All Balls Don’t Bounce

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

Posts Tagged ‘rio ferdinand’

Bye-Bye, Quintuple

Posted by hiphopmama on April 20, 2009

Manchester United 0-0 Everton
     Everton win 4-2 on penalties 

It wasn’t as sweet as it could have been, with Ronaldo and his crew of merry men on the bench, but any day ManU loses is a good day. Fergie blamed the Wembley pitch condition for his decision to leave out some of his regular starters, but even with a couple of allowances – which still didn’t include CRon – it was clear that this was a fairly low priority game for the Manchester giants. Sir Alex trotted out a line-up of youngsters and reserves, including Danny Welbeck and Darron Gibson, and they never looked like the threatening side we’ve seen this year (and last, and the year before that…).

The two teams just sort of sparred with each other for most of the game and extra time, setting up a penalty shoot-out that included more drama on paper than in reality. I don’t know why but I just couldn’t get excited as this one drew to a close. Even in the midst of penalty kicks, I wasn’t particularly enthralled, even when Tim Howard made two stops against Berbatov and Ferdinand to ensure his team a victory and a place in the FA Cup final with Chelsea. 

I can’t quite figure out what Fergie was going for with the line-up he chose. Was he waving the white flag? Did he know challenging for five titles was too much and decide to hedge his bets? Did he really think his B, or perhaps C team was enough to oust Everton? I think it’s probably a combination of all those reasons that influenced his decision-making process, but whatever the case, the quintuple dream is over and no one is happier than me. I don’t want to have to hear about this team for all eternity, and Ronaldo doesn’t deserve that swan song on his way out of Manchester anyway. He’s welcome to win title after title once he gets to Real Madrid, but hopefully he’s finished for now. As long as this doesn’t give them extra ammunition in their other competitions, it will be a positive for everybody.

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Four Points

Posted by hiphopmama on March 14, 2009

liverpool-manyoo

Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool

  • 1-0 Ronaldo (pen), 23′
  • 1-1 Torres, 28′
  • 1-2 Gerrard (pen), 44′
  • 1-3 Aurelio, 77′
  • 1-4 Dossena, 90′

That was fun. That was hella fun, if you’ll forgive the CA slang. I’m not a Liverpool fan by any stretch – I root avidly for two of the Big Four and just as fervently against the other two – but United has rapidly become the greatest evil in the Premier League, perhaps the world. (Inter is a close second, and I’d love to see either or both completely self-destruct. Fat chance.) That makes me a Liverpool supporter for all intents and purposes, at least in games like this one which give Chelsea (or anyone else, for that matter, Liverpool included) a chance to knock the fifth horseman of the apocalypse from its perch.

Things didn’t start in too promising a fashion, as ManYoo put Liverpool under pressure early and often and were justified in earning a penalty that Ronaldo blazed home in the 23rd minute. With United’s vaunted defense and an early lead at home, it seemed like a tough ask to expect Liverpool to come back for a tie, let alone a win. But the Reds played as if their season depended on it, which it did given the seven point gap at the top, and they scraped together enough moments of brilliance which – however brief – helped them turn things around. 

Liverpool were gifted their first goal by Nemanja Vidic, who misplayed a long ball in the air and then couldn’t recover in time to prevent Torres from securing it and beating Van der Sar to tie the game. It was 1-1 and game on again. Yet United still looked the stronger of the two sides, creating plenty of chances and keeping Liverpool largely on the back foot. It seemed like only a matter of time before they scored again to regain the lead, but they were again caught out by a quick counter, as Torres released Gerrard with a beautiful through ball and Evra brought him down in the box. It was another clear penalty, and Gerrard make no mistake with the PK, sending it easily past Van der Sar for the lead.

For almost a full 30 minutes after the restart, Manchester looked all but certain to score, with Wayne Rooney sending some superb crosses into the box. They kept getting closer and closer, and my stomach kept churning, and all that was before Sir Alex inserted Giggs, Scholes, and Berbatov at the 74 minute mark. With Manchester going for broke, you couldn’t help but think their attack would finally break through, but the usually perfect Vidic made another critical error in fouling Steven Gerrard just outside the area. He was deemed to be the last defender and, perhaps a bit harshly, was sent off with a straight red. It was, as they say, a cynical tackle – more like a take-down – and an obvious booking, but the red was less certain. I wasn’t complaining, though, especially when Fabio Aurelio stepped up and curled the free kick into the corner of the goal, leaving Van der Sar flat-footed as he watched it whip into the net. 

ManYoo still had a few more opportunities to get one back, but luck just wasn’t with them today, and we were all treated to the pleasure of watching Ronaldo completely miss the ball on a nice big swing around the edge of the six-yard box. It was an absolutely perfect way to end the match, aside from the exquisite goal Andrea Dossena scored to close things out. As seconds ticked down toward the final whistle, Manchester were AGAIN beaten by a long ball over the top, with Ferdinand being the guilty party this time. When he failed to deal with the threat, Dossena took one touch to loft it up and over Van der Sar for the fourth and final goal just before time.

There are not enough adjectives to describe happy this result makes me. The win for Liverpool means that they are now within 4 points of United, and Chelsea have a chance to close to within 4 as well when they take on Manchester City tomorrow at Stamford Bridge. Of course, Man Utd still have a game in hand (can they just catch up already??), but I refuse to look at the negative side of things right now. Instead, I’m going to act blissfully ignorant of the fact that United are too solid a team, too well coached, and with too impressive a pedigree to slip enough for anyone to overtake them. None of that matters right now. The gap is 4, and I can still dream.

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Good For You

Posted by hiphopmama on October 9, 2008

Rio Ferdinand has made what should be a quite uncontroversial statement, which is that FIFA needs to do a better job of deterring hateful speech and actions in international matches, specifically by deducting points from teams whose fans engage in such behavior. He notes that the paltry fines do next to nothing to stop fans’ participation in these actions, and, quite rightly, that FIFA should live up to its touted “zero tolerance” policy against such bigoted behavior. All I can say is: duh. Props to Ferdinand for saying so, but it shouldn’t take much thought to figure this one out. If you make it truly detrimental to teams, the boneheadedness will be much reduced, as has been made clear with the NBA’s automatic suspension rule for players who leave the bench during a brawl. It’s a different situation in that it involves the athletes themselves rather than the fans, but when you have spectators getting as heated and involved as you do in these soccer matches, their actions have to be dealt with seriously. Good lookin’ out, Rio.

Ferdinand: Deduct Points to Punish Racists (espn.com)

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