Thursday, 31 October 2013

Games of the week - 26-27th Oct

This week the games of the week for this week are:

  1. Manchester United vs Stoke City (Premier League)
  2. Dundee United vs St Mirren (Scottish Premiership)
  3. Barcelona vs Real Madrid (La Liga)
  4. Bayern Munich vs Hertha Berlin (Bundesliga)
  5. Chelsea vs Manchester City (Premier League)

Manchester United 3-2 Stoke City

Old Trafford, Attendance 75,274

In the fourth minute, Erik Peters run on the left wing for the visitors resulted in him going past 3 players - Nani, Cleverly and Smalling - and crossing the ball into Crouch who's shot was originally saved but he was able to get a toe poke onto the rebound and stun Old Trafford as Stoke took the lead. Two minutes from half time Nani's cross into the box had found Wayne Rooney who's shot was magnificantly saved by Begovic but the rebound came to the flying dutchman Robin Van Persie who volleyed it into the net from twelve yards. A minute later, Stoke were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, Arnautovic took the free kick and the ball swung over the wall beating De Gea and hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing into the net. Thirteen minutes from full time a Robin Van Persie corner found Wayne Rooney who was not marked properly by Stephen Ireland and Rooney headed it into the net to equalize. Manchester Utd were pushing for a winner and were rewarded in the 80th minute as Evra's cross found Hernandez and he headed it home for the home support at Old Trafford to a state of relief.  
MoTM: Wayne Rooney

Dundee United 4-0 St Mirren  

Tannadice Park, Attendance 6331

The home side started strongly straight from the kick-off as Dundee United took the saints defence apart and Nadir Ciftci came close in the first minute. Dundee United were holding onto the ball quite a lot with several one-twos unlocking the visitors' defence. A long ball from John Rankin, on 27 minutes, was not controlled by MacGregor which gave Nadir Cifitci a easy goal to give United the lead. Seven minutes later and the goalscorer was fouled in the box by Sean Kelly, the ex-Portsmouth player took the penalty and scored to double the Tangerines lead. Just before the break Ryan Gauld came close to scoring with a run from out side the box almost catching a dodgy piece of defending. On the hour mark, it was Gauld again this time with a shot from 35 yards going into the top corner to make it 3-0 the home side. St Mirren's only chance came from Steven Thompson who mis-controlled his one on one for Andrew Robertson to clear. United had the last laugh 7 minutes from time as subsitute Ryan Dow set up fellow sub Chris Erskine for a fantastic shot from outside to beat debutante Marrion Kello to make it 4.

MoTM: Ryan Gauld (speaking of)

Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid

Camp Nou, Attendance 98671

Neymar opened the scoring on 18 minutes with a shot going in at the far post beating Lopez in goal. Welshman Gareth Bale was not as his best and so he was replaced by Benzema after one hour.The match was fairly even with both teams coming close. Barca doubled their lead 12 minutes from time as Alexi Sanchez on the break chipped Lopez to male it 2-0. Real scored a consolation in stoppage time with Jese beating Valdes and pelting it into the top corner.
MoTM: Neymar

Bayern Munich 3-2 Hertha BSC

Allianz Arena, Attendance 71000

The visitors opened the scoring after four minutes when a Hertha corner was whipped onto the head of Adrian Ramos who gave the top team in Berlin the lead. Twenty-nine minutes Ribery's free-kick was headed in by Mandzukic. Fifty-one minutes in the match took another twist with a goal from yet another Bayern free-kick; this time Schweinstiger crossed in for Mario Mandzukic to score his second. It looked like Bayern had sealed the game three minutes later with a cross from Ribery finding Gotze who put the ball into the back of the net to give Bayern a two goal lead. The match was not over as Hertha were able to get one back four minutes later with a run by Schulz cutback to Ben-Hatira who scored to get Hertha back into the game. Hetha were unable to get that crucial equaliser as they left Munich only knowing they have to defend better from set-pieces.

MoTM: Frank Ribery

Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City

Stamford Bridge, Attendance 41495

Chelsea opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge after a great run by Torres along the wing ended up 
in him cutting back for Schurrle who scored to after 32 minutes of play. Three minutes into the second half a pass from Nasri led Aguaro clean through to score an equalise for City. It looked like it was going for a draw until in the 90th minute where Torres was given a through ball and it went past everyone to give Chelsea a massive boost in their title bid.
MoTM: Fernando Torres

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Games of the Week - 19th-20th October

The games of the week this week are:

  1. Liverpool vs Newcastle (Barclays Premier League)
  2. St Mirren vs St Johnstone (SPFL Premiership)
  3. Bayern Munich vs Mainz (Bundesliga)
  4. Hibernian vs Celtic (SPFL Premiership)
  5. Twente vs Ajax (Eredivise)

Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool 

St James' Park, Attendance 51703

Yohan Cabaye opened the scoring midway through the first half with a wonder strike from forty yards which bounced past Pepe Reina. Three minutes before half time Liverpool were awarded a penalty as Yanga-Mbiwa brought down Sturridge and was susequenrtly sent-off. The penalty was converted by Steven Gerrard  who slotted the ball past Tim Krul to score his 100th Premier League goal. At the start of the second half, Cabaye crossed in a free-kick which went all the way to the back post to young Paul Dummett who came on as a first half sub to head the ball in the net and to give the magpies the lead, again. With 18 minutes to go Moses found Suarez on the left wing who ran into the six yard box and cut the ball back to give Sturridge a tap in with his head, or in FIFA 14 terms "a sweaty goal". Late on, Liverpool were pushing Newcastle defence to the limit, as they were trying to score a third and go top of the table but Newcastle held on to a point.
MoTM: Daniel Sturridge

St Mirren 4-3 St Johnstone

New Love Street, Attendance 3739

The home side were coming into this game after beating relegation rivals Hearts 2-0 at Tynecastle, whilst the visitors had hammered high-flying Inverness at McDairmid Park 4-0. In the 8th minute after some poor defending McGowan put the ball through to Kenny McLean who beat the goalie in a 1 on 1 to give the home side the lead. Nine minutes later, Hasslebank did a 1-2 with May to go through the Buddies' defence who crossed it in to Steven McLean who tapped it in for the equaliser. The Perth side were looking to take the lead as Hasslebank was denied by Dilo from outside the box. In the 60th minute Lee Mair played a straight ball which went to Paul McGowan who slotted the ball past Manus to make it 2-1 to the men from Paisley. A minute later, Chris Miller ran along the right wing into the box and cut the ball back to Nigel Hasslebank who put his shot into the bottom corner to retake the lead for St Johnstone. Three minutes later, Gary McDonald fouled Kenny McLean in the box to give St Mirren a penalty. Jim Goodwin stepped up and powered the ball into the bottom corner for it to be saved by Alan Manus. With 14 minutes to go St Mirren were awarded a second penalty; this time Kenny McLean and Frazer Wright were wrestling in the box as a through ball was played over the to of them, McLean went down and the referee awarded a penalty and sent-off Wright for a last man challenge. The penalty was taken this time by Kenny McLean who did not make the same mistake as Goodwin and put it in the roof of the net. The match seemed a certainty now as the Buddies' had a goal and a man advantage. However, six minutes from time Steve May crossed the ball into the box for Fallon to slide in for an equaliser. The match took another twist as in the 89th minute as McLean's cross found McGregor who headed it on to Steven Thompson who slid in to give St Mirren the edge in this 7 goal thriller in Paisley. With Hearts losing away to Motherwell, Danny Lennon's side now have a 15 point gap to bottom side Hearts and are now out of the play-off spots as well.
MoTM: Kenny McLean

Bayern Munich 4-1 Mainz

Allainz Arena, Attendance 71,000

The first half was dominated by the European champions but just before half time a through ball by a Mainz defender took a deflection of KP Boetang and fell to Shawn Parker who ran into the box and went round the keeper and slotted it in to the back of the net to shock the Bayern faithful. Bayern Munich came all guns blazing in the second half as Mainz were only able to defend their lead for 5 minutes before Mario Gotze's pass found Arjen Robben who had ran right past the Mainz defence to get the ball and placed the ball past Wetklo in the Mainz goal. Two minutes later some excellent passing of the ball in the Mainz box lead to Thomas Muller taking the lead for the Bundesliga champions. With 20 minutes to go Bayern Munich scored again this time almost a repeat of the second goal except Mario Manzukic guided it in with Gotze creating his second assist. The Mainz defence had collapsed in the second half. In the closing stages Bayern were taking Mainz apart and 10 minutes from time a push in the box on Schwiensteiger caused the referee to give the home side a penalty. Robben stepped up to take it but Muller was insistent and took it himself and he put it into the bottom left corner to seal the three points for Bayern Munich.
MoTM: Mario Gotze

Hibernian 1-1 Celtic

Easter Road, Attendance 14,220

The early pressure came from the SPL champions but 17 minutes in a pass intercepted by Kevin Thompson who gave Paul Heffernan, who was in an offside position, a one-on-one with Forrester and he slotted it past the England number 2 and the goal stood. Hibs held out till half time in the lead there was a lot of physicality from Hibs which was probably the cause of their own downfall. With 15 minutes to go, Ryan McGivern's late challenge on Amiro Balde led to both players going off the pitch and both teams being down to ten men. This left a gap in the Hibee's defence as James Forrest went on a fantastic run going past three players before shooting a sort of banana shot of the outside of his foot past Ben Williams and of the post into the net to make it 1-1. Late on a finger-tip save by Williams kept it at 1-1, and a lucky point for Hibs. This draw gave Inverness the chance to close the gap to Celtic to 1 point at the top of the table.
MoTM: Ben Williams

Twente 1-1 Ajax

De Grolsch Vetse, Attendance 30000

The top of the table clash in the Eredivisie as the champions visited league leaders FC Twente. In the 21st minute a bit of trickery in the box from Quincy Promes led to him setting up a 1 on 1 for Castaigons who scored and gave the leaders the lead. Twente came close to sealing the victory before half time but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities. For Ajax it looked like they were going to suffer their third defeat of the season but nine minutes from time a missed header from Andreas Bjellend gave Sigthorsson the perfect chance for an equaliser which he took. Twente stay top but they are only one point clear of Ajax, FC Zwolle and PSV Eindhoven. Ajax will be playing Celtic in the crunch match in the Champions League on Tuesday.
MoTM: Quincy Promes

Friday, 18 October 2013

Scotland end on a high

Scotland 2-0 Croatia

Hampden Park, Attendance 45000
2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers - UEFA Pool A

Scotland waiting for their first home competitive win in over two years faced a Croatia side looking to secure a play-off spot. Croatia started the match the better side but few chances were created. The first proper chance of the match came in the 28th minute with Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew crossing the ball from the North End onto Robert Snodgrass's head who put it past Pletikosa to give Scotland the lead. Scotland started to play some "straight from the Training ground" football as Anya, Mulgrew and Snodgrass playing one touch passes and unlocking Croatia's defence. Scotland almost scored again with a Bannan free kick, but during the half time interval Croatia found out that they had secured a play-off place with them being secured as at least being the 8th best second place team. The game was not as exciting as it was in the first half, but a needless foul on Ikechi Anya gave Scotland a penalty 18 minutes from time. Barry Bannan took the penalty but was the keeper got his gloves to it and pushed it wide for it to go to Naismith who put the ball in to make it 2-0. Scotland saw out the game and despite Jelavic coming on kept a clean sheet. 
MoTM: Robert Snodgrass

Scotland have moved up in the World Rankings from 63rd to 35th with their win at Hampden on Tuesday night. On another point, the Scots have secured a place in pot 4 for the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying which is important as this will be Scotland's best chance to end what will be an 18 year drought of major tournament football, as their are 23 places (as France have already qualified as hosts) available at the championships in 2016. Also, Gibraltar will be competeting for the first time as they are now members of UEFA.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Games of the Week - 5th-7th October

Not as many games this week, but the games of the week are as follows:

  1. Hearts vs St Mirren (Scottish Premiership)
  2. Manchester City vs Everton (Barclays Premier League)
  3. Dundee United vs Kilimarnock (Scottish Premiership)
  4. Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munchen (Bundesliga)
  5. Juventus vs Milan (Serie A)
  6. Celtic vs Motherwell (Scottish Premiership)

Hearts 0-2 St Mirren

Tynecastle, Attendance 14769
Scottish Premiership

Nine points was the gap going into the bottom of the table clash. A relatively even first half but exciting was topped off by a header from close range by John McGinn to give the buddies the lead three minute before half time. Hearts opened up in the second half trying to score an equaliser but the buddies doubled their lead 13 minutes after halftime as a failure to clear the ball by Dylan McGowan let the other one Paul slot it into the net to make it 2-0.
MoTM: Paul McGowan 
Video: SPFL

Manchester City 3-1 Everton

Ethiad Stadium, Attendance 47267
Barclays Premier League

Roman Lukaku took the lead for the toffees after 15 minutes but the lead for Everton only lasted 92 sceonds as new signing Alvaro Negrado scored for city. The stalemate almost lasted to halftime but after missing a few sitters earlier Aguero made it 2-1. Man City were awarded a penalty with 20 minutes to go but Aguero's shot was saved by Howard who put the ball onto the post and was deflected in off of his back.
MoTM: James Milner

Dundee United 1-0 Kilmarnock

Tannadice Park, Attendance 5850
Scottish Premiership

Despite heaps of pressure in the first half including David Goodwillie's run which goes right through Kilmarnock's atrocious defence and dummied past the goalkeeper Goodie was unable to finish from the tight angle it stayed 0-0. Eleven minutes after halftime a through ball that looked like a lost cause was chased down by Goodwillie ran to a wide position and crossed the ball to Nadir Ciftci who performed a perfect volley from just outside the box to make it 10 goals in 5 games. Youngster Ryan Gauld was absolutely brilliant for the Terrors as he took Kilmarnock's  defence apart almost making them look like an amateur side at times during the match. The key moment in this match was late on when a miraculous save from in-form Rado Cierzniak stopped Irvine's shot from going in and Kille stealing a point. Hot prospect John Souttar did not damage his growing reputation with English clubs as he put in a solid performance in defence even though he did not need to do much.  If Kilmarnock's performance on Saturday is anything to go by then Kille look in real trouble in the relegation battle(s) this season.
MoTM: Ryan Gauld
Video: SPFL

Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Bayern Munchen

BayArena, Attendance 30210

The top two sides in the Bundesliga went head to head at the BayArena in Leverkusen. The course of the match was decided in sixty seconds as after twenty-nine minutes a pass to Kroos led him to put the ball into the top corner for the German. Then a minute later Sidney Sam scored the equaliser for the home side.
MoTM: Kroos

Juventus 3-2 AC Milan

Juventus Stadium, Attendance 38000
Serie A

Muntari scored in the first minute for Milan but Pirlo was at his best and scored an equaliser right on the quarter-hour mark. The game looked like it was heading for a draw until Giovinco scored for the young boys and Geilinni added another quickly. Muntari gave Milan late hope as he scored in the 89th minute to make it 3-2. However, AC Milan's last-ditch attempt to sneak a draw were unsuccessful as it ended 3-2 to the champions.
MoTM: Pirlo