Loose ends: Bulgaria v Luxembourg update

Just felt that I needed to tell you that I hadn’t forgotten (because I mean, who could forget?!?!) the Champions League Qualification tie between Bulgaria’s PFC Ludogorets Razgrad and Luxembourg’s Dudelange at the Ludogorets Arena which we were looking forward to here.

Spoiler: It’s not gone well for the Luxembourgers:

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Ouch.

It was 2-0 at half time, Dani Abalo and Roman Bezjak on target for Ludo. And then the obviously Bulgarian Fabio Espinho finished off the scoring, but not before substitute… deep breath… Anicet Andrianantenaina  had popped in a third.

Given that particular player’s apparent goalscoring prowess, football commentators all over Europe will be desperately hoping that Dudelange can overcome that four goal deficit in the return leg at the Stade Jos Nosbaum next Tuesday.

Some additional amazing and accurate info on ex-Ajesaia and Auxerre player Anicet Andrianantenaina Abel from Antananarivo here.

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Notes on the death of football

A quick post which I can use as an “I told you so” link when football dies in the future or ignore completely should football not die in the future.

As I tweeted last night about the football:

It saddens me. If the “best team in the world” have to play act like that, what hope is there for football?

What should have been a passionate, entertaining game of football between two great teams was ruined by (mainly) Barcelona’s players diving, feigning injury and trying to get opposition players sent off. I’m not saying that other clubs are any less guilty of such unsporting behaviour, but when this much-adored and obviously talented Barcalona team feel that they have to resort to such tactics, exactly where is football going?

The referee lost control of the game last night, but who can blame him when ever minor touch between players lead to a triple somersault with pike? And yes, one or two of the Madrid challenges deserved action to be taken, but one can understand (but not excuse) their frustrations when every single decision went the home side’s way.

Football needs to keep up with modern technology. FIFA’s refusal to institute goal line technology is ridiculous and has ruined many a game. Now they need to allow the reviewing of video evidence after the game for players diving and then suspend them. Either that or maybe make some more big bucks by researching, developing and marketing whatever it is that allows players like Pedro and Javier Mascherano to miraculously recover and get on with the game 5 seconds after what appears to be a career-threatening injury.

But what hope is there of video reviews when the Barca line-up last night featured Sergio Busquets, a player who just last week was caught on camera apparently, allegedly (but actually, definitely) racially insulting Marcello while trying to hide his actions behind his hand. Malice aforethought, anyone?
However, as the lack of action against him shows, there’s actually no point disguising such foul behaviour when the authorities do nothing about it anyway. It seems that the same goes for diving.

If the betting odds are anything to go by, Barca will be facing Man U at Wembley on 28th May. And despite the fact I harbour an intense dislike for both clubs, this could be the second time in my life I have supported Man U. The good news for Reds’ fans is that I have a good record at this particular activity: the only other time I did this was in the incredible 1999 Champions League Final – ironically played at the Camp Nou. Memories of a very arrogant German family in the White Horse pub in Headington, Oxford and spilling an entire pint of guest ale over Dr Kyle Knox are brought back to mind.

In the meantime, I’ll be hoping for an somewhat unlikely Schalke 04 double tonight and on the 28th.

Déjan View

TRAUMTOR!

Déjan Stankovic, 25 seconds into the UEFA Champignons League quarter final against Schalke 04:

Had Martin Tyler even sat down?