Absence of the away-goals rule in the Copa Libertadores finals cost Fluminense of Rio dearly, the ruling helped LDU of Quito to become the first Ecuadorian team to become the winners of the Latin America’s premier club competition.
The away game in Quito ended 4-2 to LDU and the Judi Online24Jam Deposit Uang return leg 3-1 to Fluminense, which would have guaranteed the title to the Brazilians according to the UEFA’s rules…and indeed according to the rules applied in Copa Libertadores in all stages EXCEPT in the finals.
However, the return game went to extra time and then to penalties, where LDU had more composure, winning 1-3.
It was a dramatic match in front of an 85,000 crowd at the Maracana stadium, LDU going ahead in the 6th minute and Fluminense coming back with a hat trick from Thiago Neves. Ironically, it was Neves who missed a penalty together with Washington and Conca, helping LDU take the trophy to Quito.
Ironically, the away-goals rule favoured the Ecuadorians in the semifinals, where it did apply. There they eliminated América of Mexico City with a 1-1 draw away and 0-0 at home.
Wigan renounce Klasnic because England’s “too cold”?
Wigan’s manager Steve Bruce discarded the signing of the Croatian Ivan Klasnic supposedly because his transplanted kidney would not react well to England’s cold weather, wrote The Daily Mail.
According to the British media, Bruce’s medical team studied Klasnic’s background and determined he was better off living in a warmer climate since his kidney, donated by his father, would allegedly suffer in colder areas.
Curiously, the Croatian striker, scorer of two goals at the recent European Championship, did not seem to be aware of this bit of medical information, although he spent the whole past winter in Bremen, Northern Germany, where the temperatures cannot be that different from those in England.
However, the French team Nantes and the Spaniards of Real Mallorca now seem to be the best placed for hiring Klasnic, who underwent the kidney transplant in March of 2007.
UEFA Cup in for a name change?
UEFA is considering changing the UEFA Cup’s name to the “UEFA Europa League” and will vote on the proposal in September.
The plans have been revealed to the press by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the acting chairman of the recently founded European Clubs Association. According to “Kalle” Rummenigge, the re-branding is necessary because the current UEFA Cup has developed the reputation of being a second-rate competition.
“We wish to bring back the reputation the competition had ten or 15 years ago,” said the German at a press conference at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon.
If the UEFA Cup’s reputation among the fans has dwindled then it certainly has nothing to do with the name nor will it be repaired by “re-branding”, but by diverting some of the cash flow and glamour from the UEFA Champions League.
Traded your shirt? Pay for it!
The Tanzanian international Nadir Haroub was happy to see Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o accept his proposal for trading shirts at the end of their qualifying game which Cameroon won 2-1.
A surprise awaited Haroub when he returned to Dar Es Salaam: his FA was angry with him over squandering their property and asked him to cover the price of a new shirt.
“We cannot buy new shirts at the end of each game,” FA directors told him.
When the FA’s unusual request became public, the media launched a campaign for rallying funds to aid Haroub, perhaps not because the shirt is so expensive, but out of spite for the FA.
Then the FA’s leaders changed their minds.
“It is good he exchanged shirts with such a famous player. That will help our country become better known in the world,” said president Leodegar Tenga.
This might be true, because Tanzania’s soccer team is promoting the country’s image so well, as they have already lost all chances to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.
Rafael Márquez humbled Messi and Ronaldinho in free kicks
Another Rafael, besides Nadal, shone last weekend. Barcelona’s defender Rafael Márquez won the first prize at a tournament for free kicks in Houston.
The Mexican convincingly overcame his mates at Barca, Leo Messi and Ronaldinho, who were booed off the pitch by the crowd. His strongest contender proved to be Jared Borgetti, but the last series tipped the scales in Márquez’s favour, bringing him the 1 million dollar prize.
“I’m leaving Houston with a prize I certainly did not expect. I am not a free-kick specialist, since my playing role does not require that,” said the Mexican.
The Free Kick Masters 2008 was held at Houston’s Reliant stadium with artificial turf and the kicks were taken from 18, 21, 25 and 30 meters.
The goals were defended by renowned keepers like Francesco Toldo, David James and Kasey Keller, while the walls were provided by amateur players.
Messi and a plumpish Ronaldinho were eliminated in the first round after missing all of their eight kicks each.
Stubborn Laporta stays despite no-confidence vote
Joan Laporta and his allies plan to keep control at Barcelona until the end of their mandate in 2010, although 60.6% of Barca’s members supported the emergency presidential elections in a referendum held on Sunday.
In order for the opposition leaders’ proposal for new elections to prosper, 66.6% of those who turned up had to vote in its favour. Still, 23,870 votes were not enough for the two-third majority to be reached.
Those who expected Laporta to resign as a moral gesture, seeing that the majority of the voters opposed his continued rule, must have been disappointed, but the current president stubbornly pledged to stay for two more years, until June 30th 2010.
The first four years of his mandate were successful as Barcelona won several trophies including two League titles and a Champions League, alongside two narrowly missed prizes. Last season was dismal with no silverware and with the team finishing 18 points behind champions Real Madrid.