Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Chelsea lose their heads and their dignity

Photo

Maybe Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo was wrong on all the big decisions in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg --- it absolutely does not justify Chelsea's reaction.

UEFA's "Respect" campaign was, again, left in tatters as pandemonium erupted after Andres Iniesta's late equaliser sent Barcelona through on the away goals rule.

Didier Drogba had long been substituted but found enough energy to sprint onto the field at fulltime and harangue the referee, collecting a booking in the process.

Chelsea stewards and his team mates failed to control him as he returned for another bite, before turning his wrath to the cameras.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Can United and Villarreal improve for Champions League?

Photo

Manchester United and Villarreal must find some misplaced form to get the away results they need in Wednesday’s Champions League second legs.

United, who visit Porto, have not looked like European and English champions recently and have a lot to do to reach the last four after last week’s disappointing 2-2 draw with the Portuguese side at Old Trafford.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Macheda highlights Serie A’s impatience with youth

Photo

Serie A clubs are understandably upset about English sides scooping up youngsters such as Federico Macheda from their academies.

Lazio President Claudio Lotito cried foul after the 17-year-old, a product of the Rome club's youth system, scored a stunning winner for Manchester United against Aston Villa in his Premier League debut on Sunday.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League draw — your views

Photo

So, here we go again. For the fifth successive season, Liverpool will face Chelsea in the Champions League.

Quarter-finals:

Villarreal v Arsenal

Manchester United v Porto

Liverpool v Chelsea

Barcelona v Bayern Munich

Semi-finals:

Manchester United or Porto v Villarreal or Arsenal

Barcelona or Bayern Munich v Liverpool or Chelsea

Liverpool will perhaps be marginal favourites in the all-English quarter-final after knocking Chelsea out at the semi-final stage in 2005 and 2007 but their fans will need no reminding that last season, when Chelsea got to play the second leg at home, it was the Londoners who came through.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Benitez deal comes at perfect time for Liverpool

Photo

The news that Rafael Benitez has agreed a new deal that will keep him at Liverpool until at least 2014 could not have been better timed for the club.

Uncertainty has stalked the 18-times English league champions for the past few seasons with rifts between co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, confusion over the proposed new stadium and above all the future of the manager Benitez.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Vlog on the Pitch talks title racing with Wenger

Join vlogmeister Owen Wyatt as he takes the plunge and asks John Arne Riise whether he's still a better player than Andrea Dossena, the man who replaced him at Anfield.

And talking of the Premier League, Arsene Wenger thinks Liverpool's title hopes are still alive, and that none of the top teams are playing to their full potential. Dare to disagree with Wenger? Let us know in the comments, or record your own video rant and send us a link. If we like it, we'll embed it here.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Round one to Liverpool, but don’t believe Benitez rumours

Photo

Rafa Benitez celebrated a famous victory over his hometown club when Liverpool beat Real Madrid 1-0 in their Champions League last 16, first leg on Wednesday.He outfoxed his counterpart Juande Ramos with an astute tactical display, but anyone linking the Spaniard with a move to the Bernabeu in the near future would be mistaken.

Real Madrid are in limbo. Former president Ramon Calderon sacked Bernd Schuster in December and installed Ramos on a contract to the end of the campaign, and then was forced to resign in disgrace after a vote-rigging scandal at a club general assembly was exposed.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Real Madrid v Liverpool — what a difference two months make

Photo

Back in December, when the draw for the first knock-out round of the Champions League was made, Liverpool could be forgiven for feeling pretty pleased with the prospect of renewing their acquaintance with Real Madrid. How different things look now.

Back then, Liverpool were top of the Premier League, six points ahead of a Manchester United side facing a fixture pile-up and struggling for form. Real Madrid, in apparent disarray after sacking coach Bernd Schuster, were 12 points behind Barcelona, having just lost 2-0 to their arch-rivals.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Scolari sacked by Chelsea – your views

Photo

Chelsea have sacked manager Luiz Felipe Scolari after just over half a season in charge.

"Luiz Felipe Scolari has been dismissed as manager of Chelsea Football Club with immediate effect," a statement said on www.chelseafc.com.

  •