Sadio Mane puts Liverpool ahead of Everton

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It will hardly go down as a football classic, but nonetheless, Liverpool has won three points from their latest outing and that is all what matters for Jurgen Klopp at the moment. Described by football commentators as one of the least eventful matches in the Premier League so far, both teams failed to create opportunities, let alone score goals in the 90 minutes. And it wasn’t for Mane’s rebound goal in the 94th minute; nobody would have even bothered watching the replay ever!

It was just one of those nights. Two teams lost in a wilderness in the middle. Liverpool failed to create many opportunities and the ones that looked promising was nipped in the bud by the Everton midfield. Looking back, there were hardly any scoring opportunities created by Everton. A huge chunk of credit should go to Daniel Sturridge, who in the 94th minutes reminded us all why he is such an expensive player.

At the end of the full 90 minutes, the chances of Liverpool walking away with 3 points never seemed probable, thanks to some wayward shooting and lack of goal scoring opportunities. Sturridge was introduced in the attack a mere 15 minutes before the end and from out of the blue; he produced a shot that a regular goalkeeper should have saved without much fuss. But not Joel Robles. He allowed it to roll past him and the ball rebounded off the goal post to a waiting Sadio Mane, thus pushing Everton to their first home defeat in nine months. Maybe with their regular goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg with them, Everton may have surely denied the Reds the three points. Perhaps, it was fitting that the goal was as uneventful as the rest of the game.

However, Jurgen Klopp refused to belittle the win on account of the dull display. He attributed the lackadaisical performance to the ‘wild football’ Everton played. He insisted that the best he could expect from such an opponent was three points, whether it came out of an uneventful match or a classic.

Perhaps the only man in the field for whom the victory must have been extra sweeter could be the goal scorer himself, for it always is a great feeling to win against a former manager’s team. Ronald Koeman, the Everton manager, might rue the fact that he had to go into a high-profile match without Gareth Barry, which seemed to have disrupted his whole game strategy. To compensate for the loss of his star player, Koeman infused a few athletic performers into the side and to an extent; they served the purpose of running around aggressively and making the occasional tackle. But, none of them could match the skill of Barry, which resulted in a dearth of scoring opportunities.

Even when he was introduced at half-time, there was too little time left to redraw the strategies and just like the others, he had to go through the motions and if it wasn’t for Mane’s moment of brilliance, it could well have been a match that everyone would forget before the next match.

Guess who the latest Barcelona and Messi’s fan is – Santa Claus!

lionel-messi-goal-celeb-sevilla-barcelona_3825635There is one thing common between Barcelona FC and Messi other than the fact that the latter plays for the former and there is the humongous fan following they both have. If you put all their fans into a country, it would be larger than most of the countries and definitely more populated than most European countries! Such has been the impact they have had on football fans all over the world. Messi has grown into an incredible football player, creating a sense of jealousy and pride in even his opponents.

And there has been another phenomenon that brings instant cheers to millions worldwide during every Christmas season. So when Santa took to the club’s official YouTube channel to declare that he was a diehard fan of Barcelona FC and Messi, a mini earthquake ensued! The Barcelona fans were ecstatic understandably, but a lot of other clubs were left heartbroken. But, once the initial elation wore down, it became so much clearer; an incredible football team with a rich history and a young, talented, yet humble footballer who have conquered millions of hearts. They spread joy just by doing what they do. And they spread it all year long. So it does not come across as a surprise that Santa himself is a fan of Barcelona FC and Messi.

One might argue that Santa brings festive cheers to only a portion of the world population i.e. Christians. On the other hand, the religion Barcelona FC and Messi follows- that of football, knows no religion! Neither does it know race, color, caste, ethnicity or nationality. Football is an emotion that can bring together a Palestinian and a Jew, an Indian and a Pakistani, even Hilary and Trump together! It is hard for anyone not to be a fan of them, let alone Santa!

Santa is known for the rampant cheers and festive mood he brings along with him during December. But this jolly figure wrapped in red acknowledges that he does not stand a chance when it comes to the happiness Barcelona FC and Messi spread all year long. While his is a visit that ends with the festive season, Barcelona and Messi are here to stay, and keep spreading joy for seasons together.

But then why did Santa pick Barcelona and Messi? Why not CR7 and Real? These are questions that may run through every football fans minds. It could not just have been a random choice. It is not as if all the Barcelona fans collectively wished for this Christmas wish. There is obviously something more than what meets the eye. We believe that the reason could have been the presence of the perfect three wise men in Barcelona’s line up- Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez! Although many a team out there has wonderful players playing for them, which better three wise men to pick than these three? We would like to believe that this was the reason why Santa picked Barcelona and Messi!

Manchester United End Their Defeating Streak

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Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Mitchael Carrick made the scoresheet tick when the men of the Jose Mourinho ended their recent struggle of winning a game in the EFL Cup. The fans of the Manchester United were able to get back to their winning ways because of the recent 3-1 victory over Northampton Town during the EFL Cup On Wednesday.

The match was fantastic and nail-biting as the Red Devils came to the game with the weight of always losing matches. But they broke their three-game losing streaks with winning this match and Michael Carrick played a significant part. He took them to the perfect start through the excellent strike that he did in the first half.

Now this was followed by the penalty shot of Alex Revell during the stroke of the half-time and just before the game was getting a tie, Ander Herrera was able to put United back to the advantage position. Later on, Marcus Rashford was able to provide the Mourniho’s men an easy two-goal cushion as he was able to make use of the sloppy show of the goalkeeping by Adam Smith.

A Nail-Biting Match And Finish

With the loss of 3-1 to Watford, Mourinho took up nine changes to his beginning line-up. Timonthy Fosu-Mensah, Sergio Romero were able to get their first states while playing with Mourinho. And this was the first appearance of Micheal Carrick since the win of Community Shield against the Leicester City.

During the last trip made by Red Devils to Northampton, they had the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Scholes which helped them to cruise to the 3-0 victory at the FA Cup. But this time, visitors had a tough task and were made to work a bit harder, since they needed to progress to the fourth round of EFL Cup.

It was nice to see Micheal Carrick to place United in front using his lovely curling effort. This helped in getting past just the quarter-hour when the Alex Revell was able to equalize the given spot when Daley Blind created the penalty. No doubt, the Red Devils showed their superiority when Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera were able to score the second half goals to put an end to the losing run of United and ease the pressure present on Mourinho.

The domination done by United over its opponents was great to see. Right from the starting of the match, the team looked filled with confidence and was able to forget their recent disastrous run of results.

Even Michael Carrick was able to dictate the terms in the play by following the deep-lying role and continually fend Depay on the correct flank. It was great to see the Dutchman teed the awesome player Wayne Rooney early on of the game. However, it was shocking to see that the striker just messed up his efforts, which was a delight to the jeering fans of Northampton.

Hope Manchester continuous with this winning streak and gain momentum in future tournaments along with delighting their fans.

Messi Injury Caused Barcelona To Tie With Atletico Madrid

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Great scenes and tactics were displayed in the match between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. The initial strategy fired by Ivan Rakitic for the Catalans put them on the lead. However, it was shocking to know that they got pegged back because of the Argentine substitute, just before losing the most substantial number ten spot, right at the second half.

Critics felt that Barcelona didn’t have Lionel Messi and it was because of his injury that triggered the match being drawn. But Atletico Madrid did a great job to tie the game at 1-1 at Camp Nou on Wednesday. It was well aware to the champions that a win can help them to reach within the points of the leading team Real Madrid as they had drawn a match with Villarreal. However, things didn’t go in the way Barcelona wanted as the first half header of Rakitic was just cancelled because of Angel Correa in the second period.

Even more damaging was done to Barca which is the loss of Messi. The constant recurrence of the groin issue Messi had made it impossible for him to take part in the match. Furthermore, even Sergio Busquets had to withdraw from the game, just an hour before the match started. Being unbeaten in the last 12 league matches, the Luis Enrique’s side showed how they can take control of Atletico. And they did much of it in the first half.

But they found it tough to get the clear-cut chances, right before Rakitic was able to head to the cross of Andres Iniesta from the short corner. A strong start was made by Atleti during the second period and was able just to snatch the given equalizer.

This was possible because of the substitutes Correa and Fernando Torres who combined within the minute of coming on. All this happened when Messi really failed with to get shake off the major discomfort that he got after his match with Deigo Godin.

Good Show By Atleti

Among the last four meetings, three were won by Atleti and that too during the season 2-1 as they were able to push harder to win. However, things didn’t go as it seemed because Diego Simeone’s side was able to keep them at bay, due to the relative ease involved in the closing stages. This helped in making sure that they were a point behind in the table and just four adrift to Madrid.

The early possession of Barca helped in getting some few necessary opportunities. And as Messi was curled to Oblak’s arm right from the 20 yards off the sight of the goal, it was up to Atleti to easily get the better of the opening present to them in the first-half. And they did it with ease.

Furthermore, Yannick Carrasco was able to put Ter Stegen right at full stretch by curling the given drive to the left of the penalty area just before Luis blasted right over the crossbar. This was 20 yards away from the Barca and after it was unsuccessful to clear the lines.

Naturally, it was disappointing for the home crowd even though Barca tried their best to gain a win.

Indian Super League’s Third Season is Going to Be Challenging Says Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly, former Indian cricket captain and co-owner of the Atletico De Kolkata, looks on during the launch of the football team for the Indian Super League (ISL) in Kolkata on September 28, 2014. Ganguly, with three other city based corporate honchos, has Spanish League leaders Atletico Madrid as one of the key partners for the Kolkata franchise of the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu SARKAR        (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

One thing about the third season of the ISL (Indian Super League) is that it is going to be challenging. According to Sourav Ganguly, teams have started to select the right players, and this has indefinitely raised the standards, making the current edition more competitive. And he felt that his team is going to be tougher to beat when compared to the previous season.

The co-owner of the ISL side Atletico de Kolkata, he feels that teams of the India’s most famous football tournament have just evolved. They have learned to be better and started tweaking their strategies to gain maximum success in the matches and competition. So, there is a huge chance that this season of the football tournament is going to be deadly and quite competitive.

Attracting Attention of Football Fans

No doubt, Ganguly feels that the tournament has attracted and caught the attention of people. During the semi-finals where Chennai clashed with Kolkata (which was in 2015 at Kolkata), the stadium was jam packed with about 75000 attendees. These two months is going to be great and will be having outstanding football matches and the best teams are going to clash with each other where the exception one will emerge as the victor.

Speaking to the ISL media portal, the Prince of Calcutta openly clarified his opinion about the tournament and said that it had become one of the fourth most watched and attended football tournament in the world.

When asked about his team Kolkata and their gaming strategy, Ganguly said that they were a good side and last year they showed how much tough as a team they are. Compared to the first season, they were better and with each passing season, they have toughened up and become stronger.

Initially, they won the first season but unluckily lost in the semis of the second season. When asked why he felt that the third season is going to be tough, Ganguly said that recruiting pattern of the teams had undergone a massive change. This time, the recruitment standard has been raised because of the ISL’s popularity and presences of more international players.

Plus this time, the season is going to be more entertaining and competitive as all the teams are getting better. Of course, the first year will always be the first year and slowly as the seasons and years pass by one starts to learn and pick the correct and experienced players.

So, that is the reason why the ISL’s standard is high this time. The message the former Indian team national cricket captain told to the fans of his Bengal franchise was to come and see the football matches. Last two seasons the Bengal team were exceptionally good and this year it is going to be awesome.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Interest in Mohun Bagan

When asked what Ganguly felt about SRK’s plan to take over Mohun Bagan, he said that it was great. Yes, it is true that SRK is one of the interested parties for taking over Mohun Bagan, and no doubt the interest is because Mohan Bagan is a great club. Also, anything that Shah Rukh Khan associates, it will be the best.