Real Madrid 0 – 2 Barcelona

April 11, 2010

Francesco Guardi, The Doge of Venice goes to the Salute on 21 November to Commemor
“Barcelona struck a potentially decisive blow in the Primera Division title race by ending Real Madrid’s perfect home record to go three points clear at the summit. Lionel Messi’s 40th goal of the season in all competitions put the reigning Spanish and European champions on the road to victory in ‘El Clasico’, and Pedro Rodriguez completed the scoring 10 minutes after half-time.” (ESPN)

Manuel Pellegrini fears for Real Madrid future after Barcelona defeat
“‘I am not the one responsible for answering that question,’ said the Chilean when asked if he expected to be granted a second season at the Bernabeu by Florentino Perez, the club’s president and the man who appointed the former Villarreal coach. ‘And I am not the one who has to talk about my qualities as a manager.’ After an impressive run of form, Real went in to last night’s clasico – decided by goals either side of half-time from Lionel Messi and Pedro – level on points with the Spanish, European and World champions. Though mathematically they now lie just three points behind, Barcelona’s superior head to head record effectively gives the Catalans a four-point lead.” (Telegraph)

Buoyant Barcelona close in on title
“Deportivo, Espanyol, Xerez, Villarreal, Tenerife, Sevilla, Valladolid – those are the names of the teams that Barcelona have to play in La Liga during the next five weeks. However, to quote the succinct front page of the Spanish sports newspaper As on Sunday: ’21 points remain but the title seems already decided.’ Barcelona’s 2-0 victory at Real Madrid on Saturday returned them to the top of the table and gives them a three-point advantage in their bid to be crowned champions for the second successive season and the 20th time in their history.” (BBC)

Lionel Messi punishes Real Madrid to give Barcelona title lift
“This time Lionel Messi scored only once and it was not a particularly special goal, yet it could prove as significant as the four against Arsenal. The architect of Barcelona’s victory was the peerless Xavi Hernández but it was Messi’s 40th goal of a spectacular season that set Barcelona on the way to victory in the match that was declared the title decider. Real Madrid’s 14-game winning run at the Bernabéu came to an end and the feeling as disappointed fans left early was that so too did their chances of winning the league.” (Guardian)

Ronaldo and Messi duel in El Clasico
“Cristiano Ronaldo has never scored against Barcelona, so tonight would be a good time to start. Having heard the universal acclaim bestowed on Lionel Messi this week, Ronaldo will get the chance to overshadow him and take Real Madrid a giant step closer to winning La Liga in a match that has had the whole of Spain holding its breath and the sport scientists working overtime.” (Independent)

Real Madrid 0-2 FC Barcelona – Recap and Video Highlights
“The El Clasico was renewed once again on Saturday, April 10, 2010 as FC Barcelona traveled to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid. The two teams were tied on points in La Liga with the result of this match likely to determine who will win the title. A win or draw for Barcelona would give them the advantage if the two points are tied on points. Real Madrid led the table on goal difference heading into the match.” (The 90th Minute)

Liverpool 0 – 0 Fulham

April 11, 2010

“Liverpool badly missed Fernando Torres as they dropped two more points in their increasingly forlorn pursuit of fourth place in the Premier League. The Reds had numerous opportunities to beat their fellow Europa League semi-finalists Fulham but, without the cutting edge of the injured Torres, drew a blank at Anfield.” (ESPN)

Liverpool run into a Fulham’s Champions League roadblock
“Liverpool lost ground in their pursuit of the fourth Champions League place this afternoon after being held to a goalless draw at home to Fulham. Rafael Benítez’s team dominated from start to finish against opponents who parked the proverbial bus at Anfield, but the thought that this could be a dress rehearsal for the Europa League final is chilling.” (Guardian)

Liverpool 0 – 0 Fulham
“Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League took another huge blow as they failed to break down resolute Fulham despite dominating possession. Alberto Aquilani’s early overhead kick was easily collected by Mark Schwarzer.” (BBC)

Liverpool 0-0 Fulham – Recap and Video Highlights – 11 April 2010
“Liverpool hosted Fulham needing a win to keep their Champions League hopes alive. They trail Manchester City for 4th place and would likely need to win all their remaining matches to have a realistic shot at overtaking them. Fulham are in the middle of the table and focusing primarily on the Europa League. Liverpool would be the favorites heading into the match but were without striker Fernando Torres.” (The 90th Minute)

Ross end Lennon’s hopes of succeeding Mowbray

April 11, 2010

“Neil Lennon, when given the chance to cut his managerial teeth at Celtic following Tony Mowbray’s dismissal, cited Pep Guardiola as proof that inexperience was not necessarily an impediment to success. It was an unwise comparison to draw and, in the light of Celtic’s calamitous Scottish Cup exit to Ross County, looks all the more wildly misplaced.” (ESPN)

Reyna’s appointment a step in the right direction

April 11, 2010

“Marshalling our nation’s vast soccer resources is complicated and heavily layered stuff. All efforts by the domestic establishment to take the legions of little shin kickers and polish them into world-class talent should be greeted with nods of cautious approval. The trick is not getting carried away. This week, U.S. Soccer announced Claudio Reyna as U.S. Soccer’s youth technical director. A day later, Major League Soccer announced new initiatives aimed essentially at bettering the youth-development endeavors of its teams.” (SI)