September 15, 2011 by Richard · Comments Off
Rennesâ€™ trip to Italy to face Udinese may have resulted in zero points, but there are plenty of positives for FrĂ©dĂ©ric Antonettiâ€™s men to take after a game perofmrance in the 2-1 defeat.
The Red and Blacks started strongly, and got on the board first on a Youssouf Hadgi strike. But in the end, they were left to rue missed chances, as a late first half goal from Antonio di Natale equalized, before Pablo Armero won it in the 83rd minute.
Rennes have their work cut out for them in Group I with teams such as Celtic and Atletico Madrid also in the mix. But with a little more composure in front of goal, they should be right in the thick of things based on Thursdayâ€™s performance.
August 17, 2011 by Moiz Siddiqui · Comments Off
Final Score:- Arsenal 1-0 Udinese
Goalscorers:- Theo Walcott (4th minute)
Arsenal:- Vermaelen; Walcott
Udinese:-Armero, Benatia,Pinzi Neuton
Man of the Match:- Wojiech Sczcesny
Arsenal took a narrow lead in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Udinese as they won the game 1-0. The solitary goal of the match was scored by road runner Theo Walcott on 4 minutes.
Its a multi million dollar tie for both teams as the winner would get entry to the UEFA Champions League- the biggest club competition in Europe. Arsenal have a proud record of making the group stages of the UEFA Champions League since 1998-99 and would look to finish the tie in the second leg at Stadio Fruili.
The match was started positively by Arsenal as the team showed the hunger and desire which Arsene Wenger has been bragging about for the last couple of months.
Just as the clock hit 4, Marouane Chamakh stole the ball in his own half and passed it to Sagna. Sagna looped a clever pass to Ramsey on the right wing who curled an inch perfect cross for Theo Walcott who finished efficiently. Arsenal should have doubled the lead on 25 minutes when Gervinho missed an easy chance after Vermaelen got in his way.
Udinese started to dominate proceedings from this point onwards till the end of the first half as Di Natale, Armero and Isla all came close.
Two injury blows struck Arsenal early in the second half as Gibbs got injured first and then his substitute Djourou also got injured which paved the way for Jenkinson to make his first appearance for the club.
Di Natale and Armero continued to be a threat but Udinese remained lacklustre in the final third. Even though Udinese threatened a lot more but the two best chances of the second half fell Walcott’s way. First he miscued his shot after Ramsey found him in space and then Gervinho cleverly played him in with a one-on-one opportunity but Handanovic made a brilliant save to stop an imminent goal from Walcott.
Arsenal may have started their post-Cesc era with a win but they can’t rest any of their star players for the return leg in order to assure qualification.
April 26, 2009 by Richard · Comments Off
Jose Mourinho, the mercurial manager had a very successful run with Chelsea and when he moved to Inter Milan, he had inherited a veteran laden team led by Patrick Vieira, he still falls short of expectations.
He is the highest paid manager in the game today but he has been able only able to match the accomplishments of his predecessor Roberto Mancini. There are differences though as his current lead of ten points over their nearest competitor with still six games to go. It has been a relatively easy Italian championship compared to the ones won by the previous manager of the team.
There also were the positives, the teenage stars Davide Santon and Mario Balotelli and the negatives, the transfers of duds like Ricardo Quaresma and Mancini. But they are out of Championâ€™s League contention with terrible losses to Panathinaikos at home and a draw by Anorthosis of Cyprus. The clock is ticking for Mourinho works his magic as his window would be closing soon.
April 23, 2009 by Richard · Comments Off
The racist chanting against Inter Milanâ€™s Mario Balotelli has prompted Serie A to have the next Juventus game behind closed doors. The young striker scored first in the match between Inter Milan and Juventus but chants of â€śa black Italian does not existâ€ť from the Juventus supporters and racist songs moved officials to play one game behind closed doors.
Juventus, who is set to play Lazio for the Italian Cup semifinals match said they would appeal the decision for their next home game with Lecce on May 3. Racist abuse happens in Italian soccer and fines are meted out for them but the gravity of the incident against Inter Milan has prompted a sterner penalty on the home side of the racist fans. The decision on the one game without fans in the stands was decided upon as the abuse was â€śdeplorable and could not be excused as sporting passionâ€ť. This is in line with the current efforts of football authorities to curb hooligan violence and upgrade its status as it missed out on hosting Euro 2012 due to the soccer violence.
Lazio was in search of a victory after a losing skid in the last month. Lecce on the other hand was treading relegation as it trailed by a measly three points. To help in their cause, Lazio was debuting Christian Ledesma back from the disabled list.
Lazio scored in the 10th minute with a strong volley from Pasquale Foggia from an assist by Lichsteiner which went home into the net. In the 50th minute the away side took a commanding two nil lead when Aleksander Kolarov struck the ball to the top right corner of the goal with the keeper unable to block the shot in time. Lecce offered a feeble response to the onslaught and was even a man down on the final minutes after Lecceâ€™s Cacia was brought off the field after a heavy challenge. As the referee blew the final whistle, Lazio celebrated as if a monkey had been taken off their backs while the dejected home side slipped further into contention not for the league standings but to relegation come next season.
Clarence Seedorf helped AC Milan return to its fighting form as they beat Cagliari one goal to nil. This win also helped their chances in the last 32 match opposite Werder Bremen in the UEFA Cup.
Seedorf made the only goal of the match with a tap in at the 63rd minute in a match dominated by the visiting Milanese club side. The win also helped close in on the lead of Inter Milan who sits atop the standings with an eleven point lead over their cross-town rivals. But more than that rivalry, the win helped bring back the confidence before their return match against Bremen after a one goal draw. Like many fans, even Milan president and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berloscuni was aghast with the late goal by Weder in their match up the previous week. This prompted rumours that Carlo Ancelotti would get the axe. This was scoffed at by Ancelotti as the disappointment over the goal is but natural and what the team needs is to play to win and not play not to lose after scoring first.
Mario Balotelli came in as a substitute and helped his Italian club side Inter Milan a two goals to one win over Bologna. This widens their lead to twelve points in the standings in the Serie A.
It was an eventful first half for both sides with shots at goal effectively repulsed by their respective keepers. But in the 57th minute, Esteban Cambiasso took a shot from within the box from a Maicon corner kick to score for Inter. On the 80th minute, Miguel Britos levelled the score with a header into the far corner of the Inter Milan goal.
Jose Mourinho, the Inter Milan manager then tapped the Italian Balotelli to replace Adriano on the pitch for more scoring options which proved to be a masterful move as the strikerâ€™s first touch of the ball resulted in a goal by a curling free kick just off the edge of the box over the penalty area and into the Bologna goal. Inter had better chances at goal with attempts from Ibrahimovic, Muntari and Santon but great goalkeeping by Bolognaâ€™s Antonioli kept the Inter squad at bay.
The game played by AS Roma lacked the usual attacking and aggressive style of play but they still managed to sneak past Siena one goal to nil at home. This was courtesy of Rodrigo Taddeiâ€™s goal at the 73rd minute as he rebounded an uncleared free kick by team mate David Pizarro into the Siena net. The performance viewed by many as lacklustre compared to the calibre of the team. The next one would be an away match at Arsenal and the Italian club side would be without Daniele de Rossi and Simone Perrotta as they are suspended for the next match.
Injuries may also play a factor in the next few matches as Philippe Mexes, the heart of the AS Roma defense went down with an apparent shoulder injury. He is still to undergo tests to see the extent of the damage.
Before the Brazilian was able to score, there were attempts made by Julio Baptista with two attempts at goal on both sides of halftime. The lead could have been extended but Vincenzo Montellaâ€™s close range header was blocked by Siena goalkeeper Curci.
The real news behind the failed transfer of the 2007 FIFA World Footballer of the Year Kaka is now coming to light. AC Milan had already agreed to sell their prized Brazilian to Manchester City to the tune of $145 million.
Previous bids for the ace striker had been refused by the club side until AC Milanâ€™s big boss Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berloscuni allowed the English Premier League club to discuss the prospect of transferring Kaka. The most probable reason for the sudden change of heart was the sheer amount of the deal which had both Berloscuni and the AC Milan management found tempting enough to deal the player. But the historic deal would not come into fruition with a simple message from the prime minister that Kaka was staying and it is not about the money.
In retrospect, it wouldâ€™ve been a win-win situation for AC Milan and Kaka, with the huge pay windfall to be received by Kaka and the financial flexibility for Milan, there would be no arguing as to the numbers for the deal to push through. But the final discussions received by Kakaâ€™s camp became lukewarm when the response made by the Manchester City representative would be emailed the next day, which prompted the playerâ€™s manager and father to get up and leave. This annoyed the Manchester City representative since he had thought that the previous discussions had already sealed the deal. This chapter then has been called the â€śgreat refusalâ€ť.
February 21, 2009 by Richard · Comments Off
Werder Bremen salvages a draw against AC Milan through Diegoâ€™s late game heroics to keep Werderâ€™s hopes alive in the UEFA Cup Round of 32. The goal came in the 84th minute of the match that saw David Beckham see action for the Italian club side only in the last minute and injury time.
The home side kept the pressure after the Italian side scored through a left footed volley by Filippo Inzaghi in the 32nd minute. He collected the rebound after the initial header he had made was blocked by the Werder goalkeeper.Â At the second half, a more determined Bundesliga squad came out to score against the visitors.
The away win was assumed to be locked up by Milan until the superb play by Diego saved the match draw. This is better than a loss, but the climb towards the UEFA final match would be much more difficult with the result. Should Werder Bremen continue the energy they had in the second half of this match, they can make their trek a little easier in the next UEFA Cup rounds.