Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Porto v Arsenal Champions League match preview

After Porto’s convincing 3-1 victory over Fenerbahçe in the first Champions League match Jesualdo Ferreira’s squad travels to London to face Arsenal.

It has been a Jekyll and Mr Hyde season for Arsenal, with brilliant flourishing Football combined with dismal abandonments of such style as in this weekends 2-1 loss at home to Hull City. However that perplexing match aside, Arsenal is a extraordinary attacking club that strikes at the heart of Porto’s defensive liabilities.

Porto manager Jesualdo Ferreira commented on the upcoming match:

“Arsenal always plays to win, like F.C. Porto. It will be a difficult match, but we will try to win. I want my team to be strict. We want to (dictate the flow) the game. We have the confidence that we can do it”

“F.C. Porto never won in England, but history says that F.C. Porto has always squads capable of winning matches everywhere. We will start tomorrow with that firm idea.”

To win in London, the Dragões will employ a tighter defensive tactic and need to be very patient in the attack. Arsenal (usually) maintains Emirates Stadium as a fortress and it will take a herculean effort in the midfield and their best defensive back-line effort this campaign to come out with points. While they rarely get media attention, the back-line of Bruno Alves, Jorge Fucile, Rolando and Romanian international Cristian Săpunaru hold the key for the day.

Steaua Bucureşti faces Fiorentina in Champions League

Steaua Bucureşti faces Fiorentina in their second Champions League match. Their first Champions League match, which they lost at home 1-0 to Bayern München showed a lack of attacking confidence and to be successful they will need to be aggressive in Florence.

Much of the pre-match talk has been surrounding Adrian Mutu, Argeş Piteşti and Dinamo Bucureşti alumni, wishing to score however this match won't be decided on theatrics but on sound Football. The Roş-Albaştrii are coming off a very tight 1-1 draw against CFR Cluj this weekend. They are without Ifeanyi Emeghara and Mihăiţă Pleşan because of injuries but have Tricolorii Bănel Nicoliţă back from suspension. His addition to the club can have an enormous impact in the attacking aspect of play in particular and tip the scales of the match. For Steaua Bucureşti to be successful, Sorin Ghionea will need to control the play of Adrian Mutu and Alberto Gilardino in a backline that includes Petre Marin, Dorin Goian and George Ogăraru.

Romania Liga 1: week 9 summary

Week nine of the Romania Liga 1 completed with few surprises and with Steaua Bucureşti and CFR Cluj playing to a draw, Dinamo Bucureşti and Unirea Voluntari Urziceni jump to the top two positions of the table.

The match of the weekend was unquestionably Steaua Bucureşti visiting CFR Cluj. With so many problems with year, CFR has been fighting back up the table.

Prior to the match their manager Maurizio Trombetta commented:

"Here we are on the day before the fixture against Steaua, a match that can mean for us the accomplishment of an important objective: 3 points and the comeback in the fight for the title. So far, we managed to obtain everything we wanted: win in Bistriţa, the comeback, the win in Rome and the confirmation of the surprise, the match against Farul was proof of our good run and I hope that the match against Steaua will be the same. I can't ask the guys for anything more than the same desire to win from Rome. A draw is not enough for us! Maybe our opponents could settle for a draw but it's all about the three points for us. Peralta and Cadu are recovered and Y. Kone has some minor problems, but we hope he will be fit to play. We will tackle this fixture with respect, courage and maximum responsibility because Steaua is a Champions League team."

CFR Cluj - 1
Steaua Bucureşti - 1

The visitors opened the scoring with Columbian international, Dayro Moreno goal nine minutes into the match. With play very tight, opportunities were at a minimum before Argentine Sebastián Dubarbier leveled the match at the thirty seven minute mark. While both clubs were anxious for the winning strike the match ended in a draw.

CFR Cluj
44. Eduard Stancioiu - 33. Alvaro Pereira - 27. Galiassi de Sousa - 20. Ricardo Cadu (cpt) - 2. Tony da Silva - 7. Sebastian Dubarbier 37 - 6. Gabriel Muresan - 31. Ricardo Dani - 19. Emmanuel Culio - 17. Yssouf Kone - 29. Didi Silva (10. Eugen Trica 59')

Steaua Bucureşti
1. Robinson Zapata - 18. Petre Marin - 24. Sorin Ghionea (cpt) - 3. Dorin Goian - 2. George Ogararu ( 23) - 9. Antonio Semedo ( 7. Ianos Szekely 57') - 14. Juan Toja ( 30. Tiago Gomes 71') - 20. Florin Lovin - 16. Banel Nicolita - 10. Dayro Moreno ( 28. Bogdan Stancu 86') - 11. Arthuro

Dinamo Bucureşti - 2
Gloria 1922 Bistriţa - 1

Top-of-the-table Câinii Roşii were lead by veteran Romanian international Ionel Dănciulescu's two goals the first twelve minutes in the match and the second twenty-one minutes later. Ex Porto-man, Diogo Ramos brought one back with fifteen minutes left but Dinamo held on for the victory.

Unirea Voluntari Urziceni - 2
Vaslui - 0

Marius Bilaşco opened the scoring and Unziceni never looked back in the match. With Vaslui pressing in the later stages, Marius Onofraş put the match away with the second goal.

Timişoara - 2
Politehnica Iaşi - 0

Alb-Violeţii continues to climb the table and make headway against their point deduction with a 2-0 victory. Romanian international Gigel Bucur scored four minutes before the break whilst Dorin Goga added the second as time was running out.

Argeş Piteşti - 3
Rapid Bucureşti - 1

Adrian Dulcea opened the scoring eleven minutes into the match with Iulian Tameş doubling it at the twenty-two minute mark. Cláudio Mejolaro "Pitbull" brought one back for Rapid seven minutes before the break but they were unable to find the leveling score. Adrian Voiculeţ added the final score nine minutes before time to bring the final score 3-1.

In other Romanian Liga 1 action:

Universitatea Craiova - 0
FC Braşov - 0

Farul Constanţa - 1 (Chico 11')
Oţelul Galaţi - 1 (Vitalic 70')

Gloria Buzau - 0
Pandurii Târgu Jiu - 1 (Alexandru Piturca 14')

Gaz Metan Mediaş - 2 (Diogo 61', Scarlatache 68')
CS Otopeni - 0

Romania Liga 1 week 8
FC Dinamo Bucureşti 971117822
FC Unirea Voluntari Urziceni 970221921
FC Steaua Bucureşti 962118620
FC Timişoara 9711191016
CFR Cluj 943214615
FC Braşov 94328415
FC Vaslui 9504101015
F.C. Oţelul Galaţi 942312914
FC Argeş Piteşti 9423131214
FC Universitatea Craiova 9423101014
FC Rapid Bucureşti
F. C. Farul Constanţa 831481410
CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu 92259168
C.F. Gloria 1922 Bistriţa 921610147
CS Gaz Metan Mediaş
CS Otopeni
FC Politehnica Iaşi 81164154
Gloria Buzau 90184171

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ukrainian Premier League; week nine

Week nine of the Ukrainian Premier League is complete with Dynamo Kyiv moving up the table to draw level with Metalurh Donetsk.

Dynamo Kyiv - 3
Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih - 0

Dynamo dominated the match on the strength of Ukrainian international Oleksandr Aliev brace at the eighteenth minute of the match and his second two minutes after the break. Miloš Ninković added to the lead at the twenty-sixth minute.

Shakhtar Donetsk - 1
Metalurh Donetsk -1

Shakhtar looked to be headed to a much needed victory on the avails of a Ilsinho goal five minutes after the strike. However they squandered numerous opportunities and Bulgarian international Velizar Dimitrov tied the match when a penalty was awarded as time ran-out.

Post match, Mircea Lucescu commented:

"We have trapped into some negative dynamics. Its difficult to say something more. Our rivals use their first and some times the only chance against us. We are under pressure that is caused by our league standing and we fail to show our best performance. Tonight we had 6-7 opportunities that had to be converted into goals. Brandao had a chance, Seleznov did. But lack of self-confidence that is caused by the pressure, prevented them from scoring.

Unfortunately, at the end of the match not all players were in the zones we had ascribed to them on a pre-match briefing. It allowed the rivals to play their game in our half. Its unbelievable that having such players and such opportunities we have found ourselves in a situation like this.
A very important Champions League match against Barcelona is waiting for us. We’ve got to understand what’s been going on with the team. Only four days are left. We must prepare properly for the Champions League. I hope we shall be able to deliver a performance that is worth a team playing in such a competition. We must prove that Shakhtar deserve playing in Europe.

We are wasting 100% opportunities. I am not satisfied with the performance Shakhtar have been showing recently. In fact, all other teams have started to play on the level we used to be on. We, in our turn, have stopped to delight our supporters because of our league standing. Ow wemust concentrate all our attention on the upcoming match against Barcelona. We must find strength to overcome all difficulties and show the Spanish side our best play. As I have already said, I assume all responsibility

Before the match Kucher said he couldn’t play. I don’t know why. Maybe because of the psychological pressure. The Champions League is nearing and we can convert this negative dynamics. There are players who must return to earth and start playing like they used to in the previous season."

Metalist Kharkiv - 3
Vorskla Poltava - 1

Zhovto-Syni kept abreast of the title race with a 3-1 victory over Vorskla.Coelho gave them the lead eleven minutes into the match with veteran Valentyn Slyusar doubling the lead ten minutes later. Albanian international Debatik Curri brought the match to within one only five minutes later but while there were a number of chances throughout the match, it wasn't until six minutes left that another goal was scored, when Coelho scored his second on a penalty strike.

FC Lviv - 0
Chornomorets - 2

In a tightly fought match, Chornomorets scored twice within a seven minute period. Sebastián Vázquez netted the first goal at the seventy-first minute with Vladimir Karytska adding the second, seven minutes later.

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1
Metalurh Zaporizhya - 2

In a important mid-table match, the Kozaky easily defeated Dnipro 2-1. Dmytro Nevmyvaka gave them the lead four minutes before the break with Côte d'Ivoire national Igor Lolo netting an own-goal at the fifty-eighth minute. Dmytro Liopa brought one back with seven minutes left but it was too late.

Tavriya Simferopol - 1
FC Kharkiv - 1

In a stunning turn of events as Kharkiv seemed destined for victory, the Krymlyany Oleksandr Kovpak scored as time was running out on a penalty awarded to level the match at one.

In other Ukrainian Premier League action:

Illichivets 2 (Yaroshenko 8',Kryvosheienko 82')
Arsenal Kyiv 1 (Symonenko 49')

Zoria 1 (Raičević 58')
Karpaty Lviv 0

Ukrainian Premier League
Dynamo Kyiv 971119522
Metalurh Donetsk 971114422
Metalist Kharkiv 953115718
Vorskla Poltava 952212817
Zorya Luhansk 943211915
Metalurh Zaporizhya 94329715
Chornomorets Odessa 9414121013
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 93337712
Arsenal Kyiv 924371010
Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih 924381210
Shakhtar Donetsk 9162999
Karpaty Lviv 91444107
Illichivets 92076166
Tavriya Simferopol 91358156
Kharkiv 90637126
Lviv 91263105

Week 23 of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

The most exciting race in the Football managed to get a bit more exciting with the stunning upset of Rubin Kazan over the weekend. With seven matches remaining Rubin Kazan holds a strong seven-point lead over CSKA Moscow which leaped over Dynamo Moscow with their victory over Tom 'Tomsk whilst Dynamo and Krysy played to a stunning 3-3 draw

CSKA Moscow 2
Tom' Tomsk 1

After falling behind on a early Anton Arkhipov goal and playing a man down with Elvir Rahimic red-carded five minutes before the break, Koni fought back and seven minutes into the half, eighteen year-old phenom Alan Dzagoev leveled the match. Five minutes later veteran Evgeni Aldonin scored a rare goal to give CSKA Moscow the victory.

Krylia Sovetov Samara 3
Dynamo Moscow 3

A stunning match which saw Dynamo take the early lead as Montenegro capped Jovan Tanasijević scored a rare goal to give Dynamo the lead twelve minutes into the match. Veteran Igor Semshov doubled the lead a minute before the break but quickly Anton Bober brought one back for Krysy. Three minutes after the break Vladislav Bezborodov handed Yevgeny Savin his second yellow card and Samara played a man down. However that disadvantage was leveled as Kirill Kombarov was dismissed at the sixty-sixth minute with his second yellow. Twenty-one minutes after the break Jan Koller leveled the match and then gave the home squad the lead with five minutes left. Incredibly as time was running out, Dynamo was a awarded a penalty and new-man, Aussie international Luke Wilshire scored to even the match at 3 where it finished.

Lokomotiv Moscow 0
Zenit St Petersburg 3

The attacking flourish of Zenit returned in a all-out 3-0 devastation of Lokomotiv that could have actually been worse. Twenty-two year old up and comer Viktor Fayzulin gave Zenit the lead eighteen minutes into the match and they never let up. Defensively it was a very sound match as Dick Advocaat juggled his line-up using a 4-5-1. Sébastien Puygrenier scored fifteen minutes after the break and the hard-working Alejandro Domínguez added the final at the seventy-fourth minute.

Rubin Kazan 0
FC Moscow 1

Hector Bracamonte's lone goal six minutes before the break to stun the home fans as Rubin Kazan fell to a very rare defeat.

Saturn Moscow Oblast 0
Amkar Perm'0

Extremely costly draw for Amkar as they lose pace with top of the table. Saturn Moscow Oblast played a highly intelligent defensive match and never allowed Amkar to get a quality sight-line on the goal.

In other Russian Premier League action:

Shinnik Yaroslav 1
Spartak Moscow 2

Spartak Nalchik 2
Luch-Energiya Vladivostok 2

Terek Grozny 1
Khimki 0

Rosgosstrakh Championship of RussiaPWDLGSGAPts
Rubin Kazan 23 14 6 3 32 16 48
CSKA Moscow 23 11 8 4 36 18 41
Dynamo Moscow 23 11 7 5 32 24 40
Amkar Perm' 23 11 6 6 24 16 39
Spartak Moscow 23 9 9 5 36 31 36
Zenit St Petersburg 22 9 7 6 40 28 34
Krylia Sovetov Samara 23 8 10 5 34 21 34
Lokomotiv Moscow 22 8 7 7 27 26 31
Spartak Nalchik 23 8 5 10 24 26 29
FC Moscow 23 7 8 8 24 26 29
Terek Grozny 23 8 4 11 20 33 28
Tom' Tomsk 23 7 4 12 20 32 25
Saturn Moscow Oblast 22 6 7 9 20 23 25
Luch-Energiya Vladivostok 23 3 10 10 20 34 19
Khimki 23 3 8 12 24 45 17
Shinnik Yaroslav 22 3 6 13 21 35 15

Pachuca easily defeats Monterrey

Monterrey went down to their second straight loss as Pachuca easily defeated the Rayados 2-1. The once-stunning Monterrey offensive assault has disappeared and they barely threatened Pachuca ‘keeper Miguel Calero. Pachuca opened the scoring Leobardo López six minutes before the break with a header off a corner. However the home squad gave the lead back three minutes into the half with an unfortunate Fausto Pinto own-goal. After the goal, Pachuca pushed forward and took the play to the lifeless Rayados. At the sixty-fifth minute Paul Nicolás Aguilar was fouled in the area and the spot was pointed to. Confidently Bruno Marioni stepped-up and struck the ball to the back of the net to give Pachuca the 2-1 lead and the eventual victory.

Monterrey must regroup quickly as they face the Jaguares on Saturday.

Jonathan Emmanuel Orozco ,Severo Meza (José Joel González 70′),Diego Ordaz,Felipe Baloy,José María Basanta ,José Hiber Ruiz,Luis Ernesto Pérez,William Paredes,Jesús Arellano (Mauro Cejas 45′),Humberto Suazo (Arturo Alvarado 45′),Carlos Ochoa

Miguel Calero,Paul Nicolás Aguilar ,Leobardo López ,Julio Manzur ,Fausto Pinto ,Jaime Correa,Gabriel Caballero (Juan Carlos Rojas 72′),Christian Giménez ,José María Cárdenas (Luis Montes 60′),Damián Álvarez (José Francisco Torres 45′),Bruno Marioni

Fiorentina easily defeats Genoa 1-0

Fiorentina easily handled Genoa in route to a 1-0 victory that marked a large series of roster changes by the Rossoblu's manager Gian Piero Gasperini. After a dreadful 3-0 loss to Lazio the Viola came out and played fundamentally sound Football and won the match with a Alberto Gilardino strike off a corner at the sixty-first minute mark.

Genoa's attack was quite subdued and lacked a notable flourish particularly before the break as Diego Milito called upon six minutes into the half. While the Grifone created a few opportunities to level, it was only a few and barely resembled the club that had defeated Roma only a few days before. Clearly the experimentation with a lineup that omitted Francesco Modesto,Ivan Jurić Andrea Gasbarroni, Giuseppe Sculli and Diego Milito lacked the bite of prior matches and led to the result.

Genoa returns to action on Thursday against Ravenna in the Coppa Italia while Fiorentina welcomes Steaua Bucureşti in Champions League action on Tuesday.

Genoa: Rubinho; Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Matteo Ferrari, Domenico Criscito; Salvatore Bocchetti, Omar Milanetto (Ivan Jurić 41'), Anthony Vanden Borre (Francesco Modesto 60'), Giandomenico Mesto (Diego Milito 51'); Raffaele Palladino, Rubén Olivera, Marco Rossi

Fiorentina: Frey; Jorgensen, Kroldrup, Dainelli, Gobbi; Donadel, Melo, Montolivo; Semioli (65’ Santana), Gilardino (65’ Pazzini), Mutu (83’ Osvaldo)

Rangers over Hibernian 3-0

Rangers regained their three-point lead at the top of the table with a 3-0 victory over Hibernian on the strength of Kenny Miller's brace. Hib's controlled much of the play before the mark but were unable to capitalize. At the thirty-first minute a Kirk Broadfoot cross was headed-in by Kenny Miller to give the 'Gers the lead and they never looked back. Nine minutes later he got the second of his goals, curling in a strike from twenty meters off a splendid back-heel from Kirk Broadfoot. Hibernian did not wilt as they continued to press for a goal but Madjid Bougherra re-directed a Kevin Thomson free-kick for the third goal of the match with seventeen minutes left in the match.

J-League summary week 27

Results from week twenty-seven of the J-League, tightened-up the table with a stunning upset of Ōita and both Kashima and Kawasaki victorious whilst Nagoya and Urawa Red Diamonds fought to a draw.

Yokohama F・Marinos 1
Oita Trinita 0
The shock of the weekend that could cost Ōita the championship. Yokohama played a brilliant tactical match, winning the day in the midfield and greatly limited Trinita's attacking lines. Fourteen minutes after the break Kenta Kano scored the lone goal and regardless of how Pericles Chamusca threw attackers forward, they could not level the match.

Yokohama F・Marinos
1 Tetsuya ENOMOTO
4 Yuzo KURIHARA,22 Yuji NAKAZAWA,26 Yusuke TANAKA,
7 Hayuma TANAKA (18' Norihisa SHIMIZU 64'),6 Ryuji KAWAI,17 Shingo HYODO ,13 Takanobu KOMIYAMA ,14 Kenta KANO
15 Hideo OSHIMA (20 Kota MIZUNUMA 78'),11 Daisuke SAKATA (29 Ariajasuru HASEGAWA 89')

Oita Trinita
4 Yuki FUKAYA,6 Masato MORISHIGE,22 Taikai UEMOTO
3 ROBERTO,5 EDMILSON (14 Akihiro IENAGA 71'),8 Mu KANAZAKI, 11 Shingo SUZUKI,20 Daisuke TAKAHASHI (2' Ryo KOBAYASHI 88')
9 Yasuhito MORISHIMA (13 Daiki TAKAMATSU 71'),10 UESLEI

Nagoya Grampus Eight 1
Urawa Red Diamonds 1
The upper tier match-up played in a tight fashion with the Red Diamonds taking the lead five minutes for the half with Edmilson's goal. However the lead didn't last long after the break as two minutes into time Yuki Maki leveled the match. Nagoya was more aggressive in the final stages, changing up pace with Keita Sugimoto but they couldn't break through.

Nagoya Grampus Eight
30 Akira TAKEUCHI,3 BAJALICA,16 Takahiro MASUKAWA,6 Shohei ABE
7 Naoshi NAKAMURA,14 Keiji YOSHIMURA,29 Yoshizumi OGAWA
17 Yuki MAKI,9 JOHNSEN (19 Keita SUGIMOTO 73'),11 Keiji TAMADA (5 Atsushi YONEYAMA 86')

Urawa Red Diamonds
23 Ryota TSUZUKI
2 Keisuke TSUBOI,4 Marcus Tulio TANAKA,22 Yuki ABE
14 Tadaaki HIRAKAWA,3 Hajime HOSOGAI, 13 Keita SUZUKI, 16 Takahito SOMA,10 PONTE
17 EDMILSON,7 Naohiro TAKAHARA (9 Yuichiro NAGAI 62')

Kashima Antlers 2
Shimizu S-Pulse 0
The troubled Antlers offense woke-up with a bruising attack the was more of an amazement that the score was only 2-0. Takeshi Aoki opened up the scoring twenty minutes into the match with Marquinhos doubling the lead four minutes before the break.

Kashima Antlers
21 Hitoshi SOGAHATA
2 Atsuto UCHIDA,3 Daiki IWAMASA,19 Masahiko INOHA,7 Toru ARAIBA
15 Takeshi AOKI,16 Masaki CHUGO ,10 Masashi MOTOYAMA (14 Chikashi MASUDA 59'),11 DANILO (6 Koji NAKATA 88'),

Shimizu S-Pulse
25 Daisuke ICHIKAWA,26 Naoaki AOYAMA,4 Kazumichi TAKAGI,2 Arata KODAMA
6 MARCOS PAULO,7 Teruyoshi ITO,28 Masaki YAMAMOTO (13 Akihiro HYODO 45'),8 Takuma EDAMURA (19 Kazuki HARA 72')
23 Shinji OKAZAKI,20 Akinori NISHIZAWA (9 Takuro YAJIMA 55')

Kashiwa Reysol 2
Kawasaki Frontale 5
Kawasaki Frontale opened-up a four goal lead at the half is a easily walked away with the victory. Chong Tese opened the scoring seconds into the match followed up with his second of the match just past the half hour mark. Kengo Nakamura and Renatinho made it 4-0 before the half and the match was ostensibly over. Kashiwa made a valiant effort with two honourable goals by Minoru Suganuma and Yohei Kurakawa within eighteen minutes after the break but that was as close as it got. Juninho added the final goal for Kawasaki as time ran-out

Kashiwa Reysol
33 Takanori SUGENO
23 Yohei KURAKAWA,2 Jiro KAMATA,13 Yuzo KOBAYASHI ,7 Hidekazu OTANI
14 Keisuke OTA,28 Ryoichi KURISAWA (15 Minoru SUGANUMA 45'),18 Iwao YAMANE,6 ALEX

Kawasaki Frontale
4 Yusuke IGAWA,13 Shuhei TERADA ,2 Hiroki ITO
8 Satoru YAMAGISHI ,14 Kengo NAKAMURA ,29 Hiroyuki TANIGUCHI ,11 VITOR JUNIOR(6 Yusuke TASAKA 89')
34 RENATINHO (7 Masaru KUROTSU 60'),16 CHONG Tese,10 JUNINHO

Consadole Sapporo 1
F.C.Tokyo 2
Great come-from-behind victory of F.C. Tokyo. Behind 1-0 to bottom of the table and looking on the verge of a titanic upset, Shingo Akamine leveled the match with twenty minutes left. Continuing to pressure, Yohei Otake scored with ten minutes left go give F.C. Tokyo the win.

In other J-League action:
Tokyo Verdy 1
Gamba Osaka 3

Omiya Ardija 0
Vissel Kobe 2

Kyoto Sanga F.C. 0
JEF United Chiba 1

Jubilo Iwata 1
Albirex Niigata 0

J-League week 27
Nagoya Grampus Eight 27 15 4 8 40 29 49
Oita Trinita 27 14 6 7 30 19 48
Kashima Antlers 26 13 7 6 47 26 46
Urawa Red Diamonds 26 13 7 6 41 26 46
Kawasaki Frontale 27 13 6 8 48 37 45
FC Tokyo 27 13 6 8 39 32 45
Gamba Osaka 26 11 7 8 37 34 40
Shimizu S-Pulse 27 10 7 10 32 35 37
Kyoto Purple Sanga 26 10 5 11 26 30 35
Albirex Niigata 27 10 5 12 27 40 35
Yokohama F. Marinos 27 9 7 11 28 27 34
Vissel Kobe 27 8 10 9 30 30 34
Kashiwa Reysol 26 9 6 11 33 34 33
Omiya Ardija 26 9 5 12 28 33 32
Tokyo Verdy 1969 27 9 4 14 35 42 31
JEF United Ichihara-Chiba 27 8 6 13 26 41 30
Jubilo Iwata 27 8 5 14 30 41 29
Consadole Sapporo 27 4 5 18 32 53 17

Friday, September 26, 2008

Genoa - Fiorentina match preview

With the success of the Roma match in the past, the Rossoblu face the Viola in Firenze on Saturday. In repeat of the prior match Gian Piero Gasperini must certainly realize he is gifted with very fortunate scheduling. Like Roma heading into complex period, Fiorentina's manager Cesare Prandelli is not only dealing with a poor start to the Serie A season, a dreadful 3-0 Lazio on Wednesday but a critical match on Tuesday against Steaua Bucureşti in the Champions League. After a controversial draw to Lyon, the Viola will be anxious for an important away win in Champions League action and it will surely be a part of tactical considerations.

The start of the season has been an up and down affair for Fiorentina, starting with a solid draw with Juventus and a close loss to Napoli before getting their first victory of the year Bologna. However this Wednesday the wheels fell off the cart with the aforementioned loss to Lazio. What precisely has happened is somewhat of a mystery as they uncharacteristically broke down defensively and allowed three goals in a eight minute period. Truthfully the score could have been much worse and it left you perplexed how Alberto Gilardino and Adrian Mutu were barely visible in the match.

With the short week, I expect Genoa to possibly employing Boško Janković or Rubén Olivera within the following general lineup:

Giuseppe Biava, Matteo Ferrari,Domenico Criscito
Marco Rossi,Omar Milanetto,Anthony Vanden Borre, Francesco Modesto
Andrea Gasbarroni/Raffaele Palladino, Diego Milito, Giuseppe Sculli

The clear work ahead for this match lays in the back three. While Diego Milito is having a remarkable start to campaign, the back-line of Giuseppe Biava, Domenico Criscito and Matteo Ferrari are creating a defensive net that controls the opposition attack.

PSV - FC Volendam match review

PSV is graced with a stroke of luck with scheduling as after a miserable loss to AZ Alkmaar and a mid-week match against their reserves in the KNVB Cup, bottom-of-the-table FC Volendam visits Philips Stadion. This is particularly advantageous as you consider they face Liverpool next Wednesday in the Champions League in a match they are desperate to win after they were completely dominated by Atlético Madrid 3-0 in the opening match.

The promotion to Eredivisie for FC Volendam, has been very difficult to start. They opened the campaign with hearty effort against Heerenveen, that ended in a tough 3-2 loss, followed up with a 5-0 dismantling at the hands of Feyenoord Rotterdam and then lost 2-1 last week at home to Steve McClaren's Twente Enschede. Supporters of het andere oranje recognize this start all to well and certainly fear promotion will be short-lived. Manager Frans Adelaar employs a very aggressive attack and with Dominique van Dijk, Bernard Hofstede, Rowin Van Zaanen and Jack Tuyp creating most of their attacking flourish to-date and displayed more patience last week. Hubb Steven's can expect them to continue with this patient attitude and look to counter-attack if PSV over-commits. Based upon scheduling I equally expect Hubb Stevens to employ a lineup respective of Wednesday's Champions League match.

PSG v Grenoble match preview

Week seven of the campaign has Mehmed Baždarević's Grenoble visit Parc des Princes to face PSG. Promotion to Ligue 1 for the club from the Rhône-Alpes region has brought extraordinary success as they have shown tactical precision and disciplined play. While they quite possibly have one of the thinnest squads in the upper-tier of Football in France, I very much doubt you can find a group as unified in play, coaching and intent at this stage of the season. In the first six matches of the young season they have defeated both Monaco and Stade Rennais, drawing level to Valenciennes and losing to Olympique Lyonnais and Girondins de Bordeaux in very well played matches.

Tactically, at this stage of the season, their opposition have played into their style and allowed them to get behind the ball when defending. However they are far too disciplined to allow good sight-lines in a slower attack but are susceptible to more pace-driven and crossing assaults, which bodes well for Ludovic Giuly, Stéphane Sessegnon, Jérôme Rothen and Mateja Kežman. Grenoble's back-four will be without Martial Robin who is serving a suspension from the Bordeaux match as well. Claude Makélélé will direct the PSG backline to pay particular care with Grenoble's attacking force of Daniel Moreira, Nassim Akrour and Franck Djadjede. Summarily, the key to defeating Grenoble is taking the match to them, not allowing them to get into a rhythm.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wolfsburg - Karlsruhe SC match preview

On the heels of Wolfsburg's 7-0 laugher against third division side FC Oberneuland in the DFB Cup Felix Magath leads Wolfsburg to face Karlsruhe at the Wildparkstadion on Sunday.

It has been a difficult start to the campaign for Edmund Becker's club as they have lost their last three matches after an opening week triumph over VfL Bochum. They have shown only modest attacking flourish and seem to be lacking of confidence, concerned more about being scored upon than attacking. All too often they seem to be on their heels with the attacking primarily in the hands of Antônio da Silva, Aussie international Joshua Kennedy and Sebastian Freis. Josh Kennedy is a very capable striker, who can change a match but they have shown little ability to regularly get him the ball in opportune situations. Andrea Barzagli and Cristian Zaccardo, if he is ever used properly, will need to keep a careful watch on this group. Should Karlsruhe score and take the lead they will look to pad-lock this match down.

Wolfsburg approach is a straight forward attacking back. KSC appears susceptible in defensively, particularly in crossing and flanking attacks. They will sit back in-fear of the counter or long clearing passes and will also be patient. Zvjezdan Misimović will have space to work in the match and must use it wisely given the home clubs defensive mindset. Mahir Sağlık, Grafite and Bosnia and Herzegovina international Edin Džeko, who is looks on the verge to breaking-out into stardom should push forward with constant movement against the KSC back-line of Tim Sebastian, Christian Eichner, Stefano Celozzi and Maik Franz.

Armenia Super Cup winners: FC Pyunik

Tom' Tomsk @ CSKA Moscow match preview

is on rampage after devastating Zenit Saint Petersburg last week 3-1 and looks to be the favourite to emerge in the tough Champions League race. The CSKA Moscow attack has been led by Vágner Love eighteen year-old wonder-striker Alan Dzagoev but the real story is their back-line of Vasili Berezutsky, Sergei Ignashevich, Deividas Semberas, Chidi Odiah and twenty-two year-old Anton Grigoriev. Tom' Tomsk is capable of capable of pulling off an upset as Terek Grozny but this looks to be Koni's day

Recent Form
CSKA Moscow - combined (4 W, 1 D, 0 L)(11 GS, 2 GA)
Aug 17 CSKA Moscow 2 - 0 Terek Grozny
Aug 24 Spartak Nalchik 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow
Aug 30 Lokomotiv Moscow 0 - 2 CSKA Moscow
Sep 14 CSKA Moscow 4 - 1 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok
Sep 21 Zenit St Petersburg 1 - 3 CSKA Moscow

CSKA Moscow - home (2 W, 2 D, 1 L)(6 GS, 3 GA)
Jul 20 CSKA Moscow 0 - 2 FC Moscow
Jul 30 CSKA Moscow 0 - 0 Zenit St Petersburg
Aug 3 CSKA Moscow 0 - 0 PFK Samara Kryliya Sovetov
Aug 17 CSKA Moscow 2 - 0 Terek Grozny
Sep 14 CSKA Moscow 4 - 1 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok

Tom' Tomsk - combined (2 W, D, 3 L)(4 GS, 8 GA)
Aug 15 Tom' Tomsk 1 - 2 Rubin Kazan
Aug 23 Shinnik Yaroslav 0 - 1 Tom' Tomsk
Sep 31 Tom' Tomsk 0 - 4 PFK Samara Kryliya Sovetov
Sep 13 Saturn Moscow Oblast 2 - 0 Tom' Tomsk
Sep 21 Tom' Tomsk 2 - 0 Terek Grozny

Tom' Tomsk - away (W, D, L)(GS, GA)
Aug 6 Zenit St Petersburg 5 - 1 FK Tom' Tomsk
Aug 26 Amkar Perm' 0 - 0 FK Tom' Tomsk
Aug 9 FC Moscow 2 - 1 FK Tom' Tomsk
Aug 23 Shinnik Yaroslav 0 - 1 Tom' Tomsk
Sep 13 Saturn Moscow Oblast 2 - 0 Tom' Tomsk

I will report on the match with my weekly wrap-up.

Leeds United v Hereford match preview

Leeds welcomes bottom-of-the-table Hereford to Elland in a match they must win to maintain pressure at the top of the table. Seven matches into the campaign the table is taking shape and Gary McAllister must push the club on for maximum points with every chance. It's time to show a killer instinct and attack Hereford without end.

Recent Form
Hereford - combined (1 W, 1 D, 2 L)(5 GS, 10 GA)
Aug 23 Bristol Rovers 6 - 1 Hereford
Aug 30 Hereford 2 - 0 Crewe
Sep 5 Hereford 1 - 1 Swindon
Sep 13 Southend 1 - 0 Hereford
Sep 20 Hereford 1 - 2 Scunthorpe

Hereford - away (0 W, 0 D, 3 L)(2 GS, 9 GA)
Aug 9 Leyton Orient 2 - 1 Hereford
Aug 23 Bristol Rovers 6 - 1 Hereford
Sep 13 Southend 1 - 0 Hereford

Leeds - combined (3 W, 2 D,0 L)(13 GS, 6 GA)
Aug 23 Yeovil 1 - 1 Leeds
Aug 30 Leeds 2 - 2 Bristol Rovers
Sep 6 Leeds 5 - 2 Crewe
Sep 13 Swindon 1 - 3 Leeds
Sep 20 Carlisle 0 - 2 Leeds

Leeds - home (1 W, 1 D, 1 L)(7 GS, 6 GA)
Aug 16 Leeds 0 - 2 Oldham
Aug 30 Leeds 2 - 2 Bristol Rovers
Sep 6 Leeds 5 - 2 Crewe

Based upon prior week's lineup and Casper Ankergren's return to health I expect the following lineup:

Casper Ankergren
Frazer Richardson,Paul Telfer,Rui Marques,Lubo Michalik/Aidan White
Andy Hughes/Robert Snodgrass,Neil Kilkenny/Jonny Howson,Jonathan Douglas,Fabian Delph,
Jermaine Beckford,Luciano Becchio

This is one of those "must-win" matches where Leeds must gain full points and stay abreast of Oldham and the top of the table. Gary McAllister's squad is fully healthy with only Alan Sheehan out, serving the match match of his suspension.

Zenit St Petersburg @ Lokomotiv Moscow match preview

With Zenit Saint Petersburg loss last week to CSKA Moscow their hopes for a return to the Champions League is a slim one. Both Lokomotiv Moscow and Zenit have a match in hand and a victory will move the winner into fifth position. Zenit is in a peculiar position strategically as they face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Recent Form
Lokomotiv Moscow - combined (2 W, 1 D, 2 L)(5 GS, 6 GA)
Aug 16 Lokomotiv Moscow 0 - 0 Saturn Moscow
Aug 23 Terek Grozny 2 - 1 Lokomotiv Moscow
Aug 30 Lokomotiv Moscow 0 - 2 CSKA Moscow
Sep 14 Spartak Nalchik 0 - 1 Lokomotiv Moscow
Sep 20 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok 2 - 3 Lokomotiv Moscow

Lokomotiv Moscow - home (1 W, 2 D, 2 L)(4 GS, 5 GA)
Jul 10 Lokomotiv Moscow 2 - 0 Tom' Tomsk
Aug 6 Lokomotiv Moscow 0 - 1 Amkar Perm'
Aug 19 Lokomotiv Moscow 2 - 2 Spartak Moscow
Aug 16 Lokomotiv Moscow 0 - 0 Saturn Moscow
Aug 30 Lokomotiv Moscow 0 - 2 CSKA Moscow

Zenit Saint Petersburg - combined (3 W, D, 2 L)(12 GS, 7 GA)
Aug 13 Zenit St Petersburg 3 - 1 Terek Grozny
Aug 17 Zenit St Petersburg 1 - 3 Shinnik Yaroslav
Aug 24 Samara Kryliya Sovetov 0 - 3 Zenit St Petersburg
Sep 13 Terek Grozny 1 - 4 Zenit St Petersburg
Sep 21 Zenit St Petersburg 1 - 3 CSKA Moscow

Zenit Saint Petersburg - home (2 W, 1 D, 2 L)(8 GS, 6 GA)
Jul 26 Dynamo Moscow 1 - 0 Zenit St Petersburg
Aug 30 CSKA Moscow 0 - 0 Zenit St Petersburg
Aug 10 Rubin Kazan 4 - 1 Zenit St Petersburg
Aug 24 Samara Kryliya Sovetov 0 - 3 Zenit St Petersburg
Sep 13 Terek Grozny 1 - 4 Zenit St Petersburg

Dick Advocaat's club is likely to face a very aggressive Lokomotiv squad. Rashid Rakhimov can smell a European bid and the way to defeat Zenit this weekend, is not to lay back and counter but attack agressively in the flanks and take the match to Zenit. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Dmitri Torbinski and Romanian international Răzvan Cociş are playing brilliant in the attack and Sergei Gurenko and Russian 'capped Renat Yanbayev will look to control Zenit's free-flowing attack of Andrei Arshavin, Danni and Pavel Pogrebnyak. Without question their midfield of Igor Denisov, Radek Šírl,Konstantin Zyryanov and most notably the great Ukrainian Anatoliy Tymoschuk will determine the outcome of the match. Both clubs are reporting minimal injuries, however I will up-date that if it changes.

Paços de Ferreira v Porto match preview

Paços de Ferreira visits Estádio do Dragão to face Jesualdo Ferreira's FC Porto. Coming off a disappointing nil draw to Rio Ave, the defending Portuguese Liga champion will be looking to return to their winning form but equally must be concerned with a short week in which they face Arsenal in Champions League action next Tuesday. This will make for a tough series of decisions to which Mr. Ferreira has given no indication.

Porto's shortfall against Rio Ave can easily be attributed to the mental let down after the jubilation from the 3-1 victory over Fenerbahçe in the opening match of Champions League play. However the emotional let down combined with a stingy Rio Ave defense does not exclude poor finishing and the Dragões had ample opportunity to win the match and then some. Post match Mr. Ferreira's venom was obvious and I suspect whatever lineup he chooses will feel his wrath and be prepared to attack endlessly.

Paços de Ferreira is a very solid attacking squad that will pose problems for any club as they push forward. Their weakness to date appears to defending as while they have scored five times in the first three matches of the campaign but have given up a shambolic eight goals that would make any coach be concerned over blood pressure. While they sit near the bottom of the table with a paltry single point, they are far too good of club to stay their for long and I expect manger Paulo Sérgio to have his squad ready to press Porto for points.

Recent Form
Paços de Ferreira - combined (0 W,1 D,2 L)(5 GS,8 GA)
Aug 23 Paços de Ferreira 0 Braga 2
Aug 29 Belenenses 2 - 2 Paços de Ferreira
Sep 22 3 - 4 Benfica

Porto - combined (1 W, 2 D, L)(3 GS,1 GA)
Aug 24 FC Porto 2 - 0 Belenenses
Aug 30 Benfica 1 - 1 FC Porto
Sep 21 Rio Ave 0 - 0 FC Porto

Jesualdo Ferreira listed the following players for the match:
Benítez, Bruno Alves, Candeias, Farías, Fernando, Guarin, Helton, Hulk, Lino, Lisandro, Mariano, Nuno, Pedro Emanuel, Raul Meireles, Rodríguez, Rolando, Sapunaru and Tomás Costa.

This will be a interesting match to follow as Porto needs to start amassing some points and cannot afford to keep giving up points, particularly as Sporting steamrollers ahead. It goes without saying that Dragões supporters need to come out in full force.

I will report on the match on Monday morning. I apologize for the delay but I am off in my own matches and will likely be unable to properly review and post till that that. I thank you for your patience in this.

Spartak Moscow v Shinnik Yaroslav match preview

After a solid performance in losing to Rubin Kazan 1-0 last week, Michael Laudrup will be looking to get the club back in the winning column and there is likely not better squad then relegation-threatened Shinnik Yaroslav.

Recent Form
Spartak Moscow - combined (1 W, 2 D, 2 L)(5 GS, 6 GA)
Aug 17 Amkar Perm' 1 - 1 Spartak Moscow
Aug 23 Spartak Moscow 1 - 1 Dynamo Moscow
Aug 31 Spartak Moscow 2 - 1 Spartak Nalchik
Sep 13 FC Moscow 2 - 1 Spartak Moscow
Sep 21 Spartak Moscow 0 - 1 Rubin Kazan

Spartak Moscow - away (1 W, 2 D, 2 L)(6 GS, 8 GA)
Jul 6 Terek Grozny 3 - 1 Spartak Moscow
Jul 19 Lokomotiv Moscow 2 - 2 Spartak Moscow
Aug 2 Tom' Tomsk 0 - 1 Spartak Moscow 16,000
Aug 17 Amkar Perm' 1 - 1 Spartak Moscow
Sep 13 FC Moscow 2 - 1 Spartak Moscow

Shinnik Yaroslav - combined (W, 1 D, 4 L)(4 GS, 6 GA)
Aug 17 Zenit St Petersburg 1 - 3 Shinnik Yaroslav
Aug 23 Shinnik Yaroslav 0 - 1 Tom' Tomsk
Aug 29 Khimki 0 - 0 Shinnik Yaroslav
Sep 14 Shinnik Yaroslav 1 - 2 Amkar Perm'
Sep 20 Dynamo Moscow 2 - 0 Shinnik Yaroslav

Shinnik Yaroslav - home (W, 2 D, 3 L)(3 GS, 6 GA)
Jul 12 Shinnik Yaroslav 0 - 0 PFK Samara Kryliya Sovetov
Jul 27 Shinnik Yaroslav 1 - 1 Terek Grozny
Aug 9 Shinnik Yaroslav 1 - 2 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok
Aug 23 Shinnik Yaroslav 0 - 1 Tom' Tomsk
Sep 14 Shinnik Yaroslav 1 - 2 Amkar Perm'

Shinnik are capable of pulling off an upset, as anyone who witnessed their 3-1 destruction of Zenit can attest to and are fighting to avoid relegation, so this will be a tough battle. A draw for Spartak would be a major problem given the log-jam at the top of the table for European bids.

I will report on this match with with my weekly round-up of the Russian Premier League.

Luch-Energiya Vladivostok @ Spartak Nalchik match preview

Of the many great matches this weekend in the Russia Premier League, this is a intriguing affair as Vladivostok is fighting for its Footballing life and surviving relegation whilst Spartak Nalchik has an outside chance of a UEFA Cup spot.

Recent Form
Luch-Energiya Vladivostok - combined (W, 2 D, 3 L)(5 GS, 10 GA)
Aug 16 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok 0 - 0 Samara Kryliya Sovetov
Aug 24 Saturn Moscow Oblast 2 - 1 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok
Aug 31 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok 1 - 1 Terek Grozny
Sep 14 CSKA Moscow 4 - 1 Luch Energiya Vladivostok
Sep 20 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok 2 - 3 Lokomotiv Moscow

Luch-Energiya Vladivostok - away (1 W, D, 4 L)(7 GS, 12 GA)
Jul 27 Spartak Moscow 3 - 0 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok
Aug 9 Shinnik Yaroslav 1 - 2 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok
Aug 24 Saturn Moscow Oblast 2 - 1 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok
Sep 14 CSKA Moscow 4 - 1 Luch Energiya Vladivostok
Sep 20 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok 2 - 3 Lokomotiv Moscow

Spartak Nalchik - combined (1 W, 1 D, 3 L)(4 GS, 5 GA)
Aug 16 Dynamo Moscow 1 - 0 Spartak Nalchik
Aug 24 Spartak Nalchik 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow
Aug 31 Spartak Moscow 2 - 1 Spartak Nalchik
Sep 14 Spartak Nalchik 0 - 1 Lokomotiv Moscow
Sep 21 FC Moscow 1 - 3 Spartak Nalchik

Spartak Nalchik - home (2 W, 2 D, 1 L)(5 GS,3 GA)
Jul 5 Spartak Nalchik 2 - 1 Shinnik Yaroslav
Jul 19 Spartak Nalchik 1 - 1 Samara Kryliya Sovetov
Aug 10 Spartak Nalchik 2 - 0 Terek Grozny
Aug 24 Spartak Nalchik 0 - 0 CSKA Moscow
Sep 14 Spartak Nalchik 0 - 1 Lokomotiv Moscow

Spartak Nalchik came up big last week as they took down FC Moscow 3-1. This victory catapults their UEFA Cup efforts forward and they need to continue their run against Luch-Energiya.

Dynamo Moscow v Krylia Sovetov Samara preview

With eight matches to go in the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia (Russian Premier League) the race is coming down the wire with Champions League and UEFA Cup spots on the line. Andrey Kobelev's Dynamo Moscow club is coming on strong and a victory would set-back "Krysy" even farther after last weeks tough loss to Amkar Perm’. Every match now has European bids on the line so you can expect the best.

Recent Form
Dynamo Moscow - combined (2 W, 1 D,2 L)(5 GS, 3 GA)
Aug 16 Dynamo Moscow 1 - 0 Spartak Nalchik
Aug 23 Spartak Moscow 1 - 1 Dynamo Moscow
Aug 31 Dynamo Moscow 1 - 1 FC Moscow
Sep 14 Rubin Kazan 1 - 0 Dynamo Moscow
Sep 20 Dynamo Moscow 2 - 0 Shinnik Yaroslav

Dynamo Moscow - away (1 W, 2 D, 2 L)( GS, GA)
Jul 6 CSKA Moscow 0 - 2 Dynamo Moscow
Jul 20 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok 1 - 0 Dynamo Moscow
Aug 2 Khimki 1 - 1 Dynamo Moscow
Aug 23 Spartak Moscow 1 - 1 Dynamo Moscow
Sep 14 Rubin Kazan 1 - 0 Dynamo Moscow

Krylia Sovetov Samara - combined (2 W, 1 D,2 L)(7 GS, 4 GA)
Aug 16 Luch-Energiya Vladivostok 0 - 0 Krylia Sovetov Samara
Aug 24 Krylia Sovetov Samara 0 - 3 Zenit St Petersburg
Aug 31 Tom' Tomsk 0 - 4 Krylia Sovetov Samara
Sep 14 Krylia Sovetov Samara 3 - 0 Khimki
Sep 20 Amkar Perm' 1 - 0 Krylia Sovetov Samara

Krylia Sovetov Samara - home (3 W, 1 D, 1 L)(11 GS, 5 GA)
Jul 5 Krylia Sovetov Samara 2 - 2 Rubin Kazan
Jul 30 Krylia Sovetov Samara 4 - 0 Saturn Moscow
Aug 9 Krylia Sovetov Samara 2 - 0 Lokomotiv Moscow
Aug 24 Krylia Sovetov Samara 0 - 3 Zenit St Petersburg
Sep 14 Krylia Sovetov Samara 3 - 0 Khimki

This is one of the most exciting tactical matches as it pits two incredible midfields. Dynamo's Krill and Dmitri Kombarov, Dmitri Kombarov and Igor Semshov will go toe-to-toe against Krysy’ midfield of Ruslan Adzhindzhal, Anton Bober, Andrei Tikhonov with Czech Republic veteran JJiří Jarošík and Oleg Ivanov. Krysy striking tandem of Yevgeny Savin and Jan Koller could be the key to this critical match. Both clubs are reporting no significant injuries.

PSG 1-0 over Monaco in Coupe de la Ligue

PSG defeated Monaco 1-0 in the opening match defense of their Coupe de la Ligue title. The lone goal of the match came off a Jérôme Rothen that was pounced upon by Fabrice Pancrate and slotted to the back of the goal ten minutes before the break. Monaco pressing for the leveling strike but could not break through.

Mickaël Landreau,Grégory Bourillon,Zoumana Camara,Larrys Mabiala(Ceará 68'),Sylvain Armand,Jérémy Clément, Jerome Rothen(Younousse Sankharé 81'),Youssouf Mulumbu (Stéphane Sessegnon 75'),Péguy Luyindula,Fabrice Pancrate,Mateja Kežman

Genoa defeats Roma 3-1

Heading into the Giallorossi's visit to Stadio Luigi Ferraris I was expecting a "unique" match where tactics and the peculiarity of scheduling weighed heavy on the outcome. Along with the some rather unfortunate injuries on Roma's part, Gian Piero Gasperini’s Rossoblu might never be in a better time to face them. This proved to be true as Genoa defeated Roma in a convincing 3-1 fashion on the strength of two goals by Diego Milito and Giuseppe Sculli.

Genoa started fast against the Francesco Totti-less Roma, getting on the scoreboard at the four-minute mark when a Andrea Gasbarroni cross found a poorly marked Giuseppe Sculli, who then slotted it to the back of the net. Roma kept its calm and twenty-five minutes later Daniele De Rossi poached on his rebound and leveled the match. Through the balance of the half both squad's created respectable scoring opportunities but either goal could not be breached. Ten minutes after the break, Genoa stirred it's bench with a move I have waited to see this campaign and shortly Raffaele Palladino and Rubén Olivera came on for Andrea Gasbarroni and Giuseppe Sculli to form a new striking trident with Diego Milito. It was a masterstroke by Gian Piero Gasperini and it paid off quickly as the change of pace and style of movement was problematic to deal with at this stage of the match. At the sixty-first minute of the match a Ivan Jurić header into the box was poached upon by Diego Milito and he gave Genoa the 2-1 lead in the first of his two goals. Roma appeared to have leveled the match with a Christian Panucci but in a call that many will question intently, he was called offside. The venom of the match definitely increased and the challenges took on a harsher tone with resulting yellow cards. With twenty-two minutes left Daniele De Rossi received his second yellow and Roma was playing a man down. Finally with two minutes left a Raffaele Palladino crossing pass to Diego Milito in-close, was quickly driven in to give Genoa the 3-1 lead, where the score concluded.

Grifone supporters will take a great deal from this match, not simply the victory but showing the fortitude to strike when the opportunity presented itself. Points in Serie A are and always will be at a premium and when an opponent the magnitude of Roma is a undesirable position you must take advantage of it. I contend Serie A is the best matched league in Europe where the skill set is so remarkably high in each of the teams that coaching brilliance turn each match into a chess mastery.

Genoa returns to action on Saturday in a trip to Firenze.

Rubinho,Matteo Ferrari,Domenico Criscito,Francesco Modesto (Giandomenico Mesto 79'),Giuseppe Biava,Ivan Jurić,Omar Milanetto,Omar Milanetto, Andrea Gasbarroni (Raffaele Palladino 56'),Diego Milito,Giuseppe Sculli (Rubén Olivera 59')

Doni,John Arne Riise, Cicinho, Christian Panucci,Simone Loria,Simone Perrotta (Alberto Aquilani 78'),Daniele De Rossi,Matteo Brighi,Rodrigo Taddei (Stefano Okaka 76'),Mirko Vučinić,Jérémy Menez (Vincenzo Montella 84')

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

J-League Week 26

Mid-week action of week 26 of the J-League completed, excluding Urawa, Gamba and Kashima participating in the AFC Champions League with the enormous table-quaking upset of Nagoya Grampus Eight by JEF United Ichihara-Chiba. This has massive implications on the race and should the Red Diamonds win their upcoming match, the top of the J-League table will be a three-way tie.

JEF United Ichihara-Chiba - 2
Nagoya Grampus Eight -1
This was the shocker of the matches and it opens the door for Oita Trinita and Urawa Red Diamonds to make up critical points. Nagoya was having a troubling match getting their attack forward when Yoshizumi Ogawa gave them the lead eight minutes before the break. At the half Chiba manager, Alex Miller lit a fire with a club and within minutes Tatsuya Yazawa and Masaki Fukai scored to give them the lead. Throughout the match Nagoya barely threatened Chiba 'keeper Masahiro Okamoto as they locked up the midfield in 4-5-1.

JEF United Ichihara-Chiba
GK 岡本昌弘 Masahiro Okamoto,
DF 坂本將貴 Masataka Sakamoto, 池田昇平 Shohei Ikeda, ボスナー Eddy Bosnar, 青木良太 Ryota Aoki
MF 谷澤達也 Tatsuya Yazawa, 工藤浩平 Kohei Kudo,下村東美 Tomi Shimomura, 深井正樹 Masaki Fukai (巻誠一郎 Seiichiro Maki 79'),ミシェウ Michael (戸田和幸 Kazuyuki Toda 72')
S レイナウドReinaldo

Nagoya Grampus Eight
GK 楢崎正剛 Seigo Narazaki
DF 竹内彬 Sho Hanai, バヤリッツァMiloš Bajalica,増川隆洋 Takahiro Masukawa (Kei Yamaguchi 76'),阿部翔平 Shohei Abe
MF 杉本恵太 Keita Sugimoto (Yuki Maki 63'),中村直志 Naoshi Nakamura (Toshiya Fujita 80'),吉村圭司 Keiji Yoshimura,小川佳純 Yoshizumi Ogawa
S 玉田圭司 Keiji Tamada,ヨンセン Frode Johnsen

Oita Trinita - 3
Consadole Sapporo - 2
This match looked to be headed for a 1-1 draw when Ōita's Ueslei and Edmilson each scored as time was running out. Consa's Daigo Nishi( 西大伍 ) drew one back in their valiant effort to level the match but it was not to be.

Yokohama F. Marinos - 1
Kawasaki Frontale - 1

FC Tokyo - 5
Jubilo Iwata - 1
After being defeating Kawasaki Frontale, FC Tokyo certainly is making a run up the table. The Gas Men errupted for five goals starting with Cabore early at strike at the fourteen minute and a late strike by Japan 'capped Naohiro Ishikawa 石川直宏.

Albirex Niigata - 3
Vissel Kobe - 2

Shimizu S-Pulse - 1
Tokyo Verdy 1969 - 0

J-League: week 26
Oita Trinita 26 14 6 6 30 18 48
Nagoya Grampus Eight 26 15 3 8 39 28 48
Urawa Red Diamonds 25 13 6 6 40 25 45
Kashima Antlers 25 12 7 6 45 26 43
Kawasaki Frontale 26 12 6 8 43 35 42
FC Tokyo 26 12 6 8 37 31 42
Gamba Osaka 25 10 7 8 34 33 37
Shimizu S-Pulse 26 10 7 9 32 33 37
Kyoto Purple Sanga 25 10 5 10 26 29 35
Albirex Niigata 26 10 5 11 27 39 35
Kashiwa Reysol 25 9 6 10 31 29 33
Omiya Ardija 25 9 5 11 28 31 32
Yokohama F. Marinos 26 8 7 11 27 27 31
Vissel Kobe 26 7 10 9 28 30 31
Tokyo Verdy 1969 26 9 4 13 34 39 31
JEF United Ichihara-Chiba 26 7 6 13 25 41 27
Jubilo Iwata 26 7 5 14 29 41 26
Consadole Sapporo 26 4 5 17 31 51 17

Urawa Red Diamonds and Gamba Osaka advance to AFC Champions League

Thoughts of all J-League final in the AFC Champions League disappeared as A-League's Adelaide United defeated Kashima Antlers 1-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium. However J-League fans can celebrate as both Urawa Red Diamonds and Gamba Osaka advanced with resounding victories.

Urawa Red Diamonds
defeated Al Qadisiya 2-0, led by goals from Marcus Tulio Tanaka and Takahito Soma in a match that was never in-doubt.

It was a much different match for Gamba as although they dominated possession they could not break through Al Karama defense until Masato Yamazaki, who had come in twenty minutes earlier for Ryūji Bando, netted the first goal. With Al Karama throwing attackers forward, Roni added the second goal to give Osaka Gamba the 2-0 victory.

The Antlers painful offensive draught continued and needing to overtake Adelaide after a 1-1 draw they were held scoreless in a well defended match. With seventeen minutes left in the match Robert Cornthwaite headed a Cássio cross in to give the home 'Roo club the lead. With ten minutes left in the match Japanese capped' Yuzo Tashiro was brought in as a third striker but it was far too late of an effort and in-the-end manager Oswaldo de Oliveira's approach was too conservative.

The semi-finals that will pit Urawa Red Diamonds against Osaka Gamba will commence on October 8 with the second match on the 22nd.