UEFA Champions League: Ronaldo and his “big head”, a 17 year old bails out Barca

Manchester United 2, AS Roma 0

It’s called ‘having a team’s number’. Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney made sure of that. The heart of the Red Devils scored the first away goal without the aid of his backheel but instead it was his head and it put one foot for Manchester United into the Champions League semi-finals. Roma was without their usual maestro Francesco Totti and it showed with a lack of definitive finishing – but he will be back next Wednesday for the return leg. A 2-0 defeat at home will mean all things will have to go Roma’s way at Old Trafford. United was not without their inconsistencies, however, as Roma dominated the run of play for the first 15 minutes only to curse themselves over missed opportunities and the superb acrobatics of Edwin Van der Sar. Roma has a knack of scoring away from home, having done so twice this competition so far, and they will be looking to exploit a possible gap in defense left open by an injured Nemanja Vidic. Oh – by the way – it was Ronaldo’s 36th goal of the season. Unreal. It prompted Roma’s midfielder David Pizarro to call Ronaldo a “big head”.

Barcelona 1, Schalke 04 0

17-year old Bojan Krkic grabbed a much-needed away goal early in the match and led Barca to a 1-0 win in Germany. Highlighted by physical play, Rafa Marquez and Puyol organized a stingy defense capable enough of keeping Schalke’s big men Altintop and Kuranyi away from Valdes’ net. Nothing went on target for the Germans, whereas Thierry Henry troubled a weak left side and supplied the winning square pass to Krkic (the first of only 4 chances throughout for Barca). Near the end, things got sloppy, the crowd became weary, and whistles were heard in an attempt to prod Schalke into action. No luck, Barca takes the away goal back to Nou Camp. With Krkic’s goal, he became the youngest player to score in Champions League history.

TODAY’s GAMES: Liverpool vs. Arsenal, Chelsea vs. Fenerbahce

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EPL Daily 10.22: Weekend Results; Hamann Smashed; and a new Yank Abroad

EPL Para-Roundup

Dirk Kuijt converted 2 PK’s to beat 9-man Everton (Howard got his hand to both PKs but couldn’t follow through). Rooney scored a brace to lead Man Utd over Aston Villa 4-1 but he had 3 other sitters (one a PK) missing his chance for a hat-trick (that’s still 5 goals in the last 6 games). Elano (best fantasy league pick-up ever) scored yet again for Manchester City in a 1-0 shutout of Birmingham. Portsmouth, Arsenal, and Chelsea earned respective 2-0 shutouts with Drogba back and firing (keep watching the Drogba bit as it looks to intensify in the coming weeks and look up the Alex free kick strike). Blackburn used the formidable duo of Benni McCarthy and Roque Santa Cruz to fend off two Kevin Doyle goals and beat Reading 4-2. Fulham and Derby fought to a 0-0 deadlock (Dempsey and Lewis played all 90, while Boca came off the bench due to questionable recent form), while West Ham and Craig Bellamy hurt the feelings of Roy Keane and Sunderland in a 3-1 thrashing. Arsenal sit on top by 2 points with a game in tow over the Red Devils.

Other news:

Though many probably overlooked this – Manchester City midfielder and former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann went out – about a year ago, got soused, and crashed his $150,000 Porsche into a fence. Obviously intoxicated at the scene but swearing that he was not the one behind the wheel, Hamann refused to divulge info on who the driver actually was. In the most delayed case ever, Hamann had his license taken away for 6 months and fined a good chunk of change – a year later.

American goalkeeper Ian Joyce – who recently has spent trial time with Millwall and Conference side Grays Athletic – looks to pull a Jay Demerit and earn his way into Watford’s line-up after being picked up on Sunday by the surging Championship side. Born, raised, and educated in the NJ (a Seton Hall Pirate), Joyce played for the Watford Reserves recently. Watford currently sit at the top of the tables with a 6 point lead over Bristol City as they continue their effort for EPL ball again.

These boots are made for scoring…not breaking feet

I’m sure with all of the Manchester United fans crying a river based on the Wayne Rooney injury, someone had to come out and comfort the masses.

Well one of those comforting, feel good talks was given by Nike today, who insisted today that the boot Rooney was wearing had nothing to do with his injury

‘He himself is personally absolutely confident, as we are, that the boot had nothing to do with his injury.

I love the fact that they had to come out and say that. I mean sure, Rooney has had his share of foot injuries in the past, once in 2004 and again in 2006, but was this really necessary.

I think the real crime is having to drop 200 quid on a pair of Nike boots anyway.