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.

Advertisements

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.

French Ligue One: Lyon keeps grabbing the headlines with Benzema in the spotlight

Lyon used three unanswered goals in less than 10 minutes to overcome a 2-0 Le Mans lead. The goals were provided by Sidney Govou (71st min), Karim Benzema (74th), and Liverpool/Aston Villa castaway Milan Baros (78th) respectively as OL looks less than dominant this year. Le Mans opened the scoring thanks to Stephane Sessengon as he closed the first half with one and then opened the second half with another. The fact that Lyon looks resilient is dangerous if they decide to become their regular dominant selves again. Benzema looks poised to become the next Ligue One go-to striker and for that, he’s CHI’s player of the week.

Bordeaux kept their upper-table form with a 2-1 win over an upstart Monaco. Monaco barely made a noise and could not withstand a second-half double salvo from Moroccan Marouane Chamakh and Brazilian Wendel.

Nancy keeps winning and they’re not limiting themselves to beating lower table sides. This time the victim was Saint-Etienne, 2-0 with goals from Marc-Antoine Fortune and Carlos Kim. Kim gave them the lead in the 11th minute and Fortune put it away in the 85th. Nancy is proving tough to beat. As they sit clear above the rest by 2 points, with a game in tow.

Rennes and Lille fought it out to a 2-2 draw as Etienne Didot had a great game for Stade Rennais and the wanted Michel Bastos provided the 76th minute equalizer for Lille. Strasbourg and Lorient played to a 0-0 tie, while Valenciennes and Metz did the same.

Toulouse rebounded from a nasty loss to Liverpool in the midweek Champions League qualifiers to push Auxerre even closer to the bottom. Johan Elmander and Moussa Sissoko did the damage late in the game as Auxerre sat helpless, absorbing another loss and boasting a -13 goal difference.

On Sunday, Marseille and Paris St-Germain played to a 1-1 draw with all of the scoring being done within 20 minutes. Djibril Cisse scored his first Ligue One goal of the year but Pegguy Luyindula replied no more than 10 minutes later. Despite inconsistent form to start the season, Lyon is still ahead of those originally predicted to be their biggest competitors this season. If Marseille and PSG don’t get it together, Lyon could lift their 7th.

Also on Sunday, Nice needed just one from Baky Kone to beat Racing Lens, who are off to a winless start in 5 games, 1-0.

Standings

French Ligue One: Midweek action yields win for Lyon

Lyon overcame a Valter Birsa PK conversion by sandwiching the Sochaux player’s strike with two of their own. Karim Benzema struck again and is fast becoming a staple in the starting line-up while offseason purchase and former Lille leader Mathieu Bodmer provided the winner early in the second half as Lyon survived 2-1.

Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, and Saint-Etienne all registered shutout wins. Monaco needed the early strike from former Vert Frederic Piquionne to over come Lille 1-0, while PSG and Saint-Etienne had slightly more comfortable wins. Amara Diane and Sylvain Armand did the dirty work for PSG and Saint-Etienne’s needed an Ilan penalty kick to beat a faltering Strasbourg. It’s the best start for Monaco [4-1-1] in a long time, while PSG underperforms again [1-4-1]. Les Verts opt for mediocrity in the tables and pure balance [2-2-2].

Olympique Marseille was the odd man out, the only giant to lose in the midweek. Les Bleus lost to a reeling Nice squad led by the production of Vincent Hognon and Belgian David Hellebuyck. Not even Samir Nasri can jumpstart this team as they desperately missing the presence of Ribery on the wing. Benoit Cheyrou does not compare…the game, however, saw most of the chances go Marseille’s way.

Rennes buried the hapless Auxerre even further in their relegation ditch as 2/3 of their concrete scoring chances were put away. Transfer target Jimmy Briand had the clincher as Auxerre never threatened and instead fell to 1-5-0 on the season.

Former Lyon player Alou Diarra hit for the only goal of the game as Bordeaux won a close contest with Metz, 1-0. Bordeaux sits pretty at 4th in the standings.

Tuesday’s match-up saw Valenciennes dominate yet another Ligue One squad. This time the victim was Lorient, losing 3-1 as Valenciennes depended on the brace of Gregory Pujol. To add a bit of a buffer zone, Sebastien Roudet added a goal in the waning minutes. Valenciennes sits proudly tied for first with an admirable 4-1-1 record.

French Ligue One: Monaco, Lyon, Marseille all win, but PSG falls off pace…again

Lyon scraped by Saint Etienne in the battle of the local rivals – young’un Karim Benzema provided the lone strike in the 53rd minute. A win at home but they still don’t look like themselves – if it weren’t for the good play of back-up keeper Remy Vercoutre, Lyon could have been looking at an unfamiliar spot in the standings. Both Freddy Guarin (a second-half sub) and new signing Blaise Matuidi (on Domenech’s rader for Les Bleus) kept up good form for Les Verts.

Paris Saint-Germain is held yet again to a tie, this time a 1-1 draw with Lille. Cameroonian Jean Makoun (a long-time PSG, Lyon transfer target) put Lille up first in early in the second half. Pauleta – the normally prolific Portuguese striker who has lost his touch this season – had a chance to equalize on a PK in the 71st minute when Amara Diane was taken down in the box. Pauleta was saved by the heroics of Pierre-Alain Frau – who found the net three minutes later. Both sides were gifted several opportunities in a game that lacked any finishing prowess.

Strasbourg defeated Lens 2-1 as Wason Renteria – young Colombian striker, just recently signed – was the star of the show. Renteria put Strasbourg up early in the second half to beat a quality Racing Lens squad.

Olympique Marseille took care of their business in Caen with a 2-1 win in an attempt to keep early-season tabs on Lyon. Mamadou Niang and Julien Rodriguez struck to ensure the victory. Caen’s goal was a last gasp strike as Marseille dictated the pace and play of most of the game.

Monaco got a win as well by scoring three unanswered goals after Daisuke Matsui’s opening strike for to put Le Mans in the lead 1-0. Frederic Piquionne (diva), Jeremy Menez, and Leandro Cufre did the damage as Monaco now sits in third (light years away from where they were last year).

Olivier Thomert played the role of hero in Rennes 2-0 win over Metz, scoring both goals. One in each half. His performance earned him CHI’s Player of the Week to join Johann Audel and Rafik Saifi in that category.

Olivier Thomert

David Bellion had the chance for an easy hat-trick but wasted his penalty strike as Les Girondins des Bordeaux could only manage a 2-2 tie against Lorient. I guess if you look on the bright side, Bellion (the former Man Utd youth star) did strike for two. Lorient’s resilience makes them the surprise 2nd place team in the standings.

Nancy kept first place in Ligue One by using four different scorers to pace a 4-1 win over Auxerre, who has started off this season pitifully.

Valenciennes beat Sochaux 3-1 as they continue to prove that they deserve to be in Ligue One as they were last year’s Reading of the Ligue One. Last year’s leading goalscorer Steve Savidan capped the win with his strike in the 75th minute.

Nice and Toulouse played to a 1-1 draw as Toulouse’s minds were clearly looking forward to the Champions League clash at midweek against Liverpool.

French Ligue One Standings

Lyon starts confidently, Marseille with a whimper

New coach Alain Perrin has got to be happy with the 2-0 shutout win over Auxerre, a top half contender. The victory bodes well for the club as it seemed they had lost more quality than they had brought in, but new signings: Fabio Grosso (nice to see a high-profile Italian over in France), Kader Keita (from Lille), Their losses, which now loom a little less, could still prove costly as it’s hard to replace an Eric Abidal (to Barcelona), Gerard Houllier, Florent Malouda (to Chelsea), Gregory Coupet (to injury, out 4 months, and Tiago (to Juventus).

Olympique Lyonnais

Milan Baros and young’un Karim Benzema put away their chances as Lyon seemingly breezed through their first match on the busy road towards a 7th consecutive title.

Main competitors Marseille found it much more difficult, despite significantly strengthening their squad, tying 0-0 against a scraptastic, Ligue One newcomers Strasbourg . The loss of tireless midfielder Franck Ribery to Bayern Munich proved obvious and a bit discerning as even the ‘next Zidane’ Samir Nasri couldn’t help the Marseille cause. New signings Karim Ziani and former Red Bolo Zenden couldn’t help break the deadlock, but made their competitive debuts.

Paris St-Germain and Monaco both tied their opening matches as well. PSG 0-0 against Sochaux and Monaco 1-1 against a tough Frederic Piquoinne-less Saint Etienne side.

CHI’s Ligue One Man of the Week: Johan Audel who had a hat-trick in his new squad, Valenciennes’ first match of the season versus Toulouse. Score ended up 3-1 as Valenciennes, newcomers last season, look to make their Ligue One status permanent. A good signing for the club, the 24-year old Audel should provide the offensive support necessary for Steve Savidan (who graced the top of the scoring charts last season) and to keep this team ready to produce week in and week out.

Johan Audel