Selasa, 23 April 2013

UEFA Champions League: Bayern Munich demolish FC Barcelona 4-0

Tonight at the Allianz Arena it was maybe the end of an era and the start of another in European club football, then FC Bayern Munich demolished FC Barcelona 4-0 at home in their UEFA Champions League first-leg match.

Infront of a capacity 68,000 spectators Bayern Munich were in-charge of the game from the start to finish though FC Barcelona had more then two-thirds of ball possession, but they somehow where not in the game tonight as Bayern cleverly played their own game.

FC Bayern should have gone ahead in the first couple of minutes, but Arjen Robben couldn't score past Victor Valdés and on the quarter hour mark Bayern were denied a penalty as Gerard Pique handled the ball in the penalty area. Bayern made amends in the 25th minute following a corner, Thomas Müller headed in of Dante and Robben. Bayern Munich went into the break with a 1-0 lead and all still to play for.

If you expected Barcelona to be more decisive in the final third and threaten the Bayern goal, then you will be disappointed as Bayern's domination and finishing was better after the break. In the 49th minute Mario Gomez made it 2-0 following a Robben corner, a head on by Müller, but in this situation Gomez was just about offside. Thereafter Bayern could, maybe even should have added a third but Müller, Ribery and Robben all don't score.

If you expected Barcelona now to wake-up and get something out of this match, it wasn't supposed to happen as Messi, Iniesta and Xavi were a shadow of their capabilities; then now Bayern Munich ran away with the tie. First Arjen Robben scored Bayern's third in the 73rd minute to make-up for all his misses though again it could have been called-off as Müller body-checked Jordi Alba; and then in the 82nd minute Müller in middle scored off a David Alaba pass to make it a perfect night for the Bavarians.

In the end Bayern Munich won 4-0 against FC Barcelona, an appropriate result on the night with Barca in the end lucky not to concede more. The Bayern Munich express continues to roll through Europe with the club having one foot in the final in Wembley.


MATCH STATS

FC Bayern München 4-0 FC Barcelona - Goals: 1-0,4-0 Thomas Müller (25',82'), 2-0 Mario Gomez (49'), 3-0 Arjen Robben (73')

FC Bayern München
Manuel Neuer - Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Dante, David Alaba - Javi Martínez, Bastian Schweinsteiger - Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller (83' Claudio Pizarro), Franck Ribéry (89' Xherdan Shaqiri) - Mario Gomez (71' Luis Gustavo)

FC Barcelona
Victor Valdés - Dani Alves, Marc Bartra, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba - Xavi Hernandez, Sergi Busquets, Andrés Iniesta - Pedro (83' David Villa), Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez

AFC Cup: East Bengal held by Selangor, but go through to knockout stage

Kolkata giants East Bengal Club were held to a late two-all draw by Selangor FA in their fifth AFC Cup Group H match at the Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor. The red-and-gold dropped two points, but the one point gained was enough to seal their passage to the AFC Cup pre-quarterfinals as they stay top of their group on 11 points.

The hosts made a lively start amid wet conditions and they could have taken the lead when Michal Kubala fired in a low shot from 25 metres that forced goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu into a diving save. But it was the visitors who took the lead in the 23rd minute after Chidi Edeh attempted to burst through the middle of the Selangor defence but his progress was halted and the ball ricocheted off a Selangor defender to Orji, who took the ball into space on the left of the box before firing it between the legs of keeper Sharbinee Allawee Ramli. Selangor went close to levelling the score in the 35th minute when Raimi Mohammed Nor fired a shot across the face of the East Bengal goal that was just too far in front of a lurking Ramzul Adenan and the home side suffered a blow when Kubala had to be taken off injured just before half-time.

Things got worse early in the second half when Lalrindika Ralte fired home at the third attempt in the 54th minute after Chidi's shot had been saved by Sharbinee and Orji had his effort cleared by a defender. East Bengal looked to head for an easy victory before substitute striker Manandeep Singh saw red for a late sliding tackle on Kunanlan just minutes after he had come on.

Selangor had offered little in attack until then but they came out of their shell as in the 79th minute Shukor Jusoh fired a fierce rising shot from 25 metres that found the top corner of the net despite Gurpreet getting a touch to the ball. Now the home team moved forward in search of an equaliser in the closing stages and Kunanlan forced a good save out of Gurpreet before the Red Giants got the equaliser deep into injury-time. With almost all of the East Bengal players dropping back into their box to defend an Amri Yahyah free-kick, the ball was played instead to an unmarked Aizuddin, whose low drive from 30 metres went through a crowd of players and flashed past Gurpreet to secure a point for the home side.

With the win East Bengal moved into a continental knockout stage for the first time since 2004 and if they avoid a defeat against Vietnam's Sai Gon Xuan Thanh next week at home, then they will finish top of Group H.


East Bengal Club
30-Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - 7-Harmanjot Singh Khabra (79' 8-Thokchom Naoba Singh), 4-Uga Okpara, 16-Gurwinder Singh, 25-Robert Lalthalmuana - 35-Ishfaq Ahmed, 14-Mehtab Hossain [C], 18-Penn Ikechukwu Orji, 21-Lalrindika Ralte - 27-Andrew Barisic (74' 26-Manandeep Singh), 10-Chidi Edeh (89' 6-Baljit Singh Sahni)

Sensational Bundesliga Transfer: Mario Götze to join Bayern Munich from Dortmund!

In a sensational transfer in the Bundesliga 20 year old German international Mario Götze will be leaving Borussia Dortmund in the summer to join rivals FC Bayern Munich for a fixed transfer fee of 37 Million Euros.

German tabloid Bild reported in the early hours of today the sensational Mario Götze transfer. The timing couldn't have been worse with both clubs playing Spanish sides in the Champions League semifinals, but especially in Dortmund everyone is in a state of shock and disbelieve.

German international Mario Götze is regarded as the new Lionel Messi and the next big superstar of world football. Götze is the most gifted current German footballer; he is an instinct footballer and rather short at 5foot9inch, but technically incredibly gifted, with exceptional positional sense and an eye for situations.

The future Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola wanted Götze to join the Bavarian giants and made Götze his first real signing at FC Bayern and regards him to be the next Messi. Added pressure for Götze, but tomorrow night he can show if he still is a star in the making or already is one to challenge Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mario Götze has been a Borussia Dortmund player since the age of nine though he is born in Memmingen, which is only about 120 kilometres away from Munich. The Götze family moved to western Germany when Mario was only six after his father became a professor at the Dortmund University.

In Dortmund Götze is considered as one of their own like other players in Marcel Schmelzer or the trio of Marco Reus, Nuri Sahin and Kevin Grosskreutz, who played in-between for other sides, but came back to BVB.

Many Dortmund fans thought that Götze, who is still only 20, would never leave the club and play for them until the end of his career. Many in and around Dortmund thought the Mario Götze to Bayern Munich transfer was a delayed April’s fool prank, but it is true and many Dortmund fans cannot believe that their beloved Mario is leaving for the hated Bavarians.

AFC Cup: Churchill Brothers face Kitchee in do or die match

Churchill Brothers SC are on the verge of regaining the I-League title, but at the continental level they face Kitchee SC from Hongkong tomorrow in their Group E Round 5 match of the AFC Cup at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune. The Red Machines have four points from as many matches and trail Kitchee by two points, who are second behind Semen Padang on 10 points.

At the pre-match press conference Churchill Brothers head coach Willy Moraes said, "We do have alot of injuries i.e. Beto, Tomba Singh, Bikramjit Singh and Felix D'Souza. But this team is raring to go and we are confident of gaining three points from tomorrows match."

"Yes, we did lose our previous game to Kitchee however this is a different ball game since the kick off is at 3pm and our team has got better since the last match," Willy Moraes added.

An in-form India captain Sunil Chhetri said, "We have four points and have a serious chance of qualifying for the next stage if we win the match vs Kitchee SC. We are still struggling with injuries, but the AFC Cup is very important to us, players getting injured is part of the game."

Speaking about the pitch Sunil stated, "The pitch is great and we are extremely happy with the support that we have got here in Pune."

"I'm very happy to be in this team, we have an outstanding unit out here, this team stands united and life has been pretty good at Churchill Brothers," Sunil added.

Meanwhile Kitchee SC after two wins at the start suffered two losses against group leaders Semen Padang of Indonesia, which has given the chance to Churchill Brothers and even Warrior FC of Singapore to move past them into second spot and qualify for the pre-quarterfinals.

Kitchee's Spanish head coach Josep Gombau Balague said, "Tomorrow is a very important match, the difference between Churchill Brothers and Kitchee is only two points. We will try to play are normal passing game."

"Churchill is a team that is doing well and are very strong. Even if we get a point here, if we win the next match we can qualify for the next stage," Josep Gombau added.

Kick-off tomorrow at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune is at 3pm.

UEFA Champions League: Bayern Munich ready for FC Barcelona clashes

Tonight FC Bayern Munich take on FC Barcelona at the Allianz Arena in their UEFA Champions League first-leg match. The stadium will be full to capacity with 68,000 fans inside the stadium and an electric atmosphere expected then Europe’s best two club sides meet for a place in the final.

The German Bundesliga giants know that they need a positive result, ideally a win with two/three goals with no goals conceded to go into the away tie at the Nou Camp next Wednesday, May 1 to reach the Champions League final at the iconic Wembley Stadium, but one should not forget that Bayern Munich have been the best team across all competitions, domestic and continental, this season in Europe while FC Barcelona have shown unusual problems and weaknesses with Champions League examples being the away ties against Celtic Glasgow and AC Milan plus both the matches against Paris Saint Germain. Barcelona continue to dominate and control matches as they have over the last few years, but sometimes they are unable to find the net at crucial junctures. Injuries to key players have also done their bit.

At the domestic front both the clubs are in a similar situation. Bayern Munich have already sealed their Bundesliga league title, while FC Barcelona need a few more points to regain the La Liga crown. This gives them both the necessary concentration for the Champions League with both sides resting some of their star players over the weekend in their domestic competitions.

At the pre-match press conference Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes summed-up FC Barcelona of being more than just Lionel Messi. “Barça aren't just Messi. Barça are much more than Messi. Barça are a fine collective. They play football of the highest quality."

And the seasoned former Real Madrid coach, who even lifted the Champions League title with Barca’s archrivals, is not worried at the prospect of playing next week’s return-leg in Barcelona, “Bayern are capable of scoring at Camp Nou – one goal, or more.”

Attacking midfielder Thomas Müller, who has been having an exceptional season, meanwhile said ahead of the match, "We have to keep it tight at the back and keep a clean sheet at home if possible. That's the be-all and end-all if we want to make the final. And I really don't care whether we play pretty football or not. The only thing that matters is the result. I'm optimistic, but everyone knows it'll hardly be a stroll."

The important team news for Bayern is that central midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger following an ankle injury is fit to face Barcelona though the club will miss long time absentees Toni Kroos and Holger Badstuber besides an in-form Mario Mandzukic upfront due to a yellow card suspension, but coach Jupp Heynckes has the luxury of having Mario Gomez and Claudio Pizarro as alternatives with both strikers having been amongst the goals in recent matches. Especially German international striker Gomez, who is of Spanish origin, wants to play against Barcelona and show his class after Mandzukic has taken his place as Bayern’s number one striker and speculation in Germany is that Gomez could leave the Bavarians for a new opportunity in the summer.

At the FC Barcelona end it is all about Argentinian Lionel Messi and if he will be fit to play tonight. Messi made the trip to Munich after training on Sunday, but the Barca medical team have still not given the all clear for him to play against Bayern Munich. But Barcelona are sure to miss injured duo Carlos Puyol and Javier Mascherano, while Adriano is suspended.

Barcelona Director of Sports Andoni Zubizarreta said about the clubs superstar, "Messi is with the team and is fit enough to play, but the coaches will have to decide whether he does or not. We want to be sure that we have the best possible team on the field."

This seasons Champions League semifinals against FC Barcelona is also about getting rid of old ghosts, be it the 0-4 defeat at the Nou Camp under then coach Jürgen Klinsmann in April 2009 or last season’s unlucky Champions League final defeat against Chelsea in the final at home (Finale Dahoam) in Munich.

The 0-4 defeat at the Nou Camp under Klinsmann was the start of the end of the former Germany strikers coaching stint with the Bavarians, who realised that Klinsmann wasn’t the coach the club needed. But while Barcelona are mainly the same team with some changes here and there, Bayern Munich are a different side altogether if you compare the team then (Butt - Oddo, Demichelis, Breno, Lell - Altintop (46. Ottl), van Bommel, Zé Roberto (77. Sosa) - Schweinsteiger, Ribéry – Toni) only Schweinsteiger and Ribery are left from the side.

Bayern Munich have since then build a new team under Louis van Gaal and Jupp Heynckes with own players like Thomas Müller and David Alaba integrated into the squad or star signing like Mario Gomez , Arjen Robben or Javi Martinez made; while own talent who simply weren’t good enough for the top level in Europe - Christian Lell and Andreas Ottl, released.

Bayern Munich have learned their lessons over the last few years. Made the necessary changes, now is the time to take on the best, which is FC Barcelona and prove that they are the new top team of European club football.

Though in Munich, FC Bayern are totally focused on hosting FC Barcelona, the pending tax evasion case against club president Uli Hoeness is dominating the German media since it was made public on Saturday. The semifinals against Barcelona have been titled by Bayern Munich officials and players as the tie of the season, but it has lost some of its sheen, then Mr. FC Bayern – Uli Hoeness has lost his innocence and integrity for which he stood over the last 35 years since he was general manager, director of sports and president of the club of Germany’s most successful football club.

As Bayern fans say, “Mia san Mia” meaning “we are who we are” and tonight the players will have to prove it against Barcelona.

VIDEO: FC Bayern Munich vs FC Barcelona Promo

Here is a lovely promo a YouTube user has made ahead of tonight's FC Bayern Munich vs FC Barcelona semifinal first-leg UEFA Champions League at the Allianz Arena.


Senin, 22 April 2013

Ashoknagar Vidyasagar Bani Bhaban crowned 2013 Mahindra Youth Football Challenge champions!

Kolkata's Ashoknagar Vidyasagar Bani Bhaban was crowned Champion of the 2013 Mahindra Youth Football Challenge at the Bangalore Football Stadium today. This is the third consecutive MYFC title won by a Kolkata-based school. While Sukantanagar Vidhya Niketan won the inaugural edition in 2011, Pandua SBS High School triumphed last year.

The tournament gave India's finest under-14 football players from schools across six Indian cities and states a wonderful opportunity to display their skills and battle it out in a series of highly competitive matches.

The Mahindra Youth Football Challenge is the Mahindra Group's commitment to promote football at the grassroots level. The company has partnered with Scottish football giants, Celtic Football Club, who will take on the responsibility of training and developing young talent identified through the initiative.

Mohammad Habib, Umesh Das and Sumit Das stole the limelight with their superlative performances to help fashion a 4-1 victory over Don Bosco High School Panjim to emerge champions. The Kolkata team had impressed coaches from Celtic FC and onlookers with their excellent performances that proved too strong for their counterparts from Goa.

In a first half that was marked by a high-speed attacking game by Kolkata, the prolific Umesh Das scored the first goal with a sharp hit that caught the Panjim goalkeeper unaware in the 3rd minute of the game. In the 13th minute, this was followed by a second by striker Habib. The boys continued to show case their unbeatable skill as a third goal was scored off a rebound by striker Sumit Das and a fourth off a header by Mohammad Habib shortly before half-time.

The second half was characterized by better-quality defence by the team from Panjim. Trailing four goals to none, the boys from Don Bosco took the field with rejuvenated vigour which resulted in a confidence-building goal by Glevito S. Miranda in the 49th minute of the final match. However, the efforts were not enough to turn the game in their favour. Umesh Das from Kolkata was adjudged the Star Performer of the match for his outstanding performance in the high-pressure match.

Ashoknagar Vidyasagar Bani Bhaban Kolkata took home Rs 50,000 and a glittering trophy for their efforts while runners-up Don Bosco High School Panjim won a prize of Rs 30,000.

St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School Calicut's Leon Augustine was adjudged the best striker, while the best goalkeeper award went to Aaron Koli of Don Bosco High School, Mumbai; Mohammad Habib of Ashoknagar Vidyasagar Bani Bhaban was named best Midfielder, while his team mate Suman Dutta was adjudged as best defender.

The winners received the trophies and certificates from chief guests A. R. Khaleel (AIFF Vice-President and Karnataka State Football Association president); ex-India captain Carlton Chapman; Vivek B. Singh (Jt. Managing Director – Procam International Ltd); Jose Ramirez Baretto, former I-League player; and Satish Pillai, Dhyanchand awardee for athletics and Bronze medalist Asian Games.

The list of 22 players short-listed for the 4 day training camp was also announced. To be conducted under the watchful eyes of coaches from Celtic FC, 2 – 4 boys will be chosen to travel to Glasgow to train at the home of Celtic FC.


List of 22 Players shortlisted for Celtic FC camp

Bijoy Banik (Kolkata), Aaron Koli (Mumbai), Lazim Ali (Kerala), Suman Dutta (Kolkata), Dhiraj Chauhan (Goa), Pavan Chitta (Bangalore), Umesh Das (Kolkata), Rudraksh Bajaj (Delhi), Rahul Swami (Mumbai), Sunil Rajbangshi (Kolkata), Leon Augustine (Kerala), Glevito S. Miranda (Goa), Keshab Das Munshi (Kolkata), Kapil Tyagi (Bangalore), Nuchiketta Dutt (Bangalore), Shantanu Debnath (Kolkata), Nathan Fernandes (Mumbai), Kiera James Kenneth Adams (Bangalore), Mohammad Habib (Kolkata), Javed Hasan (Kerala), Aryaman Singh Kanwar (Bangalore), Sandeep Roy (Kolkata)