Sports / October 29, 2009

Euro soccer: recap of last two weeks

Most of the major soccer news from the last few weeks stemmed from the Champions League losses of some of Europe’s biggest names against seemingly unknown teams.

Barcelona suffered one of the most surprising upsets on their home field against Russian champs Rubin Kazan 1-2. But it could be worse for Barca. Italian giants Inter Milan couldn’t pull off a win on their home turf either, tying Dinamo Kiev 2-2. Now group F, the group that was supposed to be the most two-sided one in the tournament, is almost completely leveled, with every team but Inter having four points.

Even so, there are three games left to play and you’d be a fool to think that every team won’t be playing its hardest.

In another supposedly two sided group (group C), the world superstars of Real Madrid were no match for the calculated and cautious play of AC Milan. Although Madrid scored a cheap goal in the 19th minute when Milan goalkeeper Dida flubbed the ball right onto Raúl’s feet, it didn’t ruin the Italians’ spirit and the game ended 3-2. This game was the best I’ve seen AC Milan play since 2007 when they won the Champions League. Nineteen-year-old Brazilian prodigy Alexandre Pato is looking more and more like the future of Italian soccer.

After a losing both to Florentina and to Olympique Lyonnais in the Champions League and Chelsea and Sunderland in the Premier League, Liverpool looks to be slipping this year. Although the loss against Sunderland may have been undeserved (Darren Bent’s goal went in only after it ricocheted against a beach ball that had landed on the field and the referee thought this was legitimate), one cannot argue that they have been looking out of form. However, a 2-0 win this past weekend against Manchester United may be a signal of hope to the fans.

Turning now to the Leagues: Chelsea has reclaimed the first spot of the English Premier League with a series of convincing wins such as 4-0 against Athletico Madrid and 5-0 against the Blackburn Rovers. Despite their first win of the season (1-0 against the Wolverhampton Wanderers), Portsmouth still continues to be last in the premier league with only four points.

Barcelona is building a stronger lead in the Spanish La Liga and is looking again like its old self after a 6-1 victory against Zaragoza. Real Madrid seems to be slipping a little after losing Cristiano Ronaldo to an ankle injury earlier this month. He is expecting to return early November, but until then the team is struggling without his goals. Barcelona may be looking forward to counting on former Madrid star Robinho, who stated several times his desire to play for the club. Former contenders Villareal and Athletico Madrid are lingering near the bottom of the league with only one win each.

As for Italy, Inter Milan has finally assumed first place in the Italian Series A but Sampdoria and Juventus are not far behind. AC Milan is slowly making its way up the table as well, and is now in sixth.

Those are all the major updates on soccer from the last few weeks. Until next time, stay classy.

Gordon Barratt

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