the way to victory.

It was a bitter disappointment for Villa, who started so promisingly, but they tired as the game wore on at Wembley and United ultimately deserved their triumph.

Ferguson decided to rest Rooney, who has been in devastating form, from his starting line-up and give Owen his opportunity in a Wembley final that was to drag the England striker from one end of the emotional scale to the other.

Villa's ploy was always going to be to test United with pace and power up front - and it was rewarded with the early goal boss Martin O'Neill must have craved.

Agbonlahor was too quick for Vidic and the United defender had already tugged at his shirt before hauling him down. Reeferee Dowd did not punish Vidic further, despite the fact that he was the last United defender and flirted with a red card, and Milner steered the penalty coolly past Tomasz Kuszczak.

Villa's lead only lasted seven minutes, and it was an error from the normally reliable Dunne that led to United's swift equaliser.

Dunne lost possession to Berbatov, and even though he recovered he could only divert the ball into the path of Owen, who steered an expert precision finish low past Friedel.

The game was remarkably open, with Milner a prominent figure, and he brought a fine diving save from Kusczcak with a 20-yard effort.

Owen had looked sharp, but his injury curse struck again as half-time approached when he pulled up sharply as he raced for possession with Dunne in the area. It was clear immediately that his game was over and he walked away disconsolately to be replaced by Rooney.

James Milner gave Villa the perfect start to the game
Milner put Villa in front after less than five minutes of the game

United almost ended an enthralling first 45 minutes in the lead when Park struck a post after James Collins could only partially clear Antonio Valencia's cross.

And United posed the first danger after the break when Friedel saved well from Michael Carrick, whose shooting had been very erratic up to that point.

The second half was much more of a cat-and-mouse affair, but predictably it was Rooney who gave United the advantage when he struck with 16 minutes left.

Berbatov cleverly played in Valencia, whose cross left Rooney with work to do, but not only did he win the aerial battle with the taller Collins, he sent a towering header high beyond Friedel into the top corner.

And he almost repeated the feat three minutes later when Valencia was once more the provider, but he sent a more powerful header against the post.

Villa responded by introducing the giant figure of John Carew for Carlos Cuellar - and his presence almost forced Vidic into an error that resulted in an equaliser.

Stewart Downing's cross caused confusion, and Vidic was lucky to see Emile Heskey's header bounce off his shoulder on to the bar.

United had one last anxious moment when another Downing cross was just out of Dunne's reach at the back post, but Ferguson's side held out for a deserved victory.

Live text and stats


Sunday, 28 February 2010

Carling Cup

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd R
(HT 1-1)
  • Milner (pen) 5
  • Owen 12
  • Rooney 74

Aston Villa


Man Utd


Ref: DowdAtt: 88,596


  • Aston Villa 50%
  • Man Utd 50%

Attempts on target

  • Aston Villa 3
  • Man Utd 9

Attempts off target

  • Aston Villa 7
  • Man Utd 9


  • Aston Villa 4
  • Man Utd 5


  • Aston Villa 10
  • Man Utd 11
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:02 The match has reached full-time.
  • 90:00+3:23 Centre by Ashley Young, Headed effort from inside the area by Gabriel Agbonlahor misses to the right of the target.
  • 90:00+2:14 The referee blows for offside. Tomasz Kuszczak restarts play with the free kick.
  • 90:00+1:52 The assistant referee signals for offside against Dimitar Berbatov. Brad Friedel takes the free kick.
  • Correction - 90:00+1:29 John Carew is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Jonathan Evans takes the direct free kick.
  • 90:00+1:29 The referee gives a free kick against John Carew for handball. Jonathan Evans restarts play with the free kick.
  • 90:00+0:55 Effort from the edge of the penalty box by Antonio Valencia goes wide of the right-hand upright.
  • 88:38 The ball is crossed by Stewart Downing, Header by Richard Dunne from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.
  • 88:28 Centre by James Milner.
  • 87:47 Corner taken by Wayne Rooney, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
  • 87:00 The ball is delivered by Stewart Downing, Michael Carrick makes a clearance.
  • 86:41 The offside flag is raised against Antonio Valencia. Brad Friedel takes the indirect free kick.
  • 86:18 Antonio Valencia fouled by Stiliyan Petrov, the ref awards a free kick. Gary Neville restarts play with the free kick.
  • 84:19 Substitution (Man Utd) makes a substitution, with Darron Gibson coming on for Ji-Sung Park.
  • 84:19 Effort on goal by Dimitar Berbatov from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 83:52 Patrice Evra sends in a cross, save made by Brad Friedel.
  • 83:24 Wayne Rooney produces a cross, clearance by Stephen Warnock.
  • 82:18 Stewart Downing takes the inswinging corner, Foul by Richard Dunne on Dimitar Berbatov, free kick awarded. Tomasz Kuszczak restarts play with the free kick.
  • 81:02 The ball is sent over by Stewart Downing, Emile Heskey takes a shot. Save made by Tomasz Kuszczak. Corner taken by Ashley Young from the left by-line.
  • 80:10 Antonio Valencia is penalised for a handball. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Warnock.
  • 79:29 Substitution (Aston Villa) makes a substitution, with John Carew coming on for Carlos Cuellar.
  • 79:13 A cross is delivered by Stewart Downing, clearance by Nemanja Vidic.
  • 78:29 The ball is crossed by Darren Fletcher, save by Brad Friedel.
  • 77:27 Antonio Valencia delivers the ball, Wayne Rooney produces a header from the edge of the box and strikes the post.
  • 76:55 The ball is sent over by James Milner, Nemanja Vidic manages to make a clearance.
  • 75:45 The ball is sent over by Carlos Cuellar.
  • 75:22 Antonio Valencia sends in a cross, save by Brad Friedel.
  • 74:50 Stewart Downing crosses the ball.
  • 73:23 Assist on the goal came from Antonio Valencia.
  • 73:23 GOAL - Wayne RooneyAston Villa 1 - 2 Man Utd Wayne Rooney finds the back of the net with a headed goal from just inside the penalty area. Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd.
  • 73:20 Antonio Valencia crosses the ball,
  • 72:27 James Milner produces a cross.
  • 72:09 Shot from 25 yards from Michael Carrick. James Collins gets a block in.
  • 71:30 Patrice Evra fouled by Stiliyan Petrov, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Ji-Sung Park.
  • 71:19 The ball is delivered by Carlos Cuellar, Jonathan Evans gets a block in.
  • 69:31 Ashley Young produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.
  • 69:21 Corner taken by Stewart Downing from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Dimitar Berbatov.
  • 69:03 Stewart Downing produces a cross, clearance made by Patrice Evra.
  • 68:40 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Richard Dunne by Antonio Valencia. Richard Dunne takes the direct free kick.
  • 67:44 The free kick is swung in right-footed by Ashley Young, save by Tomasz Kuszczak.
  • 67:44 Booking Nemanja Vidic is cautioned.
  • 67:38 Nemanja Vidic challenges Gabriel Agbonlahor unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 65:14 Short corner taken by Antonio Valencia from the left by-line. Shot from 25 yards from Ji-Sung Park. Stiliyan Petrov gets a block in.
  • 65:14 Substitution (Man Utd) makes a substitution, with Gary Neville coming on for Rafael Da Silva.
  • 65:00 Antonio Valencia delivers the ball, clearance made by Carlos Cuellar.
  • 64:30 Dimitar Berbatov crosses the ball, clearance by James Collins.
  • 63:46 Centre by Stewart Downing.
  • 61:17 Wayne Rooney takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.
  • 61:11 Antonio Valencia produces a cross.
  • 60:15 Patrice Evra produces a cross, Brad Friedel makes a save.
  • 58:57 The ball is sent over by Stewart Downing.
  • 58:07 Centre by Antonio Valencia, James Collins makes a clearance.
  • 55:50 Stiliyan Petrov has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the target.
  • 55:36 Stewart Downing delivers the ball, Tomasz Kuszczak makes a save.
  • 55:27 A cross is delivered by Ashley Young, clearance made by Ji-Sung Park. The ball is delivered by Ashley Young.
  • 51:07 The ball is crossed by Stewart Downing, clearance by Nemanja Vidic.
  • 49:55 Gabriel Agbonlahor produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.
  • 49:39 A cross is delivered by Wayne Rooney, clearance made by James Collins.
  • 48:42 Shot by Michael Carrick from 18 yards. Save made by Brad Friedel. Corner taken by Antonio Valencia, clearance made by James Collins.
  • 47:40 Stewart Downing crosses the ball, save made by Tomasz Kuszczak.
  • 46:08 Wayne Rooney has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the target.
  • 45:01 The referee starts the second half.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+4:20 The referee calls an end to the first half.
  • Correction - 45:00+4:01 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Tomasz Kuszczak.
  • 45:00+4:01 Ashley Young is caught offside. Rafael Da Silva takes the free kick.
  • Correction - 45:00+2:06 Ji-Sung Park has an effort at goal from the edge of the area hitting the post. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Milner by Ji-Sung Park. Brad Friedel restarts play with the free kick.
  • 45:00+2:06 Ji-Sung Park takes a shot from a just insdie the penalty area and hits the post. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Milner by Ji-Sung Park. Direct free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
  • 45:00+1:18 Michael Carrick fouled by Stiliyan Petrov, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Michael Carrick.
  • 45:00+0:43 Dimitar Berbatov has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Brad Friedel makes a save.
  • 43:55 Foul by Emile Heskey on Nemanja Vidic, free kick awarded. Tomasz Kuszczak takes the free kick.
  • 43:10 The assistant referee signals for offside against Emile Heskey. Tomasz Kuszczak takes the free kick.
  • 41:13 Substitution Michael Owen goes off and Wayne Rooney comes on.
  • 41:00 Ashley Young produces a cross.
  • 40:11 Free kick taken by James Collins.
  • 40:11 Booking Patrice Evra is shown a yellow card.
  • 40:03 Patrice Evra concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Young.
  • 39:50 Free kick awarded for a foul by Darren Fletcher on Stewart Downing. Free kick taken by Stiliyan Petrov.
  • 39:29 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Antonio Valencia, Richard Dunne manages to make a clearance.
  • 38:35 Foul by Emile Heskey on Jonathan Evans, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Tomasz Kuszczak.
  • 35:29 The ball is swung over by Rafael Da Silva, save by Brad Friedel.
  • 33:37 Centre by Darren Fletcher.
  • 32:54 The ball is sent over by Ji-Sung Park, James Collins manages to make a clearance.
  • 32:40 Michael Carrick takes a shot. Blocked by Stiliyan Petrov.
  • 32:20 Short corner taken by Antonio Valencia from the right by-line.
  • 31:22 Carlos Cuellar concedes a free kick for a foul on Patrice Evra. Michael Carrick takes the free kick.
  • 30:29 Emile Heskey challenges Michael Carrick unfairly and gives away a free kick. Michael Carrick restarts play with the free kick.
  • 29:57 Shot by Dimitar Berbatov. Brad Friedel makes a save.
  • 29:12 The assistant referee signals for offside against Dimitar Berbatov. James Collins takes the free kick.
  • 28:26 Michael Carrick has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the goal.
  • 27:54 Gabriel Agbonlahor crosses the ball, Michael Carrick manages to make a clearance.
  • 26:55 Shot from just outside the penalty box by James Milner misses to the left of the target.
  • 26:49 A cross is delivered by Ashley Young.
  • 26:42 Carlos Cuellar sends in a cross.
  • 25:07 Unfair challenge on Emile Heskey by Rafael Da Silva results in a free kick. Ashley Young restarts play with the free kick. Effort on goal by Emile Heskey from 18 yards. Save by Tomasz Kuszczak.
  • 24:28 Free kick awarded for a foul by Rafael Da Silva on Ashley Young. Free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
  • 24:17 Effort on goal by Ji-Sung Park from 18 yards. Stiliyan Petrov gets a block in.
  • 22:33 The assistant referee signals for offside against Dimitar Berbatov. James Collins takes the indirect free kick.
  • 21:12 A cross is delivered by Antonio Valencia, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
  • 19:54 Ji-Sung Park has an effort at goal from the edge of the area that misses to the right of the target.
  • 18:36 Unfair challenge on Emile Heskey by Michael Carrick results in a free kick. Ashley Young takes the free kick.
  • 17:14 The free kick is delivered right-footed by Michael Carrick from left wing, clearance by Stephen Warnock.
  • 17:14 Booking The referee shows Stewart Downing a yellow card.
  • 17:04 Free kick awarded for a foul by Stewart Downing on Patrice Evra.
  • 15:10 Shot by James Milner. Save by Tomasz Kuszczak. Gabriel Agbonlahor has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.
  • 13:45 The ball is delivered by Gabriel Agbonlahor, Michael Carrick makes a clearance.
  • 11:59 GOAL - Michael OwenAston Villa 1 - 1 Man Utd Goal scored by Michael Owen from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Aston Villa 1-1 Man Utd.
  • 10:05 Michael Carrick takes the direct free kick.
  • 10:05 Booking James Collins goes into the referee's book.
  • 9:55 Unfair challenge on Michael Owen by James Collins results in a free kick.
  • 9:17 Ashley Young produces a cross, clearance made by Jonathan Evans.
  • 8:02 Antonio Valencia gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stewart Downing. Richard Dunne takes the direct free kick.
  • 6:47 The offside flag is raised against Stewart Downing. Free kick taken by Tomasz Kuszczak.
  • 5:58 Effort from just outside the box by Michael Carrick goes over the bar.
  • 4:21 Assist on the goal came from Gabriel Agbonlahor.
  • 4:21 GOAL - James MilnerAston Villa 1 - 0 Man Utd Power penalty scored by James Milner. Aston Villa 1-0 Man Utd.
  • 3:25 Nemanja Vidic challenges Gabriel Agbonlahor unfairly and gives away a Penalty.
  • 2:50 The ball is sent over by Ji-Sung Park, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
  • 0:46 Ashley Young decides to take a short corner. James Milner delivers the ball, clearance made by Antonio Valencia.
  • 0:11 Foul by Nemanja Vidic on Emile Heskey, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed right-footed by Ashley Young, clearance made by Patrice Evra.
  • 0:00 The match gets underway.

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