Feb 5, 2009

Soccer Source midweek mash-up: Red carnage

As you all probably know by now, Liverpool lost their FA Cup tie to cross-town rivals Everton yesterday. That hurts Reds' chances in the Soccer Source Top 25 fo sho, but the more significant impact is the loss of Steven Gerrard, who left the pitch only 16 minutes into Wednesday's game. "Stevie G" will miss three weeks with the injury, it was reported today.

This is obviously a very harsh blow for Reds. How harsh? For starters, their Premiership chances--tenuous to begin with--may have been flushed down the drain with this news. Especially the way Man U has been playing and especially with the team's schedule in the weeks ahead. Furthermore (I don't think I've used that word since high school by the way) Rafa Benitez' side now have to be seen as the clear underdogs in their Champions League match-up with Real Madrid (the first leg takes place Feb. 25 in Madrid. No way Gerrard will be ready by then). Real has reeled off six wins in a row, conceding only one goal in the process. To be sure, Reds have surprised people before, especially in Europe. Last year at this time they were in far more distress than they are now and they beat a team, Inter Milan, that was widely viewed as the best in the world at the time.

While we're on the subject of Spain, Barcelona had a surprisingly tough time of it against Malaga in their Copa del Rey semifinal, not getting a second goal until the 73rd minute at the Bernabeu. They lead 2-0 at time of this posting. We may update this later, though probably not. Sevilla beat Bilbao 2-1 in the other semifinal. These fixtures are played over two legs. There was an interesting cup tie in Italy as well, where Juventus beat Napoli in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia. Juve took the game in overtime, 4-3. They had lost their last two games before this one. France had midweek cup action as well. Second-placed Girondins Bordeaux, a team we have recently taken a liking to via our Top 25 rankings, won at Paris Saint Germain (a team we were just starting to consider for a spot in said rankings) by 3-0. They'll face Vannes (who? No clue) in the finale.

What about the Copa Libertadores? Thought you'd never ask. That sound you hear from Mexico are Pachuca fans wailing after their team was eliminated by Universidad de Chile. Elsewhere, the favorites (chief among them Estudiantes and Palmeiras) advanced. These are the final qualifying matches. The Copa Libertadores groups are now pretty much set. Finally. If you thought qualifying for the Champions League could be a drawn out process, you should check out what some of these teams have to do. The Mexican clubs have a whole separate tournament just to determine their league's participants.

No comments:

Post a Comment