UEFA Champions League: Turkish Delight

Group standings. 

Group A

FC Porto 1, Liverpool 1

Jermaine Pennant was sent off with 30 minutes to go, but Liverpool survived finding the equalizer well before Pennant’s ejection and hanging on from there. Lucho Gonzalez converted an 8th minute penalty to put Porto up early.

Marseille 2, Besiktas 0

Having trouble finding domestic success again, but Les Bleus found a way past Besiktas with two late goals from trusty Julien Rodriguez and Liverpool outcast Djibril Cisse.

Group B

Chelsea 1, Rosenborg 1

Mourinho’s last game was a dud and the real question of the day was did he know he was walking out before the game or was his exit brought on by the result? Abrahamovich’s man Sheva saved the Blues’ tail by scoring on a header in the 53rd minute.

Valencia 1, Schalke 04 0

Not a great overall week for Bundesliga clubs, but it was David Villa’s class in the 63rd minute that propelled Los Ches by the blue-clad Germans. Otherwise, it looked like everybody else was content to settle for a draw.

Group C

Olympiakos 1, Lazio 1

Luciano Galletti put the Greek champions up 10 minutes into the second half and Lazio struggled to find someone to do their bidding as both Rocchi and Pandev were being shut down. With 10 minutes to, Luciano Zauri found the equalizer and Lazio accepted a tie – but the real question is, was he offside?

Real Madrid 2, Werder Bremen 1

There is still long way to go before we can fully evaluate this year’s Madrid squad, but they have shown more heart and dominance then in recent season’s past. Raul scored in the 16th minute but Boubacar Sanogo cancelled that out a minute later. We all know, however, that if you’re going to shut down Real – you must not give Ruud van Nistelrooy ANY – and I mean ANY – room. Well, Bremen did. Ruud replied – scoring with 15 minutes to go.

Group D

AC Milan 2, Benfica 1

Benfica never really threatened and for us American fans, all we really want to know is why no Freddy Adu? Anywhere? Andrea Pirlo exercised his ‘I’m better than you’ card and put Milan up within 10 minutes of the start. Pippo Inzaghi caught the bug and scored not long after effectively digging Benfica a nice grave to lay down in.

Shakhtar Donetsk 2, Celtic 0

I don’t get it. Rangers can rally against the likes of VfB Stuttgart while Celtic gets out-classed by Shakhtar, but when it comes to domestic play, Rangers loses 4-2 to Hearts of Midlothian while Celtic goes their first 5 unbeaten. Hmmm. A real nice crop of Brazilians have come out of Shakhtar (Elano to Manchester City, Matuzalem, etc.) and Brandao will surely be the next one to grab Western Europe’s eye. Especially after his performance against Celtic, scoring in the 6th minute. Claudio Lucarelli added his own 2 minutes later. The Brazilians really dominated this game, however, with Brandao, Fernandinho, and Jadson all having respectable games.

Group E

Barcelona 3, Lyon 0

Thierry Henry opened his account with Barca, while Lyon fought themselves mostly for the first 20 minutes but when Barca’s class kicked in – there was no fighting. Lionel Messi and Henry scored within the last 10 minutes of the game to put it out of reach.

Rangers 2, VfB Stuttgart 1

Stuttgart struck early thanks to the revelation of last year’s Bundesliga champion, Mario Gomez. Rangers evened it up not long after through the efforts of Charlie Adam, who since his terrible play against FK Zeta has seen little time. Adam came through, but Fernando Meira silver-plattered the lead with a foul on Alan Hutton. Hutton scored making it 2-1, giving the Gers 3 vital points, and taking the unofficial MVP of the match as he had his hand in both goals.

Group F

Manchester United 1, Sporting Lisbon 0

Cristiano Ronaldo’s homecoming was a good one – except for the whole destroying the lives and dreams of every Sporting Lisbon fan out there sort of thing. Okay, a little excessive – as it’s just the first match of the group round but Ronaldo scored the goal (on a diving header no less) that gave the Devils the win.

Roma 2, Dynamo Kiev 0

An out-classing – much of which had to do with the goalscorers Simone Perrotta and Francesco Totti. Trying to rack up points and goal difference before they meet Manchester United for a revenge-filled rematch?

Group G

Fenerbahce 1, Inter Milan 0

Brazilian Deivid supplied the goal just before the half-time whistle and Inter couldn’t respond at all. Could it really be that the presence of Roberto Carlos could push a team over the top? Either way, the key to the Turkish Champion’s victory was the efficient shut-down of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as he saw very little in the way of chances.

PSV Eindhoven 2, CSKA Moscow 1

Vagner Love’s late 89th minute goal couldn’t counter the firepower of Danko Lazovic and former AZ/Ajax striker Kenneth Perez who struck in the 59th and 80th minute respectively.

Group H

Arsenal 3, FC Sevilla 0

Yikes. Arsene Wenger has created a monster or else a little bit of confidence goes a long way. Cesc and Van Persie put the game out of reach but Eduardo grabbed another goal in injury time to drive the point home. The Gunners have started strong in both their Premiership and European campaigns, but are they pacing themselves?

Slavia Prague 2, Steaua Bucharest 1

An entertaining Eastern European battle that involved a showcasing of some burgeoning talent that you could see in the EPL/La Liga/Bundesliga/etc. sometime real soon. Marek Suchy showed why he’s considered one of the brightest prospects since Niko Kranjcar. Goals were scored for Slavia by Zdenek Senkerik and Tijani Belaid and for Bucharest, Dorin Goian.

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La Liga Wrap Up–Jornada 2

 Happy Monday to everyone.  After a crazy weekend of moving and such, I’m back up and blogging.

Here are the results for this weekend’s La Liga action.  The Sevilla-Osasuna game was postponed due to Sevilla’s Champions League tie with AEK Athens on Tuesday.  The game will be made up mid week sometime this season.

Villareal 0 – Real Madrid 5
Real Madrid: Raul 38′ (2) Sneijder 48′ (2) Sergio Ramos 49′ (1) Sneijder 72′ (3) Guti 79′ (1)

After coming off of a 3-0 victory over Valencia last week in the Mestala, Villareal got a firm wake up call from the Blancos at home this weekend. Real Madrid pumped in 5 goals, 2 coming courtsey of the Dutchman Sneijder, who is the Pichichi (leading scorer in La Liga)

Real Madrid simply dominated this game from start to finish, never giving Villareal a chance. The attacking style of Real Madrid was too much for them to handle as Villareal never looked to threaten Casillas with any quality chances on goal. Bernrd Schuster looks to have found a winner in Sneijder, who is having a spectacular run in La Liga so far.

Levante 0 – Murcia 0

Both Levante and Murcia played a uber-conservative game in el Ciutat de Valencia, which culmonated into a nil-nil draw. The game was a bore from start to finish, but Murcia did show some signs of life a few times during the match, forcing Levante keeper Storari into making a few good saves.

Murcia may have played a defensive game, but they are looking for points to help them stay up in La Liga one more season, and they are not going to take chances in dropping points. 4 points in 2 games is not bad for them..not bad at all.

Zaragoza 1 – Racing 1
Zaragoza: Oliviera 74′ (2)
Racing: Óscar Serrano 54′ (1)

Zaragoza and Racing both took to the offensive in this meeting, but the keepers were up to the challenge. Racing was the better side throughout the match and attacked through the air on the shorter Zaragoza squad. Serrano netted his goal in the center of the Zaragoza area before the ball could be cleared.

Oliviera took advantage of a bad clear to tie the game at 1-1 and to ensure Zaragoza earned their first point this season.

Getafe 1 – Recreativo 1
Getafe: Manu del Moral 93′ (1)
Recreativo: Sinama Pongolle 84′ (2)

Manu del Moral saved Getafe from their second straight loss of the season by heading in a goal on 93 minutes. Getafe were playing with 10 men after Mario Cotelo was sent off for shoving a Recreativo player.

Sinama Pongolle scored on a brillant solo effort in the area.

The rest of the La Liga scores:

Betis 2 – Espanyol 2
Betis: Fernando 83′ (1) Sobis 84′ (1)
Espanyol: Luis Garcia 32′ 41′ (1, 2)

Valladolid 2 – Deportivo 2
Valladolid: Garcia Calvo 45′ (1), Sisi 71′ (1)
Deportivo: Taborada 53′ (1) Riki 77′ (1)

Almería 1 – Valencia 2
Almería: Negredo 62′ (2)
Valencia: Morientes 45′ (1) Moretti 79′ (1)

Valencia avenged their shutout defeat last week at the hands of Valladolid with a 2-1 victory over newly promoted Almería.

Barcelona 3 – Athletic 1
Barcelona: Ronaldinho 08′ (1) Ronaldinho 34′ (2) Yaya Toure 71′ (1)
Athletic: Markel Susaeta 70′ (1)

Atlético 1- Mallorca 1
Atlético: Güiza 18′ (1)
Mallorca: Pernía 77′ (1)

Dani Alves is NOT leaving…again

Okay, so I decided I won’t even try to report on what is going on with Dani Alves anymore.

Today, I woke up to the headlines on ESPNSoccernet reporting that Sevilla has rejected the offer for Alves saying it was in essence too low.

‘Sevilla would like to clarify, in relation to the news in various media stories relating to negotiations between this club and Chelsea of England for the transfer of the player to the London club, that Sevilla has considered the offer made by Chelsea to acquire the player as way below the level expected by the club (Sevilla).

So basically it is just a money issue now and now we play the waiting game.

So until I see Alves in a Chelsea kit at Stamford Bridge, being hugged by Jose Mourinho, eating fish and chips in the rain, thats all I have to say about that.

Alves looking for a bit of Respect

I hope that this doesn’t come to fruition, but Dani Alves has made it clear the last few weeks that he is looking to get out of Sevilla and land in a ‘bigger’ club, even if that means a paycut.

When I was reading the Spanish dailies today, Dani Alves said in the AS

“La quiero aprovechar. Por respeto a mí lo tienen que hacer. Me he portado bien en estos cuatro años y medio, y exijo que el Sevilla también se porte bien, en el sentido de valorar una oferta”

Now I always like to give the Spanish actual text because sometimes I feel sentiments get lost in the translation but I will translate for everyone.

‘ I want to take advantage of it. They have to do it in order to respect me. I have behaved over these four and a half years and I expect that Sevilla behaves the same way, in the sense of considering an offer.’

Alves is worried that Sevilla won’t entertain an offer for him from Chelsea, who seem to be the front runners to acquire the Sevillista.

At 24, Alves is in his prime, and was magnificent last year as Sevilla made their run through the UEFA and La Liga. Alves has the ability to defend well and to attack and overlap on the wings. Chelsea would love to have Alves right now as their teams only fielded 11 ‘match-fit’ players for training on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.

I hope that Sevilla does afford Alves with the respect that he deserves, but at the same time do not want to see him leave Sevilla. He has been a cornerstone of that back line and Ramos would have some big boots to fill if he does leave.

He also was ‘rumored’ to be a possible target for Liverpool, but those rumors quicky went away. I don’t understand why Alves wouldn’t want to go to the Spanish colony that is Liverpool, but that’s his own decision.

La Liga Loyalities

The one thing I will say about writing here on CHI is that I am knowledgeable about The Beautiful Game, but I also love to talk about why the game and my teams are important to me sometimes instead of giving stats and analysis.  This is one of those times…

My birthday is August 29th, which as a kid always sucked because it always brought upon the end of the summer, and meant that school was just around the corner.  Or now that graduate school comes knocking, means that I will be sitting in Psycholinguistics class wondering why Noam Chomsky is such a dick.  But I digress…

It also means one thing for me though.  This summer, only 4 days early, I receive the best present that I can get.  The start of La Liga in Spain.   This means so many things for me.  The chance to watch quality Spanish football with crazy announcers that yell and scream everytime anything happens on the pitch.  The all-so-necessary yell of ‘Ooooooooooye’ every time a ball comes within 20 yards of being a goal.  The monstrosity that is the Sevilla-Betis derby.

But the most important for me, is my ability to bring out my completely fanatical view for my club, FC Sevilla.

Now, don’t you all worry.  When I do my La Liga premiere and write about La Liga this season, I won’t be biased towards the other clubs, or say how FC Sevilla will beat them all, but when writing about FC Sevilla, expect nothing less.

La Liga is a crazy league, and having lived in Spain on two seperate occasions and Sevilla for a few months, you really have to have pride in your team.  Or at least, be ‘from’ a team.

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