Posts Tagged ‘Sir Alex Ferguson’

Manchester United 2-0 Inter Milan: Nerazzurri Complete Italy’s Big European Disillusion (UEFA Champions League Round of 16, Second Leg)

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic, bottom left, reacts with teammate Rio Ferdinand, top left, after scoring a goal during their Champions League second round, second leg, soccer match against Inter Milan at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Wednesday, March 11, 2009. (AP Photo)

Bad luck? I don’t buy it. Okay, had Inter’s woodwork efforts (Zlatan’s crossbar and Adriano’s post) entered the net you probably wouldn’t be reading these lines now, but certainly there are factors other than old-fashioned “sfiga” (as the Italian press is claiming) explaining Inter‘s defeat at the hands of Manchester United Wednesday.

How about the fact that for the third consecutive year, Inter are out of the UEFA Champions League in the round of 16? How about “Man Utd played better, and showed 100% cynicism by converting their two biggest scoring chances in the game”? How about the fact that yet again, English club football has proven its superiority over its Italian counterpart? It’s sad to admit folks, but the truth often hurts and this case is no different: for the late part of the 2000′s, EPL >>> Serie A big time.

As for José, at least in the eyes of the English press he’s just “not special any mour“.


Inter Milan 0-0 Manchester United: José’s Defense Holds, See You at Old Trafford Everyone (UEFA Champions League Round of 16, First Leg)

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

UEFA Champions League 2008-09 - Inter Milan vs. Manchester Utd

On the positive side, here’s a neat little stat for you: this was José Mourinho’s 13th encounter vs. Sir Alex Ferguson and so far, the Scottish legend has only managed to beat his Portuguese counterpart (wait for it)… once! You better believe it.

You better also believe that if the Nerazzurri play at Old Trafford the way they played this match’s first half, they’ll be out of Europe faster than José can say “Pirla”, and that’s a fact. The final 0-0 between Inter Milan and Manchester United is not such a bad one in itself (it’s the best home draw a team can get), but alas this was a game which also evidenced the tactical & technical superiority of the Red Devils over their Italian opponents, particularly in the first 45 minutes.

One can only hope that José saved some his half-time advice (which remotivated Inter towards playing at least decently in the second half) for the second leg, as the Nerazzurri will be needing every bit of it when they travel to Old Trafford in a match with everything still left to play for.

Manchester United Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, right, challenges for the ball with Inter Milan forward Davide Santon, left, and Romanian defender Cristian Chivu during a Champions League, Round of 16, first leg soccer match, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Feb.24, 2009. (AP Photo)


UEFA Soccer Team of the Year 2008

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

After 3.3 million votes cast by 256,000 online users (slightly less than last year), the Team of the Year 2008 was revealed earlier this week.

As can usually be expected with these things, this starting eleven will please many and disappoint others (especially those whose favorite player was not selected) but this being said, there’s quality oozing all over in this team. I personally prefer the journalist choice of L’Équipe’s Best 11 Soccer Players of 2008, but “the people have spoken” as they say…

Nevertheless, feel free to give your 2 cents (and fire away your insults) in the comments section.


UEFA Champions League Playoffs: A Preliminary Look at Our EPL Opponents…

Friday, December 19th, 2008

UEFA Champions League Playoffs Draw - Italian Teams

Fabio Capello dubbed it “diabolical“. Given the picks obtained by Inter, Juventus, and Roma in Friday’s UCL draw, the term might indeed be appropriate. For how else can we define the incredible “Serie A vs. Premier League” showdown bestowed upon us, as our beloved Italian teams face off against Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal in February?

With the matches still months away, a preliminary presentation of our EPL opponents is in order. In particular, a general guess on what kind of games we will be looking at in 2009.


Manchester United 1-2 Zenit: UEFA SUPER CUP Goes to Russia

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Zenit St. Petersburg is the first Russian team to lift the European Super Cup. At the Stade Louis II of Monaco, the winners of last year’s UEFA Cup beat the European Champions Manchester United by 2-1, and it was a result thoroughly deserved by Dick Advocaat’s team. Only at the very end did the Russians have to deal with a Red Devil come-back, but it was too little too late for Sir Alex Ferguson.

Nine years after their defeat by Lazio, the UEFA Super Cup experience is once again a bitter one for the Mancunian manager: at least for now, Sir Alex will not go down in history as the first manager to win this trophy three times.

(article taken from Gazzetta dello Sport)

AN EUROPEAN REALITY – Claudio Ranieri & Juventus certainly did not need Friday’s match to find out just how dangerous FC Zenit can be. Already last season the UEFA Cup route of Advocaat’s boys had been impressive, and one only needs to remember the timeline from the month of May: Bayern humiliated in the semifinals, Rangers outclassed in the final match. 4-0, 2-0, give me the trophy and thank you very much.

And don’t be deceived by their misleading position in the Russian championship table (after 19 rounds, Zenit is currently 6th, 11 points behind leaders Rubin Kazan): that’s due to a few mismanagement issues off the field (the Andrei Arshavin case ring a bell?) and to the fact the Russian league has at least a dozen of competitive teams. Euro 2008 serves as further evidence to a more and more obvious reality: Russian football is slowly but surely getting up there with the best.

BLEAK MAN UTD – Was it because they were missing Cristiano Ronaldo? Or because the Premier League only just started and form isn’t optimal? Or maybe because Advocaat wanted a fast and aggressive game? The fact of the matter is that Manchester United were something of a shambles in the first half. Wayne Rooney (just recovering from a virus) was slow, and wasted the only good chance constructed by Carlos Tevez (who in contrast seemed like a pixie on crack, running around everywhere trying to create something). Nani only caused confusion, while Fletcher, Anderson and Scholes struggled to keep up with the pace set by Denisov, Tymoschuk and Zyrianov in midfield.

Frankly, United had Ferdinand and Vidic to thank in the first half, becase the tearaways Danny, Dominguez and Pogrebnyak would have really fired up the party in the Mancunian box. The obvious strength of this Zenit side is their right flank, as Aleksandr Anyukov (remember his runs during Euro 2008?) constantly created overlaps, providing one cross after the other. Patrice Evra was lost at sea, while the returning Gary Neville was only slightly better on the other side.

PAVEL’S REVENGE – Just as United were looking forward to the 15-min. half-time break to sort themselves out, bang: corner kick from Dominguez, flicked on by Denisov at the near post for Pavel Pogrebnyak. Powerful header into the back of the net, and 1-0 Zenit. Also nice to see (unless you were an United fan of course) the goal had been scored by the very same player forced to miss, firstly the UEFA Cup final (after a silly yellow card in the already-won semifinal), and then Euro 2008 (this time through injury).

In the second period, it was time for Andrei Arshavin to make his appearance. Why did he not start, you ask? This seems to be the management-approved Advocaat technique to “punish” the player with bench-time (sometimes stands-time), given his desire to leave the club. Not that FC Zenit were doing badly without him: it was only a few minutes until the score doubled.

At the heart of the action, Arshavin started it up and Portuguese midfielder Danny (full name: Daniel Miguel Alves Gomes) took the stage. Just acquired from Dinamo Moskow for €30m (the most expensive transfer in Russian history), the new St. Petersburg recruit produce a lovely solo run and even better finish, making a fool out of Ferdinand in the process and helping to justify his transfer fee. 2-0 Zenit.

The match seemed over, but the heart of Champions League winners should never be underestimated. Tevez sounded the charge, and the introduction of Park and O’Shea changed the game, facilitating the first United goal just before the 75th: a cross from Rooney was re-directed by Tevez towards Nemanja Vidic, who found the right angle. 2-1.

There was time for a final Red Devil assault, who gave it everything they had. A bit too much in fact: Paul Scholes did manage to put the ball in the net, but did so in pure Maradonesque Hand-of-God style: second booking of the night and early shower. His teammates would join him soon after however, as the match came to an end and kick-started the Russian celebrations.


Manchester United F.C.
[Match Highlights]
 FC Zenit St. Petersburg
GOALSCORERS: 44’ Pogrebnyak (Z), 59’ Danny (Z), 73’ Vidic (M)
MAN UTD (4-3-3): Van der Sar – Neville (76’ Brown), R.Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra – Fletcher (60’ O’Shea), Scholes, Anderson (60’ Park) – Tevez, Rooney, Nani. (bench: Kuszczak, Possebon, Gibson, Campbell). Coach: Ferguson.
ZENIT (4-3-2-1): Malafeev – Anyukov, Krizanac (71’ Radimov), Puygrenier (63’ Shirokov), Sirl – Denisov, Tymoschuk, Zyryanov; Danny, Dominguez (46’ Arshavin) – Pogrebnyak. (bench: Contofalsky, Fayzulin, Tekke, Kim). Coach: Advocaat.