Bayern in semis after punishing Man Utd for lapses

 A schoolboy lapse in concentration and a bad miss by Wayne Rooney wrecked Manchester United’s hopes of causing a huge Champions League upset against holders Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

When United went ahead in the quarter-final second leg with a spectacular Patrice Evra strike after 57 minutes it seemed an improbable victory was possible but they seemed to be still celebrating when Mario Mandzukic headed the equaliser 22 seconds after the re-start.

Even then Rooney missed a gilt-edged chance but there was no way back after that as Bayern eased away to a 3-1 win with Thomas Mueller and the influential Arjen Robben both on target for the hosts who were never totally convincing.

Bayern’s 4-2 aggregate win kept them on course for a second successive treble and all but put an end to Manchester United’s miserable first season under David Moyes.

United are extremely unlikely to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season and winning the Champions League represented their only realistic hope of qualifying for next season’s competition.

“I thought the players did a great job tonight, the only crime was conceding a goal after we scored, 30 seconds afterwards,” Moyes, who has experienced a difficult time at Old Trafford since succeeding Alex Ferguson, told reporters.

“It’s the sort of thing you learn as a schoolboy. We concentrated so fabulously well throughout the game, the players did their jobs, their positioning and awareness (was good), and to give up that goal at that moment was really disappointing.”

Missing the suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez in midfielder, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola fielded Toni Kroos, usually a creative player, as a holding midfielder.

As in the first leg at Old Trafford that ended 1-1, Bayern totally dominated possession in the first half although they lacked fluency and struggled to create any real openings against a well-drilled United side who were always in the game.

Robben was Bayern’s chief threat, getting into several promising positions after cutting inside on to his left foot in familiar fashion but his efforts were either blocked by defenders or flashed wide.

United had one opening when Rooney got clear of the Bayern defence but he dithered and failed to notice Shinji Kagawa in an unmarked position as the chance went begging.

The visitors went ahead in remarkable fashion when Antonio Valencia burst down the right and, although his cross went behind United’s forwards, the lurking Evra lashed home a net-bursting effort from the edge of the area on the half-volley.

United had also taken the lead in the first leg, holding it for nine minutes, but this time they could not even keep their noses in front for a minute as Mandzukic got in front of Evra to score with a diving header after a Ribery cross from the left.

SCUFFED SHOT

That opened the game up completely and Rooney should have put United back in front but completely scuffed his shot with only Manuel Neuer to beat from 12 metres after Danny Wellbeck rolled the ball invitingly to him.

“I felt he was concerned he hadn’t trained all week and had taken an injection, and I felt he had trouble striking the ball on occasions,” Moyes said of Rooney who had been troubled by a sore toe in the run-up to the game.

United were not given a second chance.

Mueller put Bayern in front when he turned in another Robben

cross from close range.

Robben then ensured there would be no nervous finale for Bayern when he collected a ball on the right and danced his way across the edge of the penalty area past two defenders before squeezing in a shot with took a deflection off of Nemanja Vidic.

“I knew it would be difficult. It’s not easy to play against eight players in the box and we decided to try to create a pass in the middle,” said Guardiola.

“They defended the crosses well, but at the end, after 1-1 we played much better and we deserved to be in the semi-final.”

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Car bomb explodes outside Greek central bank building, no one hurt

 A car bomb went off outside a Bank of Greece building in central Athens early on Thursday, smashing windows in nearby shops but causing no injuries, police and Reuters witnesses said.

The blast struck hours before Greece planned its first foray into the international bond markets since it plunged into a debt crisis four years ago, and a day before a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

An anonymous caller warned a newspaper of the attack about 45 minutes before the explosion just before 6 a.m. (4 a.m. British Time), saying it contained about 70 kg of explosives, said a police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but police believed leftist or anarchist groups were behind it, the official said.

Witnesses saw debris strewn across the street in a busy part of the capital lined with banks, shops and a mall.

Makeshift bomb and arson attacks have escalated since Greece adopted unpopular austerity measures in exchange for multibillion euro bailouts by the European Union and International Monetary Fund in 2010.

Small scale attacks against politicians, journalists and business people are frequent in Greece, with its long history of political violence.

In Brief: ULTRA MARATHON FUNDRAISER

RALPH Dixon and Jeff Lau, the only two Malaysians competing in the Marathon des Sables 2014, a seven-day ultra-marathon across 250km of harsh arid terrain in the Moroccan Sahara Desert, are set to raise the bar for the country’s AIDS awareness fundraising efforts.

The Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) Marathon des Sables 2014 Challenge sees them compete in “the toughest footrace on Earth” in their bid to raise much-needed funds for its two charitable initiatives — the Treatment, Care and Support Programme benefitting underprivileged women and children living with HIV, and the Red Ribbon Youth Club, an HIV education, empowerment, advocacy and leadership programme for young people.

Dixon, an avid marathon runner and a trustee of MAF, is poised to repeat the feat he achieved in 2010 upon completing the 25th edition of Marathon des Sables, also for the same cause. “After finishing my first race, I swore I would never ever put myself through what I can only describe as the worst six days of my life! But funding for the AIDS response in this country has been severely cut back, and at the same time people living with HIV continue to be pushed to the margins of society due to stigma and discrimination. Naturally, I have picked up my gear again,” he said.

A first-timer to the Marathon des Sables, Lau, a 24-year-old student and a Red Ribbon Youth Club Advocate, said: “As a young Malaysian, it is indeed my responsibility to spread awareness and encourage my peers to lead a healthy lifestyle and practise safer sex for prevention of HIV and other infections.”

The fundraising campaign began in January and has amassed donations over RM70,000 and it will continue until the end of April. Donations can be made online via http://www.simplygiving.com/event/MdS4maf

ENDING MALNUTRITION IN ASIA

Asia is home to close to 578 million of the one billion malnourished people around the world. Some 100 million of the 165 million children globally who are stunted are Asian. The region also faces a growing challenge with obesity, 7.7 per cent of school age children are expected to be overweight in 2015 in Asean countries, an explosion from 1.8 per cent from 1990.

The Asian Football Confederation, World Vision, DSM, GAIN and the Asian Football Development Project launched the One Goal partnership to ensure “Nutrition for Every Child” in Asia. One Goal seeks to address Asia’s growing challenge with child malnutrition by leveraging the region’s big passion — football.

“One Goal brings together powerful forces in the region — football, development and corporate expertise to address this issue and ensure children eat, live and play right,” said Stefan Germann, executive Director of One Goal.

The campaign engages players, fans and football lovers to become ambassadors for good nutritional practices. “This One Goal campaign is to unite a diverse range of audiences under the banner of football and serve them messages about good nutrition, especially for children,” said Tong Ngan Liew, chief executive officer, World Vision Malaysia, one of the first countries to launch One Goal nationally.

Teenage crime on the rise

SHAH ALAM: Selangor is seeing a 10% jump in teenage crime, a worrying trend that is mirrored elsewhere in the country.

State police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Shukri Dahlan said those as young as 12 years old were getting involved in crimes although Selangor recorded an overall 7% drop in crimes so far this year.

He said 165 teenagers, from 12 to 17 years old, had been arrested between January and March – a 10% increase from the corresponding period in 2013.

Of those arrested, 86 were for violent crimes including blackmail, snatch thefts and being a part of gangs and drug distribution syndicates.

SDCP Shukri said 79 others were arrested for minor offences, mostly motorcycle thefts, which accounted for 40% of the crimes.

“A big majority, maybe 70%, of the motorcycle thefts in the last three months, has been linked to juveniles. On top of other serious offences committed by some youths, this is a cause for concern.

“In this day and age where the young are easily influenced by social ills, parents and teachers play a crucial role in curbing youth involvement in crime in schools and at home,” he told reporters here.

In January, a policeman in George Town was attacked by about 30 people aged 18 to 19 when he tried to prevent two men from being beaten up outside an entertainment outlet.

Earlier this week, the police in Malacca announced they were hunting for a gang of seven school dropouts aged 15 to 18 whom they said had committed 80 snatch thefts in the last few months.

On Sunday, an 18-year-old boy from Miri was arrested for allegedly stabbing his mother to death in the neck after quarrelling over a handphone.

Last year, 214 aged between 13 and 18 were caught abusing drugs, according to the National Anti-Drugs Agency.

Echoing SDCP Shukri’s concern, Bukit Aman Crime Prevention and Eradication Department director Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob said that last year saw a 47% jump in nationwide violent crime among minors aged between 12 and 17. Some were even involved in murder and rape cases.

He said cases of violent crimes went up from 368 in 2012 to 542 last year among school­going children.

Cases involving non-school­going children saw a 137% jump with 2,011 reported last year, compared to 849 in 2012.

“Most minors get into crime because of peer influence and elements of gangsterism that are penetrating schools,” Ayub said.

“The police have been in talks with the Education Ministry and schools to curb this problem. We are stationing liaison officers in schools to identify the problematic students.

“We are also educating students through workshops and summer camps as well as starting cadet police units and crime prevention clubs in schools.”

Meanwhile, the Selangor contingent joined about 800 cadet police officers in a march to mark the 44th Police Cadet Corps Day celebrations.

T-Team resigned to not getting Anelka

IT looks like Nicolas Anelka will not be joining T-Team after all.

All communication from the player’s agent has stopped since yesterday, and T-Team chief operating officer Mohd Syahrizan Mohd Zain is resigned to the fact that the former Arsenal star has other plans in mind.

Syahrizan said Anelka has most probably decided to join the Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro.

“But we are not about to give up hope on Anelka just yet until somebody comes out with an official statement about him joining the club in Brazil or any other other club,” he said.

“But our priority now is to get our new signing (Leandro Dos Santos) eligible to play against Selangor at Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium in Kuala Terengganu tomorrow (today) and that means we have to get his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) either today or tomorrow.

“We signed him up several days ago but we are baffled why his former club (Bangkok Glass) have yet to complete his transfer certificate up until now.”

 

 

25 dengue deaths in Selangor

ALARMING: Number of fatalities from January to April 5 exceeds last year’s total

SHAH ALAM: THE number  of dengue fatalities   in Selangor from Jan 1 to April 5 this year has surpassed the number of fatalities   recorded in the state last year.

Local Government, Research and Development Committee chairman Datuk Teng Chang Khim said 14,654 dengue cases and 25 dengue-related deaths had been recorded in the state up to April 5, compared with 24 deaths in the whole of last year.

  “I want to remind the people to spend 10 minutes a day to find and eliminate the breeding grounds of the aedes mosquito because they only need very little water to breed,” he said at the lobby of the Selangor state assembly building yesterday.

  He highlighted a village in Sungai Chua, Kajang, which was previously a dengue hotspot for 33 days. He urged residents there to cooperate with the local council to keep the environment clean.

“The state government was informed of the dengue epidemic in week 43 last year (around October) and we have since held weekly meetings with local councils, gotong-royong and briefings for the people to tackle the issue.

“The weekly meetings will continue until we reduce the number of cases to less than 500 per week. Selangor recorded 624 cases in week 14 this year, from March 30 to April 5.”

Despite the downward trend in the number of dengue cases in March from 1,102 cases in week 11 to 624 in week 14, Teng reminded Selangor citizens to be vigilant in eradicating aedes breeding grounds.

In Malacca, there has been a 500 per cent increase in dengue cases reported from December until now, with 855 cases.

State Health and Sports Development Committee chairman Datuk Ab Rahaman Ab Karim said of the total, Melaka Tengah district recorded 672 cases, Alor Gajah (104) and Jasin (79).

The state also recorded three dengue deaths, with two cases in Melaka Tengah and one in Jasin, involving two men and a woman.

“The drastic increase, compared with only 132 cases in the same period last year, has placed Malacca second after Negri Sembilan with the highest number of dengue cases. Negri Sembilan reported an increase of 1,339 per cent, or 1,223 dengue cases.”

Other places with a high number of dengue cases include Wilayah Persekutuan.

An integrated operation, dubbed Op Gempur Khas, was held in construction sites in Ayer Keroh here yesterday.

The operation was participated by 80 enforcement officers from the state Health Department, Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council and State Construction Industry Development Board

 

 

Armstrong probe findings due in a year: UCI

GENEVA: An inquiry team probing the role of cycling’s leaders in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal will deliver its report by next year, the head of the sport’s global governing body UCI said on Wednesday.

Brian Cookson, who won an ugly UCI leadership contest in September 2013  vowing to right past wrongs, said the three-member independent commission of  inquiry had a crucial role and would publish its findings within 12 months.
“We have to have a sport where a parent can bring their child, and know  that their son or daughter can go all the way to the top if they have the  ability and dedication,” Cookson said in a UCI statement.
“Without having to lie, without having to cheat, without having to do  things that will risk their health, without having to spend the rest of their  lives looking over their shoulder.”
“If we cannot do that as a governing body, then we have failed our members  and our sport. But we are not going to fail. We are going to succeed,” he added.
The commission was created after Briton Cookson ousted Irishman Pat McQuaid  in the UCI leadership race.
McQuaid was in charge for eight years, succeeding Dutchman Hein Verbruggen,  in the saddle from 1991 to 2005.
They have rejected claims from the US Anti-Doping Agency that while they  were in power, the UCI did too little to stem doping and beat the cheats,  notably disgraced US rider Armstrong.
The commission has said its main goal is to determine how a culture of  doping was perpetuated between 1998 and 2013, and to establish who was to blame.
It has appealed to riders who were doped in the past to come forward in  exchange for reduced punishment.
It has the power to propose reduced sanctions to any rider, official,  agent, race organiser or team staff member who admits to an anti-doping offence.
It can reduce the sanction further if the individual provides valuable  information concerning doping practices, and is also empowered to let those who  confess keep past prize money.
And it also has the power to propose case-by-case reductions for anyone  currently suspended from the sport and who reveals more details — though any  such softening will have to be approved by the original sanctioning body, the  UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency.