Two things we learned this week in Ligue 1

February 5, 2015

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“Wins for both of France’s deadliest rivals on Friday and Saturday helped to reignite the Ligue 1 title race this weekend, as PSG and OM moved within two points of the current league leaders Olympique Lyonnais. In the weekend’s first encounter, Paris Saint-Germain won their third game in a row against Stade Rennais at the Parc des Princes with a one-nil victory. On Saturday afternoon, OM entertained Évian Thonon Gaillard in a game in which they were red-hot favourites to win, but in the end just one goal separated the two sides, with the one-nil victory helping extend Marseille’s unbeaten run at home to twelve games.” backpagefootball

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Are DR Congo’s leopards rising from a prolonged slumber?

February 5, 2015

“With less than half an hour remaining in their quarter-final duel with Republic of Congo, it seemed DR Congo’s less than flattering AFCON campaign was destined for an ungainly conclusion – having just witnessed their limited yet well drilled neighbours move into an implausible 2-0 lead. It was at that point however where the fixture’s landscape shifted, as Republic of Congo – who prior to this tournament hadn’t tasted AFCON victory in 40 years -seemingly froze in the face of the momentous accomplishment that was within their grasp. Within minutes Dieumerci Mbokani had halved the bewildered Red Devils advantage, as a DR Congo suddenly rediscovered an attacking mojo that had been non-existent up to that point.” backpagefootball

Ivory Coast survive wobble against DR Congo to reach Cup of Nations final
“Could it be that one of the longest waits in football is at last coming to an end? For a decade, Africa has expected Ivory Coast’s golden generation at last to reach fulfilment and perhaps now, as the Elephants approach their third final in nine years, the itch will be scratched. Yet perhaps this isn’t even the golden generation any more: after all, only four players remain from the squad that lost to the hosts in the final in Egypt in 2006.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Wolfsburg 4-1 Bayern: Wolfsburg nullify Alonso and switch play effectively on the break

February 5, 2015

“Bayern conceded four goals – as many as they’d let in during the entire first half of the Bundesliga season – and were completely outplayed throughout. Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking brought Daniel Caliguiri into the side on the right, which meant Vieirinha was pushed back to a relatively unfamiliar full-back role. In the centre, Max Arnold got the nod over Joshua Guilavogui. Pep Guardiola started with a 4-1-4-1 system. Mario Gotze was only on the bench, while Bayern continue to suffer from injury problems, particularly in midfield positions. Wolfsburg’s performance here was outstanding, and this was one of the best counter-attacking performances of the season.” Zonal Marking


FIFA candidates must heed past lessons

February 5, 2015

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“Now that a few candidates have thrown their hats into the ring, at least the next FIFA presidential election should generate a healthy debate, something which seems to be in short supply on the subject. The European, and particularly the English, press go on and on about corruption scandals. There is much to applaud here. The most noble part of journalism is that which digs into stories and asks questions which make those in power uncomfortable. Moreover, corruption is clearly harmful, with corrosive effects on institutions and individuals.” The World Game – Tim Vickery (Video)


Matthias Sindelar – Man of Paper

February 5, 2015

“The long and illustrious history of football is now and again graced with men of pure genius. Footballing giants whose exploits are carried like a torch by fans from around the world; men who wrote their name in gold, footballers who live on in the memories of countless fans long after they have left behind this mortal coil. One man who deserves his place amongst this celebrated band of players is a virtual unknown outside his own country yet his story is one of the most compelling. A story that deserves to be heard, the tale of a great footballer and a great man, of loyalty, triumph and sadly, tragedy. Matthias Sindelar was his name and this is his story.” Football Pink


Breisgau Bulletin – Gladbach Recap and New Stadium Vote

February 5, 2015

“SC Freiburg have cause to feel a bit hard done by as they dropped their Tuesday afternoon match 1-0 away to Borussia Mönchengladbach. In spite of Die Breisgauer outplaying their opponents for much of the game it was Gladbach’s Patrick Herrmann who grabbed the only goal of the game in the 23rd minute giving the home side the victory by the very narrowest of margins. With the fight against the drop being so tight, the defeat was a real missed opportunity for Freiburg to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the relegation pack.” Bundesliga Fanatic