EUROPE: Rangers missing Maurice Edu
Still nothing official from Rangers FC on midfielder Maurice Edu, who went down with a knee injury Nov. 10 and hasn't been seen since.
Initial word was the knock was “minor,” but he's undergone two scans and missed three games -- including this week's UEFA Champions League loss to Manchester United -- and it's uncertain when he'll be back.
Don't expect him for Sunday's Scottish Premier League clash at Dundee United, and we'll see about next week's game against Hearts.
“Sucks being injured,” Edu tweeted earlier this week.
Edu (Fontana/Etiwanda HS) missed last weekend's 3-2 win over Kilmarnock -- Kenny Miller scored a hat trick, giving him 18 goals this season -- as Rangers (12-1-1) maintained a three-point lead on Celtic atop the SPL standings, and he was merely a spectator as Wayne Rooney's late penalty kick lifted Man United to a 1-0 triumph Wednesday.
That defeat eliminated Rangers from the Champions League, although they'll join the UEFA Europa League -- Europe's No. 2 club competition -- in the round of 32 after wrapping up CL Group C play Dec. 7 at Turkey's Busaspor.
The Scottish League is in disarray after referees went on strike this week to protest sharp criticism of their abilities, and league and Scottish Football Association officials called in referees from around Europe. Poland's and Portugal's withdrew after initially agreeing to work matches.
Rangers' game will be officiated by Luxembourgian referee Alain Hamer, who will be in the middle for Saturday's Celtic-Inverness match.
HEROES AND GOATS: Irvine's Matt Taylor will not be stopped. He scored again -- his seventh goal in 10 league games and his fifth in the past four games -- as third-tier German side Rot Weiss Ahlen rallied from a two-goal first-half advantage to beat VfR Aalen, 4-2. Taylor's strike, in the 77th minute, was the finale.
Irvine's Benny Feilhaber should have had his eighth goal of the campaign for Danish second-division leader AGF Aarhus after he was tripped in Bronshoj's box by Peter Orbaek Larsen in the 83rd minute last weekend. Feilhaber, who has converted three penalties this season, missed this time -- Bronshoj goalkeeper Kim Drejs guessed the right way -- and the resulting 1-0 defeat was AGF's first league loss of the campaign.
The Dettvie (12-1-3) took a five-point lead over Velje (10-2-4) into the winter break. The season resumes in March.
ETC.: Hermosa Beach's Michael Bradley's long, diagonal ball was volleyed home by Marco Reus to give Borussia Moenchengladbach a second-half lead over Mainz 05. Sami Allagui's goals in the 76th and 88th minutes carried Mainz to a 3-2 win, dropping Gladbach back into last place, a point behind VfB Stuttgart and FC Cologne. … Pasadena's Yura Movsisyan returned for Denmark's Randers, coming off the bench in a 3-3 draw at Lyngby, after missing three games with a toe injury. Movsisyan could be getting a new teammate soon: American Freddy Adu, the former teen phenom who has been unable to get regular playing time at Benfica, AS Monaco, Belenenses or Aris, is on trial at Randers.
- AREA PLAYERS IN EUROPE
D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club: Saint-Etienne (France, Ligue 1)
Last week: 90 minutes at left back in his first league match since suffering a neck injury in mid-October as the 10th-place Les Verts (5-4-4) were held to a 1-1 draw Saturday by visiting Auxerre
Season: 9 games (9 starts) in Ligue 1, 10 games (10 starts) in all competitions
Next: Saturday at 14th-place AS Nancy Lorraine (5-7-2)
Club: Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany, Bundesliga)
Last week: Started, played 88 minutes with an assist on the first of two Marco Reus goals and a first-half yellow card as Die Fohlen (2-7-4) fell back to last place with a 3-2 loss Saturday to visiting Mainz 05
Season: 13 league games (13 starts) with 2 goals; 15 games (15 starts) with 3 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday at first-place Borussia Dortmund (11-1-1)
D JAY DENNY (Santa Monica)
Club: Hednesford Town (England, Southern League Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes for the seventh-place Pitmen (8-6-4) in SLPD losses to Stourbridge (3-2) and Chesham United (2-1) and in a 2-0 Red Insure Cup victory over Banbury United
Season: 18 league games (16 starts), 4 cup games (3 starts) with 1 goal, 22 games (19 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. 11th-place Bashley (5-5-6), Tuesday at Boldmere St. Michaels in a twice-deleayed Birmingham Senior Cup clash
M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club: Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: Did not play because of a knee injury in first-place Gers' 3-2 SPL victory Saturday at Kilmarnock, nor in Wednesday's 1-0 UEFA Champions League Group C loss to visiting Manchester United
Season: 12 league games (10 starts) with 1 goal, 4 UEFA CL games (4 starts) with 1 goal, 17 games (15 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday at sixth-place Dundee United (5-5-4)
M BENNY FEILHABER (Irvine/UCLA)
Club: AGF Aarhus (Denmark, 1.Division)
Last week: 90 minutes, with a yellow card and a missed penalty kick, as the first-place Dettvie (12-1-3) took a 1-0 loss Sunday at Bronshoj
Season: 14 league games (14 starts) with 4 goals, 17 games (16 starts) overall with 7 goals
Next: March 20 vs. 11th-place Hobro (5-7-3)
G BRAD FRIEDEL (Bay Village, Ohio/UCLA)
Club: Aston Villa (England, Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes, making two saves, as the Villans (4-5-5) fell to 13th with a 2-0 loss at Blackburn
Season: 13 league games (13 starts), 20 goals allowed, 49 saves, 4 shutouts; 14 games (14 starts), 21 goals allowed, 55 saves, 4 shutouts in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. third-place Arsenal (8-4-2)
M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club: RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: 25th-minute substitute for injured Lucas Biglia as the second-place Les Mauves et Blancs (10-2-4) kept pace with Racing Genk with a 1-0 victory Saturday at Germinal Beerschot
Season: 8 league games (5 starts) with 2 goals; 14 games (11 starts) with 3 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. last-place Royal Charleroi (1-11-4)
D DALLAS MOORE (Santa Monica)
Club: Halesowen Town FC (England, Southern League Premier Division)
Last week: Idle
Next: Saturday vs. 15th-place Brackley Town (4-7-5)
F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena)
Club: Randers (Denmark, SAS-Ligaen/Superliga)
Last week: 72nd-minute substitute in first appearance since injuring a toe in early November as the ninth-place Horses (3-5-9) rallied for a 3-3 draw Saturday with Lyngby
Season: 15 league games (13 starts) with 5 goals, 23 games (18 starts) with 14 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday at first-place FC Copenhagen (14-3-0)
F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club: Rot Weiss Ahlen (Germany, 3. Bundesliga)
Last week: 90 minutes with a 77th-minute goal as ninth-place Rot Weiss (5-4-7) rallied for a 4-2 victory Saturday over VfR Aalen; started, played 89 minutes in a 1-0 victory Tuesday over Eintracht Trier in a Westphalia Cup round-of-16 match
Season: 10 league games (10 starts) with 7 goals, 1 cup game (1 start), 11 games (11 starts) with 7 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday vs. eighth-place Rot Weiss Erfurt (7-6-4)