From North London to French Riviera Its Henry vs Vieira

PARIS — When they played together for Arsenal, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira knew the importance of getting one over on local rival Tottenham.Scoring in the North London derby helped them become club legends, cementing their place in the hearts of fans. Of Vieira’s 34 goals for Arsenal, none of them felt sweeter than when he scored against Tottenham.Same for Henry, who arguably got the best of his 228 club-record goals for Arsenal against Spurs — picking up the ball 70 metres from goal and carving through the midfield and defence before finishing with a powerful curling shot.Just like they did with France as World Cup and European Championship winners, the two prospered together for Arsenal and hit the ultimate height of an unbeaten season when Arsenal’s “Invincibles” won the league in 2004.On Friday they will be on opposite sides as managerial rivals when Henry’s struggling Monaco takes on Vieira’s consistent Nice.Nice is unbeaten in six games and comfortably poised in seventh place. Monaco is one place above the relegation zone in 17th on goal difference alone.“We’re doing breaststroke,” said Henry, using a swimming metaphor, after Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Amiens. “Sometimes we have our head underwater, other times we lift it up.”Given how Monaco rarely fills its 18,500-capacity stadium, Friday’s match won’t quite match the frenzy and fervour of the North London derbies of old at Highbury and White Hart Lane.But this match nevertheless has a derby feel to it, with the local sides just 20 miles (32 kilometres) apart on the French Riviera.“I know what it’s like, I’ve already played in it,” said Henry, who started his glittering career as a prodigious teen with Monaco in 1994.Henry used to love scoring against Spurs, but his players will have their work cut out doing so against a Nice side which has kept a single-season club record of six straight clean sheets heading into this game.As a strong and fiery midfielder, Vieira offered a protective shield to his defence. Those same combative qualities are now apparent in a Nice side which — although lacking firepower — has the fourth best defensive record in Ligue 1.But Radamel Falcao’s return to form will give Vieira a headache.Falcao scored twice against Amiens to take his tally to seven in 14 league games. Although both were penalties, the Colombia striker’s sharpness and movement were the best they have been in a turbulent spell for Henry’s Monaco.Since taking charge in mid-October, Henry has won only two of 10 games — both against teams hovering around the relegation zone. There have been some awful performances — notably a 4-0 home defeat to Club Brugge in the Champions League — but Henry has also dealt with a huge injury crisis.He has been forced to pick teenagers with no experience while battling for precious points. Paradoxically, this is starting to have a positive effect and a semblance of team spirit — so lacking earlier in the season — is slowly becoming apparent. It also highlights the remarkable strength of Monaco’s notoriously good scouting network, which produced France star Kylian Mbappe.Against Amiens on Tuesday, French football got a glimpse of the immense potential of 17-year-old midfielder Han-Noah Massengo, whose quick feet, even quicker thinking, and boundless energy were priceless to a Monaco side desperate holding on at 1-0 before Falcao’s last-gasp penalty made it 2-0.Falcao’s first penalty came about after defender Benoit Badiashile— another 17-year-old — was upended after reacting quickly to a loose ball in the penalty area.Without Monaco’s crisis, those two may never have got such an early chance to show their precocious ability.BALOTELLI’S DROUGHTWhile Falcao is coming back into form, Nice striker Mario Balotelli’s slump continues.Balotelli has not scored in 10 league games this campaign, a far cry from the previous two seasons when he top-scored for Nice with 18 and 15, respectively.A failed summer move to Marseille seems to have affected Balotelli’s fitness and form.“Mario’s lacking confidence, you can tell by the way he receives the ball,” Vieira said. “We all need to get behind him: the club, the fans. We have to put him in positions where he gets his confidence back. He’s very important for us.”___More AP soccer: and Pugmire, The Associated Press read more

Sempertrans formalises agreement with Shaw Almex Industries in USA

first_imgSempertrans, the conveyor belt business segment of the publicly listed Semperit Group, has stepped up its activities in North America. Together with its strategic partner Shaw Almex Industries Ltd, a leading provider of industrial and vulcanisation presses, Sempertrans formalised the agreement to be operated under the new entity Sempertrans USA LLC. The Semperit owned entity is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA with sales representatives and application engineering being located throughout North America.“In recent years, we have successfully established our sales and marketing activities in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Through the partnership with Shaw Almex we will utilise our long-term growth potential in the second largest conveyor belt market worldwide and prepare for the next market upturn,” commented Boris Illetschko, Sempertrans General Manager. The estimated conveyor belt demand including replacement investments in North America is roughly $640 million. “Even in the currently very challenging market environment we will further expand our market shares with our technically advanced and high-quality products, a competitive price-performance ratio and the market coverage and know-how of Shaw Almex,” expresses Illetschko.“It is very exciting to see this project move to the next phase,” states Tim Shaw, CEO of the North American operations. “With an inventory of several million dollars located at the Atlanta distribution facility and with the ability to slit to custom widths and ship within 24 hours, this will significantly increase our market penetration.” To serve the Mexican market, Sempertrans will also have inventory and slitting capabilities in Leon, Mexico strategically located near the major mining operations. “We are also very pleased that we have received MSHA Certification opening the underground mining market to our high quality product as well,” adds Shaw.On top of Sempertrans’ conveyor belt design and manufacturing expertise, Shaw Almex provides technical and infrastructure expertise, as well as access to the North American market. Additionally, the sales efforts will be supported by cooperation with selected distributors offering Sempertrans high performance heavy duty textile and steel reinforced conveyor belts. The main applications for the products are mining, steel, cement, power plants and the transport industry.last_img read more