Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dan Petrescu new manager of Kuban Krasnodar

Kuban Krasnodar has masterfully handed its managerial reigns to Dan Petrescu with the signing of a five-year contract, rumoured to be worth €1.5m per season.

Mr. Petrescu, 42, surprised the Romanian football community by resigning his post Unirea Urziceni last Monday, resulting in wide ranging speculation of where he was moving to. After a superb playing career that began with his boyhood club Steaua Bucureti and included five years with Chelsea as well as ninety-five caps for România, he quickly moved

To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dan Petrescu expected to be new manager at Kuban Krasnodar

Dan Petrescu, who shocked the Romanian football community by resigning from Unirea Urziceni last Monday, said to Gazeta Sporturilor that he is considering a number of offers.

The Romanian media magnate further speculated that Mr. Petrescu, 42, will be taking over the managerial reigns of Kuban Krasnodar. Though unconfirmed, a variety of sources are reporting that Kuban has offered to treble his wages at Unirea with a five-year contract of €1.5m per season.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Leeds march past Hartlepool

Leeds promotion bid continued with a 3-1 Boxing Day victory over Hartlepool at Elland Road. With the victory the Whites edge six points clear of Charlton Athletic at the top of the League One table with a match to spare.

To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Sheffield Wednesday holds Newcastle to draw

Newcastle’s ten match unbeaten run continued though in somewhat disappointing fashion as they were held to a 2-2 draw to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. The result of the Boxing Day clash sees the Magpies continue their strangle-hold of the Championship table, ten points above nearest rival Nottingham Forest.

To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Monday, December 21, 2009

CSKA Moskva to add Keisuke Honda from VVV-Venlo

In accordance with club president Evgeniy Giner's lofty goals in European competition, CSKA Moscow are on the verge of signing the highly rated Japan international Keisuke Honda from VVV-Venlo of the Eredivisie.

A highly skilled midfielder / left-back, the twenty-three year-old debuted for Nagoya Grampus of the J-League in 2005 before making the move to the Dutch side two years ago.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Rubin Kazan after Adem Ljajić

Per a variety of news reports, defending Russian champions Rubin Kazan have swooped in to sign FK Paritizan's Adem Ljajić.

Signed by Manchester United in January 2009, along with then Partizan teammate Zoran Tošic, he returned to the defending Serbian champions with the intent of moving to the English club the following year.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

VfB Stuttgart overwhelm Hoffenheim

VfB Stuttgart continued its resurgent play under manager Christian Gross with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over 1899 Hoffenheim at Neckarstadion. The result ends Stuttgart’s nine match winless run in the Bundesliga and pushes them a scant point above Köln, who play Nürnberg on Sunday, in the drop zone whilst 1899 holds down seventh as the Hinrude comes to a conclusion.

To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News

Friday, December 18, 2009

UEFA rules on Sergey Ignashevich and Alexey Berezutsky

CSKA Moscow's Sergey Ignashevich and Alexey Berezutsky have been banned by UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body for one match following a failed drug test.

In addition to the suspensions the club has been fined €25,000 for not adhering anti-doping Regulations. The two Russian internationals underwent doping tests following the 3 November Champions League

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Review of week 30 of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

After thirty extraordinary rounds of competition, the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia came to a brilliant conclusion on Sunday with Rubin Kazan once again crowned champion. In successfully defending its crown, the Tatarstan side has accomplished what few considered possible and though they lack the funds to investment of their counterparts, they tore the campaign with the tactical precision and an astonishing level of professional maturity.

With the title, Rubin Kazan reserves its spot in the Champions League, with Spartak Moscow joining them after earning the silver medal at second place. Despite a late season swoon, the Krasno-belye will remember the year for the stunning turnaround orchestrated by Valeriy Karpin.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Friday, November 27, 2009

week 30 preview of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Though inevitable, the day fans dread the most is upon us as with the coming of the harsh winter, the Russian season concludes on Sunday. It has been a grand and glorious year, dotted with heroic efforts of young players emerging from the unknown and aging veterans summoning the magical touch once again. Through the many ups and downs of the campaign, few years compare with the dramatic story lines of 2009. Whether it was the workmen like title defence of Rubin, Valeriy Karpin coming in from the boardroom to resurrect visions of the extraordinary Oleg Romantsev-led era for Spartak, the triumphant return of Yuriy Semin to Moscow or Anatoliy Davydov taking charge of Zenit, a club to which he has devoted his career to, the campaign was painted with the richest of hues.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

CSKA Moskva defeat Wolfsburg

Leading into Wednesday's evening Champions League match between CSKA and Wolfsburg at Luzhniki Stadium, even a casual observer could note the dramatic shift on the Army-Men's fortunes since Leonid Slutsky took control.

The wayward, often uninspiring play that riddled Zico and Juande Ramos' regime has reversed under the new manager as CSKA is playing inspiring, never-say-quit football, suitable for the club’s rich tradition.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CSKA Moskva welcome Wolfsburg

Following Saturday's stunning comeback victory in the Moscow derby over Spartak, CSKA welcome VfL Wolfsburg to Luzhniki Stadium in Group B action of the Champions League.

If the Army-Men are to have any hope in advancing to the next stage of tournament they will need to come out victorious against Armin Veh's side.

For the Bundesliga champions it has been a far from satisfying start to the defence of their first title. Nestled mid-table in domestic competition, "die Wölfe" have lost much of their attacking edge that was so evident last year and their once home fortress of Volkswagen Arena has disappeared, including last Saturday's loss to FC Nuremberg.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Dinamo Kiev play Rubin Kazan to scoreless draw

Played at-times through a blinding snowstorm, the showdown between Rubin Kazan and Dynamo Kyiv in Group F action of the Champions League did not disappoint for dramatics as the Russian and Ukrainian champions fought through ninety minutes of heated action to a scoreless draw.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Marek Suchý joins Spartak Moskva from Slavia Praha

In speaking to Sports-Express after Rubin Kazan clinched the championship, Spartak Moskva owner Mr Leonid Fedun promise the Krasno-belye "will become even stronger, as we will search for reinforcement during the winter transfer break".

It did not take very long till those words rung true as Spartak has struck gold with the addition of twenty-one year old Marek Suchý on-loan from Spartak Moscow loaned the Czech defender Marek Suchy from Slavia Praha for one season.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

preview of Rubin Kazan versus Dinamo Kiev

Coming off Saturday's triumphant crowning of the Russian title, Rubin Kazan welcome Dynamo Kiev to Centralniy Stadium in Group F play of the Champions League.

In the tightly packed Group F race, Rubin are deadlocked with Barcelona and will advance to the knockout stage of European club football premier event should the La Liga giants fall to Internazionale at Camp Nou and they are able to defeat Dynamo.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Review of week 29 of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Week twenty-nine of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia saw Rubin Kazan celebrate their successful defense of the title. In workman-like fashion, the Tatarstan side showed a style of play that was both void of weaknesses whilst the model of consistency. Despite losing veteran’s Serhiy Rebrov and Savo Milošević from last year’s championship side, Rubin displayed a sense of calm throughout the campaign and pressed forward every challenge. Considering how they balanced the demands of personnel and consistently added younger players to the mix Rubin is looking very capable of extended run atop Russian football.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

week 29 preview of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

The Russian football championship restarts after the break with Week 29 matches as Spartak welcomes CSKA in Moscow derby at Luzhniki and Zenit travels to Kazan to meet Rubin.

In the aftermath of Russia's catastrophic loss to Slovenia there is no denying the domestic football community is in a state of shock. After the soaring fortunes in the Euro 2008, few would have anticipated Russia would have missed out the sports premier event. With this as the backdrop the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia returns for the climatic final two weeks of the campaign on Saturday.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Shakhtar Donetsk no match for Dinamo Kiev

Dinamo Kiev continued its unbeaten form with a 3-0 romp over rivals Shakhtar Donetsk at a packed Lobanovskyy Dynamo stadium. With the victory Valery Gazzayev’s men stand atop the Ukrainian Premier League table at week thirteen with six-point lead on second-place Metalist Kharkiv.

To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Guus Hiddink's future in question

Following the shock loss to Slovenia, which pushed Russia out of next summers World Cup, rumours have begun to swirl of Guus Hiddink's future.

The highly respected Dutch manager took the helm of Russia in April of 2006 and lead them to stunning semi-final finish in the Euro 2008. In a unique move this past February he split duties with Chelsea, managing the English Premier League side following the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari. His short four month tenure in London concluded with a FA Cup triumph over Everton resulting in many suggesting Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to secure his services on a full-time basis.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Russia's ranking for EURO draw

With Russia now eliminated from next summers World Cup, the next major tournament to be faced will be 2012 UEFA Euro that will be jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

PSG no match for Marseille in le Classico

Rescheduled due to an outbreak of the H1N1 virus, Le Classico between Olympique de Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain at Stade Vélodrome resulted in the hosts controlling from start to finish with a 1-0 victory. With the victory Didier Deschamps’ side climb to

To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Russia defeatd by Slovenia

The worst nightmare Russian football could have had came to fruition as they will miss out on the 2010 World Cup via a 2-2 aggregate playoff loss to Slovenia.

The result casts a dark pall over the national team as it brings the exciting run typified by the brilliant run in the Euro 2008 and will surely cause the governing body of the sport to consider how it proceeds in the future.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Russia's difficult test in Maribor

Following Saturday's narrow 2-1 victory over Slovenia in Moscow, Russia travels to Maribor for the deciding leg of the playoff tie.

With a trip to the World Cup in South Africa riding on the result, the match has taken an entire new level of tension, particularly after the unnerving conclusion to opening leg.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Monday, November 16, 2009

costly late goal in Russia's win over Slovenia

Heading into the opening leg of their playoff tie against Slovenia, Russian manager Guus Hiddink warned his side of the opposition's commitment to play up-tempo style through the full ninety minutes.

True to form Slovenia fought to the last gasp and in many ways Russia was fortunate to escape with a 2-1 victory at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. While the victory is naturally well-received by Russia, with the all-important away goal Slovenia manager's Matjaž Kek knows his side are more that

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Following the loss to Germany and ultimate second place finish in Group play, Russia is forced to earn its way to the 2010 World Cup through a two-match playoff round against Slovenia.

Beginning this Saturday evening in Moscow at Luzhniki Stadium, with the second leg on 18 November in Maribor, Russia faces a tantalizing test against a well disciplined up and coming side.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The hotly rumoured return of Roman Pavlyuchenko to Russian football is gaining momentum and with the former Spartak Moscow sharpshooter no longer assured a spot in Guus Hiddink's World Cup selection a move from north London's Tottenham is seemingly in the horizon.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Review week 28 of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

As week twenty-eight of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia comes to a conclusion Rubin Kazan took a major step towards standing on the victors podium once again as they opened up a four point lead Spartak Moscow with a 1-0 victory over CSKA in conjunction with Krylya Sovetov's shocking upset of the Krasno-belye.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

preview of week 28 of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Amongst the snowy backdrop of many of the pitches this time of year, week twenty-eight of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia continues with a series of "make or break matches" as the campaign nears its conclusion.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

CSKA play Manchester United to draw

Tuesday's evening Group B Champions League match between CSKA Moscow and Manchester United at Old Trafford turned out to be a stunning 3-3 draw with the hosts squeezing out the result via a stunning rally.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

CSKA visits Old Trafford

Coming off his winning debut as CSKA Moscow manager, Leonid Slutsky takes the Army-Men to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in Group B play of the Champions League.

Following CSKA's defeat of Beşiktaş on 30 September they dropped their home assignment against Manchester United at Luzhniki Stadium via a late strike Antonio Valencia.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Review of week 27 of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Week twenty-seven in the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia did not disappoint fans as it was rife with action.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Hajduk Split defeats Dinamo Zagreb

In a match that many supporters will define their respective sides campaigns, Hajduk Split defeated Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 at stadion Poljud in front of their home fans. With the win Hajduk climb to ninth in the Prva HNL table whilst Dinamo’s lead-leading stance erodes with Šibenik closing the gap to two points.

To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Leeds United defeat Yeovil Town

Leeds United continued its march towards promotion with a 4-0 devastation of Yeovil Town at Elland Road. With the victory the Whites open up a hearty seven point lead over Charlton Athletic.

To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rubin Kazan face Barcelona in Champions League

In the midst of a top class fight to maintain their lead in domestic play, Rubin Kazan travel to Barcelona on Tuesday in search of their first win in Group F Champions League action.

Rubin Kazan eased out of their recent slump, that started with loss to Dynamo Kyev in their opening Champions League match, with a modest 2-1 victory over relegation doomed Khimki in domestic play this Saturday.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Interview regarding Russia v Slovenia World Cup playoff

John Davies, Sport Express correspondent: "Despite being ranked the lowest in the pot, Slovenia is a highly capable side that, after a slow start to qualifying, went on a rampage combining attacking vision and letter perfect defeat in route to defeating Poland and group winners, Slovakia."

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jermaine Beckford gives Leeds a last gasp victory

Leeds returned to play with a fortunate 2-1 victory over Norwich City in front of the faithful at Elland Road. With the victory the Whites maintain their undefeated start to the League One campaign and climb to the top of the League One table, two points clear of Charlton Athletic, with an extra match to play.

To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Summary of week 25 of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Returning from the international break, week twenty-five of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia separated the wheat from the chaff as the race for the crown is a test of whether defending champion Rubin Kazan can hold off Spartak Moskva and a surging Zenit Saint Petersburg.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

CSKA lose Mark Gonzalez

The Army men midfielder Mark Gonzalez will have to stay out of football till the end of the season.
Earlier report's that suggested Mark Gonzalez would be only out for three weeks have proven to be false as it was revealed prior to CSKA's draw to Spartak Nalchik on Saturday that the Army-Men will be without the services of their key winger for the balance of the campaign.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Preview of week 25 of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Returning from the international break, the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia heads to the final six weeks with the once seemingly insurmountable Rubin Kazan lead suddenly reduced to a single point over Spartak Moskva.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Marseille triumphant past Nancy

Olympique de Marseille returned from the international break with a flourish, downing Nancy 3-0 at Stade Marcel Picot. The victory propels l’OM to within three points of first place Lyonnais, who fell to Sochaux.

To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Russia flounders against Azeri's

Russia's final match in Group 4 play was supposed to be a pride-filled performance before heading into the playoff round but instead turned into a disappointing 1-1 draw in Baku.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Russia faces Azeri's

With the 1-0 loss to Germany, Russia's World Cup qualifying hopes rest on two-legged playoff round on Saturday, 14 November and Wednesday, 18 November 2009.

For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Monday, October 5, 2009

preview week 24 Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Leading into week twenty-four of the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia campaign, the unexpected has occurred as Rubin Kazan’s seemingly insurmountable lead has vanished. For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Zenit Saint Petersburg's choice must be Anatoliy Davydov.

Sport Express correspondent John Davies shares his opinion on the coaching role of Zenit caretaker Anatoliy Davydov.

Since assuming the mantle of responsibility at Zenit Saint Petersburg on 10 August, Anatoliy Davydov has led his side through six matches with only two dropped points. For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

CSKA wins in Champions League play

One of the hallmarks of a champion is the ability to respond under pressure and navigate the difficult road of adversity. Through each season the fortunes of clubs will rise and fall in varying degrees but it how they respond to challenge will establish the mettle of what they are made-of and whether they are worthy of standing on the victors podium. For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yuriy Zhirkov to make his Chelsea debut

The much anticipated debut of Yuriy Zhirkov for Chelsea is slated for Wednesday evening in London’s Stamford Bridge as they welcome Queens Park Rangers in the third round of the Carling Cup.For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Robert Enke out for Germany against Russia

Ahead of the decisive World Cup qualifying match between Russia and Germany on 10 October at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB) revealed that they will be without the services of veteran goalkeeper Robert Enke. For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sporting readies for clássico with win over Olhanense

Montenegrin international Simon Vukčević scored late to give Sporting a 3-2 win over Olhanense at Estádio José Alvalade in Liga Portuguesa action. The result pushes Paulo Bento’s side level with bitter rival Porto ahead of next weeks clash. To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

AIK stays on top of Allsvenskan

AIK stayed extended its unbeaten streak to eleven matches with a 3-0 win over Örgryte IS at Råsunda Stadium in Stockholm. With the win Mikael Stahre’s side stay atop the Allsvenskan table with a narrow one point lead over IFK Göteborg. To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News

Review of week twenty-two of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Week twenty-two of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia concluded with a stunning series of outcomes with seemingly every spot in the table up for grabs. For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chievo ends Rossoblù winning start

Chievo Verona ended Genoa’s perfect start to the Serie A campaign with a 3-1 victory at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi. After their victory in the Europa League over Slavia Praha Thursday evening it was clear the Rossoblù were heavy legged and lacked their normal punch. To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Dinamo Zagreb ruthlessly defeats Rijeka 6-0

Dinamo Zagreb maintained their unbeaten start to the Prva HNL campaign with a ruthless 6-0 defeat of over Rijeka at Stadion Maksimir. Krunoslav Jurčić’s side have opened up a massive six-point advantage over nearest foe, Cibalia, only eight weeks into the Prva HNL campaign. To continue reading please visit the source for important Football information, where journalism stands first: Europa League News.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Preview of week twenty-two of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Week twenty-two of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia starts with an intense battle for survival on Friday night as Spartak Nalchik visits Khimki. Konstantin Sarsaniya's Khimki side is all but mathematically assured of relegation but they have continued to fight the good fight and represented their crest with pride. For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov leads Everton to victory

In his first starting assignment for Everton since moving from Lokomotiv Moskva, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov was a shining star for the English side as they defeated AEK Athens 4-0 in Group I play of the Europa League. For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dinamo Kiev defeat Rubin Kazan

The much anticipated Champions League duel between Dynamo Kyiv and Rubin Kazan did not disappoint as football aficionados were treated to tactically brilliant chess-match between their respective managers, Valeriy Gazzaev and Kurban Berdyev with the Ukrainian champions claiming a 3-1 victory at Valery Lobanovsky Stadium. For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov gets first starting assignment for Everton against AEK

With his squad heavily depleted by injury, Everton manager David Moyes will give former Lokomotiv Moscow captain Diniyar Bilyaletdinov his first starting assignment in the Toffees Europa League match versus AEK Athens on Thursday evening. For full report please visit preeminent Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express (Спорт-Экспресс)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

commentary on Zico's problems with CSKA Moskva

Спорт-Экспресс; contributions with Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express

Emmanuel Adebayor shames Man City in win

Manchester City picked up where they left off before the international break with a 4-2 victory over Arsenal. With the win the Citizens continues their unbeaten start of the Premier League campaign and move within three points of first-place Chelsea with an extra game to play. However the match will be long remembered for Emmanuel Adebayor foul conduct following a late goal, deserving of significant action of the FA and for that matter Mark Hughes. Whilst it is time for regulatory bodies to stand tall against this type of putrid behaviour, it is time for coaches to due the same. Though the FA has done little to it stem the tide of clubs endless buying sprees and all but destroying the regional aspect of the Premier League this must be acted upon with the sternest of hands.

To continue reading please visit Europa League News

preview week 21 Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Спорт-Экспресс; contributions with Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express

Porto extended its undefeated start of the Liga Portuguesa campaign

Porto extended its undefeated start of the Liga Portuguesa campaign with a resounding 4-1 win over Leixões in front of the faithful at Estádio do Dragão. The result pushes Jesualdo Ferreira’s side to a slim one point lead over Braga who face Marítimo on Sunday afternoon.

Returning from the international break after the 29 August 2-1 victory Naval 1º de Maio , the Dragões welcomed Hulk back to the starting eleven after serving a three-match

To continue reading please visit Europa League News

Friday, September 11, 2009

Leeds held to draw by Southend

Leeds stunning run of eight consecutive victories to start the League One campaign came to an end as they were held to a scoreless draw by Southend United. The result maintains the Whites inability to win at Roots Hall since the drop to the third tier of football but edges them a single point above Charlton Athletic who face Southampton on Saturday afternoon.

Simon Grayson’s side welcomed back Jermaine Beckford to the starting eleven after he missed last weeks 2-0 decision over Stockport County and inserted Patrick Kisnorbo and

To continue reading please visit Europa League News

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spartak Nalchik continues fight to safety

Спорт-Экспресс; contributions with Russian daily sports newspaper Sports-Express

Jérôme Rothen joins Rangers

Scottish Premier League champions have acted just before the transfer deadline to bring Jérôme Rothen from Paris Saint-Germain on-loan for a year.

The thirty-one year-old was raised in the shadows of Parc des Princes in Châtenay-Malabry and joined les Rouge et Bleu in 2004 after successful stints with SM Caen, Troyes

to continue reading please visit Europa League News

Monday, August 31, 2009

Andriy Shevchenko scores in debut to Dinamo Kiev

To many the world of sport is a matter of wins and losses, of goals scored and magnificent trophies. Yet as time teaches us there is so much more to sport and the “beautiful game”, with its magical bounces of the simple round ball has a special place reserved for a true hero’s return home.

to continue reading please visit Europa League News

Newcastle edges Leicester City

Newcastle maintained its perfect start to the Championship campaign with a 1-0 victory over Leicester City at St James’ Park. With the result the Magpies stay atop the early season table, nudging two points behind West Brom.

to continue reading please visit Europa League News

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Boca Juniors defeats Lanús 2-1

After the disastrous Clausura, Boca Juniors maintained their fine form of the Apertura campaign with 2-1 defeat of Lanús at La Fortaleza. Coupled with the opening draw with Argentinos since taking over from Carlos Ischia in July, veteran manager Alfio Basile is moving quickly stem the tide of discontent that swarmed La Bombonera with classic Boca styling.

to continue reading please visit Europa League News

PSG defeat LOSC Lille Métropole 3-0

Les Rouge et Bleu followed-up their victory over Antoine Kombouaré’s former side Valenciennes 3-2 with a blood-thirsty 3-0 domination of LOSC Lille Métropole in front of the faithful at Parc des Prince. With the victory the Parisiens maintain their perfect form in the early Ligue 1 campaign and are locked in a three-way tie with Bordeaux and Lyonnais.

to continue reading please visit Europa League News

Man City over Portsmouth

Manchester City continued its fine unbeaten run in the early Premier League campaign with a 1-0 defeat of Portsmouth at Fratton Park. The Citizens put their perfect record on the line as high-flying Arsenal visits Eastlands on 12 September following the international break.

To continue reading please visit Europa League News

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart play to draw

The much anticipated duel between Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart ended in a 1-1 draw in front of a packed Westfalenstadion. With the result, the clubs are locked in the middle of the table, three points off leaders Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Schalke 04.

Behind the support of their voracious fans, die Schwarzgelben controlled much of the day and will feel slighted with the single point. Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund went forward without Sebastian Kehl but welcomed back Dedê to the starting eleven. To the surprise of all VfB-Coach Markus Babbel brought Julian Schieber, Sebastian Rudy and Georg Niedermeier into the starting grid with Pavel Pogrebnyak, Timo Gebhart and Serdar Tasci relegated to the bench.

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Leeds over Tranmere 3-0

Leeds continued its opening run of four consecutive victories with a hearty 3-0 defeat of Tranmere at Elland Road. With the victory the Whites and Charlton Athletic are the only sides without a blemish in the opening four matches of the campaign.

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Manchester City defeats Wolverhampton 1-0

Manchester City pressed on after its opening week success with a 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton at Eastlands. Unlike last years style of play, the Citizens composure will provide their supporters reason for optimism as the almost typical defending miscues were greatly nullified.

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PSG defeats Valenciennes 3-2

Les Rouge et Bleu maintained its unbeaten record of the young Ligue 1 campaign with a 3-2 victory over Antoine Kombouaré’s former side Valenciennes at Stade Nungesser. With the result Paris Saint-Germain are level with Lyon and l’OM at the top of the Ligue 1 table after three match-days.

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Krylia Sovetov held to draw by Rostov

Following last weeks victory against Khimki, Krylia Sovetov appeared to have turned the corner of recent problems. However that theory fell apart Saturday as they played Rostov to a 2-2 draw at Metallurg Stadion in Samara. Though Leonid Slutsky’s side dominated for long stretches of the match they were riddled with defending woes, poor finishing and fell victim to stunning work of Rostov ‘keeper Roman Gerus.

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CSKA Moskva defeats Khimki

Through the course of each season, top sides will often have victories that leave supporters less-than satisfied. CSKA’s 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Khimki at Luzhniki Stadium on Saturday afternoon will have precisely that effect as despite some brilliant play by Daniel Carvalho, Mark González and Miloš Krasić, the overall performance of the Army-Men was far below their capabilities.

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Spartak Nalchik defeat Tom Tomsk

Each year, in leagues around the world, clubs emerge from the relegation zone with the “great escape”. Saturday evening Spartak Nalchik made claim that they were going to fight off relegation with a shocking 3-0 defeat Tom Tomsk 3-0 in front of their home fans.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Jack Rodwell leads Everton to win of Sigma Olomouc

After a foul start to their Premier League season, losing 6-1 to Arsenal, Everton rebounded with a hearty 4-0 demolition of Sigma Olomouc at Goodison Park.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nacional defeat Zenit Saint Petersburg 4-3 in Europa League

Aleksandr Dyukov’s first European encounter as manager of Zenit Saint Petersburg ended in a 4-3 loss to Nacional da Madeira in the opening leg of their Europa League playoff round tie. With the result Zenit will look to overturn the goal differential in next Thursdays match at Petrovsky.

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Amkar Perm loses 3-1 to Fulham in Europa League

After falling 4-2 to Zenit Saint Petersburg in league action on Sunday, Amkar Perm’s problems continued with a 3-1 defeat in the opening leg of their Europa League playoff round match against Fulham. Despite the loss Dimitar Dimitrov’s side have a distinctive advantage over their opponents as Fulham faces a difficult derby against Chelsea on Sunday before the long trip to Perm.

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MFK Košice play Roma to 3-3 draw in Europa League

In front of their extraordinarily supportive supporters at Štadión Lokomotívy, MFK Košice played Serie A giants Roma to a 3-3 draw in the opening leg of the Europa League playoff round.

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Rossoblù defeat Odense BK 3-1

On the verge of the Serie A season opener, Genoa initiated its Europa League efforts with a 3-1 defeat of Danish-side Odense BK at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

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Dinamo Moskva play CSKA Sofia to scoreless draw

After a difficult fallout in recent Champions League play, with much blame falling upon the the lack of experience in European play Andrey Kobelev’ Dinamo Moskva responded by holding CSKA Sofia to in a scoreless draw in Bulgaria. The result leaves Dinamo well positioned for the second leg of the tie next Thursday.

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Slavia Praha defeats Crvena Zvezda 3-0 loss in Europa League

After a series of top quality performances Crvena Zvezda were handed a difficult 3-0 loss by Slavia Praha in the opening leg of their Europa League playoff round tie. The Czech Gambrinus liga champions now hold a commanding lead as the second leg heads to Belgrade next Thursday.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dinamo Kiev defeats Kryvbas Kryvy Rih 3-1

With Dinamo Kiev racing out of the gate in defense of their Ukrainian Premier League crown with successive blow-outs of Chornomorets Odesa and Tavriya Simferopol, the question leading into Saturday’s match against Kryvbas Kryvy Rih wasn’t was whether

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Spartak Moskva dominate Kuban Krasnodar 4-0

As the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia turns the corner to the second half of the campaign there should be little doubt that Spartak Moskva is focused upon returning the crown to its domain. While Rubin Kazan and CSKA meandered through their matches this weekend, Spartak was ruthless against Kuban Krasnodar, devouring them 4-0 in-front of

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Standard Liège shocked in opener

Standard Liège's opening day defense of their Jupiler Pro League crown started with a whimper rather than a roar as they played newly promoted Sint-Truidense to a 2-2 draw in front of their home fans at Stade Maurice Dufrasne.

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FC Moskva edge Terek Grosny

Behind the exemplary service of Edgaras Česnauskis, FC Moskva kept with a point of the first-place Rubin Kazan as they defeated Terek Grosny 2-1. Heading into the match Miodrag Božović’s side faced a daunting task against the Chechen-side, who were undefeated in their previous six matches at home. In the first

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Rapid Bucureşti defeats Poli Iaşi 4-1

Rapid Bucureşti ushered in Romania’s Liga 1 campaign with a thundering statement of intent as they defeated Poli Iaşi 4-1 in-front of their vocal home fans at Stadionul Giuleşti-V. Stănescu.

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CSKA Moskva defeats Tom Tomsk

Leading into Saturday afternoon’s visit of CSKA Moskva and Tom Tomsk, it was difficult not to feel an emotional tug towards the Siberian side. Though laden with significant financial woes that has seen players go without salaries for extended periods, Томь have fought brilliantly and displayed strength and solidarity. The loss of Sergei Kornilenko to

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Rubin Kazan defeats Spartak Nalchik

Through the course of each campaign the road to winning the crown will include a number of win that are best described as “ugly”. With this in-mind Rubin Kazan manager Gurban Berdiýew will definitely slot his sides 2-0 victory over Spartak Nalchik in defense of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia title

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Shakhtar Donetsk defeat Illichivets Mariupol 2-0

Though the Ukrainian Premier League campaign is only two weeks old and given the power base of Dinamo Kiev, Shakhtar Donetsk cannot afford even the slightest of slip-ups. Mircea Lucescu did precisely that, albeit less commanding than their Kiev rivals, with an efficient 2-0 victory over Illichivets Mariupol.

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Dinamo Kiev defeats Tavriya Simferopol 6-0

Following their opening week 5-0 domination over Chornomorets Odesa, the Valery Gazzayev led of Dinamo Kiev steamrolled Tavriya Simferopol 6-0 at Lobanovsky Stadium. The victory further demonstrates the vast difference with Dinamo and Shakhtar with the balance of the Ukrainian league as both sides are head and shoulders above all others.

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Zenit plays Rubin Kazan to draw

At the end of each campaign, clubs will turn a glancing eye back on the battles and review the missed opportunities with wonder if this was a turning point that was missed.

Nestled five points out of the top spot as the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia, Zenit Saint Petersburg cast aside a delicious opportunity to climb back into the battle for the top spot as they played Rubin Kazan to an unsatisfying nil draw at Petrovsky Stadium.

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Moskva derby between Lokomotiv and Dinamo ends in draw

With Moskva bathed in derby weekend, Saturday’s Footballing crowd turned its attention to Lokomotiv versus Dinamo. With Dinamo only three points off the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia’s top spot the rivalry possessed an added slice of intensity for Andrey Kobelev’s side.

Shadowing the match was a sense of uneasiness around Lokomotiv. Since the much talked about return of Yuri Semin from Dinamo Kiev, the club has stumbled through three

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Khimki defeats Amkar Perm

Match day fifteen of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia started with lower table battle between relegation threatened Khimki and visiting Amkar Perm.

For Dimitar Dimitrov’s side from Perm, last years noble fourth place finish that earned them a playoff round spot in the Europa League is a barely a faint memory. Mired in a dreadful slump during the opening half of the campaign hopes of a similar finish are long

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Steaua Bucureşti advance in Europa League

Cristiano Bergodi extended his winning record as manager of Steaua Bucureşti as his side defeated Újpest in the second leg of their Europa League tie.

After winning the opening leg 2-0 it was very clear that the Roş-albaştrii were going to control the match with patient tactical styling the new manager prefers. Ensuring they were never exposed at the back, the Romanian side established a patient run of play

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Crvena Zvezda defeats Rudar Velenje 4-0

Legendary Serbian side Crvena Zvezda continued their extraordinary play under new manager Vladimir Petrović with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Rudar Velenje in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

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Dinamo Tbilisi defeat Liepājas Metalurgs in Europa League

With their backs against the wall after losing the opening leg of their Europa League second qualifying round match 2-1, Dinamo Tbilisi (Georgia) storm back to defeated Liepājas Metalurgs (Latvia) 3-1. With the victory the Georgian side will move to the next stage of the tournament against Crvena Zvezda (Serbia) or Rudar Velenje (Slovenia).

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dinamo Zagreb defeats FC Pyunik in Europa League

After playing Dinamo Zagreb to a scorless draw in Yerevan, Armenian Premier League champions FC Pyunik lost 3-0 in the second leg of the tie at Maksimir Stadium. With the result the Croatian powerhouse will now face FC Salzburg in the next stage of the Champions League.

Vardan Minasyan’s visiting side came out with notable intention but following a number of chances falling for naught, the hosts began to push forward, led by their bounty of

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CSKA Moskva play Rubin Kazan to scoreless draw

CSKA Moskva missed a glorious chance to close the gap on Rubin Kazan in the race for the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia as they played Spartak Nalchik to a disappointing nil draw at Luzhniki Stadium.

Heading into a comfortable mid summer night match in Moscow, the Army-Men were primed with the knowledge that a win against relegation threatened Spartak Nalchik would push them to within a single point of Rubin Kazan. However as their disappointing season of peaks and valleys would attest, once again Zico’s side came up a morsel short

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Belarusian international Sergei Kornilenko moves to Zenit

Twenty-six year old Belarusian international Sergei Kornilenko as agreed to a transfer from Tom Tomsk. Having a brilliant start to the campaign with six goals in ten matches, the striker will join Dick Advocaat’s side on 1 August when the transfer window opens.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Spartak Moskva play Krylia Sovetov to 1-1 draw

Spartak Moskva missed a glorious chance to climb within a single point of Rubin Kazan in the chase for the Russian championship as it played Krylia Sovetov to a 1-1 draw at Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The result was a fortunate one for Valery Karpin’s side as they were unable to break through their curmudgeonly defending of their guests until Vladimir Bystrov heroics with three minutes remaining.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Shakhtar Donetsk starts campaign off right

The hunt for the Ukrainian champions started from the get-go as UEFA Cup Champions Shakhtar Donetsk started their campaign with a solid 3-0 victory over Kryvbas Kryvy Rih.

After an early scoring chance was thwarted, Mircea Lucescu’s side took the lead at the nineteenth minute when Jádson struck a perfectly free-kick from outside of the area over the wall and into the top left corner of the net. Four minutes past the half-hour

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CSKA Moskva defeats Rubin Kazan

With their collective backs against the wall and the campaign seemingly adrift, CSKA Moskva fought back for a much needed 2-1 win over defending champions Rubin Kazan. For the Zico-led Army-Men the win was paramount to the day as their season has been rife with disappointment and a loss would have choked out any chance of claiming the title.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Genoa revamps lineup

After finishing fifth in Serie A Genoa has went through a radical re-working of its lineup. Staring down a spot in the Europa League playoff round Club president Enrico Preziosi has worked hard to compensate for the losses of Diego Milito and Thiago Motta to Inter Milan as well the anticipated departure of Matteo Ferrari to Turkish side Besiktas. While few will suggest that the Rossoblù can replace the loss of Il Principe and many will question the behind the scenes rationale for the move, Mr. Preziosi has insisted there are many more “perle sul piatto”.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Austria falls to Serbia

Dietmar Constantini's Austria side can hold their heads high after falling 1-0 to Serbia in Belgrade. The result is another import cog in Austria's long climb up world rankings and much will be learned from the match.

With over 50,000 in support Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Dietmar Constantini pushed forward with Rapid Wien duo Stefan Maierhofer and "Jimmy" Hoffer paired up top as well is giving international debuts to Aleksandar Dragović and Jakob Jantscher. The visitor gave the White Eagles a startle early on with Stefan Maierhofer's however it was only seven minutes in before Radomir Antić's side found the mark. After Danko Lazović was brought down in the area by Spartak Moskva's Martin Stranzl, the spot was pointed to. Crvena Zvezda's talented captain Nenad Milijaš calmly stepped and made no mistake giving Serbia the 1-0 lead. Chances were at a premium for the balance of the half with Austria unwilling to expose itself to the Serbia's fast pace countering ability. At the restart Serbia ushered in 1860 München's Antonio Rukavina for an injured Nemanja Vidić and the defender came in handy as he cleared Stefan Maierhofer's effort off the line. Eleven minutes in Austria summoned Rubin Okotie and goal scoring machine, Marc Janko in at striker but it was the Serb's who came close three minutes later as Genoa's Boško Janković rang the ball off the post from a set-piece. Still on the hunt for the equalizer, Austria's Marc Janko came within a whisper of finding the needed touch as he pounded the ball off the crossbar from twenty metres with thirteen minutes remaining and later-on, only to be denied by Serbian 'keeper Vladimir Stojković. Without further mark the match concluded with Austria falling 1-0 to Serbia in a superb display.

youthful exuberance leads Wales to victory

Laden with injuries Wales manager John Toshack was forced to deploy a an extremely young side against Azerbaijan. However in a reaffirming note, Wales etched the promise of tomorrow into stone as they defeated a tough Azerbaijan 1-0.

With Readings Simon Church earning his first international cap, Wales encountered a stubborn host side and within a difficult playing environment John Toshack's side did extremely well keeping emotions in check. To many the match had a sharper tone to this with the Azerbaijan side both highly physical and the beneficiary of a series obvious calls not being called. After a few reasonable chances Wales took the lead three minutes before the break as Azerbaigan 'keeper Farhad Veliyev pushed a cross out but the ball fell to Wolverhampton's David Edwards to scuttled the ball in. Down by one the hosts poured forward keeping Wales under constant pressure but once again it was another Wolves man who came to the rescue, this time 'keeper Wayne Hennessey turning aside a number of chances. Despite the pressure Wales left Baku with the 1-0 victory.

In stressing a team victory John Toshack told BBC Sport Wales after the match:

"I think we are pleased to have got a positive result, particularly under the circumstances.

"In view of the absentees which has been well documented, I think the side did ever so well.

"I don't want to pick out any player, they were all excellent.

"But Simon Church on his full debut gave us everything he had. He ran and worked all night and can be very happy with his display.

Răzvan Lucescu era begins in style

The Răzvan Lucescu-era began in style as the young manager lead Romania to a 1-0 victory over Lithuania. The result pulls the "tricolori" level with Austria, two points behind the Lithuanians in third.

From the start Romania went on the attack as Tiberiu Ghioane of Ukraine champions Dynamo Kyiv narrowly missed connecting with Ciprian Marica only three minutes in. The VfB Stuttgart striker, Marica, was a whirlwind of activity and after a number of failed efforts he found the mark with six minutes remaining as he sent the ball in from twenty metres. The Lithuanian side continued to have difficulty marking Ciprian Marica but with Romania displaying textbook defending, their was no breaking through and the match concluded without further mark.

Along with "tricolori" debuts for Iulian Apostol (Unirea Urziceni) and Mihai Roman (FC Braşov), the match will be remembered as a exciting first step to recovery with Răzvan Lucescu in charge.

Japan claims World Cup spot with victory over Uzbekistan

Takeshi Okada's Japan claimed a World Cup spot with 1-0 victory over Uzbekistan.

The Blue Samurai opened the scoring nine minutes in when Shimizu S-Pulse striker Shinji Okazaki’s got on the end of Kengo Nakamura through ball and after his initial attempt was saved he managed to head the rebound in. With the exception of the early goal, Japan displayed a masterful plan that nullified Uzbeks dangerous attacker Server Djeparov (FC Bunyodkor) and rarely allowed a legitimate effort towards 'keeper Seigo Narazaki until late. Finally in the last stages of the match the Uzbeks started to apply pressure but efforts by Djeparov and Islom Tuhtahujaev (Neftchi Farg'ona) were unable to find the net.

Following the match the manager said:

“It was a tough game, as we had expected, and our players fought hard until the very end of the game. They showed their mental toughness when our opponents wouldn’t let us play our brand of football. This is just the start for us. I’m grateful that we have got this opportunity.”

Ricardo Quaresma edges closer to Genoa

Confident that Ricardo Quaresma is set to make the move to the Rossoblù, club president Enrico Preziosi declared on Italian media outlet "Radio Radio" that negotiations for the Portuguese international will be finalized next week:

“I am certain we will conclude negotiations for Quaresma next week."

Of the talented Robert Acquafresca, it appears he is unlikely headed to Genova as Mr. Preziosi said, "I think he will go elsewhere with a team able to guarantee him first team football."

Addressing concerns of Domenico Criscito and Raffaele Palladino, the president assured Genoa supporters that terms will be met with Juventus to seem them return:

“Our intention is to keep (Raffaelle) Palladino and (Domenico) Criscito. We will soon meet with Juventus and I am sure we will reach an agreement.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Samuel Eto'o edging closer to Man City

While you may want to hold off the celebratory bubbly a morsel longer, a variety of internal sources are confirming that Barcelona is preparing to accept a hefty offer from Manchester City for Samuel Eto'o.

Earlier in the week less reliable media outlets in Spain had suggested the deal was nearing the final stages but of-course the difference between the negotiation table and signature on a contract is quite a long walk. For Samuel Eto'o the decision tree is convoluted because he would be leaving a Champions League title holder to a side out of a European football but with hefty promises for the future and of-course a substantial pay hike.

Barcelona's motivation on this seems to be very straight forward as they are looking to pull off a mid-day heist of Bayern München's Franck Ribéry and with Cameroonian contract expiring at the end of next season, they could easily fund much of their attempt with a purchase by City. Equally stated with much of the Footballing world on a crash course of budgetary constraints options their are limited for the twenty-eight year old striker despite being one of the best pure goal scorers in the game today.

Michael Skibbe era begins for die Adler

Stressing an era of "attractive, attacking Football", Michael Skibbe has been appointed Head Trainer of Eintracht. At only forty-three years of age, he has already amassed a long history in the coaching world, starting first with Schalke twenty years ago, with significant stops with Dortmund, Leverkusen and proudly serving the DFB.

Beyond the opening press conference this should be seen as a possible long-term solution for Eintracht along with a leader who is known for keeping an eye towards developing players.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jesualdo Ferreira adds Alvaro Pereira to Porto lineup

Os Dragões have acted quickly in the transfer market with the brilliant signing of Alvaro Pereira from Romanian side CFR Cluj for a fee of €4.5m representing eighty per-cent of his rights. The twenty-four year-old Uruguayan international, while primarily being used in more of a defensive position with Cluj had previously shown quality scoring vision with Argentinos Juniors previously.

Dragões add Maicon from CD Nacional

Porto bolstered its back-line with the addition of Maicon from CD Nacional. The twenty year-old former Cruzeiro agreed to terms that will see him a part of os Dragões through June of 2014.

In joining the azuis e brancos, the young defender noted:

"It's the happiest day of my life. Porto are one of the best and most respected clubs in Europe. I've always dreamed of playing in the Champions League because it's a great stage. Porto have a tradition in the competition and I hope I can maintain that."

Wolfsburg to be tempted with offers for Edin Džeko

As rumours swirling of Edin Džeko possibly heading to Manchester City, AC Milan or Chelsea, the Bosnia and Herzegovina international stated in a radio interview:

"Talks on a new contract with Wolfsburg are currently underway. If I get what I have asked for I will most likely stay there for another year."

That aside, with Manchester City sniffing around, the asking price of £9m could make a sizable jump to the point that it would be impossible for Wolfsburg to turn down. With Man City's attempt to sign Carlos Tevez suffering some growing pains, it is very possible the Wolfsburg could see a bidding war erupt for the Sarajevo native.

Man City's dirty dealings

As foretold last July, Manchester City has announced a long-term branding partnership with Nike subsidiary Umbro.

Former Brand-Jordan lead, now Man City CEO Garry Cook said of the deal:

"We are thrilled to announce this key partnership. We are building a successful and sustainable football club for the future and our partners are integral to that. Umbro share our commitment to innovation, the city of Manchester and creating world-class experiences for its customers and our fans."

This deal was as good as done the moment Garry Cook was brought into City in May of 2008 with the first steps laid when Nike purchased Umbro for £285m earlier in the year. While the business aspect of it is a muddled pool of questionable relationships, for City fans behind the scenes the association will assist in the clubs many dealings to materialize.

Danijel Pranjić moves to Bayern München

Per a variety of reports Heerenveen will be without Danijel Pranjić next season as he has moved to Bayern München for a fee rumoured to be €10m. Since arriving from Dinamo Zagreb in 2005 the Croatia international has been a constant goal scoring threat for de Friezen and a will be tough loss in Trond Sollied's lineup. Speaking to German media giant Bild, he expressed his excitement of the move to Bayern who additionally signed his former Dinamo teammate Ivica Olić:

"I am already really looking forward to playing together with Ivica Olić in the future."

Hernán Crespo on a mission

Without a doubt Hernán Crespo has sent a message in joining the Rossoblù as he wants to not only prove he still prove he can be a force in Serie A once again but worthy of selection to the Albicelestes. In speaking to Buenos Aires based newspaper Clarìn, the former River Plate sharpshooter reiterated that the noble pride of playing for his homeland and that, "the move to Genoa gives (me) the opportunity to play with confidence and the chance of playing in my fourth World Cup."

Yuri Zhirkov focused on Russia's match against Finland

With CSKA Moskva's Yuri Zhirkov quickly emerging as one of Russia's brightest young stars, the faithful around Luzhniki fret whether they'll be chanting “Zhirkov” for much longer. The play-maker extraordinaire has been linked to Roman Abramovich's Chelsea and most recently, Barcelona.

Hopeful that he'll continue to grace CSKA's lineup but the deeply patriotic Russian international might not be so inclined to make the move unless he is confident of a spot in the starting eleven. Speaking to Russian media giant Sports Express he noted that with regards to a possible move to London, "I know no more about it that any other people." Equally young Mr Zhirkov is very focused on CSKA's Champions League efforts, noting that his side will be in the Champions League this year.

However at present his focus is squarely on Russia's World Cup qualifying match against Finland next Wednesday stating, "now I am preparing for the coming match in Finland and try not filling my head with other things."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Crisis mode for PSG

Deny it all he will, new manager Antoine Kombouaré takes the reigns of Paris Saint-Germain with the club veiled in crisis mode.

Through a series of mismanaged moves by PSG président Sébastien Bazin, the club is not only dealing with a end of season collapse that dropped the club out of the Europa League, precipitated by the poorly timed decision of announcing Paul Le Guen would not be back and a likely defection of a number of players. The laundry list of talented players either fed-up with the events around the capital since Charles Villeneuve was ousted or simply be sought-after in the transfer market effectively works through their starting eleven. While there is quite obviously a great deal to be settled it is entirely possibly that les Rouge et Bleu lineup by the time August rolls around will no longer include Mickaël Landreau, Guillaume Hoarau, Stéphane Sessegnon, Jérémy Clément, Clément Chantôme and Jérôme Rothen. Add Mamadou Sakho to the delight of Arsène Wenger's wish list and first course of business now that the dog and pony show introduction of Antoine Kombouaré to the public is complete is to stem the crisis.

Unfortunately at this time the club seems more focused on deflecting attention by bringing in Patrick Vieira from Inter Milan, most likely on-loan, then concern over building upon a fine core lineup. Respectfully the addition of a midfielder, albeit one with extraordinary pedigree, who will be thirty-three years of age at the start of the campaign and equally has a poor track record of injuries isn't the precise direction the club needs to take. Most certainly he is a top shelf addition but this is far removed from addition of players moving towards the highlight of their career and lest PSG supporters forget how easily it was to pry David N'Gog from their roster last year.

Daniel Sturridge likely heading to Chelsea

Mancunian's will be left scratching their heads on this one as it appears that Daniel Sturridge, when he turned down the Citizens most recent contract offer, wasn't bluffing and near to inking a contract with Chelsea.

While Academy product's must be a priority for the club at all times, The Guardian is reporting that the young England U21 international was offered £55k per-week by the Man City. While this number naturally has not been substantiated by the club, unless grossly inaccurate it is peculiar comment of young Mr. Sturridge's loyalty to the club that he would leave the club at this time not to mention his business savvy. Unfortunately the young mans agents are doing him a disservice because not only would he be assured of be a fixture in Mark Hughes plans but I hasten to tell him, he can likely get by on what amounts to just under £3m per year.

crumbling Setanta ready to drop on SPL

With Irish broadcaster Setanta tumbling into deep financial crisis, all Scottish Premier League clubs are facing some highly turbulent days. At present Setanta owes the SPL its final £3m installment but given the companies crumbling business, unless it works out an arrangement with another broadcaster or receives an inflow of capital not only is the final payment for the 2008/2009 campaign in jeopardy but next years £25m fee as well.

Setanta has until next Monday to pay the amounts owing before going into formal default. Should this occur, each SPL will be faced with some highly problematic cash flow situations and financing credit lines are likely to be tightened considerably.

While this problem is shared by all Scottish Premier League sides, the Gers face a number of balance sheet woes that must be dealt with. Should the existing broadcasting contract go into default the Rangers will likely need to expedite cost cutting measures.

Borussia's new coach

His work complete, Hans Meyer once again exhibited great care for Borussia as he stepped down at the end of the season. Citing the need for the club to have a younger coach, the now-legendary legendary stepped aside for what he believed to be the best interest of Borussia. There is only one word needed to describe such a move; leader.

Now in the wake of this move die Fohlen have acted fast and appointed Michael Frontzeck as coach. For Borussia, it hopefully leads towards a long-term solution of coaching as the forty-five year old former player of over 250 appearances for the club, deeply recognizes its traditions.

Taken in lump sum the work of Hans Meyer can not or will not be forgotten. Through his genius and simple command of "courage", Borussia did what others felt impossible. Now, after his noble stepping down, the next generation of leadership can take the club forward and none better Borussia-man Michael Frontzeck.

Genoa closing in on big signings

As per the Genoa web-site the club is going through the final stages of completing the transfer to bring Sergio Floccari from Atalanta's and Inter Milan's Hernán Crespo to the Rossoblù. Both players are likely to be formally introduced shortly but this seems

In addition to trying to woo Ricardo Quaresma to ply his trade in Genova, club president Enrico Preziosi is very interested in Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Juninho, Moussa Dembélé from Eredivisie champions AZ and Fernando Menegazzo from Bordeaux. Of the latter three the commentary seems more to be a "wish-list" best of players of interest. Whle Juninho at thirty-four years of age is definitely still remarkable from set plays, the young Belgian striker Moussa Dembélé is full of enormous promise and would be a premier signing for years to come.

Die Schwarzgelben send back Kevin-Prince Boateng

While not a surprise, Kevin-Prince Boateng is set to return to English side Tottenham as BVB will not be exercising this option. The German U-21 international had moved to the English side from Berlin for a rumoured fee of £5.4m in July of 2007 (then €8.6m). Despite showing a great deal of promise for Jürgen Klopp with a option fee reputedly in the range of €6.7m to €8.6m, he was simply out of the Dortmunders price range.

Dick Advocaat to lead Belgium

In an absolutely stunning move, Dick Advocaat has resigned from Zenit Saint Petersburg and will now manage the Belgian national team. While the sixty-two year old leader had recently noted the in the media that, "Zenit will by my last club. I will be 62 by the end of the year, so it is time to change my life a little bit", it is certainly a surprise for the clubs loyal supporters.

Mr. Advocaat leaves Saint Petersburg after three years of loyal service that includes the winning the Rosgosstrakh Russian Football Championship, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.

Mark Hughes targets Carlos Tevez

With City staking the first major coup of the summer signing season adding Gareth Barry to the fold, Mark Hughes and company are pushing onward. The club has some clear cut targets and will use the hot and heavy summer to radically transform their squadron. With rumours running rampant of notable's such as Samuel Eto'o and Joleon Lescott being targeted, next in the big-game hunting season appears to be Manchester United's Carlos Tevez, with City apparently more than willing to ante up the £32m.

How reliable are said rumours of the Argentine's signing being imminent are a matter of debate. However City's approach is without a doubt to make quick-fire signings with surgical precision thus enabling further high-profile signings.

Austria v Serbia match preview

Dietmar Constantini's Austrian side travel to Belgrade's Stadion Crvena Zvezda to face surging Serbia in World Cup qualifying on Saturday. Following the 2-1 victory over Romania in April, Austria still has a slight chance of qualifying, albeit through a multitude of unlikely results. Regardless of qualifying the turnaround orchestrated by the Österreichischer Fußball Bund has been nothing short of remarkable as Austria has catapulted from 108th in FIFA World ranking in July 2008 to 70th in the most recent results. Combined with the superb play of the development "unders", the future bodes well for Austria.

Standing in the way on Saturday is one of the hottest nations in World Cup qualifying, Serbia. Radomir Antić has his White Eagles side on the verge of sealing qualification and a packed house in beautiful Belgrade will ensure the match is played in a smoldering cauldron. After an early stumble against France, Serbia heads into Saturday's affair knowing that a victory is crucial in securing a trip to South Africa.

Austria will be without their leader Middlesbrough's Emanuel Pogatetz and will debut Aleksandar Dragović (Austria Wien), Julian Baumgartlinger (1860 München), Jakob Jantscher (Sturm Graz) and Florian Klein (LASK). Experience is at a premium and given the attacking prowess of the hosts in conjunction with a youthful Austrian side, Dietmar Constantini is likely to deploy a more defensive minded approach.

Răzvan Lucescu led Romania travels to Lithania

In his first match in-charge of Romania after taking over from Victor Piţurcă, Răzvan Lucescu prepares his side for a difficult test against a tough Lithuania. Unquestionably the "tricolori" have entered into a rebuilding mode with an eye towards the future but that won't stop the young leader in reestablishing pride and confidence.

In putting together his lineup the new manager has the luxury of captain Cristian Chivu returning to the lineup but once again Adrian Mutu will miss out. Romania will welcome six to the honour of international competition with Iulian Apostol, Mircea Bornescu, Ovidiu Dănănae, George Galamaz, Răzvan Pădureţu and Mihai Roman each earning their first cap. New faces aside will feature Timişoara's Gigi Bucur who has been virtually unstoppable this year and Florin Costea, who has his side on the verge of a Europa League bid.

With it impossible to temper my confidence in Răzvan Lucescu, expect a very strong performance and for Romania to big its move back upon FIFA World rankings of 28.

Dănuţ Coman (FC Braşov) Costel Pantilimon (FC Timişoara), Mircea Bornescu (Universitatea Craiova), George Galamaz (Unirea Urziceni)

Cristian Chivu (Inter Milan), Ovidiu Dănănae (Universitatea Craiova), George Galamaz (Unirea Urziceni), Dorin Goian (Steaua Bucureşti), Mihai Neşu (FC Utrecht), Mirel Rădoi (Al-Hilal), Răzvan Raţ (Shakhtar Donetsk), Cristian Săpunaru (FC Porto)

Iulian Apostol (Unirea Urziceni), Florin Costea (Universitatea Craiova),Tiberiu Ghioane (Dynamo Kyiv), Costin Lazăr (Rapid Bucureşti), Bogdan Mara (CFR Cluj), Răzvan Pădureţu (Unirea Urziceni), Mihai Roman (FC Braşov), Cristian Tănase (Argeş Piteşti),

Gigi Bucur (FC Timişoara), Ionel Dănciulescu (Dinamo Bucureşti, Ciprian Marica (VfB Stuttgart), Marius Niculae (Dinamo Bucureşti)

Wales heads to Azerbaijan with youthful side

Without anywhere else to turn Wales manager John Toshack will dip further into his U21 pool of talent as his side faces Azerbaijan on Saturday. To call Wales "plagued with injuries" is a modest understatement as they are without Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale, James Collins, Jack Collison, Simon Davies, Ched Evans and Sam Ricketts, thus requiring a number of players jumping the gun into top flight international play.

Nottingham Forest's elder statesman Robert Earnshaw, at the well preserved ancient age of twenty-eight will lead the youth troop in Baku with young guns Chris Gunter, Joe Ledley and Aaron Ramsey in tow. For Wales this is most certainly a "learning experience" where they learn to compete in the line of fire with management knowing full-well that many players are years off from their prime. While showing fine patience and discipline in the most recent match against Estonia, they need to slowly build their confidence and learn to attack.

For Wales supporters this is an intriguing look at the younger players development Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder David Edwards, Leicester City's Andy King, Joe Allen of Swansea City and Reading striker Simon Church getting a chance to prove their worth on the international stage.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gareth Barry joins Manchester City

With a well fortified balance sheet in place, Man City acted quickly to sign Gareth Barry from Aston Villa for a fee of £12m. Upon signing a five-year contract rumoured to be in the vicinity of £90k per week, the midfield said via the club web-site:

"I'm delighted to be joining City. It didn't take much persuasion from Mark Hughes, they are heading in the direction I want to go. There is great potential here, and I'm sure there will be a few more additions to the squad this summer."

Manager Mark Hughes said of his new midfielder:

“Gareth is widely acknowledged as one of the top midfielders in the Premier League, and that is a recommendation in itself. When players of his quality become available then you have to be in the market for them, so we are absolutely delighted that we have been able to conclude this deal.

“The experience required to compete with the best in the Premier League is vital, and with Gareth we get the experience of someone who has played week-in, week-out in the hardest league in the world. He plays at a level that has an impact on the game, and we are thrilled that he is joining us”.

The English international is just the first cog in what is surely to be a hefty grouping of signings for Mark Hughes and company as they are poised to act on numerous opportunities. Combined with the clubs rock solid balance sheet, a stated commitment to bring some of the sports most exciting talent to the City of Manchester and numerous players available this year for the "right price", it promises to be an exciting few months.

Neven Subotić staying in Dortmund

At twenty years of age Neven Subotić has quickly established himself as a fixture in Jürgen Klopp's starting eleven. Naturally that has not went unnoticed and a number of prominent sides are apparently making overtures towards the young Serbian international. Most notably English side Everton to which the top brass of BVB, Hans-Joachim Watzke, told Bild that he is "integral part of our plans".

Vacationing at home in Belgrade, Neven added his commitment to die Schwarzgelben, citing his excitement of the clubs future and that he is "feeling good being there (BVB)". While the option of moving abroad looms in the future, he acknowledges it is likely too soon.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Newcastle's relegation woes continue

Week two of relegation purgatory started with of-course Mike Ashley's rather public announcement that he was targeting a quick-sale of the club for £100m. Unfortunately prior to the rather obvious strategic use of the media, banking groups considered to orchestrate the sale, Seymour Pierce and NM Rothschild hadn't informed the owner that his asking price is roughly £10-20m over the best valuation and in the summer of 2009 investment opportunities of faltering sports teams with massive payrolls are not very attractive. That warm piece of information aside the real problem that is looming large for Newcastle is the £40m working-capital facility from Barclays Bank that Newcastle uses to manage operations is under review by the financial institution. While Mike Ashley has requested the facility be extended, Newcastle will need to satisfy some very difficult financial tests to have it extended including having a positive transfer cash flow. All this spells out further problems for the Magpies as not only is a move to retain Alan Shearer as manager delayed but plans for the upcoming campaign are well on the back-burner.

The first step in solving this problem is for the present owner to sit down and listen to a financial management team as they go through a possible acquisition. His announcement of yearning for a "quick sale" and the public knowledge has done little to assist the sale and I presume he is aware hitting the "panic button" will not garner you top price but instead attract more vultures to pick the last traces of flesh. Secondly internal financing is necessary, albeit a difficult one to digest for Mike Ashley, as they go through the crucial third step; selling off unwanted players reduce salary concerns by roughly fifty per-cent. The most challenging decision will be the need for strategic transfer sales in order to raise funds with notable players such as Oba Martins and Sébastien Bassong possibly involved. This final point will depend on the second point and should be avoided if possible.

Once this abbreviated action plan is instituted, the more typical plan, including hiring of Alan Shearer can turn towards more traditional Football related matters.

Porto leader stays on

Basking in the winning the fourth consecutive Liga title as well as hoisting the Taça de Portugal, Porto can rest easy as Jesualdo Ferreira has extended his contract for two more years

Os Dragões manager commented on the decision:

"The day we faced Manchester United at the Estádio do Dragão, the Porto president and I agreed to extend my stay here for two more years. There is nothing written yet and the agreement was sealed with a handshake.

"It’s a verbal compromise, nothing is yet signed, but I’ve accepted it without hesitations. I will go on with great pleasure. We will start working from tomorrow in the defining aspects of the new season.

"These three years at F.C. Porto are the ones more fulfilling in my career, which make me more proud but also which demanded more effort from me. I want to express my gratitude to the club that allowed my success. I’m grateful to F.C. Porto.

"There are no records to beat at F.C. Porto. This club has already won everything there is to be won. We maintain our winning ambition, which is closely related with this institution, because we know that in F.C. Porto is possible to reach excellence. Our upcoming goal is the Portuguese Supercup, which we want to claim, and that’s the reality of a natural born winner, the one who wins all the time. We will try to be up to the exigency that the club demands to its professionals."

With so many top level managers changing sides of recent, Porto's signing of Mr. Ferreira is a tremendous step forward as the club looks to continues its championship run.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

CSKA Moskva wins Russian Cup

Despite playing much of the match a man-down, CSKA Moskva defeated Rubin Kazan to win their second consecutive Russian Cup.

The match was a cagey affair with the Army-Men painted into a tactical corner when Pavel Mamaev was sent off with a straight red-card at the thirteenth minute when he pulled down Alejandro Domínguez. Playing a man down, CSKA showed great patience, controlling the final third and rarely allowing Rubin a solid opportunity to strike at Igor Akinfeev. However in a shocking conclusion, with the match seemingly headed towards extra-time Evgeni Aldonin found the winning mark a minute into added-time. Accepting a simple pass by Daniel Carvalho, the Russian international took advantage of Rubin defenders asleep at the wheel, pushing the ball forward before lashing it to the bottom left corner of the net for the incredible victory.

Фото: ЦСКА Профессиональный футбольный клуб Photo: PFC CSKA Moskva

Porto wins Taça de Portugal

Os Dragões season came to a conclusion as they defeated Paços de Ferreira 1-0 to win the Taça de Portugal at the Estádio Nacional in Lisbon.

With a large following of azuis e brancos supporters in the stands, Porto took the lead six minutes in as Raul Meireles lobbed the ball over the opposition defenders to Lisandro López, who made no mistake with the opportunity. For the balance of the match the majority of plan was a box to box affair with a number of golden opportunities missed, including those by Lisandro López and Hulk that were missed. However Paços de Ferreira could not find a way past veteran 'keeper and the match ended with Porto victorious 1-0.

Following the match a jubliant Jesualdo Ferreira was respectful of Paços de Ferreira, noting them a side with "great dignity" and "quality".

Diego Milito's final day with Genoa

On the surface, Genoa's 4-1 victory over Lecce was a typical year-end affair with little at stake. However this was far a typical day at the office, as in-truth the purpose of the match was to bid farewell to Diego Milito, a Spring celebration of a love that will never die between the young Argentine and the people of Genova.

For the most part the match was a well constructed encounter with relegation threatened Lecce showing well early on. However little by by little, Genoa ate away at their visitors lines and begin to pry them open. Midway of the opening half Sokratis Papastathopoulos created space on the right and sent a perfect cross into the box from the right byline that Crvena Zvezda product Boško Janković flicked artistically into the back of the net giving the Rossoblu. Down by one, Lecce showed tremendous pride and a few minutes past the half hour mark Simone Tiribocchi drove the ball to the opposite corner from the top of the box bringing the match even. Still all eyes were on Il Principe and with touch of the ball, the faithful rose to their feet, hoping and wishing that their hero would give them one last memory to cling to. That would come in time and oh how would it but first seven minutes into the new half, Diego drove into the area and from the left side of the area he laid the ball back to Domenico Criscito to pound into the opposite corner of the net. Now with a 2-1 lead, the stage was sent for the final Act to be played out. Four minutes shy of the hour, from the right Giuseppe Sculli fed the ball to the man of the day and after a touch for control he deftly chipped the ball in. The crowd roared its approval with ounce of strength it could muster but still there was so much more to come. With twenty-three minutes remaining Anthony Vanden Borre split the Lecce defenders providing Diego the perfect opportunity for this second of the day and he naturally obliged to make it 4-1, sending the faithful into rapturous delight. Despite a number of fine opportunities thereafter the match concluded without further mark but that of-course was only the opening Act for the day.

The real story of the day was not of the match or even Diego Milito's "storybook" two goals but the tearful goodbye shared by fans and the player alike. There are annual "goodbyes" and even chances when teams thank their supporters but this was no typical encounter. Reaching to every corner of the grounds, his personal relationship with the fans was earnest and something rarely seen in the sport today. This wasn't merely respectful or even of a man accepting of being the idol of many but a deep love and care for the area.

The "how's" and "why" the deal to see him off to Inter Milan is one to speculate and I very much doubt I will ever believe I will ever believe this is a deal Diego Milito wished to see happen. However one thing I am positive of after witnessing this outpouring today, Il Principe will forever be at home in Genova.

Rangers win double

The Rangers trophy case continues to expand as they collected the Scottish Cup after defeating Falkirk 1-0 at Hampden Park. Along with the Scottish Premier League title, the season wrought with so many troubles has turned quickly for the Gers.

The winning mark came from Nacho Novo a minute after the break as he collected a throw-in from Saša Papac and sent a dipping effort to the far right corner from outside the box. The goal seemed to have caught Falkirk 'keeper Dani Mallo off the line and shocked by the turn and half-volley strike. The lead would certainly leave Falkirk supporters feel hard done by as they were the debatably the dominant side in the opening forty-five minutes. However after the break, Walter Smith ushered in Nacho Novo for Kris Boyd and the result was immediate. For the balance of the match fortune fall the Rangers way as Falkirk threatened on numerous occasions, even having a goal called by with a debatable offside call. However it was not be for the Falkirk side and Walter Smith and company completed the miraculous double.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

je ne regrette rien

Paris Saint-Germain's remarkable campaign came to a conclusion as the played Monaco to a scoreless draw at Parc des Princes. While it is true the fortunes of the club turned downward late in the season, it is year void of regrettable moments and one to celebrate. Pride has returned to wearing the beautiful colours of les Rouge et Bleu.

The match was of-course the final curtain call for Monsieur Paul Le Guen and as they situations often are, he is deserving of utmost respect. I cannot help forget the sorrow of last year, when the Parisians walked the razors edge of relegation only to be saved in the last gasps of the season. From survival came a new breath of air and with confidence, hope and pride in the worlds most beautiful city and despite managements horrendous decision to not extend the managers contract, his work is at the root of the clubs re-birth.

Of the match, it was a solemn affair and I suspect for PSG, the lack of venom was a carryover from the moment it was announced Paul Le Guen would not be back. Realistic scoring chances were a rare find as defending was the order of the day. However as the match wound down, the Parisians stirred with late efforts by Guillaume Hoarau, Jérémy Clément and Clément Chantôme whispering that the winning goal was near. Finally two minutes into added time Sylvain Armand struck the crossbar but that was as close as it would get.

Sadly the result leaves Paris Saint-Germain out of the Europa League and while disappointing, this is a year to celebrate. Whether it the emergence of Guillaume Hoarau, Clément Chantôme and Mamadou Sakho, the extraordinary attacking vision of Stéphane Sessegnon and of course the leadership of Claude Makélélé and Ludovic Giuly, PSG was packed full of remarkable highlights.

Werder wins DFB Pokal

The Green Whites salvaged their season by claiming the DFB Pokal with a 1-0 victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The victory provides the club the added benefit of claiming a spot in the Europa League set to begin this summer.

With captain Frank Baumann playing in his final match for Werder before a sold-out Olympiastadion, fans of Bundesliga action were treated to a high flying encounter. The Green-Whites had ample opportunity to score early but efforts by Austria's Sebastian Prödl and Naldo fell short. Space was starting to close down but two minutes before the hour Werder would score the lone goal as Mesut Özil accepted Juventus-bound Diego's provision and drove the ball in, via a opportunistic deflection of Manuel Friedrich. Remarkably a few minutes after the goal Frank Baumann was forced out of the match due to an injury but after ten years of service the great leader waved in appreciation to the adoring fans one final time. Down by one the Leverkusen side poured forward in the final half hour and despite being a continuous threat they could not find a way past Tim Wiese.

The victory sits well for Werder as it provides great solace in a difficult season. Under the leadership of Klaus Allofs and Thomas Schaaf will rebuild and return to the heights of the Bundesliga. Their leadership and insight as Werder men is irreplaceable and should provide true supporters of the club confidence of the future.

Everton's FA Cup dream ends in defeat

Everton's dream of hoisting the FA Cup came to an end as they lost 2-1 to Chelsea at Wembley.

The match started perfectly of David Moyes' side as they grabbed the 1-0 lead less than thirty seconds as Marouane Fellaini provided the ball to Louis Saha for a close range finish. However down a goal, Guus Hiddink took care in providing his side a patient vision and they squared the match up twenty minutes in by Florent Malouda's cross was headed in with power by Didier Drogba. Everton was clearly on their heels now as Chelsea was in a attacking mode. At the half Lars Jacobsen was summoned in for Tony Hibbert to try and shore up the problems at the back but Chelsea was driving forward relentlessly. After a Saha header screamed just wide of the post Frank Lampard got on the end of Michael Ballack's pass and pounded the ball in with eighteen minutes left. With the goal Chelsea's confidence grew and the Toffees barely threatened as the match ended with a 2-1 loss.

Following the match David Moyes echoed his support of this side to BBC Sport:

"It's disappointing not to finish with a trophy but I'm very proud of the players. I can't fault them, they have been excellent and I've told them that," he said.

"I've got to give them credit. Last year we reached a semi-final in the League Cup, this year a final.

"Whether or not we won, it was progress for us. Hopefully the next bit, winning a cup, will come next year."

Werkself's DFB Pokal efforts fall short

Werkself’s DFB Pokal run came to end as they lost 1-0 to Bremen via a second half deflected shot from Mesut Özil. The result brings Bayer 04's difficult season to an end with the club once again missing out on European competition.

With a large band of traveling supporters from the Rhineland Werkself had good support in the capital. In the early stages of the match they had a lot to cheer about as Bruno Labbadia's side had the momentum. However play in the final third was insufficient and despite the advantage with ball possession, they were unable to make something of it. Bremen slowly started to get its footing with Diego being the cause of many of Werkself’s problem. The deadlock was broken just before the hour when Mesut Özil's shot struck Manuel Friedrich and squeezed past René Adler for the 1-0 lead. Looking for the right touch Bruno Labbadia brought in Toni Kroos for Arturo Vidal and Angelos Charisteas late but they were unable to break through as the match ending in a 1-0 loss.

Diego Milito issues public statement

Diego Milito expresses his care for the people of Genova in a heartfelt open letter to the public, published on the club web-site.

Quite obviously troubled by his departure to Inter Milan, the Argentine striker stressed his care for the fans and that "we will see each other again and that this isn't a goodbye." Throughout the honest letter, Il Principe expresses his love for the club and people and the values of the genoanità, which he will carry forward in his own family.

I hasten to call this a "well crafted" letter and only make note of this as I believe this is far from a "public relations" move. In an era where athletes move to the next club the moment the fund transfer is complete, this speaks volumes of Il Principe.