Tag Archives: Real Madrid

Champions League group stage ends on completely crazy note

7 Dec

Well, who can say they saw today’s results coming?  Two results clearly stand out: 1) Manchester United getting knocked out of Champions League with a 2-1 loss to Basel.  Really?  2) Lyon somehow turning around a NINE goal difference to edge Ajax for second in group D.

Major props to Basel on the upset of United.  A late goal from Alexander Frei sealed second place for Basel and knocked United out in the group stage for the first time since 2005-06.  And that, Alex Ferguson, is why you don’t take the group stage for granted.

Meanwhile, in group D, Lyon scored six second half goals to seal an improbable 7-1 win over Zagreb.  Meanwhile, Ajax lost a 2-0 decision to Real Madrid, and with those results combined, it meant that Lyon, not Ajax, heads to the round of 16.  Holy crap, how mad does Ajax have to be?  For Zagreb to ship seven goals at home?  Absurb.  Props to Lyon for making something out of what seemed to be a near impossible situation, but it does seem a little bit sketchy since I think the futsal team I play on could have played better defense.

Only two English teams advanced to the round of 16.  Man City defeated Bayern 2-0, but a Napoli win with the same scoreline sent the Italian through to the next round.  Who would’ve thought that Chelsea and Arsenal would be the lone Premier League teams remaining?  Ridic.

While I’m on the subject, I don’t really understand why people would root for all the Premier League teams to do well.  Ok, sure, the league looks better, but really?  Who cares?  You’re telling me that as a United fan, you want Arsenal to succeed? I don’t think so.  I just can’t get behind the idea of rooting for a team that I would hate in every other circumstance.

Round of 16 teams: Bayern Munich (GER), Napoli (ITA), Inter (ITA), CSKA (RUS), Benfica (POR), Basel (SUI), Real (ESP), Lyon (FRA), Chelsea (ENG), Leverkusen (GER), Arsenal (ENG), Marseille (FRA), APOEL (CYP), Zenit (RUS), Barcelona (ESP) and Milan (ITA).

Really early, completely premature and totally unnecessary final prediction: Barcelona vs. Milan

2011-12 Champions League group stage set

25 Aug

After a tediously boring draw earlier today, the Champions League groups are ready to go for another year of action. Group A ended up as the toughest draw with Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Manchester City and Napoli. Of course, Barcelona and Manchester United have one team in each of their groups that could pose a challenge.  The first group games are set for Sept. 13-14 and the complete schedule can be found here.

Oh and in case you were wondering, Lionel Messi won the first UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, which was announced after the draw to the surprise of approximately no one.

Group A
Bayern Munich (GER)
Villarreal (ESP)
Manchester City (ENG)
Napoli (ITA)

Group B
Inter (ITA)
CSKA Moskva (RUS)
Lille (FRA)
Trabsponzor (TUR)

Group C
Manchester United (ENG)
Benfica (POR)
Basel (SUI)
Otelui Galati (ROU)

Group D
Real Madrid (ESP)
Lyon (FRA)
Ajax (NED)
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Group E
Chelsea (ENG)
Valencia (ESP)
Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
Genk (BEL)

Group F
Arsenal (ENG)
Marseille (FRA)
Olympiacos (GRE)
Borussia Dortmund (GER)

Group G
Porto (POR)
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS)
APOEL (CYP)

Group H
Barcelona (ESP)
AC Milan (ITA)
BATE (BLR)
Viktoria Plzen (CZE)

More Barca-Real drama today

3 May

Barcelona will host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal this afternoon.  The bad blood boiled over in the last meeting as there were dives, fouls and cheating out the wazoo.

Barcelona holds a 2-0 lead and has no real need to score any more goals today.  They will be perfectly content with 80% possession and no shots.  How exactly will Real score if they can’t hold onto the ball?  It will be even more difficult for Real without Pepe, who was vital to the disruption of the Barca midfield in the last couple matches.  Last week, Barca couldn’t get a breakthrough until after his red card.  Real will also be without the services of Sergio Ramos (yellow card accumulation) and Jose Mourinho (red card). Mourinho has already labeled this tie as ‘mission impossible’.  (Talk about a way to inspire your team.)

Tensions ran incredibly high in last week’s match and it resulted in an ugly, foul-filled affair.  Will these teams be able to move past that or will this game be even uglier as Real pushes for goals of its own?  A 2-0 hole is not the end of the world for Real, but they will have to find someone else to play the disruptive role that Pepe did if they want any chance of getting back into this clash. If no one can fill that role, it’s going to be a long day for the Copa del Rey champs and a second final in three years for Barcelona.

TV Schedule
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Live

This is pathetic

28 Apr

Alright, we know, it was an undeserved red card.  But what good does bitching about it all over your website do?  Who thought writing this article was a good idea?  It just makes Real look spiteful and petty.  Plus, with the way that game was going, who’s to say someone else wouldn’t have gotten sent off?

Here’s a life lesson for you: decisions don’t always go your way, but you get over it and you move on.  Focus on the next thing.  It doesn’t do any good to dwell on what’s done and dusted.

Messi is awesome, game was not

27 Apr

Lionel Messi scored twice in the final 15 minutes to give Barcelona a 2-0 win over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.  He has now scored 11 goals in his last 11 Champions League games and as is typical, his goals were quite nice.  What wasn’t so nice?  The vast majority of the rest of the game. Thoughts and observations below:

  • Pepe’s red card was on the harsh side.  I probably would’ve given yellow if I was the ref. (But let’s be honest, I’d be a terrible ref because I’d never call anything unless you were bleeding and/or a bone was sticking out of your body.)  More deserving of a red card?  Emmanuel Adebayor’s blatant face shove of Sergio Busquets.  I realize you’re frustrated, but still, that was unnecessary and you were lucky to only see yellow.
  • Whether it was completely legit or not, the red card completely changed the game.  Pepe was the key cog in the clogging of the midfield and a vital piece of Real’s success against Barca in their last two encounters.   Barcelona was finally able to break through because they were finally able to string together passes through the midfield.
  • For the love of all that is holy, enough with the diving.  If you get knocked over, fine, but grow a pair and get back up.  There is no need to act like you just got shot from the stands.  It’s embarrassing.  Players should be able to be carded and/or fined after a game ends for playacting.  Games should be won and lost because of the product on the field, not because someone (cough*Dani Alves*cough) is a good actor.
  • Also, there’s no need for 15 people to get in the ref’s face after every single foul call (and there were a lot of them tonight).  He made a decision, now let’s move on.
  • This game never got into any sort of rhythm.  There were too many whistles and too much bitching.  (Not saying they weren’t legitimate fouls, but hot damn, there were a lot of them.)
  • Yeah, Messi is kind of amazing.  His first goal required an excellent touch off a great cross and his second goal was pure brilliance.  Talk about a difference maker.  I love how he doesn’t always go for pure power on his shots.  It’s all about the placement.
  • Jose Mourinho is an excellent coach and a brilliant tactician.  However, me thinks he runs his mouth a bit too much.  After the game, he said, “Barcelona has qualified for the final. Sometimes I feel disgusted about this football world of ours…No one has any chance against Barca. Where does all this power come from? To win like this is very nasty.”  Huh.  If I recall correctly, your team beat them in the Copa del Rey final last week.  Also, you beat them as manager of Inter last year.  So you got a player (and yourself) sent off, get over it.  If it had been the other way around, would you be bitching?  Doubt it.  I realize that being rational isn’t necessarily Mourinho’s strong point, but please, you just sound way too bitter.
  • Halftime fight in the tunnel.  Seriously, people?  I realize tensions are high, but that’s just stupid.  What if Victor Valdes had gotten hurt?  Barcelona would’ve been screwed since Jose Pinto was sent off during the fracas.
  • Real has an uphill battle going into the second leg at the Camp Nou.  They won’t be able to sit back and let Barca control the ball 80% of the game if they want a chance at the final. (Which it sounds like Mourinho has already given up on…or are these just more Special One mind tricks?)

What’d you think?

Drama, drama, drama

27 Apr

Yesterday’s semifinal between Schalke and Manchester United was merely the appetizer for today’s main course: El Clasico #3.  Let’s recap the last two meetings, shall we?  El Clasico #1 – A  1-1 draw in league play thanks to penalties on both sides, Real effectively shut down Barca’s passing game.  El Clasico #2 – Real wins its first domestic trophy in 18 years on an extra time header from Cristiano Ronaldo and again they shut down Barca’s midfield.  Sergio Ramos drops the trophy under a bus (yep, still funny).

What can we expect from this edition? Real had  success against Barcelona the last two times out mainly because Pepe is a beast.  That man was all over the place.  Barcelona did not have the space or time to get the ball high up the field to players like Lionel Messi.  I’m sure Pep Guardiola has realized that there needs to be a shift in the way Barca plays today, so it will be interesting to see the adjustments.

There are also some injury issues for both squads.  Real will be missing Sami Kheidra and Barca will be without midfield man Andres Iniesta.  Good news for Barca, though, as Carles Puyol is back in the squad.

Barcelona has dominated the clash the last couple years, but Real’s drastically improved performance over the last week shows that this Champions League match is totally up for grabs.  Hopefully it will be epic.

My prediction: Real 1, Barca 1  Why?  I just can’t see Barcelona getting shut out by Real for the second time in a row.

TV Schedule
Real vs. Barcelona – 2:45 p.m. ET/FX (Live)

Real bests Barca, Arsenal still can’t seal the deal

21 Apr

Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid side won its first domestic cup title in 18 years with a 1-0 extra time win over hated rival Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.  Cristiano Ronaldo scored the game-winner on a powerful header off a pinpoint cross from Angel Di Maria in the first half of extra time.  Real looked the more dangerous team to score throughout.  Much like in their 1-1 draw at the weekend, Pepe was all over the place for Real as he did not allow Barca’s midfield maestros (Xavi in particular) to get into a rhythm.  The disruption of the passing game worked well for Real as it also meant that Lionel Messi had to come further up field to receive the ball and ended up making him less of a goal-scoring threat.

Real has frustrated Barcelona’s free-flowing play two straight games now and I’d say it’s a safe bet that they will play the same style in the Champions League semifinal next week.  Pep Guardiola may have to make some adjustments to allow players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Messi to get more touches in dangeorus areas.

Oh, the hilarious part of the Real win?  Sergio Ramos dropped the trophy off the bus in the celebration in Madrid and it was subsequently run over.  Well done, sir.

Meanwhile, back in London, Arsenal continued to show why there is no way in hell it will challenge Manchester United for the Premier League title in a 3-3 draw with Tottenham.  The Gunners went up 3-1, thanks to first half goals from Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie, but Tottenham pulled one back just before half on a strike from Tom Huddlestone.  A 70th minute penalty from Rafael Van der Vaart sealed the draw.

It seems like every single time that Manchester United drops points, Arsenal cannot take advantage of it.  I’m sure they were tired for the Spurs game after the drawn-out affair against Liverpool Sunday, but seriously, you all have to learn how to put a game away if you want to be a title contender.  To make matters worse for Arsenal, Chelsea leapfrogged them in the table on goal difference, courtesy of a 3-1 win over Birmingham.  (And in case you were wondering, no, Torres did not score his first Chelsea goal either.) I’m sure Arsene Wenger is on the verge of a meltdown after his team let yet another lead slip away.