Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Goals fly in as ‘Serie A’ is back with a bang

Posted in European Football by peterbein on January 7, 2010
Marco Borriello

Marco Borriello scored twice in a 5-2 rout of former club Genoa

Thirty-three goals were scored in nine games upon the resumption of Italy’s Serie A yesterday. The big three of Inter, AC Milan and Juventus all secured three points as they tightened their grip on the top three places in the table. Napoli overtook southern neighbours AS Roma into fourth place whilst at the bottom of the table Siena were heavily defeated and relegation threatened Bologna and Atalanta fared no better.

Champions Inter (42 points from 18 games) got the ball rolling with an early kick-off away in Verona against mid-table Chievo. An early goal from Mario Balotelli was enough to seperate the sides as Inter temporarily increased their lead at the top to eleven points before the day’s other games began. Juventus (33 points, 18 games) kept up the chase as they scrapped to a 2-1 win away at Parma. The ‘Old Lady’ took the lead after just three minutes through a Hasan Salihamidzic header but Parma equalised mid-way through the first half courtesy of a Juve old boy Nicola Amoruso. Parma were unfortunate to concede an own goal though six minutes before the break as Paolo Castellini put through his own net. Juventus held on to the lead during the second half despite having Martin Cáceres sent off for a second bookable offence on 73 minutes. In the late kick-off at the San Siro stadium AC Milan’s Marco Borriello (pictured) overshadowed the returning David Beckham by scoring twice in a 5-2 win against his former club Genoa. Things initially seemed to go against the ‘Rossoneri’ (red and blacks) as an early Ronaldinho penalty save was compounded further by Giuseppe Sculli giving Genoa the lead after 25 minutes. Despite the early setbacks Milan (34 points, 17 games) upped the pace and were rewarded by Ronaldinho tucking away a second penalty followed by a Thiago Silva strike to give Milan a 2-1 lead at the break. The game was over as a contest eary in the second half as Borriello scored his two goals before the hour mark and his replacement as substitute Klass-Jan Huntelaar converted the game’s third penalty before David Suazo scored a consolation strike late on for Genoa reducing the arrears to 5-2.

In the rest of the league Napoli climbed up to fourth in the table as they beat struggling Atalanta 2-0 thanks to goals from Fabio Quagliarella and Michele Pazienza. Alberto Gilardino scored twice as AC Fiorentina crushed bottom side Siena (12 points from 18 games) 5-1 in the Tuscan derby. Sergio Flocaari also bagged a brace as Lazio easily overcame Livorno 4-1 while their local rivals AS Roma let slip a 2-0 lead in stoppage time as Lopez and Daniele Conti scored the goals that gave Cagliari a 2-2 draw and an unlikely point. Catania beat Bologna 1-0 thanks to a late Nicolas Spolli goal which now has Bologna looking over their shoulder at Catania who are just a point behind them in 18th place. Bari beat Udinese 2-0 while Sampdoria and Palermo shared the spoils after a 1-1 draw in Genoa.

UEFA Europa League groups Round-Up: Part Two

Posted in European Football by peterbein on December 19, 2009
BATE Borisov fans

Fans of BATE Borisov taunt their opponents Everton on Matchday 2. Everton, however, had the last laugh winning 2-1.

In the second half of our UEFA Europa League group stage round-up “Stoppage Time” looks at the groups that concluded on Thursday, December 17th:

GROUP A (RSC ANDERLECHT, AJAX AMSTERDAM, DINAMO ZAGREB, FC TIMISOARA)

Blessed with years of European experience and tradition, Benelux neighbours Ajax Amsterdam and RSC Anderlecht of Brussels easily negotiated their way through this group. Their Matchday 6 match in Amsterdam still had some importance, though, as Anderlecht’s 3-1 win meant that they topped the group on account of a better head-to-head record over their Dutch challengers, both teams finishing on eleven points. Dinamo Zagreb were optimistic of further progress earlier in the competition as they had three points from two matches but they failed to build on their good start. Champions League Play-Off losers FC Timisoara scored a respectable five points on their maiden Europa League campaign but still finished fourth in the group table.

GROUP B (VALENCIA CF, LILLE, GENOA FC, SLAVIA PRAGUE)

Valencia secured qualification and the top spot on Matchday 6. They went into their game away at Genoa needing only a point to be certain of going through to the last 32 whilst hosts Genoa needed all three points to finish at least second. With the game tied at 1-1 in stoppage time, David Villa was gifted the ball from Genoa goalkeeper Alessio Scarpi to secure the victory in the 94th mnute. Elsewhere Lille’s 3-1 win at home to Slavia Prague ensured that they finished second, two points behind the leaders. Slavia, who have dominated the Czech league in the last two seasons, have been struggling domestically this season and this form was transferred into Europe as they remained without a victory after six games.

GROUP C (HAPOEL TEL AVIV, HAMBURGER SV, GLASGOW CELTIC, RAPID VIENNA)

Israeli side Hapoel were the surprise winners of this group finishing two points ahead of German giants Hamburg. Their Matchday 6 encounter in Tel Aviv ended as a 1-0 win for the hosts and it was they who leapfrogged “HSV” into first place. The biggest disappointment of the group were Scottish club Celtic who were unable to re-create their many great European nights under new coach Tony Mowbray. Among the highlights of the group were the encounters involving Celtic and Austrians Rapid Vienna, whose little known rivalry dates back to a controversial European Cup Winners’ Cup second round match in 1984-85. Both games ended drawn but the Matchday 6 encounter would’ve felt like a win for the Glasgow giants as they came back from 3-0 down after 18 minutes to draw 3-3 with virtually the last kick of the game and demote their Austrian hosts to last place.

GROUP G (RED BULL SALZBURG, VILLARREAL CF, SS LAZIO, LEVSKI SOFIA)

The only team who finished their campaign with a 100% record was Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg suggesting that they could be a good outside bet to go far in the competition. Huub Stevens’ men beat all challengers home and away to finish a clear nine points ahead of second place Villarreal. Italian capital side Lazio frustrated their followers as they could only win two of their six games and finished three points behind the little Spanish village team. Bulgarians Levski Sofia fared little better than their local rivals CSKA (see previous blog) finishing bottom with three points.

GROUP H (FENERBAHCE, FC TWENTE ENSCHEDE, STEAUA BUCHAREST, FC SHERIFF TIRASPOL)

Steve McClaren’s FC Twente were looking comfortable after two games but then nearly blew their qualifications chances. After Turkish side Fenerbahce secured the leadership of the group, FC Twente were relying on them to do them a favour on Matchday 6. Twente needed a win away at 1986 European champions Steaua Bucharest but could only manage a 1-1 draw in very cold, frosty conditions played in front of a sparse crowd. However the surprise team FC Sheriff from Moldova had to win against the already-qualified “Fener” to grab the second spot but the Turkish team did McClaren’s a favour beating the Moldovans 1-0.

GROUP I (SL BENFICA, EVERTON FC, BATE BORISOV, AEK ATHENS)

No surprises in group I were Benfica and Everton went through to the Round of 32 with one match to spare. Benfica, in particular, showed their class in their two matches with nearest challengers Everton scoring seven goals without reply in their two games (5-0 at home and 2-0 away). The Merseysiders, however, did progress thanks to three wins out of four against their eastern European opponents, the only defeat coming on Matchday 6 at home to Belarussian champions BATE Borisov but Everton were already through to the next round and played a very young team on the night. Benfica finished top with 15 points (only a shock defeat away at a very poor AEK Athens denied them a 100% record), Everton scored nine points, BATE avoided the wooden spoon scoring seven points compared to AEK’s four points.