The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

The Round of 16: Your Soccer Lesson Part 2

Posted by Blake Murphy on March 13, 2008

TottiThis article has been submitted by GMIL highlight Michael Cascone You can find part one here.

Last Wednesday, the Champions League Round of 16 continued with a few surprises and some fantastic soccer. Here’s Part 2 of your Champions League lesson…

AS Roma (Italian Serie A) 4 – Real Madrid (Spanish Primiera) 2
In a well fought matchup, Roma overcame Spanish opponents Real Madrid with 2-1 wins at home and away. I won’t lie and tell you that I’m not biased towards the Roma side, but they deserved to win both games. They outhustled Real in the first match and were rewarded with the victory.

Roma was also able to overcome some nightmares from last year in the second match. After leading Manchester United by a goal last season, they were overconfident and got dismantled and embarrassed at Old Trafford, 7-1. That was far from the case this year, and Roma came out playing energetic and sharp defensively. Although both sides created a number of chances, Roma played a strong midfield game and was able to finish with two goals. Also, some good old fashioned Italian diving secured them a number of free kicks.

Cone’s Key to the Match: I would like to think that my personal fan support at the QP proved to be the deciding factor in the match (I rang the bell really loudly every time Roma got a scoring chance, annoying all Real fans in the pub). However, I would have to say that the nail in Real’s coffin was Pepe’s red card in the 71st minute. His second yellow card of the game meant that he was out for the match, and the 10 man Real Madrid struggled to keep Roma off the board. Despite allowing Real to control the ball, and actually score once, Roma forwards (Totti: a personal favorite) were able to run down the depleted defense and clinch the win with a second away goal.

Look for Roma to run the table; come to the QP to see me dance around in a Totti jersey.

DrogbaChelsea (English Premiership) 3 – Olympiakos FC (Super League Greece) 0
No surprises here. After a first leg draw in which Chelsea missed a number of scoring opportunities, they put away the annual Greek champions with an uncontested 3-0 home win. Blues captain John Terry was quoted as saying, “We’re up against a team who are no mugs,” but they proved just the opposite (fantastic command of limey slang). After a Ballack strike in the 5th minute, Chelsea put it on cruise control. Despite a few chances late in the match, Olympiakos was completely outplayed.

After league rivals Arsenal were able to tune up in tight matches against AC Milan, Chelsea will have to step up their game against fiercer competition in the next round. They also actually have the issue of too many sick players. Playmaking forwards Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou keep Michael Essien on the bench, and a surplus of quality midfielders gives the team depth, but could lead to playing time issues later as the games get more important.

Cone’s Key to the Match: Chelsea’s consistent play. They were sluggish in the away leg, but came away untouched after an easy second leg win. For more exciting soccer reviews, read up on Chelsea’s FA Cup loss to Tier II side Barnsley (who already beat Liverpool). Guaranteed feel good, underdog story of the year; take that, Colorado Rockies.

schalke 04FC Porto (Portuguese Premiera Division) 1 – FC Shalke 04 (German Bundesliga) 1
In a thriller, Portuguese giants Porto fell to German underdogs Schalke 4-1 in penalties, after initially tying the aggregate score 1-1. Schalke was able to surprise Porto in the first leg, winning 1-0 at home. In the second leg, Porto dominated ball control (59% possession) and created way more chances, pouring on offensive pressure all game. However, they were only able to manage a single goal, very late in the match. An 82nd minute red card proved very costly for Porto, and they were unable to win in overtime and ultimately fell in penalties.

This game was a huge shock. The win marks Schalke’s first time to the quarterfinals. More surprising: they’ve actually lost their last four Bundesliga games against much, much weaker opposition.

Cone’s Key to the Match: Schalke tender Manuel Neuer. After a number of dirty saves throughout the match, he stopped two straight penalty shots to put Schalke through. Anytime there’s a penalty kick win, you have to give props to the goalie.

It’ll be interesting to see how Schalke holds up in the next round. I predict them getting blown-out by a powerhouse, but we’ll see.

Liverpool v. Inter Update
Although I gave a little review on this matchup already, the second leg is to be played on March 11th. Check out my previous article for a little taster before the match if you plan on watching it. Inter is injury-riddled and down two goals. As much as I like to see the Italian teams get through, they have little chance.

Note: Yup, Blake waited to long to put this up. Liverpool won said second leg 1-0, giving them a 3-0 aggregate victory.

There’s plenty more Champions League soccer to be played, enjoy it.

This article has been submitted by GMIL highlight Michael Cascone.

6 Responses to “The Round of 16: Your Soccer Lesson Part 2”

  1. mostafa Says:

    Great action last week and on Tuesday this week, again kudos on the review Cascone. Just felt like elaborating on Liverpool and Internazionale’s second leg:

    I’m not a big fan of the Reds, but Liverpool played an inspired game on the road at the San Siro against an electric crowd (sustained boos and whistling on every Liverpool possession). My initial thoughts watching the match were that Liverpool would need to score early to quiet Inter’s 12th man and take them out of the game, but it seemed like this intense support (read: pressure) worked against the Inter players, as their play in and around the 18 yard box on either end of the pitch was just awful. There were several defensive miscues that put the ball right into the feet of Liverpool’s star striker and candidate for Footballer of the Year, Fernando Torres who, fortunately for Inter, couldn’t capitalize. On the other end of the pitch, Torres’s counterpart on the Inter side, Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic could not hit the goal which was the story of the night for Internazionale with 2 shots on goal and 10 shots wide. To paraphrase Harry Neal: you gotta hit the net to score (obs). This is how good Ibrahimovic was not on Tuesday: Inter did have one bright spot in their captain, Javier Zanetti who was outstanding in the first half with some dirty runs down the middle of the pitch towards the Liverpool goal. Torres would eventually slot home the winning goal with a beautiful first touch, turn and shot into the bottom corner of the net. This came 64 minutes into the second half, 14 minutes after Inter center back Burdisso was sent off with his second yellow card of the match. With that away goal, the Reds sealed their spot in the quarters with Inter Milan needing 4 goals to advance on aggregate and 10 men to do it.

    In summary: good match. Also a good result for fans of the English game as they now have 4 teams in the Champions League quarter finals and the prospect of an all English final is high. Can’t wait to see the draws tomorrow, praying for an easy one for my Gunners (come on Shalke).

    Didn’t know the QP was showing Champions League either.. are the just showing the games on TSN or do they have a satellite feed?

  2. E Says:

    Need to take the period out for that youtube clip to work. Great plays, lame song but a wicked vid.

  3. mostafa Says:

    Ibrahimovic has some dirty dangles, but he’s a slimeball. That video also showcases some of his best dives.

  4. Cone Says:

    Mostafa, sweet lil review and I definitely agree with you. I’m not a huge Liverpool fan either, but they outplayed Inter straight up.

    As for the QP, they just put on whatever is on TV, so just the TSN stuff. Its good for big games, but shitty if you want to watch one of the other matches. I’ve also noticed that the live feeds on TSN don’t show highlights after the games and cut right out to the next show, so thats kind of annoying (especially when you want to watch Porto and Schalke in a shootout).

    The draw will definitely be interesting…i wouldn’t mind seeing some high profile English matchups….which means Schalke for Roma hahah. It would be nice but we’ll see!

  5. Blake Murphy Says:

    Wait wait wait, rewind. Over these two articles you have schooled me on Champions League soccer, no doubt. However, how am I supposed to know which team I’d like to root for if you haven’t provided good pictures or composite rankings of player and team attractiveness. Everyone knows North American soccer fandom is determined 90% by how sexy the players are and 10% cool jerseys. Where is the ‘Top 20 Seciest Soccer Teams’ article?

  6. AJ Says:

    Blake - it should be Top 20 Sexiest Soccer WAGs…now that would be something I would, um, read…

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