Thursday Match Roundup

Today there have been some great matches, mainly from the Copa Libertadores.  So here are the scores.

French Coupe de France
Lens 2-1 Epinal

Copa Libertadores
Sporting Cristal 2-0 Tigre- Sporting Cristal get a good win against Argentine club Tigre
Libertad 2-0 Palmeiras
San Paulo 2-1 The Strongest- San Paulo fight back from 1-0 down to beat The Strongest 2-1

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Incredible miss in Copa Libertadores

This horrible miss was “performed” by Brazilian club Fluminense’s Wellington Nem in the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday in the thirty-sixth minute of Fluminense’s match against Chilean club CD Huachipato .  Despite still beating CD Huachipato, Fluminense really should have scored the chance and got a 3-1 win, but they had to settle for a 2-1 win.  Fluminense did everything right to create the chance, and Nem showed excellent pace to reach his teammates cross but his shot hit the inside of the post and bounced away from the goal.

Bale playes down Ronaldo comparisons

Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale has played down suggestions that he is on of the worlds best players, despite being on the best form of his life.  The twenty-three-year old has already scored twenty-three goals this season, said that he is flattered to be compared with some of the worlds best players, mainly Cristiano Ronaldo.  The Welshman also said that he does not model his game on Ronaldo, despite having similar styles.

“I think anybody would love to be mentioned alongside the best in the world,” Bale told Sport Magazine. “It’s flattering but I don’t really look too much into it. I don’t get the newspapers or read too many reports, so I don’t really know how much hype there is. My friends tell me things but I just treat every day as normal and focus on my job.

“I don’t model my game on Ronaldo’s. I have my own way of playing and it’s not exactly the same but we do have similar attributes. I just like watching the best players: seeing Messi and Ronaldo. I’ve watched Ronaldo in the past and you do take things from other people’s games to try to improve as a player.”

Bale credited Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas to have much to do with his amazing form though, saying their is a lot more tactical work in his style than in former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp’s, which has helped Tottenham.

“Harry was more ‘go out there and play how you feel and express yourself’. With André, there’s a certain shape and a style we play,” Bale commented. “I think Harry was more free and let you do what you want. André does that too but there’s a lot more tactical work. I think it’s something that’s good to learn. We’ve done well this year and I think that’s down to our defending as well as attacking.”

Despite being slow to get going, Bale has proved to be one of the best players in the English Premier League this season, scoring some superb dipping shots, mainly freekicks.  He also scored Tottenham’s injury time winner against West Ham and the winger is said to be Real Madrid’s main transfer target in the summer, and may replace Cristiano Ronaldo.

El Shaarawy extends contract

AC Milan star Stephan El Shaarawy has extended his contract with the Italian club. The twenty-year-old forward has been on amazing form, scoring nineteen goals in thirty-three matches for the club, and has put pen to paper and signed a new deal that will keep him with the Rossoneri until June 2018. He is reportedly going to have an annual salary of €800,000, about €50,000 more than before.

“Happy for the renewal… Extended my contract until 2018! So proud to wear this shirt,” the Italian posted on his Twitter account earlier today.

Benitez gets Chelsea backing despite rant

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has gained the backing of the London based club saying it is “business as usual” despite criticizing the Chelsea fans and owner Roman Abramovich following Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Middlesbrough.  The European Champions will not sack the Spaniard immediately though, but will let him go when his contract ends in the summer.

After Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Middlesbrough on Wednesday Benitez slammed the Chelsea fans for still not giving him their backing, and said he was surprised with the club for using the word “interim” in his title.  He also confirmed that he will be leaving the club when his contract expires this summer after hinting that he would leave a few days ago.

“I have a title. Someone decided the title would be ‘interim’. Why? Just in case? If they want to blame me for everything that is wrong and then they say, ‘We will put interim just in case’, fine, that is your decision.”  Benitez said.

“I don’t agree but it’s your decision and now everybody has to take responsibility. If we are in the Champions League, I will be the happiest man in the world.”

“But I will leave anyway because I have finished my contract, so they [his critics] don’t need to be worried about me. What they have to do is concentrate on supporting the team.”

“I have a contract until the end of the season, that’s it, so they don’t need to be worried about me.”

Benitez was chanted against by Chelsea supporters in their game against Middlesbrough, but more subdued than the chants when he first took over for Roberto Di Matteo in November.  The fifty-two-year-old has been subject to many different chants since he took over at Chelsea because of his success as a manager at Liverpool, some directed to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich like “We want Di Matteo”.  He recently denied a that he had lost control of the Chelsea dressing room, but acknowledged that their had been an “exchange of opinions” after Chelsea’s 2-0 loss to Manchester City in the Premier League.

Wednesday Match Roundup

Today there have been some excellent matches, so here are the scores.

English FA Cup
Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea- Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez confirmed he will be leaving the club in the summer despite advancing to the sixth round of the FA Cup

Spanish Copa del Rey
Sevilla FC 2-2 Atletico Madrid- Sevilla’s late goal earned them a draw, but was not enough for them to advance to the finals, with Atletico winning 4-3 on aggregate

German DFB Pokal
VfB Stuttgart 2-0 VfL Bochum
Bayern Munich 1-0 Borussia Dortmund- Bayern Munich edge rivals Borussia Dortmund out of the competition as Munich seal a spot in the semifinals

French Coupe de France
Lorient 3-0 Brest
Raon-l’Etape (3)2-2(5) Bordeaux
Venissieux Minguettes 0-2 AS Nancy Lorraine
Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Marseille

Copa Libertadores
Barcelona 1-2 Boca Juniors
Municipal Iquique 2-0 Emelec
Corinthians 2-0 Millonarios
Huachipato 1-2 Fluminense FC

Benitez comments hint Chelsea exit

Chelsea manager, Rafa Benitez, has hinted that he will leave the London based club when his current contract ends this summer.  The Spaniard was appointed Chelsea manager back in November, despite being unpopular with the Chelsea fans because of his success at Liverpool.  He almost won over the Chelsea fans minds when he won seven out of eight games in December, but once they lost 1-0 to the last place Queens Park Rangers in the English Premier League, the fans returned to protesting against his appointment.

He recently denied reports that he had lost control in the Chelsea dressing room after their 2-0 loss to Manchester City, but acknowledged that there was an “exchange of opinions”.

“You know, more or less, how things go (at Chelsea) in terms of what happens if you lose or win,” Benitez stated ahead of their FA Cup match against Middlesbrough. “I have a job to do and the players are clever enough and realize they will be here next season with long contracts.”

“I will be working hard until the end. We have to try to beat Middlesbrough and then move on. My job is to concentrate on the next game, not the speculation.”

“I accept we have had some games where we had to do better.  At Manchester City, we still had a penalty and two counter-attacks when we could have scored and made the difference, but we didn’t play at the level we could play and that is my concern.

“I think we have had a lot of games we could have won, two or three easily. Reading, where after 93 and a half minutes towards winning and we lost two points. We conceded two at Newcastle when we were ahead. You have to win those games.

“It’s not a question of character. It’s a question of mistakes, of attention, of a lack of concentration, but we fight till the end. Don’t forget, this team finished sixth last year, we have to fight now for the top three.

“I can guarantee the players know what we’re trying to do and believe in it 100%. I am here to be in the top three, and do my best in every competition. After that, we will see.”

Benitez has also hinted that he would like to move to Real Madrid when he leaves Chelsea, describing the Spanish club as his “sweetheart”.  Chelsea are currently sitting in fourth place in the English Premier League, but got knocked out of the Champions League and Capital One Cup.