Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mourinho finds winning way and holders struggle in Champions League

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho gestures during their Champions League Group G soccer match against Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, September 15, 2010. REUTERS/Andrea Comas (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
Jose Mourinho, ready to win more
The Champions League has begun, and while we are only at the group stages, I still find it very interesting to see how teams are finding European competition. There were plenty of interesting results in this group of matches, and as you'd expect, some ridiculous thrashings.

Make sure to click "Read More" to read more, and find out just what happened in Europe's top competition...
The holders, Inter Milan, played away against Twente, and things seemed to be going just like last season when Wesley Sneijder scored a tap-in in the 14th minute. But then Twente came back, they scored two goals with Janssen first, and Diego Milito unfortunately heading the ball into the back of his own net from a Twente corner. 2-1 down, Inter Milan found a way to equalize before halftime, and it was Eto'o who slid a wonderful ball into the back of the net, making sure that the nerazzurri get a point in their first Champions League match.

Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid on the other hand had little difficulty against Ajax, a 2-0 win which could've been 5-0 was conquered by Mourinho's men at the Santiago Bernabeu. The first goal was an unlucky own goal by Twente's Anika from a corner, but Real Madrid had been hanging around the Ajax penalty area for quite some time, looking for a way to pierce through. The second arrived in the 73rd minute, Ozil had blasted a volley at Stekelenburg, and with the rebound, the German fed Higuain who easily tapped in.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi gestures as he celebrates after scoring his second goal against Panathinaikos during their Champions League Group D soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Lionel Messi, from what I hear he's pretty good
It was Barcelona who decided to go on a goalfest, and Panathinaikos were the unlucky victims. It all seemed wonderful for Pana when Govou scored at the Camp Nou (thanks to a little mess up by the Barca defence), making it seem possible that an upset would happen, but soon enough the barrage came from the Catalans. Messi equalized from an inch-perfect pass from Xavi, and then David Villa tapped in the second at the far post from a corner. Barcelona went on to make Panathinaikos look like little boys unable to defend, but it was really just a bunch of brilliance from a little guy called Messi.

Arsenal also decided to go on a rampage, defeating Sporting Braga 6-0 at the Emirates Stadium. And if you were to ask who was Arsenal's Messi? It'd have to be Fabregas. The Spaniard scored two goals and provided two assists, making sure that Arsenal would start on the right foot in this Champions League campaign.

Antonio Valencia breaks his left ankle after the challenge from Rangers Kirk Broadfoot Manchester United 2010/11 Manchester United V Rangers (0-0) 14/09/10 UEFA Champions League Group C Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
A nasty tacke which Valencia suffered, breaking his leg and dislocating his foot
Maybe the surprise result of this group of matches is the 0-0 draw between Manchester United and Rangers, which took place at Old Trafford. Sadly this match was slightly given a dark tone when Manchester United's midfielder, Luis Antonio Valencia had his left leg broken, and his left foot dislocated. It didn't seem like a heavy tackle to me, but it seems like he twisted the leg, and right away, everybody was yelling at the bench to bring treatment. The player was immediately taken off and given oxygen, and it seems like he might not even play for this season... A very sad piece of news for any Manchester United fans.

In the ongoing battle between Germany and Italy in the UEFA co-efficient, this time it was Germany who won. Bayern Munich defeated Roma 2-0 at the Allianz Arena in Germany. The Italian side held strong, defending well with Julio Sergio making some great saves, but it was the wonderful Thomas Muller who broke through in the 78th. A wicked curling shot with the outside of his right foot, something which seemed slightly awkward, but do-able for a player of Muller's talent. The second goal was marked by Miroslav Klose, slipping in front of Julio Sergio to tap in a nifty goal which adds a bit of shine to the scoreline.

Tottenham drew in their debut in the Champions League group stages, a 2-2 draw against Werder Bremen which saw Crouch almost score twice, but his first was credited as an own goal by Pasanen. The Germans pulled back two goals with Hugo Almeida and the talented Marko Marin, putting everyone in Group A on one point.

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) shoots to score past Auxerre's goalkeeper Olivier Sorin during their Champions League soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan September 15, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
Clearly Zibra's been learning from Inzaghi
AC Milan won 2-0 with the wonderful Zibra scoring a double against Auxerre. Finally things seem to have clicked over there where they have four very good forwards, which won't be able to play all the time. The big Swede nipped in for his first, and coolly finished for his second, assisted by the Brazilians, Robinho and Ronaldinho.

Chelsea defeated Zilina 4-1 away from home, and Valencia also scored four in Turkey against Bursaspor as they won 4-0. Lyon defeated Schalke 04 1-0 with a single goal by Michel Bastos.

We'll have plenty of Europa League fixtures to look forward to on Thursday, and while they may not be as interesting, it still should be fun.


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