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Mourinho’s Unshakeable Faith

DortmundRealMadrid

Most of the football watching world was shocked, flabbergasted, delighted (for the haters) and heartbroken in the last week, when both Spanish super teams were knocked out of the Champions DortmundRealMadrid2League in the first leg of the semi-finals.

As if fate was watching and playing a cruel joke, first Barcelona, who have been on top of the football world for a good many years, were shocked when they got the thrashing of their lives from Bayern Munich, coming out with a score of 4-0. This got everyone asking, “is the era of Barca domination finally over?”

The very next day, Real Madrid saw their fate heading in the same direction before Christiano Ronaldo salvaged their dignity with a lone goal. They were beaten 4-1 by Dortmund but with the unshakeable faith of “The Special One”, Jose Mourinho has let the world know that Madrid can still come out of this to be in the final.

When everyone else had already decided that it would be an all-German final, Mourinho let the world know that this war was not over. The next game for Madrid will be on their home turf, the Bernabeu on Tuesday and The Special One has promised the world that they will see a fight from his team.

Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid coach

Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid coach

“I have learnt that anything can happen in football, it will be tough next week, but nothing is impossible and my footballers will try to show that next Tuesday,” said Mourinho. He also congratulated Dortmund, saying that they were the best team by far and that they played better and deserved their victory.

Congratulations have to go to Lewandowski who scored all four goals for Dortmund to become the first player to ever score four goals in a

Champions League semi-final.

Dortmund coach, Jurgen Klopp said that despite the win, his team is still going to exercise caution, stay focused and play their best game in Madrid.

Lewandowski

Lewandowski

“…we have to go to Fortuna Duesseldorf, in Bundesliga, then Madrid for the second game and there is still a lot to do. I don’t have the feeling we’re favourites, we produced

an exceptional game against a fantastic team, there could have been worse results and we’d still have to go there, we just want to reach the final,” said Klopp.

So while Dortmund takes the cautious route and practises and Real try to figure out what went wrong, all of Spain, Germany and other global supporters sit on the edge of their seats, because now, without a doubt, it’s anyone’s game.

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The Weekend of the Underdog

This past weekend was the weekend of the underdog in sport.

Nobody can say they didn’t expect Cote d’ Ivoire to take the trophy, especially when Drogba lined up to take a shot. Unfortunately for the expected champions, it just wasn’t meant to be.

Both sides played amazingly well, with the action not letting up, right up until the very last minute, but when Didier Drogba missed the penalty in the 70th minute, Zambians (and supporters) everywhere felt hope.

In the end, it was Chipolopolo who were crowned the continent’s champions with an 8-7 score, courtesy of a sudden-death penalty shoot-out in extra time. In a touching moment, they honoured the memory of the 1993 plane crash off the Gabon coastline which wiped out one of their most promising national squads.

The winning goal was scored by Stophira Sunzu, after the end of the game was reached at 0-0. Mweene showed such dexterity as he put shot after shot into the box, before Boubacar Barry denied Christopher Katongo with an instinctual boot save that deflected the shot onto a post. Siaka Tiene, Nathan Sinkala, Didier Konan Ya and Chisamba Lungu all did their teams proud before Kolo Toure’s effort was saved. Burt Kalaba and Gervinho both missed before Stophira Sunzu made the stadium erupt with excitement.

This is also the first time the trophy is returning to Southern Africa since 1996, when South Africa beat Tunisia in the final.

On the other side of the world, Christiano Ronaldo scored three goals in Real Madrid’s rally to defeat Levante 4-2 and to stretch it’s lead in the La Liga to 10 points. The celebrations at Santiago Bernabeu were on a high as Real had it’s seventh straight league victory and an almost secure shot at it’s first league championship since 2008. In second-place, Barcelona, which has won the past three titles lost to Osasuna two days ago putting them at 48 points, ten points behind Real Madrid’s 58.

The fourth and final goal was delivered by Benzema. Valencia is sitting in third place at 40 points and Real Zaragoza is sitting in final place.

Jose Mourinho has rejected all suggestions that the La Liga title is his, saying he knows that anything can happen between now and the end of the season. “There are many points still at stake and many games yet to be played,” he said. “There are 39 points left, which translate into 13 victories, and that’s still a lot.”

Ronaldo’s hat-trick also puts him at the top of La Liga’s scoring charts, one goal ahead of Barca’s Lionel Messi.

In England, Manager David Moyes showered South African Steven Piennar with compliments for his impact in Everton’s 2-0 victory against Chelsea on Saturday.

The South African captain marked his return to Merseyside with an early goal before Denis Stracqualursi sealed the points in the second half. Pienaar is at the club on loan from Tottenham until the end of the season.

“He got clapped by everyone at the end, some of the stuff he did was terrific,” said Moyes of Pienaar. “I said to him at the end it was like he had never been away. Sometimes clubs just fit players and maybe that is the case. Maybe this just suits him.”

In other news, Luis Suarez disgraced Liverpool when the Uruguayan refused to shake Patrice Evra’s hand pre-game. This wasn’t the first time Suarez and Evra squared off against each other, as Suarez recently served an eight-game ban for racially insulting Evra in October 2011. In response, Rio Ferdinand, who says he has lost all respect for Suarez, ignored him in the pre-match ritual handshake as well. United went on to win the match and Suarez (as well as Dalglish) has since released a statement apologising to Evra and the public.

However, this could be because his future at Anfield has been thrust into doubt after Liverpool condemned him for “misleading” the club. It was said that Suarez lied in the days before the game, having informed the club’s management that he wouldn’t refuse the handshake with Evra. Dalglish took on the blame, saying he did not behave in a way befitting a Liverpool manager. In his statement he surprised the world by saying, “When I went on TV after yesterday’s game I hadn’t seen what had happened, but I did not conduct myself in a way befitting of a Liverpool manager during that interview and I’d like to apologise for that.”

After the strong public criticism of their own striker, Liverpool are now assessing whether or not to take disciplinary action against the 24-year-old, but must first establish if they can legally do so.

Suarez is now completely alone, having being already ostracized by the rest of English football for his conduct in the original Evra incident, and Liverpool felt particularly disappointed as they stood by him and defended him after the first incident.

“I have spoken with the manager since the game at Old Trafford and I realise I got things wrong,” said Suárez.

“I’ve not only let him down, but also the club and what it stands for and I’m sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what happened.

“I should have shaken Patrice Evra’s hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions. I would like to put this whole issue behind me and concentrate on playing football.”