Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona: two goals for Messi

April 28, 2011


“Lionel Messi scored a poacher’s strike and then a superb solo effort to give Barcelona a major advantage in the tie. Jose Mourinho named his expected side – Lassana Diarra was in for Sami Khedira, whilst Raul Albiol came in for the suspended Ricardo Carvalho. Pep Guardiola also chose the side expected in the preview. Carles Puyol returned from injury to fill in at left-back, whilst Seydou Keita replaced the injured Andres Iniesta. The game was scrappy, dirty and not particularly pleasing on the eye. For much of the contest, the objective of both sides seemed to be to get opposition players sent off, rather than actually try to score a goal. Tactically, it wasn’t fascinating for long periods.” Zonal Marking

Jose Mourinho claims Barcelona benefit from refereeing conspiracy after stormy Champions League loss
“Mourinho made mention of four officials: Anders Frisk, who he claimed received a half-time visit from Frank Rijkaard, the then Barcelona coach, in 2005; Tom Henning Ovrebo, who turned down a succession of Chelsea penalty claims against Barcelona in 2009; Massimo Busacca, who sent off Arsenal’s Robin van Persie at Camp Nou this season, and Wolfgang Stark, who showed a red card to Real’s Pepe on Wednesday. Mourinho was also expelled.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

Real Madrid 0 Barcelona 2: match report
“Two moments of beauty stood out amidst the beastliness of the Game of Shame last night. Two moments of magic from Lionel Messi, his second goal echoing Diego Maradona’s dribbled gem against England in 1986, rescued this match from the dark ages. Clasico, crasico. But for Messi remembering that football should be about joy, adventure and imagination, and Xavi also playing with style, this was the game that dignity forgot. There was no respect, no charm, no integrity.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

Messi puts Barca on brink of Wembley
“Lionel Messi struck twice late on as Barcelona took a huge step towards the Champions League final with a 2-0 semi-final, first leg win over 10-man Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Messi, taking his tally to 52 in all competitions this season, netted in the 76th and 87th minutes – the second a typically brilliant solo effort – to settle an ill-tempered clash which saw Madrid defender Pepe sent off in the 61st minute.” ESPN

Barcelona and Real face UEFA action
“Both Barcelona and Real Madrid will face disciplinary proceedings from UEFA after their tempestuous Champions League semi-final first-leg tie at the Bernabeu. Barcelona won the game 2-0 thanks to two goals from Lionel Messi, but the clash was littered with unsportsmanlike behaviour, diving and fights. After the match, Real boss Jose Mourinho (who had been sent to the stands during the game for comments made to the fourth official) then launched into a tirade about the influence that the Catalan side have over European football.” ESPN

Negative Soccer Mars Real Madrid vs Barcelona Semi-Final
“Thank goodness the embarrassing spectacle of Real Madrid against Barcelona in the Champions League was played out in the semi-final of the tournament instead of the finale. The first leg of the semi-final was an example of everything that people hate about soccer. Barcelona players crowding the referee on several occasions to influence his decision. Players exaggerating contact. Poor refereeing decisions. The referee stopping and starting the game seemingly every few minutes. Off the pitch pushing and shoving. This is not what soccer is about. This was anti-soccer.” EPL Talk – Video

Champions League press reaction: ‘Mourinho has perverted history’
“If José Mourinho was feeling disgusted after Barcelona’s controversial 2-0 victory over his Real Madrid team, the Spanish press contained little to soothe his feelings. While figures from both sides offered predictably opposed views about the dismissal of Pepe which had such a major effect on the Champions League semi-final first leg at the Bernabéu, most commentators took a dim view of the Portuguese coach’s approach to the game and his complaints afterwards.” Guardian

Real Madrid 0-2 FC Barcelona – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Champions League
The 90th Minute


Schalke 0-2 Manchester United: Schalke torn apart by United’s passing and movement

April 28, 2011

“Manchester United were superior throughout the 90 minutes and could have won by a much greater margin.
Ralf Rangnick was without Benedikt Höwedes at the back, which meant Joel Matip had to play at centre-back. Other than that, it was the expected team in the expected formation. Sir Alex Ferguson omitted Nani to play Antonio Valencia on the right, and played Fabio behind him. The side was the same as the XI that started against Chelsea, with the exception of one Brazilian twin in for the other.” Zonal Marking

Schalke 0 Manchester United 2: match report
“Manchester United are so close to Wembley they can see the traffic. They moved to within touching distance of the final of the Champions League with a performance that was so mature, so mesmerizing that it must rank up there with their greatest ever.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

United dismantle Schalke to close in on final
“Barring an unlikely Schalke victory at Old Trafford next week, Manchester United will contest the Champions League final at Wembley on May 28 after a one-sided encounter in Germany. Ryan Giggs and the outstanding Wayne Rooney scored United’s goals in a two-minute second-half spell in the semi-final first leg at the Vetlins-Arena. Prior to that, though, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men had wasted an astonishing 13 chances to score – 11 of them coming before the break.” ESPN

Schalke 0-2 Manchester United – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Champions League
The 90th Minute


Great Managers Matter, and Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool Revival Should Teach US Soccer A Lesson

April 28, 2011

“As all of my regular readers know, I am a red-blooded Liverpool fan. Given the choice, I never walk alone. As such, much was my dismay when earlier this year, my beloved Reds found themselves in the relegation zone during the first few months of the EPL season. At the same time, since January, I have become elated with their success with King Kenny Dalglish at the helm. The turn-around has been remarkable, and yet paradoxical at the same time. While the personnel changed somewhat (sulky Torres out, Suarez and Carroll in), this small change in personnel to me should not a complete turn-around make.” Yanks Are Coming


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