Europa League Roundup:
Dynamo Kiev 1-1 Stoke City:
Stoke went to Ukraine looking to earn a point against a Kiev side that included former Chelsea forward Andriy Shevchenko. Tony Pulis made eight changes from Saturday’s team that played Liverpool. Cameron Jerome and Wilson Palacios were in the starting XI. After soaking up 55 minutes of pressure from their opponents, Kenwyne Jones played a ball to Ryan Shotton on the right flank. Shotton’s cross hit Cameron Jones and the striker made no mistake.
The Ukrainian side ripped 27 shots at Thomas Sorenson and forced the Stoke keeper to make 10 saves on the night.
However, the Potters hard work ran out on them when Ognjen Vukojevic equalized at the death, for Dynamo. Andriy Yarmolenko found Vukojevic in the area to steal the point for Kiev.
Stoke City boss, Tony Pulis, will return to England happy with his side’s performance. He said, “I am absolutely delighted with the players,” though Pulis admitted to being “pig sick” after the match, because his lads allowed that late goal.
Pulis added, “Every time someone scores late against you it takes the opportunity of getting three points away and it is disappointing.”
PAOK Salonika 0-0 Tottenham:
Harry Redknapp took the foot off the gas for this one. A new look Tottenham side without Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Aaron Lennon, and Brad Friedel played to even 0-0 draw with PAOK. Redknapp certainly has his mind set on Sunday’s match with Liverpool, as he made 10 changes from the side that faced Wolves at the weekend. Spurs youngster Harry Kane was booked with 28 minutes gone for simulation when Pablo Contreras took the 18 year old down in the penalty area. Just 5 minutes later, PAOK earned a penalty kick, when Carlo Cudicini took out Stefanos Athanasiadis. Lino beat the Spurs backup keeper down the center, but the official called the goal back, because one PAOK player crossed into the area illegally. Lino missed on his second attempt, much to the dismay of the rowdy PAOK supporters.
The Spurs side, with an average age of 23, held their own in a hostile environment and their boss was delighted with their performance. “I was pleased with the performance, particularly in the first half. We kept the ball well,” said Redknapp, “That was an intimidating atmosphere out there tonight. The young players have never seen that before and it must have been a difficult experience for them, but I thought they coped very well.”
For Redknapp, Tom Carroll was the lad he was most impressed with. He said of the youngster, “I thought young Tom Carroll did well in midfield. He’s a slight little boy but he’s a lovely footballer – he works hard and has a great attitude.”
Fulham 1-1 FC Twente:
The Cottagers defended their home turf once again to maintain their unbeaten record at home in European play. However, Fulham would have won the match had Mark Schwarzer not scored on his own side. Luuk de Jong headed the ball towards goal. The ball hit the post, then the Fulham keeper‘s head, and finally the back of the net.
Adam Johnson struck for Fulham 19 minutes in, following early pressure from Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele.
Martin Jol’s team had plenty of chances to score and the Lilywhites’ boss was unhappy with the opportunities his side failed to convert. “In the first half we should have been two or three up,” said Jol, “Of course they’re a good team but when you put them under that sort of pressure you should be winning.”
Fulham’s Adam Johnson said, “We started well and played well enough to come away with the points so I think we’re disappointed, but it’s a long slog and to get a point early on is pleasing.”
Bryan Ruiz was not eligible to face his former club.
Premier League News:
Manchester United have been allowed floatation on their shares in the Singapore Stock Market. The Glazers will open talks with investors soon, but are asking a tall fee for a 25% stake in the champions of England, valuing it at 600 million pounds. This deal would allow the Glazers to maintain full control of the club. However, the Qatari Royal Family are looking to jump back into the race to purchase the Red Devils.
Chelsea will take on Manchester United at the weekend, and Spanish international Juan Mata clearly respects what the Old Trafford outfit bring to the table. The winger said of Ryan Giggs, “He showed what he’s worth with his goal the other day. He’s actually one of the best wingers that there has been and are around right now.”
The Chelsea man also backed compatriot Fernando Torres. “He is a great player,” said Mata, “Everyone goes through phases but I think this will be his season, it will be a season for him to score lots of goals and give his all.”
Former Blues defender Frank Leboeuf believes the John Terry-David Luiz partnership in the center of Chelsea’s defense will work out. “I think ‘the hairy one’ David Luiz will play alongside John more often than not because he has the strength and the pace and can be a great partner for him,” said the ex-Chelsea star.
Newcastle’s Davide Santon will be out of action for a month. The former Inter youngster, has yet to play for the club since joining the Magpies at the end of the summer transfer window. Santon will have to have surgery. “It’s a worry. It looks like it could be a cartilage and it’s not something you want when he’s just come into the building. He’s going to have to get it cleaned out- it’s keyhole surgery,” said the club’s manager Alan Pardew.
Kenny Dalglish is in “no rush” to get Steven Gerrard back on the pitch. The 31 year old has not played since March, due to a groin problem. Martin Kelly and Fabio Aurelio are recovering well from their injuries, according to King Kenny. “Steven is progressing very well, Martin Kelly is back training and Fabio is close to coming back to joining us also,” said Dalgish, “We will just see what is right for Steven. There is no rush from us or from him because it has to be common sense. Everyone who is asked to play will be fit enough to play.”
If the above sounds like the Anfield legend no longer believes in Gerrard, think again, as the Reds boss said, “A fit Steven Gerrard strengthens this football club, no question.”
Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor has lashed out at the Houllier-McAllister reign of last season. “At one stage I did think about it [leaving]. It hurt more as a Villa fan and local boy,” said the player who has worked his way up to the first team at Villa Park.
“It killed me a lot. The manager had his formations and he was not going to change that. I don’t think a lot of the players were happy with the way he set up things,” the 24 year old said.
Though under the rule of Alex McLeish, “It feels happier and more organized. Everyone is enjoying the training more and there is a better atmosphere around the place,” according to Agbonlahor.
Fabio Capello said, “Inter do not need me,” after being linked with a move back to Serie A, due to the crisis the club is in at this time.
Capello believes Gian Piero Gasperini needs time with the club to make things work. Gasperini took over the club in June and under is reign, Inter are off to their worst start in 90 years.
The England boss believes that Inter are still title contenders in his homeland, and he was also impressed by Napoli’s performance against Manchester City, whom the Italian regards as one of the “strongest sides in Europe at the moment.”
Mohamed Bin Hammam is set to appeal the decision of the FIFA Appeal Committee, whom today upheld the lifetime band placed upon the former AFC president. Bin Hammam will be taking his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The Qatari was found guilty by FIFA’s Ethics Committee of bribery in June.
Aurelio De Laurentiis, the president of Napoli says he has “fun challenging money wasters.” The president believes his club “deserve high praise,” after earning a draw against City, and he also believes his side could have had all three points to themselves, had a few mishaps been avoided.
Cesc Fabregas hit out at his former club yesterday, by saying he left because he does not believe the club can win ’big trophies’ in the near future. However, the Barcelona midfielder denies the quote that came from a interview with Sport magazine. The former Arsenal man wrote on his Twitter account, “Id never speak 1 bad word abt AFC, here there’s more prove that so many people put in newspaper wtv they want and its not professional.”