Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Ecuador: Emelec defeated as Deportivo seal fifth title (video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 17, 2011

Deportivo Quito are the new champions of Ecuador following their 2-0 aggregate victory over Emelec in the final of the domestic championship.

In order to qualify for the play-offs Deportivo won the second stage of the league, which was played from July to December, topping the table after 22 games with a four point margin over Barcelona de Guayaquil. Deportivo’s opponents Emelec had already won the first stage, which took place from January to June, having got the better of LDU Quito with a similar margin of victory. The first leg of the overall championship final took place on Tuesday with Deportivo gaining a slender 1-0 advantage thanks to Fidel Martinez’s goal on the half hour mark.

Today saw the return fixture with Deportivo sealing the title in front of their home supporters. Matius Alustiza’s goal two minutes before the end secured Deportivo their fifth national title, their third in four years, and was all the more sweeter in a week which saw their arch rivals LDU lose out in the 2011 Copa Sudamericana final to Universidad de Chile.

Deportivo Quito and Emelec will participate in the 2012 Copa Libertadores along with the winner of the 3rd/4th play-off between LDU and El Nacional.  The latter lead 2-1 from the first leg with the return fixture to be played on Tuesday night.

DEPORTIVO QUITO v EMELEC – 2ND LEG HIGHLIGHTS

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Germany: Bayern top table at winter break

Posted in European Football by peterbein on December 17, 2011
FC Bayern

Mario Gomez (left) is the top scorer in the Bundesliga this season

FC Bayern München secured the tag of Herbstmeister (autumn champions) in Germany last night. Despite going down to ten men following Franck Ribéry’s red card on the half hour mark, FC Bayern were seldom troubled by visiting 1.FC Köln as they strolled to a 3-0 victory. The win leaves Bayern with a six point lead at the top of the Bundesliga standings with everybody else left to play the 17th round of matches this weekend before the league undertakes its customary winter break.

FC Bayern started off the season with a shocking defeat at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach, a team who scraped their way out of relegation trouble at the end of last season, but soon recovered to win their next six games in a row including a 7-0 hammering of SC Freiburg to top the table. A minor blip on matchday 8 saw a goalless draw away at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim before the Bavarians got back to winning ways with a 4-0 rout of Hertha BSC. Just when things looked good for Bayern, however, they began to suffer some inconsistency in form with wins in the Bavarian derby to 1. FC Nürnberg and an expected win over 1.FC Augsburg coupled with defeats such as the top of the table clash against defending champions Borussia Dortmund as well as succumbing to the challenge of a struggling 1.FSV Mainz 05 side on Matchday 14, a game which saw Bayern lose their leadership of the standings. But such is life in the Bundesliga that one can never write Bayern off and they came back to win their last three matches in the first half of the league season. Impressive victories at home to Werder Bremen and away in the “Derby of the South” against VfB Stuttgart were complimented by last night’s win over 1. FC Köln.

French international Franck Ribéry got himself in a spot of bother when getting involved in a petty squabble with Portuguese forward Henrique Sereno in the 33rd minute. Following a yellow card for the initial altercation Ribéry then appeared to put his hands on Sereno’s throat, a move which gained him an instant dismissal. Despite this FC Bayern came out fighting in the second half and went ahead just three minutes after the break with league top scorer Mario Gomez helping himself to his 16th goal of the season. Further goals from David Alaba and Toni Kroos helped the Rekordmeister (record champions) seal a 3-0 win and the top spot at the winter break.

Traditionally the team who leads the table at the halfway point of the season will go on to win the league trophy in Germany. This has happened 32 times in the Bundesliga’s 48 year history so far but FC Bayern do face some stiff competition this season with the likes of Dortmund, Schalke 04, Werder Bremen and surprise package Mönchengladbach all ready to pounce in the event of a rare slip from the Münchener.

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UEFA: English clubs involved in glamour European ties

Posted in European Football, UK Football by peterbein on December 16, 2011

UEFA logoFollowing today’s draws in the European club competitions one can’t help but feel that there could’ve been some tastier matches upon the horizon going into the knockout rounds of each competition. Nonetheless the teams that do remain in each tournament will have their eyes firmly focused on the big prize.

In the UEFA Champions League the tie of the round appears to be that between seven-time European champions AC Milan and English side Arsenal FC. The former, following a couple of lean years since they won their most recent Champions League title in 2007, are hoping to show Europe that they mean business once again. Arsenal, however, have gradually built up confidence and consistency since a terrible beginning to the current campaign and these sides look more evenly matched than in recent years. Amongst the other games there is a big welcome to Cypriot champions APOEL Nicosia who, having topped their group, will meet French side Olympique Lyonnais in the next round and SSC Napoli whose maiden Champions League campaign will continue with an interesting tie against Chelsea FC. Defending European champions FC Barcelona have been given a fairly easy tie on paper, due to go up against German vice champions Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ROUND OF 16 DRAW

Lyon v APOEL Nicosia

Napoli SSC v Chelsea FC

AC Milan v Arsenal

FC Basel v FC Bayern

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Barcelona

CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid

Zenit Saint Petersburg v SL Benfica

Olympique Marseille v Internazionale

In the UEFA Europa League the English clubs have been given some fascinating ties. Manchester United, who will now play for the only trophy yet to be won by Sir Alex Ferguson in his wonderful career, begin their quest with a tie against four-time European champions Ajax Amsterdam. Manchester City, fresh from elimination from arguably the toughest Champions League group against SSC Napoli, FC Bayern and Villarreal CF, will meet defending Europa League title holders FC Porto. Stoke City, for whom this is a first European campaign since 1974, play 2004 UEFA Cup winners Valencia CF. Amongst the other ties 2010 Europa League winners Atletico de Madrid plays against the last ever Cup Winners Cup champion SS Lazio and last season’s defeated finalists Sporting Braga continue their Europa League odyssey with a tough encounter against Turkish side Besiktas.

UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE ROUND OF 32 DRAW 

FC Porto v Manchester City

Ajax Amsterdam v Manchester United

Lokomotiv Moscow v Athletic Bilbao

Red Bull Salzburg v Metalist Kharkiv

Stoke City v Valencia CF

Rubin Kazan v Olympiakos

AZ Alkmaar v RSC Anderlecht

SS Lazio v Atletico de Madrid

Steaua Bucharest v FC Twente Enschede

Viktoria Plzen v Schalke 04

Wisla Krakow v Standard Liege

Sporting Braga v Besiktas

Udinese Calcio v PAOK Thessaloniki

Trabzonspor v PSV Eindhoven

Hannover 96 v Club Brugge

Legia Warszawa v Sporting Lisbon

CONMEBOL: Universidad win maiden Sudamericana title (video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 15, 2011

Universidad de Chile are the deserved winners of the 2011 Copa Sudamericana. Their 3-0 second leg victory at home to LDU Quito last night completed a 4-0 aggregate win and brought with it the chance to compete in next year’s Copa Libertadores.

Eduardo Vargas, as so often in this competition, proved himself to be the hero for the Chileans. Vargas, who scored the only goal of the first leg last week in Ecuador, struck in only the third minute of the match to double Universidad’s advantage on aggregate. Second half strikes by Gustavo Lorenzetti and Vargas sealed the deal for La U who, as a result of their unbeaten run in this competition, won their first ever continental title.

Universidad de Chile have the chance to increase their trophy tally next year when facing off against 2011 Copa Libertadores winners Santos in the Recopa (South American Super Cup) and in the Suruga Bank championship which sees the Chilean champions face off against Japanese J-League Cup winners Kashima Antlers.

FIFA: Santos ends Kashiwa dream; Monterrey wins 5th place

Posted in African Football, Asian Football, South America Football by peterbein on December 14, 2011

FIFA Club World Cup logoKashiwa Reysol’s FIFA Club World Cup dream ended today at the hands of South American champions Santos FC. Neymar was amongst the goals for the Brazilians as they claimed a 3-1 win against the J-League champions whilst earlier in the day North and Central American champions Monterrey CF won the 5th/6th place play-off, getting the better of African champions Espérance Tunis by the odd goal in five.

Santos, in their first game of the new look Club World Cup, may have won the game against their hosts but Kashiwa continued to do themselves proud in this competition. Following earlier defeats of Auckland City and Monterrey, it was always going to prove tough to jump the final hurdle into the final but Kashiwa certainly weren’t overawed. Nonetheless Santos did what they had to do in a game which could prove to be a useful workout ahead of a potential final against FC Barcelona.

Quality strikes from Neymar and Borges gave Santos a two goal lead at the break but Hiroki Sakai reduced the arrears ten minutes into the second half to provide Kashiwa with a ray of hope. The hosts, however, would suffer a further setback in the 63rd minute when Danilo restored Santos’ two goal lead which they would preserve for the remainder of the game. Santos will now face FC Barcelona or, in the event of a massive shock, Asian champions Al Sadd in Sunday’s final and hope to claim a first world title since their second Intercontinental Cup win in 1963.

The day’s other game saw Monterrey CF restore some pride in the 5th/6th play-off against Espérance Tunis in a game which saw plenty of goals. Espérance, who controversially lost their quarter-final against Al Sadd, went ahead after half an hour to a Yannick N’Djeng goal only to see Monterrey turn the match on its head just before half-time with Hiram Mier and Aldo de Nigris getting on the score sheet.

Monterrey carried on where they left off in the second half with Jesus Zavala’s close range header increasing their lead to two goals but the Tunisians weren’t finished and made it a tight finish when Khaled Mouelhi scored from the penalty spot to make it 3-2 with a quarter of an hour left on the clock. However the Mexicans held out to ensure that they would chalk up a maiden victory in this tournament and they will hope, along with their African counterparts, to win their respective continental titles once more in 2012 and have another shot at world glory in Japan next year.

Asia: India retain position as regional power in SAFF tournament (video)

Posted in Asian Football, International Football by peterbein on December 12, 2011

The South Asian Football Championship has been taking place in India since the beginning of December. The biannual event retained its recent trend of seeing the Indian national team win the championship this time defeating Afghanistan in yesterday’s final by four goals to nil.

In the early stages of the tournament Afghanistan had the early advantage over India with both teams meeting each other in Group A, along with Sri Lanka and Bhutan, and the Afghans finishing top of the group on goal difference. Following a 1-1 draw with each other in the opening group match Afghanistan and India then recorded victories over their other opponents with Afghanistan’s goal difference of plus nine edging out the Indians by just one goal. In Group B the Maldive Islands and Nepal finished in the top two spots, and thus claimed the remaining semi-final places, with both teams getting five points out of nine, two better than Pakistan and four better than Bangladesh who propped up the rest of the table.

India had an easier time of it in the semi-finals getting the better of the Maldives by three goals to one with Sunil Chhetri bagging a brace as he continued to set the tournament alight as its start player. Afghanistan, on the other hand, were ultimately grateful to Balal Arezou as his goal ten minutes into extra-time proved the difference as in their semi-final against Nepal. The final proved to be a tight affair for most of the game and remained goalless until twenty minutes from time when the Indians won a penalty kick which was scored by Chhetri who scored his seventh goal of the tournament. India then began to open the floodgates putting three more goals past their valiant opponents who, by this stage, were down to ten men and with Clifford Miranda, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sushil Singh all etching their names on to the score sheet to provide the score line with an emphatic feel which was perhaps not befitting the performance of Afghanistan. Nevertheless the Indians celebrated a second consecutive title win, and sixth overall, in front of an ecstatic home crowd and cemented their place as the dominant force in the region.

INDIA 4-0 AFGHANISTAN – FINAL HIGHLIGHTS

Mexico: Tigres end long wait for national title (video)

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on December 12, 2011

Tigres are the new champions of Mexico following their 4-1 aggregate victory over Santos Laguna in the Torneo Apertura (Opening Championship) final.

Tigres had finished in third place in the regular season table with a record of seven wins, seven draws and three defeats from seventeen games, before going on to defeat Pachuca CF and Queretaro FC in the play-offs on their way to the final.

The first leg of the final, which was played last Thursday, saw Tigres claim a narrow 1-0 win over hosts Santos Laguna with an early goal from Damián Álvarez separating the two sides. Yesterday saw Tigres fall behind in the return fixture with Oribe Peralta levelling the scores on aggregate. The second half, however, saw Tigres restore the lead through Hector Mancilla and the game would be settled as a contest with Danilinho and Alan Pulido finishing off matters by making the score 3-1 on the night.

The championship win was Tigres’ first domestic title since 1982, a long wait of 29 years, and also secured a place in the 2012 Copa Libertadores.

TIGRES 3-1 SANTOS LAGUNA – APERTURA FINAL, 2ND LEG

FIFA: Club World Cup Team Guide – FC Barcelona

Posted in European Football by peterbein on December 11, 2011

FC Barcelona club badgeFC Barcelona will compete in this year’s FIFA Club World Cup following a sensational UEFA Champions League triumph in 2011. The Catalans must first face AFC Asian Champions League winners Al Sadd before they can start dreaming of the possibility of winning the world crown for the second time in three years.

FC Barcelona qualified for this tournament having won their fourth European title in the glorious setting of Wembley Stadium in May this year. On their way to the final Barça topped their group over Danish champions FC København, Russian Premier League side Rubin Kazan and Greek Super League champions Panathinaikos before disposing of Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk and arch rivals Real Madrid CF in the knockout stages leading up to a second final in three years against Manchester United. Having seen off United in Rome in 2009, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola would again get one over his United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson watching the Blaugrana turn on the style. A 3-1 victory saw Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa get on the score sheet, Wayne Rooney bagging a consolation for United, and a fourth European triumph saw Eric Abidal lift the famous cup aloft and seal a place in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Since Barcelona’s Champions League triumph the club has maintained its push for honours across the board. The club started off the current campaign the way it ended the last one by winning silverware. A controversial Spanish Super Cup victory over Real Madrid was followed up with a 2-0 win against Iberian neighbours and UEFA Europa League winners FC Porto in the European Super Cup. In Europe Barcelona topped their 2011-12 UEFA Champions League group over Italian giants AC Milan, Czech champions Viktoria Plzen and perennial Belarussian title holders BATE Borisov. Barça are, however, facing a tougher challenge domestically this time from Real Madrid with the Catalans currently on the same number of league points as their rivals from the Spanish capital having played a game more.

Barcelona celebrated a 3-1 win over Real Madrid in last night’s El Clásico meaning that they were able to fly out to Japan straight after the match in order to prepare for world glory in a competition in which they’ve suffered mixed emotions. Barcelona have never beaten Brazilian opposition in either the former Intercontinental Cup (lost to São Paulo in 1992) or the FIFA Club World Cup (lost to Internacional in 2006) whereas the Argentinians of Estudiantes de La Plata were put to the sword in 2009 as the final part of the Catalans’ sextuple triumph. Should they meet Santos FC in this year’s final then history will be against Barcelona but with the current team – Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi et al – rated as the greatest ever then a second world title could be winging its way back to the Camp Nou very soon.

FC BARCELONA v MANCHESTER UNITED – CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL GOALS

FIFA: Kashiwa and Al Sadd through to semis; Barça win El Clásico

FIFA Club World Cup logoKashiwa Reysol and Al Sadd have booked their semi-final places in the FIFA Club World Cup following hard fought victories over Monterrey CF and Esperance Tunis respectively.

Kashiwa, representing the host nation Japan as the 2011 J-League champions, needed a penalty shoot-out to get past North and Central American champions Monterrey after the two teams had played out a 1-1 draw. Leandro Domingues gave Kashiwa the lead in the 53rd minute only to see Humberto Suazo restore parity just five minutes later and the rest of the game proved frustrating for both sides as neither team could kill off their opponents. In the shoot-out Ryohei Hayashi converted the crucial final kick as Kashiwa went through 4-3 and secured themselves a meeting with South American champions Santos FC in the final four.

Controversy reigned in the other semi-final between African champions Esperance Tunis and Asian Champions League holders Al Sadd. Khalfan Ibrahim and Abdullah Koni had given Al Sadd a two goal lead by the 50th minute but Oussama Darragi pulled one back on the hour mark. However the Tunisians had two goals controversially ruled out for offside, decisions which so enraged one supporter who ran on to the pitch. Al Sadd, who are based in Qatar, now look ahead to a semi-final clash with European champions FC Barcelona who will be in fine mood following a 3-1 win against Real Madrid in last night’s El Clásico.

Real Madrid took the lead after just 22 seconds as Karim Benzema took advantage of some uncharacteristic woeful defending by Barcelona only for the visitors to equalize on the half hour mark through Alexis Sanchez. Further goals in the second half from Xavi and Cesc Fabregas helped secure the three points for Barcelona who can go into the FIFA Club World Cup knowing that their arch rivals are not going to be so far ahead when they come back from Japan. Had Real Madrid won last night they would’ve been six points clear with a game in hand. Following last night’s result, however, Barcelona are now on the same points but Madrid, nonetheless, still have the advantage of an extra game to play.

Africa: Uganda claim CECAFA Cup for the 12th time

Posted in African Football, International Football by peterbein on December 10, 2011

Uganda have won the CECAFA Cup for the twelfth time as they needed the drama of a penalty shoot-out to overcome the challenge of Rwanda in today’s final.

Uganda became the cream of east and central African football again following a game in which all of the goal scoring action took place in the second half of normal time. Rwanda took the lead six minutes after the break through Meddie Kagere only for Uganda to equalize thanks to an Isaac Isinde strike in the 77th minute. Rwanda regained the lead just two minutes later with Kagere grabbing his fifth goal of the tournament, making him the top scorer along with Rwandan team mate Olivier Karekezi, before the latter was unfortunate to put through his own net in the 80th minute.

Extra-time was needed to try to decipher a winner but no further goals were forthcoming, therefore taking the match into a dramatic penalty shoot-out. Rwanda had the early advantage when scoring their first two penalties, compared to Uganda’s one, but they lost their nerve in the business end of the shoot-out when missing all of the last three kicks. This allowed Uganda to claw their way back into the shoot-out with their last two penalties successfully converted by Hamis Kizza and Andrew Mwesingwa to seal a 3-2 win and to regain the title they have won more than any other nation.

Earlier on in the day host nation Tanzania were involved in the third/fourth place play-off but they were defeated by Sudan with Mohammed Eldin’s goal in the 84th minute the only goal of the game.

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