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Pre-Season Friendly Report

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2009 by kemgooner

CORRECTION Inter Milan AC Milan Soccer

Pre-Season friendlies have begun to kick off around Europe as teams prepare for next season, some teams have started slowly against lower league opposition, while others have taken on other big teams in tournaments around the world.  Already Chelsea have claimed the title in the World Football Challenge, while the Peace Cup is still taking place with teams like Juventus and Real Madrid as just a couple of the major teams participating. This pre-season has also seen the debuts of star players like Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid against Shamrock Rovers, and the introduction of Michael Owen as a red devil.

Here is a brief summary of pre-season matches so far from some of Europe’s big clubs:

England

Arsenal: vs Barnet 2-2, vs SC Columbia 7-1, vs Szombathelyi H 5-0. Leading Scorer: Bendtner (4).

Chelsea: vs Seattle 2-0, vs Inter Milan 2-0, vs AC Milan 2-1, vs Club America 2-0. Leading Scorer: Lampard (2), Drogba (2).

Everton: vs Bury 1-2, vs Rochdale 4-1, vs River Plate 0-1. Leading Scorer: Jo (2)

Liverpool: vs St. Gallen 0-0, vs Rapid Vienna 0-1, vs Thailand 1-1, vs Singapore 5-0. Leading Scorer: Nemeth (2)

Manchester City: vs Orlando Pirates 0-2, vs Kaizer Chiefs 1-0, vs Kaizer Chiefs 0-1. Leading Scorer: Ireland (1)

Manchester United: vs Malaysia 3-2, vs Malaysia 2-0, vs Seoul 3-2, vs Hangzhou Greentown 2-8. Leading Scorer: Giggs (3).

FLB-US-ENG-ITA-CHELSEA-INTER

Spain

Atletico Madrid: vs Colmenar Viejo 3-0,  vs Benfica 2-1, vs Ajax 3-3, vs Sunderland 0-2. Leading Scorer: Simao (2)

Barcelona: vs Tottenham 1-1, vs Al- Ahly 4-1. Leading Scorer: Bojan (2)

Real Madrid: vs Shamrock Rovers 1-0, vs Al-Ittihad 1-1. Leading Scorer Benzema (1), Raul (1).

Sevilla: vs Juventus 1-2, vs Seongnam 0-0. Leading Scorer: Squillaci (1)

Valencia: vs Den Haag 4-1, vs Udinese 0-0. Leading Scorer: Navarro (1), Gonzalez (1), Michel (1), Alba (1).

Villareal: vs Navata 27-0, vs Vilamalla 10-0. Leading Scorer: Pereira (10).

SPAIN/

Italy

AC Milan: vs LA Galaxy 2-2, vs Club America 1-2, vs Chelsea 1-2, vs Inter 0-2. Leading Scorer: Inzaghi (2)

AS Roma: vs Riscone 9-0,  vs Viktoria Plzen 1-1,  vs Blackburn Rovers 2-2. Leading Scorer: Totti: (3)

Fiorentina: vs Cortina 13-0, vs Belluno 7-0.

Inter Milan: vs Club America 1-1 (4-5 pks), vs Chelsea 0-2, vs AC Milan 2-0. Leading Scorer: Milito (2)

Juventus: vs Cisco Roma 4-1, vs Nancy 1-1, vs Vicenza 1-1, vs Sevilla 2-1.

SOCCER-SPAIN/

Some teams have started off their preseason’s with a bang while others have started slowly. How important are preseason games to how you feel about your team’s chances in the upcoming season?

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Inter Milan vs. Liverpool

Posted in Inter Milan, Liverpool with tags , , , , , on March 11, 2008 by kemgooner

Tuesday March 11 Liverpool took to the pitch against Inter Milan at the San Siro in Milan.  Liverpool came into the Champions League clash with a two goal lead from their match at Anfield.  Liverpool were without Steve Finnan through injury and Xabi Alonso, whose girlfriend was having a baby.  Inter were without Marco Materazzi who was suspended after being sent off in the first leg.

The atmosphere was electric as the match kicked off, and Liverpool won their first corner 2 minutes into the match.  Inter won their first corner 2 minutes later, as no team was asserting any early dominance in the match.  Inter had the first good chance 8 minutes in, when Julio Cruz shot a low powerful shot towards the left side of goal, but Pepe Reina was able to push it out for a corner. 

Inter were then awarded a free kick after a foul on Javier Zanetti, which was taken by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and hit the Liverpool wall.  However, Ryan Babel was given a yellow card for a hand ball and then kick was taken again.  This time Zlatan hit it over the bar and out for a goal kick.  Inter continued to put more and more pressure on Liverpool, who seemed content to defend for large portions of the match.  Inter had a few opportunities, Zlatan had a shot go wide, but 20 minutes in the only decent chance was Cruz’s.

Ryan Babel almost got in behind the Inter defense in the 24th minute, when a long ball was played over the top, but Julio Cesar was able to get out knock it away.  Inter’s defenders almost gifted away a goal a few minutes later when instead of just clearing the ball they passed it around their box and Fernando Torres was able to win the ball and almost put in a goal.  Julio Cruz should have put Inter 1-0 up when he received the ball on the left and with no one within two yards of him, but he put it just inches wide.

Inter continued to put Liverpool under pressure but they were not able to create anymore clear chances.  They had a few good crosses put in but the Liverpool defense was able to knock them all clear of danger. Inter Milan had one last chance before the half, when Cruz flicked the ball towards goal from about 5 yards out after a low cross from Maicon.  Reina was able to pull off a good save though and keep it out.  At halftime the score was 0-0.

The second half began with a yellow card for Steven Gerrard on a harsh tackle on Esteban Cambiasso. Inter were then reduced to 10 men again as Nicholas Burdisso was sent off for a tackle that did not really seem worthy of a second yellow card. So again Inter fans can resent the fact that they were harshly sent down a player in the Champions League, perhaps it is karma for all the things that seem to go their way in the league. 

Continuing on in the match, Liverpool were looking to press their advantage and wrap the tie up with another goal, and had a few good looks at goal.  Christian Chivu then went on a long run, which ended with him being hacked down by Fabio Aureillo who received a yellow card.  Zlatan then smashed the free kick miles over the goal.  However, a mistake at the back for Liverpool served up a perfect chance for Inter to get a goal, and Zlatan seemed like he would easily knock it in, but like Cruz in the half earlier he sent the ball wide.

Nelson Rivas was then booked for a tackle on Ryan Babel, which set up a great free kick for Steven Gerrard to take.  His attempt was good, and Cesar was able to knock it over the bar for a corner.  Babel was then substituted for Yossi Benayoun.

Fernando Torres then put Liverpool in the lead with a goal in the 63rd minute. 

Afterwards Liverpool were able to press their advantage, and put Inter under more pressure.  Gerrard put in a shot after a pass from Fernando Torres but it was right to the keeper.  As the match continued on it got dirtier with more fouls and yellow cards being displayed.  Ibrahimovic had another fantastic attempt to score in the 78th minute, but he skied the chance that he scores easily on most occasions.  He was then substituted for David Suazo, who some Inter fans might have hoped would have seen action must sooner.

The game died down as the match came to an end, a few more shots were sent on goal for both sides but none really came close to going in.  As injury time came to a close Liverpool passed the ball around their backline. Full time and Liverpool moved on to the Quarterfinals along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Fenerbahce, Roma, Schalke, and Manchester Utd.  Inter are left to wallow in Champions League disappointment again.

Again the final score: Liverpool 1 Inter Milan 0

BREAKING NEWS: After this match Inter manager Roberto Mancini has said that he will leave Inter at the end of the season.

Weekend Preview- March 8 & 9

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2008 by kemgooner

Liverpool vs. Newcastle- March 8, 3pm GMT

Liverpool comes into this match after thrashing West Ham midweek, with Fernando Torres getting a hat trick. Newcastle on the other hand have lost seven matches in a row, and are still looking to get that first win under manager Kevin Keegan.  Liverpool have a fully fit squad except for the long term absentees Daniel Agger and Steve Finnan, and should have no problem beating a Newcastle side three points out of relegation.

Manchester Utd vs. Portsmouth-FA Cup- March 8, 12:45 pm

Machester Utd advanced to this stage in the knockout competition by beating their league rivals Arsenal 4-0. Portsmouth will not be a pushover, and have done well on the road this season in the league. They are coming off of a 3-1 loss to Everton, and their last FA Cup match was a 1-0 win at Preston.

Wigan vs. Arsenal March 9, 4pm

Arsenal are looking to open up a four point lead over Manchester United in the premier league, and should be able to playing against a struggling Wigan side which are just two points out of the relegation zone.  Arsene Wenger has called on his team to repeat the performance they put in against AC Milan in the Champions League, and while they are without Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott who were injured during the week, they should still have enough quality to get all three points.

Real Madrid vs. Espanyol – March 8, 7pm

Real Madrid are looking to avenge their Champions League loss to Roma by continuing to open up a lead in the standings.  Espanyol will not be a an easy team to beat though, unless Real Madrid are able to get back to their form from the beginning of this year.  Espanyol’s form has dropped some from the start of the season, but they are coming of a win against Valencia which will give them confidence that they will be able to beat Madrid.

Napoli vs AS Roma – March 9, 2pm

Roma sit only six points behind Inter Milan now, and would like that to stay that way as they visit Inters conquerors.  Roma are getting back on form after struggling some after winter break, and will be on a high after their historical win against Real Madrid.  Napoli will be looking to take advantage of any let off and take three points from another top Italian team.

Other Matches to Watch this Weekend

Barcelona vs. Villareal – March 9, 8pm

A must win for both teams, this will surely be an entertaining contest.

 Stuttgart vs. Werder Bremen – March 8, 2:30pm

Last year’s champions against this years hopefuls, Bremen must win in order to keep up with Bayern Munich.

Lyon vs. Bordeaux – March 9, 8pm

Number 1 vs. Number 2 in France, Bordeaux hopes to come out with a share of first place.

PSV Eindhoven vs Ajax – March 9, 1:30pm

Its num. 1 vs. num. 2 in Holland as well, as Ajax hopes to cut into PSVs lead.

Liverpool v Middlesborough

Posted in Liverpool with tags , , , on February 24, 2008 by jennalfc

Surprisingly Rafael Benitez only named one change in his starting 11, an enforced change, Alvaro Arbeloa returned to fill in at centre back for vice captain Jamie Carragher.The match started well for liverpool, they pass it around without threatening boro’s defence. 10 minutes in boro got a freekick in a decent area, Stuart Downing whips it in as liverpool’s defence stay static and Tuncay heads past Reina. It was obvious the players needed some direction which is usually provided by Jamie Carragher, without him they looked lost.After the goal liverpools confidence plummeted, they gave the ball away carelessly and the crowd was eerily quiet. Torres was gifted a goal when Arca tried to head the ball back to his keeper from 30 yards, Torres was alert, he intercepted and, despite Pogatetz trip from behind managed to keep his balance and score his 13 league goal of the season. The first goal was a gift from boro but the second was brilliant individual skill from Torres who unleashed a shot from 20 yards which gave Schwarzer no chance.Torres’ double gave the team a lift, the passing improved but boro didn’t dwell on their horror minute and went on to have the ball in the net twice before half time, the first time Tuncay put the ball in with his arm when he could have just as easily used his head, the second was ruled out for offside.Boro started the second half well but on 61′ Torres got his third, it was a hopeful long ball thumped up to him, the defender let it bounce while Schwarzer came out, Torres sensed confusion between the players, he nicked the ball away and put it in the net for his hat trick.

Boro refused to give up and got a goal back through Downing, but that’s all they could manage. Aliadiere got himself sent off at the death retaliating to Mascherano putting his hand in his face, which in fairness Mascherano was lucky not to see a card.

Liverpool looked shaky in defence, Arbeloa made some good last ditch challenges but he didn’t look comfortable there. Hyppia was the rock in defence, he may not have much pace but his experience lets him read situations brilliantly and clear the danger. The midfield did ok, Mascherano chased down everything, Lucas was involved in some good passing moves and Gerrard was unlucky not to score. The difference between the sides today was the fantastic Torres who claimed the match ball. He became the first striker at liverpool since Owen to score 21 goals in a season, all I can say is long may his scoring form continue.

There has been some talk about Rafa and how he has ditched his rotation policy…surely not?!