Michael McGlinchey of the Mariners and Mitchell Nichols of the Victory contest the ball on Friday. Photo: Getty Images
AUSTRALIA: New Central Coast Mariners coach Phil Moss doesn't believe off-field dramas at the club are affecting the defending A-League champions, despite a lacklustre performance in a scoreless draw with Melbourne Victory. A flat Central Coast was lucky to escape with a point against a rampant but wasteful Victory on Friday night at Bluetongue Stadium. Moss said the off-field issues - the departure of former coach Graham Arnold and general manager Peter Turnbull, and speculation it was pulling out of the Asian Champions League because of financial hardship, or moving to North Sydney, both denied - had nothing to do with the below-par effort against Victory. However, he did admit the ''whole club is going through a transition period at the moment and we've got to work hard to get through the other end''. He said the team was focused on improving for the round-nine clash with Sydney FC, also in Gosford.
The Western Sydney Wanderers have no intention of waiting to see what kind of mood the Phoenix is in when they take on the dangerous New Zealand side in Wellington on Sunday. After being blitzed by the Roar in the last round - conceding twice inside 20 minutes before losing 3-1 in Brisbane - Wanderers midfielder Shannon Cole said the team had paid special attention throughout the week to ensure they would not make the same mistake. ''If you look at last week's game, there were a few things early in the game - the first 15 or 20 minutes - we could have done better. We did a bit of work on that, the coaches showed us where we could do better,'' he said. ''With Wellington, they're good at home. They like playing there. In the past, for some teams, it's proved difficult to go there. So we can't leave it up to them to see if they're going to show up or not. It's completely up to us.'' The task will be much harder with Shinji Ono joining an injured list featuring Youssouf Hersi and Tomi Juric.
DOPING: FIFA wants the fight against drugs in sport to be overhauled. Its chief medical officer, Jiri Dvorak, says there's a huge difference between team sports and individual sports when it comes to doping. Based on positive test results, Dvorak says fighting drugs in soccer compared with sport in general is simply not cost effective. To catch one case of anabolic steroid use in soccer requires an outlay of $2.7 million, he says, whereas for sport in general, it's $270,000. Dvorak says the last positive test in soccer's World Cup was Diego Maradona in 1994.
Bayern injury woes
GERMANY: Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola admitted on Friday to having concerns about his team's mounting injury problems. Last season's treble winner has not lost in this campaign - ahead of Saturday's visit to Eintracht Braunschweig - winning 11 and drawing two matches in the Bundesliga, while winning all five Champions League encounters. But Guardiola said they would be fighting a rearguard battle until Christmas. ''We're going to need to survive for two or three weeks,'' said the Catalan coach, who will lead his side to Morocco in a couple of weeks for the Club World Cup. ''We have to make do, that's why we have a second team.'' Captain Philipp Lahm is now on the treatment table with a hamstring injury, joining the likes of vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, France winger Franck Ribery, Peru striker Claudio Pizarro, Switzerland wideman Xherdan Shaqiri, and Germany defender Holger Badstuber.