Archive for April, 2008

Italian Players Around the World (21/04)

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Continuing my weekly article inspired by Gazzetta dello Sport, here are the performances of all Italian soccer players operating in foreign European leagues.

Based on Gazzetta’s info, there are currently 22 Italians playing in first divisions abroad, and 11 of them stepped on the field this week-end.

The table below includes the team the player belongs to, their opponents for the week, the number of minutes they played, their contribution (goal, assist), and the final score of the game.

Player Team Opp. mins. Contrib. Score
Carlo Cudicini Chelsea @Everton (injd.) / 1-0
Massimo Donati Celtic Aberdeen 90 / 1-0
Luca Toni Bayern M. Dortm. (CUP) 120 2 goals 2-1
Fabio Cannavaro Real Madrid @Racing 90 / 2-0
Giuseppe Rossi Villareal Valladolid 63 / 2-0
Christian Abbiati Atl. Madrid Betis (bench) / 1-3
Gianluca Zambrotta Barcelona Espanyol 90 / 0-0
Enzo Maresca Sevilla Almeria (susp.) / 1-4
Morgan De Sanctis Sevilla Almeria (bench) / 1-4
Emiliano Moretti Valencia @Ath. Bilbao (N/A) / 1-5
Stefano Sorrentino Recreativo @Zaragoza 90 / 0-3
Damiano Tommasi Levante Getafe (injd.) / 3-1
Fabio Grosso Lyon @Strasbourg 90 1 goal 2-1
Flavio Roma Monaco @Nice 90 / 2-0
Graziano Pellè AZ Alkmaar Sparta 73 / 1-0
Roberto Mirri Mons @Westerlo 90 / 1-1
Alessandro Pistone Mons @Westerlo 90 / 1-1
Stefano Razzetti St. Gallen @Luzern (bench) / 0-1
Andrea Guatelli FC Zürich @Grasshop. (bench) / 1-1
Stefano Napoleoni Widzew Łódź Polonia B. 90 1 goal 2-4
Ivan Pelizzoli Lok. Moscow @CSKA M. (bench) / 0-0


Heroes of the week

At last! We finally have more than one player featuring the “heroes of the week” section, after a long while. Of course, no surprises with the presence of Mr. Toni, but others like Mr. Grosso or Mr. Napoleoni aren’t quite as common. Here goes. :)

Luca Toni, age 30Mr. German-goalmachine just never seems to stop. Four doubles in less than 10 days, 35 goals with Bayern Munich this season (only 5 goals away from Gerd Müller’s 1972 record) and two capitals tallies in the Dfb Pokal (German Cup) final vs. Borussia Dortmund (including the extra-time match-winning goal). Any additional comment is pretty much superfluous about Luca Toni.

Fabio Grosso, age 30Moving over to France, it’s rematch time for Fabio Grosso. Often criticized by the French Sports media, the Azzurri left-back has been having a tough time at Lyon since his move from Inter, but the ex-Palermo player has really picked it up lately. With the team closely followed by Bordeaux in Ligue 1 standings, it was capital for the title holders to keep winning, and they have Fabio to thank for it. Indeed, a Grosso header (not exactly his specialty) provided the match-winning goal vs. Strasbourg last week-end, thus keeping Lyon at +4 distance on their 2nd-ranked rivals.

Stefano Napoleoni, age 21Finally, over to Poland where a rather lucky/unlucky Stefano Napoleoni will most likely soon be done with his Widzew Lodz adventure. Indeed, despite the Italian striker’s recent excellent run of form, his goals will prove insufficient to keep the Polish team in top flight next year. Because of a corruption scandal, Widzew will automatically be relegated to the second division at the end of year, but should they finish in the relegation zone this season, they will actually be forced to play in the third division! I doubt Napoleoni will want to stick around under those circumstances…

Rangers 0-0 Fiorentina: Boring Draw at Ibrox, La Viola Can’t Find the Goal Against a Decimated Rangers Side (UEFA Cup Semi-Finals, Leg 1)

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Seems like catenaccio tactics are in-vogue in European competitions lately. After Barcelona vs. Manchester another UEFA match ended with the boring scoreline of 0-0, only this time you can’t really fault the user. With over 9 players missing due to suspension or injury, defense was really the only option left for Rangers against Fiorentina, in spite of the fact they were playing the first leg at home. Manager Walter Smith had declared that above all, avoiding to concede an away goal was the most important objective of the night, and not even the warm and festive Ibrox Park atmosphere could convince him otherwise.

Gazzetta dello Sport tells us about Thursday night’s match highlights:

GLASGOW (Scotland), 24 April 2008 – With Rangers missing so many key men, a greedier side would have come away from Ibrox Park with a much better result. Fiorentina instead had to make do with a 0-0 draw that leaves the Scottish side the luxury of going through to the final not only with a victory, but also with a goal draw, exactly what Rangers manager Walter Smith had been hoping.

The initial exchanges of the match resembled more a game of chess, as both sides played a waiting game, hoping that the other would be the first to leave space at the back to exploit. Fiorentina were not the only ones showing a certain degree of caution, as Rangers manager Walter Smith had ordered his side to avoid conceding an away goal, and then try and bag one in the return fixture in Florence.

As a result, the first 10 minutes saw only a couple of decent breaks for Fiorentina, essentially helped by the mistakes committed by the Rangers side (backup players brought in to cover for the numerous Scottish absentees). In minute 12, Adrian Mutu had Fiorentina’s first shot on goal, but it was an easy take for Rangers’ nº1 Neil Alexander. Moments later, the Scottish goalkeeper had to be on his toes once again, racing off his line to stop Gianpaolo Pazzini (who had just marginally eluded the offside trap).

The Gers then had a chance of their own at the 15 minute mark, when Jean-Claude Darcheville made an individual run from left midfield that took him just a couple of metres away from Frey’s goal. With no one from Fiorentina able to stop the French forward, Darcheville got in a good position to finish but his subsequent shot was weak and easily collected by the Viola keeper. 3 minutes later, Zdravko Kuzmanovic unintentionally provided an assist for Steven Whittaker, but luckily for Fiorentina the Scotsman’s shot was off target. Martin Jorgensen‘s effort on 24 minutes was however much more accurate, with the player doing well to home in on goal from the right, but his shot was far too central and proved no problem for Alexander.

As the half went on, the game started to pick up pace a little, and there were some tactical changes by both sides. The Viola doubled up on Darcheville (a danger every time he got the ball close to the box) and Smith moved Nacho Novo to the middle to impede Fabio Liverani, who was dictating the tempo for Fiorentina. Fiorentina looked nevertheless in control of the game, with the Viola carving chances from shots from distance, dangerous crosses in the area (by Jorgensen, Kuzmanovic and Montolivo) and also from close exchanges between Pazzini, Mutu and Santana. The latter in particular, enjoyed the best of these chances when a great ball by Mutu set him one on one with Alexander, but the Rangers keeper produced a good save to deny the Argentine.

From then onwards the pace of the game slowed once again and Fiorentina were able to go into the break with a comfortable 0-0, with La Viola most probably thinking at this point that the game was very much there for the taking.

THE SECOND HALF – The game restarted with the visitors trying to maintain possession and Rangers attempting to find the right rhythm. It seemed as if they almost did, when two back-to-back chances by Nacho Novo set up the Spanish striker for the finish (first one-on-one, then from long-range) but without any luck. The Scottish side had yet another good chance and it took a timely intervention from Tomas Ujfalusi (last-minute presence in today’s match, recuperating from injury) to rescue Fiorentina. The Viola defence now looked to be under pressure, especially because the noise from the Ibrox crowd had noticeably increased.

Smith however was not satisfied with the draw, and sacrificed his two most dangerous players (Darcheville and Novo) to put on some fresh legs in the shape of Daniel Cousin and Thomas Buffel. The change did not produce the desired results however, with Rangers actually playing worse and making some careless errors: Fiorentina were once again led to believe that the game was there for the taking, if they just committed themselves a little more forward. However, Rangers captain David Weir was constantly there to deny Pazzini the finish, while Mutu and Santana became increasingly isolated as the game progressed.

Speakin of Mutu, the Romanian striker had the opportunity to test Alexander from long-range as La Viola obtained a free kick from 35 yards, but his effort was nowhere near the quality exhibited in the return leg vs. PSV. Eventually, Cesare Prandelli then tried using the Bobo Vieri card but it was already too late: La Viola ended the game with an away clean sheet, but with the distinct impression of having wasted a golden opportunity. For Rangers next Thursday, a draw with goals in Florence will be sufficient to qualify to the next round.


[Match Highlights]
 ACF Fiorentina
RANGERS (4-5-1): Alexander – Broadfoot, Weir, Carlos Cuellar, Papac – Whittaker, Hemdani, Davis, Dailly, Novo (59’ Buffel) – Darcheville (59’ Cousin). (bench: G.Smith, Boyd, Gow, Webster, Faye). Coach: W.Smith
FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey – Jorgensen, Gamberini, Ujfalusi, Gobbi – Kuzmanovic, Liverani, Montolivo – Santana, Pazzini (80’ Vieri), Mutu. (bench: Lupatelli, Kroldrup, Dainelli, Pasqual, Potenza, Osvaldo). Coach: Prandelli


The Rebirth of Catenaccio, Or: Manchester United’s Tactics in Europe

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

catenaccio m. (plura; catenacci)
1. a bolt (for a door)
2. a system of defensive play in football

Catenaccio is a tactical playing scheme in the game of football. It consists mostly in a 5-4-1 formation alignment characterized by its propensely defensive attitude.

Under the definition of catenaccio lie a series of modules and tactical schemes that define the main philosophy of the team’s defensive unit. The latter’s mission is essentially that of preventing the opposing team from scoring, an objective which is achieved by closing down (or precisely, “locking” or “bolting”) the area around the team’s own net.

The word ‘catenaccio’ has given origin to the term ‘catenacciaro’ in the Italian language (nowadays almost always employed with negative connotations), which is used to describe a manager or a team who, above all, are dedicated to all-out-defense tactics, to the destruction of the opponent’s plays and the renunciation to construct any type of attacking game, simply in order to prevent opposing strikers from getting a shot on goal.

Source: Italian Wikipedia (translated by Marco Pantanella)

The question all of you are now asking: how on Earth can the term ‘catenaccio‘ be applied to Manchester United? Sure, all they did against Barcelona on Wednesday was defend (hell, even Rooney and Tevez were playing center-backs at times) but the Red Devils are a team also capable of very attractive attacking-style football, a characteristic which they’ve demonstrated many times over in the Premier League this season. So… what gives?

Gazzetta dello Sport website logo

Stefano Cantalupi (the same author of the excellent “English Clubs Dominate Europe… Is Defence the Key to Their Success?” article) has the answer in today’s Gazzetta dello Sport:

MILAN, 24 April 2008 – Roma manager Luciano Spalletti had said it on April 1, as he commented on his team’s defeat in the UEFA Champions’ League Quarter-Finals first leg: “Manchester United beat us 2-0, but they’re even more Italian than we are…“. A clear reference to the mentality shown by Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, victorious at the Stadio Olimpico of Rome through paying close attention to defensive play before launching fast counter-attacks. Last night, the Red Devils repeated the same tactic at Barcelona’s Nou Camp: they shut up shop in front of Van der Sar for most of the game, and allowed the Dutch goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet. In fact, if Cristiano Ronaldo hadn’t missed from the spot, perhaps United would have taken home another away win.

BARRICADESWayne Rooney tracking back as far as the corner flag, Owen Hargreaves playing as right-back, Carlos Tevez battling it out in centre-midfield, Cristiano Ronaldo isolated up front. “Catenaccio” is an obsolete term which no-one uses much any more, but how else to define the tactics chosen by Sir Alex Ferguson (and his loyal deputy Carlos Queiroz) for their trip to Catalonia? With ten men always playing behind the ball, this team looked less like Manchester and more like Rafael Benitez’s first glory-bound Liverpool side, the team which reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2005 and defeated AC Milan in Istanbul (under circumstances all-too-familiar for Rossoneri fans).

ENTERTAINMENT IN THE PREMIERSHIP – However, before talking about Manchester Utd as “catenaccio merchants”, a few points should be made:

  1. Firstly, it is very likely the current Prem champions will play a very different game at Old Trafford next Tuesday, attacking with much more conviction and with the clear objective of scoring goals. This attitude should be greatly amplified, when one considers the added factor of home crowd support.
  2. With respect to traditional catenaccio tactics, Sir Alex Ferguson’s version has evolved: having won back the ball, the Red Devils always seek an immediate and concerted counter-attack, never completely abandoning the offensive. In contrast, catenaccio-style football’s main creed is that of preventing the opponent from scoring, even at the cost of one’s own offensive tactics.
  3. Finally, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Manchester Utd have frequently offered great entertainment this season and that Cristiano Ronaldo & colleagues are capable of playing very attractive football. The problem is that while the red-shirted superstars put on a show in the Premier League, they seem like a different side in Europe.

STATISTICS – Sir Alex got his fingers burnt last season: does the defeat to AC Milan in the Semi-Finals still weigh on his mind? Let’s look at some figures: in the 2006-07 Champions’ League, United had already conceded 10 goals by this point in the competition. This time around they have only conceded 5. Also, the United defence will finish better than last year in the Premier League as well, provided that in the last 3 games of the season they concede less than 8 goals. With players like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in top condition, this shouldn’t be too hard, should it?

LENIENT PRESS - ‘Negative when playing away, braver at home’ seems to be the dominating characteristic of Man Utd this season. The European press hasn’t criticised the Red Devils’ attitude however. The English tabloids have concentrated only on Cristiano Ronaldo’s unexpected error from the penalty spot, while the Spanish press (including El Mundo Deportivo and Sport, the leading Catalan sports papers) have praised Barcelona and focused on United’s “ordenada defensa” (well-organised defence). Would they have used the same measured tones to describe a similar performance from say… an Italian side? Or would they have talked about “extreme defensiveness”?

Let’s be clear: the Serie A sides were basically failures in this edition of the UEFA Champions’ League, and the quality of the top ranks of English club football is, at the moment, clearly superior. But if even a big side like Manchester Utd resorts to closing down in defense from time to time, shouldn’t it be pointed out? Admitting it with honesty shouldn’t be a problem, perhaps even praise the humility of champions like Rooney, Tevez etc. who are willing to work so hard and sacrifice themselves in uncommon roles. There’s no shame in it, surely?

Barcelona 0-0 Manchester United: Cristiano Ronaldo Misses Spot-Kick, Boredom Wins (UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals, Leg 1)

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Who would have thought it possible? A game with the prestige of Barcelona vs. Manchester United, two teams universally geared towards scoring goals and producing spectacular plays, ended 0-0. Scoreless. Yet, the most unlikely result between the Spanish and English giants was, in the end, the most appropriate (at least based on the two teams’ performance on the field).

Tonight was supposed to be about “Ronaldo vs. Messi” (as displayed by the Nou Camp billboard hanging over the entrance for weeks now), the Premier League champions vs. La Liga’s runners-up, 73 goals vs. 62 in domestic competitions. However while we’re citing statistics, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the 19 EPL goals conceded by the Red Devils this season. That’s right only 19 goals, aka the best Premier League defense of the year. Barcelona tried everything they could tonight, from Eto’o to Iniesta, all the way through Messi (returning from injury) and Henry, but in spite of their staggering 61% ball possession they could just not pierce the thick wall formed by Rio Ferdinand & friends. As for United, the team had their chance when they obtained a penalty kick in the 3rd minute (handball by Gaby Milito), but their talismanic player Cristiano Ronaldo missed his shot from 12 yards.

Undoubtedly, it’s going to be a whole different ball game in 6 days’ time, when Barcelona travel to Manchester for the return leg at Old Trafford. Scoring a goal and avoiding a loss will suffice for the Catalans, but the question is: will the Red Devils let them?

Tactically, both managers presented their teams in a ‘single striker’ formation, although while that role was clearly defined for Barcelona (Samuel Eto’o, assisted by Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta on the wings) the same cannot be said for Man Utd. Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson fielded a team which, in theory, claimed to be a 4-4-1-1 (with Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez at the front of the attack), but where in practice the English forward was forced to cover a midfield role, on account of the heavy ‘catenaccio’ tactics adopted by the Scottish manager.

3 minutes after the kick-off, tonight’s match could have taken a whole different direction, had Cristiano Ronaldo scored his penalty kick (given by Swiss referee Massimo Busacca for a Milito handball inside the box). Indeed with Manchester leading by one goal, Barcelona would have been forced to really push forward, uncover themselves, take risks, and potentially concede a second one on a United counter-attack. Neutral spectators would have been grateful however, because they would been witnesses to some attacking football.

Instead, the Portuguese winger sent his strike wide (skimming the woodwork actually), and the match stayed scoreless (and entertainment-less) pretty much until the final whistle. Sure, there were the odd Cristiano Ronaldo dribble and Lionel Messi sombrero here and there… but scoring chances? Effectively zero. I guess Sir Alex really learned from his semi-final mistakes the previous year (when AC Milan managed to score two at Old Trafford and three at the San Siro), as the Man Utd players were litterally defending with 10 men behind the ball. Even Tévez and Rooney were sacrificed in midfielder (sometimes defender!) roles, and the only noteworthy event of the first half (other than the Ronaldo PK miss) was a 30th minute Rafael Márquez nudge on the Portuguese winger, inside the Barcelona box. Busacca waved play on.

In the second half, the home team decided it was time to increase the tempo. True masters at keeping ball possession and circulating the ball, Barcelona tried to send their nº9 striker in good position to finish, but alas it wasn’t Samuel Eto’o's night: on the first opportunity, the Cameroon player missed the pass for a wide open Messi, and on the second (following a great Messi-Iniesta backheel combo) he slammed his shot on the outer part of the goal mesh. Still no goals.

Around the hour mark, Barça coach decided to safeguard Leo Messi (still not in perfect conditions) and insert teen sensation Bojan Krkić. This was shortly followed by the Thierry Henry-Deco substitution, but the newcomers did very little to upset the match balance: up to the final whistle, the only activity of Van der Sar ended up being two moderate shots by the ex-Arsenal forward (first on a free-kick, then on a slamming shot from outside the box). No hair-pulling stuff mind you, just enough from keeping the Nou Camp spectators from falling asleep. On the other end however, we could hear Victor Valdes’s snoring all the way over to Montreal…

One thing’s for sure, it just won’t be the same type of match next week at Old Trafford. Both teams will be forced to score to go through, but perhaps Barcelona will be at a slight advantage. Some say that hosting the second leg is better, but others (myself included) maintain just the opposite. Indeed, playing the second leg away makes any goal that you score count double, and this factor is all the more important when the result from the first leg is 0-0. Either way, for the sake of neutrality I expect plenty of goals to be scored, because anything less from Manchester and Barcelona would be a real shame.


[Match Highlights]
Manchester United F.C.
BARCELONA (4-3-3): V.Valdes – Zambrotta, Márquez, G.Milito, Abidal – Xavi, Y.Touré, Deco (77’ Henry) – Messi (62’ Krkic), Eto’o, Iniesta. (bench: J.Pinto, Thuram, Sylvinho, Gudjhonsen, Dos Santos). Coach: Rijkaard.
MANCHESTER UTD (4-5-1): Van der Sar – Hargreaves, R.Ferdinand, Brown, Evra – Park, Scholes, Rooney (76’ Nani) Carrick, C.Ronaldo – Tévez (85’ Giggs). (bench: Kuszczak, Piqué, O’Shea, Silvestre, Anderson). Coach: Ferguson


Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Reds Take a Huge Self-Inflicted Slap in the Face (UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals, Leg 1)

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Well what do you know? Just when they seemed to have obtained a hard-fought (and boring, to be honest) tactical victory on their home soil, and when it looked like Chelsea had thrown in the towel, disaster struck the Liverpool Reds. The melody of “You’ll never walk alone” instantly transformed from a chant of victory to a song of consolation, when the 94th minute diving header of Jon Arne Riise entered Pepe Reina’s net and negated Dirk Kuyt’s opener in the 43rd.

The 1-1 final scoreline, in this UEFA Champions League Semi-Final first leg, is not only a huge slap in the face for Rafael Benitez and his boys’ efforts, but goes to reward (perhaps undeservedly) a Blues team which, throughout the 90 minutes of the match, had not done much to find the back of the net. Avram Grant will certainly look forward to the return leg at Stamford Bridge next week, as Chelsea are now favorites to advance to the final in Moscow.

Tactically, the two teams stepped on Anfield’s pitch with almost similar line-ups: Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba served as Liverpool’s and Chelsea’s striking reference points, parked in front of a thick central midfield barrier and 4-man backline defense. Compared to pre-match expectations, the only last-minute change came on Benitez’s part, who had to deal with the non-ideal conditions of Sami Hyypiä. Starting in the Reds’ central defense therefore were Martin Škrtel and Jamie Carragher, with Álvaro Arbeloa replacing the Englishman on the right side.

The match started at a very slow pace, also because Liverpool and Chelsea are two teams knowing each other perfectly and with their fair share of previous encounters, all punctuated by intense battling but (alas) often not a great deal of spectacle (the horrendously boring Semi-Final Second Leg from last year’s Champions League comes to mind). To make matters worse, the referee for tonight’s match was Austrian Konrad Plautz, the kind of guy that calls every single contact (much contrary to Premier League standards) and prevents the game from picking up pace.

As a result, there was not much worth the mention in the initial 40 minutes of the match. Liverpool controlled ball possession a little bit better, and created a good opportunity when Dirk Kuyt was sent forward by Xabi Alonso, but the tall Dutchman missed his control and the chance went begging. Chelsea on their part reacted timidly to their opponents’ domination, but had a great chance when an early Frank Lampard cross found Joe Cole alone inside the box. The English winger however, perhaps not realizing he had time to control, attempted a speculative on-the-run volley which went horribly amiss.

5 minutes from the end, we finally saw some real action. In minute 43 Gerrard found space to slide the ball to Fernando Torres, but the Spaniard’s finish found the steady hands of Petr Cech. The Chelsea keeper could do very little however 2 minutes later, when a lost ball by Lampard allowed Liverpool to re-take possession on the edge of the box, and feed Javier Mascherano. The Argentine sent a looping pass forward towards Dirk Kuyt, at which point Claude Makelele decided to do his “jump-at-the-ball-but-don’t-touch-it” bit, and succeeded admirably. The Liverpool striker hit the ball on the bounce, and beat Cech under his legs. 1-0 Liverpool at the break.

In the second half Liverpool really pushed on the gas pedal, realizing the Blues were now passive spectators and seemingly had a very tough time at keeping possession. Whenever a Chelsea player controlled the ball he would immediately be pressured by one or two opponents, forcing John Terry & colleagues to skip midfield altogether and send the ball directly to a lonesome Didier Drogba. The Ivorian striker did what he could at the top of the Blues’ attack, but with very little support from the Chelsea players and an always ready Jamie Carragher to block his progress, Drogba was being contained and Pepe Reina having a quiet night.

The absence of Michael Essien (suspended) was becoming all too evident in the Chelsea midfield, so Avram Grant decided to break the situation by inserting Solomon Kalou for an inconclusive Joe Cole. The change produced immediate effects because the Blues finally stuck their heads out of the hole, and began counter-acting their opponents’ pressure with fast & accurate one-touch passing combinations. Finally, Reina had some work to do as Lampard and Ballack drew nearer to the Liverpol box, and Florent Malouda came very close to obtaining the equalizer.

On the other end, the fact that Chelsea were now pushing up created more space for Liverpool, which was very nearly exploited by Steven Gerrard’s top-corner-bound half-volley (brilliantly saved by Cech) and Fernando Torres’s close-range finish (also saved by the Czech keeper). The final minutes were getting vibrant, but then dropped in pace again as both teams seemed content with the result (Liverpool because they were taking a 1-0 home lead into the second leg, and Chelsea because… well losing by one away wasn’t all that bad).

Until the last second of stoppage time, when a throw-in on the left-wing was sent towards Solomon Kalou, who turned around and crossed towards goal. Trying to clear the ball into corner, Jon Arne Riise (on for the injured Fábio Aurélio) threw himself into a diving header which, alas for Reds fans, slammed hard into the roof of the net leaving Reina dumbfounded. 1-1, utter disbelief among Liverpool ranks and joy for Avram Grant. Next Wednesday’s return leg at Stamford Bridge should be quite interesting indeed…


[Match Highlights]
 Chelsea F.C.
GOALSCORERS: 43’ Kuyt (L), 94’ Riise o.g. (C)
LIVERPOOL (4-2-3-1) Reina – Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Fabio Aurelio (62’ Riise) – Mascherano, X.Alonso – Kuyt, Gerrard, Babel (76’ Benayoun), F.Torres. (bench: andje, Hyypia, Crouch, Pennant, Lucas Leiva). Coach: Benitez.
CHELSEA (4-3-3): Cech – P.Ferreira, R.Carvalho, Terry, A.Cole – Ballack (86’ Anelka), Makelele, Lampard – J.Cole (63’ S.Kalou), Drogba, Malouda. (bench: Hilario, Shevchenko, Mikel, Alex, Belletti). Coach: Grant.