Archive | April, 2010

Inter dethrones Barca

28 Apr

Despite a 1-0 loss to Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal, Inter Milan booked a spot in the final on 3-2 aggregate.

The feat is made all the more impressive after Inter played over 60 minutes with only 10 men.  Thiago Motta was shown a straight red in the 28th minute after pushing Sergi Buschets in the face.

Gerard Pique made the game interesting by scoring in the 84th minute, but Barcelona couldn’t conjur a second goal that would send them through to the final.

Inter is now back in a European Cup final for the first time since 1972.  They will play Bayern Munich in Madrid on May 22.

Bayern dominates Lyon to advance to CL final

27 Apr

Ivica Olic notched a hat trick to send Bayern Munich to a 3-0 win over Lyon and a spot in the Champions League final.  The German side won 4-0 on aggregate.  Olic gave the away side a 1-0 lead before halftime.  Lyon’s misery was compounded when Cris was sent off for his second yellow card in the 60th minute.  Olic added a second goal only seven minutes later and put the game out of reach in the 77th minute with his third goal.

Bayern is bidding for its fifth European title and will face either Inter Milan or Barcelona in the final.  It is Bayern’s first trip to the final since they won it in 2001.

Bayern and Lyon square off today

27 Apr

Bayern Munich holds a slight edge in their Champions League semifinal with Lyon after Arjen Robben gave the German side a 1-0 win in the first leg.  Bayern will be without Franck Ribery, who picked up a red card in the first leg and is suspended.  They will get captain Mark von Bommel back though after he was suspended for the first leg.  Jeremy Toulalan is out for Lyon after earning a red card in the first leg.  Defenders Cris and Mathieu Bodmer are both doubtful to play because of injury.

Lyon goalie Hugo Lloris will have to come up big if the French side want a shot at the final.  He hasn’t allowed more than one goal in a game in all Champions League competition and with Bayern the away side, even a single goal could be killer.  However, Lyon has some offensive threats of their own and are more than capable of overturning the deficit.

Once again, Fox Soccer will not be showing the semifinal live, but rather on delay (5 p.m. ET).  Seriously, FSC, these semis are some of the biggest games of the year.  What is the reasoning for not showing it live?  The game is available live online at UEFA.com for 10 bucks.

Prem going down to the wire

26 Apr

Man, talk about an exciting way to finish the season.  This is how every season needs to be with the title challenge going back and forth.  Ideally, the title will be decided on the final day of the season in dramatic fashion.  One slip up from either Chelsea or United could end the dream at this point.  It’s the same way in the race for fourth too, one slip up and you’re done.  Who’s going to get it done under pressure? 

The race for the title is going down to the wire.  Chelsea leads the way by the slimmest of margins, only one point.  The Blues sit on 80 points while Manchester United is hot on their heels with 79.  United plays Sunderland and Stoke in their final two games while Chelsea plays away to Liverpool and hosts Wigan in the season finale.  Two wins for Chelsea would give them the title.

In addition to the title challenge, the race for fourth has picked up as well.  Tottenham (64), Manchester City (64), Aston Villa (63) and Liverpool (62) are all within two points of each other.  Currently, Tottenham holds the fourth and final Champions League spot.  Both City and Spurs have three games remaining, while the Reds and Villa have two each.  However, City has games against both Spurs and Villa.  Liverpool’s game against Chelsea could have implications on both races.

At the bottom of the table, Portsmouth has been relegated since forever.  They will be joined by Burnley after their 4-0 loss to Liverpool at the weekend.  Although not official, it’s looking like Hull will be the third team relegated.

Davies won’t play for Sochaux this season

23 Apr

U.S. striker Charlie Davies will not play for his club team Sochaux this season according to the French club’s president.  It’s a large hurdle for Davies as he has made a miraculous recovery from a serious car accident in October.  He has hopes of being back in time to play in the World Cup this summer, but a lack of any match fitness with the club will have to hurt his chances.  However, based on the progress he’s made, I would think that he would still be given a spot on the 30 man roster due to FIFA in May. 

Team USA is seriously hurtin’ in the striker department right now with the only solid, healthy option being Jozy Altidore.  Clint Dempsey can also play up front if need be (and honestly, he’s much better there than in the midfield).  If Davies can get back in good enough fitness, I’d say he would earn a spot in South Africa.  He might not be at the point where he can play a full 90, but he will be able to make an impact based on his size and speed.  Altidore and Davies are a tough duo to handle up front and if there’s any way to get them on the field together, Bob Bradley will try to make it happen.  It’s a race against the clock for Davies and it’s going to be a close one.

Atlético hosts Liverpool in Europa semi

22 Apr

After making the ridiculously long trek to Spain in planes, trains and automobiles, Liverpool will play Atlético Madrid today in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal.  Both teams will be missing their primary strikers – Fernando Torres for Liverpool through injury and Sergio Aguero for Madrid through suspension.  David N’Gog will lead the front line for the Reds.  The Frenchman scored in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over West Ham on Monday in an excellent response to getting called out in my blog.

It would be a huge boost for the Reds to get a win on the road in front of a tough crowd.  They will have to take advantage of their opportunities as they might be few and far between.  The Liverpool defense has been very solid as of late and they need to continue that form.

Wolfsburg will host Fulham in the other semifinal.  In positive news for Fulham (and team USA), Clint Dempsey has been deemed fit for tonight’s clash.

If you’re lucky enough to have DirecTV (Liverpool/Atletico) or GolTV (Wolfsburg/Fulham), you’re golden.  Otherwise, get yourself to a sports bar.  Everyone could use a drink at 2 p.m., right?

Robben comes up big for Bayern

22 Apr

Arjen Robben has done it again. His second half strike gave Bayern Munich a 1-0 win over Lyon in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal. Robben has come up huge for Bayern in Champions League this season with four goals in his last eight games.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Bayern though as Franck Ribery got sent off in the first half for a high challenge on Lisandro. Lyon also went down to 10 men as Jeremy Toulalan received his second yellow in the 59th minute. Both players will miss the second leg in France.

Overall, Bayern dominated the game and were unlucky not to add another goal or two to their tally. The German side only holds a slim advantage going into next week’s game and Lyon has been tough to beat on their home turf.