Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid: two goals each for Ronaldo and Messi

October 8, 2012


“Both sides appeared content with a point from an entertaining match. Tito Vilanova surprisingly named Adriano at centre-back rather than Alex Song, in the absence of Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol. Andres Iniesta returned to the side in place of Alexis Sanchez. Jose Mourinho went for a familiar side – with no Luka Modric or Michael Essien, it was essentially the Real of last season, with Mesut Ozil as the number ten. It was the usual pattern – Barca dominating possession, Real a threat from quicker attacks and set-pieces.” Zonal Marking

Messi, Ronaldo duel to stalemate in clásico as Barça’s perfect start ends
“Thoughts from the Real Madrid- FC Barcelona match. Pressure, pressure, pressure: That Madrid lay in wait for Barcelona was not hugely surprising, even if they have pressured higher against them in recent clásicos, forcing mistakes from Valdés, Mascherano and Piqué. That Barcelona did not press was more unexpected, though. Madrid were largely allowed to bring the ball out from the back. Only Pedro really chased to close down Madrid’s defenders. Notably, it is not just Madrid, either: this season Barcelona have tended to play a little deeper and press less. Is one of the signatures of Pep Guardiola’s side being abandoned?” SI

Team Ronaldo Or Team Messi? Watch Yesterday’s Goals And Judge For Yourself
“Messi Or Ronaldo? Who do you think is the greatest player of all time? In last night’s El Clasico the two superstars took turns at winning our affections. Ronaldo’s typical storming run into the box followed by a powerful finish opened the scoring for Madrid. Messi then bagged two for Barcelona, the first an opportunistic finish that countless less agile players with inferior anticipation would have made a hash of, the second could not have been more different; a beautifully curled free-kick that Iker Casillas would not have got close to had he been a foot taller. Ronaldo then equalised almost immediately with a clinical finish on the break that he made look very easy indeed.” Sabotage Times (Video)

Another classy clasico
“It was quite a weekend, and how nice for all the games to be played by the end of Sunday night – just like the old days. It almost felt like a broadcast in black and white. Celta v Sevilla was played on the Friday night, which was slightly odd (maybe that’s what affected Sevilla, who lost), but there were several significant games that all coincided on the seventh week of the Spanish league programme. Now there’s a rest for the international fixtures, and in any case it’s a four-day week in Spain, with a national holiday on Friday.” ESPN

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo swat politics aside in breathless clásico
“The homage to Catalonia turned into a homage to Cristiano Messi and Lionel Ronaldo. They say that sport and politics should not mix but sport and politics do mix, especially when it comes to Real Madrid versus Barcelona. The myths matter, even when they are myths, and symbolism seeps through the sport. There may be no more political match on the planet and this Sunday was billed as the most political match of them all, certainly since 1975. Madrid-Barcelona, Gerard Piqué admitted this week, has come to be seen as Spain-Catalonia, even if it shouldn’t. And this time more than ever. In the end, though, it was another match that captured the imagination: Messi versus Ronaldo.” Guardian

Ronaldo, Messi net 2 as Madrid draws 2-2 at Barca
“Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dueled to an entertaining stalemate on Sunday, with both superstars scoring twice as Barcelona drew 2-2 with Real Madrid to keep an eight-point lead over its archrival intact. The result ended Barcelona’s perfect start to the league campaign as it dropped points for the first time in seven games, but provided yet another memorable chapter in the rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo, two of the biggest names in the sport.” SI


Newcastle 0-3 Manchester United: Ferguson’s diamond forces Newcastle to change shape

October 8, 2012

“Manchester United won the game primarily because of a dominant opening 15 minutes. Alan Pardew selected a 4-4-2 from the start. James Perch was at centre-back, Davide Santon on the right, and Shane Ferguson at left-back. Sir Alex Ferguson continued with the diamond he played against Cluj in midweek. Danny Welbeck replaced Javier Hernandez, while Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick came in for Anderson and Darren Fletcher. There were three phases here. First, Manchester United’s diamond dominated Newcastle’s 4-4-2. Second, Pardew switched to a 4-5-1 to compete in the centre of midfield. Third, Ferguson switched to a 4-5-1 to give protection to his full-backs.” Zonal Marking


Liverpool: What Does The Future Hold For Steven Gerrard?

October 8, 2012

“Having secured their first league win away at Norwich last weekend following a tough set of fixtures to start the season, Liverpool faced the prospect of four consecutive home games and the chance to build up some real momentum after a series of impressive performances and encouraging results; things didn’t work out as planned, though. Having somehow contrived to lose at home to Udinese in the Europa League on Thursday despite comprehensively outplaying them, the Reds laboured to a 0-0 draw against an unambitious Stoke side, who seemed more concerned about kicking the opposition from pillar to post than attempting to try and win the game.” Sabotage Times


Dynamos lose their lustre in post Cold War era

October 8, 2012


“It was supposed to be the ultimate football franchise: Eleven man armies that would prove communist superiority in the world’s most popular sport. But more than two decades after the USSR and the Eastern Block fell apart, the Dynamo movement is fading. This is the story of a football machine that rarely worked and, after ninety years of troubled existence, is still in search of its true identity.” World Soccer


Team of the Week – Match Day 7

October 8, 2012

“Another weekend of firsts in the Bundesliga. Surprise package Eintracht Frankfurt lost their first league match of the season to a Borussia Mönchengladbach side who won their first match in seven competitive games. Last year’s promoted side Augsburg meanwhile won their first match of the campaign and early strugglers Hamburg continue their upward run with back to back clean sheets for the first time since last year. This year’s promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf also lost their first match of the season in Mainz while Bayern München equalled a Bundesliga record of seven wins from their first seven matches. Here are the standout performers of matchday 7…” Bundesliga Fanatic


BATE Borisov’s road to financial success

October 8, 2012

“It’s not every week that Belarus sits as the hottest topic of conversation when it comes to European football. The former Soviet nation has struggled in its sporting development since the collapse of the communist state – despite Belarus maintaining its political ideals – and has rarely figured highly on the international stage. Neither a World Cup nor European Championship has bore witness to Belarusian talent and it seems somewhat fanciful to think that a transformation will occur during the qualification for Brazil in 2014 – which two defeats in the opening couple of fixtures attests to. However, the recent exploits of Viktor Goncharenko’s BATE Borisov side in the opening exchanges of the Champions’ League group stages points to a somewhat brighter future on the horizon.” Slavic Football Union