16 March 2011

Chelsea win 2-0 on aggregate

Highlights? The full time whistle.

Attendance : 36,454
Assists : n/a

REAL MADRID 3 (Marcelo 37, Benzema 66, Di Maria 76)

After a nervous start Real improved as the half wore on, keeping Lloris busy in the Lyon goal. Ronaldo executed an instant drag back and pass, playing it between two defenders to the onrushing Marcelo, he flicked the ball past Cris and with a sharp turn back onto his left foot sent Lovren crashing to the turf then shot straight at Loris who should have saved. Lloris made a fantastic one handed stop to deny Benzema at the end of the first half. Marcelo hit a longball up the left flank, in blocking Ozil Lovren inadvertently helped the ball on and Benzema left Cris for dead before nutmegging Lloris. The Lyon defence failed to deal with another longball, Ozil headed on and Di Maria ran through before lobbing over Lloris to well and truly exercise his teams last 16 ghost.

Real Madrid win 4-1 on aggregate

Attendance : 76,489
Assists : Ronaldo, n/a, Ozil

15 March 2011

MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Hernandez 5, Hernandez 75)
MARSEILLE 1 (Brown 82 og)

Rooney turned on a Giggs centre and Hernandez lost the dreadful Heinze to tap in unmarked at the back post. Gignac blew a chance to score a quick equaliser, horribly volleying over and Diawara failed to punish appaling marking, heading Taiwo's cross wide of the left post. Remy was next to miss, again blowing a volley following a mistake by Smalling. A minute after Cheyrou missed another chance United doubled their lead. Giggs ran onto Valencia's disguised pass and centred for Hernandez to score a carbon copy of his first goal. Brown helped out Marseille by putting away one of the chances they created but a toothless Marseille couldn't find a second goal to send out this injury ravaged United side.

United look as poor in Europe as they have domestically. Taggart better hope for an easy draw i.e. Schalke or Spurs and the return to fitness of Vidic or Ferdinand.

Manchester United win 2-1 on aggregate.

Attendance : 73,996
Assists : Rooney, Giggs, n/a

BAYERN MUNICH 2 (Gomez 21, Muller 31)
INTER 3 (Eto'o 4, Sneijder 63, Pandev 88)

Bayern's lame Dutch coach made a series of tactical blunders. The first was starting with Breno and Van Buyten in defence despite the great job done by Tymoschuk and Badstuber in the first leg. Right on queue Van Buyten lost his position when advancing to tackle Stankovic 35 yards from goal, Stankovic passed to Pandev and Eto'o ran between Pranjic and Breno onto the Macedonian's though ball and shot into the bottom corner. The mistakes continued. At the other end Julio Cesar forgot to catch the ball as Robben took aim with a typically explosive shot, Gomez hooked the rebound over his head as Julio Cesar helplessly watched it sail into an empty net. Nevertheless it was a great finish. Motta inadvertently touched a Robben pass onto Muller and he recovered from a heavy first touch to lob over Julio Cesar. A mistake by Ranocchia put Ribery one on one against Julio Cesar but the big game bottler, I can't remember the last time he did anything of note, took too long to pull the trigger and Julio Cesar managed to block. The Brazilian goalkeeper, who has looked a shadow of himself since picking up a back injury towards the end of last season, ran off his line for a Ribery cross but missed, Gomez got the feintest of touches, the ball rolled across goal and as Muller jumped in with a sliding tackle, Ranocchia kicked the ball against him and it rebouned off the left post. Ranocchia, who was having a nightmare, gave Robben a hospital pass in the box but the brittle wing wizard misscued horribly. Muller caught Lucio dribbling inside his box, Ribery ran away with the ball, played a lazy centre which took a double deflection before bouncing kindkly back to him and Cambiasso threw himself at the goalbound shot. Bayern should have been four goals to the good at half time.

On the hour mark Julio Cesar finally produced a spectaculr save to match Gomez' equally spectacualr volley. Coutinho, on for the ineffective Stankovic, played a pass to Eto'o on the right of the penalty box and he touched the ball back for the onrushing Sneidjer to fire past Kraft. With the scores tied 2-2 on the night and Bayern leading 3-2 on aggregate Van Gaal substituted Robben for Altintop. Now it was one way traffic. Pandev chested down a Sneijder cross and turned his marker but blazed his volley high over. Sneidjer was off target minutes later then saw his goalbound shot bounce to safety off Pandev. Eto'o battled Breno for a longball, wriggled free of the defender, ran across the box trying to work an angle for a shot before passing square to the onrushing Pandev and this time he managed to keep his shot down, but only just, as it tore into the roof of the net.

Inter had 3 shots on target to Bayern's 9. If Bayern hadn't already announced Van Gaal would be leaving at the end of the season this would have been a sackable offence.

3-3 on aggregate, Inter win on away goals.

Attendance : 69,000
Assists : Pandev, n/a, n/a, Eto'o, Eto'o

9 March 2011


Dawson got too tight on Robinho, tried to tackle him on the half way line, the ball broke for Pato who took it wide, rounded Gomez, pulled back a centre, Robinho's shot hit Assou-Ekotto and was bouncing towards an empty net before Gallas made a superb clearance. Gomez failed to make what should have been a comfortable save from Robinho and in scrambling to clear touched the ball against Gallas, he made a mess of the clearance but Gomez denied Robinho with a brilliant point blank save. The Brazilian wasted a decent chance at the death, blazing over an Ibrahimovic cut-back as Milan made another feeble exit at the hands of EPL opposition.

Spurs may be hoping for Shakhtar in the QFs but I think the Ukrainians will light them up like a Christmas tree. Catenaccio won't work against a side with so much pace. Schalke on the other hand will be a much easier proposition.

Tottenham win 1-0 on aggregate.

Attendance : 34,320
Assists : n/a

SCHALKE 3 (Farfan 40 fk, Gavranovic 52, Farfan 94)
VALENCIA 1 (Costa 17)

The Spanish bossed the early exchanges and took the lead with a thumping header though Costa didn't know too much about it. Topal's delivery was excellent. Farfan equalised with a brilliant free kick. Schalke took the lead due to a goalkeeping blunder. Guaita ran into traffic when punching for a cross, Farfan juggled the ball before shooting straight at Guaita, he spilled the Peruvian's shot and Gavranovic's shot bounced off both posts before crossing the line. A defensive mix-up presented Valencia with an immediate chance to hit back but Mathieu shot wide. Joaquin played in Aduriz with a superb pass, Neuer rushed off his line and stood tall, tipping over the striker's shot. The defending at both ends was poor. Goalscorer Costa kicked fresh air when attempting to clear a hopeful longball, Gavranovic ran though but hammered against a post. Gavranovic hit the woodwork again in the 3rd minute of injury with a shot from 40 yards. Farfan settled the tie barely a minute later when he chased down a longball and lobbed over Guaita from close range.

Schalke win 4-2 on aggregate.

Attendance : 55,000
Assists : Topal, Gavranovic (won fk), n/a, Sarpei

8 March 2011

BARCELONA 3 (Messi 48, Xavi 69, Messi 71 Pen)
ARSENAL 1 (Busquets 53 og)

Arsenal frustrated Barcelona until late in first half injury time. Fabregas played a back heal across defence, Iniesta intercepted, threaded a magnificent pass through the eye of a needle to Messi and he lobbed over Almunia. Busquets headed a Nasri corner into his own net but a ridiculous red card ended Arsenal's hopes of a place in the last 8. Van Persie shot after the ref whistled for offside and was shown a second yellow. I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that in front of 95,000 fans the refs whistle may be difficult to hear but RVP is still an idiot. A second goal was inevitable at this point and duly arrived with a piece of textbook triangle passing, Iniesta to Messi to Xavi, who shot wide of Almunia. Pedro, still a cheat, ran into Koscielny's outstretched leg to win a penalty.

Arsenal will understandably feel aggrieved by this defeat but if Fabregas hadn't been dreaming about linking up with his Spain team-mates as he made that hospital pass in injury time who knows what would have happened?

Barcelona win 4-3 on aggregate.

Attendance : 95,000
Red Card : Van Persie 56 (Arsenal)
Assists : Iniesta, n/a, Messi, Pedro (won pen)

SHAKHTAR DONETSK 3 (Hubschman 18, Willian 58, Eduardo 87)

According to UEFA's website Willian scored the first goal, even though in their text commentary they acknowledge Hubschman got a touch. Willian kept the ball in play, ran past Pizzaro and whipped in a low cross, Hubschman flicked out a back heal, doing enough to divert the ball in off Doni's left post. Mkhitaryan sacked Borriello to concede a penalty but in Totti's absence Borriello took it, and missed. Mexes was shown a harsh second yellow for pulling Adriano however the ref missed dirty cheat De Rossi elbowing Srna in an all too typical display of Roma's thuggery when things aren't going their way. Willian curled in a second from the left side of the box after Roma failed to clear a corner, again via a deflection off Burdisso. Rosi sold his goalkeeper short on a backpass and Eduardo tapped in a third to complete an impressive, one sided victory.

Shakhtar are a match for any team in this competition, going forward. Defensively there's major room for improvement. I would love to see how they would match up against Bayern, Spurs or Real Madrid.

Shakhtar win 6-2 on aggregate.

Attendance : 47,000
Red Card : Mexes 41 (Roma)
Assists : Willian, n/a, n/a

23 February 2011


The visitors should have been awarded a penalty when notorious cheat and former red Heinze handled a Fletcher cross.

Attendance : 60,031
Assists : n/a

BAYERN 1 (Gomes 90)

Eto'o went down in the box under a clumsy Tymoschuk challenge but the ref, Kassai, ignored appeals for a penalty. Eto'o played a one-two with Maicon as he ran in from the right, wrestled free of Badstuber and laid the ball to Cambiasso who shot at Kraft from two yards out. Ribery headed a Robben cross against the bar, it was his only positive contribution of the night, absolute rubbish. Chivu hit a high ball into the Bayern box, Lucio centred, Eto'o touched the ball away from a defender and shot on the turn, drawing a marvellous point blank save from Kraft.

Despite the lack of goals an entertaining first half was followed by a thrilling second. Schweinsteiger ran at Maicon and Zanetti, pirouetted away from them then back healed to Ribery, FANTASTIC skill, Muller instantly laid off Ribery's pass, Robben skipped past Ranocchia's sliding tackle, away from Chivu then hammered a right foot shot off the outside of a post. Minutes later Eto'o took a Maicon cross on his chest, dribbled past Tymoschuk and volleyed a shot at Kraft, the young German couldn't hold the ball, Cambiasso had the goal at his mercy but ballooned over the bar. Motta headed a corner at Kraft, who instinctively got his hands up and parried. A Sneijder free kick fell to Eto'o and his deflected shot agonisingly bounced wide of the right post. In the 89th minute Robben unloaded with a shot from 25 yards out, Julio Cesar spilled the ball and Gomez pounced, 0-1.

Game of the season. Bayern's approach play was fabulous. They outplayed their hosts but the European Champions had the best chances. 90 minutes of non stop action. With Rabbit Killer Leonardo in charge and having given up an away goal Inter's reign ends next month.

Attendance : 80,000
Assist : n/a

22 February 2011

CHELSEA 2 (Anelka 17, Anelka 54)

Anelka put paid to near universal hopes for an upset on 17 minutes. Chelsea reject Gronkjaer overhit an un-necessary back pass on the half way line, Anelka ran into the box and fired into the net before Antonsson could make a challenge. Lampard spun onto an Essien pass, dropped a ball over Anelka's shoulder and he pulled clear of his marker before angling a shot into the bottom left corner.

Attendance : 36,713
Assists : n/a, Lampard

LYON 1 (Gomis 83)
REAL MADRID 1 (Benzema 65)

Lyon should have taken the lead on the half hour mark. They launched a rapier counter attack when defending a Real Madrid corner, Real actually did well to get men back in numbers but Casillas dropped Bastos' cross, he quickly scrambled to parry from Gomis as he took aim at an empty net. Terrific save. Real were much improved in the second half. Ronaldo crashed a free kick off the right post and within a minute Ramos headed a corner against the crossbar. Real Madrid should have been awarded a penalty when Gourcuff used an arm to charge down a Ronaldo free kick. Benzema scored within 20 seconds of replacing Adebayor. Di Maria and Benzema caught Toulalan dithering on the ball, Di Maria passed to Ronaldo, he played square to Benzema and he dribbled wide of his former team-mates before nutmegging Lloris. Nothing happened until the equaliser. Gourcuff smacked a free kick into Ronaldo, Cris got above Xabi Alonso to flick on the deflected cross and Gomis tapped wide of Casillas amid appeals for offside, he wasn't.

Attendance : 40,299
Assists : Ronaldo, Cris

16 February 2011

ROMA 2 (Perrotta 28, Menez 61)
SHAKHTAR DONETSK 3 (Jadson 29, Douglas Costa 36, Luiz Adriano 41)

Shakhtar failed to clear their lines from a Roma corner, De Rossi recycled the ball, touched it back to Rodrigo 'Kevin Bacon' Taddei, Pyatov overshot the flight of the ball and Perrotta headed in at the back post. Immediately after the restart Shakhtar equalised. Burdisso half cleared a cross, Jadson took aim and his shot clipped off De Rossi's heals wrong footing Doni in the Roma goal. Douglas Costa appeared to score a fantastic second but his shot also took a deflection off a Roma player, this time the ever hapless Burdisso. Roma are a different proposition when Juan starts. In trying to control a weak pass into the Roma half before presumably booting the ball clear, Riise fell on his ginger arse. Douglas Costa collected the ball and centred for Luiz Adriano to tap in Shakhtar's third. Perrotta headed on a longball and a great first touch took Menez away from Mkhitaryan, he held off Jadson as he drifted infield then from the edge of the box curled the ball into the top right corner. Wonderful goal but given Shakhtar's imperious home record, Roma are fucked.

Attendance : 39,876
Assists : Taddei, n/a, n/a, Douglas Costa, Perrotta

ARSENAL 2 (Van Persie 78, Arshavin 83)
BARCELONA 1 (Villa 26)

Messi ran at the Arsenal defence and poked a ball through for Villa who pulled clear of a not so square back four before tapping into the corner. Messi resisted a Song challenge in midfield and made the most of a lucky break off Koscielny and continued menacingly towards the Arsenal box, he slipped in Pedro with another brilliant pass but Szczesny (265 points in scrabble) was quick off his line and made a brilliant tackle and Messi's follow-up was disallowed for offside. The game then settled into a tedious pattern of largely pointless Barcelona passing, with Arsenal wasteful on the break. That is until the 78th minute. Clichy chipped a great pass over Pique's head, Van Persie ran clear and from an angle wide left of goal half volleyed the ball into the bottom right corner. Fantastic finish. Five minutes later Arshavin made the impossible possible on a counter. Fabregas angled a through ball between two Barca defenders to Nasri who raced away as they appealed for offside, Nasri put on the breaks and checked inside Keita before waiting for Arshavin to arrive and he rolled the ball towards the beleaguered Russian who curled first time past Valdez.

If Arsenal defend as well as they did today and providing everyone is fit there's no reason they can't get a result in Barcelona.

Attendance : 59,927
Assists : Messi, Clichy, Nasri

15 February 2011

TOTTENHAM 1 (Crouch 80)

Early on Milan struggled to deal with Crouch. Abbiati concussed himself when landing after claiming a ball, he almost fell as he got to his feet and made way, on a stretcher, for Amelia. Who saved the only decent shot on target, a long range Van der Vaart effort.

Gomes made a brilliant point blank save from Yepes and shortly thereafter Milan lost their discipline. Flamini should have been sent off for a horrific, two footed EPL 'tackle' on Corluka and even had the temerity to argue with the ref for being booked. Corluka later emerged with his ankle in ice so thankfully it's not too serious. As Woodgate was coming on for Corluka Gattuso started yelling at Tottenham assistant Joe Jordan, grabbed his face and gave him a shove. After Gomes denied Yepes with another brilliant point blank save, the Milan defender stuck an elbow into his ribs as he threw the ball out, yellow card. Gattuso was booked for tripping Pienaar so misses the return, which will be a blessing. As Spurs were pegged back in the Mila box Ibrahimovic passed straight to Sandro who gave the ball to Modric and his instant pass sent Lennon clear, with Milan outnumbered he skipped Yepes' last ditch tackle and centred for the unmarked Crouch to tap-in. Ibrahimovic thought he had equalised with an overhead kick in second half injury time but the goal was disallowed for a phantom push on Dawson.

At full time Gattuso shook Redknapp's hand then walked over to Joe Jordan and heabutted him in the face, COWARD. Gattuso had to be restrained as the Spurs bench were understandably furious. Ironically it was Flamini who eventually dragged him away. He should be given a lengthy ban and issue a public apology to Jordan, Spurs and Milan. Shameful.

Attendance : 80,000
Assist : Lennon

VALENCIA 1 (Soldado 17)
SCHALKE 1 (Raul 64)

Huntelaar should have given Schalke, who started brightly, an 8th minute lead but alone in front of goal he kicked fresh air. Aduriz played in Mathieu on the overlap and Soldado turned in his cross. Guaita tipped KLUNGE'S goalbound header against the bar and out for a corner. Aduriz, free at the back post, wasted another brilliant left wing cross. Jurado collected the ball on the left as a Valencia defender lazily appealed for offside, a great first touch allowed Raul to take the ball away from Navarro and he calmly stroked the ball into the bottom corner. Classy finish and European goal #70, according to UEFA. Schmitz got a second yellow for I believe time wasting, in the 94th minute. Idiot.

Attendance : 50,000
Red Card : Schmitz 94 (Schalke)
Assists : Mathieu, Jurado