Liverpool humbled by Hazard’s late sucker punch

1465 Sandro Botticelli, Mardochai lamenting before the gates of the palace
“Just when Lyons’ heroics in the Bernabeu had seemed to cast Liverpool’s Champions League elimination at that club’s hands in a more sympathetic light, Lille provided a reminder of precisely where Rafael Benitez’s side stands in the European scheme of things last night.” (Independent)

Eden Hazard’s late goal for Lille leaves Liverpool with plenty to do
“Lille are known as the Mastiffs and an unnerved Liverpool retreated from their lair nursing a nasty bite. No matter that Eden Hazard’s late, wickedly dipping thoroughly elusive, free-kick appeared flukey; it gave Rudi Garcia’s team a deserved first-leg lead.” (Guardian)

Lille vs. Liverpool


Milan no longer able to mask the decline of Italian clubs’ fortunes

“Milan had come to fail. Despondency was close to the surface and bound to overwhelm the side as soon as Manchester United scored. The visitors were diligent enough, but they could not fend off a weariness of soul and body in the 4‑0 loss. Too much has rested on them for too long.” (Guardian)

Barney Ronay Interview: EPL Talk Podcast

“Barney Ronay is a senior sports writer for the Guardian and a regular contributor to When Saturday Comes. In this edition of the EPL Talk podcast, I pick up when we left off the last time Barney was on the program, talking about the state of the manager in the English game. Barney, who wrote The Manager, talks about the increased use of the continental model and reflects on Mark Hughes’ time at Manchester City.” (EPL Talk)

Reorganising Scottish Football: The Annual Debate Begins Again

“It’s springtime, so discussion has started again about how to make the game in Scotland more exciting but, as Gavin Saxton reports, none of those that are being put forward are likely to do much about the two or three elephants that live in the room that is Scottish football.” (twohundredpercent)

David Beckham, The Green & Gold

“The Champions League match between Manchester United and Milan had been punctuated by what are now starting to become familiar images. The green and gold gold scarves and the “Love United Hate Glazer” flags are starting to feel like part of the furniture at Old Trafford, but the question that was on many people’s lips could probably best be summarised by a four letter acronym: WWDD? Beckham’s appearance on the pitch had been greeted with, in rapid succession, cheers, boos and laughter and, while he didn’t disgrace himelf on the pitch, his presence on the pitch was in itself a sign of the times – a practical demonstration of the gulf in quality between Manchester United and Milan.” (twohundredpercent)

And so it goes and so it goes and so it goes and so it goes

“The experiment with bye-line officials in the Europa League jars somewhat. Not that it’s a bad idea per se — having someone in a position to spot offences in the maelstrom of the penalty area, which are often on the referee’s blind side, could be a good idea. You wouldn’t know that from the number of people poised to pounce on it like spoilt indoor cats who don’t realise what a proper scrap is. But then, it was endorsed by Michel Platini, so, of course, it must be hare-brained/part of a nefarious scheme to erode Britain’s sovereignty and introduce a federal Europe by the back door.” (sport is a tv show)