Friday, August 28, 2009

Europa League

CimBom cruised into the Group Stages of the Europa League with a 1-1 tie with Tallinn giving a 6-1 overall victory.

Today the draw was made for the group stae and we have been drawn with Panathinaikos, Sturm Graz and Dinamo Bucharest.

Those are three clubs with European form.

Dinamo have reached the European and Cup Winners Cup semi finals in the 1980's and during 2006/7 beat Besiktas, admittedly not that difficult, en route to the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup. Like a lot of Eastern European Clubs the sweeping away of communist regimes led to problems in the 90's as the financing of the clubs was severely affected but this is a team we should not take lightly.

Panathinaikos founded in 1908 just 3 years after GS is like the FB of Greece, that is the number 2 team in Greece. A good solid team in Europe they are managed by Henk Ten Cate and the forward line is led by Djbril Cisse. The game with these guys will likley be long on emotion and short on quality but interesting none the less.

Sturm Graz are an Austrian team founded in 1909. We have come across them before in the 2000 Champions League Group stages with a 3-0 loss in Austria and a 2-2 in Istanbul they are not fondly remembered.

So all in all an interesting group but with the the current squad and Rijkaard in charge I am cautiously optimistic we will get through. At least this season the competition has home and away matches rather than last season when it was single match against each team.

Next up in the SuperLig is Ankaraspor away on Monday. Given the turmoil in the Ankara clubs this season I would expect a win but teams always raise their game against CimBom so nothing should be taken for granted.

Monday, August 24, 2009

One horse race?

Three matches into the season and three wins with 11 goals scored and 4 conceded. Not a bad start really. In fact this season could well be a one horse race. Trabzon and Besiktas appear to have hangovers from last seasons modest success and the wheels have fallen off the Sivas wagon. Trabzon's loss to Toulouse at home in the Europa League was simply a shambles.

Anyway Sunday saw a competent display by the Lions who swatted Kayseri aside 4-1, and no Harry Kewell either. An instant hero was made on Sunday with Elano's superb strike for the third goal, what a finish that was, top corner volley, superb. Baros got off gthe mark as well with a couple of strikes so the goal king is back in the hunt. Kayseri did an awful lot of complaining to the referee during the match when in reality they should be extremely thankful he did not as a minimum send Cangele off for repeated poor fouls. Most of their complaints were irrelevant although they had a valid complaint about the corner for the second goal, it did come of Baros and not the defender but hey these things even themselves up during the season!

So the team and squad is coming together nicely, the defence seems to be picking itself although it will be interesting to see if Rijkaard rotates the defence again like last week, even if he does it seems like he actually has a plan to manage the health and fitness of the players. Another midweek match is on the horizon in the return match in Talinn, so that's a lot of matches already this season!

One horse race, maybe, lets see after todays matches.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Roosters roasted

Somehow I feel a little bit sorry for Denizli. Your first two matches are against Brazilbahce and then Galatasaray and you lose both on aggregate 6-1. Oh well things can only improve for them!

Intertesting selections from Rikjaard on Saturday with three of the four defence changed compared to the opening match. First match it was Hakan Balta, Servet, Gokhan and Sabri. Against Denizli it was Ugur, Emre, Emre and Volkan Yaman who was replaced by Hakan Balta after 60 mins. The first 40 minutes they were somewhat of a shambles and gave Denizli some hope that they may come away with a point or points. The Denizli goal was due to a complete misunderstanding between Emre G, Ugur and Franco who both stood and watched as the Denizli player nodded the ball home. Obviously Rijkaard is still trying to work out the best defensive partnership but I would have though that it would be obvious, it would be the group from the first match with the others able to rotate in and out due to injury, suspension etc.

Midfield and attack looks relatively straightforward with Arda, Kewell, Ayhan, Keita and maybe Baris and or Elano with Baros operating as a one striker and Arda and Kewell being the overlapping wide men. Keita looks a good buy and I am sure when Elano gets fit he will prove to be a good signing.

Anyway after the shock of Denizli scoring first once the defender had tried to hide his handball and the referee had awarded a penalty the result was never really in doubt although I have to say that Kewell's first penalty was poor and he was lucky the keeper dived over it.

As for Baros well he had no luck again and its a bit strange that we have scored 7 goals in the Superlig and last years goal king has yet to score!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Comfortable Start

So after 4 matches in the Europa League which saw CimBom travel to Kazakhstan and Israel and progress comfortably to the next round where we have to travel to Estonia I think it was back to the real action in the SuperLig with an away match in Gaziantep.

The result, a comfortable 3-2 win. Of note during the match was Keita swallowing his tongue after a bad fall and some good performances from Sarp, Keita and our new goalkeeper Leo Franco. Arda started off well but did his usual disappearing act except later in the game when he became visible again as he argued with the referees! Despite being a great talenet he needs to learn how to control his emotion on the pitch as the yellow cards he picks up for stupidity outweigh his contribution.

Otherwise an average start, no real standouts and no real failures.

I feel a bit sorry for Linderoth though, he has hardly played and looks like he is out for another long spell after a knee ligament operation, that is one player who has had terrible luck with injuries, wonder whether we will see him in the yellow and red again.

Looking forward to seeing Elano get a start, obvioulsy not fully match fit but I have a feeling he could ba a very good signining for GS to replace Lincoln who at times looked like he could not be bothered last season.

So summer is over and soccer is back, this seaosn I am cautiously optimistic about Galatasarays prospects with Rijkaard in charge, just hope he remembers that there are more than just the Istanbul teams in the Lig.