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Posts Tagged ‘alive’

‘Every chance’ missing NZealand miners alive, says PM

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

Two year old girl lost in flooding night but still alive!

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 at 6:56 am

British couple freed by pirates ‘happy to be alive’

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2010 at 6:31 am

Scores found alive in Indonesia tsunami zone

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2010 at 10:10 am

SOUTH PAGAI, Indonesia, Oct 30, 2010 (AFP) – Scores of people feared dead in Indonesia’s tsunami disaster zone were found alive Saturday as rescue workers spread out to remote island communities five days after the killer wave.

The discovery came as Indonesia struggled with disaster on two fronts following another powerful eruption of the archipelago’s most active volcano, which spread chaos and ash over a vast area of central Java.

Three-week-old tsunami survivor Indonesian baby is attended by a nurse at a hospital in Sikakap in North Pagai island, one of the Mentawai islands on October 30, 2010. AFP

On the tsunami-hit Mentawai island chain off the coast of Sumatra, rescue workers battling rough seas and monsoon rain found 135 people hiding on high ground, too scared of another wave to return to their shattered villages.

“We’re so grateful that we’ve found many of the missing people — we’d been working very hard to find them,” disaster management official Joskamatir said.

Officials had held little hope of finding many of the missing after flights over the area earlier in the week revealed dozens of unclaimed bodies strewn across beaches and wedged in rubble.

Many of the dead were also believed to have been sucked out to sea as the killer wave receded.

The number of missing was almost halved from 298 to 163 following Saturday’s discovery, while the death count remained at 413, according to an official tally.

Rescue workers were reaching some of the isolated coastal villages crushed by the three-metre (10-foot) wall of water which was triggered on Monday by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake, but monsoon weather was slowing the relief effort.

“Before help came I survived by eating whatever we could find, such as taro,” said Theopilus, 42, a farmer on the worst-hit island of South Pagai.

“We’re in dire need of more food, tents and blankets. I feel really cold at night as it rains all the time.”

In central Java, 1,300 kilometres (810 miles) to the southeast, terrified residents fled in panic when Mount Merapi erupted again just after midnight, fearing a repeat of explosions on Tuesday that claimed at least 36 lives.

No one was killed in the latest eruption, but hospital staff reported that two people had died in the chaotic rush to escape.

“I was sleeping on the veranda when loud booms like thunder woke me up,” local resident Kris Budianto, 51, told AFP. He suffered a broken arm and facial wounds when he crashed his motorbike in the melee.

Volcanic ash rained down on the Central Java provincial capital of Yogyakarta 26 kilometres away from the crater, shutting the airport for over an hour.

Government volcanologist Subandrio said more eruptions were likely and warned about 50,000 people who have been evacuated from the danger zone not to tempt fate by going home too soon.

“We will even have to evaluate whether we need to widen the exclusion zone because we should not downplay the threat — Mount Merapi is extremely dangerous,” he said.

Many displaced people return to the slopes of 2,914-metre Merapi, a sacred landmark in Javanese tradition whose name means “Mountain of Fire”, to tend to their precious livestock during the day.

On North Pagai, dazed and hungry survivors of Monday night’s tsunami were still roaming between devastated villages looking for food and lost loved ones.

A baby was born in a crammed medical clinic as a man died of his wounds just a few beds away.

Another ship bearing badly need supplies such as tents, medicine and food arrived at Sikakap on the protected side of North Pagai island, while helicopters dropped aid packages to cut-off villages.

Joskamatir said only five percent of the aid piling up at Sikakap had been delivered to those in need, citing bad weather and the “limited availability of transportation” such as boats and helicopters.

“There are three helicopters here already but we still need more speedboats. We need about 50 speedboats,” he said.

Australia and the United States have pledged aid worth a total of three million dollars while the European Commission released 1.5 million euros (two million dollars) for victims of both disasters.

Indonesia straddles a region known as the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, with scores of active volcanoes and major tectonic fault lines. Almost 170,000 Indonesians were killed in the 2004 Asian tsunami.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited tsunami survivors on Thursday and said the “only long-term solution” was for people to move away from the most vulnerable coastal areas.

Mentawai fisherman Hari, 24, agreed.

“I plan to leave my village. I don’t want to live here anymore. I’m traumatised,” he said.

Source: SGGP

Disfigured but alive: Zimbabwe cuts horns to save rhinos

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2010 at 7:40 am

 The roaring chainsaw sends fingernail-like shards flying into the baking Zimbabwean bush as it slices through the slumped black rhino’s foot-long horn.

The critically endangered female loses her spikes in just seconds, after being darted from a helicopter.

Doctor Chris Forging cuts a rhino horn in Chipinge National Park, 360km west of Harare

A few minutes later, she leaps up and escapes — disfigured but alive — in a dramatic attempt to deter the poachers who have unleashed a bloodbath on southern Africa’s rhinos.

“De-horning reduces the reward for the poacher,” said Raoul du Toit of the Lowveld Rhino Trust which operates in Zimbabwe’s arid southeast.

“Poaching is a balance between reward and risk. It may tip the economic equation in the situation to one where it’s not worth the poacher operating.”

Rhino poaching reached an all-time high in Africa last year, according to the International Rhino Foundation.

In Zimbabwe, where just 700 rhinos remain, anti-poaching units face military-like armed gangs who ruthlessly shoot the animals to hack off the distinctive horns for the Asian traditional medicine market.

“These poachers in this part of the world here will shoot on sight. They operate in very aggressive units,” Du Toit told AFP.

“They adopt patrol formations when they are after rhinos to detect any anti-poaching units that are deployed against them and they will open fire without hesitation.

“So there’ve been many gunfights — a number of poachers killed, not so many on law enforcement side but that’s mainly through luck.”

Asian demand for rhino horn, believed to treat anything from headaches to sexual woes, has lured highly organised criminal syndicates.

Zimbabwe’s black rhino were poached to a low of 300 in 1995 but recovered and levelled off to nearly double this before plummeting again to reach around 400 last year, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

“It was at this time, 2006-2007, when we actually saw the steep escalation in poaching which is related to syndicate kind of poaching orchestrated out of South Africa,” said WWF’s African rhino manager Joseph Okari.

“It is what makes a big difference between the poaching of today… and the poaching of the ’80s and the early ’90s,” he said.

“That was not highly organised and well co-ordinated like what we are seeing today.”

South Africa and Zimbabwe are rhino poaching hotspots, accounting for nearly all of the 470 rhinos killed in Africa between 2006 and 2009. Half of those killed were in Zimbabwe.

The slaughter this year has intensified in South Africa, where rhino poaching has doubled. Okari puts the shift down to the slashed population in Zimbabwe, particularly in state parks, and hardline controls that include poachers being shot dead.

The result is that the Lowveld region which lost 60 animals last year is now seeing more rhinos born than killed.

“If it was to continue at this level, we could see our population increase in time,” said Lowveld Rhino Trust operations co-ordinator Lovemore Mungwashu.

In addition to de-horning, conservationists in Zimbabwe are fitting rhinos with microchips or transmitters to track them, while mounting foot patrols armed in some areas with AK-47 assault rifles. They’re also conducting intelligence work to infiltrate the gangs.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority — which has a five-tonne store of severed rhino horns in Harare — estimates the country now has 400 critically endangered black and 300 less threatened white rhinos.

“At peak, we had close to 3,000 rhinos — that was in the early ’80s,” said national rhino coordinator Geoffreys Matipano who estimates the horns can fetch up to 20,000 dollars per kilogramme (2.2 pounds).

“If you compare it with the past few years, we have managed to contain rhino poaching in the country.”

The painless de-horning is seen as a deterrent but is short-term, expensive, time-consuming and risky with the notoriously unpredictable animals having to be supported with oxygen and sprayed with cooling water.

The trade is so lucrative that poachers will kill a rhino for two inches of horn, which grows back like a fingernail.

“De-horning is not a stand alone strategy. It has got to work with other strategies,” said Matipano.

For privately run reserves, the fight to protect Zimbabwe’s wildlife is relentless.

“We’ve got guys out 24/7 and monitoring things all the time,” said Colin Wendham of the Malilangwe reserve near Chiredzi, shortly before a furious rhino mother tried to attack his vehicle.

“It’s the only way that we’re keeping on top of things.”

While saying state parks still face continual declines, Du Toit believes agressive law enforcement alongside good monitoring can win the fight against the poachers.

“We’re dealing with very aggressive criminals,” he said as the team ear-notched a young female.

“These are not just impoverished local people out to just make a little money — these are focused professional criminals.”

Source: SGGP

Hanoi comes alive in autumn

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 4:01 am

Hanoi comes alive in autumn

QĐND – Friday, October 08, 2010, 19:36 (GMT+7)

Hanoi will celebrate its 1,000th anniversary and 56th Liberation Day on October 10, making it an ideal time for tourists to explore the city.

Sai Gon Tourist Company is offering typical tours to favourite destinations in the north including the Hanoi-Autumn season, Ancient citadels of Vietnam, Sa Pa and Ha Long in Autumn.

Annually, the HCM City-based travel agency organises seasonal tours – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter – to tourism sites throughout the northern provinces.

But this year, the Hanoi-Autumn season is seen as the most attractive programme as it coincides with the city’s millennium celebrations.

“We hope tourists will have more chances to witness numerous cultural festivities in Hanoi during autumn. It’s a special time,” said a marketing staff of the company, Hoang Thuy Linh.

“The Hanoi-Autumn programme has hosted around 12,000 tourists since early this year and hundreds of foreigners have flocked to the city this season,” Linh added.

She also said the capital had lured tourists with the season of fruits, com (young sticky rice) flake and cool weather.

The travel agency began preparing the tour last year to meet the increasing demand to visit Hanoi.

The four day and three night tour will depart from HCM City and wind through the Trang An tourism site in Ninh Binh Province, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.

It costs 4.2 million VND (215 USD) per person.

After arriving in the capital, tourists will visit the four historic temples of Bach Ma (White Horse); Linh Lang, or Voi Phuc (Crouching Elephant); Tran Vu and Kim Lien – the homes of the four gods of the former royal capital – before touring part of the Royal Thang Long Citadel and the Temple of Literature.

A pedestrian route from the Quan Chuong Gate and exploring the city’s Old Quarter will close the first tour day.

“Tourists will go shopping at the biggest whole sale market of Dong Xuan in the middle of the Old Quarter, which is a symbol of the ancient capital,” said head of the agency’s Hanoi office Nguyet Nga.

The centre of Hanoi will be the main visit for the tour second day with a visit to sites around Hoan Kiem (Returned Sword) Lake such as Ngoc Son Temple and turtle tower.

“The lake is also the heart of Hanoi and visitors can experience a quiet moment as they walk around the lake and see the trees in the autumn.

The most visited places during the day are buildings dating back to the French colonial times including 1902-built Long Bien Bridge; the Opera House built in 1911 and 1931-constructed Museum of Vietnamese history.

The existence of buildings provides real samples of the capital’s varied history.

Travellers can ask tour guides to take them to the night market, which opens at 7pm and closes at midnight in Hang Ngang and Hang Dao streets, which were the former silk trading centre of ancient town.

The third day will start with a two-hour visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and One Pillar Pagoda before going to Ha Long Bay – the World Natural Heritage Site.

The seasonal programme also includes the vestiges of ancient imperial cities in a trip to the ancient capitals.

According Sai Gon Tourist’s marketing section, Doan Thi Thanh Tra, the tour offers visits to the former capitals of Hue, Hoa Lu in Ninh Binh, Co Loa and the UNESCO recognised Thang Long Royal citadel in Hanoi.

“We have intentionally arranged destinations in a combined tour, to help tourists gain a deeper understanding of Vietnamese history,” Tra explained.

“The destinations are quite well-known to Vietnamese people, but we link a string of citadels that were built from the country’s foundation to the current capital.”

Arriving in Hanoi on the morning flight, tourists will take a visit to Co Loa spiral Citadel, which was built in the third century BC.

From Thang Long Royal Citadel in Hanoi, visitors will return to country’s former capital of Hoa Lu in Ninh Binh Province – 100km south of Hanoi – in 968-1010.

“Hoa Lu was a capital nearly half century before it was moved to Hanoi by King Ly Thai To. The route will provide a real historical story of the former capital at Hoa Lu and Hanoi today,” Tra explained.

The former imperial capital of Hue will be the last place visited on the fourth day.

A night cruise on the Huong River with folk music will help people relax prior to their departure for peaceful mind for HCM City.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

30 burnt alive in India bus accident

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

BANGALORE, India, May 30, 2010 (AFP) – At least 30 people, including 10 children, were burnt alive on Sunday when a bus bound for the southern Indian city of Bangalore ploughed into a roadblock and caught fire, police said.

The state-owned vehicle veered off a small bridge after colliding with the roadblock in the dark and fell into a ditch, local superintendent of police Labhu Ram told AFP from the accident site by phone.

“The bus caught fire when the diesel tank exploded on impact,” he said.

The bus had 64 passengers on board and was on its way from Surpur in southern Karnataka state to the IT hub of Bangalore, 600 kilometres (400 miles) away.

At least three surviving passengers were in a serious condition.

State transport minister R. Ashok, who visited the accident site, told reporters that preliminary reports suggested the driver was at fault.

“Negligent driving is suspected to have caused the accident as the bus was speeding and hit a road barrier on the bridge and skidded into the ditch,” Ashok said.

Police had registered a case against the driver, who survived the accident, Ram added.

India has the highest annual road death toll in the world, bigger than the more populous China, according to the World Health Organization, with accidents caused by speeding, bad roads, overcrowding and poor vehicle maintenance.

Police figures show that nationwide more than 110,000 people die annually on the roads.

Source: SGGP

Puppeteers keep tradition alive in Hanoi

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2010 at 3:24 am

Puppeteers keep tradition alive in Hanoi

QĐND – Monday, April 26, 2010, 21:19 (GMT+7)

Park Chung-bae and his Ko-rean friends say that they’ll always remember the puppet shows they witnessed by farmer artists and elderly artisans in Dao Thuc village, in Hanoi’s Dong Anh district.

“We were very surprised to see that local farmer artists could preserve a quintessential art that has been handed down from their ancestors for 350 years,” Park said, adding that audiences could see the beauty of the puppets playing in the rural landscapes, such as in Dao Thuc.

Park told the English-language daily Vietnam News that he liked the narrator, Teu, the most, and that it was the most important character and the soul of the water puppets.

“Teu plays a role comparable to an emcee, with a Vietnamese twist. He is entrusted with the task of opening the festival, introducing the programme and reviewing current village events.

“His frequent appearances enable him to serve as an intermediary, creating sympathy between the audience and the puppets,” Park said.

All of the different items, such as Phung Hung Fights a Tiger, A Buffalo Hides in a Pipe, The Dragon Dance and Thach Sanh Kills the Python, are very interesting too, said Park.

“It is very enjoyable and relaxing,” he said, adding that he was amazed to see puppeteers cut off the head of a tiger and carry it on their shoulders when combining their skills with each other.

Park’s remarks were echoed by many other foreigners in the audience, Nguyen The Nghi, head of the troupe’s marketing unit, said.

Nghi said that his troupe planned to restore 22 old items for the guests, but due to financial shortages, the troupe often played only 17 of them. But they were still very interesting, he noted.

About five years ago, the Ford Foundation and the Swiss Fund supported Dao Thuc puppeteers to help restore their old plays and build a water stage in the village’s pond, said Nghi.

“We’ve been invited to perform both inside and outside of the country, such as in Japan, China and the Netherlands . We also always win big prizes at local and national puppetry contests,” he said.

Dinh Huu Tu, 50, an artisan with a passion for performance since he was a child, said that he doesn’t tire of training young artists in the village.

“Since the troupe’s fame has been expanded far and wide, our farmer artists and villagers’ living standards have improved, because after working in the field they can perform puppet shows for local and foreign guests,” Tu said.

The troupe still boasts several elderly puppet artisans, including Dinh Nhu Sinh, 67; Dinh Huu Nghiem, 74; and Nguyen Van Bon, 75.

“Foreign guests are particularly interested in the way the stories are told through the skilled performances,” said Tu.

The troupe has 35 members and is divided into two teams. The youngest member is 12 years old.

In the past, females were kept out of the art, but now artisans have changed their minds and will train anyone, male or female, if they have a passion for the art, said Tu.

Moreover, coming to Dao Thuc, guests also have a chance to visit the village’s ancient Thanh Phuc Temple and Communal House, and a 300-year-old structure where four generations lived under the same roof. They can also see a workshop producing beautiful puppets for both performance and sale, as souvenirs for guests to bring home.

The guests will also be invited to enjoy very delicious glutinous rice planted in the fields by the villagers, Tu said.

The Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has chosen Dao Thuc Village to host a national puppetry festival to be held in October to celebrate the capital’s 1,000-year anniversary, said Nghi.

An official from the department also said, “We chose Dao Thuc because it is a rural area that knows how to preserve and develop the very special traditions of puppetry.”

All 15 puppet troupes across the nation will join in the festival. “It will be a good opportunity for puppeteers and artisans to exchange experiences and learn from each other,” Nghi said.

He said that his Dao Thuc puppet troupe and 14 others have been proposed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to UNESCO for recognition of their water puppetry as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The troupe hails from Dao Thuc Village, Thuy Lam Commune in Dong Anh district, more than 30km from the centre of Hanoi.

The villagers believe that their ancestor, Dao Dang Khiem, brought the art form to them around 350 years ago when he returned home after working as a high-ranking mandarin during King Le Y Tong’s reign (1735-40).

Khiem, also known as Nguyen Dang Vinh, was born to a strictly Confucian family and showed artistic promise from an early age.

He was trained to become a virtuous man before being appointed to work at the Le court.

When the Le dynasty began to go into decline, Khiem returned to his homeland and helped the villagers to end their dependence on rice farming and supplement their income by growing cotton, raising silkworms and making textiles.

Once living standards began to improve, Khiem helped set up four major guilds: teachers, martial artists, rice-mill makers and puppeteers, to help develop the village’s cultural life.

When he died, the local villagers turned his death anniversary into a village festival, which is held every year on the 24th day of the second lunar month to commemorate his services.

Thus, his legacy lives on, although the puppeteers comprise the only one of his guilds that has survived until the present day.

“We perform every day from 2.00 to 3.30pm for guests from as far away as Italy, France, Germany , the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea. These guests are brought to the village by roughly 300 travel agencies and companies in the north,” said Nghi.

For further information, please visit

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Scholar helps keep ancient script alive

In Social life on March 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Scholar helps keep ancient script alive

QĐND – Sunday, February 28, 2010, 20:56 (GMT+7)

Thirteen-year-old Duc Doan from Son Dong Village in Hoai Duc District on the outskirts of Ha Noi happily goes to school every Sunday morning. He’s not catching up on any of his usual school subjects, but joining other children in the village at the commune’s primary school to learn chu Nho (Han Chinese script).

Very few Vietnamese know how to read or write in Nho script, which was the official written language in Viet Nam until French domination in the 19th century. Nho literally means script of Confucian scholars, and was borrowed from the Chinese. More difficult to learn than the modern romanised Vietnamese, the use of Nho died out in Viet Nam a long time ago, and now remains largely the pursuit of the most studious of scholars.

That is until school guard Nghiem Quoc Dat decided to open his own Nho script classes five years ago, to teach the script and Confucianism to children in his family clan. His initial aim was to help the future generations preserve the family’s traditional fondness of learning.

“My family had long been known for having many Confucian scholars,” says Dat. “This village also had many laureates during feudal times when centuries-old examination systems were used to recruit talented people to become mandarins.”

Dat says he was sad to see fewer and fewer people in his village being able to read or write in the ancient script nor understand the philosophy of Confucius, which dominated society during the older days.

The nation’s ancient scripts still play an important role in Son Dong Village where many people make a livelihood from the traditional handicraft of making hoanh phi cau doi (horizontal lacquered banners and parallel sentences written in Han characters). The parallel sentences can often be seen in traditional houses in Viet Nam.

“In one day, a craftsman may have to deal with thousands of Han characters,” says Dat. “I felt ashamed to think that in the future, my village’s people will have to go and ask for parallel sentences from other regions instead of being able to write them themselves.

“I want to pass on my knowledge to our children so that they can maintain the family’s business and preserve the old scripts and the traditional cultural values.”

But it’s not only nostalgia for bygone days that motivated Dat, a poor school guard, in his late 60s, to become a ‘voluntary’ teacher while he and his family were still struggling to make ends meet.

“This isn’t only about learning an ancient language,” he says.

Dat says that 60 per cent of the Vietnamese spoken language is made up of Han-Vietnamese (Vietnamese words derived from Chinese), so learning the Han scripts also helps people to more thoroughly understand Vietnamese.

Dat’s goodwill and strong determination helped him overcome all the difficulties.


Dat says that when he first establised the class, his family didn’t even have a proper house to live in.

Dat was living temporarily in his family clan’s house of worship, and turned the modest building into a classroom. He collected old scrap paper for students to write on and used part of his allowance, which was only VND120,000 per month (about US$7), to buy ink and brushes for his students.

Dat named his class Sao Khue (Khue Star), the symbol of literature, intelligence and knowledge in Vietnamese culture.

Another huge challenge for Dat was his total lack of any teaching experience. Undaunted, he carefully prepared his lessons, finding that the old way of teaching used by scholars in the past was no longer suitable for the children “of the internet age”.

He made his lessons interesting and relaxed. He included many poems, puzzles and stories which made it easier for the students to remember and understand complicated Han characters and all their meanings.

His simple but methodical and engaging way of teaching resulted in the children becoming absorbed in learning the old scripts, often said to be difficult to understand, even for adults.

Dat’s students all keep in mind his slogan “Hoc, hoi, hieu, hanh” (learning, questioning, understanding and practising) which encourages them to study carefully and thoroughly.

When another old scholar in the village was invited by Dat to mark the students’ final tests, he was very surprised that the children could write such beautiful calligraphy. Dat was happy to admit that some of his young students even wrote more beautifully than him.

Students at the Sao Khue class haven’t confined their studies to learning how to write elegantly in an ancient script. They are also learning how to differentiate between right and wrong, based on the moral philosophy of Confucian ethics.

The lessons can either be as simple as showing students the value of being respectful and grateful to their parents and grandparents and patriotic to the motherland, or more complicated, such as examining more academic ideas like the concept of ying and yang.

“Many people nowadays tend to think of Confucianism as something strange and difficult to understand,” says Dat.

“But I want to show that it’s not out-of-date. It’s still relevant to our modern way of life in many ways.”

Starting out with a small group of children, the class has now expanded to include all types of students, including older villagers, university students, veteran soldiers and monks.

“My youngest student is eight while the oldest is 80,” says Dat.

Some of the students have proved a great source of motivation for Dat to keep the classes going.

Nguyen Kim Tien, a disabled war veteran from Thanh Xuan District in Ha Noi, travelled as far as 20km on a tricycle just to attend the classes regurlarly. After completing the course, Tien continues to visit Dat, often bringing some of his own calligraphy as a present.

The principal of the primary school where Dat is working also became one of his students. She then generously offered him a room in the school to teach his class.

Some of Dat’s students enjoy his lessons so much that they attend the course over and over again. Among them is Nguyen Duc Cuong, a 22-year-old painter who has lost the use of his right hand. Cuong has studied with Dat for three years and is now extremely proficient in Han scripts and can write beautifully with his left hand.

Cuong has stayed on with Dat to help him teach other students, as he says he finds the work both joyful and meaningful.

“The lessons have really changed me,” he says.

Cuong says he had to drop out of school when he was very young. For a long time he found himself isolated from the outside world due to his physical handicap.

“Now my life is more meaningful,” he says happily.

“I’m more open-minded and an no longer easily angered by other people like I used to be. I have more friends and feel confident enough to face all the challenges in life.”

That’s exactly what Dat was aiming for.

“One tree doesn’t make a forest,” he says. “But I believe I am planting the seeds of a fruitful crop for the future.”

Source: VietNamNet/VNS


Source: QDND

Van Gaal’s delight as Bayern keep dream alive

In Vietnam Sports on November 27, 2009 at 2:23 am

MUNICH, Nov 26, 2009 (AFP) – Under-fire Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal admitted he was a relieved man after the German giants kept their Champions League dream alive with a crucial 1-0 win over Maccabi Haifa.

Croatia striker Ivica Olic’s second-half strike breathed life into Bayern’s fading dream of reaching the knock-out phase alive at Munich’s Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.

Bayern Munich’s defender Daniel van Buyten (L) vies for the ball with Maccabi Haifa’s striker Vladimer Dvalishvili in Munich on November 25, 2009. AFP PHOTO

After group leaders Bordeaux enjoyed a 2-0 win over Juventus, Bayern are now just one point behind the Italians in Group A and must win their final game at Turin’s Stadio Olimpico on December 8 if they are to progress.

Having drawn their last three league games, this victory was badly needed by van Gaal, who has been told he must win his four remaining Bundesliga games before Christmas to be sure of keeping his job.

“Of course, we are all very relieved to get the win,” said van Gaal.

“The team played well and we are pleased to have got our destiny back into our own hands.”

Van Gaal suspended Bayern’s want-away striker Luca Toni on the eve of the game after the World Cup winner told the Italian media the pair’s relationship has completely broken down.

Bayern later fined Toni 25,000 euros (38,000 US dollars) for his comments, but goalscorer Olic insisted the squad are behind their coach.

“We are 100 percent behind the coach, everything he does is good and I hope we win everything up until the winter break,” said the Croatia star, who was making only his second appearance after injury.

“I think it was very important that we won and put this dark period behind us.

“I had a bad injury and it was a long break and it was pleasing to get the winning goal.

“I owe a lot to (Munich’s team doctor) Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt. The coach wanted to take me off at the half-time break, but I said I felt good and I told him I wanted to score a goal.”

Glum-faced Toni spent the game in the stands next to French midfielder Franck Ribery while Bayern’s fellow walking-wounded Arjen Robben and Miroslav Klose looked on.

But with Germany’s rising stars Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez causing the Israeli team constant problems, in the end Bayern’s superior fitness made the difference.

Bayern took the lead in the 62nd minute when captain Mark van Bommel found Gomez in the penalty area and he fired his shot to the left of Haifa goalkeeper Nir Davidovitch.

The Israel national goalkeeper made the save, but the rebound fell into the path of Olic, who slotted home to keep the dream alive.

“We are of course very pleased to be back in business and everything is back in our own hands,” said 20-year-old Mueller.

“We needed a lot of passion and fire, it was noticeable that everyone is concentrating hard.”

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share