Lifeline for Sacchi

European football
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Despite Italy's dismal showing at both Euro 96 and the Olympic Games in Atlanta, the national team's embattled coach, Arrigo Sacchi, will keep his job for at least the next two World Cup qualifying matches.

Sacchi received the assurances from the temporary head of the Italian football federation, Raffaele Pagnozzi, during a closed-door meeting in Rome on Friday. He will lead Italy for the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova on 5 October and Georgia on 9 October, but whether he will be there for the qualifying game against England at Wembley on 12 February next year remains to be seen.

Sacchi, who has led the national squad since 1991, has a lucrative contract that runs until December 1998. The former Milan coach has been under attack since Italy were eliminated in the group matches of Euro 96 in June. The poor showing led to the resignation of Antonio Matarrese as football federation president.

In France on Friday night, Patrick Mboma, of Cameroon, and Patrice Loko scored in the dying minutes to give Paris St Germain a 2-0 home win over Caen to put them level with maximum points on top of the First Division. The European Cup Winners' Cup holders PSG, determined to win the league title they let slip from their grasp last season, dominated Caen, who were promoted last term, at Parc des Princes with their Brazilian playmaker Leonardo in superb form. But the Parisians looked like they would get no more than a point for their efforts until their pressure finally told with Mboma's goal in the 88th minute. Loko secured the points when he scored in injury time.

Lens came from behind to beat promoted Nancy 3-1 to lead the division on goal difference, while the champions, Auxerre, 2-0 winners at home against Lille, PSG and Bastia also have six points and exactly the same goals records after two games of the new championship. The Scottish forward Alan Johnston, formerly of Hearts, scored the crucial second for Rennes in their 3-1 home win over Nice.

In Germany, Bayern Munich were given a tough battle in their season-opening First Division match on Friday night as they had to come from a goal down before beating St Pauli 2-1. Martin Driller surprised Bayern with a 19th- minute goal before new signings Ruggiero Rizzitelli and Mario Basler scored within the space of three minutes for the visitors shortly before the interval.

Newly promoted Arminia Bielefed sprang a surprise when they managed a goalless away draw at Borussia Monchengladbach, who ended last season in fourth place.