Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Holland: Alkmaar belatedly triumph over Ajax in cup replay

Posted in European Football by peterbein on January 19, 2012

Dutch CupThe KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup) clash between Ajax Amsterdam and AZ Alkmaar, which was suspended due to an attack on AZ keeper Esteban Alvarado in the initial encounter, was completed today in the Amsterdam ArenA with the home side going down to a 3-2 defeat.

Siem de Jong gave Ajax the lead as early as the 10th minute only for the visitors to restore parity fourteen minutes later through Maarten Martins. AZ were then able to take the lead in the 32nd minute with Charlison Benschop getting his name on the score sheet only for the hosts to peg back six minutes before the break with de Jong grabbing his second goal of the game and that was how the game finished after a lively first half.

The second half, by way of contrast, only saw one more goal with Rasmus Elm netting the crucial strike from the penalty spot in the 55th minute to give Alkmaar a sense of justice following the first game which saw their players leave the pitch following the attack on Alvarado. Ajax, on the other hand, would be forgiven for thinking of what might’ve been as they had lead in the initial tie with a 1-0 score line after 38 minutes before the game had to be abandoned.

AZ Alkmaar’s reward for reaching the last eight of the competition is a quarter-final match against third-tier GVVV Veenendaal. The other games at this stage will see PSV Eindhoven take on NEC Nijmegen, Heracles Almelo at home to RKC Waalwijk and Vitesse Arnhem host SC Heerenveen. The games are due to take place on January 31st.

Holland: Keeper’s red card rescinded; holders Twente out (video)

Posted in European Football by peterbein on December 23, 2011
Esteban Alvarado

AZ keeper Esteban Alvarado was sent off following this incident on Wednesday

AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado has had his red card from Wednesday’s Round of 16 KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup) match against Ajax Amsterdam rescinded.

The keeper was attacked by an Ajax fan only for Esteban to retaliate on the attacker by kicking him whilst he was on the ground, a response which was deemed inappropriate by referee Bas Nijhuis who then sent off the keeper much to the astonishment and fury of the AZ players and staff. AZ coach Gert Jan Verbeek brought his team off the pitch and, with Ajax leading 1-0 at the time of abandonment, it is not yet known whether or when the game will be replayed.  Ajax have identified the fan who has now been given a lifetime ban.

On a footballing note KNVB Beker holders FC Twente Enschede were knocked out of the competition suffering a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of PSV Eindhoven. All of the goals were scored in extra-time with Slovenian striker Tim Matavž proving to be the hero as he bagged both goals for PSV in his side’s win.

Champions League – Group Stage Round-Up: Part Two

Posted in European Football by peterbein on December 10, 2009
Fiorentina v Liverpool

Gamberini (left) competes with Liverpool's Fernando Torres in Fiorentina's 2-0 win on Matchday 2

In the second half of our look at the Champions League group stage “Stoppage Time” focuses on groups E-H:

GROUP E (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS, FIORENTINA, LIVERPOOL FC, DEBRECENI)

The biggest disappointment in this year’s competition, without any doubt, was five-time European champions Liverpool. After the opening group match against Hungarian champions Debreceni the Reds were caught short against group rivals Lyon and Fiorentina. Too many mistakes at crucial times proved Liverpool’s undoing and this was emphasized in the last minute of Matchday 6 where Alberto Gilardino was able to capitalize on a defensive error to give Fiorentina the three points needed to top the group. Lyon were impressive throughout especially in their games against Debreceni, against whom they scored eight goals without reply in two matches. Fiorentina finished top on fifteen points, two more than Lyon, whilst Liverpool have to be content with a Europa League place finishing on a dismal seven points in a group they were widely expected to qualify from. Debreceni’s maiden Champions League finished, as expected, in last place but no doubt their team would’ve enjoyed the experience.

GROUP F (FC BARCELONA, INTERNAZIONALE, RUBIN KAZAN, DYNAMO KYIV)

This was the most open group in the Champions League. All four teams harboured hopes of qualification to the Round of 16 prior to Matchday 6. In the end the big boys, FC Barcelona and Internazionale, managed to qualify but they were made to work hard for their place. Jose Mourinho’s Inter had the upper hand in their final game at home against Russian champions Rubin Kazan thanks to goals from Samuel Eto’o and Mario Balotelli whilst European champions FC Barcelona had to come from behind to beat Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine 2-1. Goals from Xavi and Lionel Messi were sufficient for the Catalans to finish top of the group, two points clear of Inter. Rubin Kazan’s first season in the Champions League provided much drama, the 2-1 win against Barcelona in the Camp Nou was one of the highlights of the tournament so far. However they just didn’t have enough killer instinct to put the group to bed but at least they can be content with a Europa League place. For Andriy Shevchenko and his Dynamo side it’s another disappointing exit from a European campaign but they should be back next year barring a dismal second half to the domestic season in Ukraine.

GROUP G (SEVILLA CF, VfB STUTTGART, UNIREA URZICENI, GLASGOW RANGERS)

Sevilla were the clear winners of the group remaining undefeated through the campaign. Their 4-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox Park on Matchday 2 was their most convincing of the tournament thus far. The chase for second became a Matchday 6 “cup final” between VfB Stuttgart (who fired coach Markus Babbel and replaced him with Christian Gross in the weekend prior to the game) and Unirea Urziceni (coached by Chelsea legend Dan Petrescu). The German side started like a train and were 3-0 up inside eleven minutes. Despite Unirea pulling a goal back early in the second half the Germans managed to preserve their lead and the three points allowed them to overtake the Romanians into second place. Unirea go into the Europa League whilst Glasgow Rangers must swallow their pride and be hopeful that they can be back next season.

GROUP H (ARSENAL, OLYMPIAKOS, STANDARD LIEGE, AZ ALKMAAR)

Arsenal were comfortably the best team in the group and had already qualified for the Round of 16 when they went to Greece to play Olympiakos on Matchday 6. They played a young team with an average age of 21 but Arsene Wenger’s men couldn’t maintain their unbeaten record in Athens going down 1-0. Zico’s Olympiakos finished second thanks to some good results earlier in the tournament against Standard Liege and AZ Alkmaar. The third and fourth placed teams came up with some drama of their own on Matchday 6 in Belgium. Dutch champions AZ took the lead in the first half through Jeremain Lens and they held on to their advantage until five minutes into stoppage time. A free-kick was whipped in at pace and among the crowd of players in the penalty box was Standard’s goalkeeper Sinan Bolat who headed home to gain the ‘Liegeois’ a precious point and a place in the Europa League.