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Lavolpe Has His Supporters

October 22, 2003|Jim Barrero | Times Staff Writer

Ricardo Lavolpe continues to be criticized by the Mexican media and Hugo Sanchez among others, but one year after taking over Mexico's national team the Argentine-born coach still scores major points in some circles.

In a survey of 116 players and coaches from the Mexican league by the Mexican daily Record, 84% said they favored Lavolpe staying on the job through the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Also, on a scale from one to 10, Lavolpe's performance scored an average of 7.7, according to the respondents.

Since becoming the coach one year ago today, Lavolpe has led Mexico to a 5-4-5 record, including a victory in the CONCACAF Gold Cup last summer.

In another part of the survey, it was asked who should take over if Lavolpe were to be fired.

Sanchez, the coach of UNAM Pumas, was the first choice at 31%, followed by Brazilian Ricardo Ferretti at 13.7% and former Mexico coach Manuel Lapuente at 6.8%.

Since a 1-0 victory over Brazil in the Gold Cup final, Mexico has suffered two losses -- 3-1 to Peru at East Rutherford, N.J., and 2-0 to Uruguay at Chicago last week.

Champions League

Dmitry Loskov set the tone with a goal in the second minute to lead Lokomotiv Moscow to a 3-0 upset of visiting Inter Milan in a Champions League match Tuesday.

Inter, which fired coach Hector Cuper two days earlier, is tied for the lead in Group B with Dynamo Kiev with six points. The Ukrainian team sent visiting Arsenal to a crucial 2-1 loss on goals by Maxim Shatskikh and Valentin Belkevich. Arsenal, the English Premier League leader, has only one point after three games.

Juventus, last season's runner-up, stayed perfect in Group D with its third consecutive victory, 4-2, over Real Sociedad on two goals each by David Trezeguet and Marco Di Viao.

In Group C, Deportivo La Coruna took the overall lead from AS Monaco after a 1-0 victory over the French team on a goal by Diego Tristan.

Bayern Munich remained atop Group A, one point ahead of Olympique Lyon after a 1-1 tie with the host French team.

Figo to Retire

Luis Figo, the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001, said he will retire from the Portugal national team after next summer's European Championship, which will take place in his native country.

Figo, 30, said he will continue playing for Real Madrid, which has him under contract until 2006.

He revealed his decision to the Portuguese cable sports channel, Sport TV.

Barthez Delayed

Goalkeeper Fabien Barthez's loan from Manchester United to Olympique Marseille of the French league will need to be approved by FIFA because the next transfer window doesn't open until January, French officials said.

Soccer's world governing body is supposed to review the case this week and could have a decision by Thursday.

Quick Passes

The United States, which finished in third place at the Women's World Cup earlier this month, will play Italy in a friendly match tonight at Kansas City, Mo. Defender Kate Sobrero will be honored in a pregame ceremony for becoming the 17th U.S. player to play 100 times for her country.... South Korea suffered its second consecutive upset loss in Asian Cup qualifying, a 3-1 decision to Oman. The 2002 World Cup semifinalist lost to Vietnam, 1-0, on Sunday.... Empoli of Serie A in Italy fired coach Daniele Baldini after a winless start (0-4-2) to the season and replaced him with Attilio Perotti. Baldini had been a player, captain and assistant coach with the team.... Glenn Hoddle, fired by Tottenham of the English Premier League three weeks ago, could become the next coach at Leeds United, according to the London Daily Star.


Times wire services contributed to this report.

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