Euro Football Weekend Rundown
Welcome back to the Euro Football Weekend Rundown, edition three. Over the weekend, PSG broke its duck with a victory, RvP is beginning to lead the way for Man United, Chelsea was smashed by the Colchoneros in the Euro Super Cup final, and controversy strikes the Serie A again.
5) Ibra’s double helps break streak
We knew it would happen eventually and it did. French star-club Paris Saint-Germain finally broke a three-consecutive tie streak and brought home three crucial points over Lille at the Lille Metropole stadium with a brace from club leading goal scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With the very first touch of the game in the first minute, Ibra latched onto a precise through ball by Maxwell which the giant Swede slid home for the 1-0 lead. Eleven minutes later, the home team equalized with a goal from a corner with Aurelien Chedjou. But at the 21st minute mark, it was again Ibra to slot home the winner, 2-1. PSG has netted four times so far this season, and the Swede sensation scored all of them! Very impressive. PSG moves up into ninth position with six points, behind Marseille in first with 12.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils put in a valiant effort Sunday against Southampton at St. Mary’s stadium leaving it late with a scoreline of 3-2. Man of the Match, in my opinion, goes to new Dutch signing Robin Van Persie. The ex-Arsenal forward bagged three goals to lead his new team to victory. RVP first levelled the affair with a fine strike. Down 2-1 after the restart, Man United missed the opportunity to take the lead when the Dutchman had his cheeky pk attempt saved from the Southampton ‘keeper. But don’t leave just yet as RvP has more goals to add to his tally. Leaving it late, the Netherland’s international popped home a Rio Ferdinand rebound off the post to tie it all up at 2-2. Finally, in stoppages, the ex-Gunner head home the game winner from a Nani cross saving himself from a scolding from his superior. Excellent performance! RvP leads the Premiership with four goals.
On the other hand, Liverpool are off to a terrible start into the new campaign with two consecutive draws, one of which was a 2-2 final against Man City, and more recently a 2-0 loss to Arsenal. The Reds are in the red, the relegation zone that is, after only three rounds and need a miracle to get out of this slump. Liverpool has only scored three goals and conceded five thus far. Principal owner, John W. Henry declared that he fully committed to helping the side in any way possible despite the failure to bring in a replacement for out-on-loan striker Andy Carroll. Good luck! You’re going to need it.
3) Chelsea smashed 4-1 in European Super Cup final
Heavy favourites, Chelsea, were demolished in the Euro Super Cup final. Colombian international, Radamel Falcao, scored three sensational goals to guide Atletico Madrid to victory. The Blues seriously do not know what hit them, although central defence captain John Terry was absent. The encounter wasn’t ever close as the red-and-white striped shirts took the lead on 20 minutes and continued, leading 4-0 at one point. Falcao looks set to become a La Liga star. His performance was so great that Chelsea are ready to offer Atletico £50 million in the January transfer window for his services. We’ll wait and see what materializes.
In last week’s edition of Euro Football Weekend Rundown, Fernando Torres’ dive was reviewed and was declared a gold medal winner in a 3m dive Olympic event. Well, Torres is now stripped of that gold medal as he slides down to second place as Gianpaolo Pazzini of AC Milan is now awarded the gold medal. Replays show that the new Rossonero attacker engaged in a tussle with Bologna’s Nicolò Cherubin until the latter fell to the ground, following which il Pazzo takes two further steps and falls to the ground as if sniped from the rafters causing the referee to point to the spot. It was incredible, so much so that Sky Sports created this comedic image of the incident which surely captures the moment perfectly. Pazzini got back up to convert the penalty and secured the Diavolo victory with a hat-trick to his name. Milan defeated Bologna 3-1.
1) Clobbered Giovinco leads to excessive red card for Udinese ‘keeper Brkic
Although Pazzini blatantly dove, the controversial moment of the weekend occurred during the Udinese-Juventus encounter at the Stadio Friuli. At the 12th minute mark, Andrea Pirlo launched a fantastic lob over the defence for Sebastian Giovinco who first gets a head to the ball. He was then deliberately pushed onto the rushing goal keeper, Zeljko Brkic, who jumped with arms fully stretched into the air, while missing the ball completely, knees up and was the last man. The Juve forward then collides with Brkic and falls in the penalty area. The referee, Valeri, issued a straight red card for the foul on the basis that he was the last man. Upon review of the replays, contact was definitely made and is therefore an undeniable penalty. However, the controversy pertains to the expulsion. Did Brkic deserve the red card? No, he did not seeing that Giovinco was pushed from behind from Brazilian defender Danilo. Therefore, Danilo is the one who should have been sanctioned with a yellow card plus the penalty awarded. Brkic’s expulsion was excessive and totally impacted the match-up which Juve went onto dominate 4-1 with an Arturo Vidal-converted penalty kick, a Mirko Vucinic curler from the edge of the area, and a brace from the impressive Sebastian Giovinco. It was an astonishing display nonetheless.
In the defense of referee Valeri (just playing devil’s advocate here), without the benefit of instant video replay and swift-paced action, it comes down to haste decisions to be made. Valeri looked to be positioned behind the players involved in the incident where it may have looked like a deliberate foul on behalf of the goalkeeper.
However, like I said it was excessive. These incidents should be reviewed by the Serie A’s disciplinary committee. Should the call made be deemed as an obvious error on behalf of the ref, then the ref should be fined and/or suspended. Controversial calls are becoming the norm in Serie A of late and it is completely intolerable.
…and that’s the last word.