Saturday, April 26, 2008

Call a spade a spade

Today Chelsea beat Manchester United at Stamford Bridge by 2-1. Chelsea were awarded a penalty kick since Carrick handled the ball inside box. Sir Alex Ferguson, United Coach, was furious about it later in the press.

He said later: "It was absolutely diabolical, " he told MUTV. "It is a major decision.
"Granted, it hit his hand. But he has not lifted his hand above his shoulders, above his head, anything like that."

Just two weeks ago, United won against Arsenal by 2-1. In that match, United were awarded a penalty when Gallas handled the ball. Gallas did no more than Carrick. Even he was trying to block the ball at his waist level. But Ferguson was more than happy to take it.

Thing to consider is: Its so easy to take unsporting (fair, in this case) decisions given in favour of your team and so hard to take them when they go against.

I don't want to criticize Sir Alex but all I want to say is Call a penalty a penalty.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Preview: Semi Final, Champions League

These 2 teams have contested 2 semifinals and Liverpool has come out winner both the times. However, there is one major difference this time. Chelsea will play second leg at home. Its crucial considering the fact that in previous 2 matches Liverpool have failed to score at Stamford Bridge(Chelsea's stadium).

Liverpool are always good defensively and are clever in grinding out victories over 2 legged matches. This time they have got Fernando Torres as their striker. He has got lightning pace and calm finishing, 2 rare qualities for a striker. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will be involved in heavily as always.

Jose Mourinho, who was coach of Chelsea in previous 2 matches is out of equation since quitting job last fall. Currect coach Avaram Grant is not as good as tactician as Mourinho but has done a decent job in keeping chelsea in hunt for both, Champions League and Premiership. Chelsea are anxious about Drogba and Ballack to start. Its interesting to see who will start as Forward, Anelka or Shevchenko. Joe Cole and Frank Lampard will have to battle with Mascherano and Alonso in midfield and this battle holds the key to Chelsea's success. Chelsea will have Terry, Carvalho, Ashly Cole in defence. The last of defenders will be Alex/Balleti/Bridge/Ferreira. This might prove to be a week link in chain and Liverpool might take advantage here.

Critics have predicted tight encounter similar to previous 2 matches; goalless draw or 1-0 to Liverpool . I strongly feel that this won't be the case this time. Liverpool will try to score as many goals as possible. This will create spaces and Chelsea will try to get away goals.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Review: Champions League- Round of 16

Consider the draws: AC Milan Vs Arsenal & Real Madrid Vs AS Roma fighting for place in the Quarter-Finals of UEFA Champions League. At any point of time in last century, these draws will produce memorable contests.

In both the matches underdogs went and won in Lions Den in return leg matches. History was made in one match when Arsenal became the first English team to register a win at Mythical San Siro (AC Milan's stadium). In another hisory repeated when Real Madrid failed to go to quarter finals for 4th consecutive year.

Spaniard Cech Fegregas fought inch for inch with Gattuso, Pirlo and Kaka and came out winner. Arsenal were patient and determined not to loose ground initially in first half. Once they had done that, they grew in confidence. Fabregas's clearance of Maldini's header at the goal line was a moment bringing together two giants of European Football. One hanging up the boots and another anouncing proudly that he is ready to take on champions. Later in dying stages of the game, Fabregas went past Gattuso and fired a shot out of nothing to score the vital away goal.
This man has got the potential to be one of the game's greats. This season he has taken first step by beating Milan.

Elsewhere Real lost to Roma. Roma have a very competitive and hard working team lead by classy Italian Francisco Totti. Their manager's astute substitutions to bring fresh legs in match had huge impact in this victory. Once again, we see why its important to have good bench strength.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Historic Win for India

Today India beat Australia in second consecutive final (match for that matter) and took the trophy in final version of CB series. Sachin scored 117 Not Out chasing in first encounter and played valuable 91 in setting up the target in second match.

In second final Pravin Kumar took 4 wickets, all at crucial points. Later Irfan Pathan held his nerve (even when he was beaten badly earlier)to bowl last over. Its one thing to bowl dot balls , altogether different thing to pick up 2 wickets to wrap up the match. Cheers for Piyush Chawla for holding on 2 catches in such pressure cooker atmosphere.

It was a monumental win by few young men, lead by cool, smart and intelligent captain who seems to have taken captaincy like fish taking to water.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

India vs Sri lanka ODI

Today India bowled out Sri Lanka for a modest 179, chased it quite comfortably and won by 7 wickets. Once again Dhoni's strategy to play 5 bowlers paid off.

Sachin batted brilliantly and played attacking cricket. Its remarkable that he has been suggested to bat down the order. People forget that he is still a giant of player when fielders are inside the circle. He has got the ability to find gaps at ease and take quick singles when bowlers are on top. The way he played Murali was awesome. Although Murali got better of him later, he was trying to correct the shot on way back to pavilion.

If he is back in his groove, then India have got a real chance in the finals.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Sachin Tendulkar played one of the best innings (unbeaten 124) in recent memory to post a competitive 309/5 at stumps on Day 1 of fourth and final test. Even by his standards, this inning had everything. He got off the mark by driving Brett Lee for 4. He and Laxman set up a wonderful partnership of 126 at run rate of 4.

After tea in the final sesison, he changed his gears. The batsmanship that followed was exhibition of masterful strokemaking. He scored 69 runs in single session hitting spin duo of Clarke and Hogg at run a ball.

For those who care about stats, Sachin's average against Australia in Australia of batting in first innings is, hold your breath, 102.40.

But numbers dont always tell the story. His footwork, the way he came down the track to hit spinners, his placement and accuracy in it to put the shot where he wanted was amazing. As Sunil Gavaskar told him he looked like 'Tendlya' as Mumbai knows him.

There is little history to this beautiful Adelaide ground. This is homeground of Sir Don Bradman. Here itself Brian Lara scored 226 on his last appearance in Australia.And now our own Little master has made his first century at the Adelaide Oval.