This is my blog on the unpredictable world of football. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

El Fantastico Falcao scores four for FC Porto

Falcao, remember the name because this young lad is something special. Falcao managed a four goal haul against Spanish club Villarreal, no mean feat may I add, helping his side to a 5-1 victory in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final.

It was a first half with plenty of chances on offer for both teams, but it was the visitors Villarreal who drew first blood with a delightful cross from Nilmar finding an unmarked Cani in the box to nod home. With that goal came the close of the first half at 1 nil to Villarreal. In the second half it was a completely different story with a fired up FC Porto squad coming out and levelling the scores within four minutes of play. Falcao made a brilliant run into the box that lured Villarreal 'keeper Diego Lopez off his line and drawing him into a contest for the ball which resulted in a highly questionable penalty for FC Porto. Lopez also getting a yellow card for his troubles, he made minimal contact with Falcao. However Falcao slotted home from the penalty spot making it 1 all. The next goal was a case of persistence as a lovely long ball was played to the flying Freddy Guarin who beat one defender with a cut back before releasing a powerful left shot only for it to strike the post, but it rebounded straight back to Guarin who obliged and headed home making it 2-1 for Porto. Six minutes later Brazilian winger Hulk (it is a nickname) turned provider delivering a sizzling low cross that got Lopez off his line and allowed Falcao to strike home and score his second of the night. Falcao then proceeded to score two fine headed goals, not bad for a striker only 5 foot 9 inches tall. In the 75th minute he scored a wonderfully worked set-piece where he steamed onto a lovely weighted ball and headed home making the score 4-1. He capped of his fabulous four goal effort in the final minutes of the match, where he was left unmarked to head home beautifully making it 5-1 on the night.

What a talent he is, the Colombian native joined FC Porto in 2009 from famous Argentine club River Plate. In his two years at the club so far he has amassed a whopping 69 goals from 82 appearances in all competitions. That is over a goal every two matches which is a brilliant return rate. He is the next big thing in world football you can be sure of that. Make sure you remember this lad because come the European summer he is going to be wanted by the big clubs. You heard it here first. Here are ten of his best goals so far as compiled by SuperAlexdu69

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

La Vecchia Signora sings, Carroll carves up City

What a weekend of high quality football rounded out by two contrasting results. Juventus came from behind and showed plenty of fighting spirit to down Genoa 3-2 as the Serie A heats up in the final stretch of the season. Liverpool and Manchester City closed out this weekend's Premier League matches, with the Reds comfortably beating a toothless Manchester City side 3 nil.

To Anfield first where a very much understrength Liverpool showed the real fighting spirit that Liverpool squads of the past have been renowned for by beating 'new money' Manchester City. Andy Carroll the most expensive British football player in history scored his first goal for the club, but he thought one wasn't good enough so he added a second after Dutchman and Liverpool's leading goal scorer Dirk Kuyt put a goal away. The first chance of the match fell to Uruguayan sensation Luis Suarez, who received a superb volleyed through ball from his fellow front man Andy Carroll. Suarez slipped between two defenders before striking the ball low and hard with his left foot at City and England 'keeper Joe Hart who incredibly got fingertips to it and knocked it onto the post to deny Liverpool's number 7. The Kop end didn't have to wait much longer for Carroll's first goal as he fought hard for the ball forcing it onto Raul Meireles whose shot was blocked rebounding to Andy Carroll outside the box. He hit it hard, low and very sweetly with his left foot as it went powerfully into the net to open Liverpool's account. City were then dealt a major blow as captain courageous Carlos Tevez pulled his hamstring and had to be substituted after only 14 minutes, bringing on bad boy Mario Balotelli. In the 33rd minute Liverpool struck again through Dirk Kuyt as some consistent pressure on City's goal payed dividends. Kuyt got the ball after several shots were blocked on the left hand side of the box. He cut in and drilled it home low into the bottom corner to make it two nil to Liverpool. Not long after Liverpool added their third and final goal of the match. Meireles was the man of the moment as he got the ball on the left flank and delivered a pin point cross to Andy Carroll who obliged and headed home a wonderful piece of play to give Liverpool three points and three goals. The rest of the highlights from the match can be watched here:

Finally to Torino where Juventus who are having a poor season by their high standards gave their fans something to sing about as they showed some resilience to come from behind to beat Genoa 3-2. The first goal Juventus conceded was a rather unlucky one as Luca Antonelli looked to play a ball into the box. Juventus centre back Leonardo Bonucci tried to stop it but unfortunately his deflection guided the ball into the net to make it 1 nil to Genoa. Simone Pepe then had a great chance from a set piece on the left, he swung the ball on target but the 'keeper collected. Bonucci then tried to redeem himself with a header from close range which was powerfully struck and only denied by a reflex save from Genoa 'keeper Eduardo. Pepe was again at it on the left flank when a long cross from right back Marco Motta found him open at the back post, only for him to head into the side netting to round out the half.

Juventus' defensive problems were on show as they conceded a corner early on in the second half from a defensive mix up. Pepe however tried his best again to bring Juve back on terms as he cut in from the left onto his favoured right foot and blasted the ball at goal only for Eduardo to make another miraculous save. He didn't have to wait long for his goal as Krasic won the ball on the right flank before passing to the open Alberto Aquilani, who in turn delivered a neat cross to Pepe who nodded home and put the Old Lady (Juventus) back on terms. Krasic then looked to get himself more involved in the game and passed it once again to Aquilani who turned it onto striker Matri, he then flicked it on with a neat back heel to a flying Krasic who drove the ball towards goal only to be denied by the brick wall that was Eduardo in the Genoa goals. But it was Genoa who would retake the lead with that man once again - Antonelli - cutting a ball in from the left into the path of an unmarked Antonio Floro Flores to volley home and make it 2-1. The absence of Giorgio Chiellini was really showing for Juventus as their defence struggled with the Genoa attack. Luigi Del Neri - Juventus manager - then decided to make two changes as he brought of Felipe Melo for striker Luca Toni and Marco Motta off for Frederik Sorensen. This payed dividends as left back Traore burst down the left flank before putting in a pass to Luca Toni who flicked the ball back to Matri to dig out from his feet and smash the ball home levelling the scores once again at 2-2. Genoa also looked to their bench with Palacio coming on and curling an effort just wide of the far post with a breath-taking shot. But Pepe wasn't finished with this match just yet as he played a neat one-two with Toni before shooting at Eduardo, only for him to get his leg to the ball and push it wide of the goal. Aquilani was at it once again as he received the ball in the middle of the pitch before delivering a defence piercing pass to striker Luca Toni who negotiated his marker brilliantly and neatly finishing with his right foot and giving Juventus three very valuable points.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Two reds, second leg meaningless?

What a morning of football? Who would have thought in two first leg matches we would see a combined total of eleven goals? Not me thats for sure! Real Madrid overcame ten man Tottenham 4 nil, after striker Peter Crouch was dismissed early on. But the result of the Champions League so far has to go to Schalke beating current champions Inter 5-2 in an end-to-end match full of drama and goals - the only way the Italians and Germans know how to play football.

First we go to the Bernabeu, where Tottenham were forced into a last minute change with Aaron Lennon succumbing to illness before kick off forcing manager Harry Redknapp to bring in Jermaine Jenas on the right wing. Cristiano Ronaldo had the first half chance of the match firing wide from long-range. However it was on the right side where Angel Di Maria was playing that caused Spurs their first problem, conceding a corner kick in the 4th minute. The corner was duly converted by on loan striker Emmanuel Adebayor who headed home with the non-exsistent marking making his job easier and opening Madrid's account. Peter Crouch then committed a silly foul on Real's right back Sergio Ramos and was deservingly booked. He followed this up with his second yellow in the space of seven minutes and was given his marching orders. For a player of his experience it was unexplainable, the challenges will go down as two big brain snaps for the lanky lad. Against the run of play Gareth Bale won a throw-in in Madrid's half before launching a giant throw to Rafael Van Der Vaart who could not make the most of the opportunity. It was then Michael Dawson picking out Bale on the left wing with a superb diagonal ball. Unfortunately Bale couldn't make the most of it as he fired into the side netting. The numerical advantage gave Real a great opportunity with Marcelo dazzling on the left flank, with a brilliant cross that found marauding right back Ramos, who in turn headed across goal with Adebayor just inches short of finishing the ball. Just before half time Madrid had a genuine hand ball penalty turned down by the referee, who was booed off at half time.

The second half began with a change for Spurs, as Defoe came on for Van Der Vaart - a move many Spurs fans would agree on. Once again Ronaldo had the first chance of the half with a left foot shot going wide. Cristiano still looked not quite match fit in this game. Spurs won a corner early on, with the ball spilling out for Spurs left back Assou-Ekotto who selfishly smashed the ball at goal from long distance. Real then went on the attack winning another corner and how Ronaldo made them pay taking a quick, short corner passing it to Marcelo who managed to pick out Spurs old nemesis - Adebayor - who headed home brilliantly to give Madrid a two goal lead. Jose Mourinho then looked to his bench as he pulled off German Sami Khedira for Lassana Diarra. Diarra had an immediate impact, playing in Adebayor for the umpteenth time and forcing Spurs 'keeper Gomes into another save. Madrid's constant possession strangled Tottenham and gave Argentine Di Maria an absolute screamer of a goal. He received the ball outside the box before cutting in from the right onto his favoured left foot inside the box and curling his effort around Gomes into the top corner to make it 3 nil to Madrid. He then got a well deserved rest as Mourinho brought on Kaka, as well as bringing off Adebayor for Higuain - who is back from injury. Late on Madrid looked to kill off the second leg at White Hart Lane, with some great inter-play between Diarra and Kaka who crossed to Cristiano Ronaldo on the right hand side of the box. Ronaldo then slammed a powerful volley toward goal and Gomes tried feverishly to push it wide, but to no avail as Ronaldo made it 4 nil for Real.

Finally to the San Siro where Schalke posted one of the greatest upsets of European football history beating Inter at their home ground 5-2. Fans didn't have to wait long for the first goal as it came within the first minute, as both sides touched the ball before Inter caught Schalke on the counter, with Cambiasso trying to find Diego Milito with a long ball. Schalke and German 'keeper Manuel Neuer came out and headed the ball away, but straight to Inter midfielder Dejan Stankovic who volleyed the ball home from just inside the oppositions half to make it 1 nil to Inter and score a goal that will be remembered for a long time. Raul then got on the end of a Uchida cross but headed wide of the goal. Schalke went onto win a corner, from which they scored. Some sloppy play - in particular Inter's marking - allowed Schalke three attempts on goal, one was saved by Julio Cesar, the second blocked by a defender but the third was slotted home by defender Matip levelling the scores. Ranocchia - one of Inter's centre backs - played a brilliant long ball to Milito who brought it down but was then brought down by Schalke right back Uchida but the referee was having none of it. However Milito didn't have to wait much longer as he skipped down the left flank before passing back to stand-in left back and captain Javier Zanetti. The captain then found Wesley Sneijder in space, he then delivered a neat chip to Cambiasso who in turn headed the ball across to Milito who jumped and side footed it home to put Inter back in front at 2-1. Schalke were quick to respond as they played the ball forward quickly. Young German playmaker Baumjohann sent a beautiful defence splitting pass through to Brazilian striker Edu whose shot was deflected by a defender forcing Julio Cesar to stretch to the ball. It rebounded to the side but as any good striker does Edu followed it up and slotted home from a more narrow angle and again put Schalke on terms with Inter at 2 all.

The second half began with another great chance for Inter, as Wesley Sneijder played a superb aerial through ball to Milito who failed to finish a superb chance. Sneijder got on the ball once again just outside the Schalke box and played Eto'o through with a wonderful ball, he then turned his marker and forced a world-class save from Neuer. Schalke had a reply as Raul dropped deep to collect the ball, he then played a brilliant cross field ball to Peruvian speedster Jefferson Farfan, who raced away from stand-in centre back Christian Chivu, but not enough for Chivu not to foul him blatantly and receive a yellow card for his troubles. Farfan then played a neat one-two with Jurado, before exposing Chivu once again with a pass that found Raul. He then calmly slotted it over Julio Cesar and gave Schalke the lead at 3-2. Another slick passing move resulted in a goal for Schalke, as Uchida played it forward to Raul who delivered a neat pass to the flying Juardo. Juardo then took on the Inter defenders and slid in a cross that was put away accidentally by Inter centre back Ranocchia making it 4-2. It then got worse for Inter as Chivu - frustrated by his failings on the night - went in rashly on Edu, but didn't go through with the tackle and clipped the back of Edu as he twisted and went to ground rather dramatically. The referee gave Chivu his marching orders after his second yellow card. This forced Inter into their second change of the match as Kharja made way for Ivan Cordoba. It was in the first place a poor decision by manager Leonardo to put Chivu in for the suspended Lucio. Chivu had been thoroughly out classed in the previous two ties against Bayern and should have been dropped altogether. The numerical advantage showed for Schalke as Juardo came close to scoring as a great forward move from Schalke spilled outside of the box for the lurking Juardo who drilled a low shot only into the upright. Another chance went begging as Raul set up the play with a pass to Farfan who nut-megged Ranocchia and shot at goal only for Julio Cesar to save, but the ball spilled out and Farfan managed another shot. However Ranocchia was there - in a deja vu moment from the last tie against Bayern - to clear into the post only for Cordoba to have an air swing before getting the ball out of the area. Only for Schalke to get it back and play it to Edu who turned Ranocchia brilliantly and fired home with his left foot wrapping up the match at 5-2 to Schalke.

The talking points? It is surely the performance of the referee's in both matches as they were far too inconsistent to be refereeing matches at this stage of the tournament. Both send-off's are arguable - to a degree. Personally I think Crouch's send off was the right call, the second yellow for Chivu was however a bit harsh. I maintain that Leonardo should have started with Cordoba at centre back rather than the clumsy Chivu. You could almost guarantee that both Real Madrid and Schalke will progress to the semi-finals, but we have seen weirder things, just remember what happened today.