Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Denmark: European hopefuls gain confidence with domestic wins

Posted in European Football by peterbein on August 20, 2011
Cesar Santin

César Santin scored FC København's winning goal against AC Horsens on Saturday

Denmark’s two representatives in the UEFA Champions League, FK København and Odense Boldklub, have warmed up for their respective second leg ties against Viktoria Plzeň and Villarreal CF with crucial wins in their domestic Superliga championship.

Defending champions FK København (6 games, 16 points) had a tough tie away at AC Horsens who were unbeaten prior to kicking off today’s match. However a penalty on the stroke of half-time from César Santin gave the capital side a narrow 1-0 win and the three points which maintains FCK’s unbeaten start to the new season. The win was crucial in order to give the team a much needed confidence boost ahead of their trip to the Czech Republic on Wednesday especially with Viktoria Plzeň also winning today in a 4-2 away win at Dukla Prague in the Czech Gambrinus Liga. FK København lost their Champions League play-off first leg at home to the Czechs 3-1 and have a mountain to climb in order to qualify for the group stages.

Odense Boldklub had a slightly easier affair at home to Lyngby Boldklub with the hosts emerging victorious 3-1 and the game as good as over at half-time. Chris Sørensen, Kalilou Traoré and Bernard Mendy scored Odense’s three goals by half-time with Lyngby’s Macedonian forward Bajram Fetai scoring his team’s consolation goal from the penalty spot in the 78th minute. The win for Odense means that they lie second in the table and five points behind the league leaders but they could be displaced if Aalborg BK win their Monday night game away at fifth place SønderjyskE. Odense’s Champions League play-off opponents Villarreal CF, who lost their opening leg last week in Denmark 1-0, were scheduled to begin their La Liga campaign this weekend at home to Sporting Gijon but all of the opening games in Spain were postponed due to the ongoing players’ strike over unpaid wages.

Scandinavia: FCK set the pace; summer champs round-up

Posted in European Football by peterbein on August 10, 2011
Roland Nilsson

Roland Nilsson has got Danish champions FC København off to a good start

Things already have a familiar look about them after just four matches in Denmark’s Superligaen whilst the summer championships of Norway, Sweden and Finland are starting to get interesting as they reach the final third of the season.

Any hope amongst the rest of the Superliga clubs that FK København would loosen their grip on the title early on will not have been helped by the champions’ unbeaten start to the new campaign. Following Ståle Solbakken’s departure for German Bundesliga club 1.FC Köln, new coach Roland Nilsson has had an encouraging start to life at the capital club. Following an opening day win against SønderjyskE, FCK drew with potential title contenders Odense Boldklub in their first home match of the season before putting FC Nordsjælland and HB Køge to the sword with back-to-back victories. The champions lead the table with ten points from their opening four matches but last season’s runners-up Odense Boldklub are amongst three clubs to be just two points behind the leaders along with AaB Aalborg, the last team to deprive FCK of the title in 2007-08, and AC Horsens.

Norwegian champions Rosenborg Trondheim have had an up-and-down kind of season in the Tippeligaen this time around and currently lie in eighth place twelve points behind leaders Molde FK albeit with two games in hand. The champions defeated the league leaders 3-2 in the most recent round of matches but any hopes of a comeback seem to be a little far-fetched at the moment. Molde FK lead the way with 38 points from 19 games with coach and former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær doing well in his first full season in the dugout. Molde are closely followed by Brann Bergen (33 points) and Tromsø IL (32 points).

The Swedish Allsvenskan has become a two-horse race in recent weeks with Helsingborgs IF and IF Elfsborg pulling away from the chasing pack. Leaders Helsingborgs (45 points) currently hold a three point advantage over Elfsborg with both clubs enjoying good form with the former unbeaten since May and the latter June. With the two clubs due to meet in Elfsborg’s Borås Arena on September 21st it would set the title race up nicely if both of these teams were still making all of the running at that time.

In contrast the Finnish Veikkausliiga looks set to be heading its way to the capital yet again with defending champions HJK Helsinki topping the table with a nine point lead over Inter Turku although the former do have a game in hand. Both of the top two have lost three league matches so far but the difference in quality is in HJK’s ability to finish teams off consistently with the Helsinki giants failing to draw a single game all season, winning sixteen of their nineteen games thus far.

Scandinavia: Big names top the table in Sweden, Norway, Denmark

Posted in European Football by peterbein on September 20, 2010
Markus Henriksen

Markus Henriksen's brace secured a 3-2 win for Rosenborg at the weekend.

Malmö FF, Rosenborg Trondheim and FC København top the table in Sweden, Norway and Denmark respectively with the first two of those championships approaching the business end of the season whilst the Danish League is now firmly in its stride nine games into the new season. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reports.

The New Firm derby took place in Copenhagen on Sunday afternoon with Danish champions FC København maintaining their lead at the top of the standings after a 2-0 win over third place Brøndby IF. César Santin scored twice for the Løverne (Lions) as FCK’s defence of the title goes from strength to strength as the club remain unbeaten after nine games with a 7-2-0 record. Their nearest challengers at the moment are FC Midtjylland whose 2-0 victory away to SønderjyskE ensured that the club from the Danish mainland remain four points behind FCK. Odense Boldklub have disappointed so far this season and their latest setback came at the hands of bottom club Silkeborg on Sunday losing 3-1 away from home. Although OB currently lie in fourth place at the present time they are only four points ahead of the team who lie rooted to the bottom in twelfth place in what is a tightly bunch group of teams outside the top three.

The Swedish Allsvenskan is getting really tight and Monday night’s events certainly have added to the tension in the title race with just six rounds of matches to go. Record champions Malmö FF are hoping to win their first championship in six years and they were in action along with fellow title challengers Helsingborg who were just three points behind going into Matchday 24. Malmö FF were away at capital club Djurgårdens whilst Helsingborg faced a difficult task against sixth place Mjällby. Kennedy Igboananike scored the only goal of the game for Djurgårdens as the league leaders went down to their fourth defeat of the season. Helsingborgs, on the other hand, claimed a 2-1 home victory with Alexander Gerndt’s two first half goals proving priceless as Mjällby made a fight of it ’til the end and were rewarded with a stoppage time consolation goal from Patrik Rosengren. Both of the top two now have 52 points as the season enters the final stretch.

Sunday saw a clash of the titans in Norway’s Eliteserien as league leaders Rosenborg faced up to a tough away trip at arch-rivals Brann Bergen. With nearest challengers Vålerenga closing the gap on Saturday afternoon to five points after a thrilling 4-3 away win at Viking Stavanger it was imperative for Rosenborg to win in order to preserve a handsome lead in the pursuit of a record extending 22nd championship crown. Markus Henriksen proved to be the star of the show for Rosenborg as his 88th minute winning goal was the difference between the two sides in a five goal thriller, the defending champions coming through with a 3-2 away win. The three points gained increased Rosenborg’s lead to eight overall and was arguably the most vital step so far towards claiming yet another championship.

Europe: Honours won at the start of the business end of season (+video)

Posted in European Football by peterbein on May 6, 2010
Coppa Italia

Internazionale secured the first part of a possible treble when beating AS Roma in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday

May is the month when most of Europe’s domestic championships and cup competitions are handed out. With this week signifying the business end of the season “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” looks at some of the titles that have been won in Europe in the last few days.

Internazionale FC are hoping to win a treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League under charismatic coach Jose Mourinho this season and the Nerazzurri achieved the first part of potential history by beating AS Roma 1-0 in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday. Argentine striker Diego Milito scored the only goal after 39 minutes to give his club a psychological edge over the Roman side who are Inter’s only challengers with two games to go in the Italian championship. Check out the goal and the coach’s understated celebration to it here:

In other showpiece cup finals throughout Europe Trabzonspor secured their first domestic honour since 2004 when winning the Turkish Cup against favourites Fenerbahçe on Wednesday. “Fener”, who currently lead the way in the Turkish Süper Lig, took the lead ten minutes into the second half with a goal from Brazilian attacking midfielder Alex but Trabzonspor came back in fine style scoring three times in the last twenty five minutes. Umut restored parity after 66 minutes and Engin gave them the lead with ten minutes to go. Gustavo Colman secured the victory four minutes into stoppage time to send the Trabzonspor fans into ecstasy. In Croatia Hajduk Split strolled to victory over two legs in the Croatian Cup final against HNK Šibenik winning 4-1 on aggregate. Hajduk had narrowly won 2-1 in the first leg but made things easier for themselves in the return fixture with goals from Ante Vukušić and Senijad Ibričić to give Hajduk their fifth cup success in post-independence Croatia. Next door in Serbia Crvena Zvezda secured the first part of a possible double when defeating Vojvodina Novi Sad 3-0 in Partizan Stadium, Belgrade. Goals from Aleksandar Jevtić, Kadu and Miloš Trifunović gave the Red Star an easy win and they will hope to overturn arch-rivals Partizan in the league with three games remaining.

In Bulgaria PFC Beroe Stara Zagora secured their maiden triumph in the domestic cup thanks to a stoppage time winner from Doncho Atanasov in their 1-0 victory over Chernomorets Pomorie. On Thursday night the Dutch Cup final was won overwhelmingly by Ajax Amsterdam who have gone a little way towards making up for their narrow defeat in the Eredivisie title race to FC Twente by heavily beating their arch-rivals Feyenoord Rotterdam. Normally the Dutch Cup final is a one leg affair played at Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium but was switched to a two-legged contest with no away fans allowed in either game due to the volatile nature of this fixture. In any case Martin Jol saw his Ajax team win comfortably with a 6-1 aggregate win with the first leg a fortnight ago finishing 2-0 and the return game in Rotterdam ending up 4-1. Watch the goals from the second leg here:

Three league championship titles were also decided on Wednesday with success being honoured in France, Denmark and Ukraine. Olympique Marseille, who had gone 17 years without success before this season, added the league championship trophy to their Coupe de la Ligue triumph from earlier in the season. A 3-1 home win against Stade Rennais gave l’OM an eight point cushion at the top of the table with two games to play. Gabriel Heinze got the ball rolling after just four minutes with a free-kick driven low into the bottom corner but the visitors were hoping to spoil the party and duly equalized eight minutes before the break thanks to a Jimmy Briand header. Captain Mamadou Niang restored the lead for Marseille with fifteen minutes remaining. Just sixty seconds later the title was secure when Lucho González’s long-range strike gave Olympique Marseille a 3-1 win and an insurmountable lead in Ligue 1. In Denmark FC København won their eighth SAS Superliga since their formation in 1992 with an easy 4-0 win away at bottom club HB Køge to increase their lead over second place Odense Boldklub to twelve points with three matches remaining. Finally Shakhtar Donetsk won their fifth Ukrainian Premier League title when defeating nearest challengers Dynamo Kyiv 1-0 at home thanks to Ilsinho’s 15th minute strike. The victory has given the Miners a six point lead with one match to play. See the winning goal here:

Europe: Easter Round-Up

Posted in European Football by peterbein on April 4, 2010
Maik Franz

Maik Franz scored the winning goal for Eintracht Frankfurt in their 3-2 home win over title-chasing Bayer Leverkusen

The European football scene is being kept on edge with many of the major leagues potentially going all the way in the hunt for the various national championships across the continent. “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” reviews the Easter weekend.

FC Bayern München went into the 29th Matchday of the German Bundesliga two points behind their opponents Schalke 04 in the table but had beaten the Gelsenkirchen side in the DFB Pokal (German Cup) semi-finals recently and were determined to repeat the winning feeling. After a tight opening period the match came to life in the 25th minute when Franck Ribéry shot from distance to give Bayern the lead which was doubled only a minute later with Bayern taking advantage of some terrible defending from Rafinha allowing youngster Thomas Müller to shoot home from close-range. The league’s top scorer Kevin Kuranyi pulled one back for Schalke 04 but, try as they might, they couldn’t find an equalizer against a Bayern team playing most of the game with ten men after Hamit Altintop was sent-off just before half-time.

In the other game affecting Germany’s title race Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s chances of championship success were reduced further having lost four of their last five games. The latest setback came against an Eintracht Frankfurt side who are serious contenders for a UEFA Europa League spot after a thrilling 3-2 win over the title chasers. After Selim Teber had given Eintracht the lead from the penalty spot after 28 minutes it was Stefan Kießling who gave the visitors the lead with strikes on 33 and 46 minutes. But life is never dull in Frankfurt this season and die Adler (The Eagles) came back through an incredible long-range strike from Caio (62 mins) and an overhead kick from Maik Franz (pictured) two minutes from time to secure the three points for Eintracht who have now won their last three games whilst Bayer 04 Leverkusen now lie six points behind FC Bayern with five games to play.

In England’s Premier League the top two, Manchester United and Chelsea, faced-off at Old Trafford with the visitors seemingly unable to afford a defeat against the champions if they were to keep the title race going. United led the table by one point before the game but Chelsea were to emerge after it with a two point advantage after they became only the second team to beat United at Old Trafford in the Premier League this season with a 2-1 victory. Goals from Joe Cole and Didier Drogba, albeit a dubious one in the latter case, gave Chelsea a 2-0 lead before Federico Macheda pulled one back for the Red Devils with nine minutes left to play but there were to be no further goals and Chelsea emerged back on top of the table. Arsenal FC made hard work of their 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers with Arsène Wenger’s men scoring five minutes into second half stoppage time thanks to substitute Nicklas Bendtner allowing The Gunners to move back to within three points of Chelsea and one behind Manchester United in the table. With five matches remaining anything can happen in what is one of the most intriging title races in English football for many years.

All fixtures in Serie A were moved forward to Saturday as is traditional on Easter weekend in Italy. It was to be a good day for all the three title chasers, Internazionale FC, AS Roma, and AC Milan with each chalking up wins over Bologna, Bari and Cagliari respectively. Inter easily disposed of Bologna 3-0 thanks to goals from Thiago Motta (2) and Mario Balotelli to ensure that the Nerazzurri would remain on top for at least one week more. AS Roma had Mirko Vučinić to thank as he scored the only goal in the game away at Bari whose faint hopes at chasing a UEFA Europa League spot may just have faded with this defeat. AC Milan had a tough encounter on the island of Sardinia against a mid-table Cagliari side who were determined to make life difficult for the Rossoneri coming from behind twice in the first half before an unfortunate own goal from Davide Astori sealed the deal for AC Milan just before half-time. With six matches to play in Serie A and only three points between the top three sides this could also be an interesting year for Italian football.

FC Girondins de Bordeaux seem to be losing the plot in France’s Ligue 1 having gone down to another defeat on Saturday, this time losing 2-1 at home against AS Nancy. Youssouf Hadji and Issiar Dia secured the three points for Nancy as Bordeaux, whose solitary strike was scored by Fernando Cavenaghi, have now lost seven matches this season and have now been overtaken at the top of the standings although they do still have two games in hand. Olympique Lyonnais, who defeated FC Girondins in the Champions League earlier in the week, went top with a 2-1 away at Stade Rennais thanks to goals from Michel Bastos and Lisandro Lopez whilst Montpellier HSC also went above Bordeaux into second place having secured a point away at AS Monaco in a goalless stalemate. Olympique de Marseille, fresh from winning the Coupe de la Ligue final last weekend, moved into joint third with a 1-0 win at home to Racing Lens thanks to Brandão’s 22nd minute strike. On Sunday AJ Auxerre missed the chance to go outright top of the table when they mustered a 1-1 draw at home to Paris Saint Germain.

Real Madrid and FC Barcelona continue to set the pace in La Liga with both teams easily victorious in their Matchday 30 fixtures. FC Barcelona got the weekend off to a predictable start when disposing of the weak challenge of Athletic Bilbao by four goals to one. On Sunday Real Madrid, thanks once again to Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain, went back to the top of the table after a 2-0 away win against Racing Santander. In Denmark on Thursday the top of the table clash went the way of defending champions FC København who consolidated their lead at the top of the SAS Superligæn with a 2-0 home win over nearest challengers Odense Boldklub. Goals from Dame N’Doye and Jesper Grønkjær have allowed “FCK” to move further ahead of “OB” with a four point margin separating the two sides with nine matches left to play. There was also a big clash between the top two in Belgium where RSC Anderlecht and Club Brugge shared the goals and the points with their game in the Jupiler League championship play-off group finishing in a 2-2 draw. Les Mauves maintain their eight point lead over Club Brugge with seven matches left to go in the season. Things remained the same in the Netherlands with wins for all of the top three as FC Twente beat VVV Venlo 2-0, AFC Ajax Amsterdam squeaked past Den Haag 1-0 with a 93rd minute winner from Toby Alderweireld and PSV Eindhoven defeated Willem II Tilburg thanks to a late penalty from Balázs Dzsudzsák. With four games left FC Twente lead the table four points ahead of Ajax and a point further ahead of PSV Eindhoven.