SportsNet - May 2013
On Wednesday night in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Chelsea became UEFA Europa League champions after beating Benefica 2-1 with a spectacular second goal in the 93th-minute of extra-time.
The Europa League is a second-tier tournament, and for most of last night's match it lived up to that distinction. The match was not well attended neither. Leading up to the championship match, the UEFA governing body made it difficult to get tickets. However, there were a lot of empty seats at Amsterdam ArenA; needless to say, and the game wasn't very exciting as both teams seemed to be going through the motions. Throughout the match Chelsea looked disorganized and tired; Benefica on the other hand looked like the side that wanted it more (obvious from the half dozen chances they had) but it was not meant to be.
Fernando Torres scored the first goal of the match on a miscue when Juan Mata failed to control a ball thrown to him by the goalkeeper. Nine minutes later, Benefica equalized off a penalty kick by Cardozo. Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic scored the winning goal with a header late in the 93rd-minute of extra-time.
In the end, it was an absolute demolition job.
The Memphis Grizzlies continued their fairytale post-season by destroying the Western Conference favourites, the Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-1 to advance into the Conference finals. The 88-84 victory to ensure their advancement was typical of the gritty determination they have shown throughout the season. Now, the team who had recorded just one Playoff series win in their history until this season, has a real chance of winning the West and quite possibly an NBA Championship.
They have never claimed to be the most popular or fashionable team that's ever graced a court. They are tough, workmanlike and work very well as a unit. These traits might not get you the Nationally televised games or the endorsement deals, but it does bring you success. It may have taken some time, but Memphis are now reaping the rewards for sticking to their principles and are finally getting the praise their performances have deserved for some time.
The New York Giants are interested in signing ageing defensive back Charles Woodson, according to a report from ESPN's Josina Anderson. The Giants need help in the secondary and Woodson is still without a team, after being released by the Green Bay Packers.
He may have lingered on the league's scrap heap this offseason, but Woodson can still be an asset to any secondary. Even at 36, he has retained the coverage skills that made him a premier cornerback during the peak of a career that began in 1998.
The Giants are not particularly well-stocked at the edges of their defensive backfield. Veteran Corey Webster is a declining force on one side. Over on the other, 2011 first-rounder Prince Amukamara has struggled to convince.
The G-Men did bring back Aaron Ross in free agency, but he is more of a nickel corner. Woodson offers far greater versatility.
Not only would he boost the cornerback rotation, he would also be able to fill in at safety. He moved to free safety for the Packers in 2012.
David Beckham has removed any further doubt about his future by announcing his retirement early. He will retire at the end of this season, having spent the last five months at PSG in Paris, where he donated all of his earnings to a children`s charity.
Beckham made 115 appearances for England and 394 for Manchester United, winning six Premier League titles and the Champions League. He came to fame during his early years at Manchester United, where he came through the academy along with the likes of Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and some other now famous names at other clubs. This group of players won the FA Youth Cup in 1992. Beckham went on to play for Preston to get some experience in 1994-5. Beckham returned to Manchester and finally made his Premier League debut for Manchester United on 2 April 1995.
The saga of Frank Lampard`s contract has finally been settled and he has this morning signed a one year extension. It is thought that Rafa Benitez may had some input into the change of mind, but Chelsea insiders are saying that incoming manager Jose Mourinho made it a condition of his appointment that Lampard and Terry are part of the deal.
Originally, it was thought that Lampard would be allowed to leave at the end of his current contract in the summer and there were rumours that LA Galaxy had been in touch with his agent about a possible move to the United States, however, his wife, who has her own separate career, was not keen to uproot.
The situation surrounding Terry is slightly different in that he has suffered a dramatic loss of form and it may be that he will leave with Lampard at the end of next season.
All that remains now is for Mourinho to make it official that he will be the next Chelsea manager.