Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Champions League 2009-10 Qualifiers

Panathinaikos and Atlético Madrid played a marvelous 1st leg qualifying match for the Champions League, which was a great preview for the CL. In Athens, Atlético Madrid showed its attacking force and with goals by Maxi Rodriguez, Diego Forlán and Sergio "Kun"Agüero, won a very useful 3-2 against a Panathinaikos side that will surely be a qualitative asset in the Europa League (or of course, in the CL if the manage to get a highly improbable two-goal victory in Madrid!).

After watching such quality from these two teams, any football fan would have to wonder why in the world either Atlético Madrid or Panathinaikos have to be out, when either FC Copenhagen or Apoel Nicosia will be there... In their dead-boring 1st leg match FC Copenhagen won 1-0 at home, and I think anyone should only watch the 2nd leg match if they have sleeping problems.

Not many people have been noticing that after Real Madrid and Manchester City, Olympique Lyon have been the team most investing in new players this summer, after losing some of their former stars, Juninho and Benzema. And some of these new players showed that Olympique Lyon is again a team to count on this season: Lisandro Lopez, Miralem Pjanic and Bafe Gomis all scored in Lyon's 5-1 victory against Anderlecht. It will surely be interesting to watch the French team this season!

Arsenal won an important 0-2 away victory against Celtic in Glasgow, and the youngsters will again be facing a season in the CL, where they can surely defeat anyone on a good day.

Sporting Lissabon and Fiorentina tied 2-2 in Lissabon, in a match where the Portuguese were left with ten men after Simon Vukcevic was red carded because he took his shirt off when celebrating his equalizing goal to 1-1. Still, Sporting managed to go ahead, before Gilardino equalized to 2-2 for Fiorentina, giving them a good result before the 2nd leg in Italy.

Otherwise, a number of other teams seem well on their way to the Champions League after important away victories in their 1st leg qualifiers: VFB Stuttgart (defeated Poli AEK Timisoara 0-2), FC Zurich (defeated Ventspils 0-3), Debrecen (defeated Levski Sofia 1-2) and Maccabi Haifa (defeated Red Bull Salzburg 1-2).

The Champions League is underway, and after a summer without football and watching a great match tonight, I cannot wait for it to start!

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