Friday, April 21, 2023

Sevilla on the way

 Sevilla are the side that has won most Europa League titles, and today they continued on the way to win their 7th title when they took out Manchester United 3-0 at home in Seville. The first match in Manchester had surely been thrown away bu the Reds as they went from 2-0 ahead to a 2-2 result in the last minutes, with captain Harry Maguire scoring an own goal as equalizer. And Maguire was also the culprit at the start of the match when he threw away the ball to Youssef En-Nesyri, and the Moroccan made sure he scored. There was later no marking in the center when Loic Bade made it 2-0 after a corner kick, and towards the end of the match David de Gea also gave away a goal to Youssef En-Nesyri, when he misplaced a kick that the Moroccan easily scored on.

It was a poor showing by the English side, but more so a sure show by the Andalusians, who look at the team to defeat to win the Europa League title.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

The semifinalists

The Champions League 2022-23 semifinals will be two of the most exciting semifinals for a long time, with a potentially historical final.

Real Madrid-Manchester City

Surely two of the sides everyone expected to see in the final. The defending champions of Real Madrid have not been as lucky as last season, but have rather looked solid in particular in their defeat of Chelsea. In the meantime Manchester City must surely be seeing themselves as potential winners of their first CL title in particular as they were quick in trashing a usually strong Bayern Munich, who is looking to reconstruct the team under Tuchel. Both of these teams are potential champions.

Inter Milan-AC Milan

After so many years during which Italian teams have been absent, there will surely be a finalist from Italy this year. Last time an Italian team was in the final was Juventus in 2017, and last time an Italian team won was Inter Milan in 2010. Inter are again in the semifinal and it will be a local derby as they face AC Milan, who took out the Seria A leader of Napoli. As everyone knows, when these teams play, anyone can win, so it will surely be a clash to watch.

If the final happens to be Real Madrid-Milan, it will be the two most winning sides in European champions' history, so that itself will be historical. But no matter what happens, history is in the making.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Valencia in crisis

 I have supported Valencia for many years, but the last few years under the ownership of Peter Lim the club appears to have gone from bad to worse. Yesterday I went to a local pub in San Salvador to watch an important home game as Valencia are in a relegation position with only 30 points. So they were in need of a victory at home against a Sevilla side that is neither in a good position.

They were two organised sides, with Valencia having a few more attacks in a closed first half that ended 0-0. But it was a mistake by Dimitry Foulquier in the center that gave Loic Bade a free chance by which he brought Sevilla ahead 0-1. Soon thereafter we had one of those interpretative situations that VAR cannot give a definitive answer for: the ball clearly hit the arm of a Sevilla defender in the penalty area; nowadays these situation often give a penalty, but this time the referee did not give the penalty after checking with VAR. Surprising, as well as disappointing for Valencia, but there is no definitive answer....

Instead of an equalizer, Sevilla went ahead 0-2 on an elegant shot by Suso.

After this, Valencia pressed on, but did not seem to believe in it, and soon after another penalty call went against the side, Ilaix Moriba also got a red card, and the game was effectively over for Valencia.

Valencia are in great risk of relegation, and the red lights must be flashing. Only Elche seems certain of relegation, and only ten points separate numbers 11 to 19 in the table, so there are still chances, but the side must certainly improve and start believing.