UEFA Champions League: Beasley, Adu and fifty more matches for you.

Yesterday’s Games 

 

Rangers 1, Crvena Zvezda 0

A last gasp Nacho Novo strike helped Rangers survive a physical onslaught and leave Ibrox with a 1 goal lead and a firm away goal advantage (in the sense that they kept Red Star to zero). DaMarcus Beasley worked a solid 70 minutes or so getting beaten, punched, and dropkicked along the way.

Benfica 2, FC Copenhagen 1

We all expected minutes, but I don’t think anyone expected Freddy Adu to enter Champions League competition just 37 minutes into his first match. The 18-year old had his problems – mostly nerves and positioning issues – but at times seemed to really flow with the game, which unfortunately was not up to snuff for a Benfica that knows they’re much better than that how they played. Portuguese great Rui Costa provided the brace – one in the first and one in the second half – to help Benfica head to Copenhagen with a goal lead in tow. Canadian Atiba Hutchinson got the goal for Copenhagen.

 

Lazio 1, Dinamo Bucharest 1

The Romanian champions head back home feeling good about this one as Lazio, as I heard, looked like utter crap. It certainly didn’t help matters in the last 20 minutes when 2 men were sent off – goalscorer Massimo Mutarelli (2nd caution) and Valon Behrami (straight red). True star of the game was Dinamo goalie Bogdon Lobont – long time Romanian international – as he was bombarded throughout much of the game and kept the Romanians in it.

 

Valencia 3, Elfsborg 0

Vicente, David Villa, and Fernando Morientes provided the firepower, while Elfsborg fizzled away from home. I had mentioned the word minnows and they played like some. The score should have been 5, 6 to nothing but the Valencia frontmen missed several sitters. Expect Valencia to make it to the semifinals this year – on the performances of Silva, Vicente, Villa, Morientes…wow, these guys could

 

TODAY’s MATCHES

Toulouse vs. Liverpool

Rafa and his new boys will be tested by a Toulouse team coming off a sound victory over defending champs Olympique Lyonnais.

 

Spartak Moscow vs. Celtic

I can see Spartak winning this one and eventually moving on as Celtic hasn’t caught their stride as of yet.

 

Tampere United vs. Rosenborg

The Finnish champions versus the Norwegian champions in an all-out, down-and-dirty Scandinavian battle.

 

BATE Borisov vs. Steaua Bucharest

Bulgarian champions versus the Romanian runner-ups…not many will be watching this game, but if Steaua plays anything like Dinamo Bucharest did yesterday – it could be a good one.

 

Fenerbahce vs. Anderlecht

Roberto Carlos’ new squad looks to dispatch of the Belgian champions and probably will do so.

 

FK Sarajevo vs. Dynamo Kiev

I love these Eastern European match-ups, but look for Shevchenko’s Kiev to dominate in this one.

 

FC Zurich vs. Besiktas

Switzerland vs. Turkey. Zurich looks to rebound after starting the Swiss Super League season off with a loss.

 

Ajax vs. Slavia Prague

Ajax is very vulnerable right now – getting thoroughly destroyed in the transfer market by fellow Eredivisie contenders. A new transfer kitty, however, came in with the sale of Wesley Sneijder for $37 million. Does that effect this game? No. Not yet at least.

 

Red Bull Salzburg vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

The Ukranian powerhouse now boasts Copa America’s and the Gold Cup’s revelation – Nery Castillo and they look to use that against the Austrian champions.

 

Werder Bremen vs. Dinamo Zagreb

Bremen lost a lot this offseason but still should have enough to beat Dinamo at home. Away – however – is a different matter.

 

FC Sevilla vs. AEK Athens

Ryan’s team takes on a new-look AEK Athens team who lured Rivaldo from Greek champions Olympiakos. Frederic Kanoute, however, signed on until 2010 boosting the morale and calming the nerves of many supporters. Look for Sevilla to show they’re ready for the upcoming season.

 

Sparta Prague vs. Arsenal

Everybody is talking about how Arsenal is going to have an even worse year than last year. They could be right – and Sparta Praha certainly isn’t going to help one bit. It’s Tomas Rosicky vs. his old team.

The 2nd Leg of the Third Round of Qualifying will take place on August 28th and 29th, 2007.

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