Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Inter push away Barca

Internazional Milano defeated FC Barcelona today in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final, the final score 1-0 for Barca at Camp Nou. The previous leg was won by Inter at the San Siro by the score of 3-1. Inter win 3-2 on aggregate and are through to the final where they will face Bayern Munich.

Inter were down to 10 men (thanks to Thiago Motta) just before the end of the first half, yet were able to retain aggregate win. Players such as Cristian Chivu, Diego Milito, Sneijder, and others did much for Inter in this match. Pique scored a great goal in the 84th minute to give Barcelona a bit of hope in sight. Barca even scored in stoppage time thanks to Bojan but because of a handball by a Barcelona player, it did not count. Report:
The Italian champions survived Thiago Motta's early red card and Gerard Piqué's late goal to reach a first final since 1972.

 Barcelona dethroned by resilient Inter

An immense display of intelligent defending and sheer determination took FC Internazionale Milano into the European Champion Clubs' Cup final for the first time since 1972 and ended FC Barcelona's hopes of becoming the first team to defend the UEFA Champions League.

Once again José Mourinho's tactics proved decisive, Inter overcoming the loss of Goran Pandev minutes before kick-off plus the dismissal of former Barcelona midfielder Thiago Motta after 28 minutes and even a fine 84th-minute goal from Gerard Piqué. That late strike was the only moment when it looked as if Inter, who gave everything to protect their 3-1 first-leg lead, were not going to thwart the reigning European and world champions at every turn as they look to win the trophy for the third time.

The atmosphere had been febrile for an hour before kick-off, although amid the tension there were warm embraces between Xavi Hernàndez, Samuel Eto'o and Víctor Valdés. There was no let-up in the intensity on the pitch, however, although Inter had been forced into an emergency reshuffle even before Motta's red card. Pandev broke down in the warm-up and Mourinho opted for Cristian Chivu as his replacement.

Inter's counterattacking tactics meant that there were often nine white shirts behind the ball while the European champions tested their version of safe-breaking skills. Try as they might it was impossible to unpick the Italian champions although Pedro Rodríguez darted in front of Motta and Maicon to prod Daniel Alves' cross narrowly wide. Inter's response was instant. An excellent combination between Diego Milito and Wesley Sneijder down the right sucked Seydou Keita, an experimental left-back, towards the danger and so suddenly that Eto'o was alone with the ball in sight of goal. Only the timely arrivals of Gabriel Milito and Pedro spared Barcelona.

Then came five minutes that made Inter's task even harder. Motta had already been booked but his use of an outstretched hand on the face of Sergio Busquets brought him a straight red card in the 28th minute. As Inter looked to reorganise yet again, it was another Brazilian who came to their rescue. Yaya Touré released Lionel Messi and the competition's leading scorer bent in a vicious drive which Júlio César finger-tipped round the post.

Even though it needed an immense diving block by Samuel to prevent Zlatan Ibrahimović getting off shot just before the break, Inter were impressive. Diego Milito and Sneijder worked tirelessly to win possession and always stretched the home side when they had the ball. The degree to which Inter remained largely untroubled was shown as Guardiola first replaced Ibrahimović with Bojan Krkić, then urged Piqué to push up as an auxiliary centre-forward. Another striker, Jeffrén, followed as time began to ebb away and Inter's relentless blocking and retreating forced the normally slick Barcelona to shoot wastefully from distance.

Searching for inspiration Messi drifted left and curved in a cross which, at last, eluded Samuel only for Bojan to nudge a free header past the post. Then came the breakthrough. Xavi slipped a trademark pass to Piqué, he turned substitute Ivàn Córdoba and slid a shot into the open net. It proved too little too late for the holders, however, Inter holding out for the remaining six minutes plus added time to end their reign and set up a meeting with FC Bayern München on 22 May.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bayern defeat Lyon with ease

The popular German club, Bayern Munchen, has won 4-0 on aggregate over the French club Olympique Lyon. Today they defeated them 3-0, having finished the first leg 1-0 in Munich, Germany.

Olić treble takes brilliant Bayern to Madrid

A hat-trick by Olic secured Bayern's easy stroll to the final in this one. The great Bayern goalscorer scored in the 26th, 66th, and 77th minutes. Report:
A stunning hat-trick from Ivica Olić capped a majestic performance from FC Bayern München who impressively brushed aside ten-man Olympique Lyonnais to book their place in the UEFA Champions League final.

Already leading thanks to Arjen Robben's solitary first-leg goal, the four-time European champions never looked like surrendering their advantage as they picked up where they had left off in Munich with another dominant display. From the moment Olić slotted in his first on 26 minutes OL were fighting a desperate battle and when the French side lost their skipper Cris to a red card just before the hour Bayern merely had to bang nails into OL's coffin. Olić duly obliged, scoring his second midway through the second half before completing his treble on 76 minutes.

Appearing in their first UEFA Champions League semi-final, Les Gones looked nervous early on, surrendering possession too easily and often in dangerous areas. Indeed, the visitors almost capitalised in only the second minute when Olić dispossessed Cris and crossed for the unmarked Thomas Müller who somehow side-footed wide of the near post.

Although Maxime Gonalons rifled over, the better chances were falling to the Bavarian outfit, Robben's quick throw finding Müller in the box again only for the young forward to flash a low effort across goal and wide from an acute angle. Despite fielding a more attacking side than a week ago, OL again struggled to get support to Lisandro as Bayern – thanks in no small part to returning skipper Mark van Bommel – took charge.

Louis van Gaal's men were rewarded for their positive opening when Olić scored on the all-important away goal on 26 minutes. The build-up was superb, Müller exchanging passes with Robben and surging into the box before cutting the ball back to the Croatian striker, whose fifth goal of the campaign left the hosts needing three. They could ill-afford to squander clear openings yet Michel Bastos did just that on 31 minutes, steering his close-range volley wide having been picked out by Jean Makoun's cross from the right.
OL had created little else in the first half, prompting Claude Puel to send on a second forward, Bafétimbi Gomis, at the break, when Van Gaal replaced the injured Daniel Van Buyten with Martín Demichelis. Gomis might have made an instant impact but the French international sent a half-volley skywards from Gonalons' pinpoint cross.

Spaces were opening up and Bayern twice went close to doubling their lead when Bastian Schweinsteiger volleyed narrowly over before Robben's placed attempt was pushed round the post by Hugo Lloris. Lyon were showing spirit yet their chances of staging a dramatic fightback were dealt another heavy blow on 59 minutes as Cris was booked for a foul on Olić and then issued a second yellow card for dissent.
The sight of their inspirational captain trudging off effectively signalled the end of Lyon's chances. Olić made sure by adding two more excellently-taken goals. Hamit Altıntop's through-pass laid on the first, the 30-year-old forward hitting a crisp, low shot beyond Llori,s before heading in Phillip Lahm's right-sided cross nine minutes later to confirm Bayern's place in an eighth European Champion Clubs' Cup final in considerable style.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

World Cup Final Match Ball Revealed: The Jo'Bulani

Sports News - April 20, 2010With the important mark of 50 days until the World Cup kick off, the 2010 World Cup Final Match Ball was revealed. The Jo'Bulani will be the ball used in the final match of the tournament, it was unveiled by Adidas with Franz Beckenbauer, the South Africa National Team "Bafana Bafana", and Carlos Alberto Parreira, the South Africa coach.

While the color palette has changed from the colorful green and red of the Jabulani to the more golden of the Jo'Bulani, the name of the ball is also important. Jabulani signifies happiness, or celebration, and the Jo'Bulani is part happiness, part Johannesburg, where the final will be played in the Soccer City stadium.

But for any ball geeks that were looking for new technologies or changes in the balls structures, the final ball isn't any different from the Jabulani. Both of them use the new grip'n'groove technology which helps the ball move smoothly and powerfully, and they are both made up of an 8 thermally bonded 3D panels, making it the roundest ball ever. Both of these balls look fantastic, and millions will be buying them before the epic final in South Africa.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bayern dragged by Robben but will miss Ribery

Although this tie will lie in the shadow of the massive Inter Milan Barcelona tie, it was still full of excitement and action. Here's the Bayern Munich - Lyon match report for you, and if you missed the Inter - Barca wrap up, here it is.

Ribery of Bayern Munich tackles Lisandro of Olympique Lyon to get a red card during their Champions League soccer match in Munich
Ribery cleating Lisandro Lopez

Bayern Munich - Olympique Lyon

While the 1-0 score-line doesn't seem too interesting, this first leg of the tie was one to watch, especially because things are building up well for the return in France. To be frank, Bayern should've been a couple up at halftime, in the beginning minutes Schweinsteiger was unmarked but put the header wide, and shots were sprayed left and right of Lloris's posts. But what will greatly affect this tie is Ribery being sent off with a direct red card in the 37th minute, the Frenchman cleated Lisandro Lopez who was chasing him, resulting in him being sent off and missing the return leg. But Lyon were weak and seemed indecisive while up a man, and after halftime Toulalan picked up two yellow cards in 3 minutes after a couple of sloppy challenges, resulting in his sending off.

Bayern Munich vs Olympique Lyon
Robben's shot which ends  up in the back of the net
With the two teams being equal in men on the field, Bayern continued to make chances, and continued to miss them. But eventually, the magical Dutchman shines again, Robben decides to go on one of his usual tearing runs through the front of the box, and his deflected shot sends Lloris the wrong way, giving Bayern a crucial goal. The rest of the match was much more of the same, although Lyon did well with a couple shots, they were nowhere near the standard they should be at if they want to make it to the final.

And so, another ex-madrid Dutchman decides a key Champions League semi-final match, maybe Real Madrid should be thinking of selling Kaka' and Benzema, and taking Sneijder and Robben back...

What do you think of this Champions League semi-final? Comment below!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Inter come back 3-1 against Lackluster Barcelona

The first leg of the Champions League semi-final Inter Milan - Barcelona was played out today, and the match ended with a resounding 3-1 for the Italians. Here's a wrap up of the match...

Sports News - April 20, 2010
Inter Milan - Barcelona

Jose Mourinho's side have completed what was thought to be impossible, while some may complain about the bus ride Barcelona had to take, or the refereeing decisions which leaned towards Inter, it is plain that Inter Milan tactically outplayed Barcelona. While Barcelona tried to continue with their powerful 4-3-3, Inter Milan played a warped 4-2-1-3 which revolved around the Dutchman Sneijder.

Barcelona started well, Pedro grabbed the opener in the 19th minute sliding it past Julio Cesar from 12 yards out after some shabby defending from the nerazzurri. Although Barcelona tried to play their dominating possession style, they were imprecise and out of tune, and with time Inter Milan grabbed the equalizer after Sneijder finished well after Diego Milito layed it off for him. Wesley Sneijder was completely unmarked at the back post, and questions are to be asked about Pedro not covering Inter Milan's key player.

Inter Milan's Milito reacts after scoring a third goal past Barcelona's goalkeeper Valdes during their Champions League soccer match in Milan
After halftime Inter Milan came out with determination, 3 minutes in, Thiago Motta nips the ball off of Messi, Inter build up well, and Maicon fumbles in the second. Barcelona continue to stumble through the match as the Inter Milan defense along with Thiago Motta and Cambiasso allowed nothing to be created, Zanetti kept Messi quiet and Zibra was invisible with Lucio and Samuel sticking to him like glue. Inter's third came after Sneijder was left unmarked (again by Pedro) at the back post, the Dutchman tried to header the ball in goal but failed miserably putting it wide for Diego Milito to header in successfully at the near post.

After Inter had secured the result, Barcelona decided to go all-out attack, with Pique acting as a striker, and Dani Alves being very dangerous in the box. As Barca tried to create chances, the closest they got was Pique's goal-bound shot blocked by Lucio, it would've surely been a goal for Barcelona but Lucio was unstoppable at the Inter defense. Sneijder had to slide tackle Dani Alves in the box, but it seemed like there was no contact, and Dani Alves was booked for simulation; Barca will surely look back at that asking for a penalty. Pique was also roughly taken down in the box, but it is disputable whether or not he had control of the ball.

In the end, Barcelona were sloppy while Inter played their best match of the season yet, the return leg will be one to watch.

What do you think of this fantastic match? Comment below! 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Derby Edition: Real Madrid and Manchester United Catch Up, and Roma Stay Top

All the title races in the big leagues are really starting to heat up now, and with the upcoming World Cup, how a club does could affect major players and their teams when it comes to World Cup Odds. Another interesting reflection on the upcoming summer is about the amount of job movement we'll see by managers, as reported by, it seems like plenty of managers will be moving around soon.
Sports News - April 18, 2010
Hope you enjoy this weekend's wrap up along with the new layout/color scheme/everything.

Derbys everywhere, all around there are derbys right now, and everywhere they are having a lasting effect on title hopes and much more. Here are some from this weekend which might interest you:

Lazio against Roma was a massive derby which could've seen Inter Milan regain top spot if Roma won, and after going a goal down, it seemed like Roma could be second in the table. But Vucinic scored a penalty right after Lazio's Floccari missed one making it 1-1, and then he scored the winner off of a free kick putting Roma back on top of the table.

Sports News - April 17, 2010

The Manchester derby has helped spice up the Premiership, when last week the title seemed Chelsea's, this week after they lost to Tottenham 2-1, Manchester United had a key chance to maybe come back to just a point from first. The red devils took advantage of their chance, but very late on, Paul Scholes's header in the 93rd minute of the game (about to end 0-0) revived United's title hopes.

A massive match took place in La Liga, the derby between Espanyol and Barcelona could have massive effects on the Catalan's title hopes. The match ended 0-0 with Dani Alves being sent off, not only did this allow Real Madrid to catch up to just 1 point from them after winning 2-0 against Valencia, but it puts some bad morale in the locker room for the upcoming Champions League match against Inter Milan.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tottenham win derby 2-1 and Inter crush Juventus

Sports News - April 15, 2010
Just some mid-week action wrapped up for you on SWU, two fantastic derbys (North London and the Italian derby) and many more results. Also, expect a change in the layout of the blog soon, it should look clearer and more professional with a new template.

Tottenham Hotspur - Arsenal

Tottenham finally win an extremely important North London derby against Arsenal at White Heart Lane, being a bit of a Spurs fan myself, I was glad to see them pull off a deserved win over the Gooners. The scoring started in the 10th minute when Almunia punched a ball right to the young starter Rose, giving the boy a chance to viciously volley the ball past Almunia. The second came from Gareth Bale right after halftime, a routine finish for the man whose had a terrible time these past couple of years. Bendtner got a consolation goal for Arsenal, a simple tap in after all of Gomes' heroics to stave off a returning Van Persie. Arsenal had plenty possession, but Tottenham were solid and made sure to not concede anything to the Gunners.


Inter Milan - Juventus

Inter Milan had few problems taking care of Juventus at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, when Sissoko was sent off, Juventus had to go all defensive, and were still unable to hold off Inter. But the goals arrived late, Eto'o wasted two sure goal opportunities, and Diego Milito was left unmarked at the back post, only to header the ball wide. Maicon grabbed the first goal, he picked the ball up after a corner from outside the box, juggled it quickly and sublimely volleyed it past Buffon, a sure contender for goal of the season. Eto'o also grabbed a goal late on, tapping it past Buffon making sure that the nerazzurri got an important win over Juventus in the derby d'Italia.

UD ALMER A - REAL MADRIDIn Spain, both of the top two won, Real Madrid came back against Almeria from a goal down partially thanks to an amazing goal from Cristiano Ronaldo; the Portuguese man wove through the Almeria defense before a brilliant stepover to mesmerize a defender followed by a great left foot finish, a true solo effort (check the goal out and highlights of La Liga at Livin La Liga). Barcelona kept their three point lead after a 3-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna, although Messi had a quiet game, his teammates didn't, Bojan, Pedro and a rocket volley by Yaya Toure led to a comfortable win for the Catalans. The relegation battle is heating up in La Liga after all three at the bottom nabbed wins (leaving the situation exactly the same it was before), currently Deportivo Xerez are bottom with 26 points, then Valladolid with 28 followed by Tenerife at 29.

Aston Villa v Everton

In England, three other midweek matches were played (not including the North London derby), Wigan and Portsmouth drew 0-0, a result which helps drag down Wigan only 5 points away from  the relegation fight. Aston Villa and Everton drew 2-2, Tim Cahill grabbing a brace as the little Australian continues to elude defenders this season, but Jagielka gave Villa the draw after scoring an unfortunate own goal in the 90th minute of the match. Chelsea solidify their position at the top of the table after winning 1-0 against Bolton, Anelka grabbed the only goal, and although the blues weren't convincing they got the win.

What do you think of the midweek action? What will happen this weekend? Comment below!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Barca wins El Clasico and Roma top of Serie A

This weekend has defined the potential champions of La Liga, Serie A, and the Premiership. Barca pull ahead of Real Madrid in El Clasico, Roma overtake Inter Milan to possibly end Inter's scudetto run, and Manchester United drop points at Blackburn giving Chelsea a chance to run even further away with first. Some exciting stuff...

Sports News - April 11, 2010Real Madrid - Barcelona: EL CLASICO

The defining game of the SPL on steroids took place at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend, and although plenty thought that Real could pull off a win (even I did), Barcelona dominated the galactic match. While some may chant Messi's name, or Pedro's (the two goal-scorers), I proudly chant Xavi's name, the Spaniard who for me is the best midfielder currently playing. After setting up Messi with a sublime chip in the 33rd which the Argentinean controlled and coolly slotted home, Xavi proceeded to dominate the match with what could be called a "buttery" display of passing. Pique had little trouble containing Ronaldo, and Real Madrid had trouble creating and finishing the few chances they had. After the interval it was my favorite midfielder that did all the tough work again, Xavi played a wonderfully weighted ball to Pedro who finished past Casillas, crushing any Real hopes of a comeback. Although Barcelona didn't dominate the match to the extent they did at Arsenal in the first half of the first leg, or other matches, the Catalans realized that much wasn't needed to beat a rather disorganized Real Madrid. Barcelona now take first spot in La Liga, three points ahead of Los Blancos, but basically four due to the head to head result being in Barca's favor.

AS Roma vs Atalanta Bergamo

In Italy, Roma are top of the Serie A after taking advantage of Inter Milan's 2-2 draw at Fiorentina, Inter have a tough schedule ahead and will face Fiorentina away again in midweek, then go against Juventus, followed by Barcelona in the following midweek. Roma on the other hand got a 2-1 win over Atlanta mostly thanks to Atlanta's goalkeeper Consigli not being able to hold an average shot by Vucninc. The Roman's doubled soon after with a header from Cassetti, but they risked being scored on twice by Tiribocchi who could only tuck home one goal. AC Milan haven't taken advantage of Inter Milan's slip up yet again, they were only able to draw 2-2 against Catania, who to their merit played a great match, but AC Milan came back from two down in the second half thanks to a double by Boriello. Bologna Lazio was filled with fantastic goals, and the match ended with the grand scoreline of 3-2 for Lazio, this is surely a match to check out the highlights for because some fantastic long range goals were scored by both sides.

Sports News - April 11, 2010In England, while Chelsea advance to the final of the FA Cup after beating Aston Villa 3-0 at a slippery Wembley pitch, Manchester United were only able to draw 0-0 against Blackburn, without Rooney United were lifeless, and the chances were few and wasted. There were two other 0-0's, Liverpool vs Fulham ended with a goalless draw, and so did Wolverhampton vs. Stoke, and a match which could've ended 0-0 for West Ham was saved by Ilan's goal as the Hammers won 1-0 against Sunderland. Manchester City look comfortable in fourth spot after thrashing Birmingham 5-1 as Tottenham lost to Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final 2-0, letting Pompy go on to the final against Chelsea. Another big scoreline affected the relegation zone, Burnley came back from a goal down against Hull City to win 4-1, and the last goal was a peach by Elliott, a wonderful curling free kick which nestled itself into the far corner.

REAL MARID VS FC BARCELONAIn Spain, Atletico Madrid continue their erratic season after losing 3-0 away against Espanyol, although they aren't performing well in the league, Atletico are doing well in the Europa League and are set to play Liverpool in the semi's. Valencia lost against Mallorca 3-2 as the gap between the two teams is only 5 points now, Mallorca are looking for Champions League football next year, and this result was important for their chances. Sevilla drawn on points with the Islanders after beating Malaga 2-1 thanks to a late goal by Lolo.

What do you think of this week's results? Was Xavi as buttery as I thought he was, and is he the best midfielder in the world for you? Comment below!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Liverpool and Fulham advance with Atletico Madrid and Hamburg

In the Europa League some fantastic matches took place which decide the semi-finalists which will be Fulham vs Hamburg and Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool. We could see an all English final, which would starkly contrast to the Champions League.

Liverpool overcame Benfica 4-1 at Anfield thanks to a double by Fernando Torres. Fulham keep it clean in Germany and win 1-0, goal scored by Bobby Zamora. Atletico hold it to a 0-0 draw and go through on away goals, and Hamburg overcome Standard Liege 3-1 away from home. For more info on the Standard-Hamburg match be sure to check this post out by Hagibest.

What do you think of the Europa League? Do you care about it? Comment below!

Petrić special sends Standard packing

R. Standard de Liège 1-3 Hamburger SV (agg: 2-5)
Two goals from Mladen Petrić – including a sensational overhead kick – helped Hamburg cruise into the semi-finals.

A sublime overhead kick from Mladen Petrić helped Hamburger SV ease past R. Standard de Liège 3-1 and leave the German club one step away from the final in their own stadium.

Petrić special sends Standard packing

Hamburg arrived in Belgium holding a fragile 2-1 advantage, but unlike their frenetic second leg at RSC Anderlecht in the previous round, Petrić ensured they would enjoy this return.

The Croatian international opened the scoring in the 20th minute and then struck spectacularly barely 120 seconds after Igor De Camargo's 33rd-minute equaliser.

José Paolo Guerrero put a late seal on a 5-2 aggregate win which sets up a last-four tie with Fulham FC.
Standard's spirited first-leg showing had given their supporters cause for optimism, and Frank Rost had to spectacularly palm away Mehdi Carcela-González's early powerful drive as the hosts sought to fuel that belief. Hamburg, though, possess a bona fide match-winner in Petrić, and he gave the Bundesliga outfit breathing space when he nodded in from close range after Zé Roberto's cross was deflected invitingly into his path.

The Brazilian played an unwitting role in throwing Standard a lifeline, conceding the free-kick from which De Camargo headed the equaliser, but barely had play restarted than the hosts were cut adrift again by the irrepressible Petrić. Dennis Aogo's whipped cross was met perfectly by the airborne forward, who fired into the bottom corner to gasps of amazement from around the ground.

The task of scoring at least three times after the break looked beyond a Standard side lacking their impressive first-leg fluency, though Dieudonné Mbokani almost reduced the deficit with a point-blank shot that Rost instinctively turned away.

With the hosts' sting drawn, Hamburg were able to play within themselves, and Guerrero provided the finishing touch to a sweeping counterattack in added time, ensuring that when the UEFA Europa League trophy arrives in Hamburg next week, the host city's premier club still have a chance of getting their hands on it.

Romanian Football Blog

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lyon hold firm to oust Bordeaux

FC Girondins de Bordeaux 1-0 Olympique Lyonnais (agg: 2-3)
Marouane Chamakh's goal at the end of the first half was not enough to prevent the visitors reaching the semi-finals for the first time.

Lyon hold firm to oust Bordeaux

Olympique Lyonnais withstood a barrage of pressure to clinch a gritty aggregate win against FC Girondins de Bordeaux and book their place in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
Leading 3-1 from the first leg, the visitors defended with fierce determination to protect their advantage, although it took another sensational Hugo Lloris save in the closing moments to ultimately seal the triumph. Marouane Chamakh had halved the deficit with his fifth European goal of the season just before the break, setting up a thrilling second half in which Les Girondins poured forward relentlessly. Lyon stood firm, however, thus ensuring they will compete in a semi-final after falling in the last eight three times in the previous six years.

Les Marine et Blanc entered the contest boasting a perfect home record in this season's competition yet three defeats from their last three outings was clearly playing on the French champions' confidence. As Laurent Blanc's men struggled to find their passing game, OL warmed to the task and twice threatened to extend their aggregate lead early on. Michel Bastos rifled a powerful free-kick narrowly wide and Bafétimbi Gomis nodded César Delgado's corner over before the hosts gradually got a foothold.

Not surprisingly, when Bordeaux stirred on 18 minutes the danger came from a free-kick. Wendel's superb delivery from the right drew Lloris off his line but Yoann Gourcuff failed to add to Bordeaux's 11 set-piece goals this term, glancing his header over. The opening brought the crowd to life, though, and suddenly the momentum was firmly with Bordeaux. Only a series of towering headers from Cris kept Claude Puel's side afloat as Benoît Trémoulinas and Wendel fizzed over crosses from either flank.

Les Girondins were out of luck on 44 minutes when former Lyon midfielder Alou Diarra thundered a dipping volley against the crossbar from distance, although the home fans were soon celebrating. Seconds before the interval, the marauding Trémoulinas collected Jussiê's return ball on the left, surged to the byline, and when Jaroslav Plašil flicked on his near-post cross, Chamakh was on hand to force in his second goal of the tie from close range.

If Les Gones were struggling to create chances without their suspended talisman Lisandro, his replacement Gomis was quick to show in the second half. Directly from the restart, the French international broke free on the right side of the penalty area and evaded the advancing Cédric Carrasso, only to shoot tamely at covering defender Marc Planus from a testing angle.

Bastos then fired a volley wide before the French champions seized control and threw everything at Lyon in the last half-hour. Chamakh was a constant menace yet with Cris and Jean-Alain Boumsong typically combative, the Moroccan international could not forge a clear opportunity. Bordeaux always looked capable of scoring the all-important second from a set piece, but for once their favoured weapon failed to deliver. Ludovic Sané headed Gourcuff's corner wide with ten minutes remaining and Lloris pulled off a stunning save from Wendel's header on 87 minutes as time ran out on Bordeaux.

At a glance

What happened
Marouane Chamakh struck on the stroke of half-time but Laurent Blanc's side were unable to find the goal that would have sent them through.

Key moment
With three minutes remaining Wendel sent a bullet header towards the Lyon goal but, not for the first time in the tie, Hugo Lloris pulled off a fabulous save.

Numbers game

Bordeaux won all five of their home games in this season's UEFA Champions League but it was not enough to keep them in the competition. 
One on one
Cris was outmanoeuvred for Chamakh's goal but otherwise held the Moroccan striker in check with a typically combative and imposing display.

Crowd pleaser
In the 44th minute former Lyon midfielder Alou Diarra unleashed a thunderous shot from 25 metres only for the crossbar to intervene.

What it means
After three quarter-finals Lyon are in the semi-finals for the first time – Ligue 1's first representatives in the last four since 2003/04.

Comment below to share your opinions with the world!

United buckle under Bayern strain & yesterday's UCL results

April 7th 2010

 United buckle under Bayern strain

United buckle under Bayern strainManchester United FC 3-2 FC Bayern München
(agg: 4-4, Bayern win on away goals)

A magnificent volley from Arjen Robben capped a stunning Bayern recovery with the home side having taken a 3-0 lead before Rafael's dismissal.

FC Bayern München fought back from three goals down on the night to oust Manchester United FC from the UEFA Champions League on away goals.

On a pulsating evening, United stormed into a three-goal lead through Darron Gibson and a Nani double. Yet Ivica Olić's goal just before the break raised Bayern hopes and after Rafael's 50th-minute dismissal, Bayern capitalised on the extra man thanks to a stunning Arjen Robben volley 16 minutes from time.

It was a repeat of the Dutchman's decisive goal in the identical away-goals win against ACF Fiorentina in the last 16 and means Bayern can look forward to their first semi-final since 2001, the year of their last European crown when they also beat United at this stage.

The home fans had a lift before kick-off with the news that Wayne Rooney would be starting, just days after Sir Alex Ferguson had said he faced "two to three weeks" out with the ankle injury sustained in the first leg.
United then made a dream start with a third-minute goal involving two other surprise names on the team sheet. Rafael, in for Gary Neville, dispossessed Franck Ribéry and played the ball to Rooney, who laid it on to Gibson. The Northern Irishman, making only his second start of 2010, side-footed a low shot inside the near post from the edge of the box for his first UEFA Champions League goal.

After seven minutes United had their second. Antonio Valencia teased Holger Badstuber out on the right before driving in a low cross that Nani, ghosting beyond the Bayern back line, turned in with a cute flick of his heel. Michael Carrick, with a shot, and Rooney, a header, then went close with Bayern were struggling to live with the pace of United's play, even with Rooney now hobbling. They duly made it 3-0 as Valencia broke down the right and crossed for Nani to drive the ball high into the net.

Two minutes later, however, Bayern pulled a goal back through Olić. Latching onto Thomas Müller's flicked header, the Croatian shrugged aside Michael Carrick and beat Edwin van der Sar from a tight angle.
Louis van Gaal sent on Mario Gómez for Müller at the interval and within five minutes Bayern found themselves with a man advantage when Rafael collected a second yellow for pulling back Ribéry.

With Rooney making way for John O'Shea, Bayern pressed for a second and Van der Sar punched clear a Ribéry drive just before the hour while Gómez skimmed the crossbar with a header. It was not all one-way traffic, not with United's counterattacking threat – twice Butt saved well from Nani, while Carrick and Gibson spurned half-chances.

With 16 minutes remaining, though, Robben broke United's resistance by levelling the aggregate scores at 4-4. Ribéry's corner found him on the edge of the box and the Dutchman drove the ball on the volley past a helpless Van der Sar and into the far corner. For United, the dream of a third successive final was over.

April 6th 2010 

Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal
Short Summary: All of Barca's goals scored by the world's best player, Lionel Messi, and one early goal from the Gunners' Nicklas Bendtner.

CSKA Moskva 0-1 Internazionale
Short Summary: Only goal of the match was scored by Sneijder, launching Inter into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2003.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Chelsea go Top in EPL and Spain sets itself up for El Clasico

With massive matches looming over footy fans, the seasons are beginning to come to their end, this is where teams need to make the games in hand and home matches count. Whether they're pushing for a Champions League spot or fighting relegation.

A small bit of news for any fans of the Championship, Newcastle have been mathematically promoted into the Premiership, returning to the heights they were at last year.

Joe Cole Chelsea 2009/10
Manchester United - Chelsea

A massive match for both teams ended in probably the best possible way to add massive climax towards the end of the season, Chelsea have vaulted over Manchester United after a 2-1 win away at Old Trafford. Whether the United players were thinking about Bayern Munich or Ferguson got his tactics wrong, they were flat, lifeless, and the loss of Rooney was apparent. It started well for Chelsea, Deco had plenty of time and space, performing well, and Joe Cole also looked rejuvenated on the field; it took 20 minutes until Joe Cole's cheeky backheel slid past Van der Saar. After halftime Drogba was brought on for Anelka, and Ferguson subbed off Ji-Sung Park for Macheda, this led to Drogba' doubling the scoreline, and Macheda's goal which left the match at 2-1.

Udinese vs Juventus

In Italy, plenty of moments of brilliance were shown, Huntelaar pulled out one of the goals of the season with his weaker foot which helped AC Milan pull off their 3-2 victory (also helped by a winner own goal by Cagliari's Astori). Maxi Lopez continues his great form for Catania, the big Argentinean striker scored a brace which helped Catania win 2-0 over Palermo and stay far away from the relegation zone. Juventus continues to sink, Udinese (who have performed terribly this season) beat the bianconeri comfortably 3-0 with goals from Sanchez, Pepe, and Di Natale who could possibly win the golden boot, currently at 22 goals in the Serie A. And if you want to read a fantastic article on Juventus's current form, check it out at Serie A Talk. Inter Milan and Roma both win, Inter won 3-0 against Bologna and Roma took care of Bari 1-0 at the San Nicola stadium; this leaves Inter one point ahead of Roma and three of AC milan.

RACING DE SANTANDER VS REAL MADRIDIn Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona prepare for the upcoming Clasico next week, both pulled off wins, Barcelona's a bit more convincing; 4-1 against Atletic Bilbao with a weakened team was no problem for the Catalans. Real Madrid on the other hand won 2-0 away from home against Racing Santander thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo scoring from the spot and Higuain scoring a routine finish. Sevilla begin to wake up and win 3-0 against Tenerife as they fight for the fourth Champions League spot, and Mallorca let them get equal on points with them at 4th place after drawing 1-1 away at Almeria.

In England, Arsenal stay 3 points away from the top after a win against Wolves which was left very late for Bendtner to get the winner, and Aston Villa also got a 1-0 win away at Bolton thanks to Young's goal in the 11th. West Ham get a crucial point away at Goodison Park after a 2-2 draw with Everton, West Ham came back twice, and when Everton thought they'd won after a goal from Yakubu in the 85th, a fantastic diving header by Ilan in the 87th sealed an important point for the Hammers (btw, Mido missed a penalty, shocker!). Manchester City thrashed Burnley 6-1 at Turf Moor, after just 7 minutes Mancini's side were three up, and by the end of the half it was 5-0, it seemed possible that it might end in double figures but Burnley tightened up, conceded just one more, and Steven Fletcher scored a nice one. Darren Bent got his revenge against Tottenham after Sunderland beat Spurs 3-1 with two goals coming from Bent, but he could have had four since he missed two penalties! Liverpool drew 1-1 away at St. Andrews, and much of the media hype is focused on Rafa Benitez's substitution when he took off Fernando Torres and put on David N'Gog who went on to miss three opportunities which Torres would have scored.

What do you think of this week's action? And a heads up for all you video game fans, ZGameWrapUp has resumed posting and is certainly the site to check out for all your video game news. Comment below!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Europa League ignites with open results

This mid-week was filled with fantastic Champions League and Europa League action, not only will we have the second legs next week to check out, but this weekend in the EPL Manchester United are playing Chelsea, and the weekend after El Classico takes place in the Santiago Bernabeu.

And for some important news about two major players for both club and country, Wayne Rooney will be out for an estimated 2-4 weeks, and Cesc Fabregas will be out for about 6 weeks. Both of these are massive blows for their respective clubs, and could affect the Premiership title heavily.

And for all you people wondering where the Champions League is, I've listed the scores below the Europa League wrap up, without a match analysis due to partial laziness and the fact that the Europa League is majority under-covered. So hopefully this will spur all you footy fans to check out some Europa League action as well as all the Champions League action.

Benfica vs Liverpool FCEuropa League

The first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals ended with some pretty open results, none of the ties seem finished or settled at all.

Fulham got an important 2-1 win against Wolfsburg at Craven Cottage, although they conceded a late away goal to the Germans scored by Madlung, Zamora and Duff scored in the 60th and 63rd, making this tie tip slightly in favor to the Cottagers.

Hamburg are continuing their strong push to the Europa League final which will be held in their stadium thanks to a 2-1 comeback against Standard Liege. Standard took the lead in the 31st with Mbokani, but a Petric penalty in the 42nd and a goal by Ruud Van Nilsterooy in the 44th sealed the comeback.

Liverpool suffered a 2-1 loss against Benfica in the Estadio da Luz, everything seemed fine for the Reds after Agger scored in just 9 minutes, but Ryan Babel was sent off with a straight red changing the match completely. After halftime, two penalties by Cardozo sealed an important comeback for Benfica.

Valencia CF vs Atl tico Madrid

Probably the biggest tie ended with the biggest scoreline, Valencia - Atletico Madrid ended 2-2 after a great match between the two. All of the goals came in the second half with Forlan scoring the first, Manuel Fernandes came up with the equalizer only to have Lopez give the lead to Atletico again. It took a goal by David Villa to equalize the score-line, Atletico will be happy with the result, and hope to make the two away goals count in the return leg.

Champions League results

Olympique Lyon - Bordeaux: 3-1
Bayern Munich - Manchester United: 2-1
Arsenal - Barcelona: 2-2
Inter Milan - CSKA Moscow: 1-0


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