Time for a new ‘Super’ League in European Soccer
February 16, 2008

The English Premier League’s unveiling of a new proposal to play a 39th game overseas was met with considerable hostility this past week. This was because it would unleash a number of unnecessary precedents within the Soccer world. For starters, many fear that English teams playing a competitive match on foreign soil would do little for the development or promotion of the game in these foreign countries. And, it was felt that adding an extra game to the schedule would create a disparity within the English game as some teams would end up playing a more difficult opponent for their 39th game, whereas others would face a much easier opponent. Evaluating league champions or relegation teams under these scenarios could therefore be significantly hampered, especially during close affairs. But, is there something behind the proposal that may be interesting for the game.

Maybe the English proposal is signaling that it just may be time to unveil a ‘new’ super league in European soccer, where the top teams from each league actually play each other in a home-and-away league competition so that fans across the globe can see just how the best within England would fear against the best of Italy, and Spain, and all the other top leagues in Europe. Yes we already have the Champions League where teams play a home-and-away schedule within the group stages, then a home-and-away knock-out stage. However, how would these teams fare if they had to play an entire season against the very top European teams, similar to their domestic league competitions. Read more

The best soccer team in Europe
As we close the year 2007, and with most of the European football leagues (soccer to those North Americans fans) at the mid-point of their schedules, and the rest in Winter hibernation it is now time to take stock and evaluate each team's performance through the first five months of the season, and ask that all-important question. Which team is the best team in Europe at the present time? Read more...

Top Soccer League in Europe
With the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup group stages just completed it is time to once again ask the all important question, which soccer league in Europe is the toughest league to play in? Read more...

FIFA and UEFA agree to $252m deal with clubs, G-14 disbanded
Football clubs are to be compensated for letting their players appear in the final stages of the European Championships and World Cup.

The payments are to begin at Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland this summer and will see tournament organiser UEFA pay clubs £2,970 (4,000 euros) for each day a player is involved in the latter stages.
Read more.

Milan hold firm as Arsenal fail to find a way through
LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Arsenal and European champions AC Milan battled out an end-to-end 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League first knockout round tie.

Arsenal attacked almost throughout the match but despite some bright approach work and a series of clear-cut chances, Milan's defence held firm with Arsene Wenger's young side now facing an uphill task to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Emmanuel Eboue, Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini and Emmanuel Adebayor all went close, with Adebayor heading against the bar in the final seconds of stoppage time.

Goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac, a doubt before the game with a dislocated finger, was beaten on that occasion but stopped everything that came his way.

Arsenal restricted Milan to a glancing Paolo Maldini header after four minutes and a few second-half chances, but Milan will be far the happier team going into the return at the San Siro in two weeks' time.

Barca comeback stuns Celtic
Barcelona beat Celtic in Glasgow thanks to a brace from Lionel Messi and a Thierry Henry special to take a 3-2 advantage back to the Camp Nou in a topsy-turvy Champions League last 16 tie.

Mancini gives Roma the edge against Real Madrid

ROME, Feb 19 (Reuters) - David Pizarro and Mancini scored as AS Roma came from behind to take charge of their Champions League last 16 tie against Real Madrid with a 2-1 first-leg win on Tuesday.

Real went ahead with their first attack in the eighth minute when Raul diverted a Guti strike into the net after Arjen Robben had broke down the left and cut the ball back.

Chilean midfielder Pizarro drilled Roma level in the 24th after Real's attempt to clear a Mancini cross landed at his feet.

Mancini slipped in the winner in the 58th minute when captain Francesco Totti found himself in space thanks to Gabriel Heinze's failed attempt to cut out a pass and was able to put the Brazilian winger through on goal.

Kuranyi strike hands Schalke first-leg advantage
GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AFP) - Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi fired his side a step closer to a Champions League quarter-final berth as his early goal was enough to seal a 1-0 first-leg win over FC Porto on Tuesday.

Manchester United humble Arsenal 4-0 in FA Cup

LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The eagerly-awaited FA Cup fifth-round clash between England's two top teams turned out to be a one-sided affair on Saturday as Manchester United thumped 10-man Arsenal 4-0 at Old Trafford.

United were 3-0 up after 38 minutes through Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher and Nani as Arsenal's injury-hit side looked badly off the pace and short of motivation.

United, also without some leading players, were just as dominant after the break and Arsenal suffered a further setback five minutes after the restart when Emmanuel Eboue was sent off for a wild challenge on Patrice Evra.

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Late Tevez goal salvages draw for United in Lyon

LYON, France, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Manchester United needed a late strike from substitute forward Carlos Tevez to salvage a 1-1 draw at Olympique Lyon in the first leg of their Champions League first knockout round tie on Wednesday.

Argentine Tevez fired in from close range three minutes from time after a cross by Nani took a deflection off Lyon striker Fred.

France forward Karim Benzema had put Lyon ahead with a low drive from 20 metres that bounced off the post and into the net on 54 minutes.

Lyon, inconsistent in Ligue 1, produced a spirited challenge but face a daunting task in the return leg at Old Trafford.

Fenerbahce upend Sevilla at home

Turkish side Fenerbahce beat Sevilla  3-2 at home to take a crucial leg up on their return engagement in two weeks. However, Sevilla muts feel good about their chances of advancing to the quarter finals after securing two crucial away goals in the match.


Liverpool triumphs over Inter Milan in UEFA Champions League action

February 19, 2008

Alex Livesey/GettyImages
Liverpool skipper Gerrard celebrates victory over Inter

Two late goals gave Liverpool their 100th European victory at Anfield and eased the pressure on under fire manager Rafa Benitez. Dirk Kuyt volleyed past Inter Milan's Cesar with five minutes left before a Steven Gerrard strike from distance secured a famous 2-0 win for the Reds. Their task had been made easier after Internazionale's Marco Materazzi saw red for two bookings early in the first half. 

Olympiakos, Chelsea share turgid goalless draw

ATHENS, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Olympiakos Piraeus and Chelsea shared a 0-0 draw in a lacklustre Champions League first knockout round first leg at the Karaiskakis Stadium on Tuesday.

Neither side produced much in the way of clearcut chances with one of the best openings falling to Olympiakos winger Luciano Galletti whose second-half volley went narrowly wide.

Chelsea, who left skipper John Terry and vice-captain Frank Lampard on the bench at the start, had most of the second-half possession but struggled to break down a dogged home defence.

Substitute Salomon Kalou wasted an excellent opportunity in the dying seconds when he failed to control a left-wing cross six metres out.

The Greek team started the brighter although there were few chances in a cagey game.