Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mundo's Best Of 2008

The time has come for us to reveal Mundo’s Top 10 Best of 2008. It feels like just yesterday since I wrote my first article (the 2006 version). I must say that looking back; it has been an incredible journey to see just how far this blog has arrived. Please take note of this. Seba started this revolution during the 2006 World Cup and now we are more or less 18 months away from South Africa 2010. Incredible, right!

Now back to our Top 10 Review, it was a real challenge as I needed to give some serious consideration on who is in and who is not. So let’s get into our countdown right away.

10. PGA’s Tour Top Rookie
Pretty quite year in golf. However for his sole title win at the Zurich Classis and his massive climb in the tour rakings, Andres ROMERO was named by the PGA as their rookie of the year. With his steady rise, the Albiceleste has a new name in the game of golf besides Pato.

9. Juan of a Kind
For years, we have been asking for some one who can be a solid performer in every surface. Well after a 23 match unbeaten run, 4 ATP titles and a Top 10 finish in the world rakings, in Juan Martin DEL POTRO we finally have an answer to that question.

8. Another Scudetto for Pupi
It’s not like Javier ZANETTI has never won it before. This time the script was entirely different. All the big guns where there, no points deduction or off the pitch technology interference. To the rest of you in Serie A, stop giving excuse. This want belong to Il Capitano.

7. Her Royal Lioness
Already in her 30s I’m wondering will there be another like her. But for now, we salute our very own Queen of the Albiceleste. Though she did not accomplish her goal in Beijing, she was still named as the FIH Women’s Player of the Year award for the record of 5 times.

6. 6th Million Dollar MANu
Of course, he would have preferred a championship ring and many would prefer to see him as a starter. But we all know Manu GINOBILI for his humbleness and humility; he will give everything for his team. The 6th Man Award is another recognition for his contribution.

5. Paton, Coach of the Year
For the first time we have someone from the dugout in our countdown. It was impossible to leave Edgardo BAUZA out, especially after taking an unfashionable Ecuadorian side to become the best in South America and the second best club in the World.

4. Paddling On Top of the World
First of all, thanks to Akash for highlighting this interesting news to me (sometime back in August). Though this particular sport was unknown to me (still is) but the fact still remains that this is the only World Championship that we won this year. And that is all that matters.
3. So Close, Yet So Far
How much unlucky can you get? It was painful to loose to Spain without Rafael NADAL and at HOME for that matter. Nevertheless I won’t take away the fighting spirit that was displayed by our racquet kings, especially that game from Jose ACASUSO.

2. King Carlitos, the Conqueror
From England to Europe and the World, he came, he saw and he kills em all. Apparently it looks like Carlos TEVEZ trophy cabinet keeps expanding every season. Carlos, I hope you hear my 2009 wishes; bring those good omens you have at club level to the national team please!!!

1. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Contingent

When I was reviewing the list medal winners at the Beijing Olympic Games, I’ve realized that each one of them had its own story to tell. So I guess it was fair enough to lump together as one because each medals has its own uniqueness.

The Albiceleste Army did meet our expectation (football), surprise us in some ways (judo, cycling, and sailing) and were also pretty unlucky as well (hockey and basketball). But overall, it was pure joy and excitement watching them playing every time.

In total we won two gold and four bronze, equaling our tally from the Athens Game four years earlier. On top of that, it was a pleasure to see our great Diego showing up for the Games. He was seen at the football stadium, basketball gymnasium and even at the hockey stadium, giving his unconditional support to the Albiceleste.

Once again another year has just passed by and we will know look forward to a brand new one. I’m sure there will be plenty left in store for us. Most importantly you know that for all the latest updates, this is the place to be. Seba and I will do our best to keep it coming for you.

Now before I end this article, we at Mundo would like to show our gratitude to some great people out there. As you know that we have always like to share our space with other readers.

So, a BIG thank you goes out to Alwin from Malaysia, Sam from Raptorstalk, David from Dream Shake, Mauro from The Offside – Copa Libertadores, Jon from Pitaco Do Gringo’s and Halley from Built from Scratch. We truly appreciate each and every one of your contributions to this blog. Last be not least, muchos gracias to all our respective readers. It was always a pleasure reading your thoughts and comments that you have posted here.

To me, the importance of this blog it’s not just about a place where Albiceleste supporters can able voice out his/her opinions. But it is also a place where we have the opportunity to make and meet new friends.

With that, Mundo Albiceleste would like to wish to all our readers a very Happy New Year 2009 and the best of luck in the future.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Mundo's 2008 Other Sports Review

Anyone who follows this blog will know that there is more to the Albiceleste than football. The year 2008 has also seen plenty of ups and downs in other areas as well. After all there was plenty of expectation in other sports as the Olympic approaches.


Just like in recent years, David NALBANDIAN was still our best hope of winning a Grand Slam. But it was huge disappointing year from him as suffered early exit in all four of them. He still did manage to win two titles in the ATP circuit and almost finished in the Top 10 of the ranking.

However it was Juan Martin DEL POTRO that stole the show for 2008. During the month of July and August he embarked on a 23 match unbeaten run that saw him winning four ATP titles and reaching the US Open last 8. This enable him to finish at No.9 in the World Rankings as well.

Perhaps the saddest news of the year was in the Davis Cup final. Once again, it was DEL POTRO that became the main difference when he was unlucky to suffer an injury during his Day 1 singles tie. It was just unfortunate that after a great run in reaching the final, we had to face some bad luck and losing to Spain on home soil.

At least for now, with NALBANDIAN having a side kick in the form of DEL POTRO, we can say there is a big hope in 2009.


Though it was disappointing to see after great run, Manu GINOBILI was unable to win another NBA Championship ring. But still he never finishes the year empty handed. He lead the San Antonio Spurs in terms scoring and was voted as this year’s 6th Man of the Year for his strong performance from the bench.

Second to him was Luis SCOLA who had a great year in his rookie season with the Houston Rockets. It wasn’t that bad from Carlos DELFINO in which he had plenty of big nights with the Toronto Raptors. While Andres NOCIONI from the Chicago Bulls had to miss the play-offs and Walter HERRMANN did not see much minutes during the first few months in Detroit.

I guess it all comes down to the Tall Abiceleste performance in Beijing 2008. Of course it was a tough proposition from the beginning in retaining the gold medal. In the end, the bronze medal finishing was more than just consolation for this team. It was another strong testament from our basketball’s Golden Generation, in what could be the last time the world could ever see them together (check out this wonderful tribute from VJ Rabid).

Field Hockey

After winning the Champions Trophy, there was a strong sentiment that Las Leonas could finally win gold in Beijing. But that wasn’t to be as we were simply humbled in the semi-final against the Netherlands. Nevertheless they still manage to retain the bronze medal.

A sad ending for Luciana AYMAR, with her age catching up this could probably be her last outing in the Olympic. Nevertheless once again the FIH as named her as the Women’s Player of the Year for the record of five times.

As for the men, the year started off with the disappointment of not being able to qualify for the Olympics. But they did repent themselves with a strong showing in the Champions Trophy, finishing third.

Other Sports

There were no surprises from any of the four majors in Golf. The best player for this year was Andres ROMERO. He did manage to win one PGA title and was awarded as the tour’s Rookie of the Year.

Los Pumas finish the year at fourth place in the IRB Ranking as they finished the year with two wins (against Italy and Scotland) in seven test matches. Still unclear which first tier tournament (tri or six nations) they will compete but major plans are underway to form a professional domestic competition.

Not to forget the rest of the medal winners at Beijing. Paula PARETO became the first medal winner when she took bronze in the Judo Extra Lightweight.

Then we had the surprise gold medal from Juan CURUCHET and Walter PEREZ in the Cycling Madison Event. In the case of CURUCHET, it was something extra ordinary as he won his first Olympic medal after participating in six Games (dating back to 1984).

Last but not least was Santiago LANGE and Carlos ESPINOLA who took bronze in the Sailing Tornado Class.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

NBA News - Big Performance from Manu & Scola

Against the Memphis Grizzlies, coach Gregg POPOVICH has once again made everyone understand his main intention on starting Manu GINOBILI from the bench. San Antonio Spurs won the game 106-103 in double overtime.

With starting guard Roger MASON not being able to post any points, Manu came off the bench like a fighter jet to help their cause tonight. He posted 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block shot.

The Chicago Bulls must start to learn some winning habit away from home court. They must start to dominate in the paint. At least that’s what Andres NOCIONI echoed after their 117-129 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

“It’s personal, you know?” said Chapu of the Bulls’ defense. “Everybody needs to step up. Everybody needs to take the challenge. It’s energy, attitude and that’s it.”

NOCIONI had 11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block shot. Personally I would feel dreadful to see the Bulls missing the play-offs for the second straight year.

On the other hand, Luis SCOLA had his eight double-double of the season in the Houston Rockets double overtime 120-115 win over the Utah Jazz. He only manage to post 10 points, a further evidence that his offensive contribution has been a little reduced compare to last season.

But it is due to his defensive contribution of 14 rebounds, allowed other players to provide more sparks in the Rockets offense. In one way or the other, he still very much an important figure for Rick ADELMAN’s side.

Walter HERRMANN had only 3:55 action as he posted just 2 rebounds in the Detroit Pistons 87-76 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Knock Out Goal from Tevez

A huge contrast to what he was last Sunday in Tokyo. Being substitute, Carlos TEVEZ was seen being frustrated for not playing longer and getting himself in the score sheet. But today against Stoke City, Sir Alex FERGUSON decides to name again in the starting line up. It was only fair that TEVEZ had to repay his coach faith by scoring a goal.

Find more videos like this on - The Real Football Social Network

The scenario did not changed that much as again he was missing chances after chances. Suddenly in the 83rd minute, the workaholic TEVEZ struck the winning goal to ensure that the Red Devils kept up the pressure on the Premier League leaders. It was only fitting enough that Carlitos provided the knock out punch against the Potters on Boxing Day.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mundo's 2008 Football Review - Part 2

Despite the many success we have seen from the Albiceleste at club level, the same cannot be said for our National team. I was confident that 2008 would be fantastic year considering how much of great moments we had in 2007 (apart from the Copa America final).

There were two part when it comes to the national team. One is the Beijing bound Under-23 side and the other is the senior side.

Unlike in 2004, when the senior head coach Marcelo BIELSA led the Olympic side to the Athens Games, the AFA has decided to give a different candidate rather than Coco BASILE. The man which they have chosen to do the all important task in retaining our gold medal was Sergio BATISTA.

Checho as he is known perhaps had the most luxurious group of players at his disposal, mainly from the Under-20 graduate of the class 2005 and 2007. Of course the two most standout character from this group are Lionel MESSI and Kun AGUERO. On top of that, he also named Juan Roman RIQUELME as one of his three over age players.

As far as many is concerned, football in the Olympics is very much a secondary event. But not this time because Brazil wanted to take the gold away from us so much. They wanted to bring their best and they brought RONALDHINO.

With all that in place, it became even more interesting to look forward too when our buddy Seba was there to give us some hands on news. But suddenly the road to Beijing hit a slight bump when Barcelona were refusing to allow MESSI to join the rest of the team. At one point, it did look like Checho was almost going to Bejing MESSI-less.

After all the much hype and dispute surrounding this event, there was nothing much that Barca can do because Lionel wanted to go and Beijing & the World wanted him there. I still remember how frustrating it was for all of us here during those times. But thank God all that was resolve.

For most part of the competition, our young guns didn’t set the tone as much they did in 2004. But all that changed when fate had it that we have to play Brazil in the semi-final. Only this time, it wasn’t to be Lionel’s night. Instead it was Kun AGUERO who stole the show by scoring twice in front of his soon to be father in law.

However in the end, it was meant to be Lionel’s tournament as it was his inspiring move that ensured Argentina won the gold medal against Nigeria in the final. His pass to DI MARIA reminded me when a certain Diego’s pass for Jorge BURRUCHAGA in the 1986 World Cup final. Another testament to prove on why young Lionel is the new MESSI-ah.

His presence there was more than on just on the field. Off the field he uplifted the entire mood of the Games. He made an impact that was never seen from a footballer at the Olympic Games. Even a certain Kobe BRYANT wanted to be seen by everyone next to him.

So what about senior team under Coco BASILE? Was it a year that was meant to be remembered. Not really for most part of it.

Throughout the qualifying round during the year, it was really disappointing as we only manage just one win, 5 draws and one defeat. Among the high point was getting goalless draw against Brazil in their own turf. The lowest had to be getting away with a draw against Ecuador after Rodrigo PALACIO scored a last minute equalizer and losing to Marcelo BIELSA’s Chile.

For us, as Argentina’s supporter, it was something just hard to swallow considering the fact that we had the best group of players in the planet. We argued that it was the coach, the tactics or the selection of players. It seems we had more things to argue about compare to the previous years.

But there was one thing that the majority of us had in common which was time for a change and Coco must go. And all our prayers were answered on the 16th of October when it was announced that he had resign from his post as Argentina’s manager. Now the next argument was who should be his successor? You’ll never had expected the drama that was about to be unfold after this.

First it was announced (unofficially) that Miguel RUSSO will be next man in charge. Everyone started talking about the man and how his team would be. But it wasn’t that long that the tide change quickly that it is going to Carlos BIANCHI. Again, we had the same discussion.

Finally when it was announced the next manager Argentina has already been decided and confirmed, on boy! We were in for a real surprise. For us as Albiceleste, this was more important than even the US Presidential Election.

It became official that on his 48th birthday, that the NEW manager of Argentina is the one and only Diego MARADONA. As always, any news regarding Diego can only the make the world go round.
His appointment did went down to easily with many football fans as he did split the line between his experience being coach and his charisma being a legend. Like always the people who adored him were always right behind me. The rest will never have anything good to say.

Immediately he went about his plan for the national team (though it is still 100% set up). He traveled around to meet the players to discuss about what’s in store for them in his set up. Among which naming his coaching staff and awarding the captain armband to Javier MASCHERANO.

The first assignment in the new Diego Revolution was the friendly match against Scotland in November. And he got off to a winning start with 1-0 win. So far in 2008, it is still unclear about the direction that Diego will take national team. But this is what makes this revolution so interesting because it is something outside the box and very refreshing.

It is also good to know that these days he is making headlines from the right reason (after all he is a proud grandpa!!!). From Glasgow to Calcutta, he is still very much loved by everyone. But we will look forward to 2009 with plenty of anticipation on this revolution. You can bet that Mundo will be there to cover it first.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mundo's 2008 Football Review - Part 1

A review in football for the year 2008, oh boy! Where do I start from? For sure there are plenty of things to talk about as this was yet again, another rollercoaster year. Not only that, being an Albiceleste supporter, you can runaway from talking about football. It’s just something you’re born into.

Perhaps the big news that got our attention back in January was the appointment Sergio BATISTA as the National Under-23 coach. Without wasting time, he quickly went out to establish in what could be the possible team that will go to Beijing. More on that later.

In Europe however, there were plenty of cheers from the Albiceleste Army as we were conquering from England to Russia. Take a look at this: -

  • Spain (La Liga for Gonzalo HIGUAIN, Fernando GAGO, Gabriel HEINZE and Javier SAVIOLA)

  • Italy (the third consecutive Scudetto for Javier ZANETTI, Esteban CAMBIASSO, Hernan CRESPO, Julio CRUZ, Walter SAMUEL and Nicolas BURDISSO)

  • Germany (both Martin DEMICHELIS and Jose SOSA won the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich)

  • Portugal (another title for Porto with Lucho GONZALEZ, Lisandro LOPEZ, Ernesto FARIAS, Mariano GONZALEZ and Mario BOLATTI)

Not to forget there was also something to smile in Europe among which was Alejandro DOMNIGUEZ winning the UEFA Cup with Zenit St Petersburg.

By the way, did I forget something? Not at all because the one man that had the most smile in 2008 was non other than Carlos TEVEZ. While with West Ham he already had fantastic year in English football and when he joined Manchester United, he took his game to another level. First he got the Premiership title, shortly later the Champions League and to cap it all off, the FIFA Club World Cup that just concluded recently.

It comes to no surprise that in Mundo and Sam’s HEGS, Carlitos was voted by the readers as the best player of 2007/08. I wouldn’t want to argue on that. Though he may have seen his minutes on the field being reduced on the field, everyone knows that with his courage and heart, it’s only a matter of time before the lion strikes again.

As you can see, I’ve only mentioned on those playing in the first tier of European football league. You may add the rest in our comment box, incase if there is any. I’m sure there is.

I would also like to highlights on the achievement from those playing in the South America and CONCACAF zone. Copa Libertadores winner LDU was deeply inspired by the Albiceleste, both on and off the pitch (Claudio BIELER, Damian MANSO, Norberto ARAUJO and their coach Edgardo BAUZA).

While in North America, Pachuca with the likes of Christian GIMENEZ, Damian ALVAREZ and Bruno MARIONI captured the CONCACAF Champions Cup. In the MLS, Guillermo Barros SCHELOTTO of the Columbus Crew cleaned sweeps everything that available for them to win during the 2008 season.

Despite highlighting so many things, it seems like somebody is missing from the big picture. If you’re thinking of Lionel MESSI, then you’re right. The first half of the year was pretty much injuries ravage time for the Atomic Flea.

But what a way he turns things around in the second half of the year! He first had to overcome the club vs. country saga about his availability to play at the Beijing Olympics. Again, we will get into that later.

However as the new season gone by, MESSI is firing up all cylinders and maybe 2009 could be the year that will see him being crowned as the King of the World. This just goes to show that you can never have a year without talking about him.

These are the many great things that I would to highlight on the achievement from the Albiceleste at club level. In Part 2, we will focus more on the National team as I felt it was important to write a separate article on them. In the meantime, share with us your thought and view on 2008.

And one last thing. On behalf on the deadly duo from Mundo, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all our reader a very Merry Christmas. Do have a great time during this festive moments with your loved ones and take care.

NBA News - Manu Injured?

Not a good way for the San Antonio Spurs to celebrate as they will face the New Orleans Hornets on Thursday night. In their 99-93 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Manu GINOBILI limped slightly to the side lines with about four minutes left.

Manu, who missed the first 12 games of the season because of left ankle surgery, returned two minutes later and played until 15 seconds remained in the game. Still, the Spurs are being cautious. Manu grimaced and grabbed his ankle when he lunged to grab at the basketball in the fourth quarter.

“He’s in there talking to the doctors now, just to see what that was,” Spurs coach Gregg POPOVICH said. “I’m hoping, maybe, that it’s scar tissue or something like that, and those things are going to happen while he’s recovering. We’ll find out.”

Manu too did not had a good for himself, posting just 8 points, 1 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Still no sign of Fabricio OBERTO who is still out injured.

It was a big night for Andres NOCIONI when the Chicago Bulls took on their Eastern Conference rival the Detroit Pistons. However the Bulls still lost the game 98-104.

Chapu was again used as a starter in place of the injured Drew GOODEN did posted 18 points, 8 rebounds and 1 assist. On the opposite end, Walter HERRMANN did had any action tonight.

The Houston Rockets were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers 90-99, with Luis SCOLA posting 11 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists & 1 steal.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Goals From Sunday's Fixture

Fernando CAVENAGHI winning goal in Bordeaux’s comeback win against Monaco

Matias DELGADO for Besiktas right before he got sent off against their eternal rival Galastasaray

Sebastian LETO and Luciano GALLETTI doing some favour for Olympiakos

Sunday, December 21, 2008

TEVEZ - England, Europe & Now The World

He did started the match. He had a triple sight on goal but was denied on all three occasions. But for him personally, it wasn’t the way that he would have wanted to end the night. The sending off Nemanja VIDIC in the 49th minute forced Sir Alex FERGUSON to make a tactical substitution. Carlos TEVEZ had to be replaced by Jonathan EVANS, something he was not happy as he was snatching his track suit top and kicking out in frustration at the dug out. But in the end it was all good for him. Manchester United were crowned as the 2008 Club World Cup winner after defeating LDU Quito 1-0, with a goal from Wayne ROONEY.

It’s another title that will be added into his already impressive CV as far his club football career is concerned. Within a space of a year, he played his part in conquering England, then Europe and now the World. Well done to the little known giants from Ecuador they too had their fair share of success in 2008. As confirmed, this will be the last match in charge for coach Edgardo BAUZA. Good luck El Paton.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

An early Christmas Gift for Real from Pipita

Having lost four of their previous five league matches, change of coach and now 12 points adrift in the league, things are not looking that good for the All Whites of Madrid. Against Valencia they had something to cheer, thanks to Gonzalo HIGUAIN.

After a brilliant move from Arjen ROBBEN from which he got pass two defenders before pulling the ball back to HIGUAIN. Pipita sliced a left footed shot past Renan BRITO into the far top corner to score his 11th goal of the season.

They were also cheer to the other side of Madrid as well. A double strike from Maxi RODRIGUEZ and one from Kun AGUERO, helped Atletico defeat Espanyol 3-2.

NBA News - Chapu Back in the Bulls Lineup

With Drew GOODEN missing the game against the Utah Jazz with a sprained ankle, Andres NOCIONI was called upon to start for the Bulls to help strengthened their front line. Not a surprise move considering that Chapu has been improving in the last couple of games.

Well the Bulls won the game 106-98 and for Chapu he was again on the high again helping them to keep up their position in the Eastern Conference. He posted 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals along the process.

The San Antonio Spurs are back to winning mode after suffering back to back defeats they downed the Toronto Raptors 107-97. Not one of his best night but Manu GINOBILI was equally important with his contribution of 13 points, 7 rebounds & 3 assists. Fabricio OBERTO was not in action as he missed another game with a sore left foot.

While the Houston Rockets defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-102, with Luis SCOLA posting just 3 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

BATISTA names team for S. American Tournament

With a few names from Europe, some key players from the domestic league and one or two surprises or unknown guys, Sergio BATISTA has announced the squad that will represent Argentina at the South American U20 Tournament 'Juventudes de América' that will take place in Venezuela, from 19 January till 9 February, 2009.

The squad will start their training sessions on Saturday at the AFA's Ezeiza facilities. They will work with two trainings a day and a couple of breaks (for Christmas and New Year's Day), before flying to Venezuela on 12 January.

Argentina will play in the city of Maturín and the following is the list of fixtures for the group stage:

19 January v. Venezuela
23 January v. Perú
25 January v. Colombia
27 January v. Ecuador

The tournament will award tickets for the semifinalists to the FIFA Youth World Cup that will be held in Egypt between 25 September and 16 October, 2009.

Here's the Argentine squad list:

Luis OJEDA (Unión de Santa Fe - Argentine Second Division)
Diego RODRÍGUEZ (Independiente)

Fernando MEZA (San Lorenzo)
Mateo MUSACCHIO (River Plate)
Fernando TOBIO (Vélez Sársfield)
Julián FERNÁNDEZ (Atlético Rafaela - Argentine Second Division)
Emiliano INSÚA (Liverpool, England)
Maximiliano OLIVA (Tigre)

Franco ZUCULINI (Racing Club)
Exequiel BENAVIDES (Boca Juniors)
Marcelo BENÍTEZ (Lanús)
Iván BELLA (Vélez Sársfield)
Pablo PIATTI (Almería, Spain)
Cristian GAITÁN (Estudiantes de La Plata)
Leandro VELÁZQUEZ (Vélez Sársfield)

Eduardo SALVIO (Lanús)
Franco DI SANTO (Chelsea, England)
Jonathan CRISTALDO (Vélez Sársfield)
Andrés RÍOS (River Plate)
Andrés ROMERO (Argentinos Juniors)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

NBA News – Bulls Chapu Rages Against The Clippers

The Chicago Bulls came alive in over time to down the Los Angeles Clippers 115-109. Ben GORDON had four point play with 20.5 seconds left in regulation time while Derrick ROSE converted a decisive three pointer in during the extra period.

But of the revival in this game was down to the contribution of Andres NOCIONI, firing from the bench. After going through a draught period was spectacular for the Bulls tonight.
He posted 22 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal plus a block shot. His block on Clipper’s Mike TAYLOR midway through the fourth quarter briefly changed the momentum of the game in favor of the Bulls.

Everyone will remember how these two teams traded in each other with blow outs during last season Western Conference semi-final. Well tonight was a close one but sadly for the Spurs, the New Orleans Hornets won the game 90-83.

Manu GINOBILI did put up a big figure for the Spurs, posting 17 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block shot and 1 steal in the game. However he was also responsible for five turnovers as well.

On the other hand, Fabricio OBERTO who is now a deep bench player only saw action for 40 seconds, towards the end of the second quarter.

PGA - Pigu Romero Named Rookie of the Year

The PGA named Andres ROMERO as the winner of the 2008 Rookie of the Year. Not only did he win on the PGA TOUR in 2008 (the Zurich Classic of New Orleans), but he also finished in the top 10 at the Masters. It was his first appearance at Augusta National and PGA Championship. Pigu was one of just 11 players who made the cut in all four majors. Not a bad year for him indeed.

2008 CWC - Watch Bieler's Goal

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 CWC - An Albiceleste Tale in Tokyo

An interesting info which I’ve discovered on today’s FIFA Club World Cup semi-final clash. When Pachuca takes on LDU Quito, there will be at least 7 Albiceleste being involved in that match; Six of them on the pitch and one in the dugout.

The Mexican side progress through after amazing comeback against Al-Ahly in the previous round. The architects of the long-awaited win over the Egyptians were none other than the formidable Argentinean trident formed by Damian ALVAREZ, Bruno MARIONI and Christian GIMENEZ, who chipped in with a vital double.

The result must have boosted their confident tremendously after last year’s disastrous first round exit at the hands of Tunisian outfit Etoile Sportive du Sahel. However, as reported in
their recent interview on FIFA website, the match against the reigning Copa Libertadores winner will be a different proposition altogether.

Like Pachua, LDU too will have three Albiceleste players in their starting line but the man who will be responsible to orchestra their win will be on touchline instead.

Edgardo BAUZA was the mastermind in making LDU the first Ecuadorian side to win South America premier club competition. He has built a formidable side around the like of Norberto ARAUJO, Damian MANSO and Claudio BIELER.

With his intense to win and to desire to beat anyone, anywhere LDU should not be taken lightly. The Mexican side will be on their toe for this match.

Kick of time starts at 1930 local time at the National Stadium in Tokyo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Comeback Argies of Lazio

Udinese must be thinking to themselves just what the hell has happened! With 30 minutes left and 3-0 up, they could not have imagine what was bound to take place.

Lazio’s revival was kick start by Mauro ZARATE after he tapped in the rebound from the earlier shot by Goran PANDEV. The comeback was completed when Cristian LADESMA strike an unstoppable shot from 30 yard.

In La Liga, Atletico Madrid brought smile to the red & white part of the capital by defeating Real Betis 2-0. Maxi RODRIGUEZ and Kun AGUERO scoring in each half.

NBA News - The Clutch Game From Manu

The San Antonio Spurs secured their sixth straight win after defeating the newly formed franchise Oklahoma City Thunder 109-104. It was closed call for the four time champions after squandering 26 points first half lead.

Manu GINOBILI put the result beyond the Thunders reach with a clutch performance with 28 seconds left on the clock. He caught a long pass from DUNCAN, made a layup while being fouled by Desmond MASON, then hit the free throw.

He completed the night with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 block shot. Fabricio OBERTO did not see any action during the game.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Barca Wins, Messi Scores In El Clasico Win

It was a fierce and competitive match to say the least. But it took a bit too long than usual for the goals to come. In the end I would say that Barcelona were worthy winners after all. The one that every one in the Nou Camp should say thanks to is non other than Lionel MESSI.

Right from the start until the end the Madrid players (most notably Sergio RAMOS) went all out in trying to stop him. I was worried to death that he will might get injured because of this. I guess this only made Lionel to keep going and play better.

For his reward, just as when Barca look good for 1-0 win (courtesy Samuel ETO’O in the 83rd minute), MESSI strike a left footed shot in the dying minutes to seal the win. Earlier a nervy ETO’O failed convert a penalty in the 70th minute when his shot was well saved by Iker CASILLAS.

Real on the other hand were improving earlier could have scored first Roysten DRENTHE had clear run but only to see his shot saved by Victor VALDES. Just a minute later, Gonzalo HGUAIN volleyed just over the bar.

In other highlights throughout Europe, German DENIS was on target for Napoli in their 3-0 win over Lecce in Serie A. The win saw them moving up to third in the league table.

Fernando CAVENAGHI scored in Bordeaux 3-1 win over Le Mans as they kept up the pressure on league leader Lyon.

In the Turkish Super League, Franco CANGELE scored for Kayserispor in their 2-0 win over Istanbul BSK.

Fernando BELLUSCHI was on target for Olympiakos in their 1-1 draw with Larissa in the Greek Super League.

Staying in Greece, a consolation goal from Lucio FILOMENO for Asteras Tripoli in their 1-2 defeat to Iraklis.

2008 CWC - El Chaco Inspire's Pachuca Win Over Al Ahly

Pachuca of Mexico produced a remarkable comeback from two goals down to defeat Al Ahly at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, thanks to their inspiration players, Christian GIMENEZ.

The Egyptian side took the lead courtesy of an own goal from Fausto PINTO in the 28th minute, then went on to double their lead at the brink of half time through FLAVIO.

The Tuzos pulled back immediately in the second half through Luis MONTES in just two minutes after the restart. This kick started Pachuca’s revival as they were creating havoc one after another.

In the 73rd minutes, Pachuca were awarded a free kick from a dangerous position. GIMENEZ curled the ball beyond the wall and past the keeper to provoke scenes of joyous celebration. The match remained 2-2 and went into extra time.

Another Albiceleste, Damian ALVAREZ started and finished a move which completed the comeback in the 98th minute. GIMENEZ went on to make it 4-2 (combining well with ALVAREZ) in the 110th minute. Bruno MARIONI was named in the starting line up.

Pachuca’s will now play LDU Quito in the semi-final. A match filled with the Albiceleste connection as they Ecuadorian side are coached by Edgardo BAUZA plus Norberto ARAUJO, Claudio BIELER and Damian MANSO in their team.

Friday, December 12, 2008

NBA News - The Big 3s of Texas

Forget about the Spurs that started off the season with 0-3 losing streak. They did not have Manu GINOBILI back then and it was all up to Tim DUNCAN and Tony PARKER left to carry them off. Now the Big 3 from Spurs are back and firing up from all angles as the Timberwolves crashed 98-86.

Of course Gregg POPOVICH and Timmy and the Frenchmen to thank but the real ode goes to their sixth ace on the bench. He was the big difference for both teams in terms of the luxury that they had on the bench. Manu posted 16 points plus 4 rebounds to his credit the lift the Spurs to their fifth consecutive victory.

Not much of action from Fabricio OBERTO with only one free throws converted but he had 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 block shot.

Then there is the other Big 3 from Houston. Against the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets version were equally superior compare to their San Antonio counterpart, defeating them 119-108.

As always, T-Mac had a big night. YAO had a big night. Last but not least, Luis SCOLA too had a big night. Despite of the slow start, he powered his way to help the Rockets with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist plus 1 block shot.

So if the Lakers thought that they will have it easy in the West, think again! The Southwest Division has just got started.

Not much to celebrate for Andres NOCIONI. He had a poor outing by just posting 7 points and 3 rebounds as the Chicago Bulls fell to the Memphis Grizzlies 96-103.

No points for Walter HERRMANN (just one rebound in two minutes plus action) in the Detroit Pistons close win (114-110) against the Indiana Pacers.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Diego calls up 14 players from domestic league

The eyes of every football fan in Argentina are looking at the exciting Torneo Apertura's final round (here at Mundo Albiceleste we don't cover the local league and if you're interested I recommend you visit Sam Kelly's Hasta El Gol Siempre, the excellent English-language website with all the information about the Argentine league:

In the meantime, Diego MARADONA gets to work and on Thursday, he has revealed a list of 14 players that will be working with him at the Ezeiza AFA's training facilities from next Tuesday (depending on what happens on Sunday with the Apertura and pending a possible playoff to decide the champion).

What Diego wants is to see these players in action in a friendly against Tristán Suárez (a team from the Primera B Metropolitana -third tier-).

Here are the 14 players chosen by Diego:

Goalkeepers: Agustín ORION (San Lorenzo), Mariano ANDUJAR (Estudiantes de La Plata).

Defenders: Juan FORLIN (Boca Juniors), Matías CARUZZO (Argentinos Juniors), Christian VILLAGRA (River Plate), Marcos ANGELERI (Estudiantes de La Plata) and Emiliano PAPA (Vélez Sarsfield).

Midfielders: Franco ZUCULINI, Maximiliano MORALEZ (Racing Club), Néstor ORTIGOZA (Argentinos Juniors), Jesús DÁTOLO (Boca Jrs.), Daniel MONTENEGRO (Independiente) and Sebastián BLANCO (Lanús).

Forwards: Gonzalo BERGESSIO (San Lorenzo).

Some very exciting prospects there, including Franco "Baby MASCHERANO" ZUCULINI, who is also working with BATISTA with the U20 and a few surprises like tough-tackling Néstor ORTIGOZA, from Diego's alma mater Argentinos Juniors and the mercurial Sebastián BLANCO from Lanús.

NBA News - Manu Leads Spurs Past Hawks

Whatever Gregg POPOVICH has in mind for Manu GINOBILI, he knows he can expect the same response from his team’s spark plug. Today against the Atlanta Hawks, he decides to put him back to the place that made him the league’s Best Sixth Man last season. The bench.

“It was a tough back-to-back,” Manu said. “He (Spurs coach POPOVICH) was thinking about it. So I said, ‘Go ahead.’ As I told you, sometimes I prefer coming from the bench, so no big deal.”

Manu scored 27 points to help the Spurs beat the Hawks 95-89 for their fourth straight victory. He was 8-if-12, including 5 of 7 from the 3-point line and made all of his six free throws. Not to forget, he also had 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal to his credit.

“Manu carried it for us,” Tim DUNCAN said. “He hit some big shots—obviously free throws down the stretch. He loves games like that. He loves situations like that.”

While he had no points to his name, Fabricio OBERTO defensive contribution (6 rebounds and 1 block shot) was crucial in helping the Spurs win tonight. Especially after grinding a win against the Mavs in double overtime just a night ago.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Carlitos On Target Against Aalborg

Carlos TEVEZ was named in the starting line up for United’s Champions League encounter against Aalborg. And he did not disappoint Sir Alex’s decision this time. In just three minutes the Red Devils were up after Wayne ROONEY fed him for the opening goal.

However the Danish side rallied back to take a 2-1 lead in the first half. ROONEY scored the equalizer in the 52nd minute as the match ended 2-2. United will top the group after Villareal were defeated by Glasgow Celtic 2-0.
The other Albiceleste scorer of the night was Lisandro LOPEZ, who scored the second goal for FC Porto in their 2-0 win over Arsenal. The result means the Dragons will leapfrog the Gunners at first place in Group G.

NBA News - Manu's Spurs Overcomes Mavs In 2OT

The Washington Wizards overcame a poor first half to defeat Detroit Pistons 107-924. Walter HERRMANN had 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block shot.

A win for the Chicago Bulls as they defeated the New York Knicks 105-100 in front of new elected Vice-President Joe BIDEN. Andres NOCIONI did manage to post 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists from the bench.

Houston Rockets almost blew a comfortable lead but did manage to overcome the Atlanta Hawks 92-84 with all starters from both teams posting double digit. It was double delight for Luis SCOLA in which he posted 12 points and 10 rebounds, not to forget 2 assists and 2 steals in the process.

But the match of the night, came from the Texas derby between the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks. Spurs overcame the Mavs in second over time, 133-126. Wow! Unbelievable.

Another superb performance from the big three, from which Manu GINOBILI posted 18 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. Also he had a block shot and steal as well.

Fabricio OBERTO was on the bench again, only limited time play (around 7 minutes plus) but was 100% on his shot attempt. He had 6 points and 2 rebounds. Small but equally important contribution from him.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

UCL - Group Stage, Round 6 Thread

Alright, its time for the final round in the Champions League group stage. This is time the fate of every clubs survival will be sealed by the end of the week. Lets hope we get another goals galore from the Albiceleste contingent.

Bordeaux will need more than just the goals from Fernando CAVENAGHI in their must win away trip to Rome to face Roma. Confidence must running high at Inter and their Albiceleste army after their win over Lazio during the weekend. They will be looking to capitalize on that against Werder Bremen.

There is also that tightly contested Group D between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid. So is it Javier MASCHERANO or Kun AGUERO (alongside Maxi RODRIGUEZ and the rest) that end up as the group’s winner?

Then there is Lionel MESSI as I will be hoping to see him increasing his goal tally when Barcelona takes on Shaktar.

In Day 2, would Sir Alex give Carlos TEVEZ another mid week run when Manchester United take on Danish side Aalborg? I hope he does.

Not many other significant matches involved (apart from the Lyon/Bayern) but I would love to see Lucho & Gang putting a dagger on Arsenal and top Group G.

Here are the rest of the fixtures.

Day 1 - 9th December 2008

Chelsea vs. CFR Cluj
Panathinaikos vs. Anorthosis
Basel vs. Sporting
PSV vs. Liverpool
Marseille vs. Atletico

Day 2- 10th December 2008

Celtic vs. Villareal
Steaua vs. Fiorentina
Dynamo Kyiv vs. Fenerbahce
Juventus vs. BATE
Real Madrid vs. Zenit

Sunday, December 07, 2008

PIPITA & GAGO Can't Save Real

Wow! I guess Diego was spot on when he mentioned that Spain’s La Liga was the best in the world. When Real Madrid took on Sevilla FC, it was another goal fest. A little earlier, Valladolid followed the footstep of Villareal by staging a dramatic comeback from three goals against Osasuna.

Okay, now back to Real against Sevilla as the future of their boss, Bernd SCHUSTER looks to be more uncertain then ever. At one point the visitor were 3-1 up. But two quick goals from Gonzalo HIGUAIN and Fernando GAGO level the score to 3-3. However RENATO’s 85th minute broke all the All-White hope as Sevilla took away the three points.

Meanwhile Napoli maintain their position at fourth place in Serie A with a 2-0 win over Siena. German DENIS strike in the 72nd minute ensure that the Naples side return back to winning ways.

Serie A top scorer Diego MILITO was the hero in the Derby of Genoa between as his scored the sole goal against the neighbour Sampdoria.

In the Greek Super League, there were goals from Fernando BELLUSCHI and Ismael BLANCO. Not only that, they both their respective teams winning goal in the 28th minute (according to Soccernet that is.)

BELLUSCHI was on target for Olympiakos against Levadiakos.

While BLANCO provided the winner for AEK Athens against Panthrakikos.

NBA News….

The Detroit Pistons crashed at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks 92-104. Walter HERRMANN had 4 points, 2 rebounds & 1 block shot.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

NBA News - Oberto Gets His Season High

The old Spurs are back. What I meant was in terms how they dominate their opponent and win games. The Golden State Warriors were routed by 123-88 by the Big Three & Co.

Both Manu GINOBILI and Fabricio OBERTO both had excellent performance from a different perspective. No doubt about that.

Manu may have scored as low as 9 points but he was responsible in dishing out 7 assists plus 3 rebounds and 2 steals.

“We’ve had two great games, and hopefully we can keep this going,” said Manu, who led the Spurs with nine assists. “We just tried to move the ball. It’s the things we always try to do, but sometimes it doesn’t work.”

OBERTO came from the bench to contribute a season high performance. He posted 12 points plus 6 rebounds and 2 assists. A rare moment to see him getting the better of his fellow Albiceleste. Well I’m happy to see that he does gives something for the team though he may no longer be their starting center.

The Chicago Bulls ended their two games losing streak by defeating the Washington Wizards 117-110 with a little help from the reserves. Andres NOCIONI made some huge basket alongside Larry HUGHES from the bench. Chapu posted 19 points (it’s been a while since he had a big night like this) and he was had 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal to his credit.

An Overhead Magic from Kun

What a day in La Liga! In three fixtures we had no less than 17 goals in total.

I wonder what might have been going through in Pato ABBONDANZIERI, Daniel DIAZ and Lucas LICHT minds. Getafe blew away a 3-0 lead at half time against Villareal, only to see the Yellow Submarine pull back to level the score 3-3 in the second half.

In another match Atletico Madrid came away with 5-2 win at Sporting Gijon. Kun AGUERO scored twice, the first one being a sublime overhead kick. He was also own target again and then had an assist for Maxi RODRIGUEZ. Most certainly he is choice for Mundo’s Albiceleste of the Night.
Inter Milan overran Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico 3-0 to stay nine points clear on top of Serie A. Walter SAMUEL struck a perfect header in the second minute courtesy pass the Juan Pablo CARIZZO. A total of eight Albiceleste players were involved in the match.
In Portugal, Lucho GONZALEZ scored FC Porto’s third goal in their 3-0 win over Vitoria Setubal.
Nicolas Alejandro FRUTOS scored for Anderlecht in their 5-1 mauling over AFC Tubize in the Belgian Jupiter League.

Meanwhile on Friday, Fernando CAVENAGHI was on target for Bordeaux in their Ligue 1 encounter Valenciennes. He scored their second goal as the home side won 2-1.

Finally, on behalf of Mundo Albiceleste, thank you very much to our reader Mohammad ALI from Jordan for creating this wonderful picture as a tribute to Kun’s first goal against Gijon.

Diego Arrives In India And.....

They love him there.

He was greatly touched by the frenzy over his here and promised to come back to India again in future. Not a surprise considering that we had many passionate Albiceleste readers from India on our blog.

"It has been beyond my imagination," a visibly moved Diego told reporters through an interpreter. "I did not know that I had so many fans in India and people of the country loved football so much," he said after laying the foundation stone for a football academy on the outskirts of the city.

"India lacks the infrastructure for football but the players should also work hard for their success."

This is Diego first-ever visit to the country and he was already looking forward to visiting India again.

"I have a contract with Argentina's national football team and once it's over I will think of coming to India."

Diego arrived in this football-mad eastern Indian city early on Saturday to a rousing welcome by some 50,000 fans, desperate to catch a glimpse of the legend. The fans jostled and almost ran over the barricades at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose airport as the 5,000-strong security team tried to control the surging crowd.

"Long Live India! We want you to play in the World Cup," Diego, flanked by his girlfriend Veronica, shouted back to the delirious fans.

Doubts were cast over his visit following the recent devastating Mumbai attacks that killed 163 people including 26 foreigners.

"It's barbaric. We can't event think of something like this in a civilized society," he said of the Mumbai carnage.

Diego is also slated to visit the global headquarters of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity order here on Sunday during his two-day trip.

Friday, December 05, 2008

NBA News - Season High From Manu

One moment they didn't look like a three time NBA champions despite having all their Big Three back together on court. But today against the Denver Nuggets they once again gave people an instant reminder about what three of them are capable of. They brushed the Nuggets off in Colorado 108-91.

All of them posted double digit. Manu GINOBILI was named as a starter and gave a memorable performance, a reminisced of those times before he got injured. His performance has also kind of been poor in the last two games (11 and 13 points respectively) despite the lengthy minutes of action.

In tonight's game it was a huge comeback for him, as he produces a season high performance. He posted 21 points from which four of those shots came from the three point line. He was also 100% from the free throws. Not to forget he had 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in the process.

Fabricio OBERTO had to content with a place on the bench as he relinquish in starting position to the much improve Matt BONNER. But don't take away anything from him as he had 3 rebounds and 4 assists to go along with the 2 points that he posted.

As always in the past, this game goes on to show that when Manu gets into his rhythm, Spurs will never loose.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Watch Carlitos Four Star Performance

Here is the video on Mauro ZARATE against AC Milan

Carlitos shines for United but still needs more minutes

The rumour had it Carlitos TEVEZ was a lock to go to Real Madrid in January, but the replacement for the injured Ruud VAN NISTELROY came from his own country as the Whites from the Spanish capital bought striker Klaas Jan HUNTELAAR and now Carlitos looks set to stay at Old Trafford.

Will he?

Well...based on his display this Wednesday in one of the Carling Cup (League Cup) quarterfinals, Alex FERGUSON would be unwise to let him go.

TEVEZ took advantage of the minutes he got and scored a hat-trick (and half a goal) to help Manchester United reach the semifinals. He was the lone scorer in the previous round when the Red Devils defeated Queens Park Rangers thanks to a penalty kick by the Apache.

Carlitos opened the scoring for United on 36 minutes (but some are saying it was an Aaron MOKOENA's own-goal) . TEVEZ added a second from the penalty spot on 51, then scored another one on 54 and clear the doubts and signed his hat-trick on injury time.

Manchester United won 5-3 and now look as strong favourites to win a tournament in which Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have all crashed out (the Blues and the Gunners both at Burnley's expense).

But the main question remains:

Will Carlitos wait forever on the bench for United and be limited to be a fringe player in the Premiership?

Or will he ask FERGUSON to sell him in January?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Watch Goals from Sunday's Fixtures & More

Highlights from Sunday’s fixtures…

Ariel IBAGAZA superb free kick against Recreativo Huelve

Wonderful finish from Kun AGUERO against Racing Santander

Terrific move from Napoli in setting up Ezequile LAVEZZI against Inter Milan

Fernando BELLUSCHI doing his stuff for Olympiacos in Greece

Some NBA News…

The Detroit Pistons fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 85-96 with Walter HERRMANN posting 2 points, 2 rebounds and just 1 assist. Luis SCOLA posted 7 points, 5 rebounds and an assist as the Houston Rockets lost to the Denver Nuggets 94-104. The Chicago Bulls defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 103-92 with Andres NOCIONI posting 4 points.