Soccer digest

Updated: 2013-03-19 05:39

(China Daily)

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In Glasgow

Tough-love chat inspires scottish Cup triumph

Soccer digest

Danny Lennon said an emotional halftime team talk inspired his St. Mirren side to come from behind to defeat Hearts 3-2 and clinch the Scottish League Cup for the first time in its history.

St. Mirren went behind to a deflected Ryan Stevenson shot in the 10th minute and John Sutton hit the post with a header as Hearts dominated the first half at Hampden.

However, St. Mirren managed to grab an equalizer against the run of play in the 37th minute when Gary Teale beat the offside trap to square for on-loan Esmael Goncalves, who netted on his debut in the semifinal win over Celtic, to fire home.

Steven Thompson fired St. Mirren into the lead 50 seconds after the restart before Conor Newton made it 3-1 with a fierce 66th-minute strike.

St. Mirren boss Lennon revealed a frank exchange of views at the break helped the club clinch its first piece of silverware since its Scottish Cup win in 1987.

"There was a wee bit of emotion, there were raised voices, but more importantly I reminded them that these opportunities don't come around very often," Lennon, who missed Raith's 1994 League Cup final triumph against Celtic through injury, said.

In Paris

PSG held as Becks returns to scene of 1998 shame

Soccer digest

David Beckham returned to the scene of his infamous 1998 World Cup red card horror show on Sunday, but was unable to inspire his Paris Saint-Germain team to victory in a 2-2 draw with Saint-Etienne.

Beckham was sent off for kicking out at Diego Simeone early in the second half of England's 1998 World Cup last-16 clash against Argentina at Saint-Etienne's Geoffroy-Guichard stadium, a match which the South Americans won on penalties.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star became a national scapegoat among home fans and media for his sending-off, his act of petulance widely seen as the cause of England's exit.

On Sunday, the 37-year-old former England skipper started his first league game for the Ligue 1 title-chaser, but saw his team throw away a 2-0 advantage.

The result means PSG is now five points ahead of Lyon and seven up on Marseille with nine games to play.

In Milan

Juve on target as Roma rejoices and Lazio flops

Soccer digest

Juventus remained on course to defend its Serie A title with a 2-0 away win to Bologna as challenger Napoli stayed nine points behind with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Atalanta on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Francesco Totti scored Roma's second, and his 226th in Serie A, to help his side to a 2-0 home win over Parma and a jump up two places to sixth and ahead of depleted city rival Lazio.

Totti's goal means he is alone in second place on the all-time list of scorers in Serie A, one ahead of retired AC Milan great Gunnar Nordahl (225) but still 48 short of Silvio Piola.

Lazio's torrid month continued, meanwhile, with a 1-0 reverse in snow-hit Turin where a late goal by Jonathas secured what was only Torino's eighth win of the campaign.

The visitor was handicapped when French defender Michael Ciani saw red following a sliding challenge on Brazilian striker Paulo Barreto before the quarter hour.

In difficult conditions, Vladimir Petkovic's men failed to take the few chances they created and were punished in the end.

Lazio has now won only once since a 2-0 defeat of Atalana in mid-January.

In Munich

Bayern breaks more records, Frankfurt slumps again

Bayern Munich continues to break Bundesliga records and is now just two more wins from the title while Eintracht Frankfurt's slump continued on Sunday with a 2-1 defeat to VfB Stuttgart.

Bayern remains 20 points clear after Saturday night's 2-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen, while Frankfurt is fourth and without a win in its past six games after losing at home to Stuttgart.

Frankfurt took an early lead when midfielder Stefan Aigner netted on 17 minutes to break Eintracht's goal drought; having gone six games without scoring since its 2-0 win at Hamburg at the start of February.

Stuttgart roared back to claim its first win after four defeats, including losing twice to Lazio in the Europa League, when striker Vedad Ibisevic converted a penalty before midfielder Georg Niedermeier headed a late winner.

The win leaves Stuttgart 12th before it hosts defending champion Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

Frankfurt coach Armin Veh, who has been linked to Schalke 04, said he will decide his future during the forthcoming international break, but has not signed a contract with the Royal Blues, despite reports.

"If I had done so, I would have already said so," he said while Eintracht's director of sport, Bruno Huebner, has said he hopes to keep Veh in Frankfurt.

Agence France-Presse

(China Daily 03/19/2013 page22)