Wedding bells will soon be ringing for the parents of Olympique Lyonnais defender Eric Abidal after he scored in his side's 3-2 French League Cup defeat against LOSC Lille Métropole last week. The 25-year-old had made his parents promise to finally tie the knot as soon as he opened his account for the French champions. "They have been together for 35 years and promised they would marry once I scored my first professional goal," said Abidal. Abidal's parents may have thought they had struck a magnificent bargain with their son. Since turning professional in 2000, Abidal had failed to find the target in spells with both AS Monaco FC and Lille, and his parents were possibly banking on the defender ending his career without a goal. However, in the end, Abidal has triumphed, and even after his team had lost a game during which he also picked up a minor injury, his first thoughts were of his mum and dad. "Now it's time for them to officialise their marriage," he said. "I'm sure my father will now get started with the papers."
Mystical pick-me-up for Depor
While Abidal's parents are seeking a blessing for their marriage, Japanese supporters of RC Deportivo La Coruña have been seeking divine intervention for their idols in the UEFA Champions League. Members of the Japoruña fan club recently visited a Shinto temple in Japan where they created a lucky charm which they hope will get results rolling once again. The hand-crafted wooden charm has the words 'pray' 'for' and 'win' inscribed in black ink and, according to Japoruña's Spanish contact Eduardo Pérez, the artifact must be present in the stadium at all times for its powers to take effect. Strangely, it is not the first time that Deportivo have sought a mystical helping hand. Ahead of last season's Champions League quarter-final against AC Milan, state television ran an advert depicting a mysterious hand stirring a blazing 'Queimada' - a pagan potion, widely believed to ward off evil spirits - on behalf of the club. The game ended in a 4-0 Depor victory to overturn a 4-1 first-leg deficit and see the Spanish team through to the semi-finals.
Finally, a couple of entirely unrelated stories. In Moldova, a second division game between AC Roso Floreni and AC Politechnica Chisinau was interrupted when Roso's president drove his jeep on to the field and began to chase the referee. Having watched referee Vitalie Onica give Politechnica a penalty which they converted to take a 2-1 lead after 15 minutes, Mihai Macovei saw red, started up his motor and began a high speed pursuit of the officials which has, unsurprisingly, earned him a ban until the end of the season. "It was a miracle that nobody died," said Politechnica coach Ion Caras. Meanwhile in Norway, Rosenborg BK players may be inclined to undress carefully after matches after the club were told they could not bar female journalists from their dressing room. Male journalists had been in the habit of interviewing players in the dressing room after matches but, for reasons of modesty, female journalists had not been granted access. However, the Norwegian government minister in charge of gender equality was not impressed. "Women and men must have the same working rights," said Kristin Mile. "The practice is illegal unless Rosenborg have a very good reason to keep female journalists out of the changing room." They could probably cite a few....
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