De Futebol Flamengo_Fluminense tie. Semifinals up Next

Flamengo and Fluminense tied one all. Flu advances to the finals of the Taça Guanabara.

Globo Esporte:” Mais uma vez o Fluminense saiu sorrindo do clássico contra o Flamengo. Se o tricolor já tinha goleado o rival na temporada (e daí que foi o time reserva?), a equipe de Abel Braga pôde acrescentar à lista a classificação à final da Taça Rio, valendo-se da vantagem do empate. O placar no Nilton Santos foi 1 a 1 e deu ao Flu o direito de enfrentar o Botafogo, domingo, no Maracanã. Ao Fla, resta o consolo de já ter vaga assegurada nas semifinais gerais do Carioca porque foi campeão da Taça Guanabara.

Apesar de ter avançado à final do segundo turno por causa da vantagem de ter sido o primeiro no grupo, o Fluminense não foi um time acomodado nem preguiçoso. O Tricolor foi a campo consciente sobre o comportamento necessário superar o rival mais uma vez. Não seria com um domínio massivo de posse de bola, sobretudo porque o Flamengo joga com mais gente no meio-campo e, tecnicamente, tem mais qualidade com a bola no pé. O Fluminense compensou com organização.

Defensivamente, o time de Abel Braga esteve bem postado, ainda que tenha permitido a característica troca de passes do rival — com pouca geração de lances de perigo. A estratégia do Flu foi sair “na boa”, aproveitando um eventual deslize rubro-negro, que apresentou uma marcação frouxa e cedeu espaço pelas pontas.

Invertendo o ponto de vista sobre o jogo, o Flamengo foi uma orquestra em que os ritmistas atuaram cada um em um compasso. A falta de coesão foi nítida, mesmo quando tinha território para trabalhar a bola na frente.

Somando-se às dificuldades coletivas, alguns jogadores tiveram desempenho muito ruim. Rodinei foi um deles, tanto no apoio quanto na marcação (Ayrton Lucas deu muito trabalho a ele). Henrique Dourado foi outro que jogou muito mal, de novo. No primeiro tempo, não só errou a pontaria em uma rara oportunidade pelo alto como chegou a atrapalhar Diego dentro da área, após um cruzamento bom de Everton Ribeiro. Faltou comunicação e a jogada não vingou. O Ceifador acabou substituído no segundo tempo.

Como a classificação rubro-negra estava condicionada à vitória, as falhas ofensivas do Flamengo se tornaram problema muito mais grave quando a defesa também teve seu blecaute. Todo mundo ficou assistindo à cobrança de escanteio de Sornoza atravessar a área e chegar à cabeça de Gum. Livre, o zagueiro do Flu tocou no canto do indeciso Diego Alves.

O placar foi aberto na reta final do primeiro tempo e, por isso, Carpegiani colocou Vinicius Júnior logo na volta do intervalo. Precisando virar, o Flamengo apresentou um volume de jogo maior, mas continuou esbarrando na marcação tricolor e ainda dando condição a vários contra-ataques do Flu.

Até que o “bumba-meu-boi” deu um certo efeito para o Flamengo. Foi depois de um bate e rebate que a bola sobrou para Everton. O meia pegou na veia e fez um golaço. A emoção veio, mas a virada do Fla, não. O Flu se salvou e está na final.

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/fluminense-empata-com-flamengo-decide-taca-rio-com-botafogo-22518183#ixzz5AZXxZIkH

De Futebol Late PK seals England’s Fate a one all Draw!

England gave up a late PK in their match against Italy. The guys tied one all.

The Guardian Andy Taylor:” Just as it was going so well for Gareth Southgate and his players England had their first experience of VAR and a referee using his fingers to make the ‘television’ sign that used to be reserved for games of charades rather than football. James Tarkowski was denied a happy ending to his England debut and, if nothing else, at least it did not take an absolute age for a decision to be made on the penalty that changed the complexion of the evening. For a few moments it had looked as if the official in charge of the monitor could not even elevate it to a position where it was visible. It was a strange ending and, when Lorenzo Insigne tucked the 88th-minute penalty past Jack Butland, that was the first goal England had conceded in six matches. Southgate can be pretty satisfied with that record bearing mind the shutouts include games against Germany and Brazil but the England players were clearly aggrieved after being so close to another encouraging result. The protestations felt entirely pointless, unless the players hoped Deniz Aytekin, the German referee, might run back for a second look and change his mind. Unlikely, and Insigne’s penalty cancelled out Jamie Vardy’s first-half goal. Vardy 1, VAR 1.

Amid all the arguments about whether it was the correct decision – strictly speaking, treading on a player’s foot constitutes a foul, accidental or not – presumably Southgate will also note the way Federico Chiesa, one of the Italian substitutes, went past Tarkowski to create the danger in the first place. It was not the first time the Burnley defender looked uneasy, which was probably to be expected on his first appearance, but at this level these are the kind of moments that can count against a player. England have only two more warm-up matches before the World Cup, against Nigeria and Costa Rica, and Tarkowski’s audition was not seamless.

The late drama spared the Azzurri the ordeal of going four successive games without scoring for the first time in their history and England, in turn, were denied a second successive 1-0 victory against one of the teams they always measure themselves against. Overall, however, it was still a reasonably encouraging night from Southgate’s players. Vardy’s goal was a reminder that Harry Kane’s absence need not be a grievous setback. Raheem Sterling had one of his better England performances and Jesse Lingard justified his selection on a night when Dele Alli was left out of the starting line-up for a second straight game. The one quality England did not lack was pace going forward and that, perhaps, has been the most encouraging part of the last two friendlies without Kane.

Italy certainly provided a sterner test than the Netherlands had in Amsterdam on Friday but, when England took a 27th-minute lead, it was refreshing to see the quick thinking of Southgate’s players, in particular the alertness from Lingard to win the ball from Marco Parolo in midfield and then sense what was possible when the same player clipped Sterling’s ankles for a free-kick. As the two Italians in closest proximity to the ball turned their backs, Lingard took the free-kick quickly out to his right to send Vardy running into the penalty area. The Leicester striker took a touch to steady himself and his shot was still rising as it flew inside the top corner.

Defensively, it was not quite so impressive from England and the home side were lucky, in particular, that Ciro Immobile could not apply a decisive finish from any of three chances inside the opening 16 minutes. Ashley Young might not be treated so leniently in the World Cup should he repeat his first-half challenge on Davide Zappacosta – a tackle that could easily have warranted a red card – and John Stones cannot expect to get away with his first-half mistakes.

Stones’ tendency to find problems that do not really exist is nothing new but it was still startling to see the way, twice in the opening three minutes, his carelessness left Immobile in a dangerous area. The second occasion was particularly alarming as Stones dithered, got his feet tangled up and gave the ball to his opponent, as the last man. Stones is coming up for 24 and, by now, should have grown out of these lapses of concentration.

He later had to go off, having taken a ball to the face, and in fairness to the Manchester City player it was once he had been removed that the team started to look vulnerable again. Southgate also gave Lewis Cook his debut as a substitute but the night will be remembered, ultimately, because of the late controversy and perhaps it was a useful lesson for England when the same technology will be in use at the World Cup.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/mar/27/england-italy-international-friendly-match-report

De Futebol Brasil Defeats Germany in a World Cup Tune Up Match

Brasil got a measure of revenge against Germany. The guys  defeated Germany 1-0 at the Germans house in a World Cup tune up match.

The Guardian” Brazil defeated Germany 1-0 in Berlin to end the world champions’ 22-game unbeaten run and restore some lost pride following the humiliating mismatch between the sides in their previous meeting, when Germany crushed the hosts 7-1 in that freakish World Cup semi-final in Belo Horizonte in 2014.

Gabriel Jesus’s first-half header settled the friendly and provided his side with a welcome confidence boost less than three months before the World Cup starts. Brazil did not concede during the international break as they also defeated Russia 3-0 in Moscow.

Jesus made the breakthrough seven minutes before the interval when the goalkeeper, Kevin Trapp, flapped at his powerful but centrally positioned header and allowed the ball go in. Willian’s cross came in with pace and Jesus was only five metres from goal but the goalkeeper was in position to make the save.

Jesus had missed a good chance minutes earlier when he left two Germany defenders sprawling on a counterattack and then fired over with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Ilkay Gundogan had the home side’s best chance when he mishit the ball after Julian Draxler pulled it back.

The referee, Jonas Eriksson, asked the Brazil captain, Dani Alves, to calm his players down after Toni Kroos felt the effect of yet another robust challenge.

Brazil emerged with more intent after the break, with Antonio Rüdiger blocking Willian and Paulinho drawing a good save from Trapp off the rebound, before Philippe Coutinho fired just over.

Joshua Kimmich produced a vital interception to deny Coutinho, and Jesus missed an open goal from the resultant corner.

At the other end Sandro Wagner twice headed good chances wide but that was as close as Germany got as Brazil adopted a 6-3-1 formation to protect their lead.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/mar/27/germany-brazil-international-friendly-match-report

De Futebolb Flamengo defeats Emelec in Group 4 of The Copa Libertadores!

Flamengo defeated Emelec 2-1 in Group 4 of the Copa Libertadores.

Globo Esportes:” Vinícius Júnior fez, nesta quarta-feira, sua melhor partida como profissional do Flamengo. Mesmo entrando apenas aos 21 minutos do segundo tempo, o jovem atacante, de apenas 17 anos, fez a diferença e levou o rubro-negro à primeira vitória em dois jogos na Libertadores: 2 a 1, de virada, sobre o Emelec, em Guayaquil, no Equador.

– Só estou dando continuidade no profissional ao que eu vinha fazendo na base. Coma ajuda de todos, pude fazer os dois gols – festejou o herói da vitória rubro-negra, que foi festejado pelos companheiros na volta para o vestiário, ao fim da partida. Como mostra o vídeo abaixo:

O primeiro tempo foi aberto, mas o Flamengo, que vinha de empate em casa com o River Plate, não se intimidou em momento algum, criando as melhores chances. Logo aos seis minutos, Diego lançou Éverton Ribeiro na área e Guagua tirou com a mão. Porém, o árbitro paraguaio Mario Diaz de Vivar ignorou o pênalti claríssimo.

Uma das melhores opções ofensivas do time de Paulo César Carpegiani foi Rodinei. Aos 41, o lateral-direito cobrou escanteio, Rhodolfo cabeceou forte, no canto, e Dreer fez uma bela defesa. No minuto seguinte, Rodinei cruzou, e Henrique Dourado cabeceou com perigo. O goleiro equatoriano voltou a aparecer bem aos 10, quando Diego chutou de longe, e a defesa foi em dois tempos.

Numa competição de alto nível quanto a Libertadores, nenhuma equipe pode se dar ao luxo de perder gols. Aos 19, Angulo recebeu livre na entrada da área e chutou para abrir o placar a favor dos equatorianos, num banho de água gelada na boa atuação rubro-negra até então.

Mas o Flamengo tem valores individuais que podem fazer a diferença. Aos 32, Vinícius Júnior, que entrara 11 minutos antes, no lugar de Everton Ribeiro, recebeu de Paquetá na direita, passou por três adversários e soltou a bomba. Um golaço, que deixa no ar a pergunta: como o pode o jovem atacante rubro-negro ser reserva?

O time de Carpegiani poderia ter até virado o placar com Dourado, mas o atacante estava numa noite irreconhecível. Na melhor chance, cabeceou, sozinho e na pequena área, para fora, aos 37.

A noite, no entanto, era de Vinícius Júnior. Aos 39, o atacante tabelou com Diego e tocou colocado no ângulo direito. Festa rubro-negra numa noite que se desenhava trágica no Equador.

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/em-noite-de-vinicius-junior-flamengo-derrota-emelec-no-equador-22491206#ixzz59p7hF94m

De Futebol England Defeats Holland 1-0 in a World Cup Tune Up Match

In preparation for 2018 World Cup England defeated the Netherlands 1-0.

The Guardians Daniel Taylor:” It is 49 years since England last won in Amsterdam, with Alf Ramsey as manager, Colin Bell scoring an 84th-minute winner and Emlyn Hughes winning his first cap, so Gareth Southgate and his players are entitled to feel pleased with themselves now they have recorded their first victory here against the Oranjesince the year man set foot on the moon.

After that kind of wait, perhaps it might be slightly impertinent to point out that we saw here why this is regarded as the worst Dutch side for a long time. England certainly chose obliging opponents and on this evidence, with the stadium barely half-full by the final whistle, it is very clear that a win against this lot cannot be considered the prize it once was.

Equally, England can still reflect on a satisfying evening after Jesse Lingard’s winning goal, a clean sheet for Jordan Pickford and – if we are to be grateful for small mercies – nothing too horrendous from the end decorated with St George’s flags.

Well, apart from the usual brainless attempt to drown out another country’s national anthem. Over two days, more than 100 England fans have been arrested but at least when it comes to the actual football it was the other country who should be the more embarrassed.

Not that anyone in the England set-up should get too carried away just yet. The game against Italy at Wembley on Tuesday should provide a more realistic gauge of England’s World Cup preparations and, even in victory, there are still legitimate questions to be asked of Southgate when his team selections show so little in the way of pattern or structure.

He started here with three players who usually operate as right-backs for their clubs, but without one actually playing as a right-back. Danny Rose’s selection in the left wing-back role shows Southgate must have abandoned his policy of not picking players who are out of favour at their clubs and it would be intriguing to know what Harry Maguire, James Tarkowski and Alfie Mawson made of Kyle Walker being asked to experiment as a centre-half.

As it happened, Maguire came on in the 10th minute because of an early injury for Joe Gomez, who plays right-back for Liverpool but started here on the left of England’s back three.

Confused? England should be glad this was such a poor Dutch side because the lack of clear strategy can seem bizarre, particularly when there are only three games now – or 270 minutes – to finalise their plans.

On that front, Southgate will at least have a better idea now why Rose has fallen out of favour with Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham. Rose was involved in the goal but his overall performance was poor and, on the other side, Kieran Trippier did not do enough to disprove the theory that Walker is better equipped for the role.

On a brighter note, England did show at times that they have a good mix of movement and speed in attack and, having offered very little during the first half, they are also entitled to think they should have been awarded a penalty six minutes after the restart. Marcus Rashford’s speed caught out Matthijs de Ligt and the goalkeeper, Jeroen Zoet, should not have come haring off his line.

Rashford was ahead of them both but the Spanish referee, Jesús Gil Manzano, was some way back and gave De Ligt the benefit of the doubt for the sliding tackle that brought down England’s striker.

England’s only noteworthy chance of the first half had come just after the half-hour mark when Jordan Henderson, probably England’s best player on the night, headed Trippier’s free-kick wide.

After the interval, however, they started to pass the ball with greater purpose and it became even clearer why this Dutch side have not qualified for the World Cup.

Ronald Koeman, their new manager, spoke afterwards about the slow tempo and lack of momentum when his team had the ball, plus a lack of creativity in attacking positions.

England hardly set the world alight on that front either, but they did have the pace of Rashford, Lingard and Raheem Sterling and when they took the lead, in the 59th minute, it was in the midst of their most productive spell of the match.

Lingard was involved in the move, spreading the ball to Rose on the left and then hung back to see if the ball might come back his way on the edge of the penalty area.

Stefan de Vrij’s attempt to clear the danger succeeded only in presenting the ball to his opponent and Lingard, 20 yards out, had the time and space to pick his spot.

His low shot was aimed to Zoet’s right and, though the goalkeeper did get his hand to the ball, he could not prevent it ending up in the bottom corner. After that, Southgate brought on Dele Alli, Jamie Vardy and Danny Welbeck in one go, with Ashley Young later replacing Rose.

England’s manager had said before the match that he wanted the newcomers in his squad to play with confidence and make the most of their opportunity.

Pickford did just that and, as Southgate pointed out, the team’s new first-choice goalkeeper was also involved at the start of the move that led to the goal. Yet Mawson, Tarkowski and Lewis Cook will have to hope they make their debuts on Tuesday.”
https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/mar/23/netherlands-england-friendly-international-match-report

De Futebol Brasil Destroys Russia 3-0 in a World Cup Tune Up Match!

Minus Neymar Brasil blows out Russia 3-0 in a World Cup tune up match.

The Daily Mail:” When Stanislav Cherchesov was appointed as head coach of Russia in 2016 there was one clear objective: reach the semi-finals of the World Cup on home soil.

That target has always seemed absurdly unrealistic and is even more so after this disappointing collapse against five-time world champions Brazil.

The idea behind this friendly against Brazil in Moscow and Tuesday’s game against France in Saint Petersburg is to build interest among supporters.

Unfortunately any side who test themselves against Brazil often come unstuck. That eventually happened with Miranda, Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho all scoring in a second half that made Russia appear very ordinary against one of world football’s super powers.

Not one of Russia’s starting line-up play outside the Russian Premier League. Cherchesov didn’t take any risks and opted for a 3-5-2 formation with the intention of stopping Brazil from easily passing their way to victory in the Luzhniki Stadium, which will host the final at this summer’s tournament.

It was a clever strategy by the former Legia Warsaw manager and it took a direct approach for Brazil to work their first opening. Dani Alves passing the ball over 30 yards to Gabriel Jesus but Igor Akinfeev moved quickly to deny him from close range.

There was concern for the Manchester City forward when he went down under a robust challenge by defender Fyodor Kudryashov.

He has struggled with a long-term knee injury but was able to continue after receiving treatment.

Brazil had lost only once in their last 17 games before this game but were nearly behind shortly before half-time.

Aleksei Miranchuk, who along with Aleksandr Samedov and Alan Dzagoev, is someone who will be relied upon to help Russia get out of Group A against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.

He won’t get many better chances than the one that was presented to him when Fyodor Smolov worked the ball into the six-yard area only for Miranchuk to shoot over.

Brazil needed little invitation after half-time in giving Russia a lesson in finishing – a lesson that would have been flawless had Paulinho not missed a simple chance three yards out.

Willian’s deflected effort off Samedov required an excellent reaction save by Ikinfeev to keep Russia level.

But the 31-year-old goalkeeper would have little joy a minute later after Willian moved forward unchallenged. His cross was headed towards goal by Thiago Silva. Akinfeev did well to keep out the Paris Saint-Germain defender’s effort but couldn’t stop Miranda scoring from the rebound.

At that point you expected Russia to retreat. They didn’t do that. Dzagoev came on for Miranchuk and Russia looked positive for nine minutes at least until Aleksandr Golovkin brought down Paulinho inside his own box.

Coutinho dispatched the spot kick calmly to notch his ninth goal in 33 appearances for Brazil, and from that moment Russia faded. Paulinho added a third goal after more clever play from Willian.

Brazil will be given a sterner test when they head to Berlin to play Germany on Tuesday.

Tite’s players are more focused than the side that were humiliated 7-1 in Belo Horizonte four years ago. There was a sign of defensive weakness in Brazil’s backline late on in Moscow when Thiago Silva had to clear off the line after goalkeeper Alisson was chipped after he moved out of position.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-5537185/Russia-0-3-Brazil-Philippe-Coutinho-Paulinho-Miranda-score-Tites-men-easily-win.html#ixzz5AfjHVBPv

De Futebol Flamengo beats Boavista 3-0 in Group B Carioca Championship

Flamengo defeats Boavista 3-0 in Group B of the Carioca Championship.

Globo Esporte:” Natural que muitos olhares se voltassem para Júlio César. Afinal, não é todo dia que um ídolo volta a vestir a camisa de um clube brasileiro, ainda que numa breve turnê de despedida. Mas havia outras coisas para prestar atenção no Raulino de Oliveira, ontem. Afinal, este Flamengo se aproxima de desafios maiores. A vitória por 3 a 0 sobre o Boavista teve um primeiro tempo preocupante, progressos na segunda parte e, claro, o reencontro com Júlio César. Apesar do longo tempo parado, saiu sem arranhões. E com o carinho da arquibancada.

– Tivemos um primeiro tempo muito ruim tecnicamente, não tivemos precisão contra um time todo atrás do meio de campo. No segundo tempo, melhoramos e conseguimos a vitória – disse Diego.

Carpegiani mexeu na posição de seus meias. Iniciou o jogo com Paquetá mais à direita, Éverton mais à esquerda e Diego e Éverton Ribeiro pelo centro. Pretendia criar espaço para os avanços de Rodinei na direita, já que seria natural ver Paquetá e Diego buscarem o meio, enquanto do lado oposto caberia a Éverton criar profundidade na ponta. No primeiro tempo, nada funcionou.

Coletivamente, a troca de passes não fazia o jogo fluir, raramente gerava infiltração na defesa rival. Com uma linha de zaga que raramente conduzia a bola ao sair jogando e laterais que hesitam na construção, os meias buscavam a bola muito atrás e o time se distanciava. E havia atuações ruins, como as de Diego e Éverton Ribeiro. Foram 45 minutos, sem que o Flamengo chegasse perto do gol.

No segundo tempo, o cenário melhorou. A começar por uma defesa mais adiantada diante de um adversário encerrado atrás. Com jogadores mais próximos, o Flamengo já tivera uma boa oportunidade, quando Henrique Dourado recebeu na área mas emendou com uma finalização constrangedoramente ruim.

Em seguida, viria um lance emblemático. Hoje em dia, é difícil romper defesas sem zagueiros com certo atrevimento para conduzir a bola até a chegada da marcação. É um movimento que ajuda a desequilibrar a marcação. Rhodolfo o fez, Diego finalizou e aconteceu o córner que resultou no gol de Rodinei, aos 19 minutos.

Mais agressivo, o Flamengo controlou o jogo e coroou a primeira noite de Júlio César em sua volta ao clube com dois belos gols de falta: Diego, aos 35, e Paquetá, aos 42. O goleiro? Fez algumas saídas de gol, pegou uma cobrança de falta e teve o nome gritado pelo público. Como deveria ser.

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/flamengo-derrota-boavista-na-reestreia-de-julio-cesar-22467150#ixzz59ANCAICU

De Futebol Is Mourinho a has been in Champions League Play?

The long knives are out for Jose Mourinho. The Guardians Barney Ronay wrote that Mourinho gooses is cooked as a force the Champions League.

We will see!

“ There was a slightly ghostly moment in the second half at Old Trafford as Manchester United were euthanised from the Champions Leagueknockout stages, a sense of worlds colliding, timelines crossed.

Wissam Ben Yedder had just eased the ball into the corner of David de Gea’s net to make the score 1-0 on the night. As the Sevilla players romped in front of their away support and the Spanish radio commentator broke out of his “gol, gol” chant to shout “ON FIRE ON FIRE” a wiry black-clad figure could be seen sprinting down the touchline, fists pumping.

It was tempting to blink a little at this ghost of Old Trafford, rattling its chains, howling at the portal doors, breaking though, just for a moment, into our world. Like all good cinematic ghosts it seemed to be trying to communicate something: desperation, excitement, the need for United’s players to regroup. And beyond that a sense of something more profound being lost than just a quarter-final spot at the hands of a balanced and deserving Sevilla.

Naturally there were painful echoes of that famous sprint down the same touchline 14 years ago, back when the world was still young, the Mourinho hair a chestnut bouffant, and when Porto’s young manager was announcing his arrival as a Champions League force. Rather than, as on this occasion, his departure.

It will be tempting to resist the cliched circularity of those two sprints, bookends on the José supremacy. But the facts are hard to argue with. And the facts say that when it comes to the real cutting edge of European club football Mourinho is pretty much cooked, his best moments – Inter, Porto – already yellowing at the edges, marked by the baggy gear and dated grooming of a world that has now passed.

As of Tuesday night it is almost exactly four years since Mourinho last managed a club to victory in the Champions League knockout stages. In his past 10 knockout games with United and Chelsea he has two wins and five low-score draws.

Look a bit closer and even those two moments of triumph didn’t really point anywhere, the last one the ambush of Paris Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge, when a late airborne siege turned a tie Chelsea were losing. The other was Didier Drogba’s return to Chelsea with Galatasaray, when a cunningly mawkish welcome back ceremony seemed to spook the visitors and Chelsea went 1-0 up after four minutes.

Look even further to his last year at Real Madrid and it is unsurprising Mourinho was so keen to dwell this week on his elimination of United at Old Trafford in 2013. That 2-1 victory, almost exactly five years ago, was the last time he oversaw an away win in the knockout stages. Even then Madrid were going out before Nani was sent off.

At the end of which, under the De Boer formula, you could make a case, factoring in millions spent and clubs managed (all three winners in recent years, just not under him) that Mourinho is unusually bad at negotiating the sharp end of this competition. That he is, with two wins in 10 and everything from funds to pedigree in his favour, the worst manager in the past 10 years of the Champions League knockout stages.

Too much? Probably. But the real issue is not his place in the hierarchy of knockout failure. Instead it is Mourinho’s dogged persistence with an approach that, frankly, no longer works at this level. This was another startling element to Tuesday night. Play the game again, play on for five hours into the night and United still wouldn’t have looked like winning. The obstacle here wasn’t details or form, but a fixed-gear defensive approach in a must-win game at home to the fifth-best team in Spain.

This is not to suggest Mourinho’s methods are failing at United. Winning defensive football is still winning football. United are better than when he came, and will be better still in a year.

It is more a question of whether Mourinho still has the will and the methods to cut it in one-off, fine-point knockout games against the very best.

Right now he appears to be doing what he did at Porto and Inter on such occasions, looking to attack an opponent’s strengths rather than its weaknesses, to win by nullifying space rather than using it to create. There is an element of the Peter Principle in this. Mourinho got so good at managing underdog teams and wringing the best out of B-list players he was allowed to manage overdog teams where his tactics no longer fit, with A-list players too good to carry out his methods with unquestioning zeal.

There have of course been wonderful attacking Mourinho teams in the past. That Madrid starting XI that beat United five years ago contained Mesut Özil, Ángel Di María, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuaín. The problem is that as Mourinho has retreated into his own mathematical pleasure in solidity and defensive control the world has gone the other way. And the evidence suggests it is not possible to win a Champions League in this manner now, just as a 0-0 draw away from home is no longer an advantageous result with high-scoring games more common.

The question is whether Mourinho has it in him to adapt a little, to build a next-stage United team around some key element of creative chemistry, a team that can grow to fill the spaces rather than crouching back behind its guard. For all the snarking negativity there are obvious positives. Even in defeat the sight of local talent on the pitch is heartening. Romelu Lukaku was often horribly isolated against Sevilla but he was also United’s best player.

Mourinho will get more time and money to gloss this team – but not that much more. Manchester United is a machine made for winning, a commercial-sporting juggernaut defined in part by its progress in Europe. If Mourinho has hit a buffer here then buying another Sánchez, another Pogba, won’t solve a basic issue of methodology, the point where defensive control becomes a more risky hand, less likely to bring victory than trusting his team to play in those tighter moments with a little winning freedom.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2018/mar/14/jose-mourinho-manchester-united-champions-league-methods-no-longer-work

De Futebol A History Lesson!

Let’s take a little trip in the way back machine via the Guardians Daniel Harris.

1) Galatasaray 0-0 Manchester United, second round, 1993-94

Manchester United’s return to the European Cup was fiercely anticipated – they had been away since 1969. After winning the Cup Winners’ Cup immediately after the return of English clubs to continental competition, in those crazy altruistic and naive days when that was what was done, they were expected to have a suitable go at the Champions League. But in place at the time was a rule limiting the number of foreigners that could be fielded by each club, and though United’s squad was largely British and Irish, the restriction applied to all who were either born outside of England, or were not considered “assimilated”.

In the first round, this made little difference, with Honved beaten in both legs – though unconvincingly, by a single goal each time. Next, and in order to qualify for the group stages, United were paired with Galatasaray – who, in typical style, it was assumed that they would beat fairly easily. And at the start of the first leg at Old Trafford, this seemed a reasonable supposition, United dashing into a two-goal lead inside the first quarter-hour, before relaxing in the glow of their superiority.

However, it quickly became clear that Gala, with Hakan Sukur, Kubilay Turkyilmaz, Arif Erdem and Tugay Kerimoglu, were actually aware of what football was and able to play it. So United, with Lees Martin and Sharpe at full-back – Paul Parker was injured and Denis Irwin omitted – tottered, conceding three goals in 48 minutes, before Eric Cantona, wearing No9 in the presence of Bryan Robson, equalised with eight minutes remaining.

After all that, it was still expected that United would resolve matters in the second leg. But they found Istanbul rather less equilibrious than they had hoped, Alex Ferguson later reporting “as much hostility and harassment as I have ever known on a football expedition”. Steve Bruce narrowly avoided decapitation via a flying brick, 164 supporters were deposited into cells on account of existing, while on the pitch, they were equally impotent, Mark Hughes – perhaps the player who would have embraced the fear with most joy – now the victim of the foreigners rule.

Quite simply, though, the talent was there, United were not prepared for this level or style of competition, eliminated on away goals following a goalless draw. But there remained misery to follow – Cantona was sent off once the game was over, after honestly appraising the performance of a referee, who, five years later, was found guilty of accepting bribes and banned for life. Then, in the tunnel, Cantona was set about by police, which did not go down well with his team-mates. “We had a few who could look after themselves,” said Bruce. “We gave as good as we got.” It was undoubtedly the highlight of United’s performance.

What happened next: United were already nine points ahead at the top of the table, but in their next game conceded twice in the first half away to Manchester City. With Turkish delight thrown into the United end and chants of “two-nil up and fucked it up, Galatasaray” ringing around Maine Road, United, inspired by Cantona, powered back to win 3-2. They then beat Wimbledon and drew with Ipswich, staying top for the rest of the season, and though they lost in the League Cup final, also won the FA Cup.

2) Gothenburg 3-1 Manchester United, group stages, 1994-95

At the start of 1994-95, United were again felt to be legitimate Champions League contenders. Roy Keane had been fully integrated into the side, they had learned from their experiences the previous season, and were also entered directly into the group stages. Again, they were drawn with Galatasaray, along with Barcelona and IFK Gothenburg, and again, things began unconvincingly but well enough: a home win over Gothenburg followed by another goalless draw in Turkey. But that same night, the Swedes won at home to Barcelona – who responded by drawing at Old Trafford and disbursing a walloping for the ages at the Camp Nou, while Gothenburg were beating by twice by Galatasaray. If United could avoid defeat when the sides met again, a win over Galatasaray would see them through.

Things did not work out that way. Though Eric Cantona returned after serving a five-match ban, Peter Schmeichel and Roy Keane were injured, replaced by Gary Walsh and Brian McClair respectively, and with Lee Sharpe also absent, Simon Davies started on the left wing. But, most tellingly of all, David May – a limited centre-back – played at right-back, where he was duly guzzled by future United Champions League winner, Jesper Blomqvist. On a filthy November night, the Swede gave Gothenburg the lead on 11 minutes, and though Mark Hughes equalised on 64, a minute later, United were behind again, and a penalty from Pontus Kamark confirmed their defeat with 18 minutes still to go – before Paul Ince got himself sent off.

Though United could argue that their campaign had been hamstrung by injury, suspension, and a shortly to be defunct rule, the reality was unavoidable: they had again behaved in appalling fashion at the crucial moment. In particular, their defence, though plenty good enough for the domestic game, was neither pacy enough nor savvy enough to cope with the best attackers.

What happened next: A 0-0 draw at Arsenal was followed by a home win over Norwich and thrashing of Galatasaray – a game in which David Beckham scored his first for the club. Two months later, Eric Cantona remonstrated with a Palace supporter, and the league was consequently lost by a point, the FA Cup final by a goal.

3) Manchester United 0-1 Bayern Munich, quarter-finals, 2000-01

United steadily improved in Europe through the late 90s, particularly in consecutive ties with Juventus. After enduring perhaps the most complete 1-0 thrashing of all-time in September 1995, they performed far more creditably in losing by the same score two months later and progressed to the semi-finals, where they lost away and at home to Borussia Dortmund – on account of cowardice and profligacy respectively.

But this, along with an exit to Monaco on similar terms, convinced Alex Ferguson of the need to attack, so he recruited Jaap Stam for his ability to defend one-on-one, and in 1999, United won the competition.

Two seasons later came a quarter-final with Bayern Munich, and in the home leg, a newly circumspect United were barely able muster a chance. Gone was the fury with which they had pummelled all-comers, and with Dwight Yorke effectively retired and their wingers closely marked – a tactic that first worked for Croatia Zagreb, visitors to Old Trafford the previous season – they offered little penetration. It was little surprise when Paulo Sérgio opened the scoring with four minutes to go.

Then, in the return, Yorke – who had scored a couple of goals against Coventry in the previous game – was preferred to the more suitable Sheringham, and Nicky Butt selected ahead of Luke Chadwick, in place of the absent David Beckham. Within 39 minutes, Bayern were 2-0 up, and though Giggs pulled one back, it was not until the very end that any sort of fightback was threatened. The treble team were finished.

What happened next: United required two penalties to secure a 1-1 draw with Manchester City in the league. With the title already secure, they beat Middlesbrough, before losing each of their last three games, a run not replicated until this season.

4) Manchester United 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen, semi-final, 2001-02

In a bid to win another European Cup, Alex Ferguson broke up a midfield almost guaranteed to deliver the league championship every season. And though adding Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastián Véron gave United greater attacking potency and variety, replacing Jaap Stam with Laurent Blanc awarded opposition the same. So United struggled in the league, producing some spectacular football but finding it hard to establish a method that extracted the most from their players, and consequentially failed to become the first side to record four consecutive titles.

But in the Champions League, they were much improved. After a dodgy start, they drew twice with Bayern, before producing one of the finest performances of the Fergie era to eviscerate Deportivo La Coruña – arguably Europe’s best side – away from home, then thrillingly finished the job at Old Trafford.

In the semi-final, they played Bayer Leverkusen – who had eliminated Arsenal in the second group stagefollowed by Liverpool in the quarter-finals. But even so, they were viewed almost as a bye to the dream final: United v Real Madrid at Hampden Park, where, in 1960, the young Fergie had been captivated by Puskas and pals’ 7-3 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. The rock of Gibraltar was moved to tears by the very prospect.

However, rather like Galatasaray in 1992, this Leverkusen side was full of men who, though unknown at the time, would go on to establish themselves as serious players: Michael Ballack, Zé Roberto, Dimitar Berbatov, Lúcio, and Yildiray Basturk. And United were without David Beckham, following his invention of the metatarsal, and also Roy Keane; aiming to play in a final after missing out in 1999, he would be let down, first in his absence and then in his presence.

An own goal gave United the lead on 29 minutes, but they were unable to force a second before Ballack equalised just after the hour, and though a Van Nistelrooy penalty quickly restored the advantage, Oliver Neuville soon squared the tie. Then, in Leverkusen, Keane willpowered another definitive captain’s goal, but this time, his team-mates – one of whom he later accused of shaking with nerves – shrunk. Again, Neuville equalised, this time in first-half injury time, and though Diego Forlán almost sneaked a winner, United were deservedly eliminated.

What happened next: Only two games of the season remained, due to the impending World Cup. In the first, United ceded the Premier League trophy by losing at home to Arsenal, before drawing 0-0 at home to Charlton.

5) Lille 1-0 Manchester United, group stages, 2005-06

After 17 years of service, Alex Ferguson awarded himself an extended sabbatical and testimonial, resulting in the arrival of players such as David Bellion, Eric Djemba-Djemba and Kléberson, along with the Glazer family. As such, United failed seriously to compete in the league for three consecutive seasons, but the nadir came in Europe. In 2004-05, they were easily dispatched by Milan, and then, the following year, were drawn in a group with Benfica, Villarreal and Lille. In what may well have been the worst collection of games in the competition’s history, they achieved two goalless draws in the first three games – away to Villarreal and at home to Lille – sneaking a win over Benfica in between.

Next came a trip to Paris, played in awful weather in the awful Stade de France. With a midfield comprising Alan Smith and Kieran Richardson, along with Darren Fletcher and Cristiano Ronaldo, United produced a performance of original, exceptional and irredeemable poverty, losing 1-0. This prompted significant numbers among the travelling support to race to the front at full-time, so the players might be immediately apprised of their achievements – uncommon behaviour, post-1990. And though it took a further 0-0 mess with Villarreal followed by defeat in Lisbon to secure their elimination, this game will forever remain a touchstone for the truly revolting.

What happened next: United somehow scrounged a win at home to Chelsea, thanks to a deflection, then won at Charlton and improved steadily through the season. They began the next on a roll that ended only with the sale of Ronaldo, three years, three titles and one Champions League later.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/feb/26/manchester-united-worst-five-champions-league-performances

De Futebol Flamengo River Plate tie two all in Group 4 Copa Libertadores

Flamengo and River Plate two all in Group play of the Copa Libertadores.

Globo Esporte:” Faltou torcedor, sobrou emoção. Em um Engenhão com portões fechados e arquibancadas vazias, Flamengo e River Plate fizeram um jogo animado, especialmente no segundo tempo, e empataram em 2 a 2 na noite desta quarta-feira, pela primeira rodada do Grupo 4 da Libertadores. Henrique Dourado, Éverton, Mora e Mayada fizeram os gols.

Em um primeiro tempo de poucas chances, Diego Alves fez defesa em cobrança de falta de Rodrigo Mora. Do outro lado, Armani defendeu em dois tempos chute de Henrique Dourado. E não teve muito mais do que isso.

Mas houve espaço para polêmica e reclamação. O Flamengo pediu pênalti em um lance aos 39 minutos. Réver cabeceou e a bola bateu no braço de Zuculini. O árbitro mandou o jogo seguir.

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Se a primeira etapa foi arrastada, a segunda começou a toda velocidade. Logo aos seis minutos, Diego caiu na área após toque de Ponzio. Pênalti que Henrique Dourado cobrou seguindo sua cartilha. Com calma e estilo, deslocando o goleiro para abrir o placar.

A vantagem rubro-negra durou pouco. Aos dez, após cobrança de falta na área, Mora apareceu nas costas de Juan e desviou de cabeça para empatar. O jogador do River, porém, estava adiantado no momento do passe.

O River esteve perto da virada aos 17, com De La Cruz, que chutou para boa defesa de Diego Alves. O jogo era lá e cá, e aos 21 Lucas Paquetá acionou Everton na área. Sozinho, o camisa 22 teve tempo de dominar no peito, girar e bater cruzado para fazer 2 a 1.

A vantagem no placar não deu tranquilidade ao Flamengo. O River passou a pressionar e teve duas grandes chances em sequência para empatar aos 38, na pequena área. Três minutos depois, Mayada acertou um chute rasteiro de longe. Diego Alves caiu atrasado e a bola entrou no canto direito: 2 a 2.

O Flamengo volta a jogar na Libertadores no dia 14, quarta, contra o Emelec, no Equador. O River joga no dia 15, em casa, diante do Santa Fé, da Colômbia.

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/flamengo-apenas-empata-com-river-na-estreia-na-libertadores-22444598#ixzz58bMeQNHa