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SPORTS: March 2012

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

PREMIER LEAGUE: Saturday Results - March 31, 2012

PREMIER LEAGUE: Saturday Results
WOL 2-3 BOL, WIG 2-0 STK, QPR 2-1 ARS,
MCI 3-3 SUN, FUL 2-1 NOR, EVE 2-0 WBA, AVL 2-4 CHE

Thursday, March 29, 2012

UEFA LEAGUE: March 29 Results

Schalke 2-4 Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid 2-1 Hanover,
AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Valencia, S Lisboa 2-1 Metalist

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

PREMIER LEAGUE: 24/03/2012 Results

PREMIER LEAGUE: 24/03/2012 Results

Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool 1-2 Wigan
Norwich City 2-1 Wolverhampton, Sunderland 3-1 QPR, Arsenal 3-0 Aston Villa Bolton 2-1 Blackburn Rovers, Swansea 0-2 Everton, Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City

Maradona: Speed of thought separates best (FIFA Article)

Maradona: Speed of thought separates best (FIFA Article)

Diego Maradona believes there is one trait that sets himself and Lionel Messi apart from the rest when it comes to discussing the best players of all time: speed of thought.

For many years Maradona was one half of the great debate as to who was the best ever player, him or Brazilian Pele. But with Messi's recent record-breaking exploits, many consider him to be a legitimate contender for that theoretic title.

And while Maradona has never been shy in publicising his own claims over Pele's, he is less willing to blow his own trumpet when compared to his Argentinian compatriot.

"The [best player] lists make me laugh but there is one ability, most of all one, that no one has ever had like Leo and myself: speed of thought," Maradona told Gazzetta dello Sport.
There is one ability, most of all one, that no one has ever had like Leo and myself: speed of thought.
Diego Maradona

"When I coached him the thing I saw in him that reminded me of myself was the lightning understanding of how the move would develop.

"It's an innate quality worthy of a computer. Had we been able to communicate with someone who thought at the same speed we could have both given even more."

Looking just at today's players, Maradona says Messi is in a league of his own but he has a surprise in his top three.

"My rankings would be Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and then Ibra [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] and [Wayne] Rooney together, and [Sergio] Kun Aguero is in the top ten but he's rising."

The Week in Quotes (FIFA Article)

The Week in Quotes (FIFA Article)
“Like Michael Jordan in basketball, Messi is dominating his sport. Very few people in history have managed to dominate their sport the way Jordan and Messi have. I feel sorry for those who want to compete for Messi's throne – it’s impossible, this kid is unique. He doesn’t just score lots of goals, but he scores lots of great goals, each one being better that the last.”
Pep Guardiola

“It took 15 shocks to get his heart started after he collapsed. If you're going to use the term miraculous, I guess it could be used here. Two hours after regaining consciousness, I whispered in his ear, ‘What's your name?’, and he said, ‘Fabrice Muamba’. I said, ‘I hear you're a really good footballer’, and he said, ‘I try’. I had a tear in my eye."
Dr. Andrew Deaner, the cardiologist and Tottenham Hotspur fan who rushed on to the pitch to aid the Bolton Wanderers midfielder at White Hart Lane

“Massimo Cellino has fun getting on people’s nerves. He’s beyond a joke. One time Cellino sent a letter accusing me of having eaten a 4kg fish! I swear this is true.”
Nedo Sonetti, who was twice sacked by Cellino, after the Cagliari president dismissed Davide Ballardini and refused to pay him compensation due to ‘just cause’

"I have got two skins on top of my own. I could put my rhino skin on if it gets half bad, and if it gets really bad I can put my elephant skin on top of that!”
Sam Allardyce on how he copes with West Ham United's boo-boys

“We judge Maradona based on his entire career, while Messi is still only 24. The fact that we're already comparing them is a tribute to what Lionel has achieved. If we have to differ between them, Maradona was more artistic and had a unique, beautiful style of play. Messi, on the other hand, is more efficient and more consistent. He's dangerous every time he gets the ball. If he continues to perform at this level, he will exceed everyone, including Pele.”
Jorge Valdano

"If you talk about desperation, they played a player the other night who refused to go on the pitch, the manager said he'd never play again and he takes a five-month holiday in Argentina. What is that? Could that come under the description of desperation?"
Sir Alex Ferguson on Manchester City utilising Carlos Tevez

"At 18 years old, I was already a millionaire and I was always in the spotlight. That is why I understand Neymar's behaviour – he is like me 20 years ago. But he’s different to Adriano. Adriano prefers to live close to his roots rather than living in Leblon (an upper-class Rio neighbourhood). But let's be honest, it's more of a favela than a community. There he is obviously at a greater risk of getting caught up in problems.”

“I have played in the UEFA Champions League final and other huge games, but I have never been so nervous on the morning of a game. It was probably the best atmosphere I have ever seen, but I’ve mixed feelings now. Growing up I was a massive Kaizer Chiefs fan, so I’m a little heartbroken.”
Benni McCarthy after his double inspired Orlando Pirates to a 3-2 win in the Soweto derby in front of 87,171 fans

"I am very competitive and I feel really bad when we lose. You can see it in me when we've lost – I'm in a very bad way. I don't like to talk to anyone. I just keep myself to myself and go over the game in my head: the things that went wrong, what I did wrong, why we didn't win. Sometimes it can be torture."
Lionel Messi

“Sometimes the mouse can tickle the elephant.”
Giuseppe Sannino before his Seina side’s meeting with Napoli

“Alex McLeish said I prefer cars to football. But if I get wages, I have the right to do what I want with my money. He is not here to tell me what I have to buy or not. He is not my father. He doesn't know where I come from.”
Charles N'Zogbia

"I have to be careful not to head balls that are hit very hard, because I’ve still got the bullet lodged in my head. That’s why I keep working towards my full recovery, as I want to be 100 per cent again to be able to enjoy myself and give it everything I’ve got."
Salvador Cabanas to

“I won’t say it's a miracle – only Jesus makes miracles, not Paris Saint-Germain. We only made a draw.”
Salvatore Sirigu after PSG somehow eked a 2-2 draw out of a trip to Caen

“Some may fear Australia and Japan, but I'm against that. We don’t fear anybody but if we had to fear somebody, it’d be Jordan and Oman as they will want to prove they are not there by chance.”
Younis Mahmoud of Iraq

“He is right up there with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. I wouldn't go as far to say that I think he is the very best footballer on the planet, but Robin van Persie isn’t that far behind Messi and Ronaldo.”
Ray Parlour on Robin van Persie

“Ole today feels like one more [Barça] fan, and will shout its homage from the logo of this front page. Congratulations."
A statement from Ole, the hugely popular Argentinian sports daily, which assumed the name Cule for a day on Wednesday in tribute to Lionel Messi

“Francesco Totti is equivalent to the Pope.”
Nicolas Burdisso

IL CALCIO: 24-25-26/03/2012

IL CALCIO: 24-25-26/03/2012
Milan - Roma, Palermo - Udinese,
Atalanta - Bologna, Lazio - Cagliari, Nápoles - Catania, Juventus - Inter
Génova - Fiorentina, Novara - Lecce, Cesena - Parma, Chievo - Siena

PREMIER LEAGUE: 24-25-26/03/2012

PREMIER LEAGUE: 24-25-26/03/2012
Chelsea - Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool - Wigan, Norwich City - Wolverhampton
Sunderland - Queens Park R, Arsenal - Aston Villa, Bolton - Blackburn Rovers
Swansea - Everton, Stoke City - Manchester City
West Brom - Newcastle United
Manchester United - Fulham

LIGA BBVA: 24-25-26/03/2012

LIGA BBVA: 24-25-26/03/2012
Mallorca - Barcelona, R. Madrid - R. Sociedad, Getafe - Valencia
Zaragoza - Atlético, Levante - Osasuna, Espanyol - Málaga
Athletic - Sporting,  Rayo - Villarreal, Betis - Racing
Granada - Sevilla

Thursday, March 22, 2012

African big boys make their entrance (FIFA Article)

African big boys make their entrance (FIFA Article)

The 2012 CAF Champions League kicks off in earnest this weekend with the first legs of the Round of 32 taking place. Making their entrance into the competition are Africa’s 13 top-seeded sides, each with designs on going all the way. looks ahead to the 16 ties, to be played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Game of the week
Zamalek-Africa Sports
This duel is a replay of the 1986 CAF Champions League final, which Zamalek won 4-2 on penalties after both sides had recorded 2-0 home victories.

These two clubs have proud histories. Stars such as George Weah, Rashidi Yekini, Stephen Keshi, Joseph-Antoine Bell, Jean-Jacques Tizie, Kader Keita and Ahmed Tour have all turned out for Africa Sports, while the likes of Ibrahim Youssef, Gamal Abdelhamid, Hossam and Ibrahim Hassan and Emmanuel Amunike have all graced Zamalek, one of Egypt’s most popular and successful clubs.

Having failed to make much of an impression on the continental scene in the last ten years, both teams will be looking at this game as a springboard for them to get back into the big time.

The other matches
Holders Esperance are among the big fish making their entrance in this second round, along with Etoile du Sahel, TP Mazembe, Al-Ahly, Raja Casablanca and Al-Hilal, while a clutch of less fancied sides, among them ASO Chlef, Zamalek and Berekum Chelsea, are full of confidence after safely negotiating the first qualifying round.

Berekum Chelsea, who hail from Ghana and owe their name to their admiration for the London club where national idol Michael Essien plays, are appearing in the competition for the first time. Founded only ten years ago, they have just won their first Ghanaian title and now have their sights set on continental success.

Ghana’s sole representatives in the competition, Berekum have nurtured a core of talented youngsters spearheaded by striker Emmanuel Clottey, but will need to be at their very best to deny three-time African champions Raja Casablanca. The two teams have been struggling in their respective leagues of late and will welcome the opportunity to impress on the big stage.

Also featuring high on the week’s card are the games between Nigeria’s Dolphin and Coton Sport of Cameroon, South Africa’s Platinum Stars and Al-Merreikh of Sudan, Algeria’s ASO Chlef and Vita Club of Congo DR, and Mali’s Stade Malien and Tonnerre of Benin, all of which look too close to call.

Meanwhile, Al-Ahly fans will welcome their side’s trip to Ethiopia to face Ethiopian Coffee, their first game since the disturbances in Port-Said, which cost the lives of 74 people. On paper, the Egyptian champions should not have too much trouble in progressing to the last 16, but will need to be watchful after their lengthy break.

Player to watch
Following his performances at the 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Gabon/Equatorial Guinea, Esperance fans are expecting big things of young Tunisian midfielder Youssef Msakni, the scorer of seven league goals for them this season. Such is Msakni’s poise on the ball that he has earned the nickname Lio, in reference to the great Lionel Messi.

The stat
7 - Al Ahly are looking for their seventh African title, having won the competition more times than any other club.

What they said
“I can’t wait to face Raja Casablanca, though we need to adopt a totally different approach to the last round because North African teams are always well organised and have got lots of experience too,” Berekum Chelsea’s Dutch coach Hans van der Pluym.

This weekend’s CAF Champions League Round of 32 ties (be played on 23-25 March):

DFC8 (CTA)-(SDN) Al-Hilal
Horoya AC (GUI)-(MAR) Maghreb de Fes
Ethiopian Coffee (ETH)-(EGY) Al-Ahly
Tonnerre (BEN)-(MLI) Stade Malien
Recreativo do Libolo (ANG)-(NGA) Sunshine Stars
URA (UGA)-(MLI) Djoliba
Liga Muculmana (MOZ)-(ZIM) Dynamos
Dolphins (NGA)-(CMR) Coton Sport
Berekum Chelsea (GHA)-(MAR) Raja Casablanca
Platinum (ZIM)-(SDN) Al-Merreikh
Brikama United (GAM)-(TUN) Esperance ST
Zamalek (EGY)-(CIV) Africa Sports
Power Dynamos (ZAM)-(COD) Mazembe
APR FC (RWA)-(TUN) Etoile du Sahel
ASO Chlef (ALG)-(COD) Vita Club
JSM Bejaia (ALG)-(CIV) AFAD Djekanou

Coyle: We are all astonished with Fabrice (FIFA Article)

Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle has admitted his players are going to find it difficult to keep their minds on the game when they take on Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. It will be the first time the Trotters have taken to the field since the harrowing events at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, when midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest that left him fighting for his life.

"You don't move on," Coyle said. "We have a game to play and we have to go and play it. Will it be difficult? Absolutely. Our thoughts are still with Fabrice Muamba."

Muamba is still in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital and was visited by a number of his team-mates on Tuesday. Coyle has told any of them who do not feel up to playing that they will be excused from this weekend's fixture.

"I wouldn't ask anybody to play who felt they couldn't," he said. "So far, no-one has told me they don't want to be involved. There comes a point that we have to play our games and move forward."
You don't move on. We have a game to play and we have to go and play it. Will it be difficult? Absolutely. Our thoughts are still with Fabrice Muamba.
Owen Coyle

Coyle had extensive conversations with Muamba's father Marcel and fiancee Shauna before he left London. And he was left in no doubt the family wanted Bolton to start playing again.

"I spoke to them for over an hour and they were adamant, Bolton had to play their games," said Coyle. "Everything does pale into insignificance alongside Fabrice's recovery. But we will go out there and do our best."

Coyle has earned enormous credit for the way he has handled himself throughout the trauma. However, he revealed he had not slept on Sunday night as Muamba faced the most important part of his recovery.

"Monday was a big day," said Coyle. "The hospital had cooled him down to try to help him, and on Monday morning at 8am they started to warm him back up again. That is when Fabrice had to kick in and do things of his own accord to have any chance.

"He did because we know the fighter he is and how strong he is. The way he came through that was incredible. Monday was an unbelievable day. We are all astonished with how far he has come.

"But we have to stress he is still in intensive care and he is still seriously ill. He has a long way to go. But what has happened is encouraging and we have to keep that in our thoughts"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

LIGA BBVA: March 21 Results

Atletico Madrid 2-1 Athletic, Valencia 1-2 Zaragoza,
Real Sociedad 1-3 Levante, Villarreal 1-1 Real Madrid

Real Madrid 72, Barcelona 66, Valencia 47, Levante 44, Malaga 41, Osasuna 40

PREMIER LEAGUE: 21 March Results

Newcastle 1-0 Norwich, Blackburn 2-0 Sunderland, Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea
Tottenham 1-1 Stoke City, Everton 0-1 Arsenal, Queens Park 3-2 Liverpool

Manchester United 70, Manchester City 69, Arsenal 55, Tottenham 54

Messi, ten dates in the making of a legend (FIFA Artilce)

Messi, ten dates in the making of a legend

Though yet to turn 25, Lionel Messi has already made sure of his place among the footballing gods, thanks to his devilish dribbling, pinpoint assists and an utterly insatiable appetite for goals, every single one of them dedicated to his grandmother Celia.
In tribute to his achievement on becoming Barcelona’s leading goalscorer of all time, picks out ten key dates in the irresistible rise of a pint-sized genius nicknamed La Pulga.
1 May 2005: Aged 17 years, ten months and seven days, Messi becomes Barcelona’s youngest-ever goalscorer in opening his account for the club in a league meeting with Albacete. That record would be broken in October 2007 by Bojan Krkic, who struck his first Barcelona goal against Villarreal at the age of 17 years, one month and 20 days. And who provided Bojan with the assist? Yes, you’ve guessed it: Lionel Messi.

2 July 2005: Messi scores twice, once from the penalty spot, as Argentina beat Nigeria 2-1 to win the FIFA U-20 World Cup Netherlands 2005. With the gold medal around his neck, and clutching the adidas Golden Boot in one hand and the adidas Golden Ball in the other, La Pulga had announced himself on the world stage.
The pundits began to speak of the new Diego Maradona, who phoned the young pretender to wish him every success in his career. “This is the happiest day of my football career so far,” said Messi the world-beater afterwards. “All I’m thinking about is enjoying the moment. I’m thrilled at winning these individual awards, but the success of the team is what really counts for me.”

2 March 2006:
Jose Pekerman rewards Messi’s stellar performances in the Netherlands with a call-up to the full national team, handing the diminutive maestro his debut in August 2005. His first goal for his country would come in a 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ warm-up match against Croatia the following March, Messi putting his side 2-1 ahead after setting Carlos Tevez up for the opener, though the Croatians would come back to win 3-2. That maiden goal was the first of the 22 he has now scored for his country in 68 appearances.

10 March 2007: Real Madrid take the lead three times in a pulsating clásico at the Camp Nou, only to be pegged back on each occasion by Messi, who completes a stunning hat-trick in stoppage time to earn an ovation from the Barça faithful. The last player to hit a treble in the fixture was Real Madrid’s Chilean centre-forward Ivan Zamorano in a 5-0 win 12 years earlier, with Romario scoring Barcelona’s previous hat-trick against Los Blancos in another memorable 5-0 drubbing the season before that.

18 April 2007: Though Barcelona failed to collect any silverware that year, Messi confirms his place in the game’s elite with a stunning solo effort against Getafe in a Copa del Rey tie, a goal that is a virtual carbon copy of Maradona’s breathtaking strike against England at Mexico 1986.
“People are getting a bit carried away comparing the two goals,” said El Pelusa. “Messi’s a phenomenon. The sky’s the limit for him and I think he can hit an even higher level, but apart from being even better to look at, my goal came against the English in a World Cup quarter-final.”
Commenting on a goal that put him right up there with El Diez, the habitually modest Messi said: “I just saw the space and went for it. That was it. I took them on and all I wanted to do was go for goal and finish the move off.”

1 February 2009: Barcelona are a goal down and a man down in a league match away to Racing Santander, with Messi on the bench. Stripping off his tracksuit, the Argentinian superhero comes to his side’s rescue, entering the fray to score a brace and secure three precious points. One of those goals was the club’s 5,000th in La Liga and the following year he would also score Barça’s 5,100th league goal in a game against Almeria. “He had two chances that weren’t even half chances and he took them both,” said Racing coach Juan Ramon Muniz with a mix of regret and admiration.

27 May 2009:
The impish Messi completes Barcelona’s 2-0 defeat of Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final in Rome with an eye-catching header, soaring above United centre-half Rio Ferdinand, who is eight inches taller than him, to nod the ball past Edwin van der Sar. The goal confirmed Messi as the top scorer in the competition that season and also set the seal on the first treble of the Guardiola era. The club would end a glorious year by completing a clean sweep of six trophies, the last of them secured by an extra-time Messi strike in the FIFA Club World Cup final against Estudiantes.

29 February 2012: La Pulga scores his first hat-trick for Argentina in a 3-1 friendly defeat of Switzerland, going some way to answering the fans who say he has yet to reproduce his Barcelona form for his country. In hailing his captain, Albiceleste coach Alejandro Sabella said: “To have him is a blessing.”

7 March 2012: “The throne belongs to him, and no one else but him will decide when he vacates it,” says Guardiola after Messi sinks Bayer Leverkusen with a five-goal salvo in the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie. “He’s the best there is. There’s no one else. I can count myself lucky to have been his coach.”
“If you’re a fan then obviously you’re amazed by what he’s done, but speaking as a coach I was hoping he’d have an off day,” commented Bayer coach Robin Dutt. “Barça are the best team in the world even without Messi, but with him they’re in a different galaxy.”

March 2012: And still the goals keep coming. For the last 57 years centre-forward Cesar Rodriguez has stood on his own at the top of Barcelona’s all-time goalscoring chart, having hit the back of the net 232 times for Los Azulgrana between 1939 and 1955. Along with Estanislao Basora, Laszlo Kubala, Moreno and Eduardo Manchon, he formed part of the legendary front line that fired Barça to five trophies in the 1951/52 season, a side known as El Barça de las Cinco Copas and immortalised in song by Joan Manuel Serrat.
But Messi was in the mood to break all the records. He scored Barcelona’s second against Granada on the 29th matchday in La Liga to draw level with Cesar on 232. The fans at the Nou Camp celebrated the goal as an image of Messi and Cesar appeared on the giant screen in the stadium. After Granada hauled the scores back to 2-2, Messi again came to the rescue and his elegant chip made it 3-2. He then went on to seal his hat-trick and set the new scoring standard for the club at 234.

Have your say                                                                                                      
Which magical Messi goal would you add to the list?

Pique: Messi is the best ever (FIFA Article)

Pique: Messi is the best ever

(FIFA Article)
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has described Lionel Messi as "the best player in the history of the sport" after the Argentinian set a new goalscoring record for the Catalan club in last night's 5-3 La Liga win over Granada at the Camp Nou.
Messi equalled the mark of 232 official goals set by Cesar Rodriguez during the 1940s and '50s when he slotted home Isaac Cuenca's cross in the 17th minute, and then secured the record outright in the 68th minute when he lobbed the ball over Granada goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
The 24-year-old completed his hat-trick - his eighth of the season for Barcelona - in the 86th minute after rounding Julio Cesar and slamming the ball into the roof of the net. The three-time FIFA World Player of the Year has scored 48 goals in 40 games for the Catalan giants this season.
While manager Pep Guardiola likened Messi to basketball's Michael Jordan, Pique claimed he has no equal in football. He told the club's official website: "It's a pleasure to be in the same generation as him. I believe he's the best player in the history of the sport.
It doesn't matter where he plays, if it's cold or hot, he always proves that he's the best.
Gerard Pique on Lionel Messi
"I've been lucky enough to be on the same team as him, I consider myself privileged. It doesn't matter where he plays, if it's cold or hot, he always proves that he's the best."
Barça goalkeeper Victor Valdes echoed Pique's sentiments, saying: "Messi will mark an era. He'll be the best ever."
Isaac Cuenca added: "Leo Messi is amazing, he's the best in the world and he proves it on a daily basis. For me, he's the best ever. It will take years to see someone else do something similar to what Messi does. We have to enjoy him and his plays."
Victory lifted Barça to within five points of leaders Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, although Jose Mourinho's side can restore their eight-point advantage with victory at struggling Villarreal tonight. Pique admits that while they are happy with their own performances, the club's title aspirations are out of their hands.
"The team is very motivated and we're on a good trajectory, with great football. At times we play at a high level and that reinforces us in the Liga and in other competitions. The Liga [title] is difficult to win and we don't depend on ourselves."

Heitinga: Spain are EURO favourites (FIFA Article)

Heitinga: Spain are EURO favourites

(FIFA Article)
John Heitinga’s showing at South Africa 2010 will probably best be remembered for the red card he received in the Final against Spain. Yet, it is unfair that the Dutch defender is synonymous with a moment of indiscipline.
The former Ajax and Atletico Madrid star has been outstanding for Everton this season in the heart of the defence alongside Sylvain Distin, with many tipping him for the club’s ‘Player of the Season’ award.
Heitinga’s displays for the Netherlands have also been imperious since the last FIFA World Cup. Barring injury, he will almost certainly be a part of Bert van Marwijk’s squad for UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine where he believes that the Oranje have the talent to go all the way. How do you think the Dutch team is set for the EUROs? You were very close at the FIFA World Cup 2010™.
John Heitinga: We’ve got the same team. Hopefully everybody will be fit and the squad will be the same. The most important thing is that the main players are there and fit. Then, we can beat all the other teams.
Do you think that, after Spain, the Netherlands are the team to beat?
Of course we are one of the favourites, but Spain is No1, Germany, I think, are No2 because a couple of months ago they beat us 3-0 in Hamburg. We’re doing well, especially in the last couple of years, and our team is still the same.
What do you make of the attacking talent that you have in the form of Dirk Kuyt, Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben?
If those players are on form, then it’s hard to stop them. The other seven in the side know what to do and play in our way, so that the top four can do what they want.
We are one of the favourites, but Spain is No1, Germany, I think, are No2 because a couple of months ago they beat us 3-0 in Hamburg.
John Heitinga, Netherlands defender.
Do you want to erase the memories of losing in the FIFA World Cup 2010 Final?
No we need to learn from that, I think it was a good experience. It was a big tournament and not many players have played in a World Cup final. It’s a lesson that we need to take with us to the Euros.
What do you think of your UEFA EURO 2012 group?
It’s unbelievable. We’ve been drawn with Denmark, Germany and Portugal. We need to win the first game against Denmark and if you can reach the quarter-final in this competition, you can go on to win the tournament.
In your last outing, you defeated England 3-2 at Wembley. You must have been pleased with the performance?
We are pleased with the win but we were not happy with the result. At 2-0, the game was over and then we gave two goals away and that is not how we normally play. In the end we got a good goal, scored by Arjen [Robben], and won. To win at Wembley you have to play well and I think for most of the time we were the better team.
Was it a lapse in concentration that caused England's fightback?
It wasn’t concentration. I think it was more that after the substitutions we were not sticking to our formation. I think the two goals were due to miscommunication. It was friendly game and we need to learn from it. When the EUROs start we can’t make the same mistakes because when it’s 2-0 with five minutes to play we need to keep the clean sheet and go away with a victory.
There’s been an upturn in form at your club team Everton since the New Year, what’s been behind it?
The most important thing is confidence. We started well in January, we beat West Brom away and we had a couple of good performances against Fulham in the FA Cup and then we also beat Manchester City and Chelsea. It’s important for us, and especially for the home fans that we win those games. In the past it didn’t matter who came to Goodison, most of the games were won at home. The first couple of months in the league were not our best and after January we started to play better and we’re getting some points now.
Are you enjoying the extended run at centre-half?
That is my best position. The manager and everybody else knows that centre-half is my best position and I think I’ve done well there in the last couple of matches for Everton.
Are you looking forward to a potential return to Wembley with Everton in the FA Cup?
Yeah, I can’t wait to play the quarter-final replay gainst Sunderland and hopefully we’ll win and then play here. It’s an unbelievable and beautiful stadium. A few years ago, Everton reached the final and played against Chelsea. Hopefully we can do it again.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Do you want to see the 234 goals of Messi in Barcelona?

Messi is Barca's new record goalscorer

Messi is Barca's new record goalscorer
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to become Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer on 234 goals in a 5-3 win over Granada on Tuesday which moved the champions to within five points of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.

LIGA BBVA: 20/03/2012 Results

Osasuna 0-0 Getafe, Barcelona 5-3 Granada (Messi 3)

Monday, March 19, 2012

The five-point European review (FIFA Article)

The five-point European review (FIFA Article)

This weekend all eyes turned to Turkey, where the Istanbul derby did not disappoint. In Germany, Bayern Munich continued to rack up the goals, while Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain again scored late to salvage a point. Real Madrid also had to content themselves with a draw, unlike Juventus, who got back to winning ways in Serie A, and Manchester United, who made light work of Wolverhampton Wanderers. rounds up all the big stories from an action-packed weekend of European football.

One match
Fenerbahce 2-2 Galatasaray, Matchday 31 in the Turkish Super Lig

The atmosphere was already electric as great Turkish rivals Fenerbahce and Galatasaray emerged into Sukru Saracoglu stadium on Saturday for a much-anticipated 369th Istanbul derby, and it was at fever pitch by the 18th minute, as the home side quickly built up a 2-0 lead via an acrobatic Moussa Sow volley and a stunning long-range Alex strike.

Gala were by no means out for the count in this intense encounter, and with both teams creating a host of chances, the visitors first pulled one back through Johan Elmander and then equalised courtesy of a late Hakan Balta drive.

This impressive comeback sees Galatasaray practically assured of finishing top of the table ahead of the play-off stage, newly introduced for this season. With just three matches of the first phase left to play, Aslanlar (The Lions) enjoy a nine-point lead in the standings and boast a superior goal difference over second-placed Fenerbahce.

Two teams
Having triumphantly returned to the English Premier League after a 28-year absence, Swansea City have consistently shown that they are not in the top flight to make up the numbers. Following their shock success over Manchester City last week, the Welsh side pulled off another remarkable victory at Fulham, scoring three times without reply and moving up the table into eighth place. England U-21 international Scott Sinclair appears to have found the ideal stage upon which to display his skills, while goalkeeper Michel Vorm has been one of the revelations of the season.

Despite having players of quality such as Marcell Jansen and Heiko Westermann at their disposal and changing their coach mid-season, Hamburg continue to stumble towards the dreaded relegation zone. Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at home to Freiburg will have done nothing to calm the nerves of Die Rothosen’s fans, who have now seen their side secure just one point in five matches. Thorsten Fink, handed the reins of the northern club in October 2011, will need to quickly find a way to reinvigorate his charges if they are to avoid playing second division football next year.

Three players
Gokhan Inler’s performances with Napoli are gradually marking him out as a player to watch. Following his goal in last week’s UEFA Champions League defeat at Chelsea, the Swiss midfielder’s tackling and presence against former club Udinese was a key factor in his side’s late comeback to snatch a point in a hotly contested 2-2 draw.

When Arjen Robben plays, he rarely disappoints. The Dutchman has played an active role in Bayern Munich recent goalfests, notching no fewer than seven goals in three matches. The excellent understanding the explosive winger enjoys with both Franck Ribery and Mario Gomez suggests that fans of the German giants will likely witness a few more resounding victories before the end of the season.

Juanfran, one of La Liga’s most impressive performers this season, has been enjoying something of an Indian summer at Levante. The defender’s career came full circle in 2010, when he returned to the club where his professional career had begun in 1994. An integral part of coach Juan Ignacio Martinez’s starting XI, the 35-year-old Spaniard again contributed towards Levante earning a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Villarreal this weekend.

Four stats
31 – While Real Madrid will clearly not have enjoyed conceding a late equaliser in their 1-1 home draw with Malaga, Jose Mourinho’s players nevertheless extended their unbeaten run at the Santiago Bernabeu to 31 matches.

20 – Bayern Munich have the look of an unstoppable force at the moment, and it does not appear as if there are many immovable objects lining up in their path. Jupp Heynckes’ men have scored a remarkable 20 goals in the last three matches.

5 – There is everything to play for as the title race tightens up in Austria, with just five points separating leaders Red Bull Salzburg from SV Ried, who lie fifth. The scoring charts are just as close; four players share top spot with nine goals.

1 – One defeat in nine games is the surprising series of results Catania have recently put together. The Sicilian outfit maintained their fine form by beating Lazio 1-0 on Sunday, and can now realistically hope to snatch a place in the UEFA Europa League, an achievement no onlooker would have expected at the start of the season.

Five memorable moments
Minnow miracle: In their first-ever season in the Bulgarian A PFG, promoted side Ludogorets are in the process of making quite a name for themselves. The Razgrad-based club easily saw off relegation-threatened Svetkavitsa 5-0 at the weekend, consolidating their historic table-topping position in the process.

Ruinous return: Vedad Ibisevic scored twice on his return to former club Hoffenheim, as Stuttgart ran out 2-1 winners in the Baden-Wurttemberg derby. The Bosnian, who left Hoffenheim for his current employers in the January transfer window, celebrated the opener with a little too much enthusiasm in the eyes of the home support, who made their displeasure heard. The striker may have received the general message, as his reaction after heading his team’s second goal into the net was considerably less demonstrative.

Leaders’ luck: An eye-catching stoppage-time leveller from Christophe Jallet saved Paris St Germain’s blushes, as they struggled to a 2-2 draw away to Caen. The former Lorient player burst into the box, controlled the ball on his chest and slammed the ball into the net on the volley. The club from the French capital have made something of a habit of last-gasp goals this season, as Dijon, Lyon and Montpellier have all found out to their cost in recent weeks.

All for Abidal: Barcelona recorded a solid win away to Sevilla on Saturday evening, a match in which Lionel Messi scored his 150th Liga goal. But these statistics were largely forgotten as thoughts turned to defender Eric Abidal, who will undergo a liver transplant in the coming weeks, and may have to call time on his career as a result. In honour of their French team-mate, Barça’s players wore t-shirts emblazoned with messages of support prior to the game.

Short but sweet: AC Milan talisman Gennaro Gattuso has, by all accounts, been anxious to get back to playing after being sidelined for six months with a serious eye problem. The Italy international only got out onto the pitch for a couple of minutes at the end of Milan’s 2-0 win at Parma, and team-mates and fans of the high-flying Rossoneri will be hopeful that his playing time increases as the weeks go by.

Cabañas: Football's giving me another chance (FIFA Article)

Cabañas: Football's giving me another chance (FIFA Article)

On 25 January 2010, the name of Salvador Cabanas dominated the world’s sporting headlines, yet for the most distressing of reasons. A star at Mexican giants Club America and widely expected to make Paraguay's squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the prolific striker was shot in the head following a disagreement in a bar.

Having survived that initial attack, El Chava has since undergone a whole series of operations, spells at rehab clinics and psychological therapy to get him where he is today: on the verge of returning to professional action in the colours of his former club, Paraguayan third-flight side 12 de Octubre.

While Cabanas continues to go through the final stages of the recovery process, with the player currently rating himself at “around 80 per cent”, the 31-year-old spoke to on a range of issues including his imminent return, his feelings towards Mexico and his desire to represent Paraguay at Brazil 2014. Salvador, first of all we’d like to congratulate you on your comeback. In doing so you’ve managed to inspire many people, and not just those in the game…
Salvador Cabanas: Thanks very much! To tell you the truth I feel very good and very happy. I’m just trying to do the right things to get myself back to 100 per cent and back on the pitch as quickly as possible. That’s what I want more than anything.

How often have you dreamed of this moment over the last two years?
So often and for such a long time. And it’s incredible to be ending up doing it at the club where I started my career. They’re giving me the opportunity to be here, they opened the doors to me so I could come and train and complete my recovery, and I couldn’t be more grateful to them.

How did your return to 12 de Octubre come about?
I’m good friends with the club’s president, which made agreeing to come here very simple. My team-mates are youngsters who, until not that long ago, used to watch me play. They tell me they’re excited [to have me here] and that they admire me, which really means a lot. Feeling like this will help me complete my recovery, so fingers crossed I can do that soon.
I have to be careful not to head balls that are hit very hard, because I’ve still got the bullet lodged in my head. That’s why I keep working towards my full recovery, as I want to be 100 per cent again.
Salvador Cabanas

Presumably, your new team’s goals revolve around promotion to the top flight, but what are your individual objectives?
That’s right, the goal of the club’s board and coaching staff is promotion to the Primera Division and of course that’s what I want too. I’m finding all of this really exciting. Football is my life and it’s giving me another chance. I’m feeling fine and achieving that feat would be a really big deal.

Your coach is none other than Rolando Chilavert, the brother of former Paraguay keeper Jose Luis. How important is it that you’ve already worked under Rolando during your previous spell at 12 de Octubre?
Very important. It’s good to be here with him at this time, as he’s someone who knows me so well. That’s why I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you, both to Rolando and his entire coaching staff, for giving me this chance.

Have you been given any specific medical advice with regard to playing professionally again?
I have to be careful not to head balls that are hit very hard, because I’ve still got the bullet lodged in my head. That’s why I keep working towards my full recovery, as I want to be 100 per cent again to be able to enjoy myself and give it everything I’ve got.

Not long ago you stated that one of your aims was to force your way back into Paraguay contention. Though we’re aware you have to take things step by step, could you see yourself being involved at Brazil 2014?
Yes, of course. Why not? It’s going to depend on me. The national team’s always on my mind and in my heart, and I’ll do everything in my power to be able to pull on those colours again. I must admit that I’ve not seen many of their matches recently, but I know the team’s doing really well. The coach [Francisco Arce] has a lot to do with that - he’s a great professional. The most important thing is that the lads work hard and give their all out on the pitch.

Have you been following the performances of the Albirroja strikers over the past two years? What’s your verdict on their displays?
Yes, of course. I know the players well but I wouldn’t like to pick out any individual over and above the others. If they’re in the national team it’s for a good reason, and you have to let them get on with their job in peace.

How would you describe the way you’ve recovered? Would ‘miraculous’ be going too far?
I’ve always been a believer, throughout my whole life. And this has given me proof, as very few people survive what happened to me. But here I am, still standing and with my family alongside me, which is the most important thing of all. Only those who’ve been through something like this know how much moments like this mean.

What have you learned from this experience? How has it changed you as a person?
What I’ve always done is enjoy time with my family, both with my wife and with my children, and I continue to live that way. But I would like to thank all the Paraguayans who prayed for me and for my recovery. As a footballer you give certain things to people, and now they’ve responded with their thoughts and prayers. That’s something very beautiful.

What kind of memories does Mexico stir for you now? Though that was where the unfortunate incident occurred, you also enjoyed a lot of success there didn’t you?
I’ve got really great memories. I spent a long time there and I experienced some wonderful things. Jaguares opened so many doors for me and then came my time at America, a club which gave me everything. Not to mention all the friends I made there. I’ve only got the very best memories of Mexico.

Would you play there again if the chance arose?
Of course, I’d love to! I’m going to put in all the effort needed to complete my recovery and achieve as many objectives as possible. I was fortunate enough to be the subject of a tribute at America recently, where I was able to look back at some marvellous moments and be among friends. So there’s not much more I can add on the subject, just that I’ll be eternally grateful to America.

One final question, when you score your first competitive goal at 12 de Octubre, who will you dedicate it too?
My first goal will be for my parents, my wife, my children and for [Libertad president] Horacio Cartes, a man I have huge appreciation for. To be honest though, I’ve still not really imagined how that goal might be, but one thing is for certain: once I’ve made my debut, the goals will soon start to flow.

ASIAN LEAGUES:New sensations and shock results (FIFA Article)

ASIAN LEAGUES: New sensations and shock results (FIFA Article)

The early season upsets continued in Japan, China PR and Korea Republic, where a host of new names continued to hit the headlines. It is a different story in Australia, however, where familiar faces are pushing for glory at the business end of the campaign.’s weekly review of Asian football also looks at goalscoring excellence in Saudi Arabia, while the new season is underway in Thailand.

Japan’s J.League: Early gridlock at the summit
Four clubs have a perfect record after two rounds of matches, with Vegalta Sendai narrowly heading the pack on goal difference. Sentimental favourites after the area suffered heavily in last year’s earthquake and tsunami, Vegalta are yet to concede a goal following their 2-0 win at Yokohama F Marinos. Also with 100 per cent records are surprise packets Vissel Kobe and Kawasaki Frontale. Vissel came from behind to beat Consadole Sapporo 2-1, with Gakuto Kondo and Ken Tokura netting for a comeback win. Renato scored the only goal on 45 minutes as Kawasaki won 1-0 at seven-time champions Kashima Antlers.

Big game: Rounding out the leading quartet are FC Tokyo, whose bid to emulate Kashiwa Reysol and win the title in their first season following promotion, continues to build momentum. The capital club maintained their perfect start with a 3-2 win against 2010 champions Nagoya Grampus as Naohiro Ishikawa bagged a double.
Headline-grabber: In contrast to Tokyo’s start to the season, Reysol’s title defence has begun poorly, with the champions winless after two rounds. Ranko Despotovic created the headlines with the only goal of the game to lift last season’s strugglers, Urawa Red Diamonds, to a win over the Sun Kings.

Australia’s A-League: All up for grabs
The penultimate round left much to play for on the final week of the regular season, with top spot yet to be secured and the remaining play-off berth still open. Central Coast Mariners maintained their grip at the summit with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Adelaide United, although champions Brisbane Roar maintained the pressure with a 2-1 victory at Newcastle Jets confirmed thanks only to a Mitch Nichols penalty four minutes from the end. Two points off the pace, but with the best goal difference in the league, the Roar can secure first place with a win against bottom side Gold Coast United, provided the Mariners fail to take all three points at Wellington Phoenix next weekend. At the other end of the ladder, Gold Coast snapped a 13-match winless run with a stunning 3-0 victory against ten-man Perth Glory.

Big game: Having failed to find the target all season, Sydney FC fullback Shannon Cole was the unlikely hero as his second-half double lifted the Sky Blues from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 at Melbourne Heart. Sydney meet Newcastle Jets next weekend with a place in the finals on offer to the victors, while the point proved enough for John van’t Schip’s Heart to book their maiden play-off appearance.
Headline-grabber: Besart Berisha’s 19th goal of the season equalled Shane Smeltz’ league record tally, with the Albanian nabbing a trademark poacher's effort to help Brisbane Roar to three crucial points.

Korea Republic’s K-League: Duo remain perfect on top
Suwon Bluewings and Ulsan Horangi kept up the momentum with their third consecutive victories, both secured by a 3-0 margin at home to Gangwon and Seongnam Chunma. Traditional elite Jeonbuk Motors and Pohang Steelers were held at home by Chunnam Dragons and Busan I’Park respectively. FC Seoul climbed to third place after a 2-0 win against Daejeon Citizen with Mauricio Molina twice on target, but a brace from Bae Il-Hwan was not enough for Jeju United to avoid a 3-2 defeat at Gwangju. Elsewhere, Sangju Sangmu beat Gyeongnam by the same scoreline to claim their first win of the season.
Big game: Gwangju got off to a perfect start against Jeju with Kim Dong-Sub putting his side ahead after just two minutes, before the visitors fought back through Bae Il-Hwan’s double. However, Joao Paulo restored parity from the spot with only three minutes remaining, and the scorer then turned provider for a dramatic Adriano Chuva injury-time winner.
Headline-grabber: Ulsan Horangi forward Lee Keun-Ho hit the first hat-trick of his career, scoring one with his right foot and another with his left, before a header sealed a perfect treble and a 3-0 win over Seongnam.

China PR's Super League: New boys send early warning
Newly-promoted Guangzhou R&F produced the biggest upset to date in the fledging campaign with a 2-0 shock win against city rivals and defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande. The result leaves them as the only side with a 100 per cent record and sitting atop the 16-strong standings, two points clear of second-placed Jiangsu Sainty, who thrashed Takeshi Okada's Hangzhou Greentown 3-0 at home.

Big game: Nicolas Anelka’s debut ensured the China Derby between Beijing Guoan and Shanghai Shenhua soaked up even more spotlight than normal. The Frenchman scored on his much-anticipated C-League bow, but still ended up on the losing side as former Shanghai forward Mao Jianqing came off the bench to score the match-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over his old club.
Headline-grabber: Having guided K-League giants Pohang Steelers to the Asian crown in 2009, Brazilian Sergio Farias has quickly moulded C-League new boys Guangzhou R&F into a formidable force. Their derby win against last season’s champions was preceded by an equally impressive 3-1 victory against Beijing Guoan.

In Saudi Arabia, Brazilian striker Victor Simoes continued his impressive goalscoring form for Al Ahli in their 4-3 home win against Hajr, to help keep his side in touch with Saudi Arabia leaders Al Shabab, who edged out Al Fath. The goal, his 19th from 22 appearances this season, cemented the former Flamengo forward's place at the top of the league's scoring chart, two clear of Al Shabab marksman Nassir Al Shamrani.

Chonburi are the early pace-setters after the Thailand season kicked off on Saturday. A 4-0 win over Thai Port left the former champions narrowly ahead of a host of teams on goal difference. Sitting second are last season’s runaway winners Buriram PEA, who eased past Chiangrai United 3-1

Sunday, March 18, 2012

IL CALCIO: Results & Standings

IL CALCIO: Results & Standings
Parma 0-2 Milan, Fiorentina 0-5 Juventus, Cagliari 3-0 Cesena,
Catania 1-0 Lazio, Lecce 1-1 Palermo, Udinese 2-2 Napoli,
Bologna 2-2 Chievo, Inter 0-0 Atalanta, Siena 0-2 Novara
Monday: Roma - Genoa

Milan 60, Juventus 56, Lazio 48, Napoli 47, Udinese 47

LIGA BBVA: Results, Standings & Topscorers

LIGA BBVA: Results, Standings & Topscorers
Granada 2-1 Sporting, Zaragoza 1-1 Osasuna, Getafe 1-0 R. Sociedad
Sevilla 0-2 Barcelona, Rayo 3-0 Betis, Levante 1-0 Villarreal,
Mallorca 2-1 Atlético, Athletic 0-3 Valencia, R. Madrid 1-1 Málaga
Monday: Espanyol - Racing

Real Madrid 71, Barcelona 63, Valencia 47, Levante 41, Malaga 41, Osasuna 39

Cristiano 32 (penalties 10), Messi 30 (penalties 3), Higuain 17, Falcao 16 (5 penalt)

Coyle: Crucial 24 hours for 'critically ill' Muamba (FIFA Article)

Coyle: Crucial 24 hours for 'critically ill' Muamba

Fabrice Muamba will remain in intensive care for at least the next 24 hours after the Bolton Wanderers midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest during yesterday's FA Cup tie at Tottenham Hotspur.
In a joint statement released this morning, the London Chest Hospital and the club said that Muamba's heart did start working again after he was carried from the pitch on a stretcher. However, the 23-year-old remains in a critical condition.
Latest statement
"Fabrice Muamba remains in a critical condition in intensive care in the Heart Attack Centre at the London Chest Hospital," said the statement.
"He was admitted to the hospital yesterday evening after collapsing at White Hart Lane, where he sustained a cardiac arrest during the FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham. Fabrice received prolonged resuscitation at the ground and on route to the London Chest Hospital, where his heart eventually started working.
"As is normal practice, Fabrice remains anaesthetised in intensive care and will be for at least 24 hours. His condition continues to be closely monitored by cardiac specialists at the hospital." Muamba's family visited the former England Under-21 international today.
Muamba was rushed to hospital last night after he collapsed near the end of the first half of his side's FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham. Manager Owen Coyle, chairman Phil Gartside and club captain Kevin Davies were among those who accompanied Muamba to hospital.
Coyle offered an update on the player's progress yesterday evening. "Fabrice is critically ill. The next 24 hours are going to be absolutely crucial."
He continued: "We've obviously been inundated with people wishing him well and we hope that if everybody can pray strongly tonight that Fabrice is able to recover. It's very serious. There's no getting away from that. He's critically ill and God willing he makes it through."
It's very serious. There's no getting away from that. He's critically ill and God willing he makes it through.
Owen Coyle on Fabrice Muamba
The club last night released a statement which read: "Bolton Wanderers can confirm that Fabrice Muamba has been admitted to the heart attack centre at London Chest hospital where he is currently in a critically ill condition in intensive care.
"No further information will be issued at this stage. The club has requested the media to respect his family's privacy at this time."
Muamba, who is a father of one, underwent six minutes of treatment amid worrying scenes at White Hart Lane. He was wearing an oxygen mask and was then rushed to the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green in east London. Referee Howard Webb abandoned the match.
Both sets of fans sang Muamba's name as he lay on the pitch at the north London ground. The announcement that the game had been called off was greeted with a round of applause from both ends.
Tottenham released a statement following the incident that read: "Tottenham can confirm that Fabrice Muamba has been taken to hospital following his collapse on the pitch during the match at White Hart Lane this evening. The match was immediately abandoned. Everyone at the club sends their best wishes to Fabrice and his family."
Praise for medical staff
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore sent his organisation's best wishes to Muamba and his family, as well as paying tribute to the medical staff at the ground.
He said: "The thoughts of the Premier League, its clubs and players are with Fabrice Muamba, his family and Bolton Wanderers. We would like to praise the players, match officials, coaching staff and medical teams of both clubs at White Hart Lane for their swift actions in attending Fabrice.
"The League would also like to commend the compassion shown by the fans of Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur. We hope to hear positive news about Fabrice, who is and has been a wonderful ambassador for the English game and the League at Arsenal, Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers."
Football Association chairman David Bernstein said: "On behalf of The FA, I would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Fabrice Muamba and his family this evening. Fabrice has played 33 times for England U-21s, captaining Stuart Pearce's side during this time and is a player, and more importantly, a person we care greatly for."
Muamba broke into the Premier League with Birmingham City, and the club offered their support for the midfielder this morning. "The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Fabrice and his family," a club spokesman said. “He was a very popular member of the club during his time here and everyone at St Andrew's is shocked and saddened to see what happened yesterday."

IL CALCIO: 17-03-2012

Parma 0-2 Milan, Fiorentina 0-5 Juventus, Cagliari 3-0 Cesena

Premier League: 18-03-2012

Fulham 0-3 Swansea, Wigan 1-1 West Brom
Wolverhampton 0-5 Manchester United

Friday, March 16, 2012


Atlético Madrid - Hannover 96
AZ Alkmaar - Valencia
Sporting Lisboa - Metalist
Schalke 04 - Athletic Bilbao

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Real Madrid and Barcelona keep apart in draw.

O. Marsella - Bayern Munich
Apoel - Real Madrid
Benfica - Chelsea
Milan - Barcelona

Thursday, March 15, 2012

UEFA League: Round of 16 Results

Manchester City 3-2 Sp. Lisboa (Sp. Lisboa 3-3 Manchester City)
Schalke 04 4-1 Twente (Twente 2-4 Schalke 04)
Besitkas 0-3 Atlético Madrid (Atlético 6-1 Besiktas)
Olympiacos 1-2 Metalist (Metalist 2-2 Olympiacos)
Atletic Bilbao 2-1 Manchester United (Athletic 5-3 Manchester U.)
Hanover 96 4-0 Standar Lieja (Standard Lieja 2-6 Hanóver 96)
PSV 1-1 Valencia (Valencia 5-3 PSV)
Udinese 2-1 AZ Alkmaar (AZ Alkmaar 3-2 Udinese)

S. Lisboa, Schalke 04, Atlético Madrid, Metalist, Athletic Bilbao,
Hanover 96, Valencia and AZ Alkmaar advance to quarter-finals.

Abidal to have liver transplant (FIFA Article)

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal is to undergo a liver transplant, the club have confirmed.

The France international had liver surgery a year ago after being diagnosed with a tumour.

The club statement said: "Given the development of his medical condition, Abidal will undergo a liver transplant in the following weeks. The transplant is an option that has been considered since the beginning of his treatment, one year ago.

"At the express wish of the player, the club requested the utmost respect for the right to privacy and confidentiality."
The transplant is an option that has been considered since the beginning of his treatment, one year ago.
Barcelona club statement.

Barcelona did not give any indication of for how long Abidal would be out of action.

The 32-year-old underwent surgery last March but returned to play in Barcelona's UEFA Champions League final win over Manchester United, and has been a first-team regular this season.

He has started 20 Primera Division games this term, although he has not played since suffering a hip injury playing for France in their friendly win over Germany at the start of the month.

UEFA League: Round of 16

Manchester City - Sp. Lisboa   (Sp. Lisboa 1-0 Manchester City)
Schalke 04 - Twente (Twente 1-0 Schalke 04)
Besitkas - Atlético Madrid (Atlético 3-1 Besiktas)
Olympiacos - Metalist (Metalist 0-1 Olympiacos)
Atletic Bilbao - Manchester United (Athletic 3-2 Manchester U.)
Hanover 96 - Standar Lieja (Standard Lieja     2-2 Hanóver 96)
PSV - Valencia (Valencia 4-2 PSV)
Udinese - AZ Alkmaar (AZ Alkmaar 2-0 Udinese)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Champions League:

Real Madrid 4-1 CSKA Moscow (CSKA Moscow 2-5 Real Madrid)
Chelsea 4-1 Napoli a.e.t. (Napoli 3-4 Chelsea)

Real Madrid and Chelsea advance to quarter-finals

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Champions League: 13-03-2012

Inter 2-1 O. Marsella (O. Marsella 2-2 Inter)
Bayern Munich 7-0 Basilea (Basilea 1-7 Bayern Munich)

O. Marsella & Bayern Munich advance to quarter-finals.

FIFA acknowledges Teixeira resignation

FIFA has taken note of the official confirmation received in writing last night from the CBF and the LOC of Ricardo Terra Teixeira’s resignation from his functions as chairman of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Organising Committee (LOC) and president of the Brazilian Football Association (CBF).

The CBF and the LOC have also officially confirmed to FIFA that Jose Maria Marin will be the successor of Ricardo Teixeira in those two positions.

At the time of writing, Ricardo Terra Teixeira remains a FIFA Executive Committee member. FIFA has not received any official communication from Teixeira or from CONMEBOL regarding this position.

It is worth recalling that Ricardo Teixeira has been elected to the FIFA Executive Committee by CONMEBOL (for the first time in 1994).

Shakira: I can’t get away from football! (FIFA article)

If you were to carry out a poll of the most famous faces in the world today, there can be little doubt that Colombian singer Shakira would feature near the very top of the list. A veritable pop music phenomenon, able to perform in both English and Spanish, she has enjoyed success on every continent and has a fan base that runs into the millions.

What is more, the artist has now become inextricably linked the beautiful game. In addition to performing at the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups™, she has been involved in a host of football-related social welfare projects and her current partner is Spain and Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique. Speaking on all these subjects and more, Shakira gave an exclusive interview to Shakira, how did you first start getting involved in football?
Shakira: In 2006 I was asked to sing at the World Cup in Germany, and in 2010 I was fortunate enough to be asked again. There I had one of the most unforgettable times of my life: the World Cup in South Africa gave me so much on both a personal and professional level. That was how I started to really get involved in football after realising, through those World Cups, the importance and impact this sport has on the lives of billions of people every day, on the dreams of the young people and children who devote so many hours of their lives to playing the game, and the passion it stirs in so many people across the entire globe.

What has had the biggest impact on you during this period?
The level of cultural exchange that happens via events like the World Cup, where people share so much, are brought closer together and become more united. All of this is a social phenomenon which really interests me, while I was also pleasantly surprised by the social work carried out by FIFA through its One Goal campaign, which I was able to be a part of. As a result, this all came together to make the experience even richer for me, because working from that basis we were able to promote the issue of education, which is one of my biggest interests. And now of course football’s a central issue for me at home (laughs). I get the impression that football follows me everywhere and I can’t get away from it!
I’m better suited to singing songs that get the fans going. Gerard’s tried passing the ball to me a few times, but I can’t say I’m any good!
Shakira on whether she's ever played football

Football is very popular in Colombia, so are your family fans?
My brothers are, but my father’s never been that keen. But of course now his daughter’s going out with a player it’s got him interested - I think he’s even learnt the offside rule! The thing is, my dad’s always been more of a bookworm, he was interested in more intellectual pursuits, but nobody can escape the passion that football stirs. There are a lot of people who weren’t interested before who’ve ended up catching the bug.

Like your good self, for example…
What happens is once you start to understand football you realise that it’s not just about the physical side of the game and chasing after a ball. It’s a strategic sport which requires a lot of intelligence. It’s a very mental game.

Are you able to sit through a full match?
Yes, of course!

Even when Pique is not involved?
Erm (laughs)… yes, yes. I’ve watched the odd game to try and learn more and because I’m very curious. And also to see how the other teams are doing, but I always watch the games he plays in.

Can it be tricky going out with a footballer, given all the training, games and travelling involved?
It can’t be easy having a performer as a partner either! (laughs). The truth is that I understand that it’s a very difficult profession, which requires dedication, commitment, discipline and teamwork, which is very different to what I do. I don’t have to answer to anyone except myself, but a footballer is like a soldier and has to bear huge responsibility both on and off the pitch. So, it’s been down to me to understand that and support Gerard whenever he needs it.

Have you ever tried playing the game?
I’m better suited to singing songs that get the fans going. Gerard’s tried passing the ball to me a few times, but I can’t say I’m any good!

You’ve already appeared at two FIFA World Cups and the next one is in Brazil. Are you excited about the possibly of being at the competition in South America?
Of course! Brazil is a country I hold very dearly. I’ve got followers there who I’ve been interacting with for years, as well as fellow artists like Ivete Sangalo, and it also has huge figures like Pele. I’d love to go to that World Cup, I’m not sure in what capacity, but I’ll definitely be there. I know that nobody wants to miss it, least of all me.

Finally, can you tell us a little about your football-related social projects?
I’m convinced that promoting sport is an intelligent way of educating our children. In fact, through FC Barcelona and my own Pies Descalzos foundation we have put programmes into place aimed at getting more sport into schools, some of which we have built in highly vulnerable areas where children live in conditions of extreme poverty. Also, with FIFA, we carried out the One Goal campaign and through sales of Waka Waka we raised funds for 20 Centres [for 2010] as part of this initiative. I enjoy taking part in footballing events that are for social causes because, in my view, inspiring children through sport is a way of keeping their bodies and minds healthy, as well as helping nurture their intelligence and ability to relate with others.

Champions League: 13-14/03/2012

Champions League:
13-03-2012:   Inter - O. Marsella (O. Marsella 1-0 Inter)
                     Bayern Munich - Basilea (Basilea 1-0 Bayern Munich)
14-03-2012:   Real Madrid - CSKA Moscow (CSKA Moscow 1-1 Real Madrid)
                     Chelsea - Napoli (Napoli 3-1 Chelsea)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mancini: Title race will go to wire (FIFA article)

Mancini: Title race will go to wire

Roberto Mancini insists Manchester City will take the Premier League title race down to the wire after his side surrendered top spot to Manchester United in a shock 1-0 defeat against Swansea.
Mancini's men gave a lacklustre performance at the Liberty Stadium and were punished by substitute Luke Moore's 83rd minute winner for the Swans. With United cruising to a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion, City were pushed off pole position by their bitter rivals for the first time since October.
Despite a frustrating afternoon in south Wales, at the end of a week which also featured a 1-0 UEFA Europa League loss to Sporting Lisbon, Mancini remains confident City are still in the right frame of mind to take the title fight to the final weeks.
"We shall fight against them until the end. We have another 10 games to finish this championship," he said. "The season is long and the situation changes every week. It is important that we stay together. But this result changes nothing.
"It is better to stay at the top, of course, but we are now a point behind. It does not change our target. I don't see it as a critical game. I think this championship will be decided with two games to go."
I don't see it as a critical game. I think this championship will be decided with two games to go.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini
Mancini admitted Swansea had given his side a tough time, with Joe Hart saving an early penalty from Scott Sinclair, but he was disappointed City were unable to convert any of their own chances.
"It has been a difficult last four days for me. But I don't think we deserved to lose the game," Mancini said. "Swansea played very well for the first 30 minutes, they played very good football.
"After that, in the second half we had control of the game, but we missed three or four chances and that is the problem we have at the moment. After that we conceded a stupid goal. We cannot concede goals like this. We could be tired because after seven months, when you play three games in one week, it is difficult."
Mancini hauled off Gareth Barry after 36 minutes but claimed that his decision was based on a mystery injury rather than his performance. "Gareth has had a problem for three weeks. They had a lot of possession for 30 minutes and we needed another striker," Mancini said.
"It is not because he played bad. He has had a problem but I don't know where. I know it is not a big injury."
Swans sail along
Meanwhile, Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers was left to salute his side's latest impressive showing in their first season back in the top flight. "Over the course of the game some of our passing and ball retention and movement was phenomenal," he said.
"We got one goal but we also missed a penalty too. We could have had one or two more and I think the players deserve every credit they get for the tactical and technical ability of their game.
"There have been some wonderful results over many years at this great club but certainly it was a terrific performance. When you take on a team like Manchester City, with all the resources they have got, and you dominate the game like we did, it fills you with great pride.
"As a manager I am still learning and always will be. I have the L plates on! But I thought it was a defining moment when we played them up there at the start of the season. I congratulated the players afterwards although we had just been beaten 4-0. For an hour of that game they showed that we can play our style and technical game and even hurt the biggest opponents.
"We just needed to continue with that and mature as the season went on. I think we have achieved that and this confirms that."

AFRICA: Leaders look over their shoulders (FIFA article)

Leaders look over their shoulders

The league campaigns in Cameroon, Nigeria and Tunisia are still in their early stages, but the race in Ghana is becoming a one-sided affair after Asante Kotoko’s lead was extended.
Nigeria Premier League: Enyimba find away win
Former African champions Enyimba’s away win over Heartland FC left them just one point off leaders Enugu Rangers, who were held to a draw at struggling Niger Tornadoes. Rangers have 23 points after their first 12 games of a 38-match schedule, while defending champions Dolphin FC stay joint-third with Kano Pillars on 19 points.
Big game: Enyimba came from behind to beat Heartland in an action-filled thriller in Enugu. Kabiru Umar gave the home side a seventh-minute lead, but Enyimba replied with goals from Chinososo Okonkwo and Ndude Anajemba. After half-time, Henry Uche netted a third goal to set Enyimba on their way to their first away triumph of the season.
Headline-grabbers: A stunning long-range free-kick from Ejike Uzoenyi continued to build upon the international winger's fast-growing reputation at Enugu Rangers. Uzoenyi made his Super Eagles debut last month at the start of the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and despite Nigeria’s draw in Rwanda came away with widespread plaudits.
Tunisia Ligue 1: Bizerte stay unbeaten
CA Bizertin maintained their unbeaten start to the season and a four-point lead at the top of the table, but they will now surely be feeling the breath of African champions Esperance behind them. Both clubs were winners at the weekend, and Esperance are four points behind in second place but with a match in hand. AS Marsa also have 22 following with a surprise 1-0 away win over Etoile Sahel, who stay fourth.
Big game: Etoile Sahel had been keeping early pace with Bizertin but are now nine points off the pace after losing for a second team inside a week. After a midweek loss to Esperance, unbeaten Marsa beat them in Sousse with a penalty just after the hour mark from Bilel Ben Messaoud. It means that new German coach Bernd Krauss has lost two of his first three games in charge of Etoile.
Headline-grabbers: Cameroon striker Yannick Ndjeng scored twice in as many minutes to lift Esperance to a 3-1 win over Olympique Beja at the El Menzah Stadium. He also went top of the league’s goal scoring charts with eight goals, and joins club-mate Youssef Msakni as one of the top candidates to depart the club for a European side once the season is completed.
Ghana Premier League: Kotoko now lead by nine
Asante Kotoko’s run at the title garnered further momentum as they extended to seven games their unbeaten run and to nine points their lead at the top of the standings. Hearts of Oak slipped back further after being held to a goalless draw at home by Team Youth. Third-placed Berekum Chelsea are now 11 points behind in the race to defend their title after losing to Heart of Lions.
Big game: Asante Kotoko's last league loss came in December against Wa All Stars, but they exacted revenge for that defear with a comfortable 2-0 win in Kumasi at the weekend. Ben Acheampong scored the opening goal for Kotoko after 16 minutes and new signing Prince Baffoe added a second on debut after the break.
Headline-grabbers: Emmanuel Baffour’s latest goal came from the penalty spot but the New Edubiase striker has now netted 15 times in the league this season, which means he leads the scoring chart by seven goals from his nearest challenger. Baffour was among the scorers as his club came from two goals down to draw at home to Liberty Professionals in Bekwai.
Cameroon Elite One: Leopards leap into lead
It might still be the early stages of the season, but there is a familiar feel to the campaign already as Coton Sport lead by one point over Unisport Bafang after making an unbeaten start in their first eight games. The Garoua outfit, who have won eight of the last nine championships, have 18 points to Unisport’s 17.
Big game: Coton Sport beat Astres Douala 2-0 to record their fourth win from the latest five matches. It ended a run of three wins in four games for the side from Douala and emphasised the strength of the defending champions.
Headline-grabbers: The only club to break the stranglehold on the championship by Coton Sport in the last decade have been Tiko United. They were champions in 2009 but three seasons later now find themselves in last place in the standings. Tiko have not won a single game this season and have just three points from their first eight games, losing their latest match to Unisport Bafang.
A come-from-behind win over Muhoroni Youth has put AFC Leopards into the lead in Kenya.
Zambia’s Premier League will kick off on 24 March, but champions Power Dynamos will not play on the opening weekend because of CAF Champions League commitments.
The remainder of Egypt's league season has been cancelled due to the Port Said stadium tragedy.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Il Clacio: Risultati & Classifiche

Il Clacio: Risultati & Classifiche
Nápoles 6-3 Cagliari, Chievo 0-2 Inter, Palermo 0-1 Roma
Catania 1-0 Fiorentina, Génova 0-0 Juventus, Milan 2-0 Lecce
Atalanta 1-1 Parma, Cesena 0-2 Siena, Lazio 1-3 Bologna
Novara Calcio 1-0 Udinese

Milan 57, Juventus 53, Lazio 48, Napoli 46, Udinese 46

Premier League: Results & Standings

Bolton 2-1 Queens Park, Wolverhampton 0-2 Blackburn Rovers
Aston Villa 1-0 Fulham, Sunderland - Liverpool
Chelsea 1-0 Stoke City, Everton 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Swansea 1-0 Manchester City, Manchester United 2-0 West Brom
Norwich City 1-1 Wigan Athletic FC

Manchester United 67, Manchester City 66, Tottenham 53, Arsenal 49, Chelsea 49

LIGA BBVA: Results, Standings & Topscorers

R. Sociedad 3-0 Zaragoza, Málaga 1-0 Levante
Sporting 1-0 Sevilla, Betis 2-3 R. Madrid
Espanyol 5-1 Rayo, Atlético 2-0 Granada, Valencia 2-2 Mallorca
Racing 0-2 Barcelona (Messi 2), Osasuna 2-1 Athletic

Real Madrid 70, Barcelona 60, Valencia 44, Malaga 40, Levante 38, Osasuna 38
Cristiano 32, Messi 30, Higuaín 17, Falcao 16, Benzema 13

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Premier League: 10/03/2012 Results

Bolton 2-1 Queens Park, Wolverhampton 0-2 Blackburn Rovers
Aston Villa 1-0 Fulham, Sunderland - Liverpool
Chelsea 1-0 Stoke City, Everton 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur

2014 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION: ASIA (Fourth Stage & Schedule)

Group A: South Korea, Iran, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Lebanon
Group B: Australia, Japan, Iraq, Jordan, Oman

The matches are currently scheduled to take place between 3 June 2012 and 18 June 2013. For all the information regarding the AFC Schedule, please, visit:

Friday, March 9, 2012


Group A: South Korea, Iran, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Lebanon
Group B: Australia, Japan, Iraq, Jordan, Oman

Il Clacio: 09-03-2012

Nápoles 6-3 Cagliari, Chievo 0-2 Inter

Il Clacio: 09-10-11/03/2012

Nápoles - Cagliari, Chievo - Inter
Palermo - Roma
Catania - Fiorentina, Génova - Juventus, Milan - Lecce
Atalanta - Parma, Cesena - Siena, Lazio - Bologna
Novara Calcio -     Udinese

Premier League: 10-11-12/03/2012

Bolton - Queens Park,    Wolverhampton - Blackburn Rovers
Aston Villa - Fulham, Sunderland - Liverpool
Chelsea - Stoke City, Everton - Tottenham Hotspur
Swansea - Manchester City, Manchester United - West Brom
Norwich City - Wigan Athletic FC
Arsenal - Newcastle United

LIGA BBVA: 08-09-10/03/2012

LIGA BBVA: 08-09-10/03/2012
R. Sociedad - Zaragoza, Málaga - Levante
Sporting - Sevilla, Betis - R. Madrid
Espanyol - Rayo, Atlético - Granada, Valencia - Mallorca
Racing - Barcelona, Osasuna - Athletic
Villarreal - Getafe