Tag:Champions League
Posted on: March 12, 2011 12:27 am
Edited on: March 19, 2011 9:32 am
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Darkhorse Shaktar Donetsk??

I'm no fanatic on the Champions League, the officiating is often dodgy but all the same, the Ukrainian club of Shaktar Donetsk is certainly one of the big stories of the Champions League Tournament so far. They defeated Roma this past week 3-0 to advance. Truly, I do wonder if the remaining cold in somewhere like Ukraine could have had an effect, if so, I would not think too much though they are certainly a bit of a distance for most of the mainstream European clubs. The professionals should be ready to play in most kinds of weather. By the same token, Man City faltered and lost to Dynamo Kiev with Andriy Shevchenko in Ukraine as well in a Europa League match Thursday. Practically every year, we see some club that we may not know too much about, a team in the final eight coming from Greece, Turkey, Russia or from other countries. This year it is Shaktar Donetsk and one wonders if indeed they could go far in this tournament as an underdog. Like Barcelona in their own league play, Shaktar has only one loss all year.

http://www.soccerway.com/teams/ukra
ine/joint-stock-company-fc-shakhtar
-donetsk/

http://www.soccerway.com/matches/20
11/03/08/europe/uefa-champions-leag
ue/joint-stock-company-fc-shakhtar-
donetsk/as-roma/1058593/

Here's the thing about them, the makeup of the team, their manager is Romanian, Lucescu, against Roma, they started 4 Brazilians, so they have a real Brazilian connection, 3 Ukrainians and a cross section of other players, Croat, Czech, Belgian R. Rat and more. Shaktar also has Eduardo da Silva or as he is better known as "Eduardo" a naturalized Croat though Brazilian, Eduardo has played for the National Team of Croatia. Shaktar was able to win in Rome in the first game 3-2 and now won the 2nd one at home 3-0, winning in aggregate 6-2. This to me looks like it may be a very powerful team. We will have to see how they perform in the next round but it certainly looks like they will be able to challenge some if not most of all of the teams in the final 8.

 http://www.soccerway.com/match
es/2011/03/10/europe/uefa-cup/fc-dy
namo-kyiv/manchester-city-football-
club/1058642/

Shaktar also finished ahead of Arsenal in the group stage of the CL. No small accomplishment.

Here is an English language fansite for the Club.: http://www.shakhtar.com/en/ 

As opposed to Shaktar,  Dynamo Kiev is a somewhat legendary team from Ukraine, they were playing during World War II and that is a story to itself from a book called "Dynamo", they actually played games against Nazi Germany teams and some players on the Dynamo team may have eventually been imprisoned and died in prison. There is a big statue commemorating that outside of their stadium. I believe this topic was brought up when ESPN showed the Soccer movie with Stallone and Pele called "Victory" or "Escape To Victory" as it is called in the UK and the rest of the world and some opine that Dynamo helped inspire the movie, others say this is not so. 

http://www.amazon.com/Dynamo-Triump
h-Tragedy-Nazi-Occupied-Kiev/dp/158
574719X
  Dynamo the Book.

But back to the point, 2nd place in Ukraine's Premier League, Dynamo has a more conventional looking roster. Against Man City, they started 6 Ukrainians and one from each country of Nigeria, Macedonia, Brazil, Finland and Croatia:

http://www.soccerway.com/matches/20
11/03/10/europe/uefa-cup/fc-dynamo-
kyiv/manchester-city-football-club/
1058642/

It is very easy to get wrapped up in one league,  Premier League which is so accessible to us on Fox Soccer and ESPN or Serie A, La Liga,  Bundesliga, Ligue 1, MLS too all have their fans, but it is obvious that there is some very good football/soccer going on in Eastern Europe. Ukrainian soccer is on the Up and Poland Ukraine will host the next Euro in 2012.

Posted on: March 9, 2011 6:16 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 10:46 pm
 

Go down like men, Champions League reflections.

AC Milan is far from a team I like at all, I did not see their first game vs. Tottenham Hotspur but I understand there was some sort of problem with this fellow Flamini, one of Milan's  players in the game, a hard tackle. I must continue on this note, many say this in fact, should have been a red card. But I honestly thought that team gave it all they could today to score a goal to tie up Tottenham and their players, Ibrahamovic and the rest just could not score. Undoubtedly, heroics by defender William Galles kept a goal out. They must practice this plenty in training, great play none-the-less. Still, AC Milan played a straight clean game and came up short but they gave it their best. And in the end, Milan loses by the slimmest of margins. When I say I don't like Milan, some of their supporters can be over boasterous of the club's accomplishments and I know personally from having read some Italian football forums.

I believe the call suffered by Arsenal yesterday seeing Van Persie sent off was poor. One more reason why we Americans can look at European 'soccer' and say, "Man, they should have instant replay" but until they do that or use other measures to call these games in a fairer way, bad calls will mar the game. Still, Arsenal lacked punch, I don't think they played that bad but statistics speak for themselves and in that, they were not getting any shots directly on goal. I also wonder if they should have ever let defender William Galles leave. Arsenal won the first game, however they did it and lose the series by one solitary goal. Good showing, of course, they wanted to win and these calls again, hurt the game.  Last summer, we saw England routed by the German National Team in the World Cup, 4-1 but without a doubt, Frank Lampard scored a goal that did NOT count. Germany clearly was a great team at the world cup but there is some leeway to wonder what might have happened if correctly, Lampard's goal had stood. On that note, farcically, I think we are already in for a number of years more with no sort of instant replay. At least get an extra official in there somewhere, if only to watch the goal.

This is a fine view and for those of you unfamiliar with Brian Glanville, fine soccer journalist for many years.

 

“I’m, too disgusted to speak about it,” declared Wenger. These things can have an impact on the Premier League. Justice has not been done.”


Indubitably. But was it done at Wembley only six days earlier in the second minute of the League Cup Final versus Birmingham City when the Gunners’ defence split like a rotten banana down the middle enabling Lee Bowyer to dash through alone on goal, only to be clumsily brought down by Arsenal’s young Polish goalkeeper, Szcesny. A clear penalty you may have thought, but an inadequate linesman, Ron Ganfield, flourished his flag to rule Bowyer offside when he was some two yards on. What goes around comes around you might say. Swings and roundabouts.


The truth is that refereeing and linesmaning if one may so call it at the top level is in a clear state of crisis. All very well for our referees to be criticised by managers and press for their supposed insufficiency, but the fact remains that poor decisions increasingly proliferate. 

http://www.worldsoccer.com/glanvill
e/



And for the record, Glanville watched Arsenal even back in the 1940s as a kid but he's a straight forward journalist.

So now we have half of the quarter finals of the Champions League finished.

One note, I pick Marseilles to pull a shock over Man Utd. but you know, I almost always pick MUFC to lose, not that I hate them, I do see them a bit as the ultimate "band wagon" team but I don't hate them and I have usually cheered for them in the Champions League against most "Continental Teams." Marseilles is in fact, a bit of the Man Utd. of France, of course, we all know, the French teams are not overly successful in the Champions League but there teams domestically are almost all financially sound. Not easy in this day and age and from looking at the teams playing in the champions league, truly, see how many French men are in the tournament, the above mentioned Flaimini, Real Madrid's Benzema, Arsenal's Nasir, Tottenham's Galles. They certainly make their contributions and I'm sure I forgot to mention some, well, Ribery is with Bayern Munich so that would be another.

Shaktar Donetsk defeated Roma 3-0, Roma is in 6th place in Serie A this year so this was a tough loss for that league but it needs to be put in perspective. Furthermore, Shaktar interestingly is weighted heavily towards foreigners, uniquely in fact, Brazilians, I believe their squad yesterday had 4 Brazilians starting compared to 2 Ukrainians. That is surely there right to do that.  Just an interesting footnote.

An entertaining week for the Champions League.




Category: Soccer
Posted on: March 7, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 2:54 am
 

CBC predictions Champions League, Feb. 22

Let's look at the Canadian Broadcasting Company's Championship League predictions as this week and next come the crucial 2nd knockout game I believe for each of these. By the way, their journalists are good, okay, you might not agree with them always but I think they are competent in their knowledge. Links to the CBC and Soccerway's results so far in the tourney are the links presented below. CBC's MLS coverage is probably even better. MLS seems to actually be a big deal in Canada. CBS?? Maybe they'll bring back some coverage.

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/soccer/sto
ry/2011/02/13/spf-champions-league.
html


http://www.soccerway.com/internatio
nal/europe/uefa-champions-league/20
10-2011/final-stages/


1. Lyon vs. Real Madrid, presently tied at 1-1, next game in Real 16/03/11 , next week.

Nigel Reed and Jason De Vos, former player for Canada and Dundee Utd pick Real to advance.

Go to site to read their analysis. This sounds about right but I would not be that confident seeing Real's recent Champions League record but they do have Mourinho and that should turn things in their favor.

2. Marseilles vs. Manchester United, 15/03/11 Next week

Reed and De Vos agree Manchester Utd. will win. I see some hope for Marseilles hear seeing how Ferguson is being silent to the news media and Man Utd. have lost two straight games and have lost Nani to an injury. Of course, the commentators did not know of this at the time. The first game ended 0-0. I'd call it a toss up, I'll even go with Olympique Marseilles.

3. Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich 15/03/11, next week.

Both pick Bayern Munich, seems the logical choice.

4. Copenhagen Chelsea 16/03/11  Next week.

This is probably the easiest one to pick and going with Chelsea surely everyone is. 

5. AC Milan Tottenham 09/03/11 Already this Wednesday.

Reed goes with Tottenham, De Vos with AC Milan, I'll pick the Spurs.

6. Valencia Schalke 09/03/11 , Wednesday this week

Both pick the German team. Raul plays for Schalke 04

7. Roma Shaktar Donetsk 08/03/11 , Tuesday, tomorrow.

The Ukrainian team won the first match in Roma 2-3. I Pick Shaktar Donetsk.
CBC commentators pick Roma.

8. Snicker, Arsenal Barcelona , Tomorrow Tuesday again!! 08/03/11

They and everyone picks the 'best team in the world' Barcelona.
Reed and De Vos: "Prediction: Barcelona wins 4-3 on aggregate" " Barcelona wins 4-1 on aggregate"

I will stick with my prediction I made after the first game, Arsenal upset and Gunners advance. Arsenal learned a big lesson last year, they are coming off of losing the League Carling Cup and drawing with Sunderland, maybe not good omens or maybe it means they'll work harder with Fabregas and Dutchman Van Persie coming back from injuries, they will both play.
Category: Soccer
Posted on: February 25, 2011 10:48 am
 

Champions League Rundown.

http://www.soccerway.com/internatio
nal/europe/uefa-champions-league/20
10-2011/final-stages/


 Look for Tottenham to win over AC Milan at home on March 9.

I'll go with Valencia to triumph over FCSchalke. Aggregate 1-1 after 1st knockout game.

Shaktar Donetsk to win over Roma.

The interesting one, Arsenal and Barcelona, Arsenal surprisingly winning the 1st game. I'll go with Arsenal to win the series. This is an epic.

Real Madrid/ Lyons: Real to finally win a knockout round for the first time in years. IF Lyons can win it, then the French League teams are on par with the Spanish league.

Chelsea over Copenhagen.

Munich over Inter.

Manchester United to take O Marseilles.




Category: Soccer
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com