Inter v Barca: Did you know… ?

April 20th, 2010 No comments

php1IrwFFAll the background facts and figures surrounding Tuesday evening’s Champions League semi-final first leg between Inter Milan and FC Barcelona.

- Barca has never lost an away match to Inter Milan, winning once and drawing three times.

- The last two visits – both of them in the group stage of the Champions league - have ended in goalless draws.

- Inter Milan are unbeaten at home in the Champions League this season. They have won three matches (Rubin Kazan, Chelsea and CSKA Moscow) and drawn two (Barca and Dynamo Kiev).

-However, Barca have done well on their travels this season in the Champions League, winning one (Dynamo Kiev) and drawing four (Inter, Rubin Kazan, Stuttgart and Arsenal).

- Barca have played seven games in the city of Milan, winning two, drawing three and losing two.
- The last time Barca played a European semi-final in Milan they beat AC Milan 0-1 in the 2005-06 season. The goal was scored by French winger Giuly.

- This is Inter’s eighth semi-final in European club football’s top competition. They went through four times and were eliminated three times.

- Barca on the other hand have reached this stage ten times previously, going through to the final five times and losing out five times. Read more…

Inter and travel chaos bar Barca’s path to final

April 20th, 2010 No comments

php1IrwFFIf Inter Milan beat holders Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first leg at the San Siro on Tuesday, they can thank Mother Nature for her helping hand.

The all-conquering Spaniards faced an arduous 1,000 kilometre, two-day coach journey just to make it to the game due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland last week.

With flights grounded all over Europe and trains crammed full of travellers trying to get home, Barca decided that taking the long route along the roads and crossing three countries, was the only way to arrive.

But they’re not complaining.

“We’ll have to see what happens with problems surrounding the trip to Milan, but the team is really up for the game — who wouldn?t be? It’s a Champions League semi-final,” said Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will be facing his old club.

Ibrahimovic’s comment came before Barca began their marathon journey that would see them stop over in Cannes in southern France on Sunday night following a 634km trip from Barcelona.

That would just leave them the 351km from Cannes to Milan to do on Monday morning, before training at the San Siro in the evening.

They left at 14.30 local time on Sunday for a game that begins at 20.45, two days later. Read more…

Torres ruled out for the season

April 19th, 2010 No comments

7722892Fernando Torres has been ruled out for the season after it was confirmed he would undergo knee surgery.
The procedure will rule the 26-year-old out of action for around six weeks, meaning he will miss not only the Barclays Premier League run in but also the remainder of the club’s Europa League campaign, which continues this week with a semi-final against Torres’ former club Atletico Madrid.
A Liverpool spokesman told the club’s official website: “Fernando saw a specialist in Spain earlier today and it was decided that he would need surgery on a torn cartilage in his right knee.
“This will be carried out later tonight.
“We cannot comment ahead of the operation, but as a guide, the usual rehabilitation period for this type of procedure is around six weeks.”
The news will also cast a shadow over Spain’s preparations for the World Cup, with Torres a key element of the European champions’ set-up for the tournament which gets under way in just over seven weeks. Read more…

Wigan 3-2 Arsenal

April 19th, 2010 No comments

php1strQUFor a man whose moods can often be measured by his state of undress, you could almost have forgiven Arsene Wenger for stripping naked and running around the DW Stadium in front of his shattered players.

Seven years ago down the road at Bolton, it was the crisp club tie yanked from around his neck that signalled the end of Arsenal’s title challenge after they had given up a two-goal lead.

In maddeningly similar circumstances at Wigan, the tell-tale sign was a suit jacket slung angrily towards the away bench when calamity keeper Lukasz Fabianski spilled a corner in the 90th minute and allowed Titus Bramble to head Wigan level. This time, however, it was about to get worse for the Frenchman. Much worse.

Four minutes of added time had just been announced when Hugo Rodallega slipped a pass infield to Charles N’Zogbia. The Wigan winger took the ball away from Arsenal’s ageing central defenders Sol Campbell and Mikael Silvestre, and sent a wonderful left-foot shot swerving inside Fabianski’s right-hand post. Read more…

Rooney back to the squad againts City

April 17th, 2010 No comments

phpZVKhD3Wayne Bridge and Stephen Ireland are set to give manager Roberto Mancini a boost by returning for Manchester City in the derby with Manchester United.

Bridge has been missing for a month after suffering a hernia problem, while Ireland has been absent for three matches with an ankle injury.

Veteran full-back Sylvinho is less likely to be involved as he struggles for fitness after a calf strain, but Pablo Zabaleta returns from suspension.

Wayne Rooney is set to return for United after missing the draw the draw at Blackburn with an ankle injury but has been training and is rated as more likely than Rio Ferdinand (groin) and Ryan Giggs (hamstring) to be involved.

John O’Shea is also fit, whilst Owen Hargreaves is in Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad for the first time since September 2008.

Teams:

Manchester City (from): Given, Nielsen, Onuoha, Kay, Boyata, Kompany, Toure, Bridge, Garrido, Sylvinho, Adam Johnson, Cunningham, Zabaleta, De Jong, Barry, Bellamy, Wright-Phillips, Tevez, Santa Cruz, Adebayor, Ibrahim, Nimely.

Manchester United (from):
Team (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Foster, Neville, O’Shea, Rafael, De Laet, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Hargreaves, Scholes, Fletcher, Park, Gibson, Obertan, Valencia, Giggs, Nani, Berbatov, Rooney, Macheda, Diouf.

Police warn Tevez and Neville for Manchester derby

April 16th, 2010 No comments

phpvdBCVVCOPS will warn Carlos Tevez and Gary Neville to behave during the Manchester derby.

The pair clashed at Eastlands in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final, with Tevez goading Neville after scoring from the spot and United’s club captain responding with an obscene gesture.

Now police want to ensure nothing happens on the same pitch tomorrow to cause trouble off it.

So they will go into both dressing rooms before the match to remind the players about their behaviour.

Police and stewards are already running a tight security operation to ensure a peaceful game.

There is plenty resting on the showdown, with City bidding for a Champions League place and United’s title bid faltering.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, in charge of the policing operation, said: “Our main aim is to ensure it is an enjoyable experience for all fans.

“When a minority of people misbehave, it spoils it for everyone.”

Rafa linked to Juventus

April 16th, 2010 No comments

phpg4vbMSThe Turin giants have courted Benitez since sacking Ciro Ferrera in January, with current chief Alberto Zaccheroni in charge only until the end of the season.

Insiders continue to insist Juve have met Benitez’ representatives and want a definite commitment by the end of next week, despite denials from the Kop chief’s camp.

But Juve’s chances of landing him would be severely compromised if they fail to reach Europe’s premier competition with the financial jackpot that brings.

Juve, sixth in Serie A, last summer used a hefty slice of NEXT season’s budget to bring in Brazilian duo Felipe Melo and Diego for a combined near £50million.

But that backfired as they failed to have the desired impact and there is growing turmoil at the club.

Bringing in Benitez, plus a couple of his backroom team and top stars, would cost around £100m, stretching Juve to breaking point.

That means a place in the Champions League is essential if they are to finance a rebuilding campaign.

Failure to do so would mean the Agnelli family, which owns the club, having to pump in a fortune. Read more…

Trezequet to miss againts Inter

April 15th, 2010 No comments

APTOPIX Italy Soccer Serie AFrench striker David Trezeguet is out of Friday’s crucial Serie A clash away to Inter Milan, his club Juventus said on Wednesday.

The veteran former France international has a thigh strain and according to news agency Ansa will be out for a week, although Juve did not specify the length of his absence.

Juve said that Czech full-back Zdenek Grygera will also miss the tie as he faces three weeks on the sidelines with a pulled thigh muscle.

However, Uruguayan full-back Martin Caceres and Brazilian playmaker Diego both look likely to be fit for the match. Read more…

Bolton coach : Drogba probably is the best volley ball player in the world

April 14th, 2010 No comments

phpK8TUPkOWEN COYLE last night accused referees of helping Chelsea to the title.

The Bolton boss was fuming after having two penalty appeals waved away.

Coyle claimed Didier Drogba handled and, following Nicolas Anelka’s 43rd-minute winner, John Terry looked to knock the ball away with his arm.

Furious Coyle said: “Four points clear… if Chelsea continue to get those decisions I’m sure they will be winning the title. We didn’t need any luck, we only needed the officials to get the big decisions right.

“There were two stonewall penalties out there for handballs.

“I know Drogba is a world-class player but he could play world-class volleyball on that evidence.

“Then there’s the second one when John Terry handles it. The assistant referee says it hit his shoulder but it’s a clear penalty.

“He must have a shoulder that stretches down to his ankles in that case. These are big decisions. The first one was at 0-0, the second might have got us a point.”

Coyle, whose side remain in 15th and five points ahead of third-bottom Burnley, pointed the finger at ref Lee Probert and his linesmen. Read more…

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