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Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2005

Verdy holds off Fiorentina in preseason friendly

J. League struggler Tokyo Verdy edged Fiorentina 2-1 in the Italian Serie A side's final match of their preseason tour in Japan on Monday.

News photo
Fiorentina midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata (center) battles Tokyo Verdy defender Atsushi Yoneyama for the control of the ball during an international exhibition match at Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium on Monday. Verdy won 2-1.

Verdy, which pulled off a stunning 3-0 defeat of Spanish giants Real Madrid a week ago, went ahead in the 20th minute through midfielder Kentaro Hayashi and striker Tadamichi Machida added a superb second midway through the second half.

Fiorentina pulled one back but Verdy held on for the victory.

Fiorentina's Japan international midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata started but was substituted 12 minutes after the interval.

It was the first loss for Fiorentina on its Japan tour. It beat Cerezo Osaka 3-0 and edged Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 in its second game on Saturday.

Inter to sign Samuel

MILAN, Italy (AP) Walter Samuel was undergoing medical tests with Inter Milan on Monday as the Italian club prepared to sign the Real Madrid defender.

Inter paid Madrid a 16 million euro ($19.35 million) transfer fee for Samuel and is expected to sign him to a four-year contract worth 4.3 million euro ($5.2 million) per season, news reports said.

"I can't wait to join my new teammates. I feel a bit at home here since Inter has so many Argentines," Samuel told reporters upon arrival in Milan. Samuel will become the eighth Argentine on Inter's roster.

"Inter has all it needs to win. Milan and Juve don't make us afraid."

Samuel earned the nickname "The Wall" when he won Serie A with AS Roma in 2001. He joined Madrid a year ago from Roma for a reported fee of 22 million euro ($26.6 million), but his erratic form earned him criticism.

Inter is still attempting to sign Luis Figo from Madrid. Coach Roberto Mancini would like to complete the deal before Thursday's deadline for submitting rosters for Champions League qualifying.

In other moves, defender Francesco Coco appears headed for Ajax, which may also sign back Andy Van der Meyde.

Inter is feeling confident after going 4-0 last week in its England tour, which it nearly canceled over security worries.

Inter defeated Leicester 2-1 in its opening friendly, then beat Crystal Palace, Norwich and Portsmouth, each by 2-0.

Inter also beat Bordeaux 2-0 in its only other friendly so far this summer.

"The outcome of this tour was certainly positive," Mancini said after the win over Portsmouth on Sunday. "We had seven days with four games. Now we'll continue our preparation with Shakhtar in mind."

Japan women fall

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Ri Un Suk of North Korea on Monday shot a goal 38 minutes into the first half of the East Asian Football Federation Women's Cup match, to which her team held on to clinch a 1-0 victory over Japanese women's soccer team.

Kozue Ando and Hiromi Isozaki of Japan each unsuccessfully attempted to score at the match held at Jeonju World Cup Stadium.

The North Korean women's team was matched by their South Korean counterparts, who beat China by 2-0, in an earlier match played at the same stadium.

Han Jin Sook of South Korea Monday scored off a penalty kick 42 minutes into first half, to give her team a lead over the Chinese women's team. Park Eun Sun solidified that into a win, scoring a goal 19 minutes into the second half, to lead her team to a victory over China.

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