Tag Archives: Rafael

Kuyt, Suarez shine in win over United

7 Mar

Liverpool’s recent addition Luis Suarez had his coming out party against Manchester United yesterday. The Uruguayan dribbled circles around three United defenders before sending the ball across the goal for Dirk Kuyt to sweep home for the game’s opening score. His vision and ball skills are something that Liverpool had been lacking until his signing. Dirk Kuyt benefitted from the presence of Suarez as he notched his first hat trick for Liverpool.  The duo caused problems all day for United with their movement around the field.

Liverpool was the better team by far in this clash. Their passing has improved drastically and they are able to pass the ball out of tight spaces now where before they would simply hoof it clear.   Steven Gerrard was not as involved in the attack as he has been in the past, but along with Lucas, they made it difficult for United to work though the center of the field.  Even though Fabio Aurelio went off early with an injury, the back four adjusted well as Jamie Carragher moved to right backm Glen Johnson went to the lef and Sotirios Krygiakos came in to partner Martin Skrtel in the center.  Raul Meireles also played a very good game, proving his value at both ends.  He cleared a Berbatov shot off the goal line (definitely no hand ball there) and made some good runs on the offensive end.

Other than the fact that Liverpool clearly dominated the game from start to finish, the other main talking point was Jamie Carragher’s poorly timed challenge on Nani at the end of the first half. Old Man Carra caught Nani high on the shin with his studs showing and was only shown a yellow card. As much as I love Carra and LFC, I’d have to say it was a red card tackle since Carra got him high on the leg and was nowhere near the ball. However, Nani didn’t help the situation by writhing in pain and then getting up and pushing the ref and yelling about the foul and then falling over again. It made the whole thing look like theatrics. Moments later, Rafael came flying in studs up at Lucas, but only earned a yellow card as well. The first half ended on quite the heated note, but the tension did not carry over into the second half.  In a lame move, Alex Ferguson did not speak to the media afterwards nor did any of the players.  Poor sportsmanship at its best.

The team played with the fire that they lacked against West Ham last week.  With the season coming down to the wire, Liverpool has to put the same effort and intensity into all its games, not just against the big guys.

Oh, how could I forget, Andy Carroll made his debut as a substitute.  He did not have much to do, but the partnership of the big Carroll along with the small and speedy Suarez has potential to make some waves.  Kuyt will probably drop into the midfield once Carroll is fit for the starting lineup.


Bayern and Lyon round out Champions League semis

8 Apr

Despite going down 3-0 in the first half, Bayern Munich was able to score two crucial away goals to advance to the Champions League semifinals.  United scored twice in the first seven minutes and it looked like it was going to be an ugly one for Bayern, especially given that Wayne Rooney started and his presence seemed to galvanize the team and the crowd.  It got even worse when Nani scored his second late in the first half.  But Bayern’s Ivica Olic came up big again and gave the away side some hope, sliding the ball past Edwin Van der Sar in the 43rd minute.  The complexion of the game changed when United defender Rafael was sent off in the 50th minute after picking up his second yellow card.  Arjen Robben’s terrific volley in the 74th minute proved to be the deciding goal that would send Bayern through.  Bayern advanced due to their away goals advantage in a 4-4 aggregate.  Bayern’s win means that there will be no English clubs in the semifinals for the first time in seven years. Yay parity!

Bordeaux claimed a 1-0 win in the second leg over Lyon, but could not notch a second goal, which would have send them through.  Instead, it’s Lyon in the semifinals after winning 3-2 on aggregate.  Bordeaux had several excellent chances to get the second goal, but Lyon goalie Hugo Lloris came up big late in the game.

Inter will host Barcelona in the first leg of their semifinal on April 20, while Bayern will play host to Lyon on April 21.  The Lyon/Bayern second leg is on April 27 and the Barca/Inter game will be on April 28.  The final is scheduled for May 22.