Delgado strike condemns Liverpool

October 21, 2009

“Liverpool conceded an injury-time goal which puts their Champions League future in grave doubt. An injury-ravaged home side had produced a display of spirit and effort which did not deserve to see them finish as losers. But they have now lost four games in succession for the first time since 1987 as their season plunges into despair.” (ESPN)

Liverpool staring at European exit after latest injury blow for Steven Gerrard
“The Champions League has been a scene of spectacle for Liverpool on many occasions, but now they must achieve the highly improbable if they are simply to survive the group stage. They were defeated here as Lyon capped a comeback with the winner in the 90th minute, as César Delgado tuned in a perfect low cross from Sidney Govou.” (Guardian)

Delgado turns up heat as Benitez fights for survival
“From his seat in the Anfield directors’ box last night Gerard Houllier will have recognised the problems that are closing in on Rafael Benitez: a threadbare squad, injuries to key players, a terrible run of results and the daunting prospect of facing Manchester United on Sunday.” (Independent)

Liverpool 1 Lyon 2: match report
“Liverpool are running on empty, running out of players, energy and ideas. It is too soon to claim that Rafa Benítez is running out of time but this was a horror show, a hammer blow to their European ambitions and a brutal reminder of how poor Liverpool are without Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. No Gerrard, no Torres, no leadership, no cutting edge, no chance.” (Telegraph)

Liverpool left reeling by Lyons knockout blow
“Sailing close to the wind has been a feature of Liverpool’s European adventures under the stewardship of Rafael Benítez. A defeat at home to Lyons last night meant they were all but blown off course altogether. As in 2007, only a trio of victories from their final three group games will give the Merseyside club a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of this season’s Champions League, and having lost their past four matches — Liverpool’s worst run in 22 years — hopes will not be high that an upturn in fortunes is just around the corner.” (TimesOnline)

A Week Is A Long Time In Serie A: Oct 21st 09

October 21, 2009

“A week after the international break in which an ageing Italian national team qualified for the 2010 World Cup, Serie A has rendered some early verdicts. Inter traveled to Genova and crushed Genoa 5-0 (their best away win since the 1970s), Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw against Fiorentina in Turin, Sampdoria dropped points courtesy of refereeing mistakes in their 1-1 draw against Lazio, and Milan finally eked out a 2-1 win at home against Roma. Inter are now alone at the top of the table, leading Sampdoria by 2 points, Juventus and Fiorentina by 4 (and Milan by 7).” (First Touch Online)

Scotland: 2008-09 attendance map (all clubs drawing over 1,000 per game- 24 clubs).

October 21, 2009

“This is the 113th season of professional football in Scotland. Reigning champions are Rangers. This map shows all football clubs in Scotland that drew over 1,000 per game last season (2008-09 domestic leagues).” (billsportsmaps)

The Russian Banana Peel

October 21, 2009

Spain Soccer La Liga
“That was the general consensus when another ho-hum Champions League Group draw show came to an end and Rubin Kazan had wound up with Inter, Barcelona and Dynamo Kiev. A banana peel in a group of high-flyers, more or less. One that the well-oiled high powered Barcelona and Inter were planning to avoid slipping on, with Dynamo following suit.” (The Offside)

Rubin pull off massive shock at Nou Camp
“Gokdeniz Karadeniz stuck a second-half winner as Rubin Kazan claimed a shock Champions League victory over reigning European champions Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Karadeniz netted with 17 minutes to go to earn the Russian champions their first win in Group F and inflict a first competitive defeat over Barcelona since May. It was also the first European defeat Pep Guardiola’s men had suffered since losing at home to Shakhtar Donetsk last December having already qualified for the last 16.” (ESPN)

Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic

October 21, 2009

“The 4-1 defeat of Rangers at the hands of Romanian champions Unirea Urziceni last night was the second 4-1 defeat Walter Smith has had to endure in this seasons Champions League campaign and leaves the Ibrox side firmly rooted at the bottom of their group, with only an outside chance of qualifying for the next stage; a victory away in Romania in the next game is an absolute requirement. The Romanians, managed by former Chelsea player Dan Petrescu had a fair slice of luck (a Lee McCulloch own goal, two deflected goals of Kyle Lafferty and Stephen Naismith and a missed first half penalty) but the manner of the result is irrelevant – quite simply, this is the best Scottish football can muster at the moment.” (Inside Left)

Looking back on where it all began

October 21, 2009

“They were young, mostly in their early 20s, mostly attached to teams virtually unknown on the world stage, such as the Albany Capitals and the Milwaukee Wave. Two had no professional affiliation at all because they were still college players. They may have represented a country considered one of the world’s superpowers politically and economically, but in the sport of soccer, they were minnows, fighting their way upstream to the biggest stage. Their victory was in arrival — in reviving a program in danger of losing funding and giving future squads a compass for future improvement. They were the U.S. 1990 World Cup team.” (SI)

Barcelona, Liverpool both stunned at home in Champions League play

October 21, 2009

“Barcelona lost 2-1 at home to unheralded Russian side Rubin Kazan and Liverpool lost by the same score to visiting Lyon as the big teams struggled in the Champions League on Tuesday.” (SI)