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Soccer DAILY REPORT

Threats Couldn't Deter This Championship Run

May 30, 2003|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

Death threats, Ajax Amsterdam and Feyenoord weren't enough to stop Coach Guus Hiddink from leading PSV Eindhoven to the championship of the Netherlands on Thursday.

By tying its final game of the season, PSV won its third Dutch title in four years and its 17th overall. Last year's champion, Ajax, finished second, and Feyenoord was third.

After coaching South Korea to the semifinals of last year's World Cup, Hiddink returned to the Netherlands to take charge of PSV. In September, he received two bullets in the mail.

"The message was along the lines of, if you have the same success in the league with PSV as you did with Korea, we'll kill you with one bullet," Hiddink told the London Evening Standard at the time. "Or if you succeed in the Champions League, we'll kill you with the other."

PSV and Ajax will play in the Champions League next season.

U.S. Weaker?

It has been only five days since the United States was chosen to stage the fourth FIFA Women's World Cup at the expense of SARS-infected China, but already the first shot of the tournament has been fired.

It came from Chinese forward Sun Wen, who told AFC.com, the Asian Football Confederation's Web site, that the defending world champion American team is not what it was when it beat China in the 1999 final.

"Our chance for revenge is here," Sun said. "The task will be easy if we only have America to contend with. They are on the downturn as they are still relying on the players that won them the World Cup the last time.

"Their younger players are not yet ready for the big stage and, in that instance, I think we've done a much better job in China."

Mexican Playoffs

Defending Mexican league champion Toluca was upset, 2-1, in Mexico City by the Tigers of Universidad de Nuevo Leon (UNL) in the first game of their two-match quarterfinal series. Brazilian striker Kleber scored both goals for UNL, while Octavio Valdez got the Red Devils' lone goal.

Two other quarterfinal matches Wednesday night ended in 1-1 ties. Monterrey and Atlas finished even in Guadalajara, Ismael Rodriguez scoring for Monterrey and Juan Pablo Rodriguez scoring for Atlas.

Elsewhere, Morelia took the early lead on a goal by Javier Saavedra, but Chivas of Guadalajara fought back and earned the tie on a penalty kick by Emilio Mora.

Quick Passes

Makis Psomiadis, the former president of the Greek club AEK Athens, was charged with fraud and money-laundering after investigators discovered $15.6 million missing from the club's accounts. Psomiadis, who resigned in January, has denied the charges.... Brondby won the Danish Cup for the fourth time with a 3-0 victory over Midtjylland.

Real Madrid striker Ronaldo said he found Wednesday's European Champion Cup final between AC Milan and Juventus tedious. "The Italians are going to think that the Spanish are being critical of their style of play, but we all saw that it was a very ugly and boring final for the spectators," the Brazilian told Reuters.

Kispest Honved, perhaps Hungary's most famous club, has been relegated to the second division for the first time in its 87-year history.... Malawi has dropped midfielders Peter Mponda and Macdonald Yobe from its national team because they play for the Ottawa Wizards in the Canadian league and Malawi's government has banned travelers from countries affected by SARS.

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