Thursday Kickoff: Schalke dispute Drogba's eligibility, Spurs fans attacked in Lyon, and more

Thursday Kickoff: Schalke dispute Drogba's eligibility, Spurs fans attacked in Lyon, and more

South American Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Schalke dispute Drogba's eligibility, Spurs fans attacked in Lyon, and more

BY DAN KARELL

One of Wednesday evening’s Champions League sub-plots was the return of Didier Drogba to the European stage, 9 months after scoring the final penalty to seal Chelsea’s European title.

Though he didn’t score in his new side Galatasaray’s 1-1 draw with Schalke 04, the German club are considering appealing to UEFA, on the grounds that Drogba may not be approved to be a Galatasaray player, due to an ongoing dispute with the Ivorian’s former club in China, Shanghai Shenhua.

There is precedent in the case of fielding illegal players in the Champions League. In 1992, a match was ordered to be replayed between Leeds and Stuttgart after the German team used too many foreign players in the match, and in 2001, Israeli side Maccabi Haifa were given a 3-0 defeat after fielding an ineligible player during a third-round qualifying match against FC Haka of Finland.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:

TOTTENHAM FANS ATTACKED IN PARIS

No less than two months after a group of Tottenham fans were violently attacked in Rome, the club’s supporters have suffered yet another violent attack, this time in Lyon, France.

It’s unsure whether the attackers were supporters of Lyon or not, but what is known is that last night a large group threw projectiles into a local pub called The Smoking Dog, where around 150 Spurs fans were spending time the night before the match. Three supporters were injured during the incident, with reportedly minor injuries. Even worse, before the group attacked the bar patrons, they reportedly made Nazi salutes.

Tottenham have announced that club officials and local police will be patrolling the city on Thursday, to make sure of the safety of their supporters.

SUSPECTED MATCH-FIXER APPREHENDED AT AIRPORT

Upon landing in Milan Malpensa Airport, Admir Suljic was arrested by Italian police and European authorities, on the suspicion of match-fixing.

Suljic, whose flight originated in Singapore, allegedly works for the well known crime syndicate leader Dan Tan, who is suspected of running the worldwide match fixing operation from his home in the Asian City-State. According to reports, Suljic had been on the run from authorities since December of 2011.

Since going public with the case, Interpol have already arrested 50 people, with over 150 more under investigation.

VELEZ AND GREMIO RUN RIOT IN COPA LIBERTADORES

Velez Sarsfield of Argentina and Gremio of Brazil each recorded 3-0 wins on Wednesday night in Copa Libertadores action, as the teams continue their continental campaign.

Velez defeated Chilean side Deportivo Iquique in Buenos Aires, scoring twice in the first half through Federico Insua and a wide-open Ezequiel Rescaldani, with former Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago pulling the strings all night.

Gago put the game away in the 69th minute, as his 23-yard free kick sliced through the box and past the goalkeeper, finishing it’s journey in the net.

Gremio rebounded from last week’s Copa Libertadores loss with a massive win against Brazilian side Fluminense. On-loan winger Andre Santos was in on the scoring, as the veteran Gremio side, featuring Ze Roberto, Elano, and Cris, former Brazil internationals, have moved to the top of their group.

In other action last night, Huichapito of Chile suffered a shock 3-1 defeat to Caracas of Venezuela in Group 8, while Club Deportivo San Jose of Bolivia tied defending champions Corinthians 1-1, in Group 5, though the match was marred by the death of a 14-year-old Bolivian boy who was hit by a firecracker in the stands.

QUICK KICKS

Young Sampdoria striker Mauro Icardi has stated his desire to play for his native country, Argentina, despite being eligible to play in Italy. (REPORT)

Franck Ribery was surprised how easy it was to beat Arsenal, on Tuesday night. (REPORT)

Joey Barton is at it again, claiming that French players don’t have the hard working mentality that it takes to win. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Schalke’s appeal against Drogba’s eligibility succeeding? Do you think Tottenham fans need security around them at all times? Do you believe that Joey Barton’s comments are correct?

Share your thoughts below.

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