Liverpool's version of Family Feud continued as Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez
his American owners for what he perceived to be a lack of knowledge of Europe's transfer system. Manchester United's coaching staff tried to deflect attention for its shock loss at Bolton Wanderers,
while goalie Scott Carson
, the goat in England's loss to Croatia, returned to action with a shutout win on the road for Aston Villa. In Mexico, the playoffs
moved into the semifinals with American Edgar Castillo
still in the hunt for the Torneo Apertura championship. COACH
Liverpool remained in the thick of the English Premier League race with a 3-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday, but the
victory was overshadowed by its Spanish manager Rafael Benitez
's criticism of the club's American owners, George Gillett
and Tim Hicks
Benitez questioned their grasp of the European transfer system. "It's not a draft system. We have free players available now," he said.
"I'm not talking about players that cost money. We need to talk to the agents now, if not we will lose targets. In the summer, the players will be more expensive. I have not been talking about
spending but doing the opposite."
Gillett and Hicks later on Sunday attempted to calm the situation. "Despite speculation in today's newspapers, there is nothing new to say," the
statement said. "We had a good win yesterday and have got some very important games coming up starting with Porto on Wednesday, followed by Bolton and Reading, before Marseille and Manchester
United in a few weeks." They plan to meet Rafa in mid-December to make decisions on the team's midseason moves. MATCH
Bolton Wanderers knocked Manchester United out of its first-place tie with Arsenal with a 1-0 victory on Saturday thanks to Frenchman Nicolas Anelka
's early goal.
The win was Bolton's first under Gary Megson
since he took over for Sammy Lee
, but Megson was forced to defend his players amid a frontal attack by United's coaching staff. United manager Sir Alex
called the first 45 minutes a "shambles" and was so critical of referee Mark Clattenburg
that was ordered to watch the rest of the game from
stands, while United assistant Carlos Queiroz
called Bolton's tactics "intimidation football."
Megson was non-plussed by the charges. "We have to
compete and I am not going to criticize them for competing," he said. "I've got nothing to apologize for." PLAYER
Four days after his blunder cost England the first goal in its 3-2 loss to Croatia that knocked it out of Euro '08, Scott
returned to work at Aston Villa and recorded a 3-0 shutout at Middlesbrough.
Carson received a chorus of boos from the Boro fans, but Villa manager Martin O'Neill
said his young keeper responded brilliantly.
"I'm delighted for him," said O'Neill of Carson. "He was expecting a bit of stick and he
certainly got it. He's a young lad. He's very, very disappointed about Wednesday. I think at the moment the whole nation is hurting badly having expected to qualify." RACE
Santos, Atlante, Guadalajara and UNAM advanced to the semifinals of Mexico's Torneo Apertura with wins over
In the big upset, UNAM knocked off Toluca, which had finished 10 points in front of Pumas in the regular season. UNAM held on for a 1-1 tie at Toluca after winning, 3-1, in
Mexico City. Guadalajara got a scare from San Luis before winning the second leg, 1-0, on Sergio Santana
's penalty kick in the 56th minute to prevail, 2-1,
American product Edgar Castillo
's bid to win a Mexican title remained alive as Santos, the overall leader at the end of the regular
season, swept Morelia, 2-0 and 3-2. Atlante, in its first season after moving from Mexico City to Cancun, also beat Cruz Azul twice, 1-0 and 2-1.