SportsNet - February 2013
Spanish Giants Barcelona (Catalans) was stunned last Wednesday by AC Milan (Rossoneri) in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 match-up. AC Milan pulled off arguably the biggest upset in Champions League play to-date. The Italian Club defeated the highly-favored Barcelona FC in a stunning 2-0 defeat at San Siro Stadium in Italy.
Barcelona was initially favored to win the UEFA tournament given their dominance in European football. Prior to last Wednesday’s shocker, few doubted they would win the whole thing considering their roster is filled with a star-studded cast include the reigning FIFA world footballer of the year Lionel Messi, as well as the likes of Cristan Tello, David Villa; not to mention a sold midfield. (However, it is noteworthy; Barca’s midfield was totally out played by Milan's “not-to-shabby” midfield which included Massimo Ambrosini, Sulley Muntari and Riccardo Montolivo last week at San Siro). Despite the fact, Barcelona had possession of the ball for most of the game, they still lost in a stunning defeat by the Rossoneri.
Tuesday night sees Everton welcome Oldham Athletic to Goodison Park in a crucial FA Cup 5th round replay.
Toffees boss, David Moyes, has been coming under increasing fire since the weekend’s late surrender to Norwich City in the Premier League. His side were quick out of the traps at the beginning of the season, bucking their usual habit of getting away to slow starts. Their quick, incisive play and eye for goal had people sit up and take notice and many thought this might be the year they could break into the top four for the first time since 2005.
Gradually however, Everton have struggled to finish teams off when they’ve been in the ascendency, resulting in too many drawn games and subsequently far too many wasted points for a realistic finish in the Champions League qualification places.
There is a very good reason why Alabama vs. South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game might be the safest prediction for the 2013 college football season.
It has little to do with recent history, though the two-time defending champion Crimson Tide and a Gamecock squad that has won 11 games in each of the past two seasons have both proven themselves to be powerhouses in the modern game.
It also has nothing to do with the talent on the field. While Alabama might have more future pros on their roster than any other team and South Carolina is led by the best player in college football, there are several other teams in the SEC who can put comparable talent out on the field.
The reason Alabama and South Carolina will meet in the title game is because they happen to play fewer of those teams than any of the league’s other contenders.
Veteran point guard Derek Fisher was signed by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Fisher fills a void left at the position after the Thunder traded guard Eric Maynor to Portland. Fisher played for the Thunder for 40 total games last season. 20 in the regular season and 20 in the playoff run to the NBA Finals.
This is a smart move by OKC because Fisher is what I call a “championship player”. He isn’t a star but he is one of those consistent players that all championship teams need. The guy that not only knows his role, but also accepts it. Sometimes young guys come into the league thinking that they’re supposed to be stars right away, this prohibits them from excelling in the specific role the team wants them to fill. This is not the case with Fisher, as he has won five championship rings by playing his role.
Barcelona will face off against fierce rivals Real Madrid in the second leg of the 2013 Copa Del Rey in just a few days time, in what promises to be a huge encounter with the tie currently balanced on a knife edge. Football fans across the world will be tuning into the showdown to see who comes out on top between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - arguably the two best players on the planet right now.
In the first leg, the sides battled out a 1-1 draw as nothing could separate the teams, in a closely fought encounter.
Madrid defender Rafael Varane, who is just 19 years of age, was one of the stand out stars of the night, and provided Madrid with a fearless defensive display to keep the big guns of Barcelona quiet for most of the night.
Since that first leg, Barcelona have played four games, winning 2, drawing 1, and losing The La Liga favorites managed to play out a tight draw with Valencia where the game finished 1-1, with Lionel Messi scoring the goal for Barca.