The second set of games in the round-robin phase is up! In the first week, we saw Inter shock Arsenal 3-0 in London, while Dynamo Kiev managed to beat Moscow 2-0 at home. And earlier today, Arsenal drew with Moscow 0-0 in Russia, giving either Inter or Kiev a great opportunity to seize control of the group with a win.
But I'm concerned with today's game. Inter has yet to concede a goal in five competetive matches this year, while having difficulty scoring -- their last two games in Serie A have finished 0-0. And apparently Kiev have trouble scoring on the road, and they will be content with a draw on the road. This game has scoreless draw written all over it ... let's hope for a goal, any goal, to open the game up.
The opening 20 minutes feed my fears. Boring, choppy football with little in the way of attacks. I don't know if I can take 90 minutes of this. But then Inter draws a foul in Kiev's territory ... the free kick is headed on goal, the goaltender gives up a rebound, and it's 1-0 Inter! The commentators shout about a hand ball on the goal, and it was close, but I think it hit high chest-shoulder area.
And sure enough, this opens the game up. Kiev starts attacking, and gets two good drives from 30 yards out, forcing the Inter goalie to make a couple of good saves. Then, 34 minutes in, Sergiy Federov scores! Sergiy Federov scores! Anaheim fans go crazy as he scores his first goal as a Mighty Duck! Oh, that's a different Sergiy Federov ... pity. It's 1-1 anyways, and this game is starting to come alive. The last 11 minutes of the half are dominated by Inter. The Kiev defenders are playing very physical against the Inter strikers, and have smothered them all game. So the Inter midfielders step up their games ... Kily Gonzalex and Emre show a lot of skill and speed in taking the game in hand. They start giving the Kiev players fits in midfield, and create a few excellent scoring opportunities.
Second half starts as the first ended ... Gonzalez screams a shot just wide two minutes in for Inter. Then Inter subs in superstar striker Christian Vieri, who's back from injury. This might ignite something. Kiev is on their heels, and they take a dubious approach to defending -- every time Emre touches the ball they foul him. Hack-a-Shaq in action on the football pitch. Near the end of the game, ESPN shows that the fouls committed are 31-13 "for" Kiev. That's ugly.
This comes back to bite them in the ass in the 89th minute. Free kick for Inter in the Kiev half, and the ball is curled in nicely for Vieri to head home. Man, that guy just scores goals like nobody's business. Kiev tries to muster something very late -- a free kick of their own is hammered just wide in injury time -- but they can't get the equalizer. Inter wins 2-1 and have Group B well in hand.
Not as good a game as the two I saw in mid-September, but it had its moments. Tomorrow is FC Porto hosting Real Madrid ... this should be a good one, even if Beckham is out with an ankle injury.
The Northern towns of England look like Flanders in the mud; Boxing rings, bookies, Chinese takeaways and blood. The neon lights are glowing like a furnace in the sky, I'm travelling on the highway thinking of lust and suicide.
Deportivo had a nice 2-0 win over PSV, putting them solidly in second in Group C. That loss to Osasuna over the weekend had me worried. Nice to see Real Sociedad pick up a win today as well...now if we only got to SEE a Spanish team that wasn't Real Madrid, I'd be happy.
Good first post there, Jake. Just thought I should congratulate you. And btw, I have a friend who was, at one time, sort of on the other side of the equation from most of you - he was the going-nowhere guy who got the girl.