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Sevilla beast on show

Posted: 10 Mar 2011 09:21 PM PST

Negredo can make life miserable for Barca

Friday, March 11th, 2011 13:09:00


BIG RED MONSTER : Negredo (right) will give Barcelona a tough time


Sevilla have not been performing as expected this season. So they are now in an unfamiliar eighth in the Primera Liga table.

Fortunately, they are still very much in the race for at least a place in the Europa League next season by starting to get more points in the coming matches.

And it will be a great boost for manager Gregorio Manzano's men if they can somehow send packing champions and leaders Barcelona, whom they entertain at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Monday (4am).

It's obviously not an easy task as the Catalans have not been beaten on their travels so far this season but Sevilla can pose a threat if they raise their game.

Never mind the fact that Los Rojiblancos or "The Red-White" will not have the services of chief striker Luis Fabiano because of a knee injury.

The Brazil international, who has 10 goals so far in the league, will be out for at least six weeks.

However, Sevilla have another talented striker in Madrid-born Alvaro Negredo, also known as La fiera de Vallecas or "The beast of Vallecas", to get things going for them.

He has also scored 10 league goals thus far and can be their hero in demolishing Barca if given right support.

The 25-year-old Negredo, who stands at 6'1", used to be play for Real Madrid B but failed to find a place in the senior team because of the presence of superstars at Santiago Bernabeu.

There are several quality players who can lend support to this hitman in troubling the Barca defence — like pacey wingers Jesus Navas, Diego Capel and Diego Perotti.

The Catalans, likely to be without injured veteran centreback Carles Puyol, can expect some trying time from Negredo.

Eric Abidal and Co must be alert if they do not want to go back to Barcelona empty-handed for the first time in an away match.

Negredo is not alone in Sevilla's bid to find the net... Remember the man from Mali — Frederic Kanoute?

He may not be as prolific as before but the former Tottenham star can contribute as well to their cause. It can turn into an interesting contest.

But still, Barca need to win this one based on their current form.

The Catalans have to if they want to maintain their seven-point lead over bitter rivals Real.

The Madrid outfit should not have much problems to get three points when they entertain lowly Hercules at the Bernabeu on Sunday (3am).

Never mind Los Blancos will not have the services of the injured Cristiano Ronaldo.

In fact, manager Jose Mourinho may even rest some key players in view of their Champions League last-16 return-leg clash against French club Lyon in midweek at the same venue.

The teams drew 1-1 in the first-leg and the Portuguese tactician wants the team at their best in the second.

But Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas is taking a cautious approach against Hercules.

"Even though they are fighting to avoid relegation, we need to take notice of them because they beat Barca at home earlier in the season," said Casillas.

"Right now we can't afford to drop any points."

Oh yes, there is this story coming out from France.

A French village team — with a passion for Barca superstar Lionel Messi — have seen their president suspended by the Federation Francaise de Football after making a "joke" bid for the Argentine.

FC Borne, a second division club who play in the Haute-Loire league, saw president Cedric Enjorlas banned for six months by the FFF as they did not welcome his gesture.

The Guardian reported FFF stopped FC Borne from making their bid known by refusing to submit it to the Spanish FA, meaning Barca failed to receive it.

"One cannot accept such behaviour. It is perhaps a joke but we are here to judge the facts," said Yves Begon, head of FFF registration office.

Enjolras explained the reason why he made the bid.

"To submit bids among small clubs, you need to fill out forms on the Internet. I decided to register a bid so I typed the name Lionel Messi, his date of birth and his parent club into the system.

"Then the league transmitted the request to the federation. They were shocked by it and refused to send it to their Spanish counterparts. I have been suspended for six months, of which three are suspended. It was just a joke, to amuse friends.

"I'm going to have to spend three months in the bar."

Good for him. He will come out with more crazy ideas while spending his time at bars.


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Hafiz has big plans

Posted: 10 Mar 2011 09:26 PM PST

Friday, March 11th, 2011 12:00:00

KUALA LUMPUR: Barely a month after quitting the national team, shuttler Hafiz Hashim (above) is back in the news.

He announced his intention to remain the nation's No 2 shuttler at a Press conference in Bangsar this morning.

"I want to play in the 2012 London Olympics," said Hafiz, 28.

Hafiz, ranked No 24 in the world, will have to improve his world ranking to play in the Olympics. He will have to work his way into the top 16.

Luckily for him, time is on his side as he has until May next year to climb do that.

Hafiz hopes that by joining the KL Racket Club (KLRC) on a one-year contract he will be able to realise his wish.

He will train alongside KLRC's other players Yeoh Kay Bin and K. Yogendran.

The shuttler is in talks with China-based sports brand, Li-Ning, for apparel and racquet sponsorship.

Hafiz would still love to don national colours and would not turn down BAM if they invited him to play in the Sea Games or the Thomas Cup.

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