All Balls Don’t Bounce

Completely Random Sports Non Sequiturs From A Completely Random Hip Hop Head

Posts Tagged ‘adriano’

Champions League, Part Deux

Posted by hiphopmama on March 11, 2009

manyoo-inter

Manchester United 2-0 Inter (Agg: 2-0)

  • 1-0 Vidic, 4′
  • 2-0 Ronaldo,  49′

almunia

Roma 1-0 Arsenal, Shoot-out 6-7 (Agg: 1-1)

  • 1-0 Juan, 9′

England has the strongest league in the world. Hands down. I was hesitant to admit it for a while, especially because La Liga is my favorite to watch. But after watching Champions League action in conjunction with the individual leagues, it is essentially impossible to argue otherwise. In the two preceding years, three of the final four teams were from England (Man Utd, Chelsea, and Liverpool in both cases), and last year was an all-England final. Now, as we head into the quarterfinals, all four English teams have advanced, at the expense of Italy’s three representatives in the round of 16. Spain still has two teams alive in the competition, but only one of them – Barcelona – stands any real chance of making it all the way.

Defending champs Manchester Utd took out Italy’s last great hope and their Special coach (wonder if he knows what the connotations of that term are). While I had finally settled on Inter as the lesser of these two evils, I was not at all unhappy to see Mourinho get humbled like that. I wish it could have been at the hands of someone other than Fergie and ManYoo, but watching Inter bomb out of the Champions League with the coach they brought in specifically to get them better results in Europe was still sweet. Man Utd opened each half with a goal, which was just enough to finish off Inter. Sir Alex’s boys weren’t particularly impressive today, but they did what they had to do to beat Special Sauce and Co. Both goals came off beautifully delivered passes, the first a corner taken by Giggs and the second a chipped pass from Rooney. Ibrahimovic finally decided to show up and made some key contributions, but neither he nor Adriano could break all the way through the ManYoo defense. And the quintuple is still alive.

In the final England-Italy match-up, Arsenal carried a 1-0 home victory into Rome but watched that margin disappear on an early goal by Juan, who scored the game’s only goal in his brief return from injury Not long after leveling for Roma, he had to leave with a re-aggravated thigh injury, further depleting the Roman squad. Arsenal seemed the likelier of the two sides to score for most of the game, but they never found their way onto the scoreboard. The best chance they had came when Bendtner deflected the ball to start a lightning quick counterattack. Eboue dribbled up the right side and should have easily been able to pick out Bendtner in the middle for a straightforward tap home, but his disappointing season continued with a horrible ball that went long and ruined any chance Arsenal had of scoring for the moment. In the end it went to penalties, and Arsenal started poorly, with Eduardo’s weak shot blocked by Doni. Vucinic helped the Gunners even it up by getting a little too cute and sending one straight at Almunia with not much pace. Finally, after eight takes from either side, Tonetto stepped up and skied it over the bar, ending Roma’s hopes of any silverware this year.

We now have to wait till the 20th to find out the match-ups for the quarterfinals, which will be drawn from the following teams:

  • Bayern Munich
  • Villarreal
  • Chelsea
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester United
  • Arsenal
  • Barcelona
  • Porto

The round of 16 draw was a tad suspicious, with the Italian teams all matched up with English opposition, so the conspiracy theorists among us would probably say the broadcasters got their wish with all four English teams through. Whatever the case, I hope we get a more equitable shakedown for the quarters, preferably keeping Arsenal and Chelsea on opposite sides, since those are the last of my teams standing. Realistically, though, no one is touching either Man Utd or Barcelona, and barring an unfortunate draw, they should be the favorites to make the finals. Everyone else is a long shot at this point.

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Soccer Thoughts

Posted by hiphopmama on March 3, 2009

It’s been a crazy few days, so all I can offer are the following notes on the weekend’s happenings in the soccer world. Because they are my opinions, they can be elevated to the level of fact. Take note.

  • Flippin’ Manchester United should have lost to Tottenham. Not because of any bad call or the result going against the run of play; just because I hate them and they shouldn’t be able to win everything. Carling Cup: check. Club World Cup: in hand. EPL: commanding lead. FA Cup: quarterfinals. Champions League: good position to make the quarters. Two down, three to go. It seems absurd to believe that all the games won’t eventually catch up with them, but just like Phil Jackson in the NBA, Fergie knows how to pace his guys to have them peaking at the right time. It will be interesting to say the least.
  • Speaking of ManU, that wasn’t a penalty on Cristiano Ronaldo. It wasn’t a dive, either, at least not a yellow card-worthy one (especially by his standards), and it should just have been a play-on. He was looking for the penalty the whole way – which isn’t a crime in itself – and he was already on his way down before the contact came. He put the ball so far out in front of him to bait the defender, but both players held up just enough to prevent enough of a collision to ensure a penalty. Yeah he stepped on his foot, but CRon was already headed to the ground by that point. 
  • Balotelli’s wasn’t a penalty either. I’m not gonna jump into the fray over officials and greasy hands and the powers that be. All I know is that it was a weak call in a big game, and it affected the outcome in a very definite (and very familiar) manner. [Adriano? Hand ball? Nothing retroactive? Gimme a break.] We’re a few years removed from the heart of the Calciopoli scandal, but Serie A still lacks a lot of credibility and they aren’t helping themselves any with all this. Does anyone really believe Inter were the only innocent ones in all that mess? Oh, and Mourinho needs to shut the fuck up or he can suck my Special One.
  • How about Real Madrid?? Barcelona is still in the driver’s seat, but they can feel the Merengues breathing down their necks now, which should make for an exciting finish. For Real to pull it off, they will have to continue their near immaculate play and hope Barça drop a few more points. A win over the blaugrana at the Bernabeu would go a long way toward helping Madrid narrow the gap, but I’d wager that they’d still have a shot if they could secure even a draw in that game. One game at a time for now…

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Inter Hold Off ManU

Posted by hiphopmama on February 24, 2009

The face of innocence

The face of innocence

Inter 0-0 Manchester Utd

Pretty good for a goalless encounter, and just about the best I could have hoped for in this match-up of detested teams. I was still a game-time decision regarding who I would root for (or root against less, which may be more accurate), but in the end my hatred of CRon and Fergie won out over Ibra and The Special One. It was still hard to pull for Inter after wishing them ill for so long, but Cristiano’s glistening head kept me in line. 

Let’s be clear: this result is a bigger disappointment for Manchester United. They were the better team today by a long shot, although Inter did eventually get their chances, and ManU really should have scored a few different times. Only some mediocre finishing and an incredible Julio Cesar prevented them from walking out of the San Siro up 1-0, 2-0, or even 3-0. Ronaldo put a couple of blazing free kicks on goal, but Cesar stopped them, including the one in the final seconds of stoppage time. He made a number of good saves in the regular course of play too and was easily Inter’s man of the match.

The home team had a few chances of its own, but Adriano was typically disappointing and Ibrahimovic once again disappeared in an important match. Inter looked completely unprepared for ManU’s intensity in the first half, but Mourinho obviously gave them the business because they were a different team in the second, attacking more often and keeping possession for longer periods. They still struggled against ManU’s passing game, but they were exposed for brief flourishes rather than for the full 45. 

All in all, I’d say it’s a small moral victory for Inter to have held ManU scoreless and prevented them from getting the all-important away goal. That means that even if the teams tie at 1-1 (or anything higher), Inter would be the victors on away goals. I thought this tie was pretty close to begin with, with things tilting a smidgen in the direction of ManU because of their history of performing in the UCL, but after this scoreless draw I think expectations shift toward Inter a bit. Then again, that could end up being their downfall, since they haven’t always proven able to shoulder the weight of favorites anywhere else but in Serie A, so we will have to wait and see. Until then, at least I won’t have to choose between these two anymore. That only one of them will make it to the next round will be my only comfort for the second leg.

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Ibrahimovic’s Backheel Wondergoal

Posted by hiphopmama on October 9, 2008

I would normally title this post “Inter 2 – 1 Bologna,” but that’s not really the big story here. Yes, Inter won to ascend to the top point title in Serie A (along with Lazio and Udinese, who lead on goal differential), but Zlatan’s goal was the take-home memory of the night. Inter were playing well in the first half but hadn’t been able to break through, until the 25th minute, when Adriano played a cross in to Ibra, who reached out with his right foot, turned his back to goal, and flicked the ball in around a defender who was playing close to the Swedish striker. “Backheel” doesn’t even begin to capture it, as he took it on the volley, contorted his body, and smashed it into the back of the net with some power, all of which should have been virtually impossible from that angle. 

As for the rest of the match, Adriano scored the second goal after Sergio Volpi was called for a hand ball in the area, and Vaggelis Moras got one back for Bologna when a mix-up in the back line and a poor touch by Zanetti left the ball right in front of him and he put it past Julio Cesar. 

And now the illustrious video. Take it all in. It’s a thing of beauty.

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