The God's Given Lionel Messi - messilegend

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Barcelona Needs To Be More Aggressive in Stamford Bridge

Certainly not the best game for Barca yesterday. Barca needs to be more aggressive going into Chelsea turf! What a lousy defending game by Chelsea. Can you imagine 10 players including the goalie, defending its goal post from Barcelona players almost 3/4 of the game time? If this is the way you win the Champions Leagues, you wont be remembered for long and need not be proud of winning the worst way. Come on Chelsea, play a beautiful game like Barca.


Chelsea holds Barcelona to 0-0 draw
BARCELONA, Spain (AP): Chelsea did what very few teams have been able to do, holding Barcelona to a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League semifinals.

The Spanish leaders were held scoreless for the first time since a league defeat on the opening weekend of the season. It was the first shutout on home soil since Manchester United drew 0-0 at the same stage of the competition last year.

"We're pleased with the result because when you look a the short history of Barcelona and how their results have been and how they've been able to score, it's quite an achievement against a team that plays beautiful football as we saw tonight," Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink said.

Both goalkeepers made key saves, with Victor Valdes getting his hands up quickly to stop Didier Drogba's shot following a Barcelona defensive lapse in the 39th minute.

Drogba jumped on Rafael Marquez's poor backpass for an attempt from inside the area but the Chelsea striker couldn't control the rebound from Valdes, who poked the ball away before the danger was cleared.

"We would have loved to have won, to have scored, but I think we played well," Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. "I don't see that there is anything we can be blamed for."

Barcelona's defense will be short-handed for the return leg at Stamford Bridge on May 6 after Marquez was lost for the season with a knee injury. His replacement, Carles Puyol, was suspended after being booked in the 74th.

"Rafa's loss was the worst news today," Guardiola said.

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech was busy, too, diving to keep Samuel Eto'o's shot out in the 70th after the Barcelona striker had shaken off Alex to get a clear chance from close-range.

Cech made several late saves, the most notable coming on substitute Aleksandr Hleb moments after Bojan Krkic had headed a clear chance from point-blank over goal.

The Chelsea goalkeeper rushed out the left side to block Hleb after the late substitute had been able to move into the area for the dangerous opportunity as Barcelona pressed following Eto'o's chance.

Eto'o had run into the area before pulling back to shake off Alex, but Cech kept the low shot out at the near side.

"They won't be able to play like they did today, just waiting on everything in their own half," Eto'o said. "Drawing at home is not a bad thing for the team. Playing away in the return leg just means we have to score that away goal that will settle us." (yea, you are right Eto'o!)

Guardiola surprisingly left Puyol on the bench and Marquez's defensive error nearly cost the hosts.

Drogba's chance - Chelsea's only shot on goal to Barcelona's 12 - seemed to rejuvenate the Blues, who had spent most of the first half holding off the rushes of Barcelona's talented forwards, with Andres Iniesta creating most of the danger.

Lionel Messi had few chances as Florent Malouda and Jose Bosingwa - filling in for the suspended Ashley Cole - kept the Argentina winger in check, with Messi only managing two high shots from outside the area.

"He was having an unusual game this night," Hiddink said. "Of course there's always pressure but when you play in the big teams in Spain or England there's always pressure. It can happen one night but he can cope with the pressure."

Barcelona held most of the possession - just as it did in big wins over Lyon and Bayern Munich - but Chelsea's defense held well, especially after having allowed five goals in the previous round against Liverpool.

"They had a lot of possession but we stayed very tight," Terry said. "We watched videos before the game, they like to play little balls through and we knew that and stopped them doing it."
Marquez injured his left knee in the 50th and soon made way for Puyol.

The physical play between the familiar rivals - who met for the fourth time in five seasons in Europe's top club competition - increased in the second half as the visitors were whistled 20 times to Barcelona's 10. Both teams earned two yellow cards.

"The referee didn't have his best performance today and that's sad," Guardiola said. (yea,what a penalty miss by the ref when Henry was pulled down from behind in the penalty box!) "I just don't think it's fair when one team is trying to play creatively and attack and the other just sits back. It's not just (a professional football game, its a tiger vs deer race?)." (is that what you wanna say? Well said!!)

Monday, April 27, 2009

At just 22, Nadal Won His 5th Consecutive Barcelona Title

Nadal pounds Ferrer for fifth straight Barcelona title - BRAVO!!!
BARCELONA: Rafael Nadal won his 35th career title, and fifth in a row at the Barcelona Open, here yesterday as the world No. 1 pounded fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-2, 7-5 in the final.

The victory comes on the back of Nadal securing five consecutive Monte Carlo titles a week ago as the 22-year-old’s clay dominance shows no signs of slowing ahead of the French Open and a possible fifth there as well.

Nadal’s title triumph was a re-run of the 2008 edition, where he also beat Ferrer and marked the fourth all-Spanish Barcelona final in the past five years.

Nadal becomes the seventh consecutive home champion at the Real club.

“I could have never even imagined that I could win here for the fifth time,” said the champion, who played on a day when rainstorms raked the city in the morning but moved away in time for play to begin.

“Congratulations to David also. Even if it was impossible for him to win today, he had a great tournament. For me, this is much more than a dream.”

The top seed did suffer a minor blemish as he lost his first three service games of the week, the second set being more competitive as the first four games went against the server.

But once he gathered himself, the mighty Nadal finally secured a break for 6-5 and served out victory in one and three quarter hours on his second match point.

At a later news conference, Nadal said he had been impressed with Ferrer’s fightback in the second set.

“When he is playing aggressively like that he is hard to dominate,” he said.

“I was very happy with my game today and I think it was my best performance so far this year on clay.”

Nadal will have no time to celebrate as he heads directly for the Rome Masters which begins on today.

A year ago, the 22-year-old Mallorcan, looking patently exhausted, lost in his opening second round match to compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero.

“I will try to carry my good form on into Rome,” Nadal said.

“If I manage to play at my best there I have a good chance.” — AFP

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Messi Is Undeniably The Hot Favorite To Win FIFA World Player of The Year 2009!

Messi Scored His 34th Goal In All Competitions! He is surely the best bet to win FIFA World Player of the Year 2009!


Henry strikes late as Barcelona draws at Valencia
MADRID (AP): Thierry Henry scored a late equalizer as Spanish league leader Barcelona drew 2-2 at Valencia on Saturday.

Valencia goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez misplayed Lionel Messi's free kick into the area in the 86th minute and the loose ball came to substitute Henry to loop into goal from a volley for his 17th score of the season.

Barcelona opened at Mestalla Stadium through Messi with the winger dishing off to Andres Iniesta who drew goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez out to the left before feeding back to Messi to slot through a crowd for his 21st goal of the season in the 24th. (See video)

But Valencia looked ready to take three points off Barcelona following two quick goals to close the first half.

Victor Valdes let David Silva's corner slip through his hands for Hedwiges Maduro to tap into an empty goal in the 43rd before Pablo Hernandez received Juanma Mata's throughball in the second minute of first-half injury time to burst past two defenders and roll under the onrushing Valdes with his right foot.

Barcelona, which had a seven-game winning streak snapped, moved seven points clear of closest title challenger Real Madrid, but the two-time defending champion can trim that gap to four points with a victory at Sevilla on Sunday.

"We drew, which is better than losing at least," Henry said.
Barcelona leads with 82 points, Madrid has 75, Sevilla 57 and Valencia 56.

Earlier, Daniel Aranzubia saved a late penalty as Deportivo La Coruna drew 1-1 at Malaga in a match holding European qualifying implications.

The Deportivo goalkeeper dove to his right to tip Antonio "Apono" Galdeano's spot kick wide in the 88th minute as both teams stayed in the race to clinch a spot in next season's Europa League, the renamed UEFA Cup.

Malaga occupies the final European place with 51 points, while Deportivo has 50 and Atletico Madrid 49.

Also, Alvaro Negredo set up both of Almeria's goals in a 2-1 victory over last-placed Numancia.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola gave bench starts to Henry, Yaya Toure and Rafael Marquez with Tuesday's Champions League semifinal against Chelsea in mind.

Valencia did well to contain Barcelona's potent offense to the 15th when Messi sent Iniesta's pass over goal from close up. Valencia tested Valdes three minutes later with the Barcelona goalkeeper diving low to his left to stop David Villa's free kick.

Barcelona finally broke through thanks to some patient distribution between playmakers Messi and Iniesta inside the area that allowed Messi to net his 34th goal in all competitions.

Sanchez got his hands up to catch Messi's volley in the 27th and Eto'o sent a low shot just wide two minutes later as Barcelona controlled.

Valencia had two separate penalty appeals waved away in the 30th, but slowly began to chip away before taking the lead through Hernandez, who had been an important part of the club's five-game winning streak.

Guardiola sent Henry on in the 64th and two minutes later the France striker tested Sanchez with a rising shot from the top of the area.

Neither team let up as the play moved swiftly from end-to-end with Mata getting a chance from the right side and Henry seemingly involved in every Barcelona buildup until his equalizer.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nadal To Win 5th Consecutive Title in Barcelona

Nadal to face Ferrer in Barcelona final
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Rafael Nadal will attempt to win his fifth straight Barcelona Open title when he meets David Ferrer on Sunday in a repeat of last year's final.

Nadal beat Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-2 and Ferrer rallied to defeat Fernando Gonzalez 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5) in Saturday's semifinals.

"Whatever happens tomorrow, it's an excellent start to the clay season," said Nadal, who leads 6-3 against Ferrer. "I'm enjoying the best moment of my career this past year and I have to appreciate that and feel happy about it."

Nadal has not dropped his serve throughout the tournament and saved all six of Davydenko's break points in windy conditions.

Davydenko hit too many unforced errors, often sending his backhand wide, as Nadal earned his 24th straight win on clay.

Nadal saved three break points in the first set and broke the ninth-ranked Russian twice.

In the second set, Nadal broke to lead 3-1 and then saved three more break points in the next game. The ninth-ranked Russian wasted the first chance by hitting crosscourt backhand wide, then watched Nadal slice a perfect crosscourt shot onto the line to save the second before Davydenko hit wide again.

Nadal ended the match with a passing shot down the line to even his head-to-head record to 3-3 against Davydenko, with the Spaniard winning all three matches on clay.

Nadal had a rest day Friday after his quarterfinal opponent David Nalbandian withdrew before the match with a right hip injury.

Full Art.:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Barca In Driver's Seat for Spanish League Title

Is this the sign for many great things to come? 2009 could be the greatest year for Barcelona.

Barcelona break club scoring record with four goals against Sevilla

Barcelona re-opened a six-point gap at the top of La Liga last night after sweeping aside Sevilla 4-0 at Camp Nou.

The Catalans were at their free-flowing best as goals from Andres Iniesta and Samuel Eto'o before the break and Xavi and Thierry Henry in the second half sealed a thumping win.

With Lionel Messi and Carles Puyol watching from the bench, Pep Guardiola's side took control of the game after two minutes when Iniesta lobbed Javi Varas with a superb dipping effort from outside the box.

Eto'o made it two after 16 minutes and Barça moved out of sight after the break as Xavi curled a brilliant right-footed shot into the top corner in the 49th minute.

Henry slid home a fourth five minutes later as Barcelona made it a club record 92 league goals for the season, surpassing Johan Cruyff's legendary "dream team" with six rounds of the championship still remaining.

Earlier Real Madrid had closed the gap when they snatched a dramatic 3-2 win over Getafe. A David Villa double gave Valencia a 2-1 win at Real Betis.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nadal Is Unbeatable On Clay

How to beat Rafael Nadal on clay? Or is he unbeatable? Get your answers here!

Secret to beating Nadal on clay yet to be foundMatt Cronin examines the strategies."
by Matt Cronin, Special to

Novak Djokovic was fired up after winning the second set from Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo final. The contest was knotted at a set apiece, and the Serbian's groundstrokes had depth and meaning. For a few moments, it was Djokovic who was doing the pushing and pulling.
But on the Spaniard's beloved red clay, it's Nadal who usually wins super heavyweight tug of wars, because he knows his opponents have to be able to hang with him until the last ball is struck. And over the past five years, no one has shown that they have the legs, the stamina or the heart to grapple with him on clay. That's why the multi-talented Djokovic went down 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, just like dozens of others have before him.

"He's got the psychological edge where everyone knows that he's Rafael Nadal, and he's already up a set and break before he walks on the court," said sports psychologist Allen Fox, author of "The Winner's Mind" and a former touring pro. "You know he's never going to quit, and it's a nasty prospect."

After winning his fifth consecutive Monte Carlo crown, the left-handed Nadal ran his clay court record in finals to 23-1, which makes the 22-year-old — to state the extremely obvious — a gigantic favorite to win every clay-court tournament he enters, including Barcelona this week, Masters Series titles in Rome and Madrid during the first two weeks of May and, of course, his fifth consecutive French Open.

One of the reasons he's an overwhelming favorite is that Nadal continues to win on clay — and most other surfaces — even when he's not at the very top of his game. He plays a nearly error-free type of game, where his defense is almost always airtight and his offense borders on spectacular.

His uncle and coach, Toni, said that after his nephew put down his two nearest competitors of the season — Andy Murray and Djokovic — at Monte Carlo, Rafa was missing a bit of confidence and his serve was way off.

Still, Nadal bullied his foes when necessary, because they can't figure out a way to get the ball past him when he's comfortably sliding and sticking his groundstrokes.

"Nadal has a throwback head to the old guys. Jimmy Connors was probably the last of the bunch, where he went after every point," said Fox, who also coaches world No. 38 Igor Kunitsyn.
"Nadal makes every single point painful, regardless of the score. That pays off. On clay, the balance of power shifts toward the ability to grind the guy down mentally because you can't blow Nadal out. Now you are getting into a brawl, and he's the best brawler around."
There don't seem to be too many competitors around who relish the prospect of facing Nadal on clay — even his countrymen, who grew up on the surface like Nadal.

Nadal's Davis Cup teammate, Feliciano Lopez, told Diaro Sport that his friend simply doesn't check out.

"He's very ambitious and has demonstrated that he wants it more every day," Lopez said. "In spite of everything that he's already achieved, he still has the same attitude and desire."

Two-time French Open finalist Alex Corretja, who is now helping coach Murray, believes that no player is better at staying in the moment than Nadal, who doesn't even understand the meaning of resting on one's laurels.

"Everything that he's obtained no longer satisfies him, and because it doesn't, what he seeks is to repeat and to win again," Corretja said. "That makes him the greatest one."

Another one of Nadal's Davis Cup teammates, Tommy Robredo, thinks Nadal is human and will have a bad day eventually — but also added that to beat him, a player has to play perfectly.

"Physically, there is no way to get at him," Fox said. "The way he's beatable, if at all, is to attack into the forehand, because that can come up short, and then maybe take advantage of the other side and come in. Getting him wide of the forehand is the best play — but from there, it depends on what you've got to be able to finish the point. If it's down to where you beat a guy physically, a guy can have an off day where he's just missing, but on clay, it invariably comes down to the mental aspect. Everyone can keep the ball in court, but Nadal isn't going to have a bad day mentally."

There are two schools of thought as to how to tackle the Spaniard on clay. One is play far back in the court in the style of a backboard and force him to go on offense. Another is to attempt to rip winners and climb all over the net. Neither has worked since Nadal won his first Roland Garros crown in 2005. He has answers for anything and everything.

"Physically, you can't depend on hitting big shots every day, but mentally, you can have a good day every day as he does," Fox said. "Players aren't going to be mentally stronger than he is. If you can't blow him out, it's going to come down to a mental brawl, and he's not going to have an off day that way. If you try to play steady with him, then you are sure to get into the brawling, and no one can concentrate as long as he can."

Fox believes that attacking the Spaniard is the only solution. No. 2 Roger Federer has tried that for portions of his matches against Nadal at the French Open during the past four years. But he has failed to pull off a victory because Nadal passes like a demon. Djokovic found out the same at Monte Carlo, as he converted less than 50 percent of his net rushes.
Fox said that in his long career counseling athletes, he's discovered they run into problems that are insolvable at times. So he tells them to pick the best of the worst solutions. Maybe, just maybe, a modern player will zone in, like Adriano Panatta did against six-time French Open champion Bjorn Borg at Roland Garros, attacking at all costs and taking the cool Swede out of his rhythm.

"I can't see there's a strategy where you have the edge over Nadal on clay," Fox said. "They are all losing strategies, but you have to choose the best shot that you have, which is to attack rather than just stay back and trade body punches, which is even worse.

"Federer can get him, but his problem is that when Nadal hits his first shot into Federer's backhand, Federer has nowhere to hit the ball where it's any good. If you try and just play into Nadal's backhand, he eventually runs around and hits the forehand where he likes it, which is inside out, and then you're in trouble. And if you get it to his backhand, nothing good happens anyway, so the only chance is to get it to his forehand and try to open up the court."

Nadal recently said that in two-out-of-three-set matches, the top players are more vulnerable because a player can get scorching hot with his serve or favorite groundstroke and pull off an upset before the better man can dig in. But at the Grand Slams, that's almost impossible, as in three-out-of-five sets, the hot player tends to cool off a bit and the more established player usually finds his way into a match.

That's why Nadal and Federer have combined to win 19 out of the last 21 Grand Slams, with only Djokovic and Marat Safin battling their ways to major titles during this period of Spanish and Swiss domination.

"Everyone only has so much mental strength, but in three-out-of-five, you know you have to concentrate for up to five hours rather than two or three," Fox said. "It's so much tougher, and it's going to come down to who has the staying power upstairs."

Fox and every player on tour concede that it's Nadal who has the most willpower these days. When he arrives in Paris in late May with the intention of pocketing his fifth crown, Nadal will surely be thinking that he has all the solutions and it's up to the rest of the field to find a magic formula that might confuse him.

"You have to attack him somehow," Fox said. "The way I've seen it done best is like Murray does from time to time. If you have a really good backhand, you can hurt him badly on the forehand side. It's tougher on clay, but the alternative is to fight the shark in the water. Maybe he can be upset by playing steady, but I've never seen it done and I can't see how it would be done."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nadal wins fifth straight Monte Carlo title

Nadal wins 5th straight Monte Carlo Masters title
Associated Press

MONACO (AP) - Rafael Nadal became the first player to win five straight Monte Carlo Masters titles by beating Novak Djokovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 on Sunday.

The top-ranked Spaniard, however, lost a set at the clay court tournament for the first time since the 2006 final against Roger Federer.

"Fifth title here in Monte Carlo. I never expect something like this," said Nadal, who won his third title this season after the Australian Open and the Masters title on hard courts in Indian Wells, Calif. "Always really important for me (to) start the clay season like this."

Nadal trailed 3-1 in the first set before reeling off five straight games. Struggling on serve in the third, he saved three break points and needed 14 minutes to hold his opening service game.

"A little bit lucky because he has two break points and important drop shot. I came back. That point was really important," Nadal said. "After that I think I played really well. In the important moments, I was focused all the time."

It was the third-seeded Djokovic who crumbled as Nadal clinched victory on his first match point when the Serbian sent a backhand into the net.

"I played a very good match, actually one of the best I have played against him on this surface," Djokovic said. "It's really unfortunate that in certain moments I didn't play the way I was supposed to play, with a little bit more patience."

Nadal extended his winning streak at Monte Carlo to 27 matches and won his 21st straight victory on clay since losing to Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain in the second round of the Rome Masters in May 2008.

Nobody has matched Nadal's performance at the Monte Carlo tournament since tennis turned professional in 1968.

Reggie Doherty won the event six times overall between 1897-99 and 1902-04, while five-time winner Anthony Wilding of New Zealand won four times in a row from 1911-14 and got his other title in 1908.

Djokovic had the momentum after he dominated the second set, winning all nine points at the net and putting pressure on Nadal's wavering serve.

"It certainly gives me a lot of confidence playing against him," Djokovic said. "Hopefully I can have another chance this season."

Djokovic missed his chance at the beginning of the third set, wasting three break points in the first game. After a long rally at 30-40, Djokovic seemed certain to break Nadal with a drop shot, but Nadal somehow got it back for a winner and Djokovic sank to his knees.

"He got (an) incredible drop shot and he made a winner. The angle was just incredible," Djokovic said. "I think that's what kind of lifted him up."

With Djokovic finding his range with huge shots, he forced another chance that Nadal saved with a strong first serve. Another big forehand winner offered up a third break point, which Djokovic missed when his return landed just out.

"It was just unfortunate to miss some opportunities in the start of the third set, because if I was break up, then things would probably look different," Djokovic said.

Nadal broke Djokovic immediately for a 2-0 lead, but he was struggling to hold and dropped serve on his third break point in the third game to let Djokovic back in the match.

But Nadal improved and won the next five games - just like he did at 3-1 down in the first set - as Djokovic went for extravagant winners that landed out.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Claycourt King Is Back To His Throne

The claycourt king is back to his throne! Playing in his first major claycourt championship of the year, Nadal is set to extend his dominance in clay. Monte Carlo title is the first for many to come. Stay tuned!


Nadal on course for fifth consecutive Monte Carlo title
MONTE CARLO: World number one Rafael Nadal out-muscled Andy Murray yesterday with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) win which moved him to within one victory of a fifth consecutive Monte Carlo Masters title.

The Spanish claycourt king will take on Serbian world number three Novak Djokovic, who recovered to beat Swiss 13th seed Stanislas Wawrinka, the conqueror of Roger Federer, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, to reach his first final in the principality.

Nadal leads Djokovic 11-4 in career meetings, including a Davis Cup victory last month and a 6-0 mark on clay.

The world number one has now won 26 matches at the Country Club since his only loss to Guillermo Coria in the third round in 2003.

He has now won 30 consecutive sets at the venue since dropping the second set in the 2006 final to Roger Federer and stands on 20 straight wins on clay dating back to May last year when he fell to Juan Carlos Ferrero in the second round in Rome.

Scotland’s Murray dropped to 2-7 against Nadal, whom he he beat in February’s Rotterdam final before losing the title match a month later at Indian Wells.

Murray saved a match point in the eighth game of the second set as he hinted it will not be all one-way traffic in future meetings with the Spaniard.

Nadal dug in to win after more than two hours in a tiebreaker on his third opportunity.
“Novak is a tough opponent and he’s been playing well,” said Nadal.

“I’ll have to be on my best game in order to beat him.

“It’s exciting to make another final, this is really my event and I’m really proud of my performance today.”

Murray still leads the ATP on 29 wins against just three defeats this season with three titles, the most on the circuit and one more than Nadal to date.

Wawrinka lost an early break in the final set, with Djokovic breaking back for 1-2 and securing a 3-2 lead which took him home after the 13th seed saved two match points.

Djokovic now leads their series 6-2 with his only two defeats against Wawrinka coming in 2006. The Serb beat the Swiss in the final of Rome 11 months ago.

“This is my first final at Monte Carlo,” said the winner, now 26-8 on the season.

“I knew I was the favourite coming in which is why I was a bit nervous at the start.

“He played well and was controlling the match. But I was able to play my style in the end and that helped.”

Djokovic’s win helps him fight off a charge from Murray in the rankings chase. with the Scot closing in on the 2008 Australian Open champion, who trails Nadal and Federer in the season standings. — AFP


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Barcelona To Meet Chelsea In Semifinal

My prediction: The winner of this match will go on to lift the Champions League 2009 trophy!


Barcelona into semis after 1-1 draw at Bayern

MUNICH (AP) - Barcelona did enough to book its spot in the Champions League semifinals with a 1-1 draw at Bayern Munich in Tuesday's quarterfinal return leg. Franck Ribery put Bayern ahead in the 47th minute, while Seydou Keita equalized in the 73rd as Barcelona eased to a 5-1 victory on aggregate and a semifinal place against Chelsea. The Spanish club will play the first leg at home on April 28 and face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on May 6.

Barcelona, winner of the 1992 European Cup and the Champions League in 2006, enjoyed a safe passage to the last four after a convincing 4-0 first leg win at home last week.

"We are very happy to be back in the semifinals. We still have a lot of time before we have to think about Chelsea but they are a great team. It would not have been an easier game if we had faced Liverpool," said Barcelona's assistant coach Tito Vilanova.

Vilanova was in charge for the game as head coach Pep Guardiola had been banned following an outburst from the first leg.

"We played really well in defense and did a good job keeping Ribery and (Luca) Toni in check. We have not reached our goals yet.

We have to continue working," Vilanova said.

In front of a sold-out crowd of 66,000 at Munich's Allianz Arena, Bayern was by far the more aggressive side early on, knowing it needed a quick goal after the embarrassment in Barcelona.

The Germans went close in the sixth minute, with Jose Ernesto Sosa winning a ball in the Barcelona defense and sending a dangerous cross toward Luca Toni. However, the Italian failed to get his head to the ball.

Toni had the ball in Barcelona's net just a minute later but the goal was disallowed for offside. Bayern continued to push forward and Ribery shot just over the top in the 14th minute.

"We reacted well to the defeat in Barcelona," Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann said. "If we had scored early and if we had led 2-0, who knows what would have happened. Maybe they would have lost some confidence. We went out against the best team in the world at the moment."

Though Bayern controlled the game for the first 25 minutes, Barcelona began to turn the tables as it looked for a way through the Bayern defense.

Bayern had one more chance just before halftime, when Toni's left-foot shot from 13 yards (meters) went just wide left.

Bayern finally grabbed the lead two minutes after the break when Ze Roberto put Ribery through in the area. The Frenchman did a neat dummy and beat Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes with a rising shot.

Bayern's defense was effective in shutting down Barca star Lionel Messi, who scored twice in the first leg, and was further helped by striker Thierry Henry missing the return match with a cold.

But Barcelona responded quickly to conceding the goal and Bayern defender Lucio twice blocked threats in the box. The Spaniards equalized with 17 minutes left, silencing the Munich crowd.

Some fine passing in the area ended with Xavi Hernandez laying the ball on for Keita, who blasted past Bayern 'keeper Hans-Joerg Butt from 16 yards (meters).-AP


Sunday, April 12, 2009

KFC, What Are You Waiting For?

Chicken prices have dropped, again! KFC, what are you waiting for?? Waiting for the chickens to come home and tell you that they are getting more friends isit(hence cheaper)? During such a bad time, dont you think you should do something? Its time to cut price!! Everyone will be happy to eat more KFC at lower prices. Sales probably will double or even triple due to increase in consumptions when prices are low.

Mc Donald has done their bit by reducing the prices of some main products such as McValue Meal McChicken and Chicken McNuggets. They are not coming out with new products with smaller portion! Right? And their sales has increased by over 50% since the launch of its McValue Meal!! Isnt that better than selling at higher prices with lower volume? Although prices has been reduced, I believe the increase in sales volume has more than offset the lower prices. Maybe Mc Donald should change their tagline to "Now everyone can eat Mc Donald every day or every week!"

And KFC can reposition itself with a new tagline "Its Less Fingers Ficking Good!"KFC, dont you want to up your sales? Perhaps you should reduce the prices of some main chicken set/value meal, like Snack Plate and Dinner Plate.

The Star news:
1)Chicken prices drop again, from Tuesday

2)Chicken costs less as farm prices drop by 30 sen

Friday, April 10, 2009

Will History Repeats Itself for Tiger Woods?

But one round doesn't make a Masters champion.

"No one's won anything yet," said Adam Scott, who shot a 71. "We could be here on Sunday and see the same scores at the top of the leader board depending on the weather and how they set up the course."

Woods didn't disagree.

"It's a long week," he said.

"Weather's going to start changing a little bit here. You've got to just keep patient. Stay with it.

"It's not like I haven't been in this position before."

Funny he should say that. He's shot 70 in the first round here three previous times — 1997, 2001 and 2002.

He won each time.


Tiger's 70 included missed opportunities
by Robert Lusetich

AUGUSTA, Ga. - The cacophonous roars returned to Augusta National — indeed, the patrons were hoarse by day's end, such was the birdie-fest they'd cheered — but for Tiger Woods there were mostly groans and sighs after he missed the chance to post his best-ever first round at a Masters.

After blocking a 6-footer for birdie on 17, then taking bogey upon sailing the green on the last, Woods finished at two under, his 70 good enough for a tie for 20th but five shots adrift of first-round leader Chad Campbell.

"Overall, I'm pleased with the way I hit the golf ball, I just didn't make many putts," said Woods, who tied his previous best first-round score here. "And I let a couple of shots slip away at the end there."

The greencoats who guard the integrity of the National clearly listened to the chorus of complaints from fans and players — led by Woods — alike that the Masters had lost its mojo.

They set up the course so it would rain birdies and — helped by a perfect, windless sunny day — the field responded by setting a Masters record for most rounds in the 60s (19) on an opening day.

More records could've fallen. Campbell, a flat-swinging Texan who's not afraid to go low, had it to nine under par through 16 holes before stumbling with two bogeys.

The tournament record is 63, held by Nick Price and Greg Norman, and with soft, receptive greens, generous pin positions and the field playing what amounted to the forward tees, even the 54-year-old Shark felt he'd left shots out there when he came in with a 70.

"I had a lot of opportunities, really could have shot a nice, mid-60s score today," Norman said.
This was such a change from the dour grinding of the past two Masters that even 50-year-old Larry Mize got in on the act, shooting a five-under-par 67. And this from a guy who's managed just one top-10 finish on the old-timers' circuit this season.

"I guess it turned the clock back a little bit," said the 1987 champion.

"(But) there were definitely some more chances for birdies than there have been in the recent years. And I think that's a good thing and I think they (the tournament committee) do, too, and that's why they did it."

Irishman Padraig Harrington, who's in search of his third major in a row, said the course was so hospitable that he felt anxious that he wasn't keeping up with the Campbells and the Jim Furyks and Hunter Mahans, who both shot 66.

"It was a day for scoring," said Harrington, "Definitely one of the more generous days ever around Augusta."

"There was a little bit of urgency out there when I was level par, one under par."

If he felt a sense of urgency at one under par, after eight holes, Woods must have felt like he was pedaling up a hill while everyone else was speeding past in Lamborghinis. With the leader board awash in red, he had all pars and a bogey on the par-3 sixth. Unlike his modus operandi at Bay Hill, where he was indifferent off the tee but found a way to score, he was hitting it well enough — he finished with 14 greens and 10 fairways — but the putter wasn't his friend.

After mis-reading a birdie chance on the par-5 eighth, Woods clearly decided that if the putts wouldn't fall, he'd just have to hit it closer, which he did on the ninth, setting up a 3-footer for birdie.

"I didn't make any birdies till 9, so it was nice to turn with some kind of momentum going into the back nine," he said.

He threatened the leader board after three straight birdies beginning on the par-5 13th. "After seeing the scoreboard, I knew everyone was making birdies everywhere on that back nine, so I knew it could be had with good shots," he said.

"Basically, I was in position to shoot four under par, and I just didn't get it done."

Another who didn't get it done was Phil Mickelson. The two-time Masters champion wasted a perfect opportunity to challenge Woods for the world No. 1 ranking on what he admitted was a course playing "as easy as I've seen."

"I drove it terrible. I played terrible. Putted terrible," said Mickelson, who shot a 73.
But one round doesn't make a Masters champion.

"No one's won anything yet," said Adam Scott, who shot a 71. "We could be here on Sunday and see the same scores at the top of the leader board depending on the weather and how they set up the course."

Woods didn't disagree.

"It's a long week," he said.

"Weather's going to start changing a little bit here. You've got to just keep patient. Stay with it.
"It's not like I haven't been in this position before."

Funny he should say that. He's shot 70 in the first round here three previous times — 1997, 2001 and 2002.

He won each time.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Messi Stars In Barcelona Thumping Win

My prediction yesterday: Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0.

2 goals by Messi
1 goal by Eto'o or Xavi


Messi leads Barcelona to 4-0 rout over Bayern

BARCELONA, Spain (AP): Lionel Messi scored two goals and set up another as Barcelona routed Bayern Munich 4-0 on Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.
Bayern had no response to Barcelona's unrelenting offensive rushes and particularly to Messi, who took his season tally to 32 goals in all competitions.

Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry also scored for the Spanish leaders, with all goals coming in the first half. Messi also had a penalty appeal waived away in the 19th minute, and Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was sent off for protesting.

Barcelona's victory at the Camp Nou sets up a potential matchup with Chelsea in the semifinals, after the Blues beat Liverpool 3-1 on Wednesday.

Bayern, coming off a 5-1 league loss on Saturday, looked lost as Barcelona's high-powered offense swarmed the German area from the opening moments.

Messi opened the scoring in the ninth minute, after Samuel Eto'o drew two defenders before slipping the ball into the area for the Argentina winger, who coolly rolled it past goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt and inside the far post.

Messi turned provider to Eto'o in a near identical buildup in the 13th. After anticipating Eto'o's run perfectly, Messi slid a quick pass into the area for the Cameroon striker to shoot through Butt's legs.

Referee Howard Webb drew Guardiola's ire after waiving away a penalty appeal when Christian Lell barged into Messi as he moved around the Bayern defender in the area. Messi was also booked for questioning the decision.

Moments later, Henry caught Butt under the right eye with his boots after sliding into the goalkeeper, and the break for medical treatment offered Bayern a breather from the Barcelona onslaught.

But two more goals shortly followed.

Lell was filling in for injured left back Phillip Lahm and had the task of marking Messi, but couldn't prevent him from sliding in to redirect Henry's pass into the net from close range in the 38th for his eighth goal in the competition.

Messi then came charging across the area in the 43rd before laying the ball off to Eto'o, who was swarmed by white shirts. But the ball popped out to Henry, who rolled it past a helpless Butt for the fourth.

Messi, Eto'o and Henry have combined for 89 of Barcelona's 126 goals scored this season.
Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann opted for the 34-year-old Butt over regular keeper Michael Rensing, despite having only played once all season. But the veteran could hardly be faulted as Barcelona's attack repeatedly broke down Bayern's defense, which was also without regulars Daniel van Buyten and Lucio.

Bayern striker Luca Toni was neutralized throughout, with his best touch coming in the 45th when the Italy striker played Franck Ribery clear along the left, but the France winger sliced wide.

Butt finally got a chance to show off his skill in the 59th when he dove to tip away Messi's drive from the right. Andres Iniesta nearly curled a short drive into the top of goal a bit later.
Ribery played Ze Roberto clear into Barcelona's penalty box in the 71st but Carles Puyol hustled back to deflect the Brazilian's shot as Barcelona kept a clean sheet at home for the first time this season in the competition.

The Camp Nou hasn't been kind to Bayern, with the Germans allowing two injury-time goals to lose the 1999 Champions League final to Manchester United here.

Wednesday's result matched the club's third-worst away defeat in UEFA competitions.

The return leg will be played at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nadal To Win Grand Slam 2009?

Rafael Nadal, currently the world's No.1 tennis player, is another world's best athlete. Like Tiger Woods, Nadal is the reason to watch tennis. The muscular Spaniard is considered as the best player physically, and in my opinion, he is also the strongest mentally at his age. You can see from his previous games with former world No.1 Roger Federer where Nadal always outclassed Federer in 5 set games lasting more than 4 hour!

In the Australian Open, the first major tournament of the year, Nadal needed 4 hours and 23 minutes to beat Federer in the final 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2. This is the first time that Nadal won a major championship on hard court. At only 22, the world No.1 now owns six major titles. Nadal shows few signs of fatigue after his marathon win over Fernando Verdasco in the semifinal. The Spaniards encounter in the semifinal lasted 5 hours and 4 minutes, the longest match in the tournament's history. With the Australian Open title in hand, Nadal's chance to capture the Gram Slam singles record looks promising.

Nadal is undeniably the world's best player on clay. Last year, he won the fourth consecutive French Open titles, beating Federer in the final 6-1, 6-3, 6-0! Nadal became only the second man to win four consecutive French Open titles. And Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win the tournament without dropping a set. Other statistics that underscore Nadal's dominance on clay: He's 22-1 in clay-court finals, and 41-0 in best-of-five matches on clay. My bet is on Nadal to win his fifth consecutive French Open titles in 2009 and eclipse the record of Borg.

Nadal won the Wimbledon Open in 2008, beating Federer in a dramatic rain-interrupted match 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7. With the result, Nadal prevented Federer from winning his sixth consecutive Wimbledon titles. Nadal became the first man since Borg in 1980 to win the French Open and Wimbledon titles back-to-back. Nadal needs to improve in this surface this year or else it would be tough to defend his Wimbledon title.

The only major title missing from Nadal's collections is the US Open. Neverthless, Nadal has made good progress in the US Open by reaching the semifinal for the first time last year. The Spaniard almost made it into the final only to lost to Andy Murray 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4 in a match that lasted two days after being halted by rain in the third set. All being told, the US Open would be the most challenging tournament for Nadal to complete his Grand Slam in 2009.

Can Nadal wins the Grand Slam in 2009? It would be a difficult feat, but if Nadal can maintain his great run in 2009, I place my bet on him. To recap, Nadal won the Australian Open and Indian Wells this year, the two biggest titles this season.

Grand Slam of Tennis

  1. Australian Open
  2. French Open
  3. Wimbledon Open
  4. US Open

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich 3-0

My prediction: Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0.

2 goals by Messi
1 goal by Eto'o or Xavi

Barça primed for thrilling night
Champions League clash with Bayern tonight is perfect formula for grit and goals
By Pete Jenson in Valencia
Wednesday, 8 April 2009

It promises to be the perfect antidote to another instalment of Liverpool versus Chelsea. Bayern Munich are fresh from hitting Sporting Lisbon for 12 in the last round, Barcelona have scored an astonishing 30 league goals more than every other team in Europe – so while Liverpool and Chelsea promise strategic sparring, Barça versus Bayern should be a bare-knuckle slugging match.

Playing their first competitive match in the Nou Camp since they were beaten by Manchester United in the 1999 final, Bayern face a Barça side that has not failed to score in a competitive match since the opening day of the season.

"We are not the favourites," said the Barcelona defender Carles Puyol last night, fooling nobody. Barça have scored 85 La Liga goals so far this season – that's 31 more than the Germans ... as well as 33 more than Manchester United and 30 more than both Internazionale and Liverpool.

Bayern, struggling in the Bundesliga, have saved their best for Europe where Franck Ribéry has been sensational. His head-to-head with the Barça right-back Dani Alves will be one of many titanic duels.

Luca Toni's strength in the air will severely test Barcelona central-defender Rafa Márquez, who is far happier striding out of defence with the ball at his feet than going shoulder to shoulder with a battering ram of a centre-forward.

Barça's midfield maestro, Xavi Hernandez, will have to shake Mark Van Bommel from his ankles before he can start to weave those pretty patterns he lights-up La Liga with every weekend and the Bayern defenders Martin Demischelis, Breno and Ze Roberto will need to find a way of reigning in Barca's sprint-relay trio of Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o.

Even the two goalkeepers suggest goals – Victor Valdes for Barcelona has looked shaky every time someone has got close enough to shoot against him this season and Michael Rensing looks anything but a serious replacement for Oliver Kahn.

Van Bommel is going back to his former club and the Barcelona fans will not have forgotten the "up-yours" gesture he delivered to Real Madrid supporters after scoring against them two years ago in the competition, while Ribéry is expected to leave Bayern in the summer and he will play himself even further into the affections of potential suitors Real if he can bury Barcelona.

"It is not an impossible task," said the Bayern coach Jürgen Klinsman. "My challenge when I arrived at this club was to put Bayern back on the map in Europe and to a degree we have achieved that by making the top eight. We are back where we belong."

The Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, is wary of Bayern's European pedigree. "As always we will try to put on a great show. But when you reach this stage you know that the slightest errors will be punished. You have a bad few minutes and you're out. And we know we are up against a team who don't need to be at their absolute best to score goals."

Barcelona (probable, 4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Marquez, Pique, Puyol; Xavi, Keita, Iniesta; Messi, Eto'o, Henry.

Bayern Munich (probable, 4-4-2): Rensing; Oddo, Demichelis, Breno, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Ze Roberto, van Bommel, Ribery; Toni, Podolski.

Miss next match if booked: Marquez (Barcelona), Van Bommel (Bayern Munich).
Referee: H Webb (England).

Number of times Barcelona have scored five or more goals this season in all competitions.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Messi Is Better Than Maradona

Well, if an average person like you say Messi is better than Maradona, I wonder who will listen! But to hear that from Maradona himself, the world will open up their ears (and perhaps their mouth - like "Woww!!")!

For me, I think Messi is Messi, the new legend. You can compare but both have their own way to play beautiful football. Maradona is already a legend, and Messi is going to become the new legend! Plus football is more challenging these days. Did anyone say anything about Christiano Ronaldo? I wonder why!

Maradona: Messi Better Than Me
Maradona shared a few words with Inter Channel and he is full of praise for Inter as well as Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

Messi finished second in the FIFA World Player of the Year award, but Maradona believes the Blaugrana striker can become better than him.

"Messi the new Maradona? I hope so, in fact I want him to become even better than me. Everyone will benefit if he does," added the former Napoli star. "I really hope Messi is not just the new Maradona, but that he is even better than me."

Maradona: Messi is like me
Argentina coach Diego Maradona expects Lionel Messi to emulate his World Cup winning display of 1986 in the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

Messi has been widely regarded as one of the best players in the world in recent years and Maradona, who was installed as national team coach last month, believes the Barcelona star will become even better and could lead Argentina to glory in South Africa.

"Messi still has a long way to go - I think he has another 10 years in front of him to improve," said Maradona at a press conference in Kolkata.

"He'll be doing fine in 2010, he'll be somewhat like me."


Maradona: Messi Better Than Me; I Would Have Played For Inter

Maradona: Messi is like me

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Messi The Extraordinaire

Maradona sings praise on Messi again. This time following his great debut performance in No. 10 shirt with a win over Venezuela. In short, the reason to watch a football game is because Messi is on the field!

Maradona: 'It's a pleasure to see Messi like this'

Buenos Aires - Argentina coach Diego Maradona on Saturday praised Lionel Messi for his performance in the 4-0 win over Venezuela in Buenos Aires. "Seeing Messi like this everyday is a pleasure. We should all leave the stadium, pay for another ticket and go in again," Maradona said.

Messi - who for the first time wore the number 10 Argentina jersey that was once worn by Maradona himself - was the man of the match in the resounding win. The Barcelona striker scored a goal and was decisively involved in two others.

With reference to the whole team's performance in his first official match as Argentina coach, Maradona was thrilled.

"It was better than I expected, reality beat fiction," he said.

"Everyone wants to be in this national team, and I am proud of that. When we were 4-0 and Jonas (Gutierrez) blocked a ball and got it back, that's the kind of message I want to give," he stressed.

He described the midfield made up of Maxi Rodriguez, Javier Mascherano, Fernando Gago and Gutierrez as ideal, and he also praised the forward line with Messi, Maradona's son-in-law Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Alex Ferguson Knew Something... Ahemm

Alex Ferguson is certainly one of the best football manager in the world. But not everything he said about football were correct. But this time I think he got it right!!

Ferguson says Barca could foil MU’s bid to retain title

MANCHESTER: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has highlighted Barcelona as the biggest threat to his side’s chances of retaining their Champions League title.

Both sides have managed to avoid one another in the quarter-finals, with United up against Porto and Barcelona facing Bayern Munich, and cannot now meet until the May 27 final in Rome.

Also through to the last eight are United’s English rivals Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

But although Liverpool thrashed United 4-1 in the Premier League this month and saw off Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, Ferguson said Barcelona were the team to beat.

“Barcelona are the form team, they have been terrific this season and everyone is taking notice of them,” Ferguson told Inside United magazine.

“Their first-half performance against Lyon in the second leg of the first knock-out round (which they won 5-2 at the Nou Camp) was absolutely brilliant — they were four-up in no time.

“They can be a threat to anybody and are quite rightly one of the favourites,” the veteran Scottish boss added.

“The English teams have proven the strength of the Premier League in recent years. Last season we had three in the semi-finals and two in the final, the previous year there were three in the semis and Liverpool made it to the final.

“But we have to recognise that our threats don’t just come from England, the big one will come from Barcelona.”

Barcelona won the Champions League in 2006 when then coach Frank Rijkaard put together a team renowned for their attacking football.

However, Ferguson said current Barca boss Pep Guardiola had bolstered the Catalan club’s defence.

“I’m not sure they have improved a lot from when we played them last season but they have had a better defensive record since Guardiola took over as coach last year,” Ferguson said.

“Gerard Pique, for instance, left us to go back there and has done really well for them. We always knew of his abilities — good talent, mobility and a winning mentality — so I think he’s improved them.

“They got off to a great start to the season and it wasn’t until January that they hit a blip and that happens to everyone. They’re over that now, so they’ll be the threat.”

The first legs of the Champions League quarter-finald are due to be played on April 7 and 8. — AFP


Tiger Oh Tiger!!

Tiger Woods' superb victory brings not just excitement and joys back to the golf tournaments but also more wealth to the broadcasters!

Tiger Woods' Comeback Victory Scores Big Ratings
By David Tanklefsky -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/30/2009 11:26:09 AM MT

Arnold Palmer Invitational was highest rated golf tournament since last June's U.S. Open

Tiger Woods' comeback victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational Sunday on NBC delivered the highest rating of any golf tournament since last June’s U.S. Open, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The final round earned a 4.9/10 rating, a 23% increase from last year. The rating eclipses two major tournaments last year—The British Open and PGA Championship—which Woods did not play in because of knee surgery.

Woods won the Invitational by overcoming a five-shot deficit and birdying the final hole. It was his sixth time winning the tournament.