Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Madrid dominate in Nicosia

Last night, Apoel Nicosia's fairytale run through the Champions League effectively came to an end. Nicosia topped their group and knocked out French side Lyon in the Round of 16. Before last night they had also only conceded 7 goals in the tournament. At home in the first leg of the Quarter Finals, Apoel would have been looking to keep a clean sheet in order to stay in the tie, unfortunately for the Cypriot side Real Madrid had other ideas.

The game ended up as one of the most one-sided ties ever in the competition. Apoel didn't manage a single shot in the entire match, and only had 22% of the possession. Real Madrid won the match 3-0, but the scoreline really flattered the home side. Below are some selected chalkboards which demonstrate the level of domination.


Real Madrid completed over 500 more passes than Apoel Nicosia, and had 78% possession.


The goals didn't come until the second half, but Real Madrid had 28 shots at goal compared to Apoel's none. 

Attacking Third 

Amazingly, Apoel only completed 12 passes in the attacking third of the pitch. Surely a Champions League record low? 

Paulo Jorge 

A perfect example of how bad Apoel were last night was Paulo Jorge. The Centre-back played the full 90 minutes and only completed 4 passes, two less than Iker Casillas.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Spanish Football Results 24-25 March 2012

This week's Spanish Football results included wins for Real Madrid and Barcelona, which means the gap at the top is still 6 points. Valencia lost their second straight game, and are now only above Malaga on goal difference. There were also big wins at the bottom for Real Zaragoza and struggling Villarreal.

Saturday 24 March 2012 
Mallorca 0-2 Barcelona;
Real Madrid 5-1 Real Sociedad;
Getafe 3-1 Valencia

Mallorca is a very hard place to go in La Liga, but Barcelona managed a comfortable 2-0 victory, despite Thiago getting a red card after 57 minutes. Messi got the first goal after his floated free-kick cross was missed by everyone in the air, and bounced into the far corner. In the 79th minute Gerard Pique won the game, tapping in after Messi's shot had rebounded off the post.

Real Madrid strolled to a 5-1 victory at the Bernabeu against Real Sociedad, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring another 2 goals. Ronaldo has now scored 101 goals for Real Madrid and is the fastest player to reach 100 goals in La Liga history. Karem Benzema also got a brace, and his first was a beautiful volleyed lob over the keeper. Real Madrid remain six points clear of Barcelona in the race for the title.

Valencia have had an awful week. After losing at home against bottom of the table Zaragoza in midweek, Unai Emery's team lost again. Roberto Soldado had put Valencia in the lead, but Getafe stormed back to win 3-1. Valencia are in danger of falling out of the Champions League places, and it could be a nervous end to their season. 

Sunday 25 March 2012 
Zaragoza 1-0 Atletico Madrid;
Levante 0-2 Osasuna;
Espanyol 1-2 Malaga;
Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Sporting Gijon;
Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Villarreal;
Real Betis 1-1 Racing Santander

The biggest shock yesterday in La Liga was Real Zaragoza winning a second straight game in a week. Apono's 95th minute penalty won the game and halted Atletico's charge up the table. Zaragoza are now 6 points from safety, and after beating Valencia and Atletico Madrid, they will have real hope and belief that they can stay up.

Osasuna beat Levante and are now only a point behind them in the league. Elsewhere, Bilbao have not won in four La Liga matches and could be suffering from their exertions in the Europa League. Betis and Satander also drew 1-1.

Villarreal recorded an impressive 2-0 victory at Real Vallecano which pulls them a little further away from the relagation places. Malaga made the biggest move this weekend, coming from behind to beat Espanyol 2-1. Van Nistelrooy and Demichelis both scored to move Malaga up to fourth in the table, and they are now level on points with Valencia.

There is one more game tonight, as Sevilla travel to play Granada.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Lionel Messi - Best Chips and Lobs

This great video by RousSportChannel shows off how Lionel Messi has perfected a type of goal which makes the game of football seem simple. Fans of Spanish football see Messi pull off this scoop or chip finish almost every other game. Messi's lobs are his trademark, be it in the Champions League or when playing for Argentina. While they are delightful to watch, they are also deadly effective, as goalkeepers often have no chance of stopping them. From an early age, keepers are taught to come off their line and make the angles harder for strikers. Messi doesn't have to worry about angles, as he has worked out that there is another route past a goalkeeper, over the top!

The quality of the opposition doesn't matter to Messi either. As seen in this video, Real Madrid, Arsenal and even World Champions Spain have been on the end of a sumptuous Messi lob. Enjoy.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Spanish Football Results – 22 March 2012

The midweek La Liga games continued tonight, with three more fixtures. Racing Santander remain in the relegation zone after losing at home to Sevilla, while Malaga moved level on points with Levante in the race for the Champions League.

Malaga 4-2 Rayo Vallecano;
Real Betis 1-1 Espanyol;
Racing Santander 0-3 Sevilla

Malaga continued their push for a Champions League spot after beating Rayo Vallecano 4-2 at the Estadio La Rosaleda. Rondon got two goals, with Maresca and Duda also getting on the scoresheet. Wins for both Malaga and Levante this week means that they are now both only 3 points behind Valencia in third. The race for the Champions League in Spanish football is really hotting up, and this weekend could be crucial. On Sunday, seventh-placed Osasuna travel to fourth-placed Levante, while sixth-placed Espanyol host Malaga who are fifth.

Sevilla secured an impressive 3-0 away victory at Racing Santander tonight, and gave themselves hope of turning what has been a very average season around. Jesus Navas put Sevilla ahead after 34 minutes, and two goals from Manu put the game beyond Santander. Sevilla are now up to 11th in the table. In tonight's other match, Espanyol scored a 93rd minute equaliser to deny Real Betis their first win in five matches in the league. 

This weekend, the top two both play on Saturday night. Barcelona have a potentially tricky away tie in Mallorca, while Real Madrid host Sociedad at the Bernabeu.

Spanish Football Results – 21 March 2012

There were some very interesting results last night in Spain, as Real Madrid dropped points for the second time in a week away at Villarreal. However, the biggest shock of the night took place at the Mestalla, where third placed Valencia lost 2-1 to bottom of the table Zaragoza.

Atletico Madrid 2-1 Athletic Bilbao;
Real Sociedad 1-3 Levante;
Sporting Gijon 2-3 Mallorca;
Valencia 1-2 Real Zaragoza;
Villarreal 1-1 Real Madrid

Valencia's shock home defeat was even more surprising considering that they took the lead after 5 minutes. Zaragoza had to play with ten men for most of the match when Alvarez was sent off after 21 minutes. Despite this Zaragoza came from behind to win 2-1, and even ended the match with 9 men. Valencia did have around 74% possession and a lot of shots on goal, but Zaragoza got the 3 vital points as they fight to stay up.

Real Madrid are now only 6 points ahead of Barcelona after they drew for the second time in four days. Ronaldo had put Madrid ahead, but it was another free-kick which denied them the 3 points. This time Marcos Senna beat Casillas to earn Villarreal a point. Madrid boss Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands late on, and both Sergio Ramos and Mesut Ozil were sent off. Are Real feeling the pressure, and can they keep their calm going into the last ten games of La Liga?

Elsewhere last night, Falcao got another two goals as Atletico Madrid beat Bilbao 2-1 and moved above the Basque side in the table. Levante won 3-1 away to Real Sociedad and moved back into fourth in the table. There are still six or seven teams vieing for a Champions League place, and Valencia's slip up last night could drag them down into the mix. The final game saw Mallorca win 3-2 away to relegation candidates Sporting Gijon.

There are 3 games tonight in La Liga as Santander host Sevilla, Espanyol travel to Real Betis and fifth placed Malaga are at home to Rayo Vallecano.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Football on TV: 21-25 March 2012

This week there is a wide range of football on TV, including Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, SPL, Serie A and the Coppa Italia.

Wednesday 21 March 2012
Man City v Chelsea
(Premier League) kick off 19:45 GMT (Sky Sports 1) 
Napoli v Siena 
(Coppa Italia) kick off 19:45 GMT (ESPN) 
Villarreal v Real Madrid 
(La Liga) kick off 21:00 GMT (Sky Sports 3) 

Friday 23 March 2012 
Wolfsburg v Hamburg
(Bundesliga) kick off 19:30 GMT (ESPN) 

Saturday 24 March 2012 
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
(Premier League) kick off 12:45 GMT (Sky Sports 2) 
Mallorca v Barcelona
(La Liga) kick off 17:00 GMT (Sky Sports 4)
Stoke City v Man City
(Premier League) kick off 17:30 GMT (ESPN)
Real Madrid v Real Sociedad
(La Liga) kick off 19:00 GMT (Sky Sports 4) 
Palermo v Udinese
(Serie A) kick off 19:45 GMT (ESPN) 
Getafe v Valencia
(La Liga) kick off 21:00 GMT (Sky Sports 4) 

Sunday 25 March 2012 
Atalanta v Bologna
(Serie A) kick off 11:30 GMT (ESPN) 
Rangers v Celtic
(SPL) kick off 13:00 GMT (Sky Sports 1) 
West Brom v Newcastle United
(Premier League) kick off 16:00 GMT (Sky Sports 1) 
Juventus v Inter Milan
(Serie A) kick off 19:45 GMT (ESPN)

Spanish Football Results - 20 March 2012

Last night their were two Spanish football results, with both Osasuna and Barcelona playing at home. Getafe gained a valuable away point and Barcelona closed the gap with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Osasuna 0-0 Getafe;
Barcelona 5-3 Granada

The night however, was not about results, it was about Lionel Messi. Cesar Rodriguez’s 57 year old record was broken in style last night as Lionel Messi became Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer at the age of 24. Messi scored a wonderful hat-trick which helped Barcelona to a 5-3 win. Barcelona were 2-0 up at half-time, but Granada managed to pull it back to 2-2 in the second half. Lionel Messi’s record breaking goal put the Catalans back in front, and Tello finished calmly on 82 minutes to make it 4-2. Messi completed his hat-trick, but the night was slightly soured as Dani Alves was sent off late on after giving away two penalties.

After the game, all the talk was of Lionel Messi, who now has an astonishing 54 goals in all competitions this season. With 234 goals in his Barcelona career so far, will anyone ever get near to Messi’s final goal tally when he hangs up his boots?

Tonight Real Madrid have the chance to restore their 8 point gap over Barcelona at the top of La Liga. They travel to El Madrigal to face struggling Villarreal, but the Yellow Submarines will have new Head Coach Miguel Angel Lotina in charge of his first game. Also tonight, Atletico Madrid host Athletic Bilbao in what could be a crucial game in terms of Champions League qualification.