Sunday, February 27, 2011

Athletic beaten by Valencia smash and grab

Valencia boosted their Champions League hopes with a clinical 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao who dominated the encounter on Sunday.
The visitors anticipated a rough ride at San Mames which has been a fortress for Athletic this season and that's how it turned out with Fernando Llorente giving them the lead.
Athletic looked comfortably in control and Pablo Hernandez and David Lopez had further chances before Llorente hit the post.
However, against the run of play a fine move down the right-wing saw Joaquin Sanchez cross for Juan Mata to equalise and then while Athletic were still reeling, Tino Costa struck a powerful shot which the keeper Gorka Iraizoz couldn't hold and substitute Jonas Goncalves scored.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Barcelona extend La Liga with Mallorca cruise lead as Real Madrid falter against Deportivo

Sergio Ramos and teammates couldn't
believe their failure at Riazor
Barcelona celebrates their victory and
again 7 points away from Real Madrid

Barcelona extended their lead over Real Madrid in the Primera Division title race as Jose Mourinho's men were held to a goalless draw at Deportivo La Coruna.
Barca earlier won 3-0 away at Real Mallorca to move seven points clear at the top of the standings.
Lionel Messi gave the Catalans, missing key quartet Xavi, Carles Puyol, Victor Valdes and Dani Alves through a mixture of injury and suspension, a first-half lead by heading in his 26th league goal of the season.

And strikes from David Villa in the 57th minute and Pedro Rodriguez in the 66th sealed the win.
Madrid, in contrast, could not break down stubborn Depor, Cristiano Ronaldo having a goal ruled out for offside and Karim Benzema miscuing from just a yard out at the death.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mali international absent for Atlético clash


Sevilla striker Frederic Kanouté is the main absentee from Gregorio Manzano's side who face Atlético on Saturday. The Malian player is suffering from fatigue in his right soleus muscle. Palop, Romaric and Cáceres are also excluded as they are all recovering from injuries. The eighteen-player list is as follows: Javi Varas, Dani Jimenez, Fazio, Fernando Navarro, Luis Fabiano, Renato, Perotti, Jesus Navas, Zokora, Escudé, Alfaro, Diego Capel, Negredo, Dabo, Alexis, Sergio Sanchez, Medel and Rakitic.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Messi to the Rescue

Barcelona restored their five-point lead atop the Spanish Liga Sunday with a late 2-1 home defeat of fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao.
Barca needed a goal 12 minutes from time from FIFA World Player Lionel Messi to break the resistance of Bilbao, for whom Andoni Iraola had equalised after David Villa had given Barca an early lead.
Messi has overtaken Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scorers' chart with 25 goals to 24.
As humble as ever, Messi said: 'The important thing is that we won and not the fact that I scored. They made things difficult for us from start to finish.'
Messi and company now have a record-breaking 65 points from 24 games, five more than second-placed Real, who beat lowly Levante 2-0 at home Saturday.
Barca can now enjoy a week's rest without any midweek match or national team call-up, for the first time this season. They were desperate to win after Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League defeat away to Arsenal - and after last Saturday's 1-1 draw in Gijon.
It seemed like it would be yet another stroll in the park for Barca - as most of their matches have been this season - when Villa made it 1-0 after just four minutes by turning in a perfect centre from right-back Dani Alves.
Villa and Messi came close to increasing Barca's lead several times in the first half. But five minutes into the second half Iraola made it 1-1 from the penalty spot, after Sergio Busquets had clumsily pulled down Bilbao's star striker Fernando Llorente.
From then on, the hosts lay siege to the Bilbao goal. Barca were furious not to be given a clear penalty when Messi was brought down by Javi Martinez.
But the little Argentine would soon be celebrating his winning goal. Twelve minutes from time Xavi released the tireless Alves down the right and Messi turned in Alves' near-post cross with his right foot.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Real Madrid beats 2-0 against Levante and increases the pressure on Barcelona

Real Madrid provisionally moved to within two points of league leader Barcelona by beating Levante 2-0 on Saturday.
Karim Benzema scored Madrid's sixth-minute opener after a great individual effort from Angel Di Maria, and Ricardo Carvalho sealed the win four minutes before halftime.
Madrid's 12th victory in as many games at Santiago Bernabeu stadium increases the pressure on Barcelona to beat Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Kun Aguero Winner Ends Los Colchoneros' Four-Game Losing Streak

The win ended Los Rojiblancos' four-match losing run in La Liga.
Aguero netted the game's only goal following a swift counter-attack to ease the pressure on Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores.
Zaragoza threw everything at their visitors in the closing stages and struck the bar twice in the final two minutes through substitutes Ikechukwu Uche and Nicolas Bertolo, but there was no way through.
The result moved the visitors up four places to seventh in La Liga, while Zaragoza - who had picked up 10 points from the previous 12 on offer at home - stayed 17th.
Zaragoza will consider themselves unfortunate not to have gone a goal up in the 65th minute after a frantic scramble in the Atletico six-yard box, but the visitors not only cleared their lines but went up the other end and nicked the winner.
With the home defence stretched, Diego Forlan switched play to Aguero on the right and the Argentinian worked space for himself well before lashing a fierce shot past Franco from a tight angle.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Barcelona held to draw by brave Sporting

La Liga leaders Barcelona needed a late goal from David Villa on Saturday to rescue a 1-1 draw away at Sporting Gijon.

Josep Guardiola's side had been on a record-breaking 16-match winning streak prior to their stalemate at El Molinon stadium.

The reigning Spanish champions fell behind on 15 minutes thanks to a superb solo-strike from Sporting's David Barral.

Barral, 27, slipped past Gerard Pique before he cut inside Diego Milito and fired a low shot across Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes and into the corner of the net.

Barcelona trailed until the 80th minute, when Argentina's Lionel Messi released striker Villa.

The Spanish World Cup winner saw Sporting goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar off his line and executed a delicate chip from 20 yards out which sailed into the goal.

The result means second placed Real Madrid are now eight points behind Barcelona with one game in hand.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Messi leads Argentina to 2-1 win over Portugal

Lionel Messi won his personal duel with his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo lighting up Argentina's 2-1 win over Portugal by making one goal and scoring the winner in a lively friendly international in Geneva on Wednesday.
Messi, FIFA's World Player of the Year for the last two years, and Ronaldo, who won the award in 2008, were both on the scoresheet but Ronaldo, who came off after an hour, ended up on the losing side as Messi gave the South Americans victory, scoring from the penalty spot after 89 minutes.
Coincidentally the hugely entertaining match was played in Geneva, a little over 24 hours after Europe's most powerful clubs expressed their concerns at the amount of friendlies being played every year at their annual assembly in the Swiss city.
The managers of almost every important European club would have preferred this international date to have been dropped from the calendar, but more than 30,000 neutral Swiss braved a chilly night to watch one of more than 30 friendly matches which were being played around the world.
The most high profile games capturing the spotlight were in Europe where international managers, in contrast to their club counterparts, were happy to use the games as preparation for next month's resumption of their Euro 2012 qualifiers.
World champions Spain swung back into action after the winter break with a 1-0 win over Colombia in Madrid thanks to a late winner from David Silva.
The victory ended a poor run of form for the world champions who lost 4-1 to Argentina and suffered a 4-0 defeat to Portugal in friendlies.
But although David Villa failed to get the goal that would have taken him past Raul's all-time Spanish record of 44 goals, Silva came off the bench to score from close range in the 86th minute.

Barca's Puyol doubtful for visit to Arsenal

Puyol, 32, has already been out of action for three weeks due to tendinitis and pain in his left knee. He will miss Wednesday's Spain-Colombia friendly and also Saturday's league game away to Sporting Gijon - and probably the Arsenal clash as well.
If Puyol is not fit for the trip to London then coach Pep Guardiola will again field French veteran Eric Abidal in the centre of defence, alongside Gerard Pique, and bring in Maxwell for Abidal at left-back.
On Tuesday Barca announced that Guardiola has agreed to extend his contract until June 2012. His talented team are seven points clear of Real Madrid atop La Liga and have just established a new Spanish league record of 16 straight wins.

Silva’s late goal gives Spain 1-0 win vs. Colombia

For the first time as world champion, Spain managed to win an exhibition game.
David Silva scored in the 86th minute to give Spain a 1-0 win over Colombia on Wednesday night.
Since beating the Netherlands in the World Cup final last July, La Furia Roja had played three exhibitions, a 1-1 tie at Mexico in August followed by a 4-1 loss at Argentina in September and a 4-0 defeat at Portugal in November.
During the same period, Spain went 3-0 in competitive matches by winning European Championship qualifiers at Liechtenstein (4-0), against Lithuania (3-1) and at Scotland (3-2).
In the first game between the teams since a 1-1 tie at Bogota in 1981, Colombia created better opportunities at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas made stops against Giovanni Moreno, Pablo Armero and Carlos Sanchez.
“The most important thing was to win the game,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said. “Whether we played well or not, the effort by the players was there.”
Silva darted into the penalty area to beat defender Mario Yepes and redirect Jesus Navas’ centering pass past goalkeeper David Ospina.
“We were clear about how we had to play against a rival that loves to have the ball. But it’s tiring to play without the ball,” said Colombia coach Hernan Dario Gomez, who applauded his team’s effort but not its poor finishing. “Colombia has to score goals and because we didn’t, we leave frustrated.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pep Guardiola until 2012

Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola has agreed to stay with the Spanish champions until June 2012, the club said Tuesday.
"The signing of the contract will take place in the next few days," the club said in a statement posted on its website.
The 40-year-old, who spent most of his playing career at Barcelona, coached Barcelona's B team before taking control of the first-team squad in June 2008 from Dutchman Frank Rijkaard.
The former Spanish international playmaker won seven trophies in his first two seasons at the Camp Nou.
He had a remarkable debut season winning the Champions League, league title and Spanish Cup.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Results - Round 22

Real Madrid beats Real Sociedad 4-1 in Spain

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a double to lead Real Madrid to a 4-1 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday as the Spanish giants stayed seven points behind league leader Barcelona.
Jose Mourinho’s team had to win after its fierce rivals opened up a 10-point gap through their league-record 16th straight win on Saturday.
Madrid responded to the challenge with a convincing performance to stay perfect in 11 games at Santiago Bernabeu stadium this season.
“We know our margin of error is limited,” said Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso, who started his career with Sociedad. “The important thing is the victory and to keep earning points.”
Kaka opened the scoring in the eighth minute, placing a left-footed shot into the far corner after Sociedad midfielder Gorka Elustondo had erred in clearing a cross and the ball fell to the Brazil playmaker in the area.
Ronaldo blasted in the second in the 21st, feinting with his right, before crossing to his left and firing in from outside the area and ending his four-game scoring drought.
The Portugal forward then headed home a corner by Mesut Oezil in the 42nd, and Emmanuel Adebayor capped the win in the 89th with his first league goal since joining Madrid on loan from Manchester City.
Real Sociedad got its consolation goal when a shot by Raul Tamudo was blocked by goalkeeper Iker Casillas but rebounded off Alvaro Arbeloa and into the net in the 72nd.
Casillas played his part in Madrid’s victory by twice denying Tamudo from point-blank range in the first half.
Mourinho said he was focusing on his own team’s performance, rather than catching Barcelona.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Messi "destroys" Di Stefano's record

Lionel Messi struck a hat-trick as Barcelona made history on Saturday by winning a 16th successive Spanish League match to beat the previous mark of 15 in a row set by the great 1960-1961 Real Madrid team of Alfredo Di Stefano.

Messi scored all the goals in the 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou as the defending champions opened up a 10-point lead over Real Madrid who face Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Atletico came to the Camp Nou on the back of two defeats and they never looked confident about the task ahead and set their stall out to defend deeply.
This only invited Argentine magician Messi who waltzed through the defence to give Barcelona the lead in the 17th minute and, after wasting a further chance, he pounced again in the 28th minute.

Atletico came out of their shell at the start of the second half but it was Barcelona who had the cutting edge with Messi scoring again from close range 11 minutes from time.

Now the Pressure is for Real Madrid with now 10 points far away from Barcelona,and they need to win in the Santiago Bernabeu aginst Real Sociedad to shorten their distance to 7 points. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valencia to host Real Madrid - Barcelona Copa del Rey final - report

Valencia's Mestalla stadium is the leading candidate to host the 2011 Copa del Rey final, to be played on April 20 between Barcelona and Real Madrid, but both the Camp Nou and Santiago Bernabeu are being considered as alternatives.

Marca reports that the RFEF will convene before the end of this week to assess the venues, and although the Mestalla is a neutral location, its capacity of 55,000 seats is dwarfed by the Camp Nou (98,000) and the Bernabeu (80,000).

The RFEF want to ensure each club is provided with as large an allocation as possible, while maintaining their own split of seats to be distributed by the federation.

Barca president Sandro Rosell wants the match to be played in a stadium with as large a capacity as possible, due to the fact that many supporters could not gain access to their 2009 final, also at the Mestalla, when they defeated Athletic Bilbao 4-1.

Madrid meanwhile are thought to want to avoid playing at the Bernabeu, after they were defeated there in the final by Deportivo in 2002.
Spain’s big two sides have met in the final before on five separate occasions, the most recent being in 1990, which was played at the Mestalla and witnessed a 2-0 victory for the Blaugrana. Barcelona and Real Madrid, but both the Camp Nou and Santiago Bernabeu are being considered as alternatives.

Marca reports that the RFEF will convene before the end of this week to assess the venues, and although the Mestalla is a neutral location, its capacity of 55,000 seats is dwarfed by the Camp Nou (98,000) and the Bernabeu (80,000).

The RFEF want to ensure each club is provided with as large an allocation as possible, while maintaining their own split of seats to be distributed by the federation.

Barca president Sandro Rosell wants the match to be played in a stadium with as large a capacity as possible, due to the fact that many supporters could not gain access to their 2009 final, also at the Mestalla, when they defeated Athletic Bilbao 4-1.

Madrid meanwhile are thought to want to avoid playing at the Bernabeu, after they were defeated there in the final by Deportivo in 2002.

Spain’s big two sides have met in the final before on five separate occasions, the most recent being in 1990, which was played at the Mestalla and witnessed a 2-0 victory for the Blaugrana.

Pandiani: "Cristiano has a screw loose, should be more like Messi"

As the players walked to the tunnel for halftime of Real Madrid's 1-0 loss to Osasuna last Sunday, Cristiano Ronaldo and Walter Pandiani started jawing at each other. Clearly frustrated by the way the match was going, Ronaldo reportedly taunted Pandiani by asking him how much money he makes. Pandiani, displaying a quick wit to go with his crazy-person eyes, supposedly responded by listing all the trophies he's won in Spain (Copas del Rey with Deportivo La Coruna, Mallorca and Espanyol, plus a Supercup with Deportivo).
It seems Pandiani isn't satisfied with the win over the weekend and making it known that he has more Spanish winner's medals than Ronaldo, though. From the AFP:
"You have to be more humble. When he wins the Supercups, the King's Cups that I have in Spain then maybe I will listen to him," Osasuna's Uruguayan striker told a news conference.
"As a footballer he is a phenomenon but to do the things he does, maybe he has a screw loose," Pandiani added.
"With his gestures and his cocky way of acting, he is the one who creates all the problems every weekend."
Pandiani advised Ronaldo to learn from Barcelona's Lionel Messi who he described as "the best in the world."
This really seems like a developing trend here. Opponents accusing Cristiano of being cocky and looking for a fight, then capping it off with an unfavorable comparison to Messi. The day Messi realizes how great he is and starts acting like a professional wrestling heel, all these guys are going to have to come up with a new way to try and puncture Ronaldo's ego. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Copa del Rey FINALISTS: Real Madrid - Barcelona

Real Madrid returns to the final stage in the Copa del Rey after 7 years absent in the final stage, and they will face against their eternal rival, Barcelona.

ALMERIA 0 - BARCELONA 3 (First Leg, 0-5)
Barca, leading 5-0 from their first leg against Almeria, cruised through 8-0 on aggregate thanks to second-leg goals from Adriano, Thiago and recent signing Ibrahim Afellay - his first for the club.

Stadium: Juegos de Mediterráneo  

UD Almería: Esteban; Michel, Carlos García, Pellerano (Acasiete, 62'), Luna; Fabián Vargas, Bernardello; Feghouli, Corona (Crusat, 68'), Kalu Uche and Goitom.

FC Barcelona: Pinto, Dani Alves, Busquets (Piqué, 46'), Milito, Adriano; Mascherano, Keita, Thiago; Bojan, Afellay and Nolito.

Referee: Ayza Gámez, from Valencia.

Yellow Cards:
      Almeria: Michel (29')
      Barcelona: Busquets (31')

Goal Scorers:
      Almeria: None
      Barcelona: Adriano (35')  Thiago (53')   Afellay (67')

REAL MADRID 2 - SEVILLA 0 (First Leg, 1-0)
Real Madrid won a complicated game against Sevilla in the Santiago Bernabeu, until in the 81st minute, Mesut Ozil score the first goal for The Merengues.

Sevilla then lost Sanchez to a red card before Madrid, who have not won the cup since 1993, added a second goal late on when Adebayor (90+4), who joined on loan from Manchester City last week, chested down a Lassana Diarra cross before thumping an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net.

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu

Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvalho, Sergio Ramos, Arbeloa; Xabi Alonso, C. Ronaldo, Ozil, Khedira (Lass, 90'), Di María (Granero, 88'); Benzema (Adebayor, 84).

Sevilla: Javi Varas; Escudé, Navarro, Sergio Sánchez, Cáceres; Zokora, Jesus Navas, Romaric (Perotti, 81'), Rakitic (Fabiano, 70'); Kanouté (Gary Medel, 88') and Negredo.

Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes, from Cantabria.

Yellow Cards:

      Real Madrid: Xabi Alonso (64'), Sergio Ramos (89')
      Sevilla: Navarro (37'), Cáceres (41'), Zokora (49'), Sergio Sánchez (66')

Red Cards: 
      Real Madrid: None
      Sevilla: Sergio Sanchez (85')

Goal Scorers:
      Real Madrid: Ozil (81'), Adebayor (90+4')
      Sevilla: None

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SEMIFINAL of the Copa del Rey: Almería vs. Barcelona 12:00 UTC and Real Madrid vs. Sevilla 14:00 UTC

Barcelona will face a duel in peace and social calm with an advantage of 5-0 win in the first leg at the Camp Nou, but on the other hand, Real Madrid will face a complicated duel against Sevilla that will attack with a lot of pressure having an advantage of 0-1 win in the first leg at the Sánchez Pizjuan.

In the Sánchez Pizjuan there where a lot of doubts of Luis Fabiano's PHANTOM goal in the 46th minute when tried Raul Albiol stopped the ball on the goal-line to avoid the equalizer. When the ball has already pass through the line.