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A.C. Milan 2-0 Celtic – (View From The Celtic End)

Published August 6, 2014 by gossipzoo

Acmilan Celtic

So near but yet so far. What a heart-breaking result. It is one of the cruelest defeats I have witnessed.

I was born into a Celtic-daft family just outside of Glasgow. Loving Celtic is in my DNA along with double strands of faith, passion and hope. Celtic fans are the life-blood of the club; our collective energy is the 12th man on game-day. The atmosphere at Celtic Park on European nights is magical, intoxicating and exhilarating. Now, I live in Los Angeles and catch the games at Joxer Daly’s, home to the L.A. Celtic Supporter’s club, where everyone is always welcome.

Today, the pub was packed, we had the Celtic game on the huge screen while the bank of tellies over the bar played host to all the other Champion’s League games; making the most noise, after us, were the Barcelona fans. Well done Calatans, some great goals were scored at Nou Camp. The Chelsea fans had the biggest groans. And yes, I am prevaricating over the discussing the Celtic game.

Before the match, I would have been delighted with a draw, maybe nicking an away goal, but the way the game unfolded, I started to believe we would win!

The first ten minutes are always the most nerve-wracking – in the past, we’ve gifted goals before settling into our own rhythm, today was no exception, Milan started strongly but we held them in check. Forster, our goalie looked up for the challenge of keeping a clean sheet. The German referee generally had a good game and allowed play to flow. As the first half progressed, we started to create chances and had a couple of almost-was’s by way of set-pieces. As the game continued our team work, discipline and persistence created more chances, but just couldn’t finish any of them. The atmosphere in the pub was relaxed and optimistic – not usual for a C/L game at the San Siro. In the dying minutes of the half, Milan put in a second spurt of activity, which we handled – in the past, we would have been fading a little, anticipating some pie and Bovril; the Barcelona game from last season comes to mind. Overall, in the first half, we were just as threatening as them, and they were as off-target as us!

A 0-0 score at half-time! Pre-game, nobody was expecting that. There was a sense from the Celtic fans in the pub of ,”To hell with a draw, we’re gonna win this – easy-peasy!’

During the second half, we looked comfortable, had more chances, more possession and more confidence; they, by contrast, appeared tired and lack-luster with only a few half-hearted attempts to score; the stadium was quiet considering how packed it was. We could have, should have, but didn’t score quite a few times; I felt that if we got one in, we’d score three. The Milan mob became a bit more histrionic and were throwing themselves down all over the place, which the referee kinda ignored most of the time. Balotelli deserved an acting award for his looks of anguish, maybe he should join One Direction if he finds the big bad Celtic team so intimidating. The general impression of them in front of the goal was that of swarming midges, annoying but not dangerous.

With 15 minutes to go, we brought on the new blokes, Boerrigter for Commons, Pukki for Matthews; we seemed to lose our fluid team work, but still appeared more capable of scoring, until we gifted them a goal, against the run of play in 82nd minute. Zapata’s off-target shot deflected off Izaguirre …so they couldn’t bloody well score against us until we helped them. They knew how lucky they were; they were celebrating like they’d just won the Champion’s League final. Then, and only then, the stadium came alive as their fans were jostled out of their stupor. Their second goal came off a free kick after Brown was carded – I don’t know why; the TV coverage didn’t show it. Forster saved Balotelli’s shot, but Muntari caught the rebound and knocked it in. In the four minutes of injury time, the Celtic fans could be heard singing, ‘You’ll never walk alone.’ It was too late; we lost 2-0.

I don’t mind being beaten, as much, when we’re out-played and out-classed, but today – we were not; we deserved more – more points, more goals, a reward for our efforts – but in football, the only thing that counts is the number of times the ball gets in the net, which we could not do. Neil Lennon will be proud of his players, pleased with his tactics, but frustrated at lack of goals. Attempts by Commons, Samaras, Matthews, Stokes all failed to yield results. I am proud of the way we played; I’ve full confidence that, in the cauldron of Celtic Park, we will beat them. One game down, five to go…last 16, here we come….did I also mention that unwavering optimism is another sign of a Celtic fan? Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, and you’ll never walk alone…

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Newcastle 2-3 Hull City – Pardew Regrets Lack Of Consistency

Published August 2, 2014 by gossipzoo

Papiss Cisse 9

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Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was left bemoaning his side’s consistency after Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Hull City at St. James’ Park.

The result came on the back of the Toon’s win at Aston Villa last weekend, but a lack of concentration cost United dear against Steve Bruce’s men.

And after shipping three goals for the third time in six Premier League home games, Pardew was left to rue his team’s defending as City notched their first away victory of the season.

“We started really well and got the goal,” said the Magpies boss, “but we weren’t tight enough as a team and Hull exploited those spaces.

“All three of their goals were poor from our point of view. We’ve defended really, really well over the last few weeks, but it’s consistency in our performances that this team is searching for.

“You can see similarities in this team to the one that finished fifth, but that team had a consistency about it as team – not as individuals.

“Today, the formation was the same (as it was against Aston Villa), the set-up was the same but we didn’t look the same.

“We looked too loose and gifted them their goals. You can’t do that against any opposition and I’ll be first to pay tribute to Hull, because they played very well.

“But for us it was a really disappointing day. You’ve got to do it home and away in this division.”

One player that was singled out for praise by Pardew was Loic Remy, who scored a brace in the first-half.

The on-loan forward looked a constant threat to City’s backline and his manager was quick to sing his praises following his first goals in a black and white shirt.

“Remy got a couple of good goals and he had a fantastic chance for a third, but unfortunately it came at him so quickly.

“But his performance was one of the rare highlights from today.

“We need the commitment and the quality that we showed at Villa in every game. Our passing wasn’t as great as it has been in the last two or three games and we had a day at the office that we have to forget quickly and move on from.”

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West Ham 2-3 Everton: Allardyce Rues Red Card Decision

Published August 2, 2014 by gossipzoo

Sam Allardyce was proud of his team’s performance and less than happy with the referee’s performance as his West Ham side lost in the final minutes to Everton 3-2.

Mark Noble was given a controversial red card and Allardyce felt that, along with Romelu Lukaku’s half time introduction, was the difference.

“Up until the sending off, I thought the players were great,” said Allardyce. “After losing your last home game you want a response from your players and I think we got that. Everton a great side and we matched them. I’m really disappointed that we lost.”

“Lukaku was a huge difference. Everton played off him and we found that more difficult but our defensive qualities shone through as we restricted them up until Baines scored the first goal.”

The late defeat was even more bittersweet as Lukau had been a summer transfer target for the Irons.

“I had been talking to Jose (Mourinho) all summer about Lukaku, it was no, no, no, no, no, then there was a quick switch and everton got in there before us or West brom. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

The red card for Noble certainly had an effect o the game, but Big Sam was watchful with his words.

“I’ve got to be careful what I say, we all have. We get fined and the last thing I want is the FA getting any of my money that I work really hard for. If we want referees to get better then they have to get criticised like we all do in this game.”

“I’ve had a look at (the challenge). It’s easy for me to say Mark Noble has played the ball but he did because I have seen it on the laptop. The ref sees it where he is but he has to be certain because it’s a sending off. If Noble had not been booked before then Baines might still score but it’s still 2-2 with eleven men.”

Leighton Baines stepped up to score his second free kick of the game from Noble’s foul.

“How often do you see that? Not very often. That’s three in two home games for us, Pennant did the same thing for Stoke. You expect three in the whole season and (Baines) has put two in one game.”

While Allardyce could take some respite from a good display in general from his defence, that late blow was ultimately very difficult to take. While Everton jump into the top four, West Ham slip to 14th with five points from five games.

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Real Madrid 3-1 Athletic Bilbao – Match Report

Published July 7, 2014 by gossipzoo

cristiano ronaldo

Real Madrid continued their perfect start to the season, and simultaneously ended Athletic Bilbao’s, with a 3-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Isco continued his brilliant start in Madrid colours with a brace, taking his tally to four goals in 3 La Liga games. Christiano Ronaldo grabbed his first goal of the season and subsequently took his tally to 202 goals in 202 games for the Spanish giants.

Ibai Gomez scored a consolation goal for the Basque side but it was going to be Real’s day, as they prepared for the imminent arrival of Gareth Bale.

The early kick-off, introduced to help promote La Liga in the Asian market, brought about a slow and sluggish start to the game, with only brief glimpses of energy being shown from each side.

On the 23rd minute mark Ronaldo took the game by the scruff of its neck and surged forward, firing a shot into the side netting. From the resulting corner, Sergio Ramos headed the ball back across the face of goal but Pepe was unable to turn it in.

It didn’t take much longer for Real to break the deadlock. Isco cushioned Ronaldo’s ball and smashed the ball into the net.

The home side doubled their advantage just before half-time when Di Maria’s set-piece delivery was met by Ronaldo, who glanced his header into the net to get his tally for the season up and running.

In the second-half Madrid settled down but were still dangerous. 10 minutes after the interval Herrerin had to be alert to race off of his line and deny Benzema as he raced towards goal.

The Athletic keeper was also called into action to prevent Ronaldo scoring his second of the match as he dived to his left to keep out his free-kick.

Madrid found themselves on the scoresheet again on the 72nd minute. Benzema superbly chipped a ball over to Isco at the edge of the area, who unleashed an effort across goal that deflected off an Athletic defender and into the net.

Ibai Gomez got Athletic on the scoresheet ten minutes from the final whistle but it proved to only be a consolation goal but came via some superb play from Andoni Iraola.

The 3 points took Real Madrid to joint-top of the La Liga table, alongside the impressive Villarreal.

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Sunderland 0 – 0 Norwich: Black Cats See Red Again

Published February 23, 2014 by gossipzoo

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Sunderland will have to settle for just a single point this Christmas as they were left frustrated by a quiet Norwich side at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats failed to take advantage of almost a dozen decent chances but the sending off of Wes Brown at the end took away any chance of yet another stoppage time goal this season.

Head Coach Gus Poyet decided to field the XI that ended the midweek Capital One Cup clash with Chelsea, which ultimately seen Sunderland proceed to the final four. Ki Sung-Yeung and Fabio Borini, who both scored after coming off the bench on Tuesday, came in for Adam Johnson and Craig Gardner. Phil Bardsley replaced Andrea Dossena at left back.

There were no major talking points in the first half. Sunderland perhaps looked the most likely to score but any opportunity was left too late or taken too quick. The Canaries were denied a couple of times by Vito Mannone, who played as solid as ever between the sticks for Sunderland.

With an hour on the clock, the Sunderland fans erupted to either encourage their side on or to get on their back following yet another missed chance, this time by Ondrej Celustka. This had worked in midweek, and it certainly spurred them on again this time.

From then on, Sunderland constantly threatened Norwich’s defence, but could not find the net again, something Poyet will no doubt look at on the training ground and next week when the transfer window opens.

There were calls for a penalty moments before Brown’s red card, but referee Martin Atkinson got that one spot on, despite harsh calls of “you’re not fit to referee” from the Sunderland fans.

Match Stats

Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, O’Shea, Brown, Celustka, Ki, Cattermole, Giaccherini (Johnson), Larsson (Roberge), Borini, Altidore (Fletcher)

Norwich City: Ruddy, Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Olsson, Redmond, Snodgrass, Johnson, Fer, Hooper, Elmander (Van Wolfswinkel)

Goals:

None

Attendance: 37,788

Referee: Martin Atkinson

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Everton 3-2 Newcastle – Romelu Lukaku Sinks Hard-Fought Magpies

Published November 28, 2013 by gossipzoo

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A Man of the match performance from Romelu Lukaku helped Everton overcome Newcastle United at Goodison Park.

The Chelsea loanee -making his home debut for Everton- had a hand in all three of their goals while Loic Remy added to an earlier Yohan Cabaye strike to give the visitors a glimmer of hope.

Lukaku followed on from his goal scoring substitute appearance against West Ham with his first goal at Goodison just five minutes in, slotting home a Kevin Mirallas cross from close range. He turned provider 20 minutes later with a perfectly weighted pass which Ross Barkley ran on to before rolling the ball past Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal to double the home sides advantage.

The Belgian forward netted his second goal of the evening in the 38th minute after a long Tim Howard kick evaded the Newcastle defence leaving Lukaku with the simple task of tapping in.

Newcastle’s first chance of the game came deep in first half stoppage time, Hatem Ben Arfa forcing Howard to palm away at full stretch.

Manager Alan Pardew shuffled the visitors pack at half time, introducing Yohan Cabaye and Mike Williamson in place of Ben Arfa and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. And it was Newcastle who started the second half livelier, Yoan Gouffran going through one on one with Howard only to see his dinked effort come back off the post.

Pardew’s substitutions paid off in the 50th minute when Gouffran squared the ball to Cabaye who fired an unstoppable effort past Howard from 25 yards out.

Lukaku had the chance to seal his hat-trick 20 minutes from time after a quick counter attack saw him with the ball on the edge of Newcastle’s area, only to scoop his effort over the bar.

Everton finished the game with a flutter as substitute Gerard Deulofeu went through on goal only to see Krul standing tall to deny him at the near post. But it was Newcastle who had the last laugh, Loic Remy netting his third goal in two league games to give the away side a fighting chance at the death.

Everton held on though and head in to Saturday’s trip to Manchester City hoping to keep their fine form going, while Newcastle head to Cardiff needing the points to steer clear of the bottom three.

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Newcastle 2-3 Hull City – Tigers Comeback Stuns St. James’

Published November 16, 2013 by gossipzoo

Hull City left Tyneside with all three points on Saturday after a pulsating 3-2 victory over Newcastle.

The visitors trailed at the break thanks to a brace from Magpies forward Loic Remy, but Steve Bruce’s side produced a stunning comeback to move them into the top-half the Premier League table.

Goals from Robbie Brady, Ahmed Elmohamady and Sone Aluko were enough to earn City their first away win of the campaign in front of over 51,000 at St. James’ Park.

It was a bright start from the home side, with Remy looking a constant threat down the left and Vurnon Anita, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko all linking up well in midfield.

And it was Remy who broke the deadlock after ten minutes when he grabbed his first goal for the club since his loan move from Queens Park Rangers.

Sissoko beat two men before firing a deep cross to the back post, where Papiss Cisse’s scuffed volley fell kindly for Remy to head home from just outside the six-yard box.

Hull had a chance to get back into the game soon after when Tom Huddlestone’s corner wasn’t dealt with. The ball fell to Tigers captain Curtis Davies, but he completely missed his kick and United were in the clear.

In the 26th minute, however, City forced an equaliser thanks to some slack defending from the home side.

Striker Danny Graham missed a glorious opportunity in front of the posts, and produced a smart stop from Tim Krul.

But United failed to clear their lines, and Aluko found plenty of room to play in a completely unmarked Brady, who drove into the box before scoring with a neat finish.

The goal galvanised City, and Aluko was given time to shoot from distance before Jake Livermore saw his close-range shot ricochet off Mathieu Debuchy and spin wide.

Despite the away side’s improvement, it was United went ahead before the break. Davide Santon made good progress down the left and teed up Cabaye, whose shot from distance hit James Chester and fell kindly for Remy to coolly slot home.

Hull, however, were back in the game three minutes after the restart when a Brady free-kick on the right was glanced home by former Sunderland man Elmohamady.

Pardew’s men went looking for an equaliser, and had a shout for a penalty when Cabaye appeared to be pushed inside the area by Elmohamady, but Atkinson waved away the appeals.

Not long after the hour mark, the Geordies won a free kick in a dangerous position after Aluko had fouled Sissoko. But Ben Arfa’s swirling cross evaded Papiss Cisse and trickled out for a goal-kick.

But it was City who snatched the lead with 14 minutes remaining. A neat exchange down the right saw substitute George Boyd hit the byline before teeing up Aluko, who saw his smart volley fly in off the post to make it 3-2.

Remy passed up a great chance to grab his hat-trick in the last minute, but he smashed his effort wide of the upright from just a few yards out and Hull hung on for the win.

Newcastle United:

Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy (Cheick Tiote, 86), Fabricio Coloccini (C), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon; Moussa Sissoko, Vurnon Anita, Yohan Cabaye (Yoan Gouffran, 62); Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse (Sylvain Marveaux, 73), Loic Remy.

Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Mike Williamson, Sammy Ameobi, Paul Dummett.

Goals: Loic Remy (10 & 44)

Hull City: Allan McGregor; Liam Rosenior, Curtis Davies (C), James Chester, Ahmed Elmohamady; Robbie Brady (David Meyler, 74), Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Stephen Quinn (George Boyd, 65), Sone Aluko; Danny Graham (Yannick Sagbo. 84).

Subs not used: Steve Harper, Alex Bruce, Abdoulaye Faye, Nick Proschwitz.

Goals: Robbie Brady (26), Ahmed Elmohamady (48), Sone Aluko (76)

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Attendance: 51,523

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