Sunday, November 30, 2008
Special to Soccer City FC
This story was related to me by a colleague of my who was at a betting outlet not that long ago.
It was a conversation, overheard by this colleague, between two punters who were discussing the odds offered by the pools operators.
It was spoken in Singlish - a colloquialism form of English used by most Singaporeans which local authority been trying to discourage the use of it because it did not follow the rules of grammar (I had tried to re-phrase the sentences in brackets).
Punter A: "This is SPORTING (Lisbon) play against BALESTIER (he's actually refer to Valencia as the word BALESTIER's pronouciation is quite close to Valencia), right? last week right?"
(Is this team, SPORTING, that faced BALESTIER last week?)
Punter B: "Huh? What you talking about, S.League, izzit?"
(Hey, I don't get you but are you referring to the S.League?)
Punter A: "Not lah, SPORTING one, Spanish League, they played against BALESTIER right?"
(No, I referring to SPORTING, they played against BALESTIER in the Spanish League, did they?)
Punter B: "Hello, this is Champions' League we are talking about, where got SPORTING play in the Spanish League?"
(C'mon, this is about Champions League and how could SPORTING, being a Portuguese side, be playing in the Spanish League?)
Punter A: "Oh Ya hor, this is Champions' League hor.."
(Oh, it's the Champions' League we are talking about, sorry for my blunder.)
Punter B: "If you dunno, don't anyhow bet lah!"
(C'mon, do your homework before placing your bet)
Conversations like these are pretty common in the betting outlets in Singapore, where some punters hardly refer to newspapers or other media outlets, other than those betting outlet's monitors that reflect the odds, as their source of punting guide.
Therefore, it's quite common to see punters placing their bets based on their intuition rather using the analytical point of view.
Just an insight on how some Singaporean punters placed their bets.
(P.S: BALESTIER is one of the 12 teams featured in the S.League, known for its youth-based policy)
Perbet is on loan from French side RC Strasbourg. The 23-year-old signed with the French outfit in 2006, but has been mostly loaned out, often to Belgian clubs.
K.V. Kortrijk now sit 13th and A.F.C. Tubize 14th in the Belgian Jupiler League standings.
- Five Hot Prospects from the Portuguese Liga Sagres - At Soccerlens.
- Liguilla as it stands - At The Touchline
- AFRICAN SCORERS IN ENGLAND THIS WEEKEND - At New African Soccer
- "BOCAP"....(edited) - At BoLASEPaKO
Friday, November 28, 2008
Jose Mourinho surprisingly philosophical over Inter Milan’s defeat to Panathinaikos, the first in their European campaign this season.
"The biggest success is that we made Greek players believe they can win away from home. Normally their self-belief away is not so big but they proved they can learn quickly.”
Panathinaikos manager Henk Ten Cate’s naturally buoyant post-match comments after dispatching Inter Milan at the San Siro. The Athens-based club reignited their hopes of progressing into the final 16 as the three points resulted in an elevation to 2nd place in Group B, with the Italian champions one point ahead.
“Sadly, we woke up too late. When at the end we did play better it wasn't enough. We are disappointed because we didn't reach our target and now we play Inter hoping for a Uefa Cup place."
Thomas Schaaf reflecting on Werder Bremen’s very average Champions League campaign, despite the efforts from Diego and Hugo Almeida which salvaged a draw against Anorthosis Famagusta.
"Europe are now talking about us...but we need a result in Athens.”
Anorthosis Famagusta manager Temuri Ketsbaia.
"I believe his focus was great. He wanted to do well and you could see he was completely committed in the game. Overall, I feel he did well."
Arsene Wenger delighted with the performance of the returning William Gallas, who was stripped of his captaincy after his public attack on his team-mates. Nikolas Bendtner scored the only goal in Arsenal’s 1-0 triumph over Dynamo Kyiv and consequently booked the Gunners’ place in the exclusive next round.
"My team were bravehearts, it was not the best game, it was 50/50. The Celtic coach was great afterwards. He came over and congratulated me. He gave me a smile which is fantastic."
Aalborg coach Allan Kuhn praising his Celtic counterpart for reacting positively to the defeat, not that it was much consolation to Strachan as their away day curse struck again and the Scottish champions crashed out of Europe entirely.
"We like to think that we are a big club and that we can handle defeat. We will not say that Aalborg were lucky. We had it in our own hands to win and we are not going to look anywhere else. I couldn't fault any of the players, I really couldn't.”
Gordon Strachan commenting on Celtic’s defeat - any possibility of clinching the derisory UEFA Cup place was snatched away from them in the latter stages of the match. Caca’s deflected shot and Gary Caldwell’s own goal threw the win to the Danish club despite Bryan Robson’s opening header that gave Celtic an initial advantage.
"It's never easy, it helped scoring two goals early. In the second half we lost control of the game, we had a lot of luck with the fourth one."
An uneasy Pep Guardiola on Barcelona’s 5-2 demolition job of Sporting Lisbon.
"It was a moving experience to have the fans outside on a cold night, urging the team on. To go out on the street and stay out in the cold without seeing the game while staying animated throughout like that. I think the players noted that and felt that. The public is an indispensable asset for us.”
Atletico Madrid coach Javier Aguirre in complete admiration of the club’s fans, who celebrated their victory over PSV Eindhoven behind the Vicente Calderon stadium. No supporters were allowed into the stands as punishment by UEFA for crowd trouble last September, but goals from Simao Sabrosa and Maxi Rodriguez ensured they marched into the next round alongside Liverpool in Group D.
"Torres was a threat, Gerrard was a threat and Benayoun the same - but they [Marseille] have good players and played with pace - and they had clear chances but they had the same problem as us with the final pass, which was the difference today."
Rafa Benitez contemplates the difficulties which posed both Liverpool and Marseille, with Steven Gerrard’s header midway through the first half proving the decisive difference.
"The game is easy for us - 1-0 - but easy, we controlled the game. This is the main problem for us, they crossed the ball and one player changed the position, not marked and at this moment, a goal.”
Luiz Felipe Scolari rues dropping a point to rivals Bordeaux, a result which leaves Chelsea's Champions League fate yet to be decided with only one match remaining.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Soccer City FC analyses the race to be crowned Champions of Wales through the means of statistics. Llanelli, TNS and Rhyl sit within two points of each other at the pinnacle of the table and once again the much-fancied trio appear to be the major contenders to contest the title, but with the season only 13 matches old there will undoubtedly be many unexpected tribulations and twists to unravel over the coming months.
Reigning champions Llanelli lead the goalscoring charts having netted a total of 43 after only 13 matches. That is an incredible 3.31 per game and twelve more than nearest rivals, Rhyl and TNS, and are en route to reach the 100-milestone that they narrowly failed to achieve during the 2007/2008 season. It is no wonder Llanelli are frontrunners to be crowned title holders of Wales for the second occasion in there 102 year-long history.
Clean Sheets Galore
Rhyl have showcased their championship ambitions through vigorous and sturdy defensive displays and whilst their rivals might claim to have more potent attackers, it is the rearguard of Rhyl who have held their own in the division. 8 clean sheets and conceding in only five of their league matches has been the foundation of their title aspirations and is the essence to maintaining their position at the pinnacle of the table. TNS are next in line for the best defensive record having let in 10 goals with Bangor City running behind in third place. For all of their poaching upfront, Llanelli have conceded almost three times as many as Rhyl.
Newi Cefn Druids have suffered from their imperfections and frailties at the back, which have resulted in the status as the team who have conceded the most goals. 34 goals in 13 matches has seen them struggle at the foot of the table and are staring precautiously one place above the relegation zone.
Home Comfort at Park Hall
TNS have taken complete advantage of their home ties by prevailing victorious in their matches at Park Hall to date. A 100% winning streak has helped the four-time champions to 21 points. Llanelli, Prestatyn Town and Haverfordwest County join them in an unbeaten home record this season.
Away Day Blues Banished?
While Bangor City’s home form is proving detrimental to their season, their away form is extremely contrasting with the division’s second best and is salvaging some hope that they can still challenge from their current position of fourth.
And The Rest…
The highest scoring match was the encounter between Port Talbot Town and Llanelli, where the latter ran out 6-4 victors. 49% of the fixtures have ended as home wins, 32% as away victories and 19% in stalemate draws.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Special to Soccer City FC
Ruud van Nistelrooy's long-term injury has sent Real Madrid searching for alternatives:
1) Lukas Podolski, the 23 year old was already linked with Madrid for months, but now increasingly so, with his recent statement that he wishes to leave Bayern in January due to lack of playing time. He would probably cost around 12-15m euro.
2) Hernan Crespo, 33, is strongly linked to Real Madrid. His agent Fernando Hidalgo has already met with Madrid officials. The main problem is that Crespo is not interested in a cheap, short-term deal, which is what he is being offered, according to reports.
3) Carlos Tévez, 24, is currently on loan with Manchester United, his rights being held by the MSI agency. Madrid are definitely interested and reports suggest he may be open to a move; which would cost at least 30m euro. In my opinion, this deal is far more likely next summer than in January.
4) Andrei Arshavin, 27, was already on record as wanting to play in Spain. The end of the Russian season now opens the possi bility of a move to Madrid, since Zenit may be more favourable to a deal. The main problem, again, is that Madrid seem more interested in a loan deal first, with a permanent transfer later on.
Next summer, either Karim Benzema (20) or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (25) will be a target for the club.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Date of Birth: 23/02/1989
Team: Celtic Glasgow
Shirt Number: 26
Nationality: Republic of Ireland
Set foot in any of the twenty-six counties of Ireland and the prospect of an overwhelming ‘aficionado’ for club football will be somewhat quashed - the legions of fans flooding to Croke Park usually anticipate the offerings of Gaelic football on show so Cillian Sheridan's voyage to Celtic is ever the more surprising. Once regarded as one of Gaelic football's youngest leading lights, the lofty striker who stands at 6.4 feet was scouted by Scottish Premier League champions Celtic after playing for Belvedere F.C. in his native capital of Dublin. Sheridan declared his arrival by claiming the assist to the winning goal of a cup tie on his debut almost two seasons ago. Untimely injuries threatened to stunt his march in pursuit of first-team action but four goals in ten matches for the reigning SPL Champions has propelled his name into the Celtic squad during the 2008/2009 season.
Stardom and divinity beckoned in either sport so the blessing for Sheridan was his overall aptitude in both Gaelic football and the game that is widely known as soccer - whilst the degree of success can only be considered beyond the twilight years of a footballer, the Irishman could be a national hero in the making.
County Caven, the birthplace of Sheridan, may fail to contest Celtic in a dual for global recognition and worldwide fame but representing his hometown club in Gaelic football was set to be the more probable choice of profession – until the calling of the Scottish giants lured him to the capital. The prospect of a career in Ireland’s ancient heritage sport was shunned to represent his new-found club in the continent’s own heavyweight skirmish against Manchester United. A collective of milestones had been reached in a Champions League debut against the defending victors in a season that has validated his presence as one of the league’s up-and-coming marvels.
Twenty months after donning the famous green and white hoops in a low-key cup victory over Inverness CT, Sheridan has forced Gordon Strachan to qualm over his reliance on the customary trio of Georgios Samaras, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and last term’s dominant figure Scott McDonald. Four influential goals in ten league appearances have aided Celtic in their conquest to be crowned as champions for a fourth successive campaign. As an eighteen year-old debutant, Sheridan assisted Kenny Miller to an 89th minute winner and has since shrugged off the potential drawbacks of injury to prove a thorn in the foot of the club’s experienced frontmen.
At a time where concerns are increasing over the financial chasm between the Scottish Premier League and the influx of billionaires south of the border, should Sheridan continue his soaring development then Celtic will yield the gold from producing their own crop of young footballers – the raw material that not even the bankrolls of a sugerdaddy from afar could guarantee.
Sheridan’s European debut against the star-studded eleven of Manchester United saw the towering Irishman given the arduous responsibility of holding his own against one of Europe’s most robust defensive partnerships in Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. There was no fairytale goal but Sheridan’s confidence boost as the minutes unravelled was evident and the applause on his departure signified that the Parkhead faithful had seen moments, if not glimpses, of what he could produce on the pitch. It would be safe to say his contributions on the night benefited the team more than any individual flashes of wizardry and trickery, but a solid unveiling to the European scene will act as an appetiser for future ties he is called upon.
Three caps for the Republic of Ireland Under-19s could be met with a radical elevation to the senior team before the SPL season ends if Sheridan continues to produce the potent finesse he has shown thus far, with fellow striker Scott McDonald opening up the debate for a potential appearance under Giovanni Trappattoni. “He’s got everything – he’s tall, he can run, he has skill and he can finish. As far as playing for Ireland, if he’s good enough, he’d old enough.”
The ultimate test for any young aspiring talent is to sustain the intelligence and incisiveness beyond one season and whilst the talk of Sheridan may come as premature hype, if he can consistently execute a high-level of finishing then a new star has arrived under the green jerseys of Celtic and Ireland. Tallying up a few goals in Scotland for this one season will not propel Sheridan to stardom and far too many across the globe have started emphatically only to fall despairingly into the realms of obscurity, but if his remarkable story continues in the same vein it has commenced then we are watching the beginning of a gifted individual's long and fruitful career.
The Word From Parkhead
"He has terrific pace and is one of the fittest guys I know and once he tidies up a few things in his game then he'll have everything. He's tall, can run and finish so he's a manager's dream.” Celtic strike-partner Scott McDonald, who has played a crucial role in Sheridan’s prominent rise to the first-team as the young Irishman continues to learn from his experienced peers.
“Cillian’s rise has been spectacular and he has really caught the eye. He has been scoring all sorts of goals, from blistering shots from outside the box to tap-ins. Cillian is the one player we have who is similar, in some ways, to Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, that’s perhaps why the manager has taken him.” Joe McBride, the Celtic Under-19 coach.
Cillian Sheridan – SPL Statistics 08/09
Appearances: 8 (5 starts)
Minutes Played: 492
Goals Scored: 4
Strike-Rate: 1 goal every 123 minutes
Shots On Target: 8
Shots Off Target: 4
Shooting Accuracy: 67%
Soccer City FC
For a club that’s still “in transition,” it’s hard to imagine where Bolton will be at the start of next season. The ‘experts’ say we’ll be looking at Bolton’s first trip to the Championship in over 9 years. Optimists say Bolton will finish at the top of the bottom half of the table, and still others say Bolton will finish dead last, numerous points adrift of safety. We still don’t know where the club will finish this season, but the Trotters recent trip to ‘Boro shows us all one thing; they’ve found the back of the net once again. Bolton have managed to keep the second best defensive record outside of the big 4, but their offense this year has been severely lacking. Managing typically 1 or no goals per-game, or in the case of the Manchester City game, managing one and having a second conceded by their players. This week, that changed.
It was as every Bolton fan believed it should be, Bolton, the White Hot Wanderers, took to the pitch with a flying start, dominating play and putting themselves 2-0 up before the break. While there was some controversy as to who scored the first goal of the match, there was no question that it had gone in, and given the Trotters a flying start. Though initially credited to Gretar Steinsson, the goal actually belonged to Kevin Davies, who claims his fifth goal of the campaign. Matthew Taylor would add a second to give Bolton some breathing room, and that’s how the first half would remain. The run of play stayed largely with Bolton in the first half, though after their second goal, the team appeared to have shut themselves down with little urgency and returning to the Bolton Wanderers we’ve seen many times this season. It certainly wasn’t the same Bolton that had just put two goals on the score sheet. What would the second half bring us?
Much of the same, it turned out. Upon the restart, Bolton continued to try to defend their lead, sitting back and becoming less aggressive on the ball in search of more goals. The match took on a turn and, in the 77th minute, ‘Boro took their chance and drew to within one goal. Not feeling particularly comfortable with only one goal cushion to support them now, Bolton again seemed to turn a switch on and get back to the dominating, attacking football we saw in the first half, and then it came. In the 78th minute of play, Johan Elmander, the striker that’s been taking so much heat for his inability to finish of late, silenced his critiques with a fantastic shot into the back of the net, restoring the two goal cushion at 3-1. The final few minutes played out in much the same fashion as before, with Bolton pushing forward, but not with such lethality that you would have expected a fourth goal to wind up in the net. Likewise, the back four remained resolute, and the match became somewhat of a stalemate as the final whistle blew. It was Bolton’s third away win of the campaign, and perhaps their most important win to date.
The win at Middlesbrough marked Bolton’s return to form after their somewhat expected loss to Liverpool the week before. Many wondered if Bolton had shown their last-gasp with the previous two wins against Hull and Manchester City, and that the loss to Liverpool would be the start of the long road downward for the Bolton boys. This wasn’t the case, however, and Bolton have managed to regain their winning form, pushing themselves to twelfth in the table, and looking like a team that could finish in the top half this season.
Indeed, it was a great showing from Bolton this week, but perhaps moreso for one particular Bolton player. After being the target of the Bolton fans for seemingly months now, Johan Elmander proved that he was well worth the money spent for him, with a performance that can only be called epic. It’s not just the fact that he put the ball in the net at long last, but that he played like an elite player on the pitch. He personified everything that was advertised of his skills, and yes, he put the ball in the back of the net in absolutely stupendous fashion. It was as if Bolton had their Nicolas Anelka back at last.
From a Bolton perspective, it was glorious to see our record-breaking signing put up such an incredible performance after so much doubt had been cast on him. That said, however, it’s only one performance, with many more games to come. After such an outstanding performance from the Swedish striker, Bolton fans will be expecting more of the same from him the rest of the way. It’s a lot of pressure to heap on one player, and perhaps deservedly so, but we cannot get complacent because of this performance. Bolton aren’t deep, and Elmander can’t play every minute of every game. It’s ludicrous to assume that he will, and it’s equally ludicrous to assume that he’ll be as astounding as he was in this match with consistency. It’s up to Gary Megson in this coming transfer window to find Johan some supporting players and get some depth for this team if Bolton fans are going to see that consistency. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with Bolton’s current composition, there are some fantastic players on the squad that have done very well so far. It’s just a complete lack of depth that keeps Bolton back, and what happened to Ebi Smolarek? Seems he’s just up and vanished.
Alas, this isn’t the point of this article, valid as it may be. We’re talking about the incredible performance of those White Hot Wanderers against Middlesbrough, and the hope of Trotters fans everywhere that the club manages to get into the winning form with great consistency. Well done boys, well done!
The contest, which ended 3-2 in favor of Racing Genk, only saw one goal before halftime. Hungarian midfielder Balazs Jozsef Toth scored in the 40th minute of play for Racing.
The crowd at the Jules Ottenstadion witnessed an offensive outburst in the second half as 21-year-old Marvin Ogunjimi put Racing Genk ahead 2-0. While on loan last season at Dutch side RKC Waalwijk, Ogunjimi netted 10 league goals.
Samba defender João Carlos capped Racing Genk's day when he scored the club's third goal.
Down 3-0, K.A.A. Gent stormed back with two goals. Irishman Dominic Foley scored just after Carlos' goal and in the 73rd minute, Togolese international Adékambi Olufadé brought De Buffalos back to within one goal.
Alas, Racing Genk held on for the crucial three points.
Racing Genk now sits 4th in the Belgian First Division table with Gent situated in the 9th spot.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
20-year-old, Mkhanyiseli Siwahla, is most famously known as the youngest goal scorer in South African soccer history; he netted a goal for Ajax Cape Town in an ABSA Cup match on February 25, 2004. He was not yet 16-years-old.
The right winger was back in the news again this weekend when he scored for Ajax as the club defeated Bay United in Premier League Soccer action by a score of 3-1.
Is Siwahla going to factor into South Africa's 2010 World Cup squad? At this time, I think it is a distinct possibility.
Related Stories at Soccer City FC:
23-year-old Vladimir Buač with the game winner.
FK Javor Ivanjica 1 - 1 FK Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade)
Nikola Simić opened up the scoring for Javor Ivanjica, but Red Star's Ognjen Koroman tied it up midway through the 2nd half.
FK Jagodina 0 - 0 FK Rad
Rad's somber season continues.
FK Partizan 5 - 1 OFK Beograd
Partizan erupted for 5 goals at home. Senegalese striker Lamine Diarra delighted the supporters with a trio of goals. Diarra leads the league in scoring. 17-year-old Adem Ljajić and Miloš Bogunović also scored.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
He then moved to Scotland and competed at the Ibrox for Rangers. Early on, he was a key member of the team helping the club reach the final 16 of the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League. Injuries were the main culprit for his fall from Ranger's starting eleven; in the summer of 2008, he moved to Cercle Brugge.
(2002-03) Feyenoord Rotterdam, Dutch Eredivisie - 30 starts 1 substitution 18 goals
David Hasler, one of the most dynamic players in Lichtenstein competes for the FC Basel II club, but has also seen action with the senior club. Orhan Mustafi also recently competed for FC Basel II.
FC Rapperswil Jona 2 - 2 FC Saint Gallen 1879 II
GC Biaschesi 0 - 3 SV Schaffhausen
FC Emmenbrücke 3 - 0 SV Muttenz
CS Chênois 1 - 2 SC Düdingen
BSC Old Boys 4 - 1 FC Solothurn
FC Basel II 2 - 4 SR Delemont
SC Zofingen 4 - 8 FC Luzern II
The route was on in Frankfurt as Eintracht scored 4 goals in the shutout victory. Former AEK Athens striker Nikos Liberopoulos paced the winners with a brace.
FC Schalke 04 3 - 1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Halil Altıntop scored twice as Schalke 04 gears up for midweek UEFA Cup action.
1. FC Köln 1 - 3 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim, who knew?
VfL Bochum 2 - 3 Hertha BSC Berlin
Samba midfielder Cícero netted the game winner.
VfL Wolfsburg 4 - 1 VfB Stuttgart
Braces from Grafite and Edin Džeko too much for Stuttgart.
FC Bayern München 4 - 1 FC Energie Cottbus
Too much talent at Bayern. Klose and Toni score within a five minute stretch midway through second half to seal the match.
Arminia Bielefeld 2 - 1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
The upset of the weekend, perhaps. 20-year-old Daniel Halfar with the game winner.
1. Soccerlens has a wonderful article on sites across the Internet that offer live football matches with a focus on the more mainstream providers such as ESPN, SkySports, and Setanta.
2. Soccerlens also recently posted a wonderful piece on Ferguson v Wenger. And don't forgot to nominate your favorite soccer blogs at the Soccerlens 2008 Awards!
3. Soccer Cleats 101 has a nice write up on the new Nike Mercurial Vapor IV Berry with kit photos. I think the berry color pairs nicely with Inter Milan's shirt.
4. Soccer 360 and GoTFC are teaming up and offering several key prizes including magazine subscriptions and signed copies of the 2008 TFC Yearbook!
5. Vital Blackpool discusses the club's poor attendance record this season. High ticket prices play their part, but other reasons are noted.
6. BoLASEPaKO heads to the SAFFC's appreciation dinner.
7. The Touchline breaks down the 2009 Hexagonal draw with a focus towards El Tri and USA.
Today, he added to his goal tally after netting the second of Celtic's three goals in the club's 3-1 victory over St. Mirren.
Currently, the Greek international sits second in the top goal scorer list for the 2008-09 SPL campaign. He also was named the SPL Player of the Month for September.
The supporters at Hindmarsh Stadium were treated to goals from defender Sasa Ognenovski and club captain Travis Dodd.
Another key member of the club is Scott Jamieson. The former Bolton player has excelled since returning to Australia. The 20-year-old left back/left wing was crucial to the club's run through the 2008 AFC Champions League.
Several Brazilians on the club include:
1. Alemão: 25-year-old Brazilian defender who scored in round 9 against the Perth Glory.
2. Cássio: 28-year-old Brazilian defender set up several goals in the clubs 2008 AFC Champions League run.
3. Diego Walsh: The former-MLS player has been crucial in the central midfield.
4. Cristiano: The Samba striker has scored several important goals. He has played for several European clubs including FC Basel.
UCLA, which lost for the first time since October 12, ends the season at 10-5-6.
Below is a listing of advancing schools that are moving on to the second round of the NCAA Division I Tournament:
William & Mary
Friday, November 21, 2008
Estudiantes will now face off against Brazilian side Internacional in the two-legged championship final.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Heric’s tenure had been cast into uncertainty after a dismal start to the season saw Bay United flirt with relegation as they currently stand one place above the trapdoor. Five defeats in 8 matches is substandard form that would ask questions of virtually any management setup, but the catalyst behind Heric’s departure was the interference shown by the board. The Directors assembled a list of shortcomings that had clearly contributed to the turbulence demonstrated in the season’s opening stint.
The recommendations proposed by the board would have seen the coach form a closer working relationship with the Technical Committee and the immediate appointment of a Technical Director and an Assistant Coach. It was granted that the Technical Committee would review every match to eradicate any withstanding problems and it would work in accordance with the coach to develop an effective and logical team selection. The next figure overseeing the matters of team affairs will deal with slightly different responsibilities to those that faced Heric, who quit in dispute over the apparent interference with his first-team duties.
Bay United chairman Sipho Pityana accepted the resignation of Serbian Vladislav, stating ‘we would like to thank him for the contribution he made to the club’s growth and development.’ Goalkeeper Pernel McKop will be promoted to head coach on a temporary basis whilst the club search for a full-time replacement.
Adjusting to life in South Africa’s summit division has been demanding for Bay United after their heroics in the National First Division Play-Offs last year. Matters return to the pitch this Sunday as Bay United hope to overturn the form guide by defeating last season’s runners-up Ajax Cape Town. Defending champions SuperSport United welcome the challenge of inconsistent AmaZulu, while the Orlando Pirates faithful will demand all three points and a convincing display against Thanda Royal Zulu FC.
Recent PSL Action: Orlando Pirates trumped Kaizer Chiefs to the local derby honour by beating their foes 2-0 in a match that was out of the ordinary - renovations to the national Soccer City stadium meant that the fixture was competed in the North-West region of the country. Zimbabwean striker Gilbert Mushangazhike headed the Pirates into the lead after 21 minutes and the advantage was doubled shortly after due to Lucas Thwala’s cross conversion.
"We received an official letter from them. We cannot tell what will happen in the future, but I have to point out that Okubo has a contract remaining with our team."
Local Japanese media also reported that the transfer fee could be worth nearly 21 million dollars.
If the 26-year-old forward moves to Wolfsburg, he will join fellow Japanese international Makoto Hasebe at the club.
Here is a rundown of today's matches
Alibeykoyspor 0-1 Istanbul Maltepespor
Mersin Idman Yurdu 1-1 Etimesgut Sekerspor AS
Pazarspor 0-0 Akçaabat Sebatspor
Beykoz 1908 SKD 1-0 Konya Seker SK
Corumspor 1-1 Ofspor
MKE Kirikkalespor 0-2 Yeni Kirsehirspor
Yimpas Yozgatspor 1-1 Kars SK
Istanbulspor AS 1-2 Zeytinburnuspor
Trabzon Karadeniz SK 1-0 Tokatspor
Arsinspor 0-1 Cankiri Belediyespor
Elazigspor 0-0 Iskenderun Demir Celikspor
Altinordu SK 0-1 Denizli Belediye SK
Diyarbakir BB Diskispor 1-0 Sanliurfaspor
Adana Demirspor 1-2 Bucaspor
One of the more noteworthy players in the league is Mutlu Dervişoğlu. The 31-year-old attacking midfielder/forward has traveled throughout Turkey playing for several clubs. He played in the Turkish Super League for Erzurumspor, Adanaspor, and Yimpaş Yozgatspor. Akçaabat Sebatspor is his current squad.
Internacional scored 2 goals in Mexico and yesterday added 4 more at home. Nilmar, a former member of Lyon in France, netted two of the four goals. Attacking midfielder, Andrés D'Alessandro, added the other two. The Argentine was a one-time Portsmouth squad member.
The Brazilian side's foe will be from Argentina as Argentinos Juniors and Estudiantes de La Plata head into today's second leg of their semi-final tied 1-1.
A closer look at Internacional follows:
1.Edinho: The 25-year-old defensive midfielder has been with the club since 2004.
2.Lauro: The goalkeeper has been solid in the round of 16. He could move to Europe in January after his recent success.
3.Álvaro: The 29-year-old centre back played several years in Spain most famously with Real Zaragoza.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Winner - Internazionale (13th title)
Club - Matches - Won - Draw - Lost - Points
1. Internazionale (C) 34 26 6 2 58 -- European Cup First round
2. Napoli 34 18 11 5 47 -- UEFA Cup
3. Milan 34 16 14 4 46 -- European Cup First round
4. Juventus 34 15 13 6 43 -- UEFA Cup
5. Sampdoria 34 14 11 9 39 -- Cup Winners' Cup
6. Atalanta 34 11 14 9 36 -- UEFA Cup
7. Fiorentina 34 12 10 12 34
7. Roma 34 11 12 11 34
9. Lecce 34 8 15 11 31
10. Lazio 34 5 19 10 29
10. Verona 34 5 19 10 29
10. Ascoli 34 9 11 14 29
10. Cesena 34 8 13 13 29
10. Bologna 34 8 13 13 29
15. Torino 34 8 11 15 27 -- Relegated to Serie B
15. Pescara 34 5 17 12 27 -- Relegated to Serie B
17. Pisa 34 6 11 17 23 -- Relegated to Serie B
18. Como 34 6 10 18 22 --Relegated to Serie B
Brazilian Emerson Matías scored both goals for 2 de Mayo, but Sportivo found the back of the net three times with Adriano Duarte scoring one and midfielder Walter Avalos adding a brace on either side of Duarte's goal.
For more information of Paraguay's top division check out Soccer City FC's Worldwide Coverage Center.
Qatar 0 - 3 Japan
UAE 1 - 1 Iran
Saudi Arabia 0 - 2 Korea Republic
In Group A:
Midfielder Mark Bresciano who plays for Serie A's Palermo scored the late game winner for Australia in Manama, Bahrain. The goal came in injury time as Bresciano beat several defenders before finishing past goalkeeper Sayed Jaffer.
Japan easily dispatched Quatar with goals coming from Tatsuya Tanaka, Marcus Tulio Tanaka, and Keiji Tamada.
In Group B:
UAE surprised Iran as the match ended tied at 1-1. UAE's captain Abdulrahim Jumaa scored early in front of the home crowd. Iran was able to score late off a goal from Karim Bagheri. UEA finally took a point after four group matches.
And lastly, Korea proved too much for Saudia Arabia. Forward Lee Keun-Ho netted the game winner late in the second half.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Strasbourg fell from the top spot and now sit in 2nd place after the loss. Rudy Carlier, a 22-year-old French forward, had both goals for Strasbourg.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
The MLS Cup final is set to become one of the most exciting matches of the season. There's only one way to really explain what will happen on Sunday: expect the unexpected.
The match will feature the Columbus Crew against the New York Red Bulls. The Crew finished the season at the top of the Eastern Conference table with 57 points while the Red Bulls finished 5th on the table with 39 points.
The Crew come into the match with most of the momentum. They defeated the Chicago Fire in the semifinals and are looking to defeat NYRB. The Red Bulls, on the other hand, have been barely getting by since they made it to the playoffs. Thanks to luck and poor finishing, they were able to defeat Real Salt Lake in the semifinals.
Here's a few things each team needs to do if they want to take home that awesome looking trophy.
1. Make good use of Guillermo Barros Schelotto. The Crew is only as good as Schelotto is good. A candidate for the MVP award, he has almost single handidly carried the Crew through to the final. If Columbus want to score goals, they will have to get the ball to Schelotto and allow him to feed others goals.
2. Keep Juan Pablo Angel at bay. Just as Schelotto is the go-to guy for the Crew, Angel is the go-to guy for the Red Bulls. In fact, he will be the most dangerous player on the pitch. He can score goals and allow others to score goals. If the Crew have any chance of winning, they must shut down Angel. Here's a disheartening fact for Columbus: in 3 games against the Crew, Angel has scored 3 goals.
New York Red Bulls:
1. Create a solid defense. The Red Bulls have steadily improved on their defense. In fact, the defense was a factor in their semifinal win over Real Salt Lake. I don't think they need to worry too much about goalkeeper Danny Cepero. On his debut (against the Columbus Crew) he scored a goal from an 80-yard free kick and has kept a clean sheet in his last two matches. The defensive line needs the most work.
2. Get Dave Van den Bergh involved. While Juan Pablo Angel is the biggest name on New York's roster, Van den Bergh is also a key figure. When he plays well, New York tends to do well also. If he plays as well as people say he can, Columbus will have to step it up on defense and account for mulitple attacking threats.
All signs point to a very physical and fast tempo match. Right now, the momentum looks to be in favor of the Crew. However, the Red Bulls have made their season look like a Hollywood movie. I'm predicting the final score to be New York 2 - Columbus 1.
Thomas also writes about soccer at Bleacher Report.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Fabio Capello announced his 23-man squad for Wednesday's friendly versus Germany and along with Richards fellow City stars midfielder SWP and goalkeeper Joe Hart were on the list.
The friendly will be held in Berlin.
He has risen through the ranks of his country's youth teams culminating at the 2007 UEFA U-17 Championship held in Belgium. His performance at the tournament was the impetus for his move to Lille.
Click to view an Eden Hazard Video.
BayArena 2009 - 3D Preview
Friday, November 14, 2008
To view the images in large size, along with views and analysis from the fans, visit here.
Not only does the center offer weekly updates of Europe's top leagues, but several South American and Asian leagues are also highlighted.
When you click on the main page or any league page, you will be able to access league standings and also access the league's top goal scorers.
All the credit and diligent work invested into this project goes to Soccer City FC's Alan D.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Pressure has mounted on Bernd Schuster following Real Madrid’s exit from the Copa del Rey at the hands of lowly third-tier Real Union. From the perspective of a neutral, both legs of the match were thrilling encounters and the battle was far more balanced than the team sheets falsely suggested. Raul’s hat-trick was pure consolation and his 300th club goal undeservedly came under unfortunate circumstances, but Madrid folded 6-6 on aggregate and were left rueing the defensive mistakes which have haunted them in the past seven days. Eneko Romo was the hero for the visitors after he headed in the 90th minute to salvage progression into the last 32 at the expense of the Spanish champions. It is widely reported that a shortlist of candidates to replace Schuster is being created in the event of another defeat at the hands of Valladolid this weekend.
To mount further problems for Madrid, Ruud Van Nistelrooy is expected to miss the remainder of the season after having knee surgery.
Shocks were aplenty in Spain as Villareal also lost their cup tie against Polideportivo Ejido. The outcome of this match had already been predicted after Villareal’s shocking 5-0 defeat two weeks before and it would have needed a miracle to overturn it. Any hopes of an exhilarating comeback were soon forgotten about as they stumbled to a 1-1 draw and an even more degrading aggregate score. Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia experienced no such drawbacks after beating Benidorm, Orihuela and Portugalete respectively.
In France, Lyon lost to Metz in the fourth round of the French League Cup and elsewhere English powerhouses Chelsea and Liverpool crashed out of the Carling Cup to Championship outfit Burnley and Premiership revivalists Tottenham.
It had been claimed by Castillo’s agent, Juan Carlos Padilla, that the paperwork would be completed and submitted by Shakhtar, but it has emerged that the Ukrainian champions refused to release the player and thus any transfer has now collapsed. A club statement read: "Due to the informality and lack of reliability demonstrated by the representative of the player, in the future there will no longer be any negotiations to get the services of Mr Nery Castillo.”
A lack of first-team action has hindered Castillo’s season and appearances in the Manchester City starting eleven have been far and few between during the calendar year of 2008. Mark Hughes has made it clear that the Mexican has no future in Manchester and has searched for possibilities of ending the year-long agreement. After being cast aside at club level, any call-ups to the national team have consequently dried up but Sven Goren Eriksson – ironically the manager who sanctioned the loan deal when at Manchester City – has summoned Castillo for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Honduras.
It remains to be seen where the forgotten man of Mexican football shall be come the end of January. Remaining at Shahktar Donetsk is an unattractive option for both parties of player and club, so another loan spell seems to be set on the horizon and Real Betis is a probable destination to reignite the career of a fading name. Betis were close to ending Castillo’s English torment last August, but the transfer window finale brought the bitter news that an agreement could not be reached.
Nery Castillo can thrust himself into the headlines by performing emphatically in the colours of his national team and thereby ensuring their progression into the final CONCACAF qualifying stage. A goal or two would act as a timely reminder that Castillo’s light is only temporarily dimmed and whilst the physicality of the Premiership may have proved beyond his capabilities, his talent remains unquestioned and the faithful of Olympiakos would surely love to welcome their former favourite back into their arms.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Sadly, the core is now being disassembled. This is the nature of today's global football machine. Brazilian César Santin who was another powerful attacking option left during the summer transfer period for Danish side FC Copenhagen.
Ingelsten, only 26-years-old, will more than likely move to a wealthier European club either in January or in the summer of '09.
As for the Brothers Elm, Victor is the first to leave. He will move to Dutch side SC Heerenveen this January. Only 22 and over 6 foot 3 inches tall, the midfielder should flourish in his new land. More call-ups to the Swedish national team are on the horizon for the most recognizable of the Elm troika.
David at 25-years-old is the eldest of the bunch. The forward was a key reserve for Kalmar FF and should remain with the club.
Rasmus is only 20 yet he has already begun to make a difference for both club and country having recently earned call-ups to Sweden's U-21 squad. Regardless if he remains or moves, the midfielder's future is bright.
A look forward to Kalmar's 2009 Allsvenskan campaign:
1. If Rasmus remains, he should continue to develop in the midfield and with the club's title in 2008, he will benefit from facing the bigger European clubs who make up the UEFA Champions League.
2. How much does midfielder Henrik Rydström have left? The captain was a big key to the club's success.
3. What about the Brazilians? Will midfielders Daniel Sobralense and Marcel Sacramento factor into the 2009 plans? The duo arrived in 2008 but failed to make massive waves.
4. Is Abiola Dauda legit? The Nigerian joined the club in 2008 and scored 8 goals. The forward is only 20-years-old and should improve upon his goal tally in 2009.
5. Does Patrik Ingelsten remain? Even with the loss of Victor Elm, the club enters as the clear favorite to repeat in 2009 if Ingelsten stays.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Soccer City FC spoke with the former Wake Forest goalkeeper last January right after he was selected by Toronto in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. You can read the interview right here.
Chipperfield has also been active on the international stage since 1998. He was a member of Australia's 2006 World Cup squad.
He began his career in Australia with Wollongong FC and has stated that he would consider a return to the club later in his career.
Also starring for FC Basel this season:
1. Benjamin Huggel: The 31-year-old defensive midfielder has five goals in 12 matches for the club. Fearless in the middle of the pitch, having Huggel as an attacking option has been a bonus.
2. Carlitos: The 26-year-old Portuguese winger has three goals in ten league appearances.
3. Reto Zanni: The 28-year-old vice captain has anchored the first-place club's back four.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Forward Louis Dodds contributed a brace and his second goal tied the score at 3-3. Just prior, midfielder David Howland began Vale's epic comeback. Finally captain Marc Richards netted a free-kick to finish off the match.
Also from this weekend's FA Cup action:
Curzon Ashton F.C. defeated League Two side Exeter City F.C. at home by a score of 3-2. The UniBond League Division One North outfit survived a late rally from Exeter. Chris Worsley, James Ogoo, and Michael Norton scored for Curzon Ashton F.C.
“He's a great footballer, the complete player in many ways - pace, strength, technique and he scores goals.” Former Manchester City manager Sven Goren Eriksson on his failed escapade to sign Nicolas Anelka in the 2008 January transfer window.
Months of endless speculation and hearsay on the grapevine were ended after Nicolas Anelka walked through the doors of Stamford Bridge as the latest big-money striker and only just recently has the moved paid dividents. The unsettled voyager is now at his eighth club in a career that has spanned from the awes of the Santiago Bernabeu to the hostile lands of Turkey, but ten leagues goals to his credit in the 2008/09 campaign means he could finally be settling at a club where winning silverware does not come at the sacrifice of regular first-team appearances.
Anelka has freely admitted that he has been forced into adapting his style to be more effective in Chelsea’s approach but is beginning to be rewarded through the finesse he has demonstrated in the goalscoring department this season. His attitude has caused criticism to be levelled at him before and several have questioned Anelka's value to a European powerhouse such as Chelsea, of course the manner of his penalty miss in the Champions League final won over zero fans but we are started to witness the footballing brain behind the £15m price tag. Injury-plagued Didier Drogba has been an irregular presence in the starting eleven after falling victim to injury on consecutive occasions but Anelka has stepped up the ante in his absence.
The French international currently sits top of the goalscoring charts, and fans and Scolari alike will pray that his searing streak will be there for all to see right through to the final round of matches in May and beyond.
Soccer City FC analyses Anelka’s contributions to Chelsea’s winning start to the season through the joys of statistics.
Appearances: 12 (11 starts)
Minutes Played: 951
Goals: 10 (34% of Chelsea’s league goals)
Shots On Target: 21
Shots Off Target: 21
Shooting Accuracy: 50%
Goalscoring Rate: One every 95 minutes
Passing Accuracy: 77%
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Several other young prospects are doing well in 2008-2009...
Kévin Monnet-Paquet: 20-year-old French forward who has 5 goals for RC Lens. Rumours swirled last summer with a move to England.
Paul Alo'o Efoulou: 24-year-old Cameroonian forward has several goals and several key assists this season for Angers SCO who sit 7th.
Brahim Ferradj: 21-year-old French-Algerian midfielder/defender who has a desire to represent Algeria at the international level.
In today's other Bundesliga action:
Hamburger SV 2-1 over Borussia Dortmund with goals for Hamburg SV via the Croatian duo of Mladen Petrić and Ivica Olić.
VfL Bochum and Werder Bremen end tied at 0-0.
Arminia Bielefeld falls to Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 with brace for Borussia from forward Marko Marin.
Finally, Karlsruher SC and Bayer 04 Leverkusen tie 3-3.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Last season, Znicz Pruszków finished fifth in the Polish First League. The club is currently sixth but only five points out of first in the table after 17 matches played.
20-year-old midfielder Bartosz Osoliński is also another young talent at the club. Since 2006, he has appeared in over 50 matches.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Home, Sweet Home
So the old saying was correct, the comfort of the home crowd roaring on their beloved team does seem to be the difference between the taste of victory and the so
rrow of an embittered defeat. It doesn’t take an Einstein to observe that Mark Hughes has started inconsistently. Captivating demolition jobs against Portsmouth and Stoke beside flashes of undeterred brilliance versus Chelsea and Liverpool have been stifled by the away-day horrors. A never-ending piggy bank to fund the Abu Dhabi dream and an array of aptitude that has been absent for decades means that the future is still bright, but the ‘wet dreams’ of lifting the FA Cup may have to wait another couple of seasons.
Fans have been dealt with a reality check after being out-muscled by Middlesbrough and at the hands of an apparently inferior Bolton. Home ties have brought a smile back to the endearing faithful, but the storylines on the road have been all-too familiar and questions have been asked of the selection and tactics unveiled by the management team. The fate of Mark Hughes is open to debate after opting for surprising set-ups that resulted in despairing outcomes. After resorting to a 4-2-3-1 formation at the Riverside with Elano accompanying Vincent in front of the defensive quartet, Manchester City failed to control the midfield play and so were frustrated in their attempts to both convert and to create watch-winning chances. The free-flowing formation often leads to a goal-scoring frenzy at home, but as we have witnessed more brawn and structure are the essences to results away from Manchester.
Time is the asset for Manchester City, more managerial merry-go-rounds would consequent in yet more false dawns and unfulfilled promises. Mark Hughes has reiterated the need to reinforce in the spending spree month of January and while many hope to be awoken by breaking news of Sergio Aguero’s arrival, attention should switch to curing the current downfalls of a convincing left-back and an all-round midfielder.
The proverb “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” seems appropriate – Keeping faith with Hughes and providing a base of stability are the initial steps needed to completing the overall task. Any further managerial departures and we will find ourselves firmly back at the beginning of the ‘Snakes & Ladders’ game that is football.
Return of the Mac
The game is bred with its own fair share of tactical masters, charismatic intellects and blubbering idiots but Steve McClaren has struggled to shrug off his clownish reputation despite now managing outside the British Isles. He departed for foreign shores as the latest uncharismatic tactical baboon to have left the England job empty-handed (excluding the hefty £2m payout of course). Look deeper and you’ll discover he has taken the first steps to renovating his broken reputation and has adapted to Eredivisie football rather admirably.
From his era at Middlesbrough, the headlining credentials of Steve McClaren were his feats in the cup competitions, in significance the UEFA Cup and an encore could be waiting to unfold with his new club. League finishes hovered slightly above the average boundary but his acclamations were centred from the triumph in the League Cup in 2004, Middlesbrough’s first ever major honour, and reaching the UEFA Cup Final in 2006. Such achievements with FC Twente remain unthinkable and would undoubtedly create a new definition of the word ‘Giant Killer’, but progression into the next stage is a realistic prospect having tamed Spanish strugglers Real Santander 1-0 two weeks ago. FC Twente have a recent history of playing the stage role as underdogs and overturning the odds, demonstrated perfectly in their domestic Champions League Play-Off victory over favourites Ajax and again by sliding past Rennes on away goals in the UEFA Cup First Round. An away draw at the City of Manchester Stadium would certainly not look out of the ordinary.
FC Twente: In Numbers
• FC Twente finished fourth in last season’s Eredivisie, fundamentally responsible for their resilient defence which only conceded 32 goals in 34 matches – the second best in the league behind champions PSV.
• Qualification to the Champions League was achieved by triumphing over Ajax in the Champions League Play-Offs, but failure to dispatch Arsenal in the Third Qualifying Round consequently saw them ‘drop’ to the UEFA Cup.
• FC Twente is Holland’s sixth most successful team, based on an all-time points table where they have racked up 530 points from 349 matches.
• FC Twente currently lie in 6th position on 17 points after nine matches – more strikingly is their consistent away form having won three of their five domestic away ties while drawing and losing the other two. Manchester City has swayed between the slums of mediocrity and the dizzying heights of Samba stardom in 10th.
• Yet to win the Dutch title, FC Twente have twice won the Dutch Cup in 1977 and 2001 and reached the two-legged UEFA Cup final in 1975.
• Blaise Kufo, the veteran Swiss striker, has inflicted havoc in the Eredivisie for the past six seasons that he has donned the Twente jersey. Having punctured many Dutch rearguards with a total of 87 goals in 168 matches, Kufo has accrued the status as Twente’s prolific talisman but the 2008/09 season has not produced the gold that many had naturally expected. In 825 minutes of play Kufo has managed one sole successful strike, consoled by a second in the UEFA Cup but the Zaire-born hitman still poses as a potential menace on the night. Young Dutch forward Eljaro Elia has impacted while the old hand searches for his scoring boots, netting four times already this season.
The Dutch Perspective (Many Thanks to Twente fan Johan Neesens from BigSoccer.com)
Our main strength lies in defence. Wielaert is one of the most consistent central defenders in the Dutch league, he is vital to our build-up play. Our other central defender, teenage Brazilian monster Douglas, is coveted by many clubs in Europe. He's an excellent man-marker. Another youngster, Braafheid will probably man mark Robinho as he's our quickest defender.
N"Kufo hasn't exactly been in form this season, and as a result we're having problems in the goal scoring department this season. We also have a young Austrian striker, who plays out of position currently on the right wing: Arnautovic. He's very talented but also a bit fickle (i.e. brilliant one minute, totally rubbish the next). Our in-form forward is Eljero Elia, a traditional Dutch school left winger. Similar to Arnautovic, however he's also a bit fickle and that's one of our biggest problems. We've a lot of youngsters in key positions and they're of course never going to be consistent. I personally have been most impressed by our defensive midfielder Wout Brama, again a relatively young player from our own youth academy, who notably was the only Twente player to hold his own in both games v Arsenal. The other midfielders who'll probably play are Tioté and Perez - the latter could prove vital for us as he's got a lot of European experience, gained with AZ, Ajax and PSV.
All of these strengths and weaknesses are relative of course. We're well aware that Man City is ten times richer than us - we run a whole club on what you spend on Robinho annually. Twente should lose to Man City, but as the first half hour against Arsenal showed, if you get complacent as a Premiership side then you will have a difficult time.
• It won’t be the first time that the two clubs have met, as Manchester City ran out 4-3 winners on aggregate in European competition in the 1978/79 season. Goals from Brian Kidd, Colin Bell and an own goal secured victory in the second leg after a 1-1 away draw, where Dave Watson scored a valuable goal.
• Enschede is the current home of beer Grolsch.
The depleted strikeforce of Manchester City has been boosted as experienced duo Benjani and Darius Vassell have taken strides towards match fitness. Both could make the squad after making reserve cameos, where Benjani signalled his intentions of staking a starting eleven place by scoring on his return. Mark Hughes recently said ”They will come into the equation. We have got young strikers here and at times we have lacked a little bit of experience up front so it will be good to welcome them back.” Michael Ball could also come into contention, but Dunne’s knee injury should inevitably lead to a back four of Zabaleta, Richards, Ben Heim and Garrido.
Mark Hughes: “When we play in front of our own fans, there is a freedom in our play. There is a positive attitude in everything we try to do. It is important to win our first game, given the make-up of the competition. If you win your home matches it gives you an opportunity to qualify from the group. If we can pick up even a point from the two away games, I think that will be enough."
Steve McClaren: “We need to make a good start, the first 20 minutes will be very important as we know City are good at home. They have a lot of attacking options with a star like Robinho to call on, so it will be tough for us. The pressure is all on City, not us, and I would take a draw at this moment."
Prediction: Manchester City 1 – 0 FC Twente Enschede
A compelling display is needed from the home team if they are to dismantle the dependable Twente defence, but Manchester City with their array of attacking flair should claim all three points. As long as the defence remains strong and central partnership in midfield command the match from the off-set, then the attackers will naturally carry out their business. Any other outcome and Mark Hughes will be fighting off the critics on both domestic and European fronts.
Many thanks to the FC Twente fans and contributors off BigSoccer.com
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Is this a one-title-and-done situation for Kazan or does the club have the talent and financial longevity to continue the success?
In other A-League action from the weekend, the Newcastle Jets lost to the Queensland Roar by a score of 2-1. Scottish midfielder Charlie Miller notched the game winner. He has six goals on the season.
Also, Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners tied 3-3. Central Coast Mariners forward Matt Simon finished with a brace and now leads the A-League with 7 goals.
1. K. Boyd - Glasgow Rangers FC (8)
2. G. Samaras - Celtic FC (8)
3. B. Mehmet - Saint Mirren FC (5)
4. K. Miller - Glasgow Rangers FC (5)
5. J. Sutton - Motherwell FC (5)
6. S. Arfield - Falkirk FC (4)
7. D. Clarkson - Motherwell FC (4)
8. S. Fletcher - Hibernian FC (4)
9. C. Nish - Hibernian FC (4)
10. C. Porter - Motherwell FC (4)
11. S. Lovell - Falkirk FC (3)
12. S. McDonald - Celtic FC (3)
13. C. Mulgrew - Aberdeen FC (3)
14. N. Novo Glasgow - Rangers FC (3)
15. D. Riordan - Hibernian FC (3)
1. A. Gilardino - ACF Fiorentina (7)
2. M. Zárate - SS Lazio Roma (6)
3. Amauri - Juventus FC (5)
4. G. Denis - SSC Napoli (5)
5. Z. Ibrahimovic - FC Internazionale Milano (5)
6. F. Miccoli - US Città di Palermo (5)
7. D. Milito - Genoa CFC (5)
8. G. Pandev - SS Lazio Roma (5)
9. B. Corradi - Reggina Calcio (4)
10. A. Di Natale - Udinese Calcio (4)
11. M. Di Vaio - Bologna FC 1909 (4)
12. S. Floccari - Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio (4)
13. M. Hamsik - SSC Napoli (4)
14. F. Quagliarella - Udinese Calcio (4)
15. N. Amoruso - Torino FC (3)