Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Europe: Real Madrid and Barcelona seal final places in exciting cup week

Posted in European Football by peterbein on February 4, 2011
FCB - Real Madrid

FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet in the Copa del Rey final

The headlines over the last 24 hours have belonged mainly to the big two of Spanish football as Real Madrid and FC Barcelona marched on to the final of the Copa del Rey following victories against Sevilla FC and Almeria CF respectively. This means that the anticipation for Spanish football’s domestic knockout competition will reach fever pitch ahead of the clubs’ first meeting in a final of this tournament since 1990. But the Spanish Cup wasn’t the only knockout football going on in Europe this week as Stoppage Time reviews the latest from France, Portugal, Greece and Turkey.

The 2010-11 Copa Del Rey final is going to be yet another thrilling installment of El Clásico as record title holders FC Barcelona will face off against a Real Madrid side looking to win their first Copa for eighteen years. FC Barcelona’s passage into the final was never in doubt after the first leg finished 5-0 in favour of the Catalans and Wednesday’s return fixture in Almeria was merely a formality. Despite a banner in the crowd optimistically claiming that Almeria would beat their opponents 6-0, FC Barcelona didn’t let slip in a game they didn’t have to be at 100% to win. Goals from Adriano, Thiago and Ibrahim Afellay secured an impressive 3-0 win for an understrength Barceloan team who progressed 8-0 on aggregate. Things were a little more difficult for Real Madrid who had to negotiate their way through a semi-final against defending cup holders Sevilla FC. After a lone Karim Benzema strike was enough to separate the sides in the first leg, los Blancos left it late to seal the deal with Mesut Özil and loan signing Emmanuel Adebayor scoring in the last ten minutes to give Real Madrid a 3-0 aggregate win. The final of this year’s competition will be played in Seville on April 20th in what will be a much anticipated clash of the titans.

The Coupe de France is one of those competitions that seems to thrive on shocks and this year is no exception. Fifth tier outfit SO Chambéry are this year’s big talking point as they knocked out Ligue 1 side FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in the Round of 16 stage by two goals to one. Blast from the past Stade de Reims also made it through to the quarter-finals as the two-time European Cup finalists made it past Stade Rennais needing extra-time to go through 4-3 whilst second tier Le Mans made it past AS Nancy with a 2-0 win. Defending cup holders Paris Saint Germain, looking for a fourth title win in less than a decade, headed the list of top-flight clubs progressing to the last eight with a 4-1 away win at FC Martigues. Lille OSC needed a penalty shoot-out to get past Ligue 2 FC Nantes Atlantique whilst OGC Nice and FC Lorient scrapped their way through with victories over JA Drancy and FC Metz respectively. In the only all-Ligue 2 clash of the round Angers SCO defeated RC Strasbourg by two goals to nil.

The first legs of the Taça de Portugal semi-finals were played this week with the big two FC Porto and SL Benfica going head-to-head in the tie of the round. The former were playing at their Estadio Das Antas home where they very rarely lose a game but were made to suffer on Wednesday night as strikes from Fabio Coentrão and Javi García gave the Eagles of Benfica a healthy two goal advantage to take into April’s second leg. Thursday night’s first leg saw Vitória Guimarães gain a one goal advantage in their first leg tie against Académica de Coimbra with Abdelghani Faouzi scoring the only goal ten minutes before full time.

SO Chambéry

SO Chambéry are giantkillers par excellence in the French Cup

The Kypello Elladas quarter-finals were decided with this week’s second legs having taken place over the last two nights. Wednesday night saw some major drama as cup holders Panathinaikos and current league leaders Olympiakos Piraeus both going out of the competition. Panathinaikos, who won their 20th Greek cup title last season, were 2-0 down from the first leg to AEK Athens and when Panagiotis Lagos gave AEK the lead in the second leg it looked to be all over for the Greens. Goals from Djibril Cissé, Gilberto Silva and Loukas Vyntra looked to have saved Panathinaikos but there was to be a remarkable twist in the tale as a free-kick from Michel eight minutes into stoppage time sealed a 4-3 aggregate victory for AEK whose reward is to meet PAOK Thessaloniki in the semi-finals after they had disposed of Olympiakos Piraeus 2-1 on aggregate with Dimitris Salpigidis’ second leg strike proving decisive. The other semi-final will feature two lesser lights in Atromitos Halkidona and Olympiakos Vorou who eliminated Diagoras Rhodes and AO Kerkyra respectively.

Finally to Turkey where the quarter-final, first legs took place in the Türkiye Kupasi this week. Beşiktaş were the big winners with a 5-0 win over second division Gaziantep B.B. with Bobô and Manuel Fernandes both getting on the score sheet twice, Ricardo Quaresma scoring the other. Galatasaray had a difficult away tie on Thursday against Gaziantepspor going down to a 3-2 reverse with former Eintracht Frankfurt player Cenk Tosun bagging a brace for the home side. The other ties in the last eight saw a 2-0 win for Gençlerbirliği over Bucaspor whilst Istanbul B.B. and Kasımpaşa SK played out a goalless draw. The second legs will take place in early March.

Europe: Real have advantage; Ipswich shock Arsenal; Cups Review

Posted in European Football by peterbein on January 13, 2011
Tamas Priskin

Tamas Priskin scored Ipswich's winner against Arsenal on Wednesday

In yet another week of cup ties in some of Europe’s biggest domestic knockout competitions the biggest highlight came at the end of the week with local rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid battling it out in the Copa del Rey. Other prominent ties were played in England, Scotland, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Greece and there were a couple of shocks along the way. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the best of the action.

The first legs in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals were completed on Thursday with wins for Real Madrid and Almeria. In the Madrid derby Atleti took the lead through Diego Forlan after just seven minutes but los Blancos restored parity within five minutes with a Sergio Ramos header. Further goals in the second half from Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Özil give Real a 3-1 advantage to take into next week’s second leg. In the other tie Almeria have a slender 1-0 advantage to take to Galicia after an own goal from Deportivo’s Knut Olav Rindaröy proved decisive.

In the other two games played 24 hours earlier there were a remarkable eleven goals scored as record holders FC Barcelona put five past Real Betis whilst Villarreal and Sevilla shared six goals between them in an eventful 3-3 draw. Lionel Messi collected his FIFA Ballon D’or award before the game against second division Betis began and he ended the game with a hat-trick in another vintage performance. Pedro and Seydou Keita completed the scoring as FC Barcelona comfortably won 5-0 to virtually seal their place in the semi-finals. Defending title holders Sevilla FC were 3-1 down away to Villarreal CF before clawing their way back to a 3-3 draw. Alexis got the equalizing goal two minutes from full-time to set up what will be a fascinating return leg.

The big shock in England’s League Cup semi-final, 1st legs was the defeat of Arsenal by second tier Ipswich Town. Tamas Priskin scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for the Trotters as they got themselves back on track in front of new coach Paul Jewell just three days after they were humiliated by Chelsea FC who scored eight goals past Ipswich in the FA Cup. The other semi-final tie sees West Ham United take a 2-1 advantage back to Birmingham City when the second legs take place from January 25-26.

North of the border Heart of Midlothian were the big casualties in the Scottish Cup 4th round as they were eliminated on home turf by fellow SPL side St Johnstone on Tuesday. Glasgow Rangers sealed their progression on Monday defeating Kilmarnock FC 3-0 in front of a sparsely populated Ibrox Park and set up a mouth watering tie against Old Firm rivals Celtic FC in the fifth round to be played on February 5-6.

Samuel Eto’o bagged a brace for Coppa Italia holders Internazionale FC as they went through to the quarter-finals courtesy of a 3-2 win against Genoa in the San Siro on Wednesday night. They join Parma FC (who defeated AFC Fiorentina before Christmas), Palermo (1-0 winners over Chievo on Wednesday) and Juventus (2-0 winners over Catania on Thursday) whilst the four remaining Round of 16 ties take place next week with the highlight being the Rome derby between AS Roma and SS Lazio on Wednesday.

Hulk FC Porto

Hulk sealed FC Porto's place in the Portuguese Cup semi-finals

In Portugal FC Porto have already secured qualification to the semi-final as they beat finally managed to defeat third tier Pinhalnovense on Wednesday thanks to two late goals from Hulk giving them a 2-0 win. In the Round of 16 record champions Benfica easily saw off Olhanense with a 5-0 win, Vitória Guimarães won 2-0 at home to União Torreense whilst Académica Coimbra and third-tier Merelinense also sealed a place in the last eight with wins over União da Madeira and SC Varzim respectively.

The Türkiye Kupasi is in the middle of its league stage and there were wins for cup holders Trabzonspor (3-1 over Şekerspor) and Beşiktaş (3-2 v Manisaspor) in Group B which helped those clubs into the top two places in the five team group. Galatasaray have all but sealed their place in the next round already having defeated Şekerspor Ankara 3-1 on Wednesday to give them a share of the lead with Gaziantepspor on seven points from three games, six ahead of third place Şekerspor Ankara who have only played two games. Fenerbahçe are out of the competition following a 2-1 defeat away at Yeni Malatyaspor. Two of the smaller clubs in Istanbul top Group D with Kasımpaşaspor sealing their second win in two games following a 1-0 win over Kirikhanspor whilst Istanbul BB also have six points having played a game more when defeating Karşıyakaspor Izmir 2-0 on Wednesday.

Finally in Greece there were two replayed Round of 16 matches on Wednesday with second tier Diagoros FC upsetting Super League club Ethnikos Asteras thanks to a solitary strike from Bartosz Tarachulski on the half-hour mark. In the all-Super League tie Kerkyra FC needed a penalty shoot-out to defeat Iraklis Thessaloniki following a goalless 120 minutes of football. Kerkyra FC were 100% from the spot whilst Iraklis’ Karim Soltani was the only player to miss for the visitors as Kerkyra won the shoot-out 5-3. The quarter-final, first legs will be played next week with two potentially explosive clashes including Olympiakos v PAOK Thessaloniki and defending holders Panathinaikos v AEK Athens. The other games see Kerkyra FC rewarded with a tiw against Olympiakos Volou whilst Diagoros FC have been paired with Atromitos.