Uncertainty swirls over Russia's track and field athletes competing in Rio Olympics

Yelena Isinbayeva.
"The best way to protect clean athletes is to be unflinching in our commitment to them, and not just in words." — International Association of Athletics Federations president Sebastian Coe (above)
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Away goal 
- So 

Republic of Ireland manager O'Neill plays down their advantage in the Euro 2016 Play-off second leg against Bosnia-Herzegovina

THE BOSSES: Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill (left) and his assistant Roy Keane putting the players through their paces.
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Ibrahimovic toils alone in Sweden's 2-1 win

Sweden striker can't prevail with second-class colleagues



(Emil Forsberg 45, 
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 50-pen)


(Nicolai Jorgensen 80)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoke of his frustration after the final whistle. He should've been furious.

For 80 minutes, the leaning tower of Sweden was lurching towards Euro 2016 qualification. He had one foot in the Finals. The Swedes were within touching distance, two goals to the good and coasting to glory.

But they threw the drowning Danes a lifeline. They offered hope where there should be none. They were again let down by the striking contrast in attack.

Ibrahimovic was a world-beater surrounded by egg-beaters, a raging, a towering inferno among damp squibs.

As Sweden squandered one glorious opportunity after another, the unpalatable reality revealed itself once more in the first leg of their play-off yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Up front, they are a Swede among cabbages.

Denmark host the second leg on Wednesday morning a goal behind, but psychologically ahead. They lost a battle, but are poised to win the war between Scandinavian foes.

Denmark's blessing is Ibrahimovic's curse. They are surrounded with superior players. Ibra isn't.

Emil Forsberg rose to the occasion, providing a fine goal and assist, but he was a lone star for the Swedes.

Forsberg's persistent foraging down the left and Ibrahimovic's muscular menace around the box would have sufficed against the static Danes had they been adequately supported in other positions.

Sweden's regimented, well-rehearsed 4-4-2 created enough opportunities to put Denmark to sleep by half-time, but their forwards were caught dozing on the job.

On the right, Mikael Lustig and Jimmy Durmaz's outstanding overlap work culminated in an excellent opening goal for Forsberg.

Sweden's left-sided puppeteer later demonstrated why he should set his sights higher than Bundesliga 2 club RB Leipzig with a dazzling run into the box.

Thomas Kahlenberg brought him down, the highlight of a calamitous performer that appeared to involve impersonating an international defender.

Forsberg, last year's Swedish Midfielder of the Year, created the penalty for the omnipotent Swedish Footballer of the Year.

When Ibrahimovic tucked away his first goal in seven games against Denmark, the sound of gushing water could be distinctly heard. The floodgates were opening.

The Danes, hamstrung by a bizarre 4-1-4-1 formation that left William Kvist exposed and Nicklas Bendtner isolated, threatened to implode.

Instead, the eternal headache pounded away at Erik Hamren's temples. The Sweden coach has got a football immortal with no obvious back-up.

Ibrahimovic has played Butch Cassidy for far too long, carrying his 34-year-old limbs across the penalty box in search of the Sundance Kid.

Marcus Berg tried and failed his latest audition. The 29-year-old Panathinaikos forward spurned enough chances to make the second leg a victory dance through Denmark.

He missed a pair of comfortable headers. Had they been dealt to Ibrahimovic, they would've been a pair of aces.


When his illustrious partner chipped one over the Danish wall with the grace of a British Open contender escaping the sand at St Andrews, Berg bungled again.

As Ibrahimovic dropped deeper to link with Kim Kallstrom and Oscar Lewicki, Berg found himself overburdened and out of his depth.

Sweden needed their spiritual leader to both fetch and carry and finish off the Danes, but he couldn't be in two places at once, despite his messianic claims to the contrary.

Wherever he went, he left a hole that Berg couldn't fill. Nor could John Guidetti during the qualifying stages. It's Sweden's Euro 2016 campaign in a microcosm.

Ibrahimovic doesn't get the playing partners he deserves, so he withdraws in search of possession, to influence proceedings from a deeper position. He essentially hands his defensive opponents the initiative.

A back four is much easier to patrol when Ibrahimovic isn't trespassing.

Morten Olsen deserves credit for the double substitution, which included goal-scorer Nicolai Jorgensen replacing the hapless Kahlenberg.

But Denmark's coach was invited to a party that should've had the lights turned out, the tables cleared and the DJ sent home at least half an hour earlier.

Sweden's profligacy ruined Ibrahimovic's major tournament ambitions two years ago and threatens do so again this time.

An away goal, home advantage, superior centre-backs and, of course, Christian Eriksen, who should be the best midfielder on show in the second leg after a humdrum performance yesterday, gives Denmark the edge.

Ironically, Ibrahimovic needs his most unpleasant trait to come to the fore. His messiah complex must return if Sweden are to give their incomparable talisman the Indian summer he deserves.

With the obvious exception of Forsberg, his teammates can't be trusted to stick to the script.

Ibrahimovic has got to grab the pen and write the final chapter himself.

"You need a bit of luck when coming on as a substitute and I had that today. It was a great feeling, my first goal for Denmark."

— Denmark’s goal-scorer Nicolai Jorgensen

"You have to be confident. I think we have the players who can make the difference; it will be a different game."

— Denmark coach Morten Olsen on the return leg

It’s always disappointing to concede a goal. I thought our defence was good for 60 minutes. We have won the first game. We know it’s only half-time and ... it’s going to be exciting on Tuesday.

— Sweden coach Erik Hamren

Three colours, one voice

Thousands worldwide march with Paris as national monuments are lit in red, white and blue

SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco City Hall
LONDON: London Eye 
ferris wheel
SHANGHAI: Oriental Pearl TV Tower
SYDNEY: Sydney Opera House
RIO DE JANEIRO: Christ the Redeemer statue
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Begovic: We have the players to take us through

KEY MEN: Bosnia-Herzegovina striker Edin Dzeko (left) with head coach Mehmed Bazdarevic speaking to the press.
ASMIR BEGOVIC: Late goal good for team confidence, he says.
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She traded her YSL bag for a fake Chanel bag

Hedge fund manager plays detective after getting fake goods in online exchange

ANGRY: Miss Lee's YSL handbag (pink) was genuine but the one she exchanged for (blue) was not.
ANGRY: Miss Lee's YSL handbag (pink) was genuine but the one she exchanged for (blue) was not.

When Miss Summer Lee, 25, found out that the Chanel bag she had traded her two-week-old YSL bag for was fake, she was furious.

The hedge fund manager, who buys, sells and trades branded goods as a hobby, said: "The Chanel bag, if authentic, is worth more than $5,000 second-hand.

"But the fake bag - I think it's only worth $20."

Miss Lee met the trader, who claimed to be a tai tai, on electronic marketplace app Carousell in late October.

After chatting online for a few hours, they agreed to an exchange.

The tai tai would trade a second-hand Chanel bag worth about $5,000 and a second-hand Bvlgari ring worth $450 for Miss Lee's $2,800 YSL bag and branded sunglasses worth about $300.

Miss Lee would transfer $1,700 to the tai tai's bank account to make up the balance.

Miss Lee transferred the money and the tai tai said her "driver" would make the exchange at Miss Lee's flat in Choa Chu Kang the next day.

But the "driver" did not let her check the Chanel bag for authenticity. He took her YSL bag, which also contained the sunglasses, and left.

Miss Lee said: "The moment I saw the Chanel box, I knew something was wrong. It had a mouldy smell and was wrapped very tightly in newspapers.

"I told him I wanted to check the item before going through with the trade, but he kept saying he was in a rush, grabbed the bag and ran off."

Miss Lee said she did not give chase as she was too stunned and was alone at home.

She realised she had been scammed after checking the bag, which had wrong tags and serial numbers.

She also took the bag to a Chanel store in Orchard, where staff confirmed it was fake.

Besides making a police report on the day of the incident, Miss Lee also made a report to Carousell.

A police spokesman confirmed that a report was made. They are investigating.


Miss Lee felt that was not enough and tried to "trap" the scammer.

As the trader's Carousell account was still active after the incident, she got her friends to feign interest in the person's other listings to get the contact number.

She also set up six accounts to inquire about the goods listed, which included television sets and more branded bags.

However, all the numbers given were prepaid card numbers that went out of service after several days.

When contacted, a Carousell spokesman said the reported user's account has been suspended.

They will also assist police investigations by providing any information requested.

Despite Miss Lee's friends and family telling her to abandon her attempts to identify the culprit, she was determined to pursue the matter.

"I was on holiday in Korea then and my friend told me to just relax and enjoy myself.

"But I was so upset that it happened, I had to continue investigating, even on my holiday," she said.

Then, a friend spotted her YSL bag being sold by another user on Carousell earlier this month.

Said Miss Lee: "It was the last piece at the store in that colour and the box in the photo had the exact same stain as the one I had.

"So I knew it had to be mine."

She contacted the user and learnt that the listing belonged to a woman who had been promised $20 by her tenant if the sale was successful.

The woman showed her the tenant's photo, whom Miss Lee recognised as the "driver".

"I contacted him on Facebook, but he just kept denying everything," Miss Lee said.

"He said he didn't know the bag was a fake and (claimed) he probably got cheated by the previous owner."

Miss Lee handed over what she found to the police.

While she will leave it to them to investigate for now, she intends to take legal action against the scammer.

She added: "Actually, this whole detective thing was quite exciting.

"And I hope that the police will be able to act quickly with the additional information."

While she may not get her money back, she hopes "justice will be served".

At least 30 people have messaged her to share their experiences after she posted about what happened.

"It's not a matter of money. Such online scams are becoming more common and it seems like they are not being taken seriously," said Miss Lee.

"If I can get people to take my case seriously, other people will get a chance as well."

I told him that I wanted to check the item before going through with the trade, but he kept saying he was in a rush.

- Miss Summer Lee, 25

Tags: carousell, trade, ysl, chanel and fake