Friday Kickoff: Valencia, Tottenham continue Europa League runs; UEFA opens racism investigation; and more

PacoAlcacerValenciaCF1-StGallen (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Spanish side Valencia and Premier League title contender Tottenham have continued to show why they are a step ahead of the rest of the pack in the UEFA Europa League.

Valencia scored four first half goals on the way to a crushing 5-1 victory over St. Gallen to move into second place in the group, one point behind EPL side Swansea City. Valencia’s 20-year-old Fede Cartabria scored a brace but it was all over by the time his second goal crossed the line in the 31st minute as Valencia held a three-goal advantage.

Tottenham once again displayed their tremendous defensive form with another clean sheet on Thursday as they topped Moldovan side FC Sheriff, 2-0. Defender Jan Vertonghen headed home Tottenham’s first of the evening in the 12th minute before Jermain Defoe settled matters with a low strike on goal in the 75th minute.

Elsewhere in the Europa League, PAOK came back from two goals down to top Maccabi Haifa, 3-2, Fiorentina flew past Pandurii, 3-0, and Wigan came back late to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Rubin Kazan.

Here are some more stories to start your Friday:

UEFA TO INVESTIGATE RACISM ALLEGATIONS IN MOSCOW

UEFA President Michel Platini has opened disciplinary proceedings on why the racism protocol wasn’t followed during Manchester City’s 2-1 victory on Wednesday in Moscow at Russian club CSKA Moscow.

During the match, Man City midfielder Yaya Touré is alleging that he was the subject of racist abuse from the CSKA fans, but when he told the referee, Ovidiu Hategan, about the alleged abuse, Hategan didn’t stop the game to allow for a message over the PA system, breaking UEFA’s protocol.

UEFA posted a message on their website saying “Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against PFC CSKA Moskva for racist behaviour of their fans (article 14 of the UEFA disciplinary regulations) and for setting off of fireworks (article 16) at last night’s UEFA Champions League group stage match in Moscow against Manchester City FC.

The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body on 30 October.”

In response to the alleged abuse that Touré received, the Ivory Coast international was quoted as saying that black players could boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia if racism isn’t dealt with by then.

BLATTER CALLS FOR MORE AFRICAN AND ASIAN NATIONS AT WORLD CUPS

Sepp Blatter latest quotes will surely ruffle the feathers of European and South American nations alike.

In the newest issue of FIFA’s online magazine “FIFA Weekly”, Blatter said that he would like to see more Asian and African nations in the World Cup at the expense of South America and Europe, who combine to hold more than half the overall places in the World Cup.

“From a purely sporting perspective, I would like to see globalization finally taken seriously, and the African and Asian national associations accorded the status they deserve at the Fifa World Cup,’’ Blatter wrote, via The Telegraph in England. “It cannot be that the European and South American confederations lay claim to the majority of the berths at the World Cup (18 or 19 teams), because taken together they account for significantly fewer member associations (63) than Africa and Asia (100).

“Africa, the confederation with the most member associations (54), is woefully under-represented at the World Cup with just five places. As long as this remains the case, African sides may never win and intercontinental trophy, regardless of progress on the playing side. This flawed state of affairs must be rectified. At the end of the day, an equal chance for all is the paramount imperative of elite sport.’’

How Blatter’s comments are received is still too early to tell but he’s likely to receive some harsh words from European and South American soccer officials who will argue that their presence at the World Cup makes it more exciting.

QUICK KICKS

The brother of Giovani, Jonathan Dos Santos, has been ruled out for at least six months with a torn ACL suffered in Barcelona training. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has returned to light training after his serious ankle injury early in the season. (REPORT)

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed that the club will attempt to sign three players in January to improve their squad. (REPORT)

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been fined £8,000 by the FA for his “Improper Conduct” charge but won’t be suspended for the Blues’ next game against Manchester City on Sunday. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Impressed with Valencia and Tottenham’s performances? Do you see UEFA coming down hard on CSKA Moscow? Do you agree with Blatter’s statement?

Share your thoughts below.

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8 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Valencia, Tottenham continue Europa League runs; UEFA opens racism investigation; and more

  1. Brain Guy says:

    Translation of Sepp-speak: “These two under-represented federations also provide lots and lots of votes for people like me and my cronies. I know how to count. Why wouldn’t I curry favor with them? To be completely fair, the World Cup should resemble an expanded version of the Confederations Cup — say, four or six nations from each confederation, or perhaps weighting the number of slots according to the size of the confederation. That’s globalization for you!”

    • Increase says:

      It almost sounds like he will run again. I swear he said this was his last presidency sometime recently.

  2. Ivan says:

    Blater is a sad excuse for a human being and a head of the most corrupt international organization in human history. This monster needs to go.

    • Michael says:

      Since human history includes such organizations as the Catholic Church & the big bank of the U.S. financial industry, I’d say that your comment overstates the point a bit – but I can agree with the spirit of your thought.

      I wonder if Mr. Blatter knows that he’s a liar and a disgrace, or is he delusional enough to believe his own nonsense?

  3. bryan says:

    Blatter is Fing nuts. also, that sucks for JDS! he was just finally realizing he needs to leave Barca but with a torn ACL, he’s going to have to wait.

  4. Joamiq says:

    How is Valencia “a step ahead of the rest of the pack in the UEFA Europa League” when they’re not even first in their own group? In fact, there are 11 other teams with more points than Valencia in Europa right now. The teams actually leading the pack right now are Spurs, Fiorentina, and Frankfurt.

    Also, I’m a Spurs fan, but let’s lay off this “title contender” talk. Maybe on paper (and maybe not even then), but we’ve got a lot of gelling to do before we’re quite in that category.

    Also, Sheriff might want to have a word or two with you about being called a “Moldovan side”…

    Also, Wigan didn’t “[come] back late” – they scored in the first half… but hey, who cares about the details, right?

    Finally, on a different note, if Blatter seriously wants to help Africa, he should do more to subsidize their WCQ process. Part of the reason they haven’t earned more WC slots is because they rarely qualify their five best teams, which is because of their truncated qualifying process, which results in the absurd final round.

  5. patrick says:

    so…. blatter is arguing that allowing more lower quality african/asian teams will make it more likely that a team from those regions can win it all? I suppose thats technically possible, if the strong african/asian teams are drawn against the weak ones at the WC, but otherwise…. no.

  6. Dan says:

    This graphic shows how successful African and Asian nations have been at the past 5 World Cups: link to i.imgur.com

    There’s only been one African team in the Round of 16 each Cup, and 0-2 Asian teams. Mexico and the US combined have been as successful.