Monday, January 30, 2006

United to face Liverpool after beating Wolves in the FA Cup

Kieran Richardson scored twice as Manchester United won over Wolves 3-0 in the FA Cup. European champion Liverpool also advanced after a 2-1 victory at Portsmouth.

Striker Louis Saha also scored at Molineux as United, winner two seasons ago and runner-up to Arsenal last year, made it to the last 16.

In other game, Liverpool FC went ahead with a 36th-minute penalty shot at Fratton Park. Steven Gerrard's corner struck Portsmouth captain Dejan Stefanovic on the arm and the England midfielder got his 17th goal of the season from the spot.

Four minutes later, John Arne Riise recieved Fernando Morientes' pass, raced down the left and fired a low 25-yard shot that flew past goalkeeper Dean Kiely inside the far post.

Pompey hit back in the 54th when Sean Davis jumped to meet a left-wing free-kick from Gary O'Neil and strike with a glancing header.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Derby Preview: Manchester United vs. Liverpool

There are many exciting derbies in the English Premier League. Arsenal vs. Manchester United and Chelsea vs. Liverpool may be hot matches but they just cannot compete with the sheer passion and hatred that only a game between Manchester United and Liverpool can produce.

Both are steeped in history and have been rivals since a very long time and if you ask any Manchester United fanatic which squad they want to beat more in the league then Liverpool tops the list, and it’s vice-versa for Liverpool fans as well. There is no love loss between the two and the atmosphere at Old Trafford should prove to be electric as they battle it out for second place in the Premiership and the all-important bragging rights.

It's good to mention that the revelations about Sven’s desire to sell England down the river last weekend saved Fergie from a proper roasting after his four-letter rant at referee Steve Bennett following their defeat against City. It also saved him from a full investigation into the signing of Evra who if plays like that every week will be crowned the biggest turkey ever to have played in the Premiership. Ferguson will be demanding a vastly improved performance today as United entertain the European Champions knowing that defeat will see them fall to third in the Premiership, having played two games more than their rivals as well.

In the other hand, Liverpool were unfortunate not to have bagged a hatful against Tottenham last weekend. Only a sublime volley from the rejuvenated Harry Kewell managed to get past Paul Robinson. However, Liverpool are showing signs that they are getting back to their blistering form which conquered the game more than 15 years ago. Rafa Benitez has instaled a never say die attitude in the squad and they just never know when they’re beat. They proved it in their stunning Champions League victory back in May and again just a fortnight ago in the FA Cup against Luton Town. After a ropey start this season Liverpool are fast becoming the team to fear in the Premiership.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cristiano Ronaldo still Red-Card banned

Cristiano Ronaldo must accept a three-match ban after an appeal against the red card he got at Manchester City was rejected by a Football Association panel on Tuesday.

The Portuguese star was dismissed by referee Steve Bennett for a high lunge on forward Andy Cole during the 3-1 defeat. However, Manchester United appealed against the decision on the grounds that no contact was made between the two players.

The punishment will have Ronaldo miss United's matches against Burton Albion, Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers.

Sunday, January 8, 2006

United drew with Burton Albion 0-0

In a surprising result, a semi-pro team called Burton Albion (that includes a physiotherapist, a sports shop assistant and a builder), held Manchester United to a 0-0 tie on Sunday in the third round of the FA Cup.

Despite Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo played for the last 30 minutes, Manchester United fielded a backup side at the 6,000-seat Pirelli Stadium against a Burton side ranked 105 places below the Reds.

England Forward Wayne Rooney had two strikes saved by Albion goalkeeper Saul Deeney, who also stooped a goalbound drive from Ritchie Jones in injury time.

''Old Trafford here we come,'' said Deeney, who has nine brothers, seven of them Manchester United fans.

Nigel Clough's Burton will go to 67,000-seat Old Trafford in a really lucrative replay.

''It was a staggering game,'' thinks Clough, whose father Brian led Nottingham Forest to back-to-back European Cup triumphs in 1979 and '80. ''Playing against Manchester United in a replay, it's absolutely superb for everyone.''

In other matches on Sunday, Leyton Orient from English soccer's fourth tier upset Fulham of the Premier League 2-1 while Toronto's Paul Stalteri scored for Tottenham in a 3-2 loss to Leicester. Sunderland shut out Northwich 3-0.

Manchester coach Sir Alex Ferguson said he was relieved his team didn't lose.

''It's a sudden-death cup. With a difficult pitch, committed opponents, I think these things can happen,'' Ferguson made his point. ''You can get shocks. It's good that we didn't get a severe shock.''

Last season, Manchester United drew 0-0 with non-league Exeter before winning the replay and going on to lose the final against Arsenal on penalties.