Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

After Luiz Adriano affair, do fair play and winning always go hand in hand?

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Shakhtar Donetsk romped into the Champions League last 16 with a match to spare following their 5-2 win at Danish rivals Nordsjaelland, but only after their Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano scored a goal which outraged much of the football world as he broke what UEFA called “principles of conduct”.

With the Ukrainian champions 1-0 down and chasing the win they needed to progress into the knockout stage of the competition, Luiz Adriano latched on to a ball which his team mate and compatriot Willian played in an attempt to pass it back to the opposition after the game was halted to treat a Nordsjaelland player for injury.

Luiz Adriano ran past his bewildered markers, who stood like statues, rounded the equally stunned goalkeeper and stroked the ball into an empty net to spark a chorus of jeers among the home fans.

By doing so, he broke football’s globally accepted fair play principle of returning the ball to the opposition in such circumstances.

Barca tired? Not on this evidence

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Men tuning in for lots of action in Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg ties would have rued the decision to stay in front of the TV on Valentines’ Night when Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen and Olympique Lyon against APOEL Nicosia reached the 40-minute mark.

Both were 0-0. APOEL had not registered a shot on goal. Barcelona had dominated their German opposition with 78 per cent of possession, yet no opening score.

Va-va-voom. Vintage Henry scores on Arsenal return.

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The clock said 68 minutes, and no one at the Emirates Stadium in north London was looking at the action on the pitch as the fourth official held aloft his lit-up board to signal the re-introduction of Thierry Henry to English football.

Ten minutes later and he’d scored the game’s eventual winner. Comebacks don’t get this good this often.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Why Henry’s move might not kickstart transfer window

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Barcelona's Thierry Henry is heading to New York Red Bulls in a widely expected move but don't think the first big post-World Cup transfer means the window will suddenly be awash with deals.

An event before the World Cup is a major reason why Henry has decided to follow David Beckham's lead and try out MLS. David Villa's early move to Barca from Valencia meant there was no room for Henry at the Nou Camp and after France's flop in South Africa there were few other interested parties.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

10 good reasons to love Raymond Domenech

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Overseeing qualification for the World Cup via a blatant handball is unlikely to do much for the popularity of French coach Raymond Domenech, either at home or abroad (his Wikipedia page is currently saying some very nasty things about him, but it will doubtless be put back to its less offensive version soon).

The 57-year-old former defender, whose name is booed at every match, has never made any effort to make himself popular, but here are 10 reasons (or nearly 10) why football fans may want to reconsider their view:

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Vlog on the Pitch — Thierry Henry’s sparkling return to form

Thierry Henry did not enjoy the happiest of starts to his new life in Barcelona but it's clicked for the Frenchman this term.

He plays more as a winger than a striker under Pep Guardiola yet he's still managed 15 league goals this season and the Premier League certainly seems a poorer place without him.

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