UEFA Cup: Everton, Tottenham have the heroics but forget the fundamentals

Everton 2, Fiorentina 0  (Fiorentina wins 4-2 on penalties)

The curse of the 12-yard kick. Yakubu faked out Fiorentina’s keeper, but hit the post. Jagielka tried to sky it top left corner, but he missed down the middle instead. Despite Everton’s dominance at home in regulation time, you could sort of tell it was still Fiorentina’s game. Andy Johnson put the first one in, earning vocal support from the crowd for the rest of the game. Mikel Arteta provided the shock, however, ripping a shot from 30 yards out which caught the Italians off guard. This loss stings, but it doesn’t take away from the fact Everton have found consistency in play and a confidence that they belong in the top five. Timmy Howard was in net, but couldn’t get a jump on any of the penalties including Mario Santana’s which sent Fiorentina onto the quarterfinals. With 9 games left in the EPL, the Toffees can now concentrate on finding their way to higher ground – a place they might even deserve to be – the UCL.

Tottenham 1, PSV Eindhoven 0 (PSV wins 6-5 on penalties)

Who else but Dimitar Berbatov to score the equalizer away from home? It was Jermaine Jenas and Pascal Chimbonda, however, who couldn’t hit the crucial penalties that a young PSV seemed to ease through. Berbatov was kept quiet for 80 minutes until – as if not to be shown up by Arteta’s long range bomb – the Bulgarian unleashed a ferocious volley that blew by PSV’s keeper Gomes. The Hotspur were resilient, but one can certainly question Juande Ramos’ need to alter the formations and tactics on the fly – his insertion of Lee Young-Pyo for his first appearance in 2 months, Zokora at holding mid (which I liked actually), etc. They equalized away from home, however, and got the result they needed until the end. Ramos summed it up nicely to ESPN Soccernet…”You can’t train for penalty pressure”. Sounds like another post in the making…

Other Results:

Zenit St. Petersburg 2, Marseille 0 (Zenit win on away goals, 3-3) – it’s not that Marseille didn’t have their chances, but the away goal they let up in France came back to bite them in the ass; Djibril Cisse was kept quiet, while no one had an answer for Pavel Pogrebniak who struck for a brace and put the Russians through

Hamburg SV 3, Bayer Leverkusen 2 (Leverkusen wins on away goals, 3-3) – HSV had the attacking edge, but Leverkusen converted first. Rafael Van der Vaart led a potent attack, however, that mustered three in a decent effort that unfortunately need 4 goals to go through. Theofanis Gekas was again the decider in the issue scoring Leverkusen’s push through goal. Jose Paolo Guerrero and Trochowski also scored for HSV, while Sergei Barbarez found the first goal for Leverkusen.

Getafe 1, Benfica 0 (Getafe won 3-1 on aggregate) – Benfica sputtered to another loss this one coming several days after their now former boss Jose Antonio Camacho left his post (i.e. was sacked). There was no real urgency coming from the Portuguese and Getafe used that to extend their ‘cinderella run’ into the UEFA Cup quarterfinals. Apparently, Manchester United assistant Carlos Quieroz is in Benfica’s sights for the manager’s position – and that would be great news for Freddy Adu.

Anderlecht 2, Bayern Munich 1 (Bayern won 6-2 on aggregate) – Bayern lost the game but won the war and also gave some invaluable experience to some of their younger players in the process. Young Brazilian central defender Breno has a bright future in Munich and he got his first run-out in the UEFA Round of 16. Highly-touted prospect Toni Kroos also played the first half and left seemingly with a knock. Both 18 year olds were a bit outplayed by Anderlecht’s 20-year old Ukranian Aleksandr Yakovenko, but they didn’t need to shine – they just needed to win.

Action Continues…

Werder Bremen vs. Glasgow Rangers (Rangers hold 2-0 lead) – Rangers firmly hold the lead in this one and if they don’t blow up should find themselves in the quarterfinals.

Sporting Lisbon vs. Bolton (Tied 1-1) – Bolton’s Gary Megson has opted for a second-tier line-up in this one as he wants to rest Diouf, Nolan, Jaaskaleinen, McCann, O’Brien, Campo, and Ricardo Gardner for a relegation battle vs. Wigan this coming weekend. Staving off relegation over European glory? Bold, but smart. Still no Johann Smith for this one though.

Advertisements

England’s UEFA teams in trouble, Scots sit pretty

Fiorentina 2, Everton 0

Fiorentina kept Everton to 1 shot on goal…1 measly shot. The chaos started early for the Toffees as the Italians were relentless, attacking from the get-go. Tim Howard was the only thing keeping Everton in the game as Tim Cahill couldn’t get anything working past the midfield, Yakubu was border-line non-existent as well. David Moyes kept pressing onwards though, determined to leave Florence with an away goal. He inserted Arteta and Andy Johnson in an attempt to wake up the offense. No dice. Howard wasn’t beaten until the 70th minute when Zdravko Kuzmanovic rocketed a shot right outside the penalty box. Ricardo Montolivo – a wing midfielder heavily touted in the Serie A – got the second ten minutes later after a nice exchange left him open to bury a first-time volley past Howard. The American goalkeeper was probably man of the match as a rout looked possible from the beginning.

PSV Eindhoven 1, Tottenham 0

The Spurs had their chances, but ultimately it was young Jefferson Farfan’s day. The Peruvian youngster – although it seems like he’s been in PSV’s set-up for the longest time – hit the only goal of the game in the 34th minute. Tottenham has cooled down considerably since their Carling Cup victory a couple weeks ago, but with Woodgate and King returning in the back, you would expect a different score-line. In fact, the two veterans weren’t at fault for Farfan’s goal. Gilberto, who had a pretty terrible European-debut for Juande Ramos, toyed with the ball in the back and Farfan made him pay. He stripped the Brazilian and proceeded to give PSV the 1-0 advantage. Both Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov were firing, but nothing was finding the target and the result stuck. The Spurs now face a tough away leg in Eindhoven come next week – by then, they could be up to the challenge.

Continue reading

UEFA Update: Everton, PSV, and Bremen cruise, Rangers held

EVERTON 2, SK Brann 0

Timmy Howard in net. Yakubu returned from a David Moyes-given suspension (came back late from the African Nations Cup). Everton and Howard overcame a Ramiro Corrales’ former team without the services of Mikel Arteta. Leon Osman and future star Victor Anichebe put two late goals away to secure a third round win.

Zenit St. Petersburg 1, Villareal 0

A Pavel Pogrebniak goal was all it took to beat a lifeless Villareal squad. Guiseppe Rossi came on in the 66th minute but was largely disappointing.

Werder Bremen 3, Braga 0

Werder took care of the Portuguese upstarts with goals from Brazilian defender Naldo, Daniel Jensen, and Hugo Almeida.

Sporting Lisbon 2, FC Basle 0

Sporting can thank Montonegran midfielder Simon Vukcevic for their victory after he bagged a brace to lead Lisbon past a rather tame FC Basle squad led by the firepower of rising star Eren Derdiyok (who recently received his first Switzerland caps, choosing over Turkey).

Marseille 3, Spartak Moscow 0

They can’t exactly keep good form in Ligue One, but at least they can do so in Europe. Benoit Cheyrou, Taye Taiwo, and Mamadou Niang crushed Moscow at home as even Spartak’s Brazilians Mozart and Welliton couldn’t do anything to breach OM’s defense.

PSV Eindhoven 2, Helsingborg 0

The presence of legend can only do so much in some instances. Henrik Larsson struggled to jumpstart the Swedish powerhouses to victory as Timmy Simons and Danko Lazovic took advantage of their lackluster performance to give PSV a victory at home. Keep an out for PSV’s new scoring threat…(if you can pronounce it) Balazs Dzsudzsak. He is a 21 year old Hungarian midfielder/forward that has made a name for himself within the Eredivisie and put a good showing in against Helsingborg.

Anderlecht 2, Bordeaux 1

I guess you can call this an upset, but Bordeaux’s form as of late hasn’t exactly been pristine. Young Czech midfielder Jan Polak and Mbo Mpenza struck for two late goals to overcome Bordeaux’s only scoring chance of the day – a penalty conversion – to grab the win.

Other scores:

Rangers 0, Panathinaikos 0
Galatasaray 0, Bayer Leverkusen 0
AEK Athens 1, Getafe 1

TODAY’s GAMES:

Aberdeen vs. Bayern Munich
Slavia Prague vs. Tottenham
Bolton vs. Atletico Madrid
FC Zurich vs. Hamburg
Rosenborg vs. Fiorentina
Benfica vs. Nurnberg – Word is, Adu might get the start.

Methadone Days Coverage: More Resolutions, UEFA Cup, FA Cup, Mexican Primera

This whole off-season thing has me thinking about what I want in soccer competitions to get me through the Major League Soccer (MLS) off-season.  To begin, I want a little relevance; hence my excitement about the upcoming NCAA tourney and the Mexican Primera…at least what I can see of it; at least a couple NCAA players will make the jump to MLS (that’s where I first saw Ned Grabavoy to name one player) and the Mexican league makes sense due to Superliga, etc.

The same may apply to the Argentine league, which I can follow tolerably well through Fox Soccer Channel, so maybe I’ll sneak in that as well (or sub it in for the Mexican Primera, which can be hard to follow for a fella whose cable package sports only Univision).

After relevance, what comes next?  Modesty.  With MLS being something of a modest league, I’m finding it hard to watch the Glamor Boys duke it out, whether in their domestic leagues or the bloated and disgusting Champions League (do I mean the “bloated and disgusting” sincerely?  Nah.  Just thinking about Ren & Stimpy for some reason).  So I think I’m going to be a UEFA Cup man instead, a tournament that includes good, honest teams like Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, and…let’s see…who do they have Tuesday…Zenit St. Petersburg.  The kinds of teams for whom the UEFA Cup is their only genuine shot at a title of any kind.  Yes, yes, yes!  (Sorry, that last one is a habit borrowed from a minor character in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle).

And, just as I’m wondering what to watch this weekend – hello! – what do I see but Harrogate Railway v. Mansfield Town in the second round of the FA Cup?  So add the FA Cup to the list.

There…that ought to keep my busy.  I’ll keep tabs at least with the FA Cup and UEFA Cup, while picking up stray snippets of the Mexican and/or Argentine leagues.  I don’t think Mexico will keep me all that busy; my issues with coverage aside, they’ll be knocking off for a while between the Apertura and Clausura tournaments.

OK, really, that is all for today.  Fix achieved, etc.  I’ll wrap up the rest of the 2007 season reviews next week and normal service should resume thereafter.