Lyon through as Liverpool teeter

November 5, 2009

Paolo Caliari, Persée délivrant Andromède
“A last-minute leveller from Lisandro fired Olympique Lyonnais into the UEFA Champions League knockout stage for the seventh season running, cancelling out Ryan Babel’s superb strike and delivering a major blow to Liverpool FC’s qualifying hopes.” (UEFA)

Liverpool’s Champions League situation a ‘disgrace’, says Pepe Reina
“Pepe Reina has said it is ‘disgraceful’ that Liverpool no longer have their Champions League destiny in their own hands following the 1-1 draw against Lyon. The Premier League side now have to win their final two games and hope the French side take something from their game at Fiorentina.” (Guardian)

Sloppy Liverpool punished as Lyons refuse to roll over
“Just when all those alchemic powers in Europe seemed to have served him once again, Rafael Benitez’s makeshift and ramshackle Liverpool defence was revealed for what it is last night. That it held to together with glue and sticky tape for 90 minutes only compounds the despair he will feel as a second injury-time goal in successive encounters with Lyons sends them all but out of the Champions League. Dreams of Madrid in May are fast being revised to Hamburg, and a Europa League final at best.” (Independent)

Reds’ hearts broken late on
“Liverpool’s hearts were broken by a cruel last-minute equaliser that has all but ended their Champions League dreams for a traumatic season. The much-maligned Ryan Babel had scored a wonderful goal with just seven minutes left and if Liverpool could have hung on to that lead they would still have had a realistic chance of reaching the last 16. But Liverpool’s season has been littered with shattering luck and bitter body blows, as well as beach-ball goals.” (ESPN)

Dirk Kuyt: Liverpool’s Champions League draw with Lyon feels like a defeat
“Liverpool were leading 1-0, thanks to a superb 25-yard strike from Ryan Babel, right up until the dying seconds before Lisandro Lopez snuck through to equalise, sending Lyon into the knockout stages of the Champions League and tipping the Anfield club towards the Europa League of Everton and Fulham. Liverpool are now five points behind second-placed Fiorentina with two rounds of games to play.” (Telegraph

Pepe Reina: Liverpool’s uncertain position in the Champions League is ‘disgraceful’
“Pepe Reina believes it is “disgraceful” that Liverpool’s destiny in the Champions League will not be decided by their own results. The Merseyside club could win their final two matches in group E and not qualify for the knockout stages after they drew 1-1 away to Lyons last night. The French club must avoid defeat against Fiorentina in their next match for Rafael Benitez’s side to stand a chance of qualification and this situation does not sit easily with Reina.” (TimesOnline)

Milan’s No. 10 Responds to Times Readers

November 5, 2009

“A day after he played in A.C. Milan’s 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League, Clarence Seedorf answered readers’ questions from Milan. This is the the third edition of Seedorf’s monthly discussion with Times readers. You can read earlier discussions here.” (NYT)

Happy Guy Fawkes Night

November 5, 2009

“Ten years ago today, when I was still single, I threw a party for about 20 of my friends in my studio apartment. It was November 5th, 1999. On a shoestring budget, I had an assortment of sausage rolls and poppadoms available for people to eat and plenty of bottles of beer to wash the food down.” (EPL Talk)

Rampla Juniors 1956

November 5, 2009

“Uruguayan club Rampla Juniors embarked on a huge global tour in 1956. Over the course of 71 days they played 24 games in 8 countries. They visited Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Israel, Turkey as well as England. They recorded 11 wins, 6 draws and only 7 defeats, a quite remarkable record given that they averaged a game every 3 days.” (footysphere)

Rubin’s Bukharov predicts frantic finale

November 5, 2009

“Having once again upset the odds to claim a creditable goalless draw with FC Barcelona and simultaneously enhance their UEFA Champions League Group F credentials, FC Rubin Kazan forward Aleksandr Bukharov insisted the Russian champions are “not afraid” of competing at Europe’s top table.” (UEFA)

Champions draw blank and face uphill struggle
“Rubin Kazan followed up their shock victory against Barcelona a fortnight ago with a defensive masterclass to leapfrog their Catalan opponents in Champions League Group F ahead of the evening game between Dynamo Kiev and Inter Milan.” (ESPN)

How Did Barca Fare in Russian Test?
“Rubin Kazan has Barcelona’s number. The Russian champion held the European champion to a goalless draw in sub-freezing temperatures in the Tatar capital, a week after upsetting the Blaugrana in Spain.” (NYT)