Champions League-La Liga Edition: A Tale of 3-2’s

Le Sigh. =(

Fenerbahçe 3 – Sevilla 2

A Sevilla side with no excuses couldn’t defend worth a damn and still almost came out of Turkey with a win. Three Fenerbahçe goals scored on TERRIBLE defending by Sevilla.

I’ll spare a recap of the game since everyone knows how much I hate doing them. But I’ll still give my two cents.

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Champions League Today On TV

Since I just set my girlfriend’s DVR to tape the games, I figuered I would let everyone know what’s going on with today’s Champions League Games.

Arsenal-Milan     ESPN2 2:30-5:30

Celtic v Barcelona     ESPN Deportes 2:30-5:00
ESPN Classic 5:00- 7:00 (Replay from ESPN Deportes but in English)

Lyon v Manchester United ESPNDeportes 4:45-7 (Tape Delay)

Basically ESPN Deportes replays three of the four games during the day (of course the Sevilla game isn’t one of them!)

If you are looking for streams of the games, check out www.live-footy.org 

Fenerbahçe v Sevilla – Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Sevilla take on Fenerbahçe Wednesday in a stadium that is reminiscent of the Winter Classic played between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins on New Years Day. The current ‘blanket of snow’ aptly named by AS.com is in the process of being cleared.

Sevilla left the homeland for Istanbul with 20 players in tow.
Palop, De Sanctis, Daniel Alves, Mosquera, Drago, Crespo, Fazio, Escudé, Adriano, Renato, Poulsen, Maresca, Keita, Jesús Navas, Tom De Mul, Duda, Diego Capel, Koné, Luis Fabiano Kanouté.

The starting 11 will be:

Luis Fabiano–Kanouté

Capel-Poulsen-Keita-Jesus Navas

Drago-Adriano-Escude-Dani Alves

Palop

 

Today, Sevilla were allowed to practice in the stadium for around 70 minutes. The players described the pitch as ‘not frozen’ but said it was ‘irregular’ (aka It was a mess). Half of the stadium was available to Sevilla, and the other half was busy being cleared off for the match tomorrow.

On to the match itself. Sevilla head into this game unbeaten in their last 4 games (3-1 with the draw coming to Barcelona). Many of the pundits are talking about Sevilla finally <em>finding their form</em> and in fact, Sevilla find themselves sitting in 6th place, which gains them a UEFA Cup spot.

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But this game isn’t about <em>La Liga</em> it’s about the Champions League. I remember watching Liverpool play Beskitas in Turkey during the group stages. I’ve never seen a group of fans as crazy as the Beskitas fans were during that game. For 90 straight minutes the fans never stopped chanting, nor needed any part of their seat as they were standing all game long.

After starting physical therapy at the University at Buffalo Sports Medicine center, I met one of the graduate students, who is Turkish and just so happens to be a Fenerbahçe fan. The last 2 weeks have been nothing but cheap shots at one another, but I’ve also learned something about this Turkish team that I can safely say I knew NOTHING about before meeting him.

He says ‘We love Brazilians’. <em>Marca</em> has an article today entitled ‘Fenerbahçe dances samba’ (in reference to all of the Brazilians on the team. The most notable Brazilian on Fenerbahçe is Roberto Carlos, but they are rather stacked with Brazilians, with <strong>Zico</strong> is in his second year at the club as trainer while <strong>Aurelio</strong> speaks Turkish and is a naturalized Turkish citizen.

On to Sevilla. As mentioned earlier, we are on a 4 game unbeaten streak and want to continue that run through Turkey on Wednesday night. It would be stupid of me not to say the snow could play a bit of a role in the outcome of the game, but fortunately for the game of soccer in general, it is not meant to be played in the snow. Both teams will be struggling if the white stuff starts coming down.

Sevilla have no real injuries to talk about, except that <em>el capitan</em> Javi Navarro is still out and I still have no clue when he’ll be back. Chevantón is also out injured for a month, but will not really be of any necessity with both Luis Fabiano and Kanouté ready for the challenge.

Hopefully Sevilla can keep the scoring boots on and find the back of the net while on the away leg. Away goals are always a premium in these home-at-home series.

Some talk has been made of Diego Capel’s diving ability. As I posted on here a few weeks ago, Capel draws a yellow card every 69 minutes he is on the pitch and has 22 yellow cards against him in the first half of La Liga. That’s an insane amount of cards. He isn’t a diver. In the games I’ve caught this season, I have only seen him dive once or twice, not any more than your normal professional footballer.

That’s all I’ve got as I have a soccer game myself to catch. Let me know your thoughts about Sevilla in the comments!

UCL: Liverpool, Real Madrid through

Group A

Liverpool 4, Marseille 0

The Reds wasted no time in dismantling Djibril Cisse’s squad. The arrow was pointing in their direction and it wasn’t any clearer than when Gerrard missed an early penalty conversion only to follow it up and put Rafa’s boys in the lead. The rest of the game was symmetrical to say the least. Gerrard in the 4th, Torres in the 11th, and then two in the second half from Babel and Dirk Kuijt. On to the knockout round…

FC Porto 2, Besiktas 0

Jose Mourinho’s former team overcame a disallowed goal early on to put two more in on the Turkish giants. Ricardo Quaresma had a particularly enlightening game, supplying the clincher in the 62nd minute. With Porto’s win, Group A was won, putting Liverpool in second heading into the knockout rounds.

Group B

Chelsea 0, Valencia 0

When your coach writes this game off as nothing more than a ‘distraction’, you know it’s going to be a bore. Avram Grant has his mind set on Arsenal later this week, but the Blues still managed to squeak out 20 shots and keep Los Ches backwheeling on occasion. With a spot already in the knockout rounds, one wonders why Lampard, Terry, and Essien weren’t rested for this one.

Schalke 04 3, Rosenborg 1

Not a shocking result by any means as Rosenborg has gotten their ass handed to them quite a bit during group play. Schalke, however, had to deal with a little bit of a scare pre-match as head coach Mirko Slomka dropped Mladen Krstajic and Ivan Rakitic from the first-team for frequenting the nightclubs. No problem, though, as goals from Kevin Kuranyi, Gerald Asamoah, and Rafinha sealed the deal and a spot in the next round.

Group C

Olympiakos 3, Werder Bremen 0

I knew the Greek champions were strong – but ‘beating Bundesliga contenders 3-0’ strong? I certainly didn’t think so. Call it luck, but all in all, Olympiakos had Ieroklis Stoltidis who finished 2 of the 3 chances he had, sparking the Greek giants to the only real upset of the day. Former Portsmouth man Lomano Lua-Lua started for Olympiakos and caused some trouble up front.

Real Madrid 3, Lazio 1

The veterans struck early for Real Madrid to make sure there was little contest when it came to a knockout-round berth. Raul (man, those ice baths and the altitude ‘sleep’ training might really have saved his career) and Julio Baptista struck before the clock turned 20. Robinho added his touch before half-time and Madrid was cruising. Lazio – with a guy as a dangerous as Goran Pandev – were bound to make things interesting. And they didn’t disappoint. With 10 minutes to go, Pandev scored. Then in the waning minutes, Pepe was called for a handball in the box but Tomasso Rocchi couldn’t do his part in converting the penalty.

Those qualified yesterday:

Olympiakos
Real Madrid
Liverpool
FC Porto
Schalke 04
Chelsea

UCL Game 5’s: Rangers hang on – Beasley severely injured

Group E

Barcelona 2, Lyon 2

Barca clinched even without the services of Thierry Henry.  Could have won if it wasn’t for Brazilian veteran Juninho Pernambucano who snuck in a brace. His performance was overshadowed by the antics of Barca coach Frank Rijkaard (soon to be punished) and the penalty conversion of Leo Messi which put Barca in the lead 2-1. Juninho, however, should have had three and had that happened, the spotlight would have been all his.

VfB Stuttgart 3, Rangers 2

Beasley started and caused a bit of trouble but had to be stretchered off in the 50th minute. This came only 15 minutes after Lee McCulloch had to leave the game as well due to injury. Still the Rangers fought back to a 2-2 deadlock only to see their salvo go to waste after a Ciprian Marica 85th minute strike. There is no definite diagnosis on Beasley’s injury after his collision with the Stuttgart keeper Rafael Schafer, but manager Walter Smith has called it ‘serious’ and that doesn’t bode well. Without Beasley, it was fellow CONCACAF man Pavel Pardo who stole the show – scoring a goal and assisting on another.

Group F

AS Roma 4, Dynamo Kiev 1

It was the Mirko Vucinic show in the Ukraine as his double added with Panucci and Giuly strikes broke wide open an otherwise somewhat even game. Vucinic made his mark about 40 minutes in after captain Francesco Totti had to leave the game with injury. Kiev’s loss highlighted a pretty dismal day for Eastern European teams.

Manchester United 2, Sporting Lisbon 1

Maximum points. That’s about all you can ask from a Wayne Rooney-less team. It certainly wasn’t easy though as the Devils had to rely on Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics again. The Portuguese midfielder scored on a free kick 25-yards out in injury time against his own former club. Not bad for the dramatics.

Group G

Inter Milan 3, Fenerbahce 0

Three late goals from Julio Cruz, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Luis Jimenez sufficiently dispatched the Turkish champions. A quick start for the Turks has been all but wiped away as PSV sits only a point adrift and CSKA Moscow (Fenerbahce’s next opponent) are due for a win.

PSV Eindhoven 1, CSKA Moscow 0

A Jefferson Farfan strike in the 39th minute allowed PSV to continue fighting for a spot in the knockout rounds. They were helped by Fenerbahce’s dismantling at the hands of Inter Milan but the only problem is…..PSV has Inter Milan last. CSKA Moscow is close to ending a pretty miserable UCL run and this result was the perfect example as the Russians outshot PSV 15-4.

Group H

FC Sevilla 3, Arsenal 1

Both are through but FC Sevilla gained the momentum. That happens when you shut down a potent Gunner squad that hadn’t lost since April 2007. You could even say that Sevilla dominated – out-shooting and out-possessing Arsene Wenger’s boys. All that didn’t matter much though as Arsenal was already through to the knockout rounds.

Slavia Prague 1, Steaua Bucharest 1 

An Eastern European battle with a spot in the UEFA Cup knockout rounds on the line. Prague came in with the upper-hand and left with it intact. It took until the 78th minute to ensure that spot though.  Young Marek Suchy and center midfielder Michel Svec drove the game and provided some decency in an otherwise ugly game for the Czechs.

Champions League Semi-Roundup

Today saw my Corpus Linguistics class let out 30 minutes early, which means that I could catch a good portion of the many Champions League games scheduled for today. I simply love the days that I can sit around and be surrounded by soccer all day long. In normal Champions League fashion, most all games kickoff at the same time, so choosing what games to watch can be difficult.

First, I watched the Sevilla-Steaua Bucuresti game on a feed from Live Footy since Sevilla are my team above all. The game was well played, and Sevilla came out on top 2-1. Here is my recap via The Sevilla Offside.

Here are the GOALS!! in case you are one of those types. Check out Keita’s rocket off the left post around the 1:48 mark. What a stunning volley. Kanouté is back on the scoring train and Luis Fabiano should have netted at least 3 this game.

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