Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Europe: Bilbao helpless as Atlético claim second title

Posted in European Football by peterbein on May 10, 2012

UEFA Europa League logoOnly a few years ago could one look at the history books and see that a club as grand in tradition as Atlético de Madrid had only won one European title in their illustrious history. Now, following their second successful UEFA Europa League campaign in three years, the history books are beginning to show the Spanish club in a much more favourable light.

Los Rojiblancos had only claimed a solitary European Cup Winners’ Cup title before 2010 and that triumph had taken place so long ago that there probably aren’t too many people left who remember it too vividly (for the record Atlético beat AC Fiorentina in the 1961-62 competition). In the last three seasons, however, the club’s pedigree has improved with some much-needed silverware making its way to the club. The 2010 UEFA Europa League triumph, in which Atlético scrapped to a 2-1 extra-time win over English club Fulham FC, was bettered last night by a convincing 3-0 defeat of compatriots Athletic Bilbao in the Romanian capital of Bucharest.

Bilbao were featuring in only their second continental final, their first since losing to Italian giants Juventus FC in the 1976-77 UEFA Cup, and had impressed many onlookers on their way to this year’s showpiece with some wonderful attacking football, most notably against Manchester United in the Round of 16 in which the English champions succumbed to a 5-3 aggregate defeat. Players such as Fernando Llorente, Javi Martínez and Iker Muniain, to name but three, had impressed throughout the tournament and one would imagine that their current transfer values are significantly higher now than they would’ve been at the start of the season.

Sadly for the Basques their inexperience on such a big stage proved to be their undoing as Atlético de Madrid, through the wonderful striking prowess of Colombian star Radamel Falcao, began strongly and were two goals to the good after just 34 minutes. Substitute Diego sealed the deal with just five minutes remaining in the second half following a game in which Madrid’s ruthlessness was such that it hardly mattered that Adrián López, who had been the club’s top scorer in the tournament before the final kicked off, failed to add to his tally of eleven goals for the competition. Falcao’s brace took his tally to twelve for this season and an impressive thirty goals in 31 European appearances in the last two years, during which the Colombian had also won the UEFA Europa League trophy with his former club FC Porto in last year’s final.

Atlético de Madrid’s reward for winning the UEFA Europa League is a place in the final of the 2012 UEFA Super Cup against either FC Bayern München or Chelsea FC depending on who wins this year’s UEFA Champions League final a week on Saturday. Athletic Bilbao, on the other hand, do have the consolation of knowing that another cup final awaits for them in two weeks’ time when they face FC Barcelona for the second time in three years in Spain’s premier knockout competition, the Copa del Rey.

UEFA: English clubs involved in glamour European ties

Posted in European Football, UK Football by peterbein on December 16, 2011

UEFA logoFollowing today’s draws in the European club competitions one can’t help but feel that there could’ve been some tastier matches upon the horizon going into the knockout rounds of each competition. Nonetheless the teams that do remain in each tournament will have their eyes firmly focused on the big prize.

In the UEFA Champions League the tie of the round appears to be that between seven-time European champions AC Milan and English side Arsenal FC. The former, following a couple of lean years since they won their most recent Champions League title in 2007, are hoping to show Europe that they mean business once again. Arsenal, however, have gradually built up confidence and consistency since a terrible beginning to the current campaign and these sides look more evenly matched than in recent years. Amongst the other games there is a big welcome to Cypriot champions APOEL Nicosia who, having topped their group, will meet French side Olympique Lyonnais in the next round and SSC Napoli whose maiden Champions League campaign will continue with an interesting tie against Chelsea FC. Defending European champions FC Barcelona have been given a fairly easy tie on paper, due to go up against German vice champions Bayer 04 Leverkusen.


Lyon v APOEL Nicosia

Napoli SSC v Chelsea FC

AC Milan v Arsenal

FC Basel v FC Bayern

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Barcelona

CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid

Zenit Saint Petersburg v SL Benfica

Olympique Marseille v Internazionale

In the UEFA Europa League the English clubs have been given some fascinating ties. Manchester United, who will now play for the only trophy yet to be won by Sir Alex Ferguson in his wonderful career, begin their quest with a tie against four-time European champions Ajax Amsterdam. Manchester City, fresh from elimination from arguably the toughest Champions League group against SSC Napoli, FC Bayern and Villarreal CF, will meet defending Europa League title holders FC Porto. Stoke City, for whom this is a first European campaign since 1974, play 2004 UEFA Cup winners Valencia CF. Amongst the other ties 2010 Europa League winners Atletico de Madrid plays against the last ever Cup Winners Cup champion SS Lazio and last season’s defeated finalists Sporting Braga continue their Europa League odyssey with a tough encounter against Turkish side Besiktas.


FC Porto v Manchester City

Ajax Amsterdam v Manchester United

Lokomotiv Moscow v Athletic Bilbao

Red Bull Salzburg v Metalist Kharkiv

Stoke City v Valencia CF

Rubin Kazan v Olympiakos

AZ Alkmaar v RSC Anderlecht

SS Lazio v Atletico de Madrid

Steaua Bucharest v FC Twente Enschede

Viktoria Plzen v Schalke 04

Wisla Krakow v Standard Liege

Sporting Braga v Besiktas

Udinese Calcio v PAOK Thessaloniki

Trabzonspor v PSV Eindhoven

Hannover 96 v Club Brugge

Legia Warszawa v Sporting Lisbon

UEFA: Manchester duo dumped out of Champions League

Posted in European Football by peterbein on December 7, 2011

UEFA Champions League trophyThe two Manchester clubs have been sensationally dumped out of the UEFA Champions League following the final round of matches this evening.

Three-time European champions Manchester United are out of this year’s tournament having suffered a 2-1 defeat away to Swiss champions FC Basle 1893. United only needed a point to progress but found themselves two goals down with ten minutes of the match remaining, with Basle’s Marco Streller and Alexander Frei getting the goals, before Phil Jones pulled one back to make it an anxious finish for the Swiss side. United finished third in Group C behind Basle and group winners Benfica SL, who finished their campaign with a 1-0 win over Romanian champions Otelul Galati, and must now contend themselves with a place in the UEFA Europa League early next year.

Manchester City, meanwhile, needed a win against FC Bayern München and hope that Spanish side Villarreal CF would do them a favour by taking points from Italians Napoli SSC. Despite getting the win they needed, a 2-0 victory thanks to David Silva and Yaya Toure, City had to be satisfied with a third place finish in Group A finishing one point behind the Italians and three behind Bayern after the Neapolitans won by the same score line away in Spain. For all the money spent, City are still a work in progress and will hope to have learnt some of the lessons by the time the UEFA Europa League comes round again. City went out of that competition last season at the hands of Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv.

UEFA: Sion lose appeal as Celtic look ahead to Europa League

Posted in European Football by peterbein on September 13, 2011

European football’s governing body UEFA has decided against allowing Swiss club FC Sion back into the 2011-12 UEFA Europa League, thus maintaining Glasgow Celtic’s place in Group I of the competition which begins this Thursday.

UEFA badgeFC Sion qualified for this season’s competition following an aggregate victory against the Scottish giants in the Play-Off round but were subsequently expelled following a protest from the Parkhead club who claimed that a number of the Swiss club’s players were ineligible.

FC Sion, last season’s Swiss Cup winners, lodged an appeal through a civil court case in Switzerland which found in the club’s favour. However the Swiss court’s judgement has had no impact upon UEFA’s final decision and means that Celtic can finally look forward to the opening game of the group stages against 2009-10 UEFA Europa League winners Atlético Madrid to be played in the Spanish capital on Thursday.

FC Sion, meanwhile, are considering further action and could take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

UEFA: 2011-12 Europa League group stage draw

Posted in European Football by peterbein on August 26, 2011

UEFA Europa League trophyThe draw for the 2011-12 UEFA Europa League group stage was made in Monaco today. 2009 winners Atlético de Madrid are arguably the biggest club involved in this season’s competition and they will have been relatively pleased with a draw which placed them in Group I alongside Italian Champions League drop-outs Udinese Calcio, French side Stade Rennais and Swiss side FC Sion.

The surprise package of the draw is, without doubt, Irish part-timers Shamrock Rovers whose 3-2 aggregate defeat of Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade ensured their place in the group stage for the very first time. They have been given a tough draw in Group A with English two-time UEFA Cup winners Tottenham Hotspur, two-time Russian champions Rubin Kazan and Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki.

Here is the full draw for the 2011-12 UEFA Europa League group stage:

GROUP A: Tottenham Hotspur; Rubin Kazan; PAOK; Shamrock Rovers

GROUP B: FC København; Standard de Liège; Hannover 96; Vorskla Poltava

GROUP C: PSV Eindhoven; Hapoel Tel Aviv; Rapid Bucharest; Legia Warsaw

GROUP D: Sporting Clube de Portugal; SS Lazio; FC Zürich; FC Vaslui

GROUP E: Dynamo Kyiv; Beşiktaş; Stoke City; Maccabi Tel Aviv

GROUP F: Paris Saint Germain; Athletic Bilbao; Red Bull Salzburg; Slovan Bratislava

GROUP G: AZ Alkmaar; Metalist Kharkiv; Austria Wien; Malmö FF

GROUP H: Sporting Braga; Club Brugge; Birmingham City, NK Maribor

GROUP I: Atlético de Madrid; Udinese Calcio; Stade Rennais; FC Sion

GROUP J: Schalke 04; Steaua Bucharest; Maccabi Haifa; AEK Larnaca

GROUP K: FC Twente Enschede; Fulham FC; Odense Boldklub; Wisła Kraków

GROUP L: RSC Anderlecht; AEK Athens; Lokomotiv Moscow; Sturm Graz

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UEFA: Euro draws ensure the new season isn’t too far away

Posted in European Football by peterbein on June 20, 2011

UEFA TrophiesThe draws for the first two qualifying rounds of the two main European club competitions were made in Nyon, Switzerland this afternoon just 23 days after FC Barcelona claimed their fourth UEFA Champions League crown at Wembley Stadium.

The UEFA Champions League begins on June 28th with two-legged ties involving the bottom four ranked national champions from UEFA’S Co-Efficient table which measures the progress of each country’s clubs in European competition over a five year period. San Marino champions Tre Fiori will kick off the 2011-12 campaign against Maltese representatives Valletta FC whilst Luxembourg’s finest F91 Dudelange will face-off against Andorra’s Santa Coloma. The winners of these games will be rewarded with ties in the second qualifying round against Lithuania’s FK Ekranas and Slovenia’s NK Maribor respectively. There are a number of interesting ties with a number of first-time national champions making their debut in this competition including Albania’s Skënderbeu Korçë (v APOEL Nicosia), Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Borac Banja Luka (v Maccabi Haifa), Macedonia’s FK Shkendija (v Partizan Belgrade), Hungary’s Videoton FC (v Sturm Graz), Kazakhstan’s FK Tobol (v Slovan Bratislava), Czech Republic’s Viktoria Plzeň (v Pyunik Yerevan) and Moldova’s Dacia Chişinău versus fellow first-timers Zestafoni FC from Georgia.

Amongst the biggest clubs to play at this stage of the competition are Polish champions Wisła Kraków who face off against Latvian record champions Skonto Riga. Demand for this game seems to be hot with the official Skonto Riga page on Facebook reporting that their website had received overwhelming amounts of traffic coming from fans from Poland. Perennial Norwegian champions Rosenborg BK are back in contention and should fancy their chances against Icelandic counterparts Breiðablik whilst Dinamo Zagreb will take part in another qualifying campaign by starting off against Azerbaijan’s Neftchi Baku. In the British Isles Bangor City, Linfield FC and Shamrock Rovers – the respective champions of Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – have been dealt some potentially tricky ties in the form of HJK Helsinki, BATE Borisov and Flora Tallinn. 1980 European Cup finalists Malmö FF will begin their campaign with an easy(ish) looking tie against Faroe Islands masters HB Tórshavn whilst the list is completed with Bulgaria’s Litex Lovech due to play FK Mogren from Macedonia.

The draw for the first two qualifying rounds of the 2011-12 UEFA Europa League were also made today and there are so many games that it would take too much space to write about them all here. However the first qualifying round will see 2009-10 losing finalists Fulham FC make an appearance as they gained a place thanks to UEFA’ s Fair Play table last season. The English club, under new management in the form of Dutch coach Martin Jol, will begin their campaign against Faroe Islands outfit NSÍ Runavík. Hungarian giants Ferencváros, who won one of this tournament’s predecessors in 1965 when it was called the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, will make a return to Europe after a six year absence against Armenian side Ulisses FC. In total fifty clubs will play in the 1st quali-round and the winning teams will join 55 more clubs in the next round. Many of the matches in the 2nd quali-round are already known, amongst the biggest is the clash between Polish league runners-up Śląsk Wrocław and Scottish side Dundee United, who were runners-up in the old UEFA Cup in 1987. The UEFA Europa League will get under way on Thursday, June 30th.

UEFA: FC Porto win Europa League title

Posted in European Football by peterbein on May 19, 2011

The constant stream of comparisons between current FC Porto coach André Villas-Boas and his mentor José Mourinho are set to continue following the Portuguese club’s UEFA Europa League triumph over compatriots Sporting Braga. Radamel Falcao claimed the only goal of the game on the stroke of half-time to secure FC Porto their second success in this competition, adding to the UEFA Cup won with Mourinho in 2003. In truth the game was far from a classic but Braga did miss a glorious chance to restore parity early in the second half when Mossoró was through on goal following a defensive mistake but Porto keeper Helton kept him at bay. With chances few and far between in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium the team from Portugal’s second city held out in a tight contest.

Now the future of Porto coach Villas-Boas, who at 33 years old is the youngest coach to guide a team to a European club title, will certainly be the subject of much speculation after he guided his team to an unbeaten Portuguese SuperLiga triumph as well as last night’s piece of continental glory. Now “Mourinho Lite” has the chance to complete the treble this Sunday as Porto meet Vitória de Guimarães in the Portuguese Cup final.



UEFA: Can PSV repeat the spirit of ’88?; Europa League draw

Posted in European Football by peterbein on March 18, 2011

UEFA Europa League trophyIn much the same way as the UEFA Champions League draw that proceeded it, the UEFA Europa League draw was made in the Swiss town of Nyon today. Eight teams representing five different countries – Portugal (3 teams), Netherlands (2), Russia, Ukraine and Spain – still remain in the competition, determined to find out what lies ahead on the road to Dublin.

Once again it was an open draw with no country protection nor seedings to be taken into account and meant that rival clubs from individual nations could, in theory, be drawn to face each other. 

The stand-out tie of the quarter-final stages is a repeat of the 1988 European Cup final between PSV Eindhoven and SL Benfica, a game which saw the Dutch side win the trophy for the first time on penalties following a goalless draw against the Portuguese giants. Amazingly, all of the three Portuguese clubs were kept apart in the draw but there is the possibility of Benfica meeting Liverpool FC’s conquerors Sporting Braga at the semi-final stage. Here is the full draw for the next two rounds of the UEFA Europa League:


 1. FC Porto v Spartak Moscow

2. SL Benfica v PSV Eindhoven

3. Villarreal CF v FC Twente Enschede

4. Sporting Braga v Dynamo Kyiv

First Legs: April 7;  Second Legs: April 14 


5. Winners Match 4 v Winners Match 2 

6. Winners Match 1 v Winners Match 3

First Legs: April 28; Second Legs: May 5

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UEFA: Europa League Round of 16 Preview

Posted in European Football by peterbein on March 9, 2011

UEFA Europa League logoThe UEFA Europa League Round of 16 begins on Thursday with the business end of the tournament imminent and many thoughts of Dublin’s Aviva Stadium increasingly on the horizon as the teams still involved in Europe’s second-tier competition begin to dream of silverware.

The countries of Russia, Portugal and the Netherlands still have three teams left in the competition in what has been a successful competition so far. Russia is a country which takes this tournament very seriously and with 2005 UEFA Cup winners CSKA Moscow and 2008 UEFA Cup winners Zenit Saint Petersburg along with Spartak Moscow still active hopes remain high that the nation can savour some more success on the continental stage. CSKA play against one of Portugal’s representatives, namely FC Porto, whilst Zenit and Spartak face off against two of the Dutch contingent in Twente Enschede and Ajax Amsterdam respectively.

British sides are also doing well in the Europa League with Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers meeting the remaining Dutch side in the tournament PSV Eindhoven. English duo Manchester City and Liverpool FC are amongst the favourites to lift the trophy on May 18th and many expect them to get past the challenges of Dynamo Kyiv and Sporting Braga respectively but with both teams facing away ties in the first leg things may not be as easy as it appears. The remaining Portuguese contenders SL Benfica will meet Paris Saint Germain who have the hopes of an expectant French nations resting on their shoulders. It’s a similar feeling for Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Villarreal CF who are representing German and Spanish chances of progression into the last eight.

The first legs are played on March 10th with the return fixtures completed on March 17th.


Ajax Amsterdam v Spartak Moscow

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Villarreal CF

Benfica SL v Paris Saint Germain

Braga v Liverpool FC

CSKA Moscow v FC Porto

Dynamo Kyiv v Manchester City

PSV Eindhoven v Glasgow Rangers

Twente Enschede v Zenit Saint Petersburg

(All teams on the left are home in the first leg)

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UEFA: Four nations enjoy majority success; Europa League Review

Posted in European Football by peterbein on February 25, 2011

UEFA Europa League logoThe Round of 32 stage has been completed in the UEFA Europa League and there was no shortage of action as well. It was an especially good time for clubs from Russia, Portugal, the Netherlands and Great Britain whose teams make up 75% of the remaining sixteen teams. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the Round of 32 and details the draw for the next round.

This week’s action began on Tuesday where CSKA Moscow, the 2005 UEFA Cup winners, got Russian clubs off to a great start by progressing with thanks to a late Sergei Ignashivech goal helping his team to a 2-1 aggregate win over Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki. Fellow compatriots Spartak Moscow and Zenit Saint Petersburg also progressed, getting the better of Swiss opposition with 4-3 aggregate wins over FC Basel and Young Boys Berne respectively. Only Rubin Kazan failed to make it a 100% success rate for the Motherland having failed in their quest to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit at the hands of Dutch champions FC Twente Enschede who ultimately came through 4-2 on aggregate.

Wednesday night saw FC Porto, 2003 UEFA Cup winners, claim their place in the last sixteen on away goals following an entertaining match against two-time UEFA Cup winners Sevilla FC. The Spanish side won 1-0 on the night but had lost the first leg at home 2-1 thus allowing FC Porto to go through. Benfica and Sporting Braga made it a great round for the Portuguese having overcome the respective challenges of German side VfB Stuttgart (4-1) and Polish champions Lech Poznan (2-1).

Only Sporting Lisbon failed to make it a perfect night for Portugal as they went out on away goals to Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers thanks to a stoppage time Maurice Edu strike giving the Gers a 2-2 draw (3-3 aggregate). This proved the highlight for the British clubs with Rangers also joined in the next round by Liverpool FC, who just survived a tough tie against Sparta Prague thanks to a late Dirk Kuijt winner, and Manchester City who did the damage early against Greek side Aris Thessaloniki, Edin Dzeko bagging a brace in a 3-0 win.

Dutch clubs also fared well with PSV Eindhoven and Ajax Amsterdam, who have two UEFA Cup victories between them, joining FC Twente in the Round of 16 having seen off Lille OSC (5-3) and RSC Anderlecht (5-0) respectively. Amongst the rest of the competitors Italian side SSC Napoli went out of the competition losing 2-1 to sole Spanish representatives Villarreal CF. Bayer 04 Leverkusen maintained a German presence in the tournament by easily brushing aside the challenge of Ukrainians Metalist Kharkiv (6-0). It was better for Kharkiv’s Ukrainian rivals Dynamo Kyiv who had the result of the round when hammering Besiktas with an 8-1 scoreline whilst Paris Saint Germain were fortunate to go through with an away goals win over Belarussian champions BATE Borisov.


Benfica v Paris Saint Germain

Dynamo Kyiv v Manchester City

FC Twente v Zenit Saint Petersburg

CSKA Moscow v FC Porto

PSV Eindhoven v Glasgow Rangers

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Villarreal CF

Ajax Amsterdam v Spartak Moscow

Sporting Braga v Liverpool FC

All ties to be played on March 10-17


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