Sports / February 17, 2010

Upsets abound as Champions League back in action

What a week in soccer: Champions League matches are finally back and there’s plenty to talk about.

AC Milan started very strong, with a second minute stunner-of-a-goal from Ronaldinho off a David Beckham free-kick. But Manchester came back, and in a big way. A 32nd minute strike from Paul Scholls and two second-half headers from Wayne Rooney put the game at 3-1. However, AC Milan was ready to prove it wasn’t done and netted in the 85th minute with a beautifully finessed touch from Clarence Seedorf.

The Champions League came with a few upsets as well — Porto beating Arsenal 2-1 and Lyon beating Real Madrid 1-0. In both games, the favored team was lackluster, to say the least.

Arsenal’s starting goalkeeper a few years ago, Jen Lehman, moved back to Germany to retire in 2008. Arsenal opted not to sign anyone to replace him and just played with their former second and third goalkeepers, Manuel Almunia and Łukasz Fabiański. Coach Arsene Wenger decided to put Fabiański in against Porto and paid for that decision. Fabiański was brought in to Arsenal as a third-tier goalkeeper and, surprisingly, he plays like one. The ball slipped out of his hands for the first goal.

Arsenal struck back only a few minutes later, but could not capture the lead thanks to a great performance by Porto goalkeeper Helton. Fabiański’s biggest mistake came in the 51st minute when he retrieved a pass with his hands from the feet of defender Sol Campbell — something goalkeepers are not supposed to do. He threw the ball to the ref and Porto took the kick instantly and caught him completely off-guard. Arsenal was never able to recover and the game ended 2-1.

Wednesday also saw Fiorentina sunk by a goalkeeper error in the 45th minute and a lousy linesman decision to let Miroslav Klose’s clearly offside goal count in the 90th minute. After watching the replay, you have to feel bad for Fiorentina. They may not have deserved the win, but luck was definitely against them.

There is a whole new round of Champions Leagues coming up next week, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!

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Gordon Barratt

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