Tag Archives: Shakhtar Donetsk

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)

Advertisements

United, Barcelona through to semis

13 Apr

Barcelona only scored one goal, but it was more than enough as they cruised to a 6-1 victory on aggregate over Shakhtar Donetsk.  Lionel Messi scored the game’s only goal, his 48th of the season in all competitions.  I guess you could say he’s a decent player.

In England, Manchester United claimed a 2-1 win over Chelsea to go through 3-1 on aggregate.  Javier Hernandez struck first for United, but second half substitute Didier Drogba made things interesting with a goal of his own.  Chelsea’s hope didn’t last long as Ji-Sung Park put United ahead pretty much immediately.  Once again, a Chelsea player was sent off as Ramires earned his second yellow, which clearly didn’t help the situation.  And once again, Chelsea fans were left to question the decision to include the craptacular Fernando Torres, who was subbed off for Drogba at half. 

I understand the Chelsea spent a lot of money on Torres, but if he is not producing, why play him?  To appease the owner?  Me thinks a Champions League trophy would please him more.  Sometimes you just have to say screw that and play the lineup you think will win.  Sure, you might incur the wrath of said owner, but still, wins and strong performances should trump egos, regardless of what team it is.

Champions League semifinal spots on the line

12 Apr

Manchester United defeated Chelsea, 1-0, in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie at Stamford Bridge.  Going into today’s second leg at Old Trafford, it is by far the closest contest as only one goal separates the sides (the number is at least three in all the other quarterfinals).  Once again, Fernando Torres will start for Chelsea and Didier Drogba will be on the bench.  I would be so pissed at the owners if I was Carlo Ancelotti.  The only reason Torres is playing is because he cost so damn much.  Drogba gives Chelsea a much better chance to claim a comeback win.  It should be a tight game, but I think United will head to the semifinals as they will hold Chelsea scoreless.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, Barcelona should have no problem maintaining its four-goal advantage over Shakhtar after a 5-1 win in the first leg.  The Spanish side is expected to rest some of their starters.  On the other side of the field, Shakhtar will be missing all foru of their defensive starters due to injury or suspension.

TV Schedule
Manchester United vs. Chelsea – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Shakhtar vs. Barcelona – 5 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)

Barca, United win Champions League clashes

7 Apr

To the surprise of almost no one, Barcelona dismantled Shakhtar, 5-1, in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.  The Catalan side got goals from five different players and Lionel Messi was not one of them.  Andres Iniesta, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Seydou Keita and Xavi found the back of the net.  Shakhtar looked likely to level the game after Iniesta’s second minute strike, but Alves’ goal squashed any chance of a comeback.

In London, Wayne Rooney’s first half strike gave Manchester United a 1-0 victory over a lackluster Chelsea side.  He managed not to curse at the camera after scoring, but that didn’t stop him from earning a two-match ban for his outburst from the weekend.  Anyways, United looked the better side for much of the game, although Edwin Van Der Sar did have to make several stellar saves, including a couple on one Fernando Torres.  Of course, the game wouldn’t be complete without some controversy as Patrice Evra took down Ramires in the box in stoppage time.  Evra did not even come close to getting the ball, but the ref waved play on.  No penalty, no free kick, nothing.  Pretty clear penalty if you want my opinion.  Well, regardless, Chelsea still has the best opportunity of the four losing quarterfinalists to make up the one goal deficit (everyone else has a margin of at least three).

Champions League Quarterfinals Continue

6 Apr

Hopefully today’s games will be more competitive than yesterday’s slaughter.  Today we’ve got Barcelona, the “best team in the world”, taking on Shakhtar Donetsk.  Lionel Messi picked up a knock while playing with Argentina and only saw sub action against Villarreal this weekend, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t in the starting lineup today.  While Barca is clearly the favorite, Shakhtar has the ability to surprise.  They dominated Roma in the round of 16, winning 6-2 on aggregate.

On the British isles, we have Chelsea hosting Manchester United.  Will Chelsea avenge its 2008 Champions League final loss?  Will Fernando Torres finally score a goal?  Will Wayne Rooney go apeshit?  These are all vital questions being asked in the buildup to the game.  Chelsea will miss the playmaking ability of their better January transfer, David Luiz, who is cup-tied.  Of course, if I were Carlo Ancelotti, I wouldn’t be playing Torres either as he doesn’t exactly deserve it.  Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka would start instead since they actually know how to score goals.  Stamford Bridge hasn’t exactly been a great place for ManU to play either as they have lost six of nine at the stadium.

TV Schedule
Chelsea vs. Manchester United – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Barcelona vs. Shakhtar – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)

2011 Champions League Quarterfinals Announced

18 Mar

The matchups for the Champions League quarterfinals were announced today and the one that will grab the most headlines is Chelsea-Manchester United.  The Red Devils met the Blues in the final in 2008, prevailing on penalties.  Of course the teams have a rivalry going in the Premier League as well.  The other English team in the draw, Tottenham, will take on Real Madrid.  Meanwhile, defending champion Inter will play German side Schalke.  Clear favorite Barcelona plays Shakhtar. 

 The draw for the semifinals was also held.  The winner of Spurs/Real will play the winner of Barcelona/Shakhtar, while the Chelsea/ManU winner will take on the Inter/Schalke winner.  Of course, the potential for a Real/Barca semifinal already has some people drooling, but it’s never a great thing to get too caught up in potential matches in a tournament, thanks to those lovely little things called upsets.

The Spurs/Real and Inter/Schalke matches will be held April 5 and 13, while the other two are scheduled for April 6 and 12.  Is it just me or is this scheduling kind of stupid?  The first four teams will have seven days of rest between games, while Chelsea, ManU, Barca and Shakhtar only have five.  Why would you not make it even for all eight teams?  All you would have to do is make the set of dates for the first four April 5 and 12 and the second four April 6 and 13.  Voila, problem solved.  But seriously, does anyone know why the one group ends up with more rest?

April 5
Real Madrid vs. Tottenham
Inter vs. Schalke

April 6
Chelsea vs. Manchester United
Barcelona vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

April 12
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Barcelona
Manchester United vs. Chelsea

April 13
Tottenham vs. Real Madrid
Schalke vs. Inter

Barcelona-Arsenal highlights Champions League action

8 Mar

Barcelona is in the surprising position of being down going into the second leg of their Champions League clash with Arsenal. The English side claimed a 2-1 win at the Emirates last month. Playing the return leg at the Camp Nou is no easy task and it will take a strong performance from Arsenal to come away as winners. The Gunners will be boosted by the return of Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie, while Barcelona will be without key defensive players Carles Puyol (injury) and Gerard Pique (suspension). Of course, there is always the Lionel Messi factor to contend with, but Arsenal did a good job of containing him in the first leg. Is it possible to do that twice?

In the day’s other match, Shakhtar looks to hold onto its lead over Roma. The Ukrainian side scored a big 3-2 win in Italy in February. With the second leg in Ukraine, Roma have a tough task ahead, especially with the suspensions of Marco Cassetti and Jeremy Menez. The home side will be boosted by the return of Fernandinho, who has recovered from a broken leg.

TV Schedule
2:30 p.m. ET – Barcelona vs. Arsenal (Fox Soccer/Live)
5 p.m. ET – Shakhtar vs. Roma (Fox Soccer/Delayed)