12 December 2007

LYON 3 (Govou 16, Benzema 85, Benzema 88)

McGregor pushed a tame Benzema centre back into play and Govou arrived to fire Lyon into the lead. Rangers had two shots cleared off the line while at the other end Juninho rattled the woodwork with a free kick. Having earlier been denied by a stunning save, Benzema got a lucky bounce on a longball (off his arse according to the French commentator) before shooting between McGregor's legs. Three minutes later Benzema raced onto a loose ball past two defenders then drilled a low shot into the bottom left corner. Great finish and whoever signs him is going to have to pay a hell of a lot of money.

Lyon's potential last 16 opponents are Porto, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Inter, Sevilla. A daunting line-up but maybe their slow start this season, as opposed to blowing their wad early as in previous seasons, stands them in good stead. Rangers qualify for the UEFA Cup.

Attendance : 50,062
Assists : n/a, Grosso (fk), n/a

BARCELONA 3 (Giovanni 36, Eto'o 57, Ronaldinho 67)
STUTTGART 1 (Antonio 3)

Portuguese midfielder Antonio gave Stuttgart a shock lead with a brilliant free kick. Midget Boka gifted Barca the equaliser. under pressure from Ronaldinho he slipped when trying to dribble the ball out of defence, Ronaldinho dribbled into the box and his slow shot deflected into off Giovanni. Xavi pounced on another slip to launch a counter attack, three other Barca players ran forward in support and Eto'o, playing only his second game following a three month injury lay-off, took the midfielder's pass before firing into the corner. Iniesta released Sylvinho and full back's centre was despatched by Ronaldinho.

With Henry out indefinitely I doubt Barca will get rid of Ronaldinho in the January transfer window.

Barcelona's potential last 16 opponents are Liverpool, Schalke, Olympiakos, Celtic, Fenerbahce and Arsenal.

Attendance : 60,000
Assists : Ewerthon (won fk), Ronaldinho, Xavi, Sylvinho

27 November 2007

STUTTGART 3 (Cacau 47, Pardo 62, Marcia 85)
RANGERS 2 (Adam 27, Ferguson 70)

Cuellar headed down a miss-hit Beasley corner and Adam volleyed past Schafer from six yards. Rangers survived an onslaught until first half injury time. Hitzlsperger pulled back a corner to Pardo and Cacau re-directed his wayward shot past McGregor. Pardo's next effort, from an almost identical angle, hit the back of the net though McGregor should have done better. Schafer overhit a pass to centre back Delpierre and Naysmith intercepted before the defender could bring the ball under control, ran down the right flank and fired in a centre, Schafer collided with Meira leaving Ferguson with an empty net. Marcia, deputising for the injured Gomes, scored an incredible winner. Magnin whipped in a cross from the left, with his back to play Marcia ran across his marker, hit a back heel volley as he turned and the ball flew into the top left corner.

Attendance : 51,000
Assists : Cueller, Pardo, Beck, n/a, Magnin

LYON 2 (Juninho 7 fk, Juninho 80 Pen)
BARCELONA 2 (Iniesta 3, Messi 58 Pen)

Barca sprung a counter attack after winning possession in their own half. Messi and Bojan raided down Lyon's left flank, Bojan rolled the ball to the back post and two Lyon defenders ball watched Iniesta shoot first time into the bottom corner. A Valdez clanger gifted Lyon the equaliser. Juninho's 40 yard free kick bounced in the box, Valdez, standing a few yards off his line, misjudged the flight and watched in embarrassment as the ball hit the back of the net. I didn't see Barca's penalty incident but chances are with Farina as ref it was a dive. Lyon's penalty wasn't much of a penalty either.

Attendance : 36,000
Assists : Bojan, Govou (won fk), Messi (won pen), Keita (won pen)

7 November 2007

LYON 4 (Ben Arfa 6, Kallstrom 15, Ben Arfa 37, Juninho 93)
STUTTGART 2 (Gomez 16, Gomez 56)

Stuttgart fullback Andreas Beck ruined a great move by deflecting Ben Arfa's shot past Schafer. Govou juggled a throw in then lobbed a high pass to Kallstrom, as the ball dropped Kallstrom flicked it away from a defender before instantly volleying into the bottom left corner. Gomez tapped in a rebound after a Hitzlsperger long range special floored Vercoutre. Ben Arfa restored Lyon's two goal lead due to more dodgy handling from a German goalkeeper. He cut in from the left and dribbled wide of two defenders but run out of space so shot from an improbable angle and Schafer slapped the ball into his own net. Meira recycled a loose ball after poor defending from the home side, he played the ball out wide to the unmarked Beck and Gomez slammed his centre first time past Vercoutre. Fabio Santos conceded a penalty with a clumsy foul on Gomez but Hitzlsperger's spot kick was brilliantly saved. The Stuttgart defence were probably distracted by the home fans whistles for full time, Clerc ran onto a ball down the channel and of all people Juninho turned in his centre at the back post. I don't think I've ever seen him score a goal from inside the box, at least not in the Champions League.

This was a stunning football match with shots raining in at both ends. Lyon have recovered from their disastrous start, both domestically and in Europe, but they're going to need something at home to Barca in their next match to be in with a chance of reaching the last 16.

Attendance : 35,000
Assists : n/a, Govou, n/a, Govou, Beck, Clerc

BARCELONA 2 (Henry 6, Messi 43)

Ronaldinho, possibly determined to prove a point following another week of speculation over his future, had a hand in both of Barcelona's goals. Messi headed down the Brazilian's excellent inswinging cross and Henry poked in at the back post. After having a lazy shot charged down Henry passed to Ronaldinho, he played a one-two with Messi and he broke into the box but shot straight at McGregor and Messi tapped in the rebound.

Attendance : 86,476
Assists : Messi, n/a

23 October 2007

LYON 2 (Fabio Santos 56, Benzema 79)

Lyon were the better side in the first half and took a deserved lead when a half cleared corner deflected in off Meissner. Fabio Govou overran Keita's centre, the ball clipped his heels and fell invitingly for Benzema and he held off Pardo and skipped a tackle before shooting past Schafer.

Attendance : 51,000
Assists : n/a, Govou


Attendance : 49,957
Assist : n/a

2 October 2007

RANGERS 3 (McCulloch 23, Cousin 48, Beasley 53)

McCulloch gave Rangers the lead with a bullet header from a Beasley corner. Juninho's free kick rattled the underside of the crossbar at the end of the first half. At the start of the second half Hutton charged down the left before sending a cross towards Cousin, a superb first touch allowed him to bring the ball under control and he turned away from two defenders before blasting a right foot shot over an unsuspecting Vercoutre. Cousin made the third with a monstrous long pass out of his own half, Vercoutre froze allowing DMB to bring the ball under control and pick his spot. The luckless Juninho hit the woodwork for a second time.

Attendance : 38,076
Assists : Beasley (ck), Hutton, Cousin

BARCELONA 2 (Puyol 53, Messi 67)

Barca started well with Deco shaking the woodwork and Henry blowing an easy chance but Stuttgart grew in confidence and should have taken a half time lead. Valdes, who gave some shocking performances last season, was back to his best. He made a fantastic save from a point blank Gomes header then recovered to deny the striker on the rebound. In first half injury time Gomes stung Valdes' palms with a ferocious shot, the ball dropped invitingly to Farnerud at the back post but he completely miss-kicked, slicing his shot high in the air leaving Valdes with an easy save.

Ronaldinho met Deco's corner with a back pass header, Schafer should have caught the ball but distracted by Gomes' attempts to clear fumbled and Bam Bam Puyol pounced. Messi played in Henry with a great reverse pass, Henry ran through Tasci's weak tackle before pulling the ball back to Messi whose first time shot deflected in off Hilbert's arm following more confusion between Schafer and his defence.

Attendance : 51,300
Assists : n/a, n/a

19 September 2007

RANGERS 2 (Adam 62, Darcheville 75 Pen)
STUTTGART 1 (Gomes 56)

A brilliant finish by Stuttgart's most prized asset, Mario Gomes, gave the Germans the lead. Khedira fired in a cross from the left, Cacau tried to back heel the ball but missed and with the deftest of touches Gomes flicked the ball past McGregor. Rangers full back Alan Hutton made the equaliser with a phenomenal run. He picked up the ball on the right flank 50 yards from goal and ran through FOUR tackles as he charged towards the centre of the box then passed out wide to Adam, Adam cut inside the advancing Osorio with his left foot before curling inside the post with his right. Incredible goal. Meira stopped another threatening run from Hutton with a kick aimed at his bollocks, he should have been sent off but Stefano Farina is the worst referee in Serie A and only gave him a yellow. Darcheville made no mistake from the spot.

What a fantastic game of football. Easily the best of the opening round. I imagine scouts will be keeping a close eye on 22 year old Hutton following this performance.

Attendance : 49,795
Assists : Khedira, Hutton, Hutton (won pen)

BARCELONA 3 (Clerc 21 og, Messi 82, Henry 91)

Squillaci got drawn out of position by Iniesta as he collected a pass from Deco and cut inside the box, Clerc and Bodmer were also sucked in leaving Messi with an easy tap-in. Bodmer capped off a dreadful individual display with another mistake, he tried to tackle Dos Santos as he ran onto a through pass and completely missed both ball and player, Dos Santos dribbled past Squillaci and shot straight at Vercoutre and Henry put away the rebound to score his first goal for Barca.

Attendance : 85,000
Assists : n/a, Iniesta, n/a