AUSTRALIA SCORED one of the biggest victories in international football history when they thrashed the Cook Islands 16-0 in Brisbane yesterday in the second round of the Oceania Nations' Cup.
The Socceroos, despite missing their Europe-based players such as Harry Kewell of Leeds United and Mark Bosnich of Aston Villa, hopelessly outclassed the part-timers from the Cook Islands with eight goals in each half. Damian Mori and Robert Trajovski scored four each while Paul Trimboli hit a hat- trick.
's total was just one less than the world record 17-0 victory Iran recorded over the Maldive Islands in a qualifying match for this year's World Cup. Denmark also once recorded 17 in a match, defeating France 17-1 in the semi-finals of the 1908 Olympic Games in London.
HILLSBOROUGH WAS not the only football ground in Europe to witness scenes of shame this weekend. In Bulgaria, CSKA Sofia and Levski Kyustendil players came to blow and mounted police had to step in to restore order in a local derby, which ended in a 3-2 victory for CSKA.
The trouble flared in the 67th minute with the game level at 2-2. CSKA's former Ipswich and Luton midfielder Boncho Genchev shoved the visiting defender Georgi Petrov, and then Genchev was knocked to the ground by the Kyustendil goalkeeper, Michail Rolev. The CSKA striker Valentin Stanchev attacked Rolev and then players from both sides became involved as the fighting spread. Mounted police stormed the pitch to break up the battle.
CSKA's Genchev and Stanchev were shown the red card and Kyustendil's Petrov was also dismissed. Despite being down to nine men, CSKA took the points when Rumen Khristov grabbed a late winner.
THERE WERE similar scenes of violence in Romania, where the league leaders, Dynamo Bucharest, blasted eight goals without reply past Universitatea Cluj in a game marred by a mass brawl.
Trouble began when Ion Vladoiu of Dynamo - a striker who was sent off within minutes of coming on as a substitute in the 1994 World Cup - and the Universitatea defender Dragos Stroewere were dismissed after they exchanged blows.
The red cards did nothing to cool tempers, and players from both sides fought before security officials restored order. The referee took no further names after the incident, and Dynamo went on to win 8-0.
Meanwhile, the coach of another Romanian First Division side, Universitatea Craiova, who is banned for a year for attacking a referee, punched and kicked journalists filming his daughter's wedding last Thursday.
Ilie Balaci had barred reporters trying to make their way into Craiova town hall to cover the wedding of his daughter Lorena to a Universitatea player, Eugen Trica.
Balaci reportedly shouted abuse at one cameraman and kicked another in the back. Balaci apparently screamed at journalists that no one without an invitation would be admitted to what was a private event.
Earlier this month the Romanian League banned Balaci for a year and fined him for striking a referee in the face with a boot stud.
REAL MADRID are taking no chances with the weather or the food during their trip to Russia to face Spartak Moscow in the Champions' League tomorrow.
The European Cup holders are bringing more than a ton of food and a wardrobe full of winter sportswear for their trip. To combat the expected zero- degree temperature, Real have packed 20 pairs of gloves, 25 hats and 25 fleece jackets - as well as 25 sleeping bags in case the hotel central heating is not working.
To ensure the team does not go hungry, the club have asked a Madrid restaurant to prepare a huge hamper of food and drink. Included in the haul are 140kg of meat, 120kg of fresh fruit and vegetables, 70kg of fish and 180eggs. To help that go down, 250 bottles of Spanish wine have been packed - to be consumed after the match, presumably.
MUSTAFA DOGAN, a Turkish native with German citizenship, was named yesterday in a 26-man squad for Germany's upcoming Euro 2000 qualifiers against Turkey and Moldova. The 22-year-old Fenerbahce defender was called up by the former coach, Berti Vogts, for this month's friendlies against Malta and Romania, but did not play. He has been retained by the new coach, Erich Ribbeck.
Squad, Digest, page 26