Well, the transfer period is over now. This week I saw Luis Suarez leave one of my favorite clubs and move to the rival of one of my other favorite clubs. Not much in positive news for the teams I follow. Ah well. The games have been entertaining at least.
Liverpool 1:0 Fulham (26 Jan)
In the battle of clubs formerly managed by Roy Hodgson, Fulham got the better of Liverpool overall and were even responsible for all of the goal scoring, but still took the loss. The loan goal occurred after some defensive miscues by Fulham allowed the ball to bounce around the goal mouth. John Pantsil’s attempted to clear the ball, but it glanced off his leg and into the Fulham goal. American star Clint Dempsey played another great attacking game but just couldn’t connect for a goal.
Ajax 4:1 NAC Breda (27 Jan)
While their hopes of an Eredivisie championship are slipping, the Amsterdammers still have a chance to earn some hardware by repeating as KNVB Cup (aka Dutch Cup) champions. After going down a goal early on, Ajax made it look pretty easy dismantling NAC and advancing to the Cup semifinals. The same teams met again over the weekend in Breda with Ajax winning by the same scoreline.
RW Oberhausen 1:1 FC Ingolstadt 04 (28 Jan)
I added another new league to my spectating catalog with this match from the German 2. Bundesliga. American international Edson Buddle lead the MLS in goals while playing for Los Angeles last season and earned a transfer to Europe. He scored a goal for Ingolstadt in his first match with the team last week. In this match, Buddle’s team went up on a 27th minute goal by Stefan Leitl. Shortly after halftime, Ronny König equalized for the opposition. Buddle himself entered the game in the 61st minute, but there would be no further scoring.
Everton 1:1 Chelsea (29 Jan)
A most-exciting FA Cup match that saw the home side go ahead in the 62nd minute courtesy of Louis Saha. I held my breath in hopes that Everton could hold or even extend their lead, but alas a Chelsea counterattack resulted in a Salomon Kalou goal 13 minutes later. Everton seemed to be the better team on the field so it seems something of a wasted opportunity. It’s going to be a tough replay at Stamford Bridge on 19 February.
Hercules 0:3 Barcelona (29 Jan)
Earlier this season Hercules shocked their hosts at Camp Nou with a 0:2 victory and hoped to upset the La Liga table leaders again in their home grounds. Barcelona would have none of that and easily dispatched Hercules with a goal by Pedro just before the half and two goals by Lionel Messi in the final minutes. The highlight of this game was watching with my three-year old son who pointed out things like “that guy fell down” and shouted “goaaaaaaaaaaal!” after Messi’s scores.
Melbourne Victory FC 2:0 Gold Coast United (30 Jan)
I was up late and couldn’t fall asleep so I tuned into some A-League soccer from Australia. Melbourne is a sister city of Boston, so their teams have my support although for completely arbitrary reasons I’m drawn to the expansion club Melbourne Heart because they have more of an underdog status and the name Heart resonates more with me than the cocky Victory. There’s also the fact that the captain of Victory is Manny Muscat, a brute of player serving an 8-game suspension for a vicious tackle. Nevertheless, it was a Victory game that was on so that is what I watched. The home side won on a hot day where the crowd was thin and hiding in the shade. Both goals were scored by Danny Allsopp, a one-time DC United player. The A-League seems to have a lot in common with the MLS. It’s too bad our countries are so far apart because it would be fun to see an international cup match of some sort featuring North American and Australian teams.
Internazionale 3:2 Palermo (30 Jan)
Now this is some thrilling soccer! An offensive spectacle and the lead changing hands over the course of the match. The only thing wrong with is is that Inter ended up victorious as I like to see the mighty fall. Palermo took the lead 5 minutes into the game thanks to Fabrizio Miccoli and then doubled their lead in the 36th minute Antonio Nocerino. Inter were able to get one back with a Giampaolo Pazzini goal in the 56th minute. The big turning point is when Javier Pastore took a penalty kick that would have put Palermo up 1:3 but had his shot blocked by Júlio César. The momentum shifted to the home side who soon scored two goals in a matter of minutes: Pazzini (73′) and Samuel Eto’o (76′). Still a great game though.