Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Europe: L’OM through to final; Real defeat Atleti; Cups Review

Posted in European Football, UK Football by peterbein on January 21, 2011

There’s been plenty more action in European domestic cup competitions this week including the French League Cup semi-finals, Coppa Italia, English and Scottish FA Cup replays as well as the completion of the German Cup 3rd round following the postponement of two games in December due to bad weather. With further played in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey Stoppage Time reviews the best of the action.

Montpellier HSC and Olympique Marseille will contest the 17th Coupe de la Ligue final in April after chalking up respective victories over Paris Saint Germain and AJ Auxerre in the semi-finals. An Olivier Giroud goal in second half extra-time proved the difference as Montpellier reached the tournament showpiece. Marseille, the defending champions, reached consecutive finals having put AJ Auxerre to the sword with a 2-0 win with goals from Brandao and Gignac.

The Derby della Capitale took centre stage in the Coppa Italia as AS Roma and SS Lazio faced off in another typically feisty derby match. A goal from Simplicio in the 77th minute gave AS Roma the win after both teams had scored from the penalty spot early in the second half. Napoli sealed their place on Tuesday with a 2-1 home win against Bologna whilst Wednesday saw Sampdoria go through via a penalty shoot out at home to Udinese. The one game on Thursday night witnessed an easy win for AC Milan over AS Bari with the San Siro side going through 3-0 thanks to goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexander Merkel and Robinho.

Copa del Rey holders Sevilla FC became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals on Tuesday defeating Villarreal 3-0 in the second leg of their quarter-final tie, going through 6-3 on aggregate. Goals from Renato, Freddie Kanoute and Alexis gave the Andalucians a semi-final tie against Real Madrid who recorded a 1-0 victory on Thursday over local rivals Atletico Madrid. Second division Real Betis made a brave attempt to claw back a five goal deficit against record holders FC Barcelona but, in the end, the Catalans went through 6-3 on aggregate despite losing the second leg 3-1. Barcelona look forward to a meeting with Almeria who disposed of Deportivo 4-2 on aggregate.

There were replays in England’s FA Cup with Premier League teams getting the better of lower league opponents. The biggest game saw eleven times winners Arsenal FC defeat Leeds United 3-1 at the latter’s Elland Road stadium on Wednesday thanks to Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna and Robin van Persie. On Tuesday there were wins for Manchester City (4-2 v Leicester City), Wolverhampton Wanderers (5-0 v Doncaster Rovers) and Stoke City (2-0 v Cardiff City) giving the top-flight plenty of representation in the oncoming 5th round.

In the Scottish Cup there was a big shock on Tuesday as third tier Ayr United got the better of SPL side Hibernian FC by a Mark Roberts goal to nil piling the pressure on the Easter Road side who have not enjoyed a good season. Dundee United ultimately got the better of second tier Ross County winning 4-3 in a penalty shoot out in a repeat of the 2010 Scottish Cup final. There were also wins for Dunfermline Athletic (5-3 v Montrose), St Mirren (6-1 v Peterhead) and Partick Thistle (1-0 v Falkirk FC) whilst drawn matches involving Stenhousemuir/Stranraer (0-0) and Greenock Morton/Airdrie United (2-2) will have to be replayed at a later date.

Tuesday saw the completion of the Round of 16 in the KNVB Beker with wins for Eredivisie sides Groningen FC, RKC Waalwijk, NAC Breda and VV Noordwijk. They saw off determined opponents in the form of SC Genemuden, Achilles 29 Groesbeek, Telstar Velsen and Sparta Nijkerk respectively.

There were just two matches to play in the Round of 16 in Germany’s DFB Pokal with top flight sides securing wins over lower league opposition in games postponed from before Christmas due to bad weather. Srdjan Lakic was the hero for 1.FC Kaiserslautern scoring a hat-trick in his club’s 4-1 win over TuS Koblenz whilst a brace for Timmy Simons sealed progress for 2007 cup winners 1.FC Nurnberg in their 2-0 victory against 3. Liga side Kickers Offenbach.

Two matches were played in the group stage of the Turkiye Kupasi, one of which saw Galatasaray secure their passage to the quarter-final stages following a goalless draw away at Antalyaspor in their roup A encounter. In Group C capital club Ankaragucu still have a chance of progressing to the last eight following a Monday night 1-1 draw at home to Bucaspor. The visitors have now completed their group campaign and currently lie in second place but a win for Ankaragucu in their final match against Yeni Malatyaspor will see them take Bucaspor’s spot.

The Kypello Elladas saw the quarter-final first legs played out, amongst the four ties were two of the Greek games classic fixtures. Defending cup holders Panathinaikos fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of capital rivals AEK Athens whilst record cup winners Olympiakos Piraeus could only draw a north/south grudge match 1-1 against PAOK Thessaloniki. Olympiakos Volou have one foot in the semi-final draw having won 2-0 away at AO Kerkyra whilst on Thursday Atromitos got the better of Diagoras Rhodes FC by a similar scoreline.

In Portugal’s Taça da Liga the group stages are in full swing with two rounds of games completed in each of the four third-round groups which will determine who this year’s semi-finalists will be. Group A is led by Nacional who hold a three point advantage over FC Porto after beating Gil Vicente 4-1 on Wednesday. Two-time winners SL Benfica, Paços de Ferreira and Sporting top groups B, C and D respectively.

The Kypello Kyprou on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus saw the conclusion of three of the eight Round of 16 ties this week with the stand-out fixture between Apollon Limassol and APOEL Nicosia with the former winning 3-1 on aggregate following a 2-0 home success on Wednesday. There were also wins for Ethnikos Achnas and AEK Larnaca with respective wins over Ermis Aradippou and Doxa Katakopias.

Europe: Big names fall and nine goal routs; domestic cup round-up

Posted in European Football by peterbein on October 28, 2010
Belgian Cup

Who will win the 2010-11 Belgian Cup?

Many of European football’s domestic knockout competitions were in action over the last few days and there has been plenty of shocks, goals and action along the way. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the most significant action from across Europe.

BELGIUM: Defending title holders KAA Gent comfortably got through their Round of 32 tie against KVK Tienen. Among the goals was Tim Smolders scoring twice as Gent strolled to a 4-1 victory. RSC Anderlecht, in contrast, were made to work hard against third division side URS de Centre progressing 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 draw after extra-time. Club Brugge, Standard Liege and current league leaders Racing Genk are some of the big clubs who progress following a Round of 32 largely devoid of shocks.

CROATIA: The biggest shock in Croatia came in Split where the defending cup holders Hajduk were defeated at home by NK Istra 1961 at the Round of 16 stage. With the game goalless after 90 minutes Emir Hadžić scored the only goal of the game and shocked the home side who now go out of the tournament. It was plain sailing for Hajduk’s arch-rivals Dinamo Zagreb who scored both of their goals in a 2-0 away win at NK Karlovac before the half-hour mark.

DENMARK: League leaders FC København were roundly defeated at home by AC Horsens in the biggest shock in the Round of 16. Four different players were on the score sheet for the visitors who silenced the home crowd, coming away with a 4-2 win at the Parken. On Thursday 2009-10 cup winners FC Nordsjælland had to make the tough trip to Odense and emerged as 3-2 winners whilst in the other all-Superliga clash Esbjerg fB defeated Silkeborg IF by two goals to nil with both strikes coming in the first half.

ENGLAND: The big boys had it their way again in the English League Cup Round of 16. Title holders Manchester United, looking for a third consecutive win in this competition, finally scrapped to a 3-2 win at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers while Arsenal FC made easier work of Newcastle United who succumbed to a 4-0 home defeat. Aston Villa needed thirty extra minutes to see off second tier Burnley FC with a 2-1 win and Birmingham City needed the lottery of a penalty shoot-out to defeat Everton’s conquerors Brentford F.C.

FRANCE: The Coupe de la Ligue witnessed two big games which resulted in knockouts for Olympique Lyonnais and Girondins de Bordeaux at the hands of Paris Saint Germain and Saint-Étienne respectively. AS Monaco had to fight all the way at home to Lorient eventually going through by virtue of penalties whilst they will meet defending champions Olympique Marseille team in the next round after l’OM toughed out a 1-0 victory away at EA Guingamp.

GERMANY: As ever in Germany the cup saw plenty of amazing goals and shocks. DFB-Pokal holders FC Bayern München scraped their way past Werder Bremen with the most successful side in German Cup history winning 2-1 over the second most successful thanks mainly to the efforts of Bastien Schweinsteiger. Eintracht Frankfurt thrashed Hamburger SV by 5-2  to qualify for the Round of 16 whilst the big shocks happened in Aachen and Offenbach after those cities’ respective teams Alemania and Kickers knocked out the top two from the top flight. 1.FSV Mainz 05 lost 2-1 away in Aachen and Borussia Dortmund, who had high hopes for this competition, went down to a penalty shoot-out loss in Offenbach following a goalless 120 minutes of football.

ITALY: Not too many of the big boys enter the Coppa Italia at the Round of 32 stage but those who did play this week had plenty to smile about. Current Serie A leaders SS Lazio had an easy 3-0 home win against Portogruaro Summaga while Udinese thrashed Padova Calcio by four goals to nil. It was a bit tougher for the likes of AC Fiorentina and Genoa FC as they needed extra-time to see off Empoli FC and US Grosseto respectively. The likes of AC Milan, Juventus FC and defending title holders Internazionale FC enter in the next round.

Polish Cup

Who will win the 2010-11 Polish Cup?

POLAND: Jagiellonia Białystok, 2009-10 cup winners, sealed their passage through the Puchar Polski Round of 16 stage after a narrow 1-0 away win at Korona Kielce with Maciej Makuszewski scoring the only goal of the game. League champions KKS Lech Poznań defeated KS Cracovia 4-1 whilst Cracovia’s eternal enemies Wisła Kraków scraped a 1-0 home win in the 87th minute against Widzew Łódź thanks to Maciej Żurawski. Capital side Legia Warsaw sealed a 2-1 win away at Śląsk Wrocław whose season goes from bad to worse. Lechia Gdańsk and Ruch Chorzów needed penalty kicks in order to qualify against ŁKS Łódź and OKS 1945 Olsztyn respectively.

ROMANIA: CFR Cluj-Napoca, winners of the Cupa Romaniei for the last three years, sealed their passage through to the Round of 16 with a 2-0 home win against Târgu Mureş to keep up their great recent record in this competition. Record title holders Steaua Bucharest are also through thanks to holding thier nerve in 3-1 a penalty shoot-out win over FC Sportul Studenţesc. Unirea Urziceni, however, went out as a Bruno Moraes goal was enough to seal Gloria Bistriţa’s place in the next round. FC Timişoara, Dinamo Bucharest and FC Brașov are amongst some of the other clubs that have made it through.

SCOTLAND: Same old story in Scotland’s CIS League Cup competition as Glasgow giants Celtic and Rangers kept up their dominance by progressing past this week’s quarter-final matches. Celtic, though, very nearly blew it after taking a three goal lead after 13 minutes allowing their hosts St. Johnstone to reduce the deficit to 3-2 but the Bhoys ultimately went through. Rangers, fresh from their Old Firm league victory three days earlier, were far from their best against Kilmarnock but still went through to the last four with a 2-0 win. Aberdeen FC and Motherwell FC make up the quartet of teams remaining as they knocked out Falkirk FC and Dundee United FC respectively.

SPAIN: Real Madrid CF are used to shocks in the Copa del Rey in recent years and they very nearly faultered again but their Round of 32, 1st leg match against Real Murcia ended goalless. Record Copa holders FC Barcelona made a good start defeating Ceuta 2-0 whilst current holders Sevilla FC easily disposed of Real Unión 4-0, a scoreline bettered by last season’s losing finalists Atlético de Madrid who put five past a hapless Las Palmas side. Athletic Bilbao hold a narrow 1-0 advantage over Alcorcon, the team who knocked Real Madrid out of last season’s Copa.

SWEDEN: The Svenska Cupen saw two eventful semi-finals this week. On Wednesday second division Hammerby IF blew a 2-0 lead in normal time but were able to go through after a pulsating 4-3 penalty shoot-out win over Allsvenskan side Kalmar. Thursday night saw Helsingborgs IF beat Mjällby AIF by two goals to nil and book their place alongside Hammerby in the final to be played on November 13th.

Turkish Cup

Who will win the 2010-11 Turkish Cup?

TURKEY: Türkiye Kupasi Play-Offs having taken place this week with the winners of each of the sixteen ties joining defending champions Trabzonspor and the top three teams in last season’s league championship, namely Bursaspor,Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray in the group phase. Beşiktaş sealed their place on Thursday with a 3-0 victory over Mersin İdmanyurdu with Guti and Bobô (2) grabbing the goals during the extra-time period. Sivasspor’s season went from bad to worse following their 2-1 home defeat by Manisaspor.

UKRAINE: Kubok Ukrainy Round of 16 saw the Big Two of Ukrainian football cement their places in the next round of the comeptition. Shakhtar Donetsk saw off the challenge of lower league FC Poltava with a 2-0 scoreline whilst Dynamo Kyiv also booked their spot with a 2-1 defeat of fellow Premier League club PFC Sevastopol. FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, who knocked out last season’s winners Tavriya Simferopol in the previous round, gave recently appointed coach Juande Ramos something to smile about with a 3-0 away win at Kremin Kremenchuk whilst Karpaty Lviv got the better of surprise 2008-09 cup winners Vorskla Poltava with a 3-0 win in front of their home fans.

WALES: The biggest score in Europe came in the Welsh Premier League Cup semi-final 1st legs with The New Saints, looking for a third consecutive title, thrashing Bangor City by a massive nine goals to nil. Bangor City, who have a perfect 100% record after eleven matches in the Welsh Premier League, fielded a weakened side and TNS made them pay with Jamie Wood scoring a hat-trick and two players, Scott Ruscoe and Alex Darlington bagging a brace each. The other semi-final, 1st leg tie was a much tighter affair with Llanelli AFC gaining a 1-0 win away at Aberystwyth with Stuart Jones getting on the score sheet.

League Cup gets serious in England, Scotland and France

Posted in European Football, UK Football by peterbein on September 20, 2010
Manchester United

Manchester United won their fourth League Cup last season

The League Cup sometimes gets a bad press but, if anything, it can usually provide more shocks and more thrilling football than its more glamourous counterpart. This is certainly the case in the English version which has been won by Manchester United in each of the last two seasons. The competition is also taken seriously in Scotland despite the winners not being rewarded with a European place but it still gives a chance for smaller teams to win something ahead of the Old Firm. The French Coupe de la Ligue is now in its 17th season and is a tournament that rivals the Coupe de France for intrigue and occasion. All three tournaments have reached the third round stage and Stoppage Time – International Football Blog previews the action.

ENGLAND

Manchester United are hoping to win this tournament for a third consecutive time, a feat which hasn’t been done since Liverpool completed a four in a row from 1981-84. They, along with all of the English teams involved in European competition, enter the competition at the third round stage and for the Red Devils it’s expected to be a procession through to the next round with a game away at Championship (2nd tier) side Scunthorpe United. The tie of the round, without any doubt, is the North London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC with Gunners coach Arsène Wenger expected to play a youthful team whilst Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has a bigger squad to choose from. Including the Spurs v Arsenal game there are six all-Premier League ties in this round including Newcastle United’s visit to Premier League champions Chelsea FC, Aston Villa meet Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City playing away at West Bromwich Albion whilst. In the “potential banana skin” stakes the biggest upset would c0me at Anfield if record seven time holders Liverpool FC were to be knocked out by League Two (4th tier) outfit Northampton Town. Here is the full third round draw below:

ENGLISH LEAGUE CUP 3RD ROUND DRAW

Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers

Birmingham City v Milton Keynes Dons

Brentford v Everton FC

Burnley v Bolton Wanderers

Chelsea FC v Newcastle United

Liverpool FC v Northampton Town

Millwall v Ipswich Town

Peterborough United v Swansea City

Portsmouth v Leicester City

Scunthorpe United v Manchester United

Stoke City v Fulham FC

Sunderland v West Ham United

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City

Wigan Athletic v Preston North End

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Notts County

Glasgow Rangers

Glasgow Rangers won the CIS Scottish League Cup last season

SCOTLAND

Glasgow Rangers extended their record in this competition to 26 title wins in 2009-10 with a last-gasp 84th minute winner from Kenny Miller to give the Gers a 1-0 win over St Mirren. The cup holders are expected to go through to the next stage having got a home tie against Dunfermline Athletic whilst for Old Firm rivals Glasgow Celtic it’s the potential reliving of a nightmare in their home tie against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. A Scottish Cup match involving the same two sides in the 1999-2000 season saw the now famous newspaper headline “Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious” after the Hoops lost 3-1 at home to Caley which ended up being the last game in John Barnes’ short reign at the club. Another top tie in this round is the repeat of last season’s Scottish Cup final between Ross County and Dundee United (click on the Away Days section to read Stoppage Time’s report from that match) in which the home side from the tiny village of Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands will hope to gain revenge on the Arabs for ruining their cup dreams at the end of last season. Here is the draw in full:

SCOTTISH LEAGUE CUP 3RD ROUND DRAW

Aberdeen FC v Raith Rovers

Brechin FC v Motherwell FC

Falkirk v Heart of Midlothian

Glasgow Celtic v Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Glasgow Rangers v Dunfermline Athletic

Kilmarnock v Hibernian FC

Ross County v Dundee United

St Johnstone v Queen of the South

FRANCE

Unlike in England and Scotland the French League Cup doesn’t include those teams that have qualified for European competition until the fourth round stage but that shouldn’t detract from what is still an interesting draw. Girondins de Bordeaux, last season’s losing finalists and joint record title holders having won it three times, enter the competition at this stage with a tricky tie away at AS Nancy who will hope to repeat their 2006 triumph in this tournament. Current league leaders Saint-Étienne have never won this competition and will hope to go one step closer to a maiden triumph against the team who lost to AS Nancy in the 2006 final, namely OGC Nice. AS Monaco, winners in 2003, have a home tie against two-time winners RC Lens whilst the fixture with the most potential for an upset involves Nîmes Olympique, 15th in Ligue 2, taking on Valenciennes who, although lie in 14th in Ligue 1, are just a mere six points behind league leaders Saint-Étienne. Here is the full draw:

COUPE DE LA LIGUE 3RD ROUND DRAW

AC Ajaccio v Le Havre

Arles-Avignon v Caen

Boulogne v Toulouse

En Avant de Guingamp v Stade Rennais

Lorient v Stade Brestois

AS Monaco v RC Lens

AS Nancy v Girondins de Bordeaux

Nîmes Olympique v Valenciennes

Saint-Étienne v OGC Nice

Sochaux-Montbéliard v SC Bastia

Olympique Marseille

Olympique Marseille beat Girondins Bordeaux to lift the 2010 Coupe de la Ligue