Monday, June 1, 2009

Burnley Seal Top-flight Return

Owen Coyle's Burnley secured promotion to the Premier League following a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United in the Championship play-off final.
The Clarets, among the founder members of the Football League, are back in the top flight for the first time since 1976 courtesy of Wade Elliott's 13th-minute strike.
Burnley, who were so close to reaching Wembley in both cup competitions this season, stepped up when it counted most to land the estimated £60million booty for reaching the promised land.
For United, another season in the Championship beckons, two years after they were relegated amid the controversy of the Carlos Tevez affair.
The Blades maintain they, and not a Tevez-inspired West Ham, should have stayed up in 2007.
No little irony, then, in another claret and blue-clad goalscorer condemning them to a third term outside the top flight.
But there could be no argument about Elliott's goal, the 30-year-old midfielder, formerly of Bashley and Bournemouth, conjuring up a strike which would have graced any Premier League ground - and certainly lit up a packed Wembley.
The Blades will point to two penalty shouts turned down by referee Mike Dean, whose appointment was criticised by manager Kevin Blackwell in the build-up to the game.
And they finished with 10 men when Dean sent off young striker Jamie Ward for handball, his second bookable offence.
Victory sees Burnley become the smallest town to boast a Premier League team - and almost half of their 73,000 inhabitants had travelled down to the capital to watch them triumph.
The Clarets were deserved winners in their 61st game of an arduous season, having knocked out top-flight opposition including Chelsea, Arsenal and Fulham during their two epic cup runs.
But they were on the back foot in the opening stages with United, who held hopes of automatic promotion until the final day of the season, testing Brian Jensen with awkward shots from Kyle Naughton and Brian Howard.
But against the run of play, Burnley took the lead thanks to a superb piece of play from Elliott.
The midfielder burst forward, skipping past a couple of Blades tackles before playing in Chris McCann.
Matt Kilgallon got a challenge in but the ball fell perfectly for Elliott to curl a stunning first-time effort past Paddy Kenny from 20 yards.
United were claiming a penalty two minutes later when Howard tumbled in the area under a clumsy challenge from Graham Alexander, but referee Dean was not interested.
McCann's afternoon ended prematurely when he limped off to be replaced by Joey Gudjonsson, but the swap did not knock the Clarets out of their stride and Martin Paterson curled an angled drive inches wide of Kenny's right-hand post.
As the clock ticked into first-half stoppage time Thompson headed Elliot's cross narrowly wide.
Burnley almost doubled their lead moments after the restart when Robbie Blake's corner was flicked on by Steven Thompson and Michael Duff, arriving at the far post, just failed to turn the ball home.
And in the 55th minute they were denied a second by a dramatic goal-line clearance from Nick Montgomery.
Thompson's header back across the six-yard box was turned goalwards by Gudjonsson, and Montgomery knew little about it as the ball hit the heel of his standing foot, a yard from the line, and bounced wide.
United had another huge let-off 10 minutes later when Thompson sprang the offside trap again and this time squared the ball across to Blake, only for young defender Kyle Walker to make a goal-saving challenge.
Burnley's missed chances could have come back to haunt them in the 68th minute when Christian Kalvenes knocked Naughton off the ball in the box but Dean again waved away the appeals.
Paterson was next to try his luck, cutting in from the right and surging into the box only for Walker to block his shot.
And the Blades' task became tougher still in the 78th minute when striker Jamie Ward, who had been booked four minutes earlier, was shown a second yellow card by Dean for handball.
United looked a beaten side as Burnley held on, and the claret and blue half of Wembley erupted on Dean's final whistle, bringing the curtain down on a memorable campaign.
Coyle immensely proud
Burnley manager Owen Coyle looked forward to the ''great adventure'' after masterminding his team's promotion to the Premier League.
The Clarets beat Sheffield United 1-0 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley to make sure of top flight football for the first time since 1976.
And Coyle said: ''We've got a great adventure to look forward to. I think you've seen the effort the players gave today, it was great game, end-to-end - and we had chances to put the game to bed.
''We don't have quantity but I believe we have quality - I'm obviously delighted with what we've achieved today. I'm immensely proud and delighted for everyone in the town - but my heart goes out to Sheffield United.''
Goalscorer Wade Elliott added: ''I think it will take a little while for it to sink in - but I'm delighted for all the lads.
Asked whether his goal was the best of his career, the midfielder added on Sky Sports 1: ''In terms of importance - no contest. It's far and away the best goal I'll ever score, probably.
''It fell nicely, I couldn't really strike it because it was turning a bit and it seemed to take a long time to go in. When it did I thought about running up to my mum and dad but they were in the opposite corner and it was so hot!''
Man of the match Clarke Carlisle added on Sky Sports 1: ''I'm privileged to be a member of this magnificent team.
''What a season, words can't describe how brilliant and awesome an achievement this is. I thank God so much, I'm blessed to be a part of this team. It's just unbelievable, what an awesome day.''

An End of Season Stroll Against Stoke & The Young Guns Clinch Their Double

(by ESPN Arsenal Correspondent David Young)
Arsenal rounded off their season in comfortable style on Sunday with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Stoke City at Ashburton Grove. Though nothing was riding on the match, it was a pleasing way for the team to sign off after a torrid couple of weeks. It was heartening too that the crowd, the manager and players all headed off into the summer on good terms with each other. Throughout the game, Arsene Wenger’s name was sung loudly all round the stadium and any residual friction arising from the annual shareholders’ meeting appeared to be forgotten. The consensus seems to be that Wenger is still the man for the job but with the proviso that a few changes are made in the close-season. To his credit, the manager himself has acknowledged this in the interviews he has given so all we can do is sit back and wait to see what moves he makes before the new season kicks off again in August.
Either side of the victory against Stoke, Arsenal fans were treated to two fabulous performances by the Arsenal under-18s as they beat their Liverpool counterparts both home and away to lift the prestigious FA Youth Cup 6-2 on aggregate. A crowd of over 33,000 turned up at Ashburton Grove to see the first leg last Friday and they were royally entertained with a 4-1 win. The young Arsenal players showed speed, skill and appetite and after going in 2-1 up at half-time blew their visitors away in the second period. Particularly impressive were the midfield pairing of Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin, who, between the two of them, controlled the match and up front Sanchez Watt showed pace and skill and scored the goal of the night.
The return leg at Anfield on Tuesday night might not have been quite as dazzling as the home match but, nonetheless, the boys still did enough to win 2-1 with relative ease. The celebrations that followed the final whistle showed what picking up this trophy meant to the players. They were already champions of the Premier Academy League and taking the FA Youth Cup as well showed what an exceptional group of players the Gunners have on their hands at this age group. Academy Director Liam Brady and his staff have been working with most of these boys for eight years now and though producing top class players is the main objective at this level rather than winning trophies, it must have been a moment of great pride for the Arsenal legend to see the players deliver both the league and the cup.
As wonderful as it was to see such a talented group of young players in action, most of them clearly have a long way to go before they are seen making regular starts either in Arsenal’s first-team or elsewhere in the Premier League. Many of them are still young enough to be eligible for next season’s FA Youth Cup! The feeling is though that in the decade or so that Liam Brady has been at the Academy’s helm this is the strongest crop of players that have ever been brought through. It would be very surprising if several of them did not get onto the first-team scene in the next few years.
So, despite the disappointments that have befallen the club this season, there are a few reasons to be cheerful going into the summer. The now regular first preseason friendly at Barnet is less than two months away. It is not long before we can start dreaming about what next season might hold. Let’s hope that the manager does what he needs to do in the transfer market as early as possible so we can really look forward to the middle of August.

Charleston 2-0 Cleveland City Stars, Battery Outshine Stars to Extend Unbeaten Run

The Charleston Battery pushed its season-long unbeaten streak to nine games Saturday night blanking the Cleveland City Stars 2-0 at Blackbaud Stadium. Chris Williams and Kenji Treschuk each contributed their first goals of the season in the win. “Not a bad night all around,” said Battery head coach Mike Anhaeuser. “We didn’t create a lot of chances, but the chances we did create were quality. Once again we were strong in the back. I have no complaints.”The Battery (5-0-4, 19 points) remains the only unbeaten team in USL-1, and firmly positions the club in second place with one game in hand in the league table behind the Carolina RailHawks.Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock earned his league-leading seventh shutout on the season and fourth consecutive clean sheet, extending his shutout streak to 377 minutes. Despite falling to Carolina 1-0 less than 24 hours earlier, Cleveland (1-5-1, four points) did enter the match in a defensive shell as teams are wont to do at Blackbaud this year, pressing the Battery, and earning the first corner kick of the match, managing five shots on goal, none of which tested Hudock.After a conservative first 20 minutes, the Battery stepped up the pressure, forcing City goalkeeper Evan Bush to make a series of saves, keeping the pressing Battery at bay until the 38th minute when William opened scoring.Williams goal, his first of the season after re-entering the starting lineup in place of the injured Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, was the result of a long throw-in by Treschuk deep into the heart of a crowded six-yard box. Ian Fuller’s strong challenge forced a defender to misplay the ball off the back of his head toward the far post. All the unmarked Williams had to do was nod the Battery into the lead.“Growing up you always hear ‘Go to the back post, go to the back post.’ That’s what I did,” Williams said. “It was probably going in but I made sure.”Three minutes later it looked like the Battery had a second, this time off the head of Darren Spicer. Spicer started the series with a wicked 35-yard drive Bush did well to save but could not hold. Cleveland’s failure to fully clear the resulting corner kick allowed Fuller space just inside the penalty area. His dipping shot smacked off the woodwork and into the path of Spicer. The goal, however, was disallowed, the assistant referee flagging Spicer for coming into the play from an offside position.Treschuk tallied his first goal in a Battery uniform in the 77th minute to ensure the victory, winning the ball from a defender 30 yards from goal and driving a low right-footed shot that snuck just inside the far post. The Battery faces the Austin Aztex for a pair of matches, Friday, June 5 and Sunday, June 7, and return to Blackbaud Tuesday June 9 to open Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play versus Atlanta FC.

Charleston 2-0, Battery Defeats Rhinos to move into First Place

Charleston Battery topped the Rochester Rhinos 2-0 Saturday night at a soggy Blackbaud Stadium in front of 3,874; Charleston remains unbeaten on the season and moves into first place in the USL-1 table. Randi Patterson and Frankie Sanfilippo each provided second half goals in the victory. The win puts the Battery (4-0-4, 16 points) level with the Carolina RailHawks on points but into first place courtesy of the head-to-head tiebreaker.Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock only faced one shot to earn his league-leading fifth clean sheet on the season. The Battery has now gone 283 minutes without conceding a goal. Already suffering the loss of Dan Antoniuk to injury in the Battery’s mid-week 1-0 win over Miami, the Battery were further handicapped when midfielder Tsuyoshi Yoshitake had to be substituted in the fifth minute due to a hamstring injury.After a tightly played first half by both teams, the Battery took advantage of a halftime deluge, using the slick playing surface to open up play. “They came in to make it a physical battle,” said Battery head coach Mike Anhaeuser. “The first half was a little chippy, but I think we wore them down over time. The goals are going to come. If teams will come in here and open up with us, then we will get more goals. But right now teams are coming in here and playing us defensively. We’re responding the right way.”The Battery’s persistence paid off in the 56th minute when Patterson ran onto a flick from Wednesday’s hero Darren Spicer and found himself with space 25 yards from goal. After a settling touch he blasted a low right-footed drive just inside Rhino goalkeeper Scott Vallow’s near post.The goal was Patterson’s first on the season.“It’s been a while since I scored,” Patterson said. “The pressure for that first goal is off my back and now I can just concentrate on scoring more goals.”Seven minutes later the Battery were given a man advantage when Rochester’s Tai Atieno was shown a straight red card after a midfield scuffle, the result of a hard collision between the Battery’s Ian Fuller and Rochester’s Kenny Bertz. Both Fuller and Bertz had to be treated but returned to the field.The Rhinos struggled to adjust to the playing a man down, resulting in Sanfilippo’s highlight-reel goal. Sanfilippo the ball at his feet and time to set up a blast from the right flank, 35-yards out as the statuesque Vallow could only watch it sneak just inside the far corner. “I had the space, and in the rain, I thought why not just hit it,” Sanfilippo said. “I looked and saw it go in the upper corner.”The bomb was Sanfilippo’s second on the season. Both have been from distance. “That’s the second quality goal Frankie’s scored from long range this season,” Anhaeuser said. “It’s great when you can get goals like that from your right back.”The Battery will look to remain unbeaten and at the top of the USL-1 table next Saturday, capping off a three-match home stand versus the 1-4-1 Cleveland City Stars at Blackbaud Stadium.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Arsenal 3-0 Portsmouth, Young Guns Silence Struggling Portsmouth

Arsenal secured their 4th place birth (and Champions League qualifying) with a comfortable win today over Portsmouth. Wenger's "Young Guns" got the job done in style as the North London club fielded what was primarily their reserve team, with a few exceptions. Nicklas Bentner scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season. The first of these, a decent shot in the 13th minute, was perhaps more the result of Portsmouth's keeper than the Danish striker himself. Bentner would score again from the penalty spot in the 40th. Portsmouth showed some spirit, managing a few challenges, but the gulf in class was obvious from the start. Carlos Vela closed the tie with his goal in the 56th minute. It seemed that whenever Portsmouth began to get an attack in order, the Gunners would counterattack in costly fashion. Good game, predictable result, now on to more important matters...Manchester United and the Champions League Semi-final.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Arsenal 3-0 Villareal, Gunners Sink Yellow Submarine

It was an important night for Arsenal fans as their side pushed through to the Champions League Semi-finals for only the second time in club history. Whether it was the atmosphere at Emirates, or the Gunners overwhelming drive, Villareal did not seem the same side as a week ago. The 1-1 was shattered when Walcott opened the scoring in the 10th minute. After a tense first half, the break came at a good time for both sides and the home fans were delighted with what they had seen. Adebayor, who had been knocking on the door all night, got his goal on the hour with help from an incisive Van Persie pass. Signal the celebration. Emirates erupted as Van Persie converted from the spot nine minutes later and the result was no longer in any doubt. Manchester United await them in the semi-finals as the Gunners seek to make history in the coming weeks.

Arsenal 1-1 Villareal, Thrilling Tie at El Madrigal

It was a tense affair but Arsenal earned their draw against Villareal. Things immediately took a turn for the worse in the 10th minute as Villareal captain Marcos Senna put the Yellow Submaire ahead of their visitors. The goal caught the Gunners by suprise as they efficiently outpaced by their opponents. A collision early on in the match resulted in the 27th minute substitution of Manuel Almunia for Lukasz Fabianski in goal for Arsenal. To his credit, the young Pole performed exceptionally well for having no previous Champions League experience. In strange turn of events, Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas netted the ball from a free kick but it was deemed too soon by the referee and the Spaniard was promptly booked for the offense. Fortunately, Arsenal emerged a new side from the break and the Gunners proceeded to take the offensive. In what may be one of greatest goals I have ever seen, Adebayor shocked El Madrigal with a stunning equalizer. In the same style as the league match days before, Fabregas supplied the perfect assist. The Togolese striker received the ball on his chest and befuddled the keeper with his acrobatic shot. Arsenal produced a number of chances at the death but in the end were happy to be headed for the second leg at Emirates with an away goal and an important draw.

Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City, Adebayor Brace Wins the Day

It was an important match for a number of Arsenal players returning from injury. This was magnified further by the tally of players who picked up injuries on the international break. Scoring in the 8th minute as well as the 49th, Adebayor and team captain Cesc Fabregas proved to the league that the Gunners are back in stride and as dangerous as ever. Theo Walcott also played an important role in the match coming off of a difficult injury spell himself. Arsenal are now unbeaten in 17 league games and show no sign of altering their present form. It may be true that there should have been another goal for the red and white, but all things considered this match was one-way traffic.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Seattle 2-0 Real Salt Lake, Sounders Strike Again

The newest side in the MLS impressed once again this week, defeating a solid RSL team. Kasey Keller recorded yet another clean sheet, Freddie Ljungberg made his MLS premier, and Freddy Montero scored his third goal in only two matches. It proved to be great game as Real Salt Lake put the Sounders under a bit more pressure than the Red Bulls had the previous week. Seattle scored early as Osvaldo Alonso sent Steve Zakuani into the box in the 17th minute. Zakuani's quick feet and timely pass assisted Nate Jaqua to perfect strike on goal. The Sounders dominated the first half, but RSL came out from the break a different team. Keller produced a magnificent performance in goal, making a number of critical saves to keep Seattle ahead. In the 77th minute, amidst the heat of a relentless RSL attack, Alonso, the unsung hero of the match, orchestrated a perfect pass to Freddy Montero who converted from 28 yards out. It was a sparkling effort that stunned RSL as well as Seattle's own home fans. Another perfect victory sees Seattle sitting atop the MLS West table with two clean sheets and a goal differential of five. This week the Sounders face Toronto FC April 4th in their first MLS away game.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What a Wonderful Weekend of Football!!

Arsenal won big over Newcastle. Seattle Sounders opened their first season with an impressive win over New York. Manchester United lost big to Fulham! Chelsea went down to Tottenham. Liverpool embarrassed Aston Villa. There was plenty of great MLS action over the weekend and lots of goals! Burnley got the job done with a win over Plymouth Argyle. Barcelona and Real Madrid had big wins as well. Heading into the international break, I really couldn't have asked for more! I hope the next few weeks will hold just as much exciting action!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Seattle 3-0 NY, Sounders Shutout Red Bulls in Franchise Opener

Amidst a sea of green scarves, the Seattle Sounders played the "perfect" game, dismantling New York in a fantastic home opener. Fredy Montero was the talk of the town, scoring two goals and assisting a third. It was also an important win for goalkeeper Kasey Keller, a Washington native who produced a pair of fantastic saves. “It was everything you dreamed of,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said ( The upbeat, sell0ut Seattle crowd witnessed their team score in only 11 minutes as Sebastien Le Toux assisted Freddy Montero to score the Sounders first goal. Seattle dominated play throughout the match and Montero would repay the favor assisting midfielder Brad Evans with an incisive pass to a goal of his own in the 25th minute. The last goal would come 15 minutes from time as Montero again, in a sparkling solo effort, wrested the ball from Red Bull defenders, dummied the keeper and coolly placed it it the top right corner of the net. The perfect start to a promising season!

Arsenal 3-1 Newcastle, Gunners Explode at St. James Park

Arsenal produced another spectacular result this afternoon, gaining three points in style on a day that left defeated Manchester United and Chelsea shaking their heads. The first half proved to be a frenzied affair that saw good play by both sides. Spanish star goalkeeper Manuel Almunia made the save of the day as he staved off Obafemi Martins' attempt from the spot. Having recently proved himself in the Roma shootout, Almunia played a vital role in today's victory. The match began to sizzle in the second half as all four goals were scored in under twenty minutes from the restart. A nine minute explosion saw Bentner give Arsenal the lead (57), Newcastle draw level (58), and Van Persie assist Diaby (63) and Nasri (66) to shut the game down. Unbeaten in the last 16 Premier League matches, Arsenal have definitely regained their form and are on quite a run. Newcastle on the other hand seem to be making plans for a spell in the Championship next year. In other PL news, Man U lost their second in a row in a 2-0 shutout delivered by Fulham. Chelsea wasted the opportunity with their 1-0 loss to Tottenham. Aston Villa play Liverpool tomorrow, but it looks as if the Gunners are safe in fourth for the time being. Of today's positive result, Arsene Wenger commented: "It was a good opportunity today, to close in on those at the top. You never know, even in a one in a billion chance, we want to come back and fight to get as close to the team at the top."

Friday, March 20, 2009

UEFA Champions League & UEFA Cup Quarter Final Draws

Ties to be played April 7/8 & 14/15

Villarreal vs Arsenal

Manchester United v FC Porto

Liverpool v Chelsea

Barcelona v Bayern Munich

Ties to be played April 9 & 16

Hamburg SV vs Manchester City

Paris Saint-Germain vs Dynamo Kiev

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Marseille

Werder Bremen vs Udinese

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Battery Winless in Carolina Challenge Cup

Perhaps the MLS is not as weak a league as many have billed it to be. The USL's Charleston Battery we're beaten 2-1 (TFC), 2-1 (RSL), and 2-0 (DCU) successively as the Battery hosted their annual Carolina Challenge Cup. Real Salt Lake took the cup, and Toronto F.C. put on a good show as well. These three MLS teams are by no means the cream of the crop, but perhaps it is a credit to the development of Major League Soccer that even the mediocre MLS clubs can put on a such a strong front, even in pre-season. “Overall, I’m pleased,” said Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser. “We found out some good things, and found out some things we need to work on before we open the season in three weeks.” (Charleston Battery official website) It looks to be another great season for the Battery this summer. With three new signings resulting from the CCC, Charleston are gearing up for their season opener away against the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday April 11th. Soccer may not be taking the US by storm, but it certainly has grown strong roots in American soil.

Arsenal 2-1 Hull City, Gunners on to FA Cup Semifinal

In a game overshadowed by conflict, Arsenal produced the right result in order to progress to Wembley. Hull scored early on in the 13th minute, with as much luck as anything else. The Tigers took the lead after an unfortunate deflection sent the ball over Arsenal keeper Fabianski and into the corner of the net. Hull maintained their lead throughout the first half despite repeated attempts by the Arsenal offense. While the Gunners hadn't played poorly before the break, they simply weren't winning the match. Happily, the second half was a different story. Arsenal dominated the second half of the match, creating chances and limiting the Hull attack. Assisted by Arshavin, Robin Van Persie found the net in the 74th minute, bringing the two teams to level pegging. Ten minutes later, Arsenal defender William Gallas nodded in a header from a wild "pinball" play. Hull immediately protested that Gallas had been offside, but the officials declined a review. There appears to have been a row between Francesc Fabregas (injured) and some of the Hull players and staff after full-time had been reached. There were also many accusations of Hull players wasting time throughout the match. It might not have been pretty, but the Gunners are through and will face Chelsea at Wembly on Sat. April 18th in the Semi-final of the FA Cup.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Difficult Week for PSG

It was a frustrating week for the Parisian team; one which held a scoreless draw against Braga in the UEFA cup, followed by a Ligue 1 defeat that saw them drop from 2nd to 3rd place. Although Paris-Saint Germain had most of the opportunities in their UEFA Cup tie, they ended up with nothing to show for it. They will play at Braga this thursday. The 3-1 loss to Marseille was particularly disheartening because not only are OM bitter rivals but a win would have taken them to the top of the table. Now, on account of goal differential, they have dropped a spot to Marseille. With the second fixture of their UEFA Cup tie this week, and another Ligue game this Sunday, PSG have the opportunity to redeem themselves and progress in the cup and also continue to climb the table.

Clarets Secure Two Solid Wins

Despite last being ousted by Arsenal in the F.A. Cup, Burnley produced good results this week in the English Championship. Winning 4-2 against Crystal Palace and a stunning 5-0 result against Nottingham Forrest, the Clarets moved into 5th place in the league, putting themselves in a good position for the promotion play-offs. Jay Rodriguez deserves credit for two of the nine goals total, scoring one in each match. In Saturday's sparkling performance, five different Burnley players each found the net. Tuesday the Clarets leave Turf Moore to play Ipswitch Town.

Arsenal thumps Blackburn 4-0

The Gunners defeated Blackburn Saturday afternoon to move into fourth place in the Premier League. It was the perfect end for what had been an important week of victories for Arsenal. The first goal came within 80 seconds as Walcott's cross was deflected in by Blackburn's own. In the second half, Andrei Arshavin opened his account by recording his first goal wearing an Arsenal jersey. Nick Bentner was a constant threat to the Blackburn defence but unfortunately was unable to convert any of his opportunities on goal. The late hero was Emmanuel Eboue, who came on with seven minutes remaining in regulation, scoring one and converting a penalty, bringing his tally to three goals in the last two games. After a tense week, and recent lackluster performances in the EPL, it was just what the doctor ordered for Gunner fans and players alike.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gunners through to final eight of Champions League

Last night Arsenal became the fourth English team to progress to the final eight of the UEFA Champions League. The 7-6 result came at the end of an aggregate tie and two periods of extra time. The two teams stayed level as Arsenal's Eduardo missed the first spot kick but Almunia saved a Roma attempt. In sudden death penalties, Diaby gave the Gunners an edge and Roma's Tonetto sealed the fixture by skying his shot over the crossbar. Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool also progressed, making it an English sweep to the final eight knockout round. Bayern Munich advanced with a record-setting demolition of Sporting Lisbon as Villareal defeated Panathinaikos. Porto and Barcelona are through, as former Gunner Thierry Henry scored two goals in as many minutes in Barca's 5-2 result over Lyon. The final eight draw will take place at 11am (UK) on Friday March 20.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Welcome to The Beautiful Game! Expect to find the latest on some of the greatest football teams in the world. North London's Arsenal F.C. is my personal club of choice but I also closely follow the English Championship's Burnley Clarets, the French Ligue 1's Paris-Saint Germain, the German Bundesliga's Schalke 04, Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders, the A-League's Adelaide United, and the USL's Charleston Battery. The Beautiful Game will bring you news, results, and opinion from matches all over the globe, including the latest International & World Cup action. (Some content and/or information borrowed from '', '', and '')