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A Big Freeze In Europe And A Freeze Out In England: It’s Your European Football Round-Up

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Check back every Monday for BC Magazine's "Euroscore" Round-up of matches from the weekend!

England
The top five all scored a huge blank over a dull Premiership weekend. Fulham held Liverpool to a hard earned 0-0 draw at Anfield. Manchester United and Aston Villa drew a blank at Villa Park and Chelsea did the same at home to struggling Newcastle United.

Meanwhile Arsenal had a worst weekend losing 0-3 at Manchester City having left deposed captain William Gallas in London. Cesc Fabregas has been named the new captain of the misfiring Gunners. All in all though it was a pretty much a non eventful weekend.

Spain
An interesting game between Osasuna and Almeria saw six bookings and a sending off when Guilherme was shown a red card after only ten minutes. The score was 3-1 to Osasuna. Unconvincing Real Madrid scraped a 1-0 home win over Recreativo Huelva whilst Barcelona could only draw 1-1 at home to Getafe.

Italy
The big game of the weekend saw Internazionale beat Juventus 1-0 at the San Siro. Fiorentina beat Udinese 4-2 in an ill tempered match. Meanwhile AC Milan drew 2-2 at Torino with goals from Pato and a superbly taken free kick by Ronaldinho.

France
Lyon lost 1-0 at resurgent Paris St. Germain, Lyon's Juninho sent off for a bad challenge. The St. Etienne nightmare continues. Beaten at home by second place Nice they are now bottom with ten points. Marseille came back from 0-2 at home to Lille to draw with an injury time goal from Zenden.

A major cup shock took place in the French cup when Ligue 2 leaders Racing Club de Lens went out on penalties to local amateur side Arras. The game, switched to the Lens stadium, was played in a freezing blizzard. Arras only had to travel a couple of kilometres to the game and the 'journey' would prove to be well worth the effort.

It ended 0-0 after extra time. Lens missed their first two penalties taken by Sartre and Doumeng, both of which were heroically saved by the Arras keeper. Croatian international Vedran Runje in the Lens goal was unable to stop the non league side achieving a sensational victory in the shoot out by 4 to 2.

Mind you by then the Lens supporters in the crowd, including me, had lost the will to live, meekly going home to defrost.

Portugal
Surprise leaders Leixoes won away at Rio Ave to stay top in a game marred by 10 bookings and a red card for Rio’s Mateus (who saw rosé). All in all in the six games played there was an astonishing total of 43 yellow cards and 5 red. Christmas spirit? Forget it.

Germany
Bayer Leverkusen fans must be wondering why their team self destructs when they get within reach of the top spot. They managed to lose 1-2 at lowly Armenia Bielefeld, hardly championship form. Bayern Munich thrashed bottom side Energie Cottbus 4-1 despite an early Cottbus goal. Ribery and Toni are outdoing each other for Bayern's man of the moment.

Two newly promoted sides met in Cologne where the surprise side of the season TSG Hoffenheim went back to the top winning 3-1. Once again Vedad Ibisevic scored two goals taking his total for the season to 17. How long will it be before he is off somewhere more glamorous?

In the big northern derby Hamburg beat Werder Bremen 2-1 despite Diego's superb free kick equaliser for the visitors.

Belgium
My match for Saturday took place in near ice age conditions at bottom club KSV Roeselare who were playing FC Dender. The home side took a second minute lead following a neatly done, fast attack which saw Jimmy Mulisa score. Dender hit back with a header from Destorme on 13 minutes and then took the lead when a long range effort from Sylia hit the Roeselare keeper, by now frozen solid, who could only help it into the net.

By this time no one was laughing as blocks of ice rained down from on high. Roeselare broke to equalise with a well taken Betremieux goal in the last minute. It was a draw, far from a bore, and we all went home unable to change whatever expression we had on our faces just prior to the arrival of the second ice age.

Scotland
This weekend’s Euroscore featured match took place in Paisley, Scotland, where St Mirren played Celtic.
They are a hardy lot in Scotland. Or so I thought until I went to games at KSV Roeselare (Belgium) and Racing Club Lens (France) shortly after. It was clearly cold up there in Paisley but many Celtic players wore short sleeved shirts. Not quite sure why as I would have been wearing my best coat and thermal long johns.

St Mirren, who have already beaten Rangers at home this season, did an impressive job holding the Glasgow giants and went in at the break 0-0.

Quite how Celtic keeper Artur Boruc stayed on the pitch after bringing down St Mirren striker Craig Dixon is beyond me. Artur is always in the news and recently was in more trouble following a reported night on the town in Warsaw.

After the break Celtic did the inevitable and stepped up a gear or two. Shunsuke Nakamura was particularly effective down both sides as Celtic gradually wore down their opponents. However the home side nearly scored when some fine skill by Craig Dargo ended with a clearance from McManus.

Celtic finally broke the St. Mirren resistance with a 66th minute goal from Georgios Samaras, back in the side following a knee operation, who tapped in a cross from Hinkel. Despite his operation it was his 11th goal of the season.

Nakamura made it two a couple of minutes later when he drove home following a beautiful touch from Samaras who played the ball neatly into his path. Cillian Sheridan then replaced Samaras, having been left hanging around stripped an raring to go at the side of the pitch for six minutes before the substitution was finally made.

It was worth his while though when he scored in half that time to make it 3-0 tapping in a cross from Scott McDonald. St. Mirren deservedly got a late consolation goal after a superb cross by Franco Miranda which was headed home by Jim Hamilton.

It ended 3-1 to Celtic who for an hour went seven points clear of Glasgow rivals Rangers. All in all it was an impressive performance from Celtic and underlines their title credentials once again.

Holland
After my glowing report on Ajax last week they proved why football is a game that can drive you to acts of wanton insanity by losing 2-0 at highly impressive AZ Altmaar. Meanwhile Twente Enschede, managed by ex-England boss Steve McLaren, thrashed Heerenveen 6-0 with Nkufo netting a hat trick.
 

Summary 

So that’s another week for Euroscore. My plans this week are to try and convince my wife Debbie that Gent looks nice in the snow and of course take in a game at their ground. Also next Monday I will be at Lens’s attempt to put behind them the nightmare of losing at home to the amateurs of Arras, when they take on Sedan.

Who says football is dull? Anyone watching the top of the Premiership this week, that's who.

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About Jeff Perkins