Adidas and Zidane are going to get this 5 a side competition underway one of these days.
And while we wait for that there are more problems for Football in France as rumours about a quota system to limit the number of black players start doing the rounds…
Zidane in Adidas 5 a side game…
Adidas and Zidane are going to get this 5 a side competition underway one of these days.
Messi highlights against Real Madrid..
An excellent through ball to Xavi sometime in the first half.
Sergio Ramos couldn’t stop one of his dipping weaving runs without getting booked -even though he would have known that that booking would cost him his place in the next game.
Cristiano Ronaldo is Mourinho’s man despite tactics
Cristiano Ronaldo does not like Jose Mourinho’s tactics which are built on rope a dope tactics where one defends till the opponent keels over in exhaustion and then comes the sucker punch.
Except CR7 is exactly the sort of player suited for Mourinho’s counterattacking style because he likes to run hard and direct at defenders, employ his stepovers, and unleash his shot in a flash. 0 to 60 in a nanosecond. It brought him success at Man Utd. There is no patience nor guile in for Barca’s tiki taka. He would develop a permanent pout realizing he serves as one of the many nodes in Barca’s highly developed parallel scheme.
On Wednesday evening he had the perfect opportunity to practice his counterattacking skills. Carles Puyol at makeshift left back and at 33 years, a vintage Studebaker to guard against a sleek purring Bugatti. He could have made Barca play like a man down even with stunted service. And yet, there was hardly a time when CR7 got the better of the veteran. His set pieces were horribly off blasting into the wall or spooning it into the stratosphere.
At the other end Leo Messi went about his destiny with greatness in the usual way.
Mourinho’s tactics become a convenient punching bag for an underwhelming performance. But it is all part of a blame game being played out from the manager down.
Real Madrid have released this video to back up their strident claim that Pepe did not make contact with Alves prior to his sending off.
Europa Cup SF, first leg: Cardozo powers Benfica past Braga
Oscar Cardozo’s free kick traversed a perfect arc to beat Braga’s Artur for the winning goal. The Paraguayan had a hand in his side’s first goal. His header off Maxi Pereira’s cross struck the upright but Jardel was perfectly positioned to toe poke the rebound for the lead. Vandinho scored a valuable away goal as he deflected his header superbly off Hugo Viana’s free kick past a wrong footed Roberto.
Europa Cup SF, first leg: Porto’s Colombians put Villarreal to the sword
Radamel Falcao scored four goals while Freddy Guarin scored one and provided two assists as Porto sank the Yellow Submarines. It was the Spanish side however who drew first blood when Cani headed the ball home from a Nilmar cross just before halftime. But Porto was just getting warmed up for the Falcao, Guarin and Hulk show. To be fair, the Villareal defense was quite pathetic caught ball watching. And don’t they know to put a wall for the free kicks as well as two defenders on the goal line on set pieces?
It looks like Villarreal will be unable to prevent an all Portugese final as the other semi-final was contested between Benfica and Braga.
The Europa Cup limelight should heighten interest in the Portugese league from the bigger European clubs. Oscar Cardozo, Falcao, Joao Moutinho, Fábio Coentrão, Jorge Fucile, Matias Fernandez, Mossoro to name names.
Richard Swarbrick’s animation of El Clasico
A breathtakingly gorgeous depiction of Barca’s immortal 5-0 win over Real.
Mourinho confronts UEFA with his sob story
The fall out over Wednesday’s El Crassico continues. UEFA has decided to open disciplinary cases into both Real Madrid and Barca. Of the two, the Madrid club gets off much worse.
“The case against Real Madrid is in relation to the throwing of missiles, a pitch invasion, the red card shown to Pepe, the dismissal of coach Jose Mourinho, as well as the inappropriate statement given by Mr Mourinho to the media after the match.” (Uefa Disciplinary Regulations, Article 5 – Principles of conduct).
“The case against Barcelona regards the red card administered to Jose Pinto.”
I have never seen Jose Mourinho look so down in the mouth. In his post match conference, he practically threw in the towel. And his “sometimes it is disgusting for me to live in this world and have this football world for a living” reminds me of his post Chelsea days when he took a hiatus for a year because he had had enough.
With Barca at its peak, Real might have to consign itself to second fiddle for a considerable period of time. What is Mourinho going to do? Develop a system? Players? He’s never done that in his career. As a coach Mourinho plays not to lose – it was the way things were done in Chelsea and Inter. Tough gritty defenses and efficient counterattacks. It made for ugly but effective football.
Yesterday was a good case in point. He had three holding midfielders and four backs with Mesut Oezil, Angel Di Maria, and Ronaldo as his attacking options. Barca had to overcome a defensive cordon stretching from the half line down with Di Maria and Oezil falling back to track. It was clear Mourinho was playing for a draw. By the end of the match a frustrated Ronaldo was about 60 yards away from his normal position trying to retrieve the ball. Adebayor was an improvement at first but clearly after Pepe’s ejection service to him was unforthcoming.
Barca maybe the beneficiaries of some questionable dismissals but Madrid were never going to beat them even if they had their full complement of players. Mourinho’s tactics have to be questioned when players like Kaka, Gonzalo Higuain, and Karim Benzema sit on the bench who not three days ago had subjected Valencia to a 6-3 humiliation.
Mourinho also borders on the ludicrous when he says “They have gained that power. Others don’t have a chance.” This is the manager of a club who spent €500m on players with bank loans in a country a step away from declaring insolvency and reeling from record unemployment. Everyone knows Florentino Perez just has to call to get these loans approved because no bank can afford to be looked on as the one to torpedo Madrid’s chances. In the public relations department the Madrid media are nothing but shameful water carriers for their team. Tell me who has the power. I have said this before but Mourinho’s genius lies in turning himself into a victim. Arsene Wenger tries but he comes across as a whinger.
The spotlight should be on Mourinho’s tactics not some pie in the sky UNICEF conspiracy theory. What bets he’s pining for a Premiership return? He may not even wait to exercise that clause in his contract which says he is free to look for alternate employment after two years.
Monterrey ends Real Salt Lake’s dream
Yesterday was not a good day for clubs named Real. Humberto “El Chupete” Suazo scored the winning goal for Monterrey in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals. The Mexican club won on a 3-2 aggregate and will go to the Club World Cup later this year.
For Real Salt Lake, a club linked with the Madrid giants, the loss put an end to a two year unbeaten streak at home. RSL put on the pressure in the second half creating a number of chances. Alvaro Saborio forced a save with a header. In the dying minutes the ball came loose to Javier Morales following a goalmouth but his toe poke saw the ball sail out. Moments later, Jonathan Orozco in goal was able to keep out a Jamison Olave header on his second attempt. When the final whistle was blown you could see and feel the anguish of Jason Kreis and the players.
Full credit to RSL for coming close to becoming the first MLS team to go to the CWC. They can celebrate their hard fought wins over Cruz Azul and Deportivo Saprissa. And their MLS season has gotten off to a very bright start. Which augurs well for another shot at the CONCACAF title.
A deuce of a goal by Clint Dempsey
Bolton were sent packing by a Clint Dempsey brace with Brede Hangeland chipping in with the third. Deuce’s first goal was a spectacularly struck side volley. The second came after Eidur Gudjohnsen’s neat flick is guided home by Dempsey. Danny Murphy’s laser like free kick finds the giant Hangeland for Fulham’s third strike.
Fulham with this win ensure that they will continue in the Premiership while Bolton have no such problems except that they would like to savour a top half finish.
CL semi-final, first leg: Two sublime Messi moments stun Real
Spare a thought for Wolfgang Stark. For about 75 minutes this was the El Crassico as players dived, pulled, slapped, and shoved each other. You’ve never seen full grown men whinge like this before. And one hopes it never happens again.
Pedro and Busquets were atrocious in their theatrics. Pepe took a dive like he had been poleaxed and Lassana Diarra quietly went around nastily clipping each Barca ankle. How he managed to stay on the field is one of the great mysteries.
Barca unsurprisingly had about 75% of the ball but ran into a Real team that sat back and soaked up the pressure as Mourinho applied the same anti-football tactics while at Inter. It works if you’re effective on the counter.
The problem was Real could muster very little threat. Cristiano Ronaldo was the lone ranger with very little supply. The striker had just about one testing shot and a header that flew over and that was it. His set pieces were tragic. He is a supremely physical lad but he has absolutely no guile. Carles Puyol shunted to left back and two paces slower was immense in blunting his endeavour.
The bad feelings spilled over at halftime and there was a fracas in the tunnel which resulted in Barca’s third string goalie Jose Pinto given the red card. After the half, Pepe flew in with with his right leg leading and clipped Dani Alves. The severity of the tackle is in dispute but the red was a reputation call. Referees are aware of players past records and Pepe is a known thug. But it set off Mourinho furiously winking at the linesman implying he had been paid off. It was red for the Real Madrid gaffer and he spent his minutes in the stands furiously scribbling instructions on a notepad.
Ibrahim Affelay made an instant impact as he came on for Pedro. Marcelo who had hitherto kept Alves and Pedro under wraps was left scrambling as the Dutch winger blazed past him to send a nice dipping cross which was gobbled up by Messi fronting Ramos. 10 minutes later the little maestro left the Real defense in sixes and sevens to finish off majestically with his right foot. The last 15 minutes were vintage Barca stroking the ball with ease and precision and running Real ragged.
Now it is Camp Nou and Mourinho will be without Pepe and Sergio Ramos. The right back’s brainless foul on Messi cost him a place in the second leg. The chance of a Man Utd vs Barca repeat final is looking very good.
Messi scores both goals ………
Mourinho has a conspiracy theory.Dark and diabolical forces are at work…
If I tell Uefa what I really think and feel, my career would end now,” Mourinho said. “Instead I will just ask a question to which I hope one day to get a response: Why? Why? Why Ovrebo? Why Busacca? Why De Bleeckere? Why Stark? Why? Because every semi-final the same things happen. We are talking about an absolutely fantastic football team, so why do they need that? Why? Why does a team as good as they are need something [extra] that is so obvious that everyone sees it?
“Why Ovrebo [two] years ago [when the Norwegian referee did not give Chelsea a series of penalties against Barcelona]? Why couldn’t Chelsea go to the final? Last year it was a miracle that Inter got there playing with 10 men for so long. A miracle. Why weren’t there four penalties against Chelsea [in 2009]? Why send off [Arsenal's Robin] Van Persie [in the last 16]? Where does their power come from?
The match was marred by a brawl between players of both sides.Jose Manuel Pinto and Mourinho both got sent off.Messi’s goals came in the last 14 minutes…
szólj hozzá: RM 0-2 BAR – Highlights
Real Salt Lake on the cusp of making history
Can RSL mail it in?
CONCACAF Champions League Finals, second leg: Real Salt Lake vs Monterrey, 10 PM ET, Rio Tinto Stadium: On FSC/TeleFutura
Amidst the headline grabbing Real Madrid vs Barca Champions League semi-finals, there is one less noticed match taking place. Today, Real Salt Lake could become the first MLS club to go to the FIFA Club World Cup as CONCACAF champions.
They meet Monterrey at home for the second leg after forcing a 2-2 draw in Mexico in the first leg. The Rio Tinto has been a fortress where the league’s hottest team have not lost in 37 matches.
And Utah’s most famous sporting legend Karl Malone will be following the game.
A glimmer of hope for Ian Holloway’s men
This once promising season has come unglued for Blackpool. The second half has seen just two wins and more damagingly, recent losses to promotion rivals Wolves and Wigan, have seriously damaged their chances of remaining in the Premiership.
Holloway’s squad plays attacking soccer with a zest but have shown an alarming tendency to lose focus in the second half with opponents scoring at will on the counter. It comes as no surprise that they’ve conceded 70 goals, the most in the league. Their next four matches are all against teams in the top half of the table. Which makes their prospects even more daunting.
However, there is a chance that Blackpool might be able to weather it out because they actually have a winning record against these sides. They managed to beat Stoke, 1-0 at the Brittania, drew Bolton 2-2 at Ewood, and in two home games beat Spurs, 3-1, and from a winning position lost to Man Utd, 2-3.
Bolton and Stoke travel to Bloomfield Road with both clubs having poor away records. Bolton with just 2 wins and Stoke marginally better with one more. Scoring goals has been a huge problem for both sides away from home which should provide comfort to Holloway’s men.
In between these two home games, Blackpool travel to Spurs on 7th May. White Hart Lane has been quite impregnable with just the one loss but what should hearten them is the number of draws managed by the opposition. The most in the league at home with eight and equal to the number of wins. Blackpool end their season at unblemished Old Trafford and it will be naive to think of any change in that record. Especially if Man Utd have to pull out all the stops to prevent Chelsea sneaking off with the title.
Holloway’s best bet would be to go all out to win both home games and play for a draw at Spurs. A total of 7 points out of a possible 12 will push the tally to 41 points. Which is about the minimum required to realistically dodge relegation. They also have a very significant advantage in goals scored as compared to their rivals keeping an adverse goal differential from ballooning further. Scoring goals and manning up their defense to stop the second half comeback will be keys to their continued presence in the league. We can look forward to a brand of entertaining and attractive football amidst the drudgery from the usual suspects.
Manuel Neuer linked to Bayern
All the good money says he is. And after last evening’s performance he won’t come cheap. As for Man Utd, it won’t be a surprise if Van Der Sar were to continue for another year.