The Miracle of Istanbul, United’s Late Show and Gunners hit Reading for 7

Matthew Glazier of www.bettingpro.com looks at some of the best football comebacks of the past few years

Two English teams have produced a stirring comeback to win the Champions League in recent memory; while there have also been some fantastic performances in the Premier League which have seen losing teams rally to get a draw or better.

1) The Miracle of Istanbul

Liverpool were staring down the barrel in the 2005 Champions League final as Milan ran rings around Rafael Benitez’s team and stormed into a 3-0 lead, with Paolo Maldini scoring in the first minute before a late first-half brace from Hernan Crespo looked as though the cup had been won for the Rossoneri.

However, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had other ideas and his 54th minute goal set the Reds on the path to recovery. Amazingly, they were level on the hour mark thanks to goals from Smicer and Alonso, with Jerzy Dudek producing an amazing save to deny Andriy Shevchenko and the final went to penalties. Converted spot kicks from Hamann, Cisse and Smicer were enough to claim victory.

2) Sheringham and Solskjaer party like its 1999

Liverpool’s success came six years after another famous Champions League win for an English club, with Manchester United spending 84 minutes trailing to a Mario Basler effort until the most dramatic of finishes which saw the Red Devils score two injury-time goals.

In fairness, it was a poor performance from Sir Alex Ferguson’s team at the Camp Nou and Bayern could have been out of sight before Teddy Sheringham looked as though he had sent the game into extra-time, although Solskjaer’s goal in the third minute of injury-time meant that UEFA quickly changed the ribbons on the trophy before it was held aloft by Peter Schmeichel.

3) Arsenal come from 4-0 down to win 7-5 at Reading

During the 2012/13 season, the Gunners and the Royals exchanged 24 goals in three matches although it was the League Cup clash at the Madejski Stadium which was the most dramatic by far, with Arsene Wenger’s team going 4-0 down after 37 minutes as Reading ran riot.

Just as Wenger was about to read the riot act at half-time, Theo Walcott’s 45th minute strike threw the visitors a lifeline and Olivier Giroud’s goal just after an hour created lots of tension among the home side. However, Laurent Koscielny’s 89th goal looked like being a mere consolation before Walcott poached a fourth a minute later to take the game to extra-time.

The momentum was with Arsenal and Chamakh put the visitors ahead for the first time although Pogrebnyak looked to be taking the tie to penalties when scoring for 5-5 before Walcott and Chamakh scored at the death.

Matthew Glazier is the Managing Editor of an award-winning sports, news and betting website.

What Allegri should change for second leg

By Joe Short

AC Milan shocked the footballing and betting world on Wednesday night with a convincing and controlled 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.

Kevin-Prince Boateng opened the scoring before a magnificent strike from Sulley Muntari sealed the tie for the Rossoneri, who must now go to the Nou Camp and defend for their lives against arguably the best attacking unit in football.

But who really ran the show for Milan on Wednesday? Footy Quiz fans who like to bet on football may be aware Barca had more possession, but which team had the most shots?

Milan did, 8-6, proving that for all Barca’s ball work they struggled to penetrate the Italian back line.

Barca certainly tried to attack but were caught offside just twice as the Milan defence stood firm around their own box. One would expect the twinkle-toed Lionel Messi or eagle-eyed Andreas Iniesta would feel much of the brunt of Milan’s strong defenders, but who was involved in the most fouls over the match?

Not Messi, not Iniesta, not even the wily Xavi. No, Kevin-Prince Boateng played his part up front for Milan, holding the ball up well and leading Barcelona’s defenders into silly tackles.

Boateng was involved in seven fouls – committing four himself – which shows just how much the ball went through him as Milan built up attacks.

Meanwhile Giampaolo Pazzini – Milan’s exiled centre-forward since Mario Balotelli’s arrival this winter – was largely left alone by the Barca defenders and was recognised as a meagre threat in comparison with Boateng.

He didn’t contribute to any of Milan’s four major attacks, while Muntari and Stephan El Shaarawy proved central figures in the team going forward.

What coach Massimiliano Allegri may do at the Nou Camp therefore is stifle his midfield and play Boateng up front on his own. Clearly his Milan side can handle Barca and sting them on the break, and with Pazzini offering no value whatsoever his place in the team is questionable.

 

Euro 2012 Predictions

With the Euro 2012 now underway I thought I would take the time to give you my predictions for the Competition.

Winners: Holland – Despite last nights performance!

Runners Up: Germany

Top Scorer: Fernando Torres!

Group A Winners: Russia
Runner up Poland

Group B Winners:Holland
Runner up Germany

Group C Winners: Spain
Runner up Italy

Group D Winners: France
Runner up England

European Championship Quiz

Still Plenty Of Football Left To Be Played This Season

So, the Premier League season may have come to an end but there is still plenty of football left to be played this weekend.

First up is Blackpool versus West Ham in the Championship play-off final at 3pm.

At 7:45pm Bayern Munich and Chelsea meet in the Champions League Final. Chelsea have never won the competition (they were runners-up to Manchester United in 2008) whilst Bayern Munich have lifted the trophy four times before (the last time was in 2001). Come on the blues!

On Sunday, Luton meet York as both teams attempt to make it back to the Football League. Luton have been trying to fight their way out of the Conference for the last three seasons, whilst York City have been in there since they lost their League status in 2004. Come on the hatters!

 

 

English Football Ups and Downs 2012

We have rejigged the league categories so time for a recap of exactly what happened last season:

Manchester City left it late, very late, but they finally clinched the Premier League title in dramatic fashion away from their neighbours, Manchester United. Arsenal finished in third place, an improvement on last season.

Fourth-placed Spurs, who would normally have been awarded with Champions League football, will have to wait and see if Chelsea (who finished sixth) win in the Champions League final – only four English clubs are allowed in to the competition.

Fifth-placed Newcastle United will play in the Europa League next season along with Carling Cup winners Liverpool.

Relegated from the Premier League, and playing Championship football next year were: Wolves, whose relegation was confirmed back on 22nd April, Blackburn Rovers, who joined them on 7th May, and Bolton, whose point on the final day of the season meant QPR maintained their Premier League status.

In the Championship, Reading were crowned champions – making it back to the Premier League at the fourth attempt – whilst Southampton finished as runners-up – their second successive promotion. West Ham and Blackpool will contest the play-off final in search of the third promotion place.

Relegated to the Football League were: Doncaster Rovers, Portsmouth and Coventry City.

…more coming soon… and …

Fleetwood Town join Footie Quiz!