Barcelona 2 – 2 Real Madrid

January 26, 2012

“Barcelona scraped into the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 4-3 aggregate win over Real Madrid despite letting a two-goal lead slip at Camp Nou. Madrid had started by far the brighter of the two sides and should have been ahead within seconds as Gonzalo Higuain screwed his shot wide when clean through on Jose Manuel Pinto. Higuain then hit the bar and was again denied by Pinto before Barca appeared to have put the tie to bed with two goals just before half-time.” ESPN

Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid: Real press, continue it for longer, but waste too many chances
“Real started and ended strongly, but a strong five minute spell for Barcelona before half time was enough for them. Pep Guardiola named an unchanged side from the first leg, with Jose Pinto continuing in goal. Jose Mourinho named a very attacking side, with Kaka coming in as the central playmaker annd Gonzalo Higuain upfront. Pepe moved into defence. This was as dominant and proactive a performance as we’ve seen from Real Madrid under Jose Mourinho in the Clasicos – Barcelona were rarely allowed to get into their stride, and were hanging on late in the game.” Zonal Marking

FC Barcelona -2, Real Madrid -2 Highlights
All About FC Barcelona (Video)

Unfancied co-hosts Equatorial Guinea sparkle in the rain

January 26, 2012

“The radio coverage was two or three seconds ahead of the television coverage, something that first became apparent 58 minutes into Equatorial Guinea’s game against Senegal. Roars could be heard across the city, followed by a great groan of disappointment. On the screen I was watching in Banapa, the district of Malabo around the city’s stadium, the winger Randy was still loping into the right side of the box at the stadium at Bata on the mainland. As two defenders went to close him down, he squared towards Fidjeu.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Insecure coaches set a cynical tone

January 26, 2012

“When Pepe, Real Madrid’s Brazil-born defender, steps on the hand of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, the blame is not his alone. A coach has three main tasks. He selects the team, prepares the strategy – and he also sets the emotional tone for the work. An uptight coach usually produces an uptight team. When the opposition is Barcelona, Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho appears to get carried away with the importance of the occasion, with some personal questions and with his own frustration at losing so often.” BBC – Tim Vickery

One year on: Egyptian football after the revolution

January 26, 2012

“Prior to the Egyptian revolution, football was one of the main sources of bliss for Egyptians. The past few years were deemed the golden age of Egyptian football with the national team winning the last three African Cups of Nations while also putting in outstanding performances against the likes of Brazil and Italy. Whenever kickoff time neared, Egyptians around the world would huddle around televisions sets with their flags in hand or painted on their faces. It was always a festive mood after victories. Egyptians would quickly flood the streets singing and dancing to the sounds of tablas (African drums) and non-stop car honks throughout the night.” Just Football (Video)

Pink Floyd and the ‘Fearless Liverpool FC

January 26, 2012

“For many Scousers, it combines two of the most beloved passions in a Liverpudlian’s way of life – rock music and Liverpool Football Club, yet the connection behind Pink Floyd’s 1971 track Fearless with the Kop’s famous support has never officially been clarified by the original progressive rockers. Many interpretations have been offered and, in most cases, dismissed as propaganda. Depending on one’s allegiance with regards to music and sport, this could well be another tossed onto that particular scrapheap.” In Bed With Maradona

Liverpool 2 – 2 Manchester City

January 26, 2012

“Liverpool ended a 16-year wait for a return to Wembley as they drew 2-2 with Manchester City to secure a 3-2 aggregate success and set up a Carling Cup final against Cardiff next month. Former City striker Craig Bellamy was the hero for the team he rejoined in August, scoring the decisive goal 16 minutes from time. The Wales international played a pivotal role throughout and will now face another former club – and city of his birth – Cardiff, as the Reds seek to end a trophy drought dating back to 2006.” ESPN

Cup Competitions Are What You Make of Them
“Cup competitions never mean the same thing each year; or indeed, the same thing to each and every club. For starters, when it’s your team that’s in a final, even the League Cup can hold some importance.” Tomkins Times