Saturday, December 20, 2008

FIFA club world cup Manutd Gamba - Osaka goals

Manchester United did not have all by themselves as Gamba Osaka gave a good account of themselves before going down to the European and English champions. Vidic and Ronaldo scored for United in the first half. Gamba pulled one back in the second but Rooney's twin strike which sandwiched Fletcher's strike put the game beyond Gamba's reach, who themselves got two more goals to bring the scoreline to 5-3.
Manchester United 5-3 Gamba Osaka
First Half
Second Half

Friday, December 19, 2008

Champions League Round of 16 draws

What a draw!!!!!! If anyone told me at the start of the season that the round of 16 in the UCL would be Real Madrid-Liverpool, Manutd - Inter, Chelsea-Juve , I would have told them not to joke. These are the teams that anyone would want to avoid in the earlier stages of the competition. But!!!!!!!!!!! the fact is they gotta play each other so early in the cup. But the fans can be assured of absolute crackers from the round of 16 itself. These kind of draws had nothing to with the alleged fixing the draws, as the rule clearly states that 1st place team of a group would face a second placed team and all the above mentioned teams are those who should have finished at the top (i.e) teams like Real, Chelsea , Inter & Arsenal must have finished at the top. So they got to face the heat for finishing second, resulting in tough draws. This does not mean the problem is not only them but also for those(1st placed) whom they will be facing in the first knockout round. Who could have written the script better for Torres, a return to his favourite rival Real Madrid. A return to Old Trafford for Mourinho, a job he is tipped to take over once Fergie steps down. Chelsea up against a very strong Juventus. A journey to England again for Roma, who would like to put behind the miseries Manchester United caused them in the last two years. Anfiled would see Spain's top striker and its two best Goalkeepers in action. But the crucial thing is The second placed teams(Real,Chelsea,Inter,Arsenal) would have to play the return leg away from home. This may be great for the fans but some of them have got to exit the tournament at an early stage which might reduce the fun in the later stages.....Let the best teams go through.....
Ties to be played on 24th/25th February and 10th/11th March.

Champions League draw
Chelsea v Juventus
Villarreal v Panathinaikos
Sporting Lisbon v Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid v FC Porto
Lyon v Barcelona
Real Madrid v Liverpool
Arsenal v Roma
Inter Milan v Manchester United

Thursday, December 18, 2008


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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Barcelona truimph in the "El Gran Classico"

Barcelona finally got the better of Real Madrid in the El Classico after a gap of two years. It was coming given the situation at Real Madrid, who had several key players injured and they had a change in coach while Barca were going from strength to strength under Pep Guardiola and with the late goals from Eto'o and Messi, Barcelona established a 12 point lead over 4th placed Real Madrid and 9 point lead over second placed Villareal and have sent out a clear message to the teams across Spain and Europe.

F.C Barcelona 2 - 0 Real Madrid C.F

83' - Eto'o
91' - Messi

Sneijder hits bar

First half chances
Real Madrid chances

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The "Real" fans....

Rafael Nadal , Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are synonymous names with the tennis fans across the globe but there is something that all Real Madrid fans must be aware of, yes all three are staunch Real Madrid fans. Roger Federer once said that had he not been a tennis player, he would have taken up football. Rafael Nadal needs no introduction as a Real Madrid fan. He regularly attends the matches at the Bernabeu when is in Spain. It must be noted that Nadal's uncle Miguel Angel Nadal is a former Barcelona player but the world number 1 from Mallorca has taken only "The Whites" to his heart. His passion for the club was so much that he kept asking the club president Roman Calderon about "Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer" even when he was in England playing Wimbledon. And Nadal, who predicted a 2-1 win for Real against Athletico in the Madrid derby has gone for 0-1 win for the Whites in the "El Gran Classico". Even I'm hoping that his prediction comes true as it did against Athletico.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Champions League T20 put off

The inaugural Champions League Twenty20 has been pushed back by a year and will now be held in India in October 2009, the window originally identified for the tournament's second edition.This decision comes as a huge disappointment for the teams who were looking forward to the tournament and also to the millions of fans across the globe. This tournament created so much hype and it was gathering momentum just when some unfortunate things happened in Mumbai, one of the proposed venues. The participating teams had a lot riding on it as they would been guaranteed a purse of US$250,000 as participating fees from the total pot of US$6 million. Moreover those who had qualified for this year's edition have got to do it all over again in their respective T20 tournament as the next year's edition will have a fresh set of qualifying teams. Many of the boards have lost a lot of money due to this but this was a sensible decision keeping in mind the horrors that happened last month. It is likely the tournament will now have more teams - possibly up to 12 from the eight slotted for this year - next year's Twenty20 domestic finalists from India, Australia and South Africa will definitely take part with the other participating teams will being finalized by the end of January 2009.

Champions League - Round of 16

Champions League is set to enter the knockout stage with 16 teams including the defending champions Manchester United, looking to win the most prestigious club competition in Europe. The group stages have not produced major surprises but the teams which were expected to finish the group on top have manages only second places. They are Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Arsenal. This opens up the field and we could end up having some mouth watering clashes in the round of 16 itself. But with both Inter and Chelsea finishing second, the chance of Jose returning to Stamford Bridge will be delayed by atleast a round. Roma will be more than happy to see Manchester United finish top as the Red Devils were the ones who ended their dreams for the last two years. And the 9 time winners Real Madrid might also have a tough time as they have to play the second leg away from home, something which they don't do very well. So I'm hoping for the following draw in the round of 16.

Manchester United v/s Real Madrid (Ronaldo playing at the Bernabeu)
Arsenal v/s Barcelona ( Henry against Arsenal )
Juventus v/s Chelsea
Bayern v/s Inter

These matches would be an absolute delight for any Football fan. Fingers crossed........

Tevez Transfer Soap

, the little bull from Argentina had been all over the news pages during the summer transfer window(June 07-Aug 07) regarding his transfer. And finally he has reached his preferred destination- MANCHESTER UNITED.

It all started way back at the beginning of the last season(2006-07) when Tevez and Javier Mascherano made a shock move to England and it was West Ham who got their signatures. Manutd who were supposed to be in the hunt for him didn't get him in spite of TEVEZ saying that he was a "MANUTD" fan. Though the Hammers got two bright talents they were struggling in the league and Tevez was not starting or even playing matches. It was clear that there was some problem with the then manager of West ham, ALAN PARDEW. And both the player's and club's positions were worsening as weeks passed by.

West Ham got a new owner Eggert Magnusson and they sacked Alan Pardew as the team was languishing at the bottom half of the table and Alan Curbhisley took over as the manager of West Ham and his first match was against MANUTD at Upton park and Tevez didn't play that match which West ham won 1-0.

And in the January transfer window Liverpool got Mascherano, another troubled player at West Ham. And with Pardew gone Tevez finally started playing matches for Westham and was scoring goals but it seemed too late as West Ham were destined towards relegation but Tevez pushed them all the way till the last weekend against MANUTD at Old Trafford and won they match 1-0, Tevez scoring the lone goal which kept West Ham in the premiership. As the games went on, West ham were found guilty of illegally signing Tevez and they were let off with a fine of £5.5m without any points deduction as they pleaded guilty. And even after the season was over Sheffield United, the team that got relegated filled a case against Westham being let off without points deduction, but they couldn't win the case so West Ham stayed in premiership thanks to late goals from TEVEZ.

As the summer transfer window opened it was clear that Manutd wanted to sign him. But the actual problem was lying in the fact that Tevez was owned by a company MSI which was headed by Kia Joorabchian and also Westham so there were confusions regarding the third party ownership of the player and Westham wanted compensation for letting Tevez free and even FIFA said it would help Tevez join MANUTD. Finally after a long delay MSI payed Westham a compensation of £2m and Tevez was free to join MANUTD.

Yet there were some delays as FA wanted to examine all the aspects of the transfer and this meant Tevez, who had been without match practice after the Copa America had to wait a little longer before joining United and start playing football with United.Yet he was practicing with the United squad and impressed everyone out there.

And Tevez was officially registered as a MANCHESTER UNITED player on 10th August marking an end to one of the longest saga's in football history. He made his ManUtd debut on 15th August against Porstmouth at Fratton Park. Tevez is set to be signed permanently as his current deal is a loan deal and with Ferguson saying that a fee is in place to complete the transfer Tevez can look forward to playing with the Reds for a long time.

Nadal disappoints Chennai!!!

Rafael Nadal's absence from Chennai Open 2009 has left not only me but also each and every tennis fan in Chennai very disappointed. Chennai has been a special place for the world number 1 as he won his very first ATP title in Chennai, but it was the doubles in which he emerged on top. And from there he has gone from strength to strength and now is sitting at the top of the world rankings. I still can't forget the semifinals of last year's edition, Rafa was up against his good friend Moya. I thought it would be a walk in the park of the then World Number 2, but Moya had other ideas and started belting his forehand and the crowd was entirely behind him. I could remember only a few children shouting for Nadal but that did not mean Nadal's point's were not cheered. And Moya took the first set in a tie break and in the second set tie break Nadal came from being knocked out to take the set and also the next set in another tie break. I was standing and watching from the last row of the stadium and it was 3.56 hrs of pure action. Three thrilling tie breakers and it was a treat for all those who came to witness the match. But it would have been even more fitting had that been the finals, which Nadal lost to Youzhny without even putting up a fight. And during the presentation Nadal said "Last year semis, this year finals, next year Winner". The crowd roared as he said those words. Though I'm a Federer fan I started liking Nadal after that tournament because he signed me an autograph, which I treasure a lot. Anyway he has opted for Qatar open this year and will be playing in a field which also has Federer. All we hope is that he comes back in 2010. But one thing is for sure, we will miss Nadal this year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

India - England Test Series Preview

Dhoni's men had the measure of England in the one day series and they hardly gave them a sniff in either of the matches they played. And after much debate about the coming back of England to complete the test series it looks like KP and his men will arrive to play a series of two matches. India, as a country has had a horrible few weeks with the citizens yet to recover from the mental scars they suffered due to the Mumbai attacks. For few Cricket is the religion that unites each and everyone in the country and this series might just be the right tonic to bring back smiles on the faces of Indians. I certainly feel so. But the question is will India be able to play in a clear frame of mind???. True... they are professionals but the magnitude of the attack and the impact it has had on people is very evident. England, on the other hand have a few injury concerns but Flintoff and Harmison have been convinced to come to India. KP is determined to make his mark in the tests and it might be the right time for them to have a go. But still all the odds are stacked in favour of India.....Lets wait and watch as the action unfolds on December 11th.

EPL Title race 2008-09 season

The race for the title in the English Premier League is turning out to be one of the closest in the recent years. The pace setters in the last 5 years have been Chelsea and Manchester United with Liverpool dropping out of the race early and Arsenal dropping off the pace in the latter part of the season. But this year Liverpool have started so well and that may be the reason why many feel the race will be very tight this year. Arsenal's form this year has been very wobbly. They have struggled with the very young squad and they have found the going tough against teams that are ready to shut them down and those who try to be physical. While Liverpool have been getting results against the big teams and them ending Chelsea's proud record at the Bridge made some believe they will also be a tough nut to crack this season. Arsenal's win against Chelsea has brought them back into the title race after few ruled them out so early. The Champions Manchester United have not got into their rhythm yet but considering the fact that they have played the top 9 teams of last season away from home and also taking into account their record at Old Trafford, they are also in a very strong position. Chelsea have been very good away from home with 11 consecutive away wins but their home record is a cause of concern for Big Phil. It remains to be seen if Liverpool will be able to focus on the premier league title as Rafa always considers Champions League as his priority. So its all in readiness for a cracking season in the EPL.