Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Vamos Tuzos!!!

From the excitement of European Club Competition, we now take you to across the Atlantic Ocean to look at another intriguing club competition taking place in Mexico. Living in Malaysia, it's not that often you get live coverage from North America. So since today it is a public holiday here, I'm not going to miss this chance of watching my first CONCACAF Champions Cup Final.

Congratulation to both Christian GIMENEZ and Damian ALVAREZ, as they together with CF Pachuca of Mexico are the winner of the 2008 edition.

Goals by GIMENEZ and Luis Gabriel REY gave their side a 2-1 win over Costa Rican side CD Saprissa and its second consecutive Champions Cup title.
The Tuzoz as they are known, won the home and away series 3-2 on aggregate after playing to a 1-1 draw last week at Saprissa. Now, they will represent that region in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup to be held in Japan in December.

Once again, VAMOS TUZOS!!!

No ticket to Moscow for MASCHE

He fought the good fight but it simply wasn't enough. Javier MASCHERANO played for 120 minutes on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge but he couldn't help a Liverpool side that this time fell short and won't have the chance to meet the old rival, Manchester United, in what would have been a sensational Champions League final. Instead, it'll be Chelsea the team that will take on Carlitos and his friends on 21 May in Moscow.

Javier had a solid game (as usual) but Liverpool couldn't built on the momemtum they got after Fernando TORRES cancelled Didier DROGBA's opening goal.

With that 1-1 score the match went to extra time and after an early Liverpool charge, it was all blue in the first 15 minutes. Michael ESSIEN had a goal disallowed for offside on DROGBA but soon after that, HYYPIA downed BALLACK inside the box for Frank LAMPARD to convert from the spot in a very emotional time of his life as he's just lost his mother.

Liverpool were stunned and Rafa BENITEZ decided to replace his talismanic 30-goal striker Fernando TORRES with Ryan BABEL. I didn't quite understand that substitution but we don't know Rafa's reasons and El Niño can very well be injured or just wasn't ready to go a full 120 minutes.

In what looked like an offside position, Nicolas ANELKA sent a cross to DROGBA and the Ivory Coast international scored the 3-1 that look to be enough to send the blues to their first ever Champions League final.

HYYPIA got the ball in the Chelsea box and was clearly fouled by DROGBA, but the referee didn't award the penalty kick to Liverpool as the clock and the result were the Reds' worst enemies.

With only 4 minutes to go in the match, Ryan BABEL added a little extra drama with a rocket from 40 metres that was just too powerful for Petr CECH and Liverpool had a lifeline. But it wasn't to be.

MASCHE ran all night but the reward wasn't a trip to Moscow to face his friend Carlitos. He'll just have to wait.

Playoffs News - Cold Manu & Fiery Scola

San Antonio Spurs 92 Phoenix Suns 87

Finally we can all breath much easier. Just as I thought, this game is going to go down the wire. Both had their reasons to feel motivated; the Suns wanted to revive this series while the Spurs wanted to finish off. Well the Suns tried but it was the Spurs that achieved its goal.

Manu GINOBILI was cold all night, only managing to post 8 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Phoenix might have done a good job containing him for the entire game but not towards the end of it.

Among those points were crucial free throws that allowed the Spurs to gain a comfortable lead before winning this game. With 25 seconds left, the Spurs were leading 88-87. Manu was foul twice and sent to the line to take his free throws.

Despite of all the tension and pressure surrounding during the moment, he calmly manage to hit 3 out of 4 shots to give the Spurs a four point lead. It might sound easy to some people, but it takes someone with a lot of heart and courage to be able to execute those shots during the intense moments.

Fabricio OBERTO was not bad at all. He was 100% from all his shot posting 8 points including 3 rebounds. In a game as tight as this, every small contribution from him in my opinion is priceless.

With the conclusion of this series, awaiting Manu, Fabricio & the Spurs is the surprise package of the season, New Orleans Hornets.

Houston Rockets 95 Utah Jazz 69

The Rockets knew just what they had to do to stay alive in this series? The answer simple, win. Instead of just wining, they wont in style. That is huge statement to make, especially when you play against the Jazz.

It only makes sense as they were making their shots looks so easy just as they have been defending against the Jazz. How was this possible?

With his confidence growing in stature around the interior in both offense and defense, it allows Tracy McGRADY to do what he does best around the perimeter.

This has been another big playoff night for SCOLA, posting his third double-double in the series with 18 points, 12 rebounds plus 2 assists. Above that, his reputation as big man playing with the big boys in the big league is growing tremendously.

Perhaps the following link will help others to have a better understanding about that subject.

Now we will game 6, which will be played in Utah on Friday. The Jazz might record at home during the regular. However they should also know that the first and the last to defeat were the Rockets. Lets hope we get another cracking performance from the Rockets.

Tevez Will Go To Moscow

One year ago, he was playing for a struggling West Ham side that was fighting to avoid relegation. Eventually he did become their gracious savior in helping them to remain in the Premiership and instantly a legend at that club.

The call to play for one of the biggest club in the world alongside with some of the brightest star in the game was beckoning. One year on, he’s on the verge achieving among the highest accolades there is in club football.

With that said, it is now confirmed that Carlos TEVEZ will play in this year's Champions League Final to be held in Moscow.
I must admit that I use to be an anti-MU supporter a long time ago. But all that change when to learn to appreciate good football. I’m not going to say that I became of fan of them, just that I pay close attention whenever they play because the one that holds the No.32 jersey is one of OUR big names.

Sir Alex was heavily criticized for not bringing in TEVEZ in last weekend Premiership clash against Chelsea. But tonight he chooses to put all his faith into this little fellow.

No goal. No big deal. TEVEZ was all night long troubling Barca defense, linking up well RONALDO in unsettling them throughout the game on some occasions.

Well done Carlitos!!!!

As far for Lionel MESSI, I must say the boy did everything he could to help Barcelona win. I can assure you that if Barca had 10 more players like him, nothing could have stopped them.

That move he did, when he skipped past SCHOLES and then past Wes BROWN before forcing VAN DER SAAR to palm away his well directed shot from the outside the box, is just typical of Lionel. I’m glad to see him coming back to his best after the injury he suffered not so long ago. And I want to stay that way because we definitely need him for Beijing 2008.
The Nou Camp is expected to see some massive re-construction next season. For RIJKAARD (or whichever manager that is), the main objective is to build the team around this little mercurial genius.

Now how many are you with me, cheering on for Javier MASCHERANO when Liverpool take on Chelsea later?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Playoffs News - The End For Carlos & The Raps

So looks like the good times for Carlos DELFINO and the Raptors have come to an end. The Orlando Magic defeated the Raptors 102-92 to win the series 4-1.

In today’s game, the showed tremendous amount of fighting spirit to stay alive in this series. Both of their point guard, TJ and CALDERON played well, Chris BOSH showed plenty of determination and Carlos was the sixth man for them.

Tonight DELFINO posted 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists & 2 steals to finish of what turns out to be his best ever season in his NBA career.
Remember he had a lot of tough times in Detroit. There were plenty of uncertainties about his arrival to the Raps squad. But like Luis SCOLA, he has proven that he can play in the NBA.

On some occasion when others could not deliver, he provides the much needed sparks that the Raptors needed from the bench. He steps in for BOSH when the latter was out injured.

I will be looking forward to see how would the Raptors regroup for next season. Till then, I would like to give thanks to the numerous comments that we’ve received from the entire Raps blogging community.


Monday, April 28, 2008

The Green Albicelestes

Mundo Albiceleste would like to invite you to read the work of one of our readers, John Kennedy, on the subject of Irish immigrants and the influence they had (and still have) in sports in Argentina.

I always refer to an old saying that goes: "The Mexicans come from the Aztecs and Mayans, the Peruvians come from the Incas and the Argentines come from...the ships!". I believe there's a lot of truth in that saying and certainly the Irish were among the people who made of this, such a great country in many many ways.

Some might say that the only thing we have in common is the strong influence Catholicism have in our society or the big and crowded celebrations you'll see in the streets of the Retiro area of Buenos Aires every St. Patrick's day.

But there's a lot more than that. There are a number of sports personalities in Argentina that have Irish blood running through their veins and so did many of the pioneers of several disciplines back in the late XIX century.

But before I go on and on talking about it, let's leave it to the people that really knows and did a lot of research about it.

Having a great interest in the history of sports, I strongly recommend you follow the link at the bottom and take your time to read the beautiful job that John Kennedy and his friends did. After reading this, I take even more pride of having picked the Republic of Ireland as my team in Winning Eleven (or Pro Evolution Soccer, for that matter) whenever I play a tournament with my friends.

Enjoy your reading...

Playoffs News - Manu & Spurs Have To Wait

They were on a verge on creating something incredible but looks like “INCREDIBLE” may need to wait for a while. San Antonio Spurs were just one game way to go through the next round while their nemesis, the Phoenix Suns were close to a sweep.

But tonight, neither could Manu GINOBILI and his fellow big guns do much to make that happen. Suns played as if it was life or death.
A poor night by Manu’s own standard, posting just 10 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 block shot. Fabricio OBERTO started from the bench, posted 3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 steal.

Now here the scenario, Game 5 will be extremely critical as should the Suns win it than everything about the series is wide open. That is the last thing I would expect. C’mmon Manu!!!

Inter Cruz Towards Serie A Title & Other

Inter Milan took another significant step towards retaining their Serie A title with 2-1 win over Cagliari.

Patrick VIEIRA got on the ball in the 21st minute, took a quick look up and put a defence splitting ball over that landed in the path of Julio CRUZ who wriggled free of defender Paolo BIANCO to head in.

MATERAZZI scored Inter’s second and later on during stoppage time, Davide BIONDINI scored a consolation goal Cagliari.

In Spain, Real Madrid also move closer towards winning their second successive La Liga crown with 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.

Much to my surprise is to see Javier SAVIOLA named in the starting line up and he did not disappoint anyone at all. He strike a loose ball with his left foot in the 14th minute to give Real the lead.

Dutchman ROBBEN scored to put Real 2-0 and later on substitute Gonzalo HIGUAIN to score his fifth goal of the season.

Real Mallorca put a dent on Racing Santander’s hope of qualifying for the Champions League with 3-1 win.

Already 1-0 up, Mallorca increased their lead through Oscar TREJO in the 82nd minute, sliding a left-footed shot into the net from the center of the penalty area.

Racing pulls one back through a powerful penalty strike courtesy of Aldo DUSCHER but a goal from Daniel GUIZA sealed the victory for Mallorca.

While Atlético Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw with Getafe with Kun AGUERO scoring the equalizer for them in the 39th minute. With this result, Atlético still remains in contention for next season Champions League at fourth place just two points ahead of Racing Santander.

Recently crowned Portuguese champion FC Porto trash Guimaraes 5-0 away with Ernesto FARIAS scoring in the 77th minute.

While Leandro ROMAGNOLI scored a penalty in Sporting Lisbon 2-1 win over Maritimo.

Hector BRACAMONTE scored an equalizer for FC Moscow against Spartak Moscow in Russia.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Hat-Trick From Nico In Belgium

There no were not much goals on Saturday's action around Europe. Carlos TEVEZ was no where to be seen in the Chelsea/Man Utd game and most of the main action are bound to take place on Sunday.

But there a few highlights that are worth while to be highlighted here.

In Turkey, Leonardo IGLESIAS scored in the 45th minute in Kayserispor 3-0 win over Caykur Rizerspor.

But the main star of the night comes from Belgian Jupiter League in the match between Anderlecht and St. Truiden.

When Adamo COULIBALY scored for the visitor in the first minute, Anderlecht needed to wait until the 80th minute to score a goal.

Then in a six minutes blitz, they scored four goals to win the match. Most of the damage came from their star striker Nicolás Alejandro FRUTOS, who scored a hat-trick. You can view all the goals from Nico, just click on the following link here

(Videos courtesy of

Basketball - Beijing 2008: Argentina avoid USA, Spain and China in the group stage

The draw for the basketball olympic tournament that will be played in Beijing in August.

Defending champions, Argentina, were drawn in Group A with European champions, Russia, Australia, Iran, Lithuania and the winner of the forecoming olympic-qualifying tournament that will be held in Athens in July (the main candidates to fill this spot are Greece, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia and probably -depending on the team they present- Brazil or even Canada).

The draw took place in the Olympic basketball venue the brand new 18.000-seat Wukesong Indoor Stadium and the Women's tournament was also scheduled and our ladies will compete for one of the five berths at stake in Madrid in June.

Back to the Men's tournament and then some more information on what will Manu and the rest of the gang have to face in their quest to retain the title.


Qualified 1 (Olympic qualifying tournament champion)

Qualified 2 (Olympic qualifying tournament runner-up)
Qualified 3 (Olympic qualifying tournament bronze medallist)

Argentina will make their debut on 10 August against Lithuania. A tough rival to face when you are still not in the thick of the competition and when certain details will need to be adjusted.

On 10 August, our second match will be against Australia and Argentina will be hot-favourites to win it.

They will need to win it because right after that, 12 August, Argentina will face the olympic qualifying tournament champion. A team that will be very difficult to beat and will come with a good few weeks of playing at the top of their game.

Iran on 14 August looks like the easiest game of all, but they'll be no room for mistakes and qualification to the quarter-final may depend on this game.

Russia will be waiting for us on 16 August in what should be a match-up between two of the 8 teams that will be playing in the quarter-finals (at the very least). To add drama to this match, both teams will pretty much know which teams could be their rivals in the following round and avoiding the Dream Team or World Champions, Spain, could be the reward for the winner.

Not an easy schedule, I must say. Not an easy tournament at all. But as always, all my faith and trust are with our basketball legends and I'm sure they'll give all they have to make the best possible campaign.

The following is some additional information taken directly from FIBA's official website.

10th August 2008:

Game 7: Australia vs. Qualifier A
Game 8: Russia vs. Iran
Game 9: Lithuania vs. Argentina
Game 10: USA vs. China
Game 11: Spain vs. Qualifier C
Game 12: Qualifier B vs. Angola

12th August 2008:

Game 19: Qualifier A vs. Russia
Game 20: Argentina vs. Australia
Game 21: Iran vs. Lithuania
Game 22: China vs. Spain
Game 23: Angola vs. USA
Game 24: Qualifier C vs. Qualifier B

14th August 2008:

Game 31: Argentina vs. Qualifier A
Game 32: Lithuania vs. Russia
Game 33: Australia vs. Iran
Game 34: Angola vs. China
Game 35: Qualifier B vs. Spain
Game 36: USA vs. Qualifier C

16th August 2008:

Game 43: Qualifier A vs. Lithuania
Game 44: Iran vs. Argentina
Game 45: Russia vs. Australia
Game 46: China vs. Qualifier B
Game 47: Qualifier C vs. Angola
Game 48: Spain vs. USA

18th August 2008:

Game 55: Iran vs. Qualifier A
Game 56: Australia vs. Lithuania
Game 57: Argentina vs. Russia
Game 58: Qualifier C vs. China
Game 59: USA vs. Qualifier B
Game 60: Angola vs. Spain


The information below shows only who will be playing whom in accordance with the final standings after the Preliminary Round.

20th August 2008:

Game 65: B2 vs. A3
Game 66: A1 vs. B4
Game 67: A2 vs. B3
Game 68: B1 vs. A4


22nd August 2008:

Game 71: Winner 65 vs. Winner 66
Game 72: Winner 67 vs. Winner 68


24th August 2008:

Game 75 (12:00 hours): Loser 71 vs. Loser 72 (3 - 4)
Game 76 (14:30 hours): Winner 71 vs. Winner 72 (1 - 2)


Already qualified for Beijing 2008 are: Australia (World Champion), China (host), Korea (Asian Champion), Mali (African Champion), New Zealand (Oceanian runner-up), Russia (European Champion) and USA (Champion of the Americas).

The remaining five women's berths for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will be decided in the 12-team FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women that will take place in Madrid (Spain), from 9th to 15th June 2008, and that will feature the following participants: Senegal and Angola (Africa), Cuba, Brazil and Argentina (Americas), Japan and Chinese Taipei (Asia), Spain, Belarus, Latvia and Czech Republic (Europe) and Fiji (Oceania). The draw for the remaining three qualified teams will be held on 15th June 2008 in Madrid, Spain.

Composition of groups:

Group A: Australia, Korea, Russia, Qualifier A, Qualifier B and Qualifier C
Group B: China, Mali, New Zealand, USA, Qualifier D and Qualifier E

Preliminary Round:

The exact game number and time for each of the Preliminary Round games below will be known by 25th May 2008 at the latest. The information below only shows whom is playing whom on which day. The Preliminary Round games will be played at 09:00, 11:15, 14:30, 16:45, 20:00 and 22:15 hours.

9th August 2008:

Game 1: Qualifier A vs. Korea
Game 2: Russia vs. Qualifier B
Game 3: Qualifier C vs. Australia
Game 4: Qualifier E vs. China
Game 5: USA vs. Qualifier D
Game 6: Mali vs. New Zealand

11th August 2008:

Game 13: Korea vs. Russia
Game 14: Australia vs. Qualifier A
Game 15: Qualifier B vs. Qualifier C
Game 16: China vs. USA
Game 17: New Zealand vs. Qualifier E
Game 18: Qualifier D vs. Mali

13th August 2008:

Game 25: Australia vs. Korea
Game 26: Qualifier C vs. Russia
Game 27: Qualifier A vs. Qualifier B
Game 28: New Zealand vs. China
Game 29: Mali vs. USA
Game 30: Qualifier E vs. Qualifier D

15th August 2008:

Game 37: Korea vs. Qualifier C
Game 38: Qualifier B vs. Australia
Game 39: Russia vs. Qualifier A
Game 40: China vs. Mali
Game 41: Qualifier D vs. New Zealand
Game 42: USA vs. Qualifier E

17th August 2008:

Game 49: Qualifier B vs. Korea
Game 50: Qualifier A vs. Qualifier C
Game 51: Australia vs. Russia
Game 52: Qualifier D vs. China
Game 53: Qualifier E vs. Mali
Game 54 : New Zealand vs. USA


The information below shows only who will be playing whom in accordance with the final standings after the Preliminary Round.

19th August 2008:

Game 61: B2 vs. A3
Game 62: A1 vs. B4
Game 63: A2 vs. B3
Game 64: B1 vs. A4

The exact game number and time for the four Quarter-Finals will be known at the latest on the evening of 17th August. The games of the Quarter-Finals will be played at 14:30, 16:45, 20:00 and 22:15 hours.


21st August 2008:

Game 69: Winner 61 vs. Winner 62
Game 70: Winner 63 vs. Winner 64

The exact game number and time for the two Semi-Finals will be known at the latest on the evening of 19th August. The games of the Semi-Finals will be played at 20:00 and 22:15 hours.


23rd August 2008:

Game 73 (19:30 hours): Loser 69 vs. Loser 70 (3 - 4)
Game 74 (22:00 hours): Winner 69 vs. Winner 70 (1 - 2)

Playoffs News - Super Sub Manu Helps Spurs Take 3-0 Lead

My partner in crime Seba was 100% right. The Suns have been killed mentally after that defeat in Game 1. In Game 2, they could not even hold on to a comfortable lead. Now back in Arizona, just as when others thought they could turn things around, they just didn't.

And guess what? Despite of all their superiority over the Spurs during the regular season and the arrival of Shaq O'NEAL; the possibility of being knocked out by a clean sweep is starring at their face.

I'm not argue who was the best player of the night as I take my hats off for Tony LONGORIA himself. But in my opinion, the main factor that contributed to this result was the fact that coach Gregg POPOVITCH having the luxury to call upon a player like Manu GINOBILI from the bench.
The stats will not lie. He posted 20 points from the bench the same as the entire Suns bench (consisting of 4 players). Not to forget his other contribution consisting 5 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 steal. Don't be surprise because that is what you'll get from the best sixth man in the entire league.

Fabricio OBERTO also started from the bench in favour of Kurt THOMAS but the both of them did fantastic job in curbing the Suns offense. He manages 6 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 block shot.

Just one more game for the Manu, Fabio & the Spurs to clinch this series. Just to share with everyone, no team has ever came back after going 0-3 down.

After this, with the Premieship crown starring at Carlos TEVEZ & Man Utd face, I'm hopping all could be resolve by today against Chelsea.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Playoffs News - Big Night For Scola, Raps Pull One Back

The playoffs, which have been going on for almost, a week is getting more interesting than I expected it to be. Tomorrow is the crunch tie between the Suns and Spurs, when Game 3 gets underway. And tonight, two more ties involving the Tall Albiceleste and both games ended up being good news for me.

Toronto Raptors 108 Orlando Magic 94

The Raptors were desperate to win this one after going 0-2 in the series. What better to place there is to revive your chances? Well it has to be in front your own crowd, that is.

The Magic was reminded that Toronto is no easy hunting ground for any visiting team. From start to finish, the Raps took full charge of this game and much of that came from the contribution from its two equally world class point guards.

For Carlos DELFINO, it was a different story compare to his high performance Game 2. Just exactly what Sam from RaptorsTalk.Com mentioned, just one good game then he starts to disappear.

DELFINO posted 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists & 1 steal in the process. But the star of the night was TJ FORD and Jose CALERON.

Utah Jazz 92 Houston Rockets 94

The return of Rafer ALSTON was just the kind of antidote the Rockets needed for this Game 3. Plus their tag team, Luis SCOLA and Tracy McGRADY were doing the goods for them all the while. But there is just one big headache that the Rockets needed to overcome. The Jazz, the team with the best home record, was playing where else but at home.

Spirit is the word that I would associate with the Rockets win tonight. SCOLA was eager to give a great impression on his first post season and T-Mac was highly motivated to eradicate his first round syndrome.
And it was SCOLA who gave the Rockets this much-needed win. He was fouled and went 1-for-2 from the line with 0.2 seconds left. After a timeout, the Jazz threw away the inbounds pass. Oh boy!!! He coped with all the pressure at that moment really well.

He was simply brilliant tonight; posting a double-double 16 points, 10 rebounds plus 4 assists and 2 steals along the way. My only wish is that he gets another big night in Game 4 so that his team can re-take the home court advantage.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Postgame Locker Room - Manu Ginobili

Playoffs News - Manu & Parker Takes Spurs 2-0

San Antonio Spurs 102 Phoenix Suns 96

The Suns started the game in brilliantly but simply forgot that they were playing against a team that won the last championship.

Both Manu GINOBILI and Tony PARKER had a great game, taking the ball to the rim time and time again, even they was a certain Shaq O'NEAL guarding the bucket.

Between him (Parker) and Manu those guys were at the rim all night and making some shots over their bigs,” said Tim DUNCAN

Manu posted 29 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal & 1 block shot from the bench. Prior to the game, he received his Sixth Man award

Fabricio OBERTO shared some on those intense defensive duties with Kurt THOMAS against Suns big men and did pretty well. He posted 4 points, 6 rebounds & 1 block shot.

With 2-0 lead in the series, can the Suns pull back when game 3 & 4 heads to Arizona. For Manu, Fabio & the Spurs sake, I simply hope not.

Orlando Magic 104 Toronto Raptors 103

It was a much better performance from Carlos DELFINO, together with three other from the Raptors bench posted double digit points. But still it just wasn't enough to overcome a tough Superman in Florida.

I doubt that DELFINO had seen better days in the playoffs throughout his NBA career. He posted 16 points, 6 rebounds & 3 assists in the process.

My own personal view on this game is that coach Sam MITCHELL needs to revitalize his strategy when the series heads back to Toronto for Game 3 & 4.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MASCHERANO with an assist, RIISE with a stinker!

The Champions League semifinals first leg between Liverpool and Chelsea was every bit as tough as I thought it would be, but the Reds from Anfield dominated as I didn't imagine they were capable of doing.

They were the better team and had the best chances, while Chelsea were fast when it came to foul Fernando TORRES at every opportunity they had.

Javier MASCHERANO had a stellar performance in midfield and he assisted Dirk KUYT in the first half to give Liverpool the lead. Yes, Masche tried to shoot at goal and his defective shot fell straight to the Dutchman and the rest was history.

The second half saw a very calmed and industrious Liverpool side enjoying most of the ball possession while Chelsea were limited to try and set Didier DROGBA free on a long ball in a counter-attack.

Nothing seemed to suggest Chelsea were going to get away with something out of Anfield, but then the unthinkable happened.

KALOU sent a hopeless low cross to the Liverpool box in the 4th minute of injury time. Nicolas ANELKA went for the ball but John Arne RIISE had it covered. Or that was what José REINA, Rafa BENITEZ, the entire crowd at Anfield and myself thought. We were all wrong. RIISE, instead of a kicking the ball as far as he could, tried to clear it with a diving header and all he did was to send the ball into the back of the net to give Chelsea a crucial away goal.

A 0-0 draw in Stamford Brigde is all they need now. If it wasn't for RIISE, they would have been forced to win 2-0 and to avoid at all costs that Liverpool away goal that would have meant they would need to score 3.

I wouldn't bet against Liverpool, though. They have what it takes when it comes to win in Europe and karma always seems to favour them. But they need to minimize errors like the one RIISE had, if they want to keep their quest for the 6th European Cup alive.

Good luck, MASCHE! And next time...forget about DROGBA. Go ahead and tackle RIISE before he gets anywhere near the ball!

Playoffs News - Scola, Houston Have A Problem

Houston Rockets 84 Utah Jazz 90

It was expected to be a tough series for the Rockets from the beginning itself. First they had no YAO Ming for the remainder of the season. Next, starting point guard Rafer ALSTON was also out injured for the fiorst two games at least.

What remains to be seen is that can Tracy McGRADY carry the load with big helps from Luis SCOLA and the rest of the gang? But there is one hickup, you have to get past Carlos BOOZER & Deron WILLIAMS.

So by now, I guess we can say that we know the answer very well.

For the record it wasn’t like SCOLA fail to show to up at the playoffs infact he wasn’t playing like a rookie in the even first place. Despite of the trouble surrounding the Rockets, he still manage to pull some strings for them for todays game.

SCOLA posted 14 points, 5 rebounds & 1 assist to his credit.

As much I would like to see the Rockets going further, I guess T-Mac first round syndroms in the playoffs looks likely to continue. The Jazz have only lost FOUR times at the Energy Solutions Arena.

Manu's Press Conference

Monday, April 21, 2008

Manu wins best 6th man award

It was an open secret and a pretty obvious decision but on Monday it became official when the NBA gave Emanuel GINOBILI the best sixth man award.

The Argentine guard of the San Antonio Spurs received 615 out of a possible 620 points, including 123 or 124 first-place votes, from a panel of journalist (and I wonder who was the mad man that didn't vote for him!).

This award is given to the best player in a reserve role. Manu started from the bench in 51 of the 74 games he played this season but was the scoring leader for the Spurs with a career-high average of 19.5 points per game to go along with 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.47 steals.

Brazilian Leandro BARBOSA (Phoenix Suns) won this award last year and finished a distant second collecting 283 points followed by Jason TERRY of the Dallas Mavericks with 44.

Manu said a few weeks ago: "This is not an award that I was really looking forward to win. I would love to be the best player or the best defender. But this is just like being elected the best left-handed player or something like that".

Despite this, Manu has reached a certain status in the NBA and any recognition is a good thing. Something to celebrate.

Vamos Manu! Congratulations!

Manu's Game Winning Shot

Tim DUNCAN three point was something but this is the one that made sure, Spurs won.

Is This True?

I’m just going to add a little bit from Seba’s article about our Under-23 team. I’ve just read some news that was published on the entire local daily here in Malaysia.

Furthermore, I decided to do some research to see how far this is true. So far, I’ve manage to identify just two links and both of them are local web news.

Not only that, someone even told me that they even saw this news on ESPN Star Asia.

So if anyone out there who could verify on how far this story is true, then I’ll be very grateful towards you because I’m still puzzle on how to react after reading this.

Here is the link: -

Pipita & Cruz Closer To League Champions

Real Madrid took another step closer in defending their La Liga crown with 2-0 win over Racing Santander. The visiting side took the lead through RAUL but Racing was piling on the pressure for an equalizer. Then came in substitute Gonzalo HIGUAIN, who scored in the dying seconds to ensure that Real come away with the 3 points.
Like Real, Inter Milan also took another significant step in winning their third successive Serie A crown with 1-0 win over Torino, courtesy from Julio CRUZ’s header.
Lisandro LOPEZ, as always, is in an unstoppable mode when it comes scoring goals in Portugal. In perhaps one of the fixtures of the season, he scored twice as the Dragons defeated their fierce rival Benfica 2-0.
In Turkey, Matias DELGADO was the hero for Besiktas, scoring the 77th minute winner in their 2-1 win over Caykur Rizespor.

While Greece, Javier MALAGUENO scored a consolation goal for Iraklis as their crashed to Olympiacos 1-3.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pele, please shut up!

After living in Brazil for almost 9 months, I've learned that Pele is not as loved in his country as one would think he would be.

They criticize him because he can't stop talking and he even say bad things about the current great players of Brazil, such as Ronaldo.

In his latest interview with Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, he decided to talk about Diego MARADONA.

Link to the article (in Portuguese):,0.php

And here's what he said about Diego:

"He couldn't shoot with his right foot. He couldn't head the ball. He wasn't a complete player"

"I see a lot of Olympic champions having to return their gold medals after getting caught in drug tests. I don't understand why they didn't do the same with MARADONA"

I say...shut the hell up!

And I'll also mention something that ROMARIO said about PELE:

"When PELE is quiet, he is a poet!"

That says it all. Doesn't it?

Beijing 2008, Argentina to face Australia, Ivory Coast and Serbia

The football competition draw for Beijing 2008 has been done and here's how the four groups will look like:

GROUP A: Ivory Coast, Argentina, Australia and Serbia (it looks almost exactly as the group we had in Germany 2006 only Holland was there instead of Australia).

GROUP B: Netherlands, Nigeria, Japan and USA

GROUP C: China, New Zealand, Brazil and Belgium.

GROUP D: Korea, Cameroon, Honduras and Italy.

Here's the link:

Our ladies will face a very tough group with China, Sweden and Canada.

According to a match schedule I found at FIFA, Argentina will play his first two matches (Ivory Coast -7 August, 1 day before the Opening Ceremony- and Australia -10 August-) in Shanghai.

Three days after facing Australia, the team will have to travel 1500 kilometres to meet Serbia at the Workers' Stadium in Beijing.

If Checho and his boys progress to the quarter finals, they will face a Group B rival. If Argentina finish first in the group, we will face the Group B runner-up and if Argentina is second, the rival will be Group B's winner.

On paper, it looks like Argentina should make it to the last 8. But they won't get an easy rival in that stage because any team out of the Netherlands, Nigeria, USA and Japan will prove to be tough to beat. That potential QF match will be played in Shanghai or Qinhuangdao.

What you may be wondering is: WHEN WILL WE MEET BRAZIL?

OK...I've been looking at every possible scenario:

A: Argentina and Brazil win their groups

Provided they win their QF matches, they will meet in Beijing Workers' Stadium on 19 August in what will be an incredible semifinal.

B: Argentina and Brazil advance as runners-up

Provided they win their QF matches, they will meet in Shanghai Stadium on 19 August in the semifinals.

C: Argentina win their group and Brazil ends up as runner up in Group C (or viceversa)

Provided they win their QF and SF matches, they will meet in Beijing National Stadium (aka The Bird's Nest), on 23 August in what will be the most anticipated Olympic final in a very long time.

I'm surely looking forward to it and to this entire Olympic tournament.

Playoffs News - A Win For Manu & Scola Makes Debut

The Playoffs has already begun and believe me it really getting intense at my end here, especially after hearing all those wonderful comment coming in.

San Antonio Spurs 117 Phoenix Suns 115

As expected this game was a sure explosive one. If they was real hero in this game, then it had to Tim DUNCAN and Manu GINOBILI. Once is a saviour and the other the killer.

DUNCAN first 3 of the season with just ticks left sent his team into double overtime against the revenge-minded Suns.

Then it was
Manu’s turn, and his layup with 1.8 seconds left pushed the defending champions past the Suns 117-115 Saturday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Manu was the just a point scorer as he was constantly being watched by Shaq, which allow Timmy to do more damage for the Suns.

As always Manu was the inspiration that Spurs needed from the bench, posting 24 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists & 3 steals. Fabricio OBERTO had his part in the game, posting 4 points, 5 rebounds & 1 steal.

It's hard to say even now where is this game going but my only hope is that Spurs could win Game 2 before heading to Arizona.

Houston Rockets 82 Utah Jazz 93

Welcome to the playoffs Luis SCOLA!!!

Sadly it was not the kind the start that he would have wanted in the first place. Against a Utah Jazz so superior at home, the best thing that any team should do is win at home.

Now it will be a mountain to climb for the Rockets if they were to win Game 2 and try to take one of those game in Salt Lake City.
You can't really blame them for this as they were already depleted before the game with both YAO Ming and Rafer ALSTON were out of the game. Much was expected from Luis and Tracy McGRADY.

For SCOLA personally, he did manage posted 14 points, 13 rebounds and 2 steals in the process. Let's hope that the Rockets will bounced back in game 2.

Tevez, United Saviour Against Rovers

Should Man Utd win the league title this season, they will know just how important this goal was for them. Had the Red Devil lost, Chelsea will have great chance to capitalize on them went they meet next week at Stamford Bridge.

I will give Blackburn Rovers credit for their superb effort throughout the game as it did look like that they were on verge to win this match.
But then as always magic moments do happen. Last season, it was against Rovers that Carlos TEVEZ sparked West Ham relegation battle. Again this season, at Edwood Park, it looks like his goal will be the most crucial ever in United league campaign.

Another thing that caught my attention was the Argentine flag being wave among the United supporters.
Elsewhere, Kun AGUERO scored for Atletico Madrid but they crash at home against Real Betis 3-1. Despite winning 3-0 against Recreativo Huelva, Roberto AYALA was sent in the 89th minute.

Cristian MAIDANA scored the equalizer for Spartak Moscow before winning 2-1 against Spartak Nalchik.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Interview - Manu Ginobili

2008 Play-Offs - The Real Deal Starts Now

Since I started writing for this blog, I've manage to make friends from various community. I always wondered what was their opinion from their own perspective which is why I had an interesting idea for this post.
With the post season just around the corner, I was thinking of sharing this space with of the best NBA blogging expert about their respective team and most important of all, the Tall Albiceleste that plays for them.

So I went on a mission to looks around for anyone who was keen to share their views with us. Fortunately I had good friends from the Raptors and Rockets camp but very unfortunate non from the Spurs or Pistons side.

Nevertheless, as they say the show must go on.....

So let me just start of with what I feel about Manu GINOBILI, Fabricio OBERTO and San Antonio Spurs. Do they have what it takes to do it back to back titles?

Well before I answer that question let see how did they actually faired during the regular season. To be honest, I feel they were very lucky to finish at third spot in the wild wild Western Conference. Don't get me wrong here, it wasn't like they were playing badly but as always when you are the defending champion, your opponents will play their best game against you. Just ask the Suns.

However there is no doubt that Manu GINOBILI raised his game to whole new level. He was simply out of this world. Once again there was huge debate about him being a starter or a bench player. But for me , the fact that he delivers that matter the most. Do you remember his back to back 37 points last year. What that 46 points he posted in Cleveland? He is Spurs top scorer this season and now everyone talks about him being the this years “Sixth Man” winner.
Fabricio OBERTO pick up from where he left off last season. Many times, as the starting center, he allows himself to do all the little things that others often decline. He also had couple of big nights as well, like the one recently in Sacramento and another one against Denver back in December. He was bound to loose his minutes of playing when Spurs decided to bring in Kurt THOMAS. But in true Argentinean nature, he work hard and fought his way back into the team.

Now the real deal starts, against a team that is even more determined to knock them out after that high intensity series last year. When I think about the Spurs/Suns series, it does remind me a lot when Argentina take on England in football. Though the Suns have Shaq but Spurs have the character that suits well for games like this. A lot will be expected from Manu to deliver the points, considering that he has been their most consistent shooter through out the season. If he does that, than Spurs will be fine on the offensive.

As for OBERTO and Timmy are going to deal a bigger headache when facing off both Amare & Shaq. Its hard to say how this series is going to but I can tell you this is not something that you want to miss. Go Spurs Go!!!

The Raptors are one of the most exciting teams to watch. This is true when you look at their roster that consist the best of two world, NBA and International pedigree. So after all the struggle that he had gone through in Detroit, I just wonder how is Carlos DELFINO going to fit in the puzzle. To talk about that, the best person to refer has to be Sam from – The Best Damn Raptors Blogger around.

With all the success the Raptors had last season, finishing .500 this year has been a step back in the development of this franchise. The Raptors were unable to take advantage of easy stretches they had in the schedule to offset the massive injuries to BOSH and FORD. The only positive thing to come out of FORD's injury was the emergence of CALDERON as a legitimate NBA starting point guard. He filled in admirably, only fueling the FORD/CALDERON debate. When the shots rain down, the Raptors are as tough a team to beat then any top team, but when defenses have dug, the shooting has cooled down.

Carlos DELFINO, for the most part, has been a welcome addition. He is the best man-defender at the small forward spot the Raptors have. He has the ability to shoot the three, and is one of the few Raptor players who consistently attacks the basket off the dribble. His inconsistent play has been the cause of concern for some of us. He will drop bomb-after-bomb on way to a 20+ point game one day, then will disappear totally for three games.

For the Raptors to be successful against the Magic, DELFINO will have to step up his level of consistency on the offensive end. He has to continue attacking the basket, and limit his attempts from beyond the arc. On the defensive end, he has to take away drive penetration, contesting shots and drawing charges. The one thing we can count on DELFINO for is his immaculate hair style!

I was very excited when I heard that the Rockets decided to buyout Luis SCOLA’s rights from the Spurs. With him playing alongside YAO and T-Mac, are we looking at the possibility of another BIG THREE in the making? Maybe the dish was superb but just lack that important spice and flavour. To explain more on this, I’ll hand over the mike to Houston’s very own Grunge Love & Lee from the Dream Shake blog.

Luis SCOLA is in a rare class of professional athletes. Translation? There are only 5 players in NBA history whose replica jerseys I actually paid money to own: YAO Ming, Robert HORRY, Remggie MILLER, Penny HARDAWAY... and now Luis SCOLA. It takes a certain type of skill and tenacity for me to wear a particular player's jersey. SCOLA has all the necessary qualities.
A year ago, the Rockets had a significant hole at the power forward position. Chuck Hayes and Juwon were serviceable, but just not enough for the Rockets to succeed in the playoffs. This year... everything is different. At the end of January, Rick ADELMAN put Luis SCOLA into the starting lineup at power forward. The Rockets have not looked back since. Those first 22 games with SCOLA as a starter were all wins. All of them. In a row. SCOLA is everything the Rockets needed in a power forward: size, skill, hustle, defense and attitude. The Rockets surprised everyone by winning 55 games, even with YAO Ming missing more than a quarter of the season. Luis SCOLA is the common denominator.

What do I expect to see from SCOLA and the Rockets in the playoffs? Well, we face Utah (again). So we get to see precisely how much the Rockets improved over a year ago. The Jazz, are essentially the same team as last year. The Rockets are missing YAO, but have SCOLA, Carl LANDRY and Bobby JACKSON as prime players. SCOLA is a grinder, and that fits right in with Shane BATTIER, Chuck HAYES and Dikembe MUTOMBO. I expect SCOLA to be the 2nd option on offense and the best rebounder in the entire series. Which I think will go the full 7 games... only this time - Tracy McGRADY wins that ever elusive playoff series. And he'll have Luis SCOLA to thank.

With that said, let me just end this article on the one last player that is left to talk about. Just who am I referring to? For some of us, he is known as El Guerero but for most of you out there he is Walter HERRMANN.

If there is one team that is capable of stopping the Boston Celtics it has to be the Detroit Pistons. No offense to others as my preferred team on the East has to be the Raptors. Their regular season record of 59-23 is even better than the Los Angeles Lakers. With the likes of “Need4Sheed” WALLACE, Richard Hamilton and Chauncey BILLUPS doing their thing, they should make it to the Conference Finals again. In recent games, coach Flip SAUNDERS decided to give his bench some time-playing and their responded with positive results.

But my main concern on this team is Walter HERRMANN, who will be going to the play-offs for the first time in his NBA career. From a Bobcats he became a Bad Boy. I'm still surprise on Charlotte decisions to sell him considering the way he flourished for them towards the end of last season. Going to Detroit wasn't really a good idea as he will in the pecking order behind Tayshaun PRINCE and Jarvis HAYES. But if you look at the stats, he does seems to contribute something despite of his limited time playing.

So big the question for the play-off will be, is that how much are going to see him in action against the 76ers? I will not be surprise that he might be place under the inactive list. But as SAUNDERS has already mentioned that he will not hesitate to use him if needed. So we will just keep our fingers cross for the time being.

With all that, so let the play-offs begin. I know can't really wait for this happen considering the number of mouth watering series that will take place. I would also like to give a big shout out and special thanks to Sam and Dream Shaker crew for their contribution. Really appreciated it. Good luck to all your respective teams.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

NBA News - Regular Season Is Over

Cleveland Cavaliers 74 Detroit Pistons 84

With all his big names being given a rest, coach Flip SAUNDERS went to his bench and gave them some quality times of action. If he saw things clearly, he knows that there is great depth of talent among his reserves.

Walter HERRMANN hit two 3-pointers in the spurt and added a finger roll in the lane that thrilled Rasheed WALLACE and Detroit’s other sitting starters. A late charge from him towards the end of the game saw him posting 11 points, 5 rebounds & 1 assist.

Chicago Bulls 107 Toronto Raptors 97

“Good luck in the post season and I’ll see you later in Beijing”. Well I guess that was probably Andres NOCIONI last few words to Carlos DELFINO.

Well for Chapu and the Bulls in what turn out to be bug nightmare has all come to end. Tonight he posted 10 points, 3 rebounds & 1 assist.

Now the real question is, will Chapu be part of in what could turn out to be a real makeover for next season? Only time will tell.

As for DELFINO, he too posted 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 steal.

Houston Rockets 93 Los Angeles Clippers 75

While the Rockets did what they had to do, Luis SCOLA finished of the regular season totally the opposite way he had started off. On his debut against the Lakers, he had no points to his credit.

Fast-forward tonight, he topped the game with double-double performance of 22 points, 10 rebounds & 4 assists.

San Antonio Spurs 109 Utah Jazz 80

Now I guess I can breath with a sight of relief. Firstly it has to be the return of Manu GINOBILI and he was really crucial in this game, as without him Spurs have been struggling recently.

The second as to be that the defending champion will they all-important home court advantage in the first round. Against who, well its non other than the Phoenix Suns. I bet this one will be cracker indeed.

Manu had a great return, posting 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists & 3 steals along the process.
Fabricio OBERTO too had a superb game, posting 6 points & 4 rebounds after having one of the best nights in the NBA in the previous game.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lucho Takes Porto Into Taça de Portugal Final

Lucho GONZALEZ struck twice to help Porto beat Vitoria Setubal 3-0 in their Portuguese Cup semi-final, barely a couple of days since they played in a league encounter.

Porto first went ahead when Setubal midfielder JORGINHO diverted the ball into his own net after a goalmouth scramble on 37 minutes.

Lucho made it 2-0 when his close-range shot went through the hands of Setubal’s keeper early in the second half.

Victory was sealed in the 59th minute as winger Ricardo QUARESMA set up Lucho's second.

In the final, Porto will meet the winner from the other semi-final between Leandro ROMAGNOLI’s Sporting and Ángel Di MARIA’s Benfica on Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NBA News - Oberto Shines This Time

Milwaukee Bucks 135 Chicago Bulls 151

It was not surprise to see such a high scoring game, as both teams have nothing much to play for but only to complete their respective fixtures. Andres NOCIONI, coming from the bench, only manages to post 10 points & 3 rebounds to his credit.

Toronto Raptors 91 Miami Heat 75

While their chances of achieving home court advantage still being uncertain, the Raptors are eager to avoid playing Boston or Detroit in the play-offs. Carlos DELFINO was only able to post 3 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists & 2 steals.

Utah Jazz Houston 105 Rockets 96

A match that both teams were eager to win, in order to stay in contention for home court advantage during the play-offs. Not only that, this could also be a potential first round meeting as well.

If that is the case then, despite of their superiority playing in Salt Lake, the Jazz should how dangerous Luis SCOLA can be. Tonight was another big night for him, posting 22 points. 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

Sacramento Kings 98 San Antonio Spurs 101

Even before tip-off, Spurs knew that their deadly weapon would be sitting out again. So to avoid another defeat, where would they actually find that solution?

Of course, the other big names will be expected to carry that responsibility but the support from the rest are equally demanded.

In a game which Spurs, whom were desperately needed a moment of magic to win, it was Fabricio OBERTO himself that provided that much needed spark.
He and DUNCAN teamed up for perhaps the biggest play of the game. With the score tied and less than two minutes left, Michael FINLEY rimmed out a 3-pointer. DUNCAN tapped the rebound directly to OBERTO for the lay-up that put the Spurs on top for good with 1:48 to go.

OBERTO played as if he was reminding everyone that like Manu, he was from Argentina too. In my opinion, he step up like a true Olympic champion, posting 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists & 1 steal.

Monday, April 14, 2008

NBA News - Spurs Really Missing Manu

Detroit Pistons 91 Toronto Raptors 84

Carlos DELFINO made another return trip to The Palace of Auburn Hills, coming from the bench to post 6 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists & 1 steal.

Walter HERRMANN was nowhere to be seen, as his name was not even listed among the Pistons bench.

Los Angeles Lakers 106 San Antonio Spurs 85

Manu GINOBILI sat out for the second straight game as coach Gregg POPOVITCH perhaps did not want to risk him for the play-offs.

A quite night Fabricio OBERTO as he only manage to post just 3 rebounds & 1 block shot.

Chicago Bulls 84 Orland Magic 104

Despite of this loss, it was a good night for Andres NOCIONI as he was the Bulls top performer with 22 points, 5 rebounds & 1 assist. Sadly we wont get to see more of him once the regular season is over.

Denver Nuggets 111 Houston Rockets 94

This is very much of the opposite compare to the way the Rockets have responded in their previous game against the Suns. Luis SCOLA despite having a team of high of 13 rebounds only manages to post 7 points & 3 assists.

Davis Cup - Bring Em' Russians On!!!!

As usual, he was always there for us when needed the most but the only difference was today wasn’t just like any other day.

In a five set thriller, which lasted for four hours and nine minutes, David NALBANDIAN sealed Argentina’s winning point over Sweden. He defeated Robin SODERLING 6-4, 1-6, 4-6, 6-4 & 9-7.
David burst into tears when the match ended, having overcome tough match conditions, rough weather, his own personal fatigue and an almost permanent score disadvantage.

“What I lived today with my people was very exciting: I gave it all, run all the way to hell and back, and won, that’s why I could not stop the tears, I expressed myself like that.”

Overwhelmed by the fans’ support, he admitted that was key to breaking SODERLING, who showed no signs of being affected by the environment.

“I was not fully fit on one of my legs, but the people deserved the effort and I took no precautions.”
The final match of the series saw Juan MONACO taking on Thomas JOHANSSON. Pico had no problem seeing him off with a 6-3 & 6-3 win to complete Argentina 4-1 victory.

Next up will be the semi-finals and it will be a repeat of the 2006 final, as we will face Russia. But the good news is that this time, we will face them in our own backyard

CaveGol Takes His Tally To 14, Plus More

In Spain…

Seems to me like Fabricio COLOCCINI is becoming a real hit this season especially one who takes notice about defender scoring goals. Tonight he scored his fourth goal of the season when he nodded home in the 30th minute in Deportivo La Coruña 3-0 over Athletic Bilbao.
Atlético Madrid were very much unlucky not to come away with three points in their 1-1 against Valladolid. Maxi RODRIGUEZ gave them the lead in the 70th minute only to see home side scoring in the last minute.

In Italy…

Napoli kept their slim hope of playing in Europe next season with 2-0 win over Atalanta. Ezequiel LAVEZZI scored to ensure that victory was in their hand after Marek HAMSIK given them the lead.
Inter Milan kept their momentum for third consecutive Serie A title after defeating Fiorentina 2-0. After numerous of chances the deadlock was finally broken in the 55th minute when Esteban CAMOBIASSO strike first.

In France…

Two goals from Fernando CAVENAGHI ensure that Bordeaux narrowed the gap to Ligue 1 leaders Lyon to four points with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Caen.

He scored by turning in from Wendel’s free kick and later on from the penalty spot. This took his tally to 14 goals for the campaign, all of which came in 2008.

In Greece…

Dario FERNANDEZ was the hero for Panionios scoring the 80th winner in the 2-1 win over OFI Crete.

Another 80th minute hero was Facundo PARRA, when he scored for Larissa in their 3-2 win over Ergotelis.

In Belgium…

Nicolás Alejandro FRUTOS scored for Anderlecht in their 2-0 win over Germinal Beerschot.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Zarate To The Rescue

เบอร์มิง 1-1 Zarate
Video sent by teamplay010

Mauro ZARATE came from the bench in the 76th minute and rescued a precious 1-1 draw for Birmingham with a stunning free-kick equalizer against Everton at St Andrews. The result ensure that the Blues will remain two points clear of the relegation zone.

Joleon LESCOTT looked to have boosted the Toffees push for a Champions League spot with a 78th-minute header. But five minutes later, substitute ZARATE hammered a 20-yard drive past Everton goalkeeper Tim HOWARD to salvage a share of the spoils for the home side.

While in Portugal, fresh from winning its 23rd crown last week, Porto kept their momentum going with 2-1 win over Vitoria Setubal. Lisandro LOPEZ (25th minute) and Mariano GONZALEZ (30th minute) were on target for the Dragons.

Davis Cup - David/Willy Gives Argentina 2-1 Lead

David NALBANDIAN and Guillermo CANAS have clinched the doubles rubber with a 7-5 6-4 6-4 defeat of Sweden's Jonas BJORKMAN and Robert LINDSTEDT in two hours and 17 minutes. The win gives Argentina a 2-1 advantage going into the final day of this Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal tie.

For the first time in ten years, Argentina came into the doubles match tied at home, not 2-0 ahead. Yet they had won the third rubber of a Buenos Aires tie on the last six occasions, not facing defeat in doubles at home since 2002. And this time they extended that record to seven matches, after a very good performance from Cañas and Nalbandian.

Cañas was clearly in an excitable mood, not having played Davis Cup in Buenos Aires for some time, while Nalbandian had suffered from a muscular fatigue last week and a none too convincing victory over Thomas JOHANSSON yesterday.

A crucial point"This was a crucial point and we played very well," said NALBANDIAN."It’s not the same to start on Sunday leading 2-1 than trailing 1-2. "I suppose Soderling must be very confident, but I will be playing in front of my people and I expect not to disappoint them."

Cañas was equally happy: "Everybody knows I love playing at Buenos Aires, because the crowd supports in an incredible way."When asked about the possibility of replacing Acasuso for the last singles, he said: "In the team, we all want to play each point and we are ready to enter the court if need be, but we all respect the decisions our captain takes and we have to wait for his decision."

Day 3 will resume with NALBANDIAN taking on Robin SODERLING, while Jose ACASUSO will face Thomas JOHANSSON.

Scola In Action Against Suns

NBA News - Rockin Rolla Scola!!!

San Antonio Spurs 95 Seattle Supersonics 74

Spurs win tonights strengtehend their position in the higly contested Western Conference for home court advantage in the play-offs.

However tonight they were playing without their thrid ace, Manu GINOBILI who was rule out for toinights game because of injury.

Fabricio OBERTO had one of his better games in recent times, posting 10 points, team high 10 rebounds and 3 assists.

Houston Rockets 101 Phoenix Suns 90

What game it was especially the moments after the Suns had pulled away with 13-2 lead. Simply amazing the way the Rockets have shown us tonights. It was amazing the Luis SCOLA was the main reason in putting all the damage on the Suns.

SCOLA posted 19 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Throughout the game he was real menace against Suns Amare STOUDEMIRE.

“We really needed this game,” SCOLA said. “We could’ve fallen all the way to the sixth spot (in the standings) and lose our home-court advantage. It was a really important game.”

Not only that as tonight he has proven over and over again on why he should be selected as the Rookie of the Year.

Toronto Raptors 113 New Jersey Nets 85

DELFINO spurred the Raptors with 14 points in the second quarter and matched a career-high by going 6-for-8 from beyond the 3-point line, along the way knocking out the Nets from a play-off contention.

Toronto's sixth man was s awesome tonight, posting a game high performance for his team with 24 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

Chicago Bulls 100 Cleveland Cavaliers 95

Definitely a lack of significant for this game with Bulls are out of the play off a heading into the lottery pot for next season. Andres NOCIONI only manages 3 points and 4 rebounds.

Davis Cup - Argentina & Sweden Tied 1-1

Robin SODERLING brought Sweden back into their Davis Cup quarter-final against Argentina when he demolished Jose ACASUSO 6-0 6-4 6-1 on Friday. Earlier David NALBANDIAN had beaten Thomas JOHANSSON 6-2 5-7 6-4 6-2 in the opening rubber.

Team captain Alberto Mancini’s decision to play Acasuso ahead of the higher-ranked Guillermo CANAS and Juan MONACO backfired and Soderling strolled through the first set. ACASUSO came to life in the second set which produced four breaks of serve. However, the Argentine surrendered the set with a double fault in the 10th game.
Despite fanatical support from the home crowd, the third set was almost a repetition of the first.

ACASUSO said: “I’m angry, firstly because I lost and secondly because I was unable to raise my level…I didn’t serve well and never felt strong.”

Facing an opponent ranked 55 places below him, NALBANDIAN outclassed JOHANSSON in the opening set, finishing with a powerful backhand on his first set point.

“(NALBANDIAN’s) backhand is probably the best backhand on the tour,” JOHANSSON told reporters.

David retained momentum in the second set and took a 2-0 lead but former Australian Open champion JOHANSSON immediately broke back. The Argentine number one then showed signs of frustration, losing his serve in the 11th game after JOHANSSON produced a series of solid returns.

“I lost a little bit of focus,” NALBANDIAN said.

On a cloudy, misty morning and with the Parque Roca stadium only half full, NALBANDIAN regained his rhythm in the third set, taking his opponent’s serve early to lead 5-2. The experienced Swede broke back in the ninth game but NALBANDIAN replied with a break of his own in the next to take the third set.

Day 2 will resume with Gulliermo CANAS partnering NALBANDIAN against Jonas BJORKMAN & Robert LINDSTEDT.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

NBA News - No YAO, No T-Mac But Got Scola

Houston Rockets 103 Seattle Supersonics 80

Rockets prove that the rest of the gang was as good as their dominant duo and always ready to step up in their absence.

Especially for Luis SCOLA, as he manage to collect another double-double performance with 13 points, 12 rebounds along with 4 assists, 1 steal & 2 block shots.

“It was a huge victory for us,” SCOLA said. “If we lose Phoenix and Utah and everybody is going to get over us, we would lose home-court advantage and it would make things much more difficult.”

San Antonio Spurs 79 Phoenix Suns 96

Once again, Spurs struggle against a what could be potential Western Conference team that could challenge their supremacy.

More worrying for me is that Manu has been a little bit down in his recent performance. Saving the best for the play-offs maybe?

“It’s turned into a concern because that’s three games we really struggled offensively,” Manu said. “We didn’t score more than 80 this weekend. The main concern is offensively. We’re just not sharp enough. We’re not making shots. We’re playing too slow. So we’ve got to work on that.”

Tonight he was only able to post 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal & a block shot.

Fabricio OBERTO was better compare to his performance, posting 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 block shot.

Toronto Raptors 111 Milwaukee Bucks 93

The Raptors keep strengthen their position for home court advantage in the East. Carlos DELFINO, coming from the bench, manages to post 4 points, 2 rebounds & 2 assists.

Philadelphia 76ers 101 Detroit Pistons 94

Never mind of this defeat as the Pistons are safe and sound at second post in the Eastern Conference. A rare run by Walter HERRMANN saw him shooting one down town towards the end of the game.

Orlando Magic 115 Chicago Bulls 83

Nothing to say except for the Andres NOCIONI posted 7 points, 5 rebounds & an assist.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Carlitos on target to set up meeting with MESSI!

It was very difficult for AS Roma to win by 3 goals at Old Trafford and to make it to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. And when Daniele DE ROSSI sent his penalty kick to the clouds in the first half, it was just impossible.

Carlos TEVEZ, with a lovely diving header, sealed the ticket for the semifinals and now the Red Devils will meet Catalan giants FC Barcelona who knocked out Schalke 04 of Germany.

It'll probably be the clash between Apache and Pulga, or TEVEZ and MESSI as you prefer.

April 22nd and April 23rd are the dates that the semifinalists are already marking in their calendars.

Meanwhile, Javier MASCHERANO will fly the Argentine flag in the other semifinal match, where his Liverpool team will face Chelsea for the third time in the last four seasons in the Champions League semis. The Merseyside Reds will try and make it three out of three and I'm sure most of the Albiceleste fans around the world will support them to guarantee a final in which we'll have at least one Argentine player in each finalist and therefore, a sure Champions League winner this year.

Here's Carlitos' lovely header and a "Feliz Cumple, Ariel" (Happy Birthday, Ariel) message in his shirt.

Walter Not Going To Beijing , Too!!!!

Oh no!!!! Not another one!!!

Just recently we were informed that Pepe SANCHEZ has announce his retirement and won’t be going to Beijing, here comes another devastating news.

This time, Wálter HERRMANN has already informed coach Sergio HERNANDEZ that he is quitting the national team.

"He feels the need to be with his family and loved ones rather than playing in the national team," HERNANDEZ revealed to Ole Newspaper.

"He told me that basketball is only a job for him, but he explained that the national can’t be considered a job, that it should be a breather, joy and pride but he doesn’t feel this way anymore."

He is currently playing in his second season in the NBA. He had an outstanding rookie year with the Charlotte Bobcats but was traded in the middle of this season to the Detroit Pistons.

Despite being a deep-rooted bench player with Detroit, his minutes has improve in recent games.

HERRMANN suffered an enormous personal tragedy in 2003 when his mother, sister and girlfriend died in a car accident. The following year, he was voted most valuable player of Argentina’s South American Championship winning side only to discover after the game that his father had passed away from a heart attack. He nevertheless played at the Athens Games.

"I don’t want to analyze Wálter’s mental state," Hernandez said.” Wálter sees it as a definite retirement, I saw him very determined but I wouldn’t be so definitive. As an Argentinean, I have the hope that he will reconsider because he is young."

Again I must stress that this is not god for our national team as from the way I see it, HERRMANN was crucial member of the team.

Once again for Coach Sergio HERNANDEZ, this is going to be another challenging year just like last year when most of our top players decided to skip the FIBA Americas.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Kun Helps Atletico Closer To UCL

First and foremost, a BIG thank you to all the Porto supporters commenting on our blog. Suddenly, you guys just made this blog going Portuguese. Wow!!!

I must apologize for forgetting Mario BOLATTI’s name. Yes, he is also another integral member of this championship winning Dragons.

But anyway, congratulation on your team success and now lets see what was happening on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid main objective for their current situation would have to be securing the fourth spot position in La Liga and to book their ticket to play in next season’s Champions League.
But their visitor, Almeria were going not to let them have it they way and last night’s game, they were like a shadow on their back.

With the score line at 4-3 until the 54th minute, two goals from wonder boy Kun AGUERO would ensure them a comfortable lead and an all-important win was secured.
Meanwhile, Fabricio COLOCCINI was on target for Deportivo La Coruna’s 3-1 win over Racing Santander.

Mariano PAVONE also had a goal for Real Betis as they defeated Real Zaragoza 3-0.

The rest of the goals from for the weekend came somewhat lesser known leagues in Europe.

We will start in Russia in which on Friday, both Hector BRACAMONTE and Maxi LOPEZ scored for FC Moscow in their 2-2 draw with FC Khimki.

Then in Sunday, another scorer was Leandro FERNANDEZ whose goal in the 87th minute help Dinamo Moscow to a 2-0 win against Spartak Nalchik.

While Belgium, a goal from Nicolas FRUTOS help 10 man Anderlecht to win against KSV Westerlo.

Lastly in Greece, in Asteras Tripoli came away with 2-0 win over Atrmitos. Alejandro DAMONTE’s goal in the 84th minute help to secure this win but the match ended with Harocio CARDOZO being sent-off in the last minute.

Lucho & Licha On Target, Porto Win Title No.23

FC Porto hammered Estrela da Amadora 6-0 tonight to tie up their 23rd Portuguese championship triumph, completing the conquest of the league with five rounds still remaining – the earliest they have ever lifted the title.

In front of over 50,000 delirious fans, the highest turnout of the season at the Estadio do Dragao, the hosts gave the visitors no chance of ruining their party.

Lucho Gonzalez gave Porto the lead as early in the 9th minute. Later on goals from Tarik SEKTIOUI, QUARESMA, Bruno ALVES and an own goal from Estrela captain MAURICIO made the scoreline 5-0.
But not before Lisandro LOPEZ scored the final goal of the game to completed the rout and led to joyous celebrations well into the night, both inside and outside the stadium.
"It’s a very special title, very special. I’m really happy to be in this party. We’re going to enjoy this party and afterwards we’ll think about the Portuguese Cup. Will I leave? Now’s not the time to talk about that. I’m very happy here." Lisandro said.
Not to forget that both Ernesto FARIAS and Mariano GONZALEZ were brought in second half substitute, meaning that all four Albiceleste players were on the field when the final whistle blew.

Congratulations to all of them on this success. Well done boys!!!