Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Italy May 2009

Frustration for Livorno.

Livorno 0 Albinoleffe 1 in Serie B.

The 5 fans supporting Albinoleffe went home happy after this one.

Its a fairly long walk from the central station to the stadio Armando Picchi and in the hot weather a stop for refreshment is definitely required.

The stadium itself is a typical bowl with mostly open seats , a track and cover for the main stand.

The more vociferous home fans to the left at times produced some good noise but in the end it was mainly shouts of frustration from around the ground as the home side failed to deliver.

Lots of probing but not many chances.

The winner came from full back Perico after a fortunate deflection allowed him through on goal.

Substitute Diamanti hit the post but after that Livorno just made it worse by having two men sent off in the closing minutes.

They will still take part in the play-offs though.

Del Piero the master.

Siena 0 Juventus 3

Plenty of tourists in the historic city centre and plenty of fans coming to watch this encounter.

The quirky, segmented stadio Artemio Franchi , on lower ground close to the centre , was nearly full with typically large numbers of Juve fans.

It was hot and the fans in the sunshine (most of the stadium is open) were sprayed with water to cool down.

The Juve supporters saw their team totally dominate.

Siena had an early free kick that went wide but after that they never got close to Buffon.

Juve were in control with the 36 year old Nedved and Alessandro Del Piero running things.

Despite looking laboured at times Del Piero made one goal for Marchisio and scored two himself.

Post-Ranieri Juventus had looked sharper throughout even when the game became somewhat languid in the 30 degree heat. They might have scored 3 or 4 more.

The drummers in the Curva Robur had been silenced long before the end.

more pics at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/113614304

Saturday, May 16, 2009

France May 2009

Kezman converts.

Le Mans 0 Paris St Germain 1

A two hour TGV ride from Paris to Le Mans.

And a good turnout saw the visitors from the capital secure a win to please their support.
Their fans were positioned mainly in two pens (Boulogne and Auteuil ?) at one end and they produced plenty of flares - their Le Mans counterparts plenty of smoke.

PSG tended to dominate and probably should have got more than just the one goal slotted by Kezman.

Other familiar names such as the promising Sessegnon , Luyindula , Rothen and a certain Claude Makelele were in the Parisian team.

Brilliant Malenga.

Chateauroux 1 Clermont 0

via Paris to Chateauroux for a Ligue 2 game that was to move the home side out of the relegation zone.

The stadium is a reasonable size with similarly covered stands on all 4 sides.

Just a few fans came from Clermont including some bare chested 'ultras'.

It was generally a closely fought encounter that was determined by some brilliance from substitute Malenga - a superb over head kick.

He had changed the game not only scoring but also going close with a subsequent header.

The rest was even.

Two Savidan strikes.

Caen 2 Sochaux 0

Meanwhile in Normandy Caen feels more Anglo-Saxon despite the statue of Joan of Arc and a street named after William the Conqueror.
And the centre and chateau area is vibrant with plenty of bars and restaurants.

Nearly 19,000 throng the neat, two tier , enclosed stadium for this six-pointer with both teams near the foot of Ligue 1. The locals in the Normany Kop produce some reasonable noise to encourage their team.

In a closely fought first half Caen had a very good shout for a defender getting a red card as centre forward Savidan was brought down.
But Savidan would have the last word with two typical strikers goals in the second half. His thirteen goals make him one of the top scorers in France.

Dalmat did well for the visitors, including a free kick that clipped the bar, but otherwise Sochaux were well contained by Caen.
As a result of this defeat they drop into the bottom 3.

more pics at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/112814054

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Spain May 2009

A few days before they play Barca in the Spanish Cup Final the Athletic flags and shirts are very prominent in the Basque capital.

The club shop in Bilbao city centre is particularly busy.

Pride in their club is evident and the locals can be proud of their culture.

Especially the Fine Art Museum and the impressive architecture and modern art of the famous Guggenheim Museum.

Good Aperitif.

Athletic Bilbao 1 Real Betis 0

But not good for Betis who are uncomfortably close to the lower part of the league table. They couldn't beat a virtual Athletic reserve team.

The 32,000 locals produced a better than average Spanish football atmosphere in the San Mames.

Plenty of scarves being waved and much celebration ahead of their trip to Valencia for the Copa del Rey final.

Bilbao can thank Armando in goal for keeping Betis goalless as he made one excellent save from an Oliveira header.

Ion Velez tapped in the winner in the first half after a move down the right.


Real Valladolid 0 Numancia 0

This local derby was better attended than I expected and it included a large contingent from Soria. Numancia needed all the help they could get being bottom of the league and generally looking limited and lacking in confidence.

The appropriately decked violet and white stadium is unusually characterised by a large number of corporate boxes behind one goal.

Those present saw a very moderate game with few clear cut chances despite numerous Valladolid corners.

Numancia did better in the second half and forward Aranda might have chipped the winner but shot over.

Similarly Ogbeche should have scored with a header that went wide.

At least the sun was shining for most of the game.