Weekend Ticker: SPL season kicks off, Man U nears deal with Moura, and more

CelticGetty

By JOEY SAMUEL

While the absence of Rangers FC may be hard to fathom, the Scottish Premier League nevertheless got underway on Saturday as all twelve teams were in action on the first weekend of the SPL season.

Celtic, now heavy favorites in Scotland with their rivals banished to the fourth division, opened their 2012-13 campaign with a win as a 79th minute goal from Kris Commons was enough for a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen.

The defending Scottish champions struggled through most of the match, and even their goal was in large part due to Aberdeen's goalkeeper Jamie Langfield, who mishandled a shot that he should have been able to save on Commons' goal. But Celtic came out winners regardless, and they begin their season with three points.

In other action, Motherwell slumped to a 0-0 draw with newly-promoted Ross County. Like Celtic, Motherwell are currently competing in UEFA Champions League qualifying, having occupied what was Rangers FC's spot in the tournament. But just like in the club's 2-0 loss to Panathinaikos in the first leg of their third-round qualifying tie this past week, Motherwell failed to produce anything in front of goal and suffered as a result.

Here are some other stories from around the globe this weekend:

MANCHESTER UNITED CLOSE TO SIGNING LUCAS MOURA

Reports out of England claim that Manchester United is close to securing the signature of Brazilian winger Lucas Moura. United has been chasing the young star for some time now, and were in competition with Inter Milan and Manchester City. But now it appears United are nearing a deal, which would reportedly cost some $47 million.

The Sao Paulo winger is currently in London competing for Brazil in the 2012 Olympics. He featured in the Selecao's 3-2 win over Honduras on Saturday. But while United appears close to signing him, the Brazilian soccer federation was quick to deny any rumors that Moura has left the Brazilian camp to have a medical in Manchester.

GOMEZ TO UNDERGO SURGERY

Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez suffered an ankle injury during a preseason match against Werder Bremen on Saturday, and the German will now have to undergo surgery.

Gomez suffered the injury in the 42nd minute of the game, which was the semifinal of the Liga Total! Cup. He was carried off the field with a stretcher and missed the rest of the match, which Bayern went on to lose in a penalty shootout.

Now Gomez is in danger of missing the start of the Bundesliga season due to the ankle surgery. Bayern Munich open their 2012-13 campaign with a road match against newly-promoted SpVgg Gruether Furth on August 25th. Gomez is all but certain to miss the German Super Cup, which is on August 12th and will see Munich face Borussia Dortmund.

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What do you think of these developments? Do you see Celtic coasting to another SPL title? Will Manchester United end up sealing the deal with Lucas Moura? How will Gomez's absence affect Bayern if he isn't ready?

Share your thoughts below.

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32 Responses to Weekend Ticker: SPL season kicks off, Man U nears deal with Moura, and more

  1. Jay says:

    The SPL is now worse then MLS a lot worse. Celtic would win MLS but it be a fight. I mean if what I saw over the weekend is the year to come, Celtic will have the league won by December. As for the United signing its ok if true but they haven’t done much to bridge the gap on talent to City or even Chelsea. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they finished third. They just don’t have the talent that City or Chelsea have.

  2. tbecker says:

    Manchester United needs to bridge the gap on Chelsea? I can understand city even though they finished even on points, but Chelsea finished 25 points back last season. Chelsea, even with the champions league trophy, has been trying to to bridge the gap from United for years.

  3. THomas says:

    Celtic would not win MLS. Week in week out its a much tougher schedule than the SPL offers.

  4. ya says:

    For god’s sake what’s the news on Dempsey?

    And did Cameron pass his work permit visa trial?

    And will Guzan be the no 1 at ASTON VILLA?

    And who will be eaten on the the season premier of the Walking Dead?

  5. ET says:

    Plus the heat.

  6. Brett says:

    The only interest in him has been with teams that, apparently, don’t want to give Fulham enough in return to replace him. He’s arguably their best player, so if they sell him they need enough to sign a player or players to fill his spot.

    At this point, I’d love to see him play another season at Fulham and be able to field offers to go where he wants. At the very least he’s guaranteed a key role and more minutes than he can shake a stick at.

  7. ManicMessiah says:

    The seventeen transatlantic flights wouldn’t help either.

  8. ya says:

    you sir are hilarious.

  9. Gerald says:

    Cameron’s hearing is the 8th with Ricardo Clark standing by in Houston

  10. gunner04 says:

    what happened to mo edu and the other americans at rangers? did i miss news of them moving on, or are they still there?

  11. Jay says:

    That may be true but Celtic is a much more talented team and deeper then any team in MLS. And yes I get the travel part lol but I meant if Celtic played in the US with the team they had now.

  12. Jay says:

    Ok that may be true in the past but who on United would you take over what Chelsea has? Outside Rooney name a position that United has the advantage over Chelsea in? Don’t confuse Chelsea’s poor play with lack of talent they have plenty of it.

  13. orh says:

    Bedoya supposedly going back to Sweden

    Boca/Edu waiting on interest

  14. hogatroge says:

    There was interest in Edu from Valencia, but that fell through.

    There is still interest from France (Valenciennes, ironically) and Turkey.

    I’m not sure about Bocanegra, but there was German interest, I believe.

  15. Roberts says:

    Stop trying to rank leagues….It’s about teams. I would take Celtic over any lower tier EPL or La Liga teams.

  16. Rico says:

    LA is coming for you, Tiffert!

  17. Sammy says:

    Is Birchall on loan to Celtic…lol

  18. Rod says:

    Rico Clark > Cameron

  19. Mick says:

    EJ is a straight beast… There is no American striker hotter right now, Demosey included

  20. Neal says:

    Thought the same thing!

  21. Peter says:

    ESPN commentator said EJ’s last game with Nats was before World Cup. Didn’t he feature v. Colombia at PPL Park in Oct. 2010?

  22. orh says:

    He was called up for those and maybe some in early 2011 but he was just on the bench. I mean why accept a call-up if you know for sure you will be riding pine?

  23. Brian says:

    Antonio Valencia. nuff said.

  24. Kosh says:

    Color me confused. So would Celtic win hands down if they were to play to the MLS standards and criteria or if MLS teams were built all willy-nilly without a cap?

    Just asking because there are a few teams on the coast who could rustle-up the cash to build themselves some nasty super clubs too.

  25. Jay says:

    I wouldn’t take take Celtic over most lower tier EPL or La Liga teams. Unless you think Celtic are better then a Stoke or Aston Villa.

  26. Camjam says:

    That may be true, if you’re talking purely about a defensive midfield role. Maybe.

  27. BBB says:

    judging by that picture, the doughnuts in Glasgow are lovely this time of year.

  28. Primoone says:

    Hey joey Samuel….Manchester United or Man United…but never Man U. Get your sh*t together…you dik.

  29. Pop says:

    it’s very difficult to compare MLS to other leagues because of MLS’s salary cap. There are a lot of players that start for their teams in MLS that wouldn’t get a game in league 2.

    Celtic is a better club than anything MLS has to offer.

  30. THomas says:

    We don’t have to try and rank leagues (at least in Europe). UEFA takes care of that for us. And where’s the SPL???

    Hmmm….just behind Cyprus and Israel in 18th position.

  31. RK says:

    Attendance in the SPL: 48k, 13k, 6500, 4828 (for a newly-promoted team!), 4104, 7k.

  32. Eurosnob says:

    Celtic is a big name, but they are quite mediocre now. Celtic lost to Swiss Sion 3-1, 0-0 in the Europa league last year. Sion was given two technical losses after Celtic complained to UEFA that Sion had an ineligible player, but Celtic’s performance on the pitch against a rather mediocre Swiss club call into question your assertions regarding Celtic’s talent superiority.