Some Messi Magic…

For the majority of football fans, the next few weeks will be dominated by the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine – and rightly so.

Yet, it is fair to say that in the opening four games of the tournament, the top quality players haven’t quite produced their top form.

So, if you are in search of some true flair, look no further than this piece of Messi magic, helping Argentina to a 4-3 victory against Brazil. Enjoy.

A Clasico weekend of sport – here’s a roundup

For all of us sporting fans, the last weekend has been essential viewing. There have been so many talking points that I thought it best to provide a brief roundup on what’s been going on.

Blue is the colour at Wembley

We all know that Sunday’s FA cup semi-final will be remembered for Chelsea’s controversial second goal that never was. The back pages in today’s papers have predictably been dominated by this moment in the game. However, the debate over goal line technology is one that will rumble on until July at least, when the International FA Board meeting is scheduled. So until then I would like to leave it at that.

What shouldn’t be forgotten are the two standout goals of the game.

To start things off, Didier Drogba’s classy strike was a vintage goal. In his signature style, Drogba shrugged off the figure of William Gallas before spinning towards goal to smash the ball into the top corner. The power and speed of the shot made it unstoppable and added a piece of brilliance to a game that was failing to reach its high expectations.

Didier Drogba scores the first goal in the FA Cup semi-final, his seventh goal at the New Wembley.

Lampard’s free kick was also one to savour. With some spectators convinced that the goalkeeper had been deceived by a deflection, the replays showed this to be untrue. Lampard had perfectly placed the ball into the bottom corner and it was a stroke of genius.  His free kick was one that both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud of.

Frank Lampard scores the free kick to make the score 4-1 to Chelsea
Source: AP Photo/Tom Hevezi

It was a game with two great goals and a weekend with two great FA Cup semi-final ties. So let’s try to forget the controversy surrounding Sunday’s game and look forward to a fantasic final that could make or break the season for Chelsea or Liverpool.

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The Champions League gives us a Knockout Stage to remember.

It’s been a great month at the top of European football. In my opinion, the Knockout Stage of the UEFA Champions League provided the drama and competition that this stage has needed in the past. Perhaps, the lack of English dominance in the draw has left the European competition much healthier and open to an exciting unpredictability. There were still one-sided encounters, with Bayern Munich easing past TSG Hoffenheim and Barcelona continuing their imperious form, both scoring 7 goals in the second leg. However, an exception can be made for the latter, a team who are quite simply the best footballing side of our generation. Even Messi managed to shock, by scoring 5 goals in a Champions League match, with another record to add to the list. This performance demonstrated how Barcelona are not only the team to beat, but as always they are the team to watch, and enjoy.

On top of this, we were treated to several great comebacks and a true fairy tale. Arguably, Chelsea provided us with the greatest turnaround result with their 4-1 (agg 5-4) second leg win over Napoli. Their display was spirited considering the troublesome fortnight that they have endured. The match contained some perfect irony, with the three main men of the night being the senior players that dominated the discussion on the back-pages towards the end of AVB’s tenure: Drogba, Terry and Lampard. Unfortunately, Arsenal did not have the same fortune a week earlier, in a match that seemed firmly set for the Champions League Hall of Fame. Yet, with such a poor first leg performance Arsenal will have learnt their lesson.

Finally, Apoel Nicosia have firmly written their name in the Champions League history books, as the first Cypriot team to reach the quarter-final. A proud moment for Cyprus and not an undeserved one. Of course, Apoel were extremely lucky to escape the first leg with only a 1-0 deficit but Lyon were the team who did not take their chances. With a home crowd, Apoel gave their fans a greatly improved performance that should be merited.

Now that the draw for the next round has been made, let’s hope for more of the same!

The UEFA Champions League Knockout Stage in pictures: