Alba breaks Bhoys’ hearts


“An injury-time goal from Jordi Alba stunned Celtic and gave Barcelona a dramatic 2-1 victory in their pulsating Champions League Group G clash at the Nou Camp. Celtic had led at the famous stadium when, in the 18th minute, Georgios Samaras’ header from a Charlie Mulgrew free-kick went in off the back of Barcelona’s makeshift centre-back Javier Mascherano. It looked for a while like the Greek striker, who had scored the winner against Spartak Moscow earlier in the month to clinch Celtic’ first away victory in the competition, might have just have played his part in an even more momentous goal.” ESPN

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Zenit learning that money doesn’t always buy success

“After a couple of seasons mixing domestic success with continental disappointment, 2012-13 should have been Zenit St Petersburg’s time to shine in the Champions League under highly rated coach Luciano Spalletti. There were various reasons for optimism. After an 18-month transition season to shift the Russian Premier League from a summer to a winter calendar, in keeping with the rest of Europe, Zenit could have no complaints about fitness levels at certain stages of the campaign — a common complaint for many Russian clubs over the years.” ESPN – Michael Cox

Shakhtar’s Brazilian Carnival Shocks Chelsea

“It was quite an exciting first half to Champions League Matchday 3 yesterday. We watched at Woodwork again, which was nicely mellow, with 3 different matches on their 3 screens–from left to right: Shakhtar-Chelsea, Juve-Nordaelland, and Barcelona-Celtic, with the house sound system tuned to the Barça match for the first half, and the Juve match for the 2nd. (One Manchester United fan showed up too late to claim a TV, and so was reduced to streaming the match against Braga on his laptop.)” Cult Football

Shakhtar 2-1 Chelsea: Shakhtar attack with pace and forward bursts from Fernandinho and Srna

“Shakhtar dominated the match, and should have won by more. There were no major surprises from Mircea Lucescu – Alex Teixeira was on the right, and Tomas Hubschman in the centre of midfield. Roberto Di Matteo brought Frank Lampard back into the side, with Ramires pushed to the right. But Lampard only lasted 18 minutes – Eden Hazard came on, Ramires dropped back into the centre of midfield, and Chelsea were back to their usual format of three rotating attackers. John Terry returned in place of Gary Cahill. This was an extremely fast, frantic game that Shakhtar dominated primarily of better attacking combinations.” Zonal Marking

Why It’s Important A German Team Will Win The Champions League

“The decision making process at a football club is a complicated matter, but the bottom line is that the man with the money is the man with the final say. As John Terry once said to a Russian Magazine: ‘Abramovich is the big boss. Everyone respects him’. In the last few decades, football was taken over by men who want the final say and are willing to pay for it. These owners care more about themselves than the club, or the community it created many years before they “owned” it. These owners are usually ego-motivated to take over the club, seeking trophy glory, political capital, or the fulfillment of childhood dreams. It’s basically all about their ego, and their methods endanger clubs and leagues.” Soccer Issue (Video)

Ultras bring fresh shame on not-so-fair Verona


“Livorno captain Andrea Luci was disgusted. ‘Hellas Verona deserve to be banned for life,’ he told local paper Il Tirreno. “There’s nothing more to add.” Luci was of course reacting to what he had heard during Saturday’s big match in Serie B, when second met third at the Stadio Armando Picchi. Half an hour in, something truly disgraceful happened. A chant had gone up among a small section of the 700 Hellas ultras hosted in the away end. Four words that don’t bear repeating were said six times. Enough to provoke shock and anger among the Livorno fans. A number of their own ultras would respond in kind with a distasteful song of their own. But for now, members of the home crowd couldn’t believe their ears.” EuroSport UK – James Horncastle

Euro preview: Meet Liverpool’s opponents Anzhi Makhachkala

“Anzhi’s most famous player – and certainly their richest – is Samuel Eto’o, who has a knack of scoring against English clubs in Europe. At Barcelona he relied upon sheer pace in behind defenders, while later in his career (when Lionel Messi became a false nine towards the end of Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge, and then under Jose Mourinho in the treble-winning season at Inter) he became a left-winger.” FourFourTwo – Michael Cox

Ban This Unfairness To ‘Keepers

“It seems fairly certain now that FIFA will bring in legislation during 1966 to prohibit charging the goalkeeper. In effect, an unwritten law to this extent is already in force throughout the Continent and South America. Thus, Britain alone will be affected. My own feeling is that the law is long overdue. Of course, there will be opposition to it. The health-and-moral-strength brigade will try to convince us that we are taking one more step towards the emasculation of the Briton, and his national game. Others will deplore the licence given to goalkeepers to hold up play by eternally bouncing the ball, while their forwards run into position, and their defence moves up to put the opposing forwards offside. Charging, these people will tell us, is historically ‘part of the game’, which is undeniable.” In Bed With Maradona

The Summer Is Important: English Football In the Shadow Of the 1966 World Cup

“Somewhere along the line there had to be a calming influence, for the draw for the World Cup Finals in London early in January threw the domestic soccer season into something of a panic. Representatives from the interested bodies arrived in their droves and the press, radio and television coverage was something that we have not experienced before. Of course, the event has never taken place on our own doorstep previously and it now looks as if everything has been done to make the Finals a memorable occasion. The spate of publicity did wonders for the sale of tickets which had been selling at a steady rate before and we were only a few months off knowing how English soccer supporters would take to summer football.” In Bed With Maradona