In defeat, Madrid takes away a moral victory from latest clásico

January 28, 2012

“Here’s a date for your diaries: March 27, 2012. That’s the earliest that Real Madrid and FC Barcelona can meet each other again. That’s when they will play if they get drawn together in the quarterfinal of the Champions League — and if the first clash is on the Tuesday. If they meet in the semifinal, they cannot face each other until April 17. If that happens, they will play three times in eight days, or possibly maybe even three times in six, because the second league game will be on April 21 or 22.” SI


Werder Bremen 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen

January 28, 2012

“Qualifying for next season’s Champions League remains a tall order for both Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen after they shared the spoils this afternoon following an evenly-contested match. Claudio Pizarro’s goal midway through the first-half didn’t quite come against the run of play, but Robin Dutt’s Leverkusen had been by far the better side in the game’s opening quarter. A half-time substitution and formational change revitalized Leverkusen, putting them back in the driving seat, and the visitors deservedly grabbed an early equalizer from a corner after a Tim Wiese mistake. Erin Derdiyok and Lars Bender looked particularly dangerous for the visitors thereafter, but neither side could grab a winner, despite having a plethora of chances in the closing stages. The result keeps the sides in fifth and sixth places respectively, and five points behind the side currently sitting ‘last’ in the top-four, Borussia Mönchengladbach (who are yet to play this weekend).” Defensive Midfielder

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