Daily Archives: April 13, 2016

Greek teams avoid Grexit


FIFA representative Costakis Koutsokoumnis announced Tuesday that the Greek Cup competition will resume avoiding the threat of the country’s suspension from European or international competition.

Koutsokoumnis, who is also Cyprus Football Association president, made the announcement after his meeting with Greek Deputy Sports Minister Stavros Kontonis and Greek FA president Giorgos Girtzikis.

“We have reached an agreement, there is a commitment to begin the Greek Cup again,” Koutsokoumnis said.

Kontonis last month cancelled the Greek Cup which had reached the semi-final stage for fear of violence, despite the disagreement of the Greek FA which blamed the government for meddling with their internal affairs.

FIFA and UEFA both warned Kontonis that the country would be suspended from European or international competition if the Greek Cup did not resume.

“The matches may be held outside Athens, perhaps without spectators or perhaps with only school children in the stands. This will be decided upon by Friday between Mr. Kontonis and the FA,” Koutsokoumnis said.

There is also talk that foreign referees may be called in for the two semi-final matches and the final which remain to be played.


Greek-American business guru helps startups back in the homeland


She was still a postgraduate student at MIT studying mechanical engineering when she and a group of fellow students founded one of the first 3D printing companies in the world back in 1994.

Z Corp went on to generate turnover of $30 million before joining the Contex Holding A/S group of companies in 2005. Ever since, Marina Hatsopoulos has acted as an angel investor in several tech firms and sat on the boards of dozens of listed companies and startups.

In the last two years, the Greek-American businesswoman has been traveling between the States and Greece as an adviser of MIT Enterprise Forum Greece, which supports young new entrants in IT and science-related fields.

Why do you invest in startups?
It’s like an addiction. It’s a lot of fun being part of a creative process from the start and seeing a new business take off with a new product that responds to customer demand.

Isn’t it very risky?
Sure, the risk is very high because the majority of startups do not ultimately succeed, but in theory at least, an angel investor has adequate experience to assess the prospects of a startup and consult in the early stages.

Have you lost or won as an angel investor?
No doubt I have come out on top.

What kind of businesses do you choose to invest in?
Tech and engineering equipment firms, which normally develop at a slow and steady pace. I am personally not looking for the exception that will turn into a billion-dollar market – like Facebook – and the simple truth is that most companies will never be that big. Right now, for example, I’m investing in a Zurich-based company, Levitronix, which makes magnetic-driven pumps for semiconductors.

What about in Greece?
I have invested in a great startup in Greece, the Internet platform Codebender. I love those guys.

Would you invest in Greece if it were not for your Greek heritage?
The truth is that I may never have gone to Greece to invest if I were not a Greek. But I have visited startups in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra, and I truly believe that there are some great opportunities in this country.

Do you think other American angel investors could be interested?
There is some initial reservation but I believe that the interest of foreign investors will grow when these companies prove they can make it. I would advise any startup looking for foreign investors to open a company in the US as well.

Does that mean you think all Greek startups should move to America?
No. In my opinion, the creative teams need to stay in the country, where there’s so much untapped potential. Greece could follow the example of Israel, which has made amazing progress in the area of startups by reducing red tape and providing incentives to foreign investors. I think that there are a lot of similarities between the two countries: an independent way of thinking and business mentality.

Doesn’t red tape present a serious obstacle to doing business in Greece?
A lot needs to be done in Greece. First of all you need a strong judicial system that moves fast on patenting. You also need to be able to hire and fire easily, and mainly to protect businessmen from being held personally accountable if the business fails. But I’m not really worried because I believe that the more the startup economy develops, the more powerful businessmen will become, allowing them to bring about the changes that are needed.

What do you look for in a startup before investing?
The team is number one. If the team isn’t good, it will not be able to find solutions and create a good company.

Did you always want to become a businesswoman?
My father was a professor at MIT and founded a huge company, Thermo Electron, with revenues of $4 billion. Growing up, I’d tell him that I would create a company that would buy out his company. That didn’t happen.

Do you think you sold your business prematurely?
Maybe. I already had four children and was very tired. I needed a break. With a startup you think of work 24/7. On the other hand I don’t think that 3D printing technology will really become a part of our homes except as a game for children. Nowadays you can buy almost everything you want at a relatively good price and have it delivered to your home in a few hours. Why would you want to produce it yourself?

Do you believe that women have as good a grasp of technology as men?
I think so, yes, but it will take a bit more time before the situation is balanced between the genders. My daughter’s class at MIT, though, is 50 percent women.

How is your relationship with Greece?
I love it and the older I get, the more I appreciate the spiritual connection I feel exists between the people here.


Families of four MH370 victims sue Malaysia Airlines


The families of four Australian passengers on board the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are suing the company for not doing enough to prevent the flight from mysteriously flying off course and disappearing.

Close friends Robert and Catherine Lawton and Rodney and Mary Burrows were four of 239 people on board the Boeing 777 aircraft which vanished not long after it took off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014.

The two Queensland couples were travelling together and headed for Beijing.

At the time Rodney and Mary Burrows had recently sold their Brisbane home in Middle Park home and were preparing to travel after downsizing.

Mr Burrows was a long-term employee of energy company Energex and had just accepted a redundancy in the past two years before he boarded flight MH370.

Two years later, the families of the Lawtons and Burrows are asking for compensation after “suffering varying degrees of nervous shock and consequential economic loss” as a result of the death of their loved ones.

The families are seeking more than $200,000 in damages in the Federal Court of Australia.

They are also seeking reimbursement of the cost of memorial services and the cost of administering the estates.

The surviving relatives claim the airline “failed to take any or any adequate precautions for the safety of the passengers” and “exposed the passengers to a risk of injury, which could have been avoided by reasonable care”.

Their statement of claim also said the company “failed to prevent the Flight from being operated in a manner that caused it to crash”.

In March the family of another MH370 victim, Paul Weeks, lodged court documents stating their intention to sue the airline over the Perth man’s death.

Victorian Jennifer Chong, 48 also launched legal action in the Victorian Supreme Court over the death of her husband of 23 years, Chong Ling Tan.

Australia and Malaysia are parties to the 1999 Montreal Convention.

Under the convention claimants are limited to 113,000 special drawing rights which is equivalent to about $209,000.

If the court finds the Montreal Convention does not apply, there is no cap on the amount of damages that they claim.

The airline was placed into administration in August last year.

The matter is next listed for directions on August 17.


Βασιλική ανατροπή με χατ τρικ Ρονάλντο, στους «4» και η Σίτι


Ο Κριστιάνο Ρονάλντο οδήγησε μόνος του τη Ρεάλ στην ανατροπή και στην πρόκριση στα ημιτελικά (Φωτογραφία: Reuters )

Μόνος του! Ο Κριστιάνο Ρονάλντο με χατ τρικ οδήγησε την Ρεάλ Μαδρίτης στην ανατροπή του εις βάρος της 2-0 από την Βόλφσμπουργκ και στην πρόκριση στα ημιτελικά του Champions League.

Η Ρεάλ επικράτησε με 3-0 των Γερμανών στη Μαδρίτη και πήρε πανηγυρικά το εισιτήριο για την 4άδα. Εκεί θα βρίσκεται και η Μάντσεστερ Σίτι, η οποία μετά το 2-2 στη Γαλλία, επικράτησε με 1-0 της Παρί Σεν Ζερμέν και την άφησε εκτός ημιτελικών.

Ρεάλ Μαδρίτης – Βόλφσμπουργκ 3-0

Ο βασιλιάς της Μαδρίτης, οδήγησε τη βασίλισσα στους «4» του Champions League. Με χατ-τρικ του σύγχρονου «Θεού» του παγκοσμίου ποδοσφαίρου, τού Κριστιάνο Ρονάλντο, η Ρεάλ νίκησε 3-0 τη Βόλφσμπουργκ, ανέτρεψε το εις βάρος της 2-0 και συνεχίζει την πορεία της στους ημιτελικούς.

Το πολύ σημαντικό προβάδισμα που είχε αποκτήσει η Βόλφσμπουργκ, εξανεμίστηκε πριν καν συμπληρωθεί το πρώτο 20λεπτο και μάλιστα με τρόπο εμφατικό. Μέσα σε 87 δευτερόλεπτα ο Κριστιάνο Ρονάλντο πέτυχε δύο γκολ, στο 15΄ με προβολή από παράλληλη μπαλιά του Καρβαχάλ και στο 17΄ με κεφαλιά από κόρνερ του Κρόος.

Η Ρεάλ είχε φέρει το παιχνίδι στα μέτρα της και μπορούσε να το διαχειριστεί με πολύ μικρότερο άγχος. Στο 66΄ στάθηκε άτυχη καθώς η κεφαλιά του Σέρχιο Ράμος βρήκε το δοκάρι και στη συνέχεια κύλησε πάνω στη γραμμή για να καταλήξει στα χέρια του Μπενάλιο.

Ενδεκα λεπτά αργότερα (77΄) ο Ρονάλντο με απευθείας φάουλ πέρασε τη μπάλα μέσα από το τείχος της Βόλφσμπουργκ και έγραψε το 3-0. Χατ-τρικ για τον Πορτογάλο σούπερ σταρ που έφτασε τα 93 γκολ στο Champions League και 16 φέτος, ένα λιγότερο από το ρεκόρ των περισσότερων σε μια σεζόν που κατέχει ο ίδιος από το 2014.

Διαιτητής: Βικτορ Κασάι (Ουγγαρία)

Κίτρινες: Αρνολντ, Λουϊς Γκουστάβο, Ντάντε, Βιερίνια

ΒΟΛΦΣΜΠΟΥΡΓΚ (Ντίτερ Χέκινγκ): Μπενάλιο, Βιεϊρίνια, Νάλντο, Ντάντε, Ρικάρντο Ροντρίγκεθ, Γκιλαβογκί (80΄ Ντοστ), Λουίς Γκουστάβο, Άρνολντ, Μπρούνο Ενρίκε (73΄ λ.τρ. Καλιγκιούρι), Ντράξλερ (32΄ λ.τρ. Κρούζε), Σούρλε.

ΡΕΑΛ ΜΑΔΡΙΤΗΣ (Ζινεντίν Ζιντάν): Κέιλορ Νάβας, Καρβαχάλ, Πέπε, Σέρχιο Ράμος, Μαρσέλο, Κασεμίρο, Μόντριτς (90+2΄ Βαράν), Κρόος, Μπέιλ, Κριστιάνο Ρονάλντο, Μπενζεμά (84΄ Χεσέ)

Μάντσεστερ Σίτι – Παρί Σεν Ζερμέν 1-0

Για πρώτη φορά στην ιστορία της η Μάντσεστερ Σίτι εξασφάλισε το «εισιτήριο» για τους ημιτελικούς του Champions League. Η ομάδα του Μανουέλ Πελεγκρίνι μετά το 2-2 στο Παρίσι, επικράτησε 1-0 της Παρί Σεν Ζερμέν στην αποψινή ρεβάνς των προημιτελικών στο «Ετιχαντ» και πήρε πανηγυρική πρόκριση για την τετράδα της διοργάνωσης.

Το «χρυσό» γκολ των γηπεδούχων πέτυχε ο Κέβιν ντε Μπράιν στο 76΄ από μπαλιά του Φερνάντο. Νωρίτερα στο πρώτο μέρος οι «πολίτες» έχασαν τη μεγάλη ευκαιρία για να κάνουν πιο απλά τα πράγματα.

Στο 29΄ ο Αγουέρο ανατράπηκε στην περιοχή από τον Τραπ και ο Καρμπάγιο υπέδειξε αμέσως την «ασπρη βούλα». Ο Αργεντινός, όμως, ήταν άστοχος, αλλά ευτυχώς για τον ίδιο και την ομάδα του η φάση αυτή δεν αποδείχθηκε καθοριστική στην εξέλιξη της αναμέτρησης.

Διαιτητής: Κάρλος Βελάσκο Καρμπάγιο

Κίτρινες: Φερναντίνιο – Τραπ, Παστόρε, Φαν ντερ Βιλ

ΜΑΝΤΣΕΣΤΕΡ ΣΙΤΙ (Μανουέλ Πελεγκρίνι): Χαρτ, Σανιά, Οταμέντι, Μανγκαλά, Κλισί, Φερναντίνιο, Φερνάντο, Χεσούς Νάβας (87΄ Ντελφ), Ντε Μπράιν (84΄ Γιάγια Τουρέ), Σίλβα, Αγουέρο (90΄+3 Ιεανάτσο).

ΠΑΡΙ ΣΕΝ ΖΕΡΜΕΝ (Λοράν Μπλαν): Τραπ, Φαν ντερ Βιλ, Οριέ (61΄ Παστόρε), Τιάγκο Σίλβα, Μάξγουελ, Μαρκίνιος, Ραμπιό, Τιάγκο Μότα (44΄ Λούκας Μόουρα), Ντι Μαρία, Ιμπραΐμοβιτς, Καβάνι

Συνοπτικά το πρόγραμμα και τα αποτελέσματα στις πρώτες αναμετρήσεις για τους προημιτελικούς του Champions League, με ώρα έναρξης στις 21:45:

Μάντσεστερ Σίτι (Αγγλία)-Παρί Σεν Ζερμέν (Γαλλία) 1-0  (2-2)
Ρεάλ Μαδρίτης (Ισπανία)-Βόλφσμπουργκ (Γερμανία) 3-0 (0-2)

Μπενφίκα (Πορτογαλία)-Μπάγερν Μονάχου (Γερμανία) (0-1)
Ατλέτικο Μαδρίτης (Ισπανία)-Μπαρτσελόνα (Ισπανία) (1-2)


Champion’s League:Ronaldo hat-trick inspires Madrid to comeback win


Real Madrid 3-0 Wolfsburg (agg: 3-2)
Cristiano Ronaldo wiped out the first-leg deficit with two goals in the space of 86 seconds before sealing it with a late free-kick.

Cristiano Ronaldo was at his destructive best as a sensational hat-trick left Wolfsburg’s dreams in tatters.

Real Madrid needed a minor miracle to reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the sixth season running, and Ronaldo was just the man to perform it. The 31-year-old wiped out the deficit with two goals inside 90 seconds early on, and then sealed victory with a free-kick that found a gap in a poorly formed wall and, from there, the back of the net.

Zinédine Zidane said on the eve of the game that his side “weren’t going to win it inside ten or 15 minutes”, but it did not take them much longer to at least cancel out their first-leg arrears. Sergio Ramos had already looped a header onto the bar when Dani Carvajal got into space down the right and his deflected cross was swept in by Ronaldo.

It was a big blow to Wolfsburg but nothing to compare with the one that followed less than 90 seconds later as Ronaldo rose and glanced in Toni Kroos’s corner. Madrid, playing with an urgency conspicuous by its absence six days ago, were suddenly level on aggregate.

It got worse before it got better for Wolfsburg as Julian Draxler limped off, yet there were signs of promise before the break and Bruno Henrique could easily have grabbed a killer away goal. Teed up with only Keylor Navas to beat, the Brazilian fatefully took a touch rather than going for goal, allowing Marcelo and Ramos to get bodies in the way.

The Madrid onslaught continued after the interval and Ramos thought he had scored midway through the second period with a header from a set piece that hit the upright and rolled to Diego Benaglio. Extra time loomed until Ronaldo sent in a free-kick that slipped through the wall and just beyond Benaglio. Like so often in this competition, it was just his night.

Key player: Cristiano Ronaldo
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. The competition’s record scorer is ever the man for a big occasion. He did it against Schalke last season and his impressive record against German sides was prolonged tonight. He twice popped up in the right place at the right time to even things up and then buried the free-kick that won it. The Portuguese is just one off his competition record of 17 in a campaign and still has at least two more games to break it.

Zidane learning on the job
Still wet behind the ears in managerial terms, Zidane is showing signs that as each game passes he is improving his understanding of the job. After admitting he did not get things quite right in the first leg he changed tactics and made an alteration in personnel as Carvajal replaced Danilo at right-back. It paid immediate dividends as the Spaniard gobbled up the turf before firing in the cross that led to Ronaldo’s opener.

Boisterous Bernabéu
Ever since their 2-0 defeat in Germany, Madrid fans had set the agenda for a famous European ‘remontada’ (fightback). From hours out they lined the streets around the ground and unfurled just before kick-off a huge banner recalling their 1985 UEFA Cup semi-final comeback against Inter Milan. The noise went up several decibels with Ronaldo’s goals in the first half and the metaphorical roof was completely blown off as he capped a stunning comeback on 77 minutes.


Champion’s League:De Bruyne takes Man City through 1-0 at Paris’ expense


Manchester City 1-0 Paris (agg: 3-2)
Kevin De Bruyne’s fine 76th-minute shot took City into the semi-finals for the first time despite Sergio Agüero missing a first-half penalty.

Manchester City are into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time after Kevin De Bruyne’s fine curving shot ended the challenge of Paris in the last eight for the fourth year running.

City started as if keen to build on the away-goals edge given them by last week’s 2-2 draw in Paris, pressing back their visitors. Paris, however, held their nerve and from their first attack Edinson Cavani nearly got onto Ángel Di María’s through ball. Zlatan Ibrahimović then tested Joe Hart with a 30-metre free-kick, the City goalkeeper tipping over at full stretch.

On the half-hour, though, City passed up a golden opportunity to take a firm grip on the tie after Sergio Agüero was felled by Kevin Trapp. The Argentinian picked himself up to take the kick himself – only to put it a metre wide of the left-hand post.

With Paris struggling to muster much by way of attacking threat, City almost capitalised on some casual defending before the interval, Jesús Navas seizing on Serge Aurier’s loose pass but curling narrowly wide from the edge of the area.

The second half began in similar vein to the first, Hart diving to his right to keep out another stinging Ibrahimović free-kick before the goalkeeper clawed out Thiago Silva’s downward header from a corner.

Paris were largely struggling to create clear chances, however, and paid the price with 14 minutes remaining. City worked the ball from left to right and back again, and Fernando’s square pass gave De Bruyne the opportunity to sidestep into space and arc a perfect shot beyond Trapp from the edge of the box.

The visitors might have responded immediately as Cavani raced clear but Hart spread himself well and blocked the strike. And with that, Paris’s last hope had gone – and the City celebrations could start in earnest.

Analysis from Paul Saffer at the City of Manchester Stadium

City spirit trumps Paris tactics
Laurent Blanc deployed an ambitious 3-4-3 with goals a necessity, yet an attack usually so prolific found itself thwarted not so much by top-class defending as by a determination on City’s part not to allow their away-goals advantage to slip. As last week, Paris had the better of things in midfield despite Blaise Matuidi’s suspension and then Thiago Motta’s first-half injury, but as they say in England, every City player ‘put in a shift’ and it was perhaps after their most difficult spell that De Bruyne struck.

Can you play each other every week?
Though it might not have been the prettiest football, or the most accomplished, these clubs served up two thrilling ties, mistakes and all. With key defenders missing on both sides, the emphasis was on attack – and the accompanying high tempo was what forced the errors. Perhaps the extra pressure of the teams both wanting to prove their place among the European elite told, but that is not to say there were not cool heads like De Bruyne and Thiago Silva.

Key player: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
His recent injury lay-off may have cost City a run at the Premier League title; his return has helped take them into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Few attacks did not go through the Belgium playmaker and just like last week his magnificent finish broke the deadlock. This time, though, there was no time for Paris to recover.