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: 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: 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.

Europe: Big wins for Bayern and Real Madrid; Cups Review

Posted in European Football by peterbein on December 23, 2010
Miroslav Klose

Miroslav Klose scored twice in FC Bayern's 6-3 win over VfB Stuttgart

To finish the year there has been domestic cup action this week throughout Europe. Some matches were called off due to bad weather in northern Europe including the entire first leg fixture list in Belgium’s Coupe Cofidis but, overall, there has been good quality football played in Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the best of the action:

GERMANY: Schalke 04 scraped through by the skin of their teeth against 2. Liga outfit FC Augsburg with the Gelsenkirchen side going through 1-0 courtesy of a Jefferson Farfan goal with just six minutes remaining. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim also put their name in the hat for the last eight with a 2-0 home win over Borussia Mönchengladbach with Gylfi Sigurðsson and Demba Ba doing the damage. On Wednesday cup holders FC Bayern went to VfB Stuttgart for the second time in three days and were involved in a humdinger of a game. Having put five past their hosts in the league game on Sunday, FC Bayern went one better as they beat the Swabians with a 6-3 scoreline. The biggest shock of the round came in Lower Saxony where English coach Steve McClaren is under increasing pressure after seeing VfL Wolfsburg go out against 2. Liga side Energie Cottbus. There were also wins for MSV Duisburg (2-1 over 1.FC Köln) and Alemania Aachen who prevailed 5-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt. The games involving Kickers Offenbach v 1.FC Nürnberg and TuS Koblenz v 1.FC Kaiserslautern were postponed due to bad weather.

GREECE: In the Kypello Elladas defending cup holders Panathinaikos got the better of tricky opponents Trikala FC by 3-2 on Wednesday whilst local rivals Olympiakos Piraeus scraped through their game away at Asteras Tripolis with Spanish striker Ariel Ibagaza scoring the winner late in the game with four minutes remaining. Their namesakes Olympiakos Volou are through following a 2-1 win at home to Panserraikos on Tuesday whilst PAOK Thessaloniki, fresh from their UEFA Europa League exploits, also qualified for the quarter-finals with a 2-1 home win against PAS Ioannina. Atrmoitos beat AO Kavala 1-0 in the remaining game already played this week whilst three games take place this evening, the pick of the games being the meeting of Super League Greece sides Larissa and AEK Athens.

NETHERLANDS: There were easy wins this week for FC Twente and PSV Eindhoven. The former wrapped up a convincing 5-0 home destruction of Vitesse Arnhem whilst the latter conjured up a 3-1 win away at Roda JC Kerkrade. The only other game so far this week saw FC Utrecht get the better of FC Volendam by a goal to nil at home. Tonight sees defending champions Ajax Amsterdam face a tough home test against AZ Alkmaar but the game between this season’s surprise package in the Eredivisie, FC Groningen, and SC Genemuiden is now postponed becuase of the weather. The other three games in this round will be played in mid-January.

Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema scored in Real Madrid's win over Levante CF

SPAIN: It was a job well done for Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey Round of 16, first leg as they held FC Barcelona to a goalless draw in the Camp Nou on Tuesday in a match pitting the two most successful Copa del Rey winners against each other. Valencia were also involved in a goalless draw against local rivals Villarreal whilst a night of drawn games was completed on Tuesday with Deportivo La Coruña’s 1-1 draw at Cordoba CF. On Wednesday there were wins for last season’s finalists Sevilla FC (5-3 v Malaga CF) and Atlético de Madrid (1-0 v RCD Espanyol) while Real Madrid easily saw off Levante CF by an 8-0 scoreline, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo both bagging a hat-trick apiece. The other two matches this week saw a victories for UD Almería (4-3 v Real Mallorca) and Getafe (2-1 away at Real Betis).

TURKEY: The Kupasi Türkiye has reached the last 16 stage. It has a group stage, unlike most other domestic knockout competitions, where the teams have been split into four groups of five teams. In Group A both Gaziantepspor and Galatasaray top the standings with four points from two games following their meeting on Tuesday where they both gained a point from a 1-1 draw. Beşiktaş are only in third place in Group B but they did chalk up their first win of the group with a 3-2 victory over second place Konya Sekerspor whilst Trabzonspor are in fourth having only drawn 2-2 at home to Gaziantep. The biggest surprise so far is that Fenerbahçe lie rock bottom in Group C having lost both of their two opening games against Ankaragücü and, on Tuesday, against first place Bucaspor. Group D saw league champions Bursaspor top the standings, defeating Karsiyaka Izmir 2-0 on Tuesday.

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.