The Northern Territory news Wed 19 Mar 2014
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News Corp Australia
42 SPORT WEDNESDAY MARCH 19 2014 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 United in battle to save more red faces STILL reeling from their humbling by Liverpool, Manchester United return to Old Trafford tomorrow morning (NT time) needing to overturn a 2-0 Champions League deficit against Olympiakos to save their season. Sundays 3-0 loss to Liverpool left David Moyess side 12 points below the top four in the Premier League and, having already gone out of both domestic cups, the Champions League represents a last chance of salvation. Notions of the club qualifying for next seasons Champions League by winning the tournament appear fanciful, but elimination in the last 16 tomorrow would suck all intrigue from their campaign. Succeed, and United will take their place alongside Europes most glamorous sides in the quarter-finals, three years after last reaching the last eight en route to defeat by Barcelona in the 2011 final. Fail, and the unwanted consolation of a Europa League place will be all that is left to play for; a fraught summer of soul-searching all there is to look forward to. United were synonymous with stirring comebacks under Alex Ferguson, but they require a vast improvement on the insipid showing produced against Liverpool. Worryingly for both Uniteds supporters and the clubs hierarchy, the team's performances appear to be getting worse, despite strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both now operating at full capacity. United have recovered a first-leg deficit only once in the Champions League era, atoning for a 2-1 loss to Roma in the quarter-finals of the 2006-07 tournament with a stunning 7-1 victory at Old Trafford. They twice overturned 2-0 scorelines in the now defunct European Cup Winners Cup, however, beating Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 in 1964 and storming back to beat Diego Maradonas Barcelona 3-0 in the quarter-finals in 1984. Moyes reported no fresh injuries after the defeat by Liverpool, although Spanish midfielder Juan Mata will drop out of the squad as he is cuptied. The players are capable of turning it around, said Moyes, whose side won all three of their home matches in the group phase. Its something to go for, its another game, and we'll do everything possible to make that work. Olympiakoss first-leg success proved the catalyst for a downturn in their domestic fortunes, as they slumped to consecutive defeats. Russian lifeline for maligned AVB ANDRE Villas-Boas is the man charged with succeeding Luciano Spalletti at FC Zenit, with the Portuguese coach agreeing to a deal that ties him to the Russian Premier League club until the end of the 2015-16 campaign. Spalletti last week parted company with the Sine-BeloGolubye after a four-year spell that brought two domestic titles, a Russian Cup and two appearances in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages. His tenure ended after a run of just one win in 11 competitive outings, including a 4-2 defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie. Former Russia midfielder Sergei Semak was placed in in terim charge upon Spallettis departure. Zenit play Dortmund in Germany tomorrow morning, with Villas-Boas set to be unveiled the following day, three months after leaving Tottenham Hotspur FC, where he was at the helm for 18 months. The 36-year-old s also coached FC Porto to a Liga, Portuguese Cup and Europa League treble. Melbourne Victorys Scott Galloway (left) and Yokohama opponent Saito Manabu contest possession in the Asian Champions League clash at AAMI Park Picture: MICHAEL DODGE Victory up in rugged Asian clash A FIRST-half Kosta Barbarouses goal has earned Melbourne Victory a crucial win over Yokohama F Marinos last night, keeping them alive in the Asian Champions League. For the second straight ACL match, the Victory yielded most of the possession and the chances, and could be very thankful Yokohama appeared to leave their shooting boots back in Japan. But they were able to hold on for a crucial 1-0 win and their first clean sheet in more than three months. The Victory again fielded a rejigged line-up as they contend with five matches in only 16 days. They welcomed Adrian Leijer back into the starting 11 after missing eight games with facial fractures. Unfortunately for Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou watching in the stands at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat rested both his national team players Mark Milligan and Tom Rogic. But it was an All White who stole the headlines, with Barbarouses netting early. After eight minutes Jimmy Jeggo took advantage of sloppy work in midfield from Yokohama, taking possession and finding Barbarouses with a through ball, with the Kiwi making no mistake. The Victory struggled for possession and fluency in a first-half without clear chances, with coach Muscat berating his players for giving away the ball. On 26 minutes the Victory avoided what seemed to be a clear penalty when Yokohamas speedy Saito Manabu surged into the box. His cross appeared to strike Pablo Contreras arm but did not draw the attention of the young Malaysian referee. Karts ready to roll for new season GO-KART enthusiasts will follow the signs to the Hidden Valley Motorsports Complex on Sunday for the start of the 2014 Darwin Karting Association season. A Come N Try sign-on day is planned for all things karting from 8am to 11am. Come N Try visitors are invited to attend and register through a standard Australian Karting Australia form with waiver documents for insurance purposes. Participants are based on age, size, weight, experience and aspirations, to determine the class, criteria and race kart. DKA will provide the necessary instructions and advice. If under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian must be present at all times. Prospective drivers are warned to wear sturdy footwear with jeans and a long sleeve shirt. A helmet, gloves and kart will be provided. DKA club members and new members are urged to attend for membership sign-on and licence payment/renewal and pit allocation. The championship round begins on Saturday, April 5. Scrutineering from 3-4pm, carby session from 4-4.20pm and racing from 4.30pm. The NT News Motorsport Column will resume for 2014 on Wednesday, March 26. Subdued version of race to proceed MALAYSIAS Grand Prix will go ahead as planned this month despite the national crisis over a missing plane, but proceedings will be more subdued out of respect, the organiser says. Whatever it is, Formula One will go on and the concert after that will proceed but we will be sensitive and not go overboard, said Razlan Razali, chief executive of the Sepang International Circuit where the annual race and subse quent musical extravaganza are held. The race is set for March 30. The Sepang circuit is next to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, from where Malaysian authorities are coordinating an international effort to find missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. The plane disappeared early in the morning of March 8 with 239 passengers and crew aboard, spawning a massive international search across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean that has so far turned up no trace of wreckage from the Boeing 777. Malaysia Airlines also has housed anxious relatives of passengers in a pair of hotels not far from the airport as they await news. People are not in the mood for an event like this. Everywhere, be it on radio, newspaper, TV or social media, it is all about finding MH370, Razlan said. By GREY MORRIS MOTORSPORT Cup tension among Brazilian legends IN THE latest chapter of a spat between past Brazil football greats, Ronaldo is publicly criticising former teammate Romario for making another attack on him, this time over an alleged broken promise to provide free tickets for people with disabilities during the World Cup. Romario, now an outspoken lawmaker, is blaming Ronaldo for making the promise and not coming through with it. Ronaldo, a member of the local World Cup organising committee, says it was the Brazilian football federation that failed to fulfil their pledge. Ronaldo said it was not clear why Romario continued to take shots at him. Its lamentable to see Romario once again coming out to publicly say that Im responsible for things that are out of my hands, Ronaldo said on his social media accounts. Opportunism or ignorance, I dont know. What I do know is that instead of wasting time and energy trying to disparage me, the congressman should dedicate himself to challenging the right people/ institutions.
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