Monday, April 28, 2008
Casillas And Super-Subs See Off Athletic
Real Madrid 3 - 0 Athletic Bilbao
Real Madrid may have been unable to win the title this weekend, but they celebrated taking a step closer with victory over a brave Athletic Bilbao side in the Bernabéu.
It was all set up for Los Merengues to retain the championships and the home fans and players were hoping that they would be enjoying a party after the game, but Villarreal's win at Real Betis denied them.
Instead, they had to make do with a game that was very even for so long, but in the end goals from Javier Saviola, Arjen Robben and Gonzalo Higuaín and some fine goalkeeping from Iker Casillas saw Madrid to victory.
Saviola was out to prove that he should stay at the club next season, amid talk that he could be on his way out after just one season, and he did just that with a strong performance and a goal to impress Bernd Schuster.
At the other end Casillas was outstanding and showed why he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world with another game littered with fine saves including a penalty stop to deny Athletic from drawing level.
For Athletic there was also big news as Carlos Gurpegui made his first appearance for the club for two years at the end of a saga that began when he failed a random drugs test in 2002.
Madrid opened very brightly, but there were chances at both ends early on, but it was not until the 13th minute that the pressure told. Robinho took aim from the angle of the area only for Armando to fumble the ball and gift Saviola the opening goal.
The home side failed to continue their early domination, however, because instead of continuing to go forward they took their foot off the pedal and sat back to play on the break. It was a strange decision and could have proved costly had Athletic been more effective up front of Casillas been off form.
After holding out, Madrid did then create two chances on one of their forward thrusts with Robinho seeing his drive tipped wide by Armando and Sergio Ramos nodding over from the resulting corner.
Casillas then made his first incredible stop of the evening when he dived full stretch to tip the ball over from underneath the bar when Joseba Etxeberria looked to have nodded the visitors level.
The keeper then kept out Garmencdia following a well-worked free-kick and the Athletic defender would be denied again in more controversial circumstances. Nine minutes before the break the referee felt that Gabriel Heinze had pushed Llorente in the area and pointed to the spot.
It was a debatable decision, but Heinze took his eyes off the ball and looked at Llorente before turning his shoulder into the Athletic player. Any qualms that Madrid had were forgotten when Casillas dived to his right to tip Armendia's shot back in the opposite direction and over the bar.
After retreating for so long, Madrid finally came back into the game strongly in the last five or ten minutes of the half and looked to continue that form after the break. Instead the game evened out again and both teams had good chances to score with Carlos Gurpegui going close for Athletic and Guti sliding a shot wide of the post.
The game was over as a contest after Raúl went off and Robbem, his replacement, netted within a minute of coming on when he met a low cross from the right to beat Armando from close range with 74 minutes on the clock. Within three minutes Madrid had rounded off their win after Higuaín, another substitute, latched onto a loose back pass and curled the ball inside the near post.
Madrid's fans still cheered the fact that the championship is tantalisingly close, but the actual party was put on hold and the may not have the post-match celebrations they dream of with the next match being at Osasuna.
Ian Dixon, Goal.com
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
i know it's a bit too late to post this news, but i don't mind at all as long as i have the courage to discuss it. LA Galaxy lost for the 2nd time in their opening season. this time toronto skinned LA Galaxy sensitive surface with 3-2 score line. i dunno what those words mean but they don't sound too good for me...im kidding, people. but from what i read, i understood deeply that becks was the one who kept his chin up and ready to move on. becks experience and strong will have kept him away from the shadow of sadness. thats what captain does; he will speak the truth of his team current state but never play down any chances to win no matter how grave their situation is. i hope william gallas, the arsenal captain, can learn something from this man. becks had been in the worst situation before and that perhaps 100 football players have never dreamt of having. his bitter sent off in WC 98 made him tougher than he looks; and that is also why, i presume, sven goran eriksson refused to back off from his decision to keep him as captain. if capello is looking for a man who can lead by example, i believe becks is the man. well, you can say I'm a daydreamer but im not the only one.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
ive read articles from various blogs and found that i was right. arsenal have always been in the wrong side of the field. having been turned down a clear penalty claim last wednesday, arsenal were cruelly punished by the referee by giving liverpool a bogus penalty. this is completely absurd for someone like vink, an experienced referee, to have missed seeing a fatal marking from dirk kuyt. unfair as it may seem, we cant do anything except pick ourselves up and win the next match. unfortunately, i wont be able to watch the game live on tv but i do hope i'll get to see it few hours after the game. it will be a tough game for arsenal as they will go against man utd, the league leaders. but we can only be hopeful and wishing that God will hear my pray. a win can definitely bring arsenal closer to man utd and chelsea, the runner up. keep praying...and to her, there wont be any forgiveness if you arent asking. God please pardon my harsh words...
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
After a two-year absence from Major League Soccer, the Earthquakes returned to the pitch against the Galaxy - the team they last played in the 2005 Western Conference semifinals before the club moved to Houston.
Beckham and Donovan, however, were not gracious hosts.
The English superstar accepted a brilliant feed from Donovan just outside the box and deftly slipped the ball past goalkeeper Joe Cannon in the eighth minute of the contest.
Beckham then returned the favor to Donovan in the 37th minute, flicking the ball with his right foot to his hard-charging teammate. Donovan then casually lofted a shot over the head of a rapidly-closing Cannon to give the Galaxy a 2-0 lead.
After the match, Beckham admitted that he felt completely fit - which is a far cry from last season.
"Last year, I was probably 50 percent fit when I started," he said. "I was playing in games I shouldn't have been and it just sort of went downhill from there. I feel great after two games and my England game, so I ready to get on with it."
And ready to put last season's behind him.
"It`s important from my part and the team's that (I'm) here from the beginning," Beckham said. "Last year, there was a lot of distractions and I think I suffered from that - and also the team.
"I'm happy to be through the preseason and ready to play. Last year, I wasn't even training and I was playing. It wasn't good. That's not right to do and I won't do it again."
Prior to Thursday's contest, Beckham's recorded his lone MLS tally on a free kick in a 2-0 SuperLiga semifinal victory over D.C. United on August 15, 2007.
As for Donovan, it was the 10th time since 2001 he has recorded a goal and an assist in an MLS match.
The Galaxy (1-1), who dropped a 4-0 decision to the Colorado Rapids in their season opener on Saturday, enjoyed a decisive 11-3 advantage in shots on Thursday.
"I think tonight was a good team performance," Beckham said. "After our first game, which was difficult to take, we worked hard tonight and played well and that makes us happy."
Los Angeles coach Ruud Gullit agreed with his superstar's assessment.
"I thought we played an excellent game," he said. "Tactfully, I thought we had a good awareness of the team. You could see the difference in the work rate from the last game. I'm still saying that there has to be something said about the altitude in Colorado that makes it hard to play there."