Thursday, 20 September 2012

The last four days in European football:

Hello and welcome to my LATEST blog post update, where I analyse the Everton vs Newcastle match plus Tuesday and Wednesday's UEFA Champions League Group Stage Matches and Thursday's UEFA Europa League matches.

Without further ado:

Monday's Evening EPL Match:

Everton vs Newcastle:

This match was played at Goodison Park as Everton hosted Newcastle in an interesting mid-table clash between two top 8 sides from last season.

Everton broke the deadlock in the 15th minute, after some great one-touch football was finished off nicely by left-back Leighton Baines.

15th minute opener: Everton full-back Leighton Baines scores a powerful drive low past goalkeeper Harper.

Newcastle tried to get back into the match with a goal-line clearance by Baines, but Everton stayed solid for the rest of the first half despite failing to score a few chances.

Manager Alan Pardew was obviously not happy with his team's performance and at half-time striker Demba Ba replaced Sylvain Marveaux.

Ba had an instant impact, and after a great through ball by midfielder Yohan Cabaye, he scored three minutes after coming on to equalise. 

Instant impact: Newcastle striker Demba Ba scores against Everton to make it 1-1 in the 48th minute.
Trademark celebration: Demba Ba celebrates his quick-fire goal in the second half after coming on as a sub.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard would be disappointed that he did not save the shot, as it was low and trickled past him.

Everton then scored to regain the lead thanks to midfielder Marouane Fellani - only for the goal to be disallowed by offside.

The replays showed that Fellani was actually NOT offside, amid lots of calls that goal-line technology should be introduced to the beautiful game.

This was before striker Victor Anichebe had a disallowed goal after a free-kick was whipped into the box and his header went over the line in the 78th minute.

In the 88th minute, Anichebe gave Everton the lead with a low, powerful shot away from goalkeeper Steve Harper into the net.

Not enough: Everton striker Victor Anichebe scores low into the net to make it 2-1 against Newcastle.

Before Demba Ba broke Everton hearts with a late goal in the 90th minute, kicking the ball past Tim Horward who jumped early as he was coming out for the ball. 

Late equaliser: Newcastle striker Demba Ba scores his second to make it 2-2 against Everton in the 90th minute.

Everton will feel disappointed that they did not take all three points after having two disallowed goals. 

Newcastle will feel grateful that they took their chances to score, or they would have lost. They will probably secretly be thanking the officials.


UEFA Champions League:

The best football competition in world football restarted this week with 8 matches on Tuesday, including Arsenal and Manchester City in action.

Group A: 

PSG 4 Dynamo Kiev 1

Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic broke the deadlock for PSG from the penalty spot in the 19th minute after Menez was brought down in the penalty area.

Defender Thiago Silva scored his first goal for his new club PSG in the 29th minute after a corner fell to him, before he hitting the ball low into the net.

Former Chelsea defender Alex made it 3-0 in the 31st minute with a powerful volley which flew past the goalkeeper.

Dynamo Kiev scored a consolation goal in the 87th minute, after midfielder Miguel Veloso's cross into the box beat PSG goalkeeper Sirigu.

Midfielder Javier Pastore made it 4-1 to PSG in stoppage time after the goalkeeper fumbled his shot before the ball slipped underneath his body. 

FACT: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has become the first footballer to score for 6 different clubs in the Champions League.

Dinamo Zagreb 0 FC Porto 2

Midfielders Lucho Gonzalez and Stefan Defour both scored for Porto as the beat Zagreb by 2 goals to nil away from home.

Group A table:

1st - PSG, 3pts
2nd - FC Porto, 3pts
3rd - Dinamo Zagreb, 0pts
4th - Dynamo Kiev, 0pts

Matchday 2:

Dynamo Kiev vs Dinamo Zagreb 
FC Porto vs PSG

Group B:

Montpellier 1 Arsenal 2

The major news coming into the match was that Arsenal's £12million striker Olivier Giroud would start the match against his old club in France. 

Arsenal were keen to continue their good form from the EPL, with back-to-back wins against Southampton and Liverpool before this fixture.

Montpellier were at home, so the match was always going to be tricky for The Gunners, and the problems started in the 8th minute, when Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen shoulder barged Montpellier midfielder Younes Belhanda on the floor inside the penalty area.

The referee awarded the penalty (after some thinking time), and Belhanda dispatched the penalty with a cheeky chip past Arsenal reserve 'keeper Vito Mannone to give the hosts a 1-0 lead after 9 minutes.

Cheeky chip: Younes Belhanda scores from the penalty spot as Cazorla and Vermaelen look on.

Arsenal were not behind for long, and after some great 1 touch passing by Diaby, Cazorla and Giroud, striker Lukas Podolski was able to calmly slot the ball away from the goalkeeper's grasp to make it 1-1 in the 16th minute.

Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski scores on his CL debut for The Gunners against Montpellier in the 16th minute.
Crucial equaliser: Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski celebrates his goal with the travelling Arsenal fans.

The Gunners went ahead in the 18th minute after right-back Carl Jenkinson found Gervinho inside the box, before he tapped the ball into the net.

Tap-in: Arsenal striker Gervinho gives The Gunners the lead against Montpellier in the 18th minute.
Don't forget me: Gervinho celebrates his 3rd goal in 2 matches and the winner for Arsenal.

Giroud had a volley from inside the box before half-time, but the shot was off target.

Montpellier were pressing for the equaliser with shots from Cabella in either half. He skimmed the post with one effort before hitting the crossbar with a lovely chip over Mannone's head.

Younes Belhanda had a shot inside the 6 yard box, but his shot was caught well by Mannone.

The match ended 2-1 to Arsenal, and all though Montpellier will feel disappointed that they did not take their chances in-front of goal, Arsenal were clinical and deserved to win.

Olympiakos 1 FC Schalke 04 2

The other Group B match saw Greek club Oympiakos host German side Schalke.
Schalke beat Olympiakos by 2 goals to 1, with Howedes and Hunterlaar the goalscorers.

It could have been more if only Huntelaar had not hit the post with his penalty and they did not have a goal disallowed.

Group B table:

1st - Schalke 04, 3pts
2nd - Arsenal, 3pts
3rd - Montpellier, 0pts
4th - Olympiakos, 0pts

Matchday 2 -

Arsenal vs Olympiakos
Schalke vs Montpellier

Group C: 

AC Milan 0 Anderlecht 0

These two sides both drawed blanks at the San Siro, and although Milan were at home, they did not take their chances.

Substitute Stephan El Shaarawy had the best chance of the match, witha  header inside the 6 yard box parried away by the goalkeeper - off the line.

Malaga 3 Zenit St. Petersburg 0

If there is one lesson to learn from La Rosaleda in Malaga, that is that money does NOT always win you football matches.

Zenit were tipped to qualify for the Last 16, after signing Porto winger Hulk and Benfica defensive midfelder Aexl Witsel for 80million euros.
Young midfielder Isco opened the scoring for Malaga in the 3rd minute befoe new signing Javier Sasviola doubled their lead in the 12th minute.

Zenit's new winger Hulk did his best to salvage something for his new club - hitting the crossbar with an effort, but Isco's 2nd goal of the night with a piledriver into the top corner of the net signalled a great start by Malaga on their CL group stage debut.

Group C table:

1st - Malaga, 3pts
2nd - Anderlecht, 1pt
3rd - Milan, 1pt
4th - Zenit, 0pt

Matchday 2 -
Zenit vs AC Milan
Anderlecht vs Malaga

Group D:

Real Madrid 3 Manchester City 2

This match was played at The Bernabeu as the defending Spanish champions Real Madrid hosted the English champions Manchester City.

Real Madrid started the match off with a bang with midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo, full-back Marcelo, winger Angel Di Maria and striker Gonzalo Higuain giving the England no.1 goalkeeper Joe Hart trouble in the first half with shots.

Manchester City were dominated until defensive midfielder Yaya Toure collected the ball from the centre circle, and burst past the Real Madrid defenders with pace before giving a through ball straight to subsitute Edin Dzeko who slotted the ball past goalkeeper Casillas to break the deadlock in the 69th minute.

Shock goal: Manchester City substiute Edin Dzeko scores in the 69th minute past Casillas.

Real Madrid had an almost instant reply, with full-back Marcelo cutting inside the Man City defence before curling the ball into the top corner past Joe Hart with a placed shot in the 74th minute.

74th minute equaliser: Real Madrid full-back Marcelo celebrates his curled effort against Manchester City.

Manchester City had a free-kick from 26 yards out and Kolarov whipped a curling ball into the box.

The ball was intended for a City player inside the box, but the ball curled so much, that it caught Casillas off-guard and went into the bottom corner of the net. 

Did I mean that? Kolarov celebrates his curled free-kick with Dzeko and Zabaleta to give City the lead again.

Kolarov had given City the lead with 5 minutes left to play, but would Real die? No.

Angel Di Maria found striker Karim Benzema with a through ball, before Benzema span past a defender before hitting the ball low away from Joe Hart in the 87th minute to equalise.

In the 90th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo took a shot from the left wing, before Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany ducked and blocked Joe Hart's view of the ball.

Late winner: Real Madrid winger Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his 90th minute goal against Manchester City.

Ronaldo scored as a result and Real won late on at home.

City will feel very disappointed that they did not even get a point, despite going in the lead twice! 

Not happy: Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart looks dejected after the match.

Oh no: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini looks disappointed after losing against Real.
Oh yes: Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho celebrates Ronaldo's late winner against City in the 90th minute.

Real will be thankful that they have Cristiano Ronaldo, and actually played well and pressurised City all of the match. 

Borussia Dortmund 1 Ajax 0

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski scored the only goal of the match for the hosts.

Mario Gotze was fouled inside the box, but the resulting penalty which was taken by defender Mats Hummels was saved by the goalkeeper.

Midfielder Christian Eriksen missed a golden oppourintiy to score inside the box, as the goal was gaping open, his shot was wide.

Group D table:

1st - Real Madrid, 3pts
2nd- Dortmund, 3pts
3rd - Man City, 0pts
4th - Ajax, 0pts

Matchday 2: 

Ajax vs Real Madrid
Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund


Group E:

Chelsea 2 Juventus 2

This match was played at Stamford Bridge, as defending UCL champions Chelsea hosted an Italian side who went unbeaten the WHOLE of last season. 

UEFA Europa League Results (most important!):

Group A: Young Boys 3 Liverpool 5

This match was played in Switzerland as the first encounter between these two clubs started with The Reds going ahead after only three minutes, courtesy of an own goal.

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing crossed the ball into the box, before the ball hit two defenders on the head and fell into the net.

Young Boys equalised in the 37th minute, after some great one-touch football - and poor defending by Jose Enrique left a gap in the defence before Raphael Nuzzolo was able to score. 

Liverpool restored their lead two minutes later, after a corner by midfielder Nuri Sahin was headed into the net by defender Andre Wisdom on his professional debut for Liverpool.

Defender Juhan Ojala made up for his own goal early in the first half, by scoring a header from a cross early in the second to make it 2-2.

Striker Gonzalo Zarate gave Young Boys the lead for the first time in the match after 63 minutes, with a lovely chip over goalkeeper Brad Jones' head.

Defender Sebastian Coates scored a header from a cornerer to make it 3-3 in the 67th minute, before midfielder Jonjo Shelvey scored a double in the last 15 minutes to give The Reds the lead and eventually the win.

Group A: Udinese 1 Anji Makhachkala 1

Anji broke the deadlock just before half-time, after a goalkeeping mistake Danielli Padelli from a shot near hte wing deflected into the net for an own goal. 

Former Inter and Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o tried to score with a curling finesse shot, but was denied by Padelli in the second half. 

Despite Anji having the lead, striker Di Natale equalised late on for Udinese in the 90th minute after a shot was saved by the goalkeeper.

Group A table:

1st - Liverpool, 3pts
2nd - Anji, 1pt
3rd - Udinese, 1pt
4th - Young Boys, 0pts

Matchday 2: 
Liverpool vs Udinese
Anji vs Young Boys

Group B: Hapoel Tel-Aviv 0 Atletico Madrid 3

The defending Europa League champions started their 2012-13 European campaign off with a 3-0 win away from home.
New midfield signing Cristian Rodriguez, Diego Costa and Raul Garcia were all on the scoresheet for Atletico.

Group C: Fenerbache 2 Marseille 2 

The major news is that QPR midfielder Joey Barton made his debut for his new loanee club and his Europa League debut.
Marseille came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 away from home thanks to Valbuena and Andre Ayew.

Group D: Maritimo 0 Newcastle United 0

Newcastle had started their first European campaign in 6 years off with a 0-0 draw against Maritimo with most of their second team players.

Striker Shola Ameobi had come closest to scoring for Newcastle, with a header hitting the post in the first half, and a finesse shot hitting the crossbar in the 47th minute.

Group F: Napoli 4 AIK Solna 0, Dnipro 2 PSV 0

Group G: Sporting Lisbon 0 Basel 0

Group H: Inter Milan 2 Rubin Kasan 2

Group I: Athletic Bilbao 1 Ironi Kayat Shmona 1 

Group J: Tottenham Hotspur 0 Lazio 0

This match was played at White Hart Lane, as Tottenham hosted Lazio with their young and inexpereinced players.

Gareth Bale crossed a lovely ball to £7million signing Clint Dempsey who headed Spurs into a 1-0 lead, but the goal was ruled out for offside. 

Defender Steven Caulker headed Tottenham into a lead with a header from a corner, but that goal was OFFSIDE too. 

The Weekend's EPL Matches:

Saturday (15:00pm unless stated):

Swansea City vs Everton: LIVE at 12:45pm

Chelsea vs Stoke City

Southampton vs Aston Villa

West Brom vs Reading

West Ham vs Sunderland

Wigan vs Fulham


Liverpool vs Manchester United: LIVE at 13:30pm

Newcastle vs Norwich: LIVE at 15:00pm

Manchester City vs Arsenal: LIVE at 16:00pm

Tottenham Hotspur vs QPR: LIVE at 16:00pm

I will be back tomorrow for an EPL Super Saturday LIVE Coverage blog post.
Speak to you all later!

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