Del Piero Reaches Juventus Scoring Record of 179 Goals

Juventus joined the race for the Serie A title by narrowing the gap on third-placed AC Milan to two points with a win at the San Siro. 

The win puts them three points behind leaders Inter Milan, who won 1-0 at Genoa on Friday.

Juventus's win comes amid a crippling injury crisis, made even worse as Juve lost Giorgio Chiellini in the warm-up and Paolo De Ceglie and Jorge Martinez during the game. They ended the match with right winger Simone Pepe playing at left back and defensive midfielder Momo Sissoko at right midfield.

"We've got seven lives, we've reclaimed an important position but we can't rest on our laurels," said Juventus boss Luigi Delneri. "We're in the league to try to win but our aim is to improve from one Sunday to the next."

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was disappointed with the outcome. "We're talking about a game in which the result doesn't reflect the game on the pitch, but that's football. We didn't deserve to lose," he said.

Fabio Quagliarella put the Bianconeri ahead in the 24th minute and Alessandro Del Piero's record-breaking 179th goal in Serie A doubled their lead in the 66th minute. Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled a goal back for Milan in the 82nd minute, but Juve held on to gain three crucial points to move up to fourth in the Serie A table. Ibrahimovic never scored against his former club Juventus during his time at Inter, and he seemed keen on changing that in a Milan shirt as he struck the angle of post and crossbar with a 25-yard shot in the seventh minute.

The chances were coming thick and fast for the home side in the first 10 minutes and Ibrahimovic had a shot saved before Juve finally broke out of their own half with a bit of fortune when Luca Antonini's sliding tackle in midfield saw the ball arrow into the path of Del Piero, who could not beat Christian Abbiati from a tight angle. However, Quagliarella put the visitors ahead in the 24th minute with a fine header into the top corner from Paolo De Ceglie's deep cross.

The balance of play shifted with that goal, and Juve started to pose the greater threat with some intelligent counter-attacking football which saw Del Piero and Quagliarella break together with the former forcing Abbiati into a one-handed diving save on the half-hour mark. Ibrahimovic then missed the chance to level in first-half stoppage time when he headed straight at Storari.

Felipe Melo prevented Ibrahimovic from scoring on the hour mark when he bravely headed the Swedish striker's shot away from danger. Del Piero then put his name in the history books as the all-time top goalscorer for Juventus in Serie A with his 179th strike. Mohamed Sissoko stumbled as he went clean through on goal, but he got back on his feet, defended the ball and laid it off to Del Piero, who fired it into the bottom corner from 10 yards.

The game was not over, though, as Ibrahmovic finally broke his duck against Juventus with a header similar to Quagliarella's from Antonini's cross in the 82nd minute. Milan pushed men forward in search of an equaliser, but the Juve defence held firm to preserve the three points which take them back into the hunt for the Scudetto.

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Barca Batter Sevilla at Nou Camp

Barcelona cruised to an impressive 5-0 win against Sevilla at the Camp Nou this evening to stay within a point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid. 

Lionel Messi and David Villa scored two goals apiece with ex-Sevilla man Daniel Alves also getting on the scoresheet.

Messi gave Barςa the lead after just four minutes and Villa struck a fine second midway through the first half. Sevilla finished the first-half with 10 men after Abdoulay Konko was sent off. Alves then put the result beyond doubt with the third shortly into the second period, before Messi scored a fine fourth after 64 minutes and Villa scoring the fifth in injury time.

Barςa coach Pep Guardiola welcomed back Xavi to his starting XI after the Spain midfielder recovered from a troublesome Achilles problem this week. The Catalans travel to Denmark to face FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, but Guardiola fielded his strongest possible side for this match. Having seen fierce rivals Madrid come back to beat Hercules 3-1 immediately before this match, Barςa knew only a win would keep them in touch with the league leaders.

There were only four minutes on the clock when stand-in Sevilla keeper Javi Varas parried Pedro's cross and Messi was there to slot home the rebound for his 13th goal of the season in all competitions. It was an unlucky 13 for Sevilla, who beat Barcelona in the Copa del Rey last season but have only won six of 67 matches against the Catalans at the Camp Nou.

Luis Fabiano drilled wide for the visitors and Diego Capel shot straight at Victor Valdes from close range as Gregorio Manzano's side sought a way back into the game. A comeback looked unlikely as Villa ended his recent scoring drought with a fine second halfway through the first period. Messi advanced down the right and laid the ball off to the Spain striker, who cut into the area and sent an unstoppable angled drive into Varas' top right-hand corner.

Things became even more difficult for Sevilla just before the break as Konko hacked down Pedro and was shown his second yellow card of the night. To make matters worse still, Ndri Romaric gifted the home side a third seven minutes into the second period. The Côte d'Ivoire international headed back to keeper Varas, but Alves read the pass-back and raised a leg to poke home from well inside the area. The Brazil full-back looked embarrassed to score against his former club and raised his hands in an apologetic gesture as his team-mates congratulated him.

Bojan Krkic and Javier Mascherano came on for Pedro and Xavi with half an hour left, but the fourth goal came from a predictable source - Messi. The Argentinian won the ball back in midfield, waltzed through a crowd of players and slid a low shot past Varas just inside the post from the edge of the box to make it 4-0.

Villa added his second, and Barcelona's fifth, right at the death as he drilled a low left-footed drive past the hapless Varas. The reigning Spanish champions remain a point behind Madrid at the top of the table, while Sevilla stay in sixth for now, but could be overtaken by Getafe and Atletico Madrid tomorrow.

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Welcome Bulgaria And Morocco

 Say hello to visitor country number 61 Bulgaria

Здравей и приветстват

and country 62 Morocco
salam alekoum, ahlan wa sahlan OR marHaba

(apologies, as always if my language is incorrect)

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Sir Alex Looks for New Man Between The Sticks

It appears Edwin Van der Sar may have his days numbered as Manchester United goalkeeper as Alex Ferguson tests the waters around him for a long term replacement.

With an interest already placed in Liverpool keeper, Pepe Reina, we look at who else could be a long term successor to the Flying Dutchmen between the sticks.

Gianluigi Buffon – Juventus & Italy

Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon born 28th of January 1978 is an Italian international goalkeeper and has won the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Cup, and Serie A.
Buffon is considered by many fans and experts to be one of most dominant and successful goalkeepers in recent history and he was declared by Brazilian legend Pelé to be one of the 125 greatest living footballers in the world. Buffon has been named the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record eight times.

Iker Casillas – Real Madrid & Spain

Iker Casillas Fernández born 20th of May 1981 is the captain for the Spanish national team which won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Casillas also won the Golden Glove for the tournament’s best goalkeeper.
Casillas who made his Real Madrid debut at the tender age of 19 has been recognised as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, illustrated by the many awards he has received. Casillas was nominated for the European Footballer of the Year award twice, ranking fourth overall in 2008 and continuing to be the highest-ranked goalkeeper again in 2009.
At the end of 2009 he was voted into the UEFA Team of the Year for the third consecutive time. As of July 2010 Casillas is one of a very select group of players who have won all major club and national championship titles. In 2010, he was awarded with the Sports Prince of Asturias Award.

Victor Valdes – Barcelona & Spain
Víctor Valdés i Arribas, born 14 January 1982 is a Catalan football goalkeeper, who plays for FC Barcelona and the Spain national team.
He is the most successful goalkeeper in Barcelona’s history, having won four La Liga titles, two Champions League titles, and one Copa del Rey title.
Before joining the principal team in 2002–03 season, Víctor played for the youth teams and FC Barcelona B and is contracted with Barcelona until 2014.

Julio Cesar – Inter Milan & Brazil
Júlio César Soares de Espíndola was born on the 3rd of September 1979 currently plays for Internazionale and the Brazilian national squad having won 53 international caps. In 2009, IFFHS named Julio CESAR as the third best goalkeeper in the world, behind only Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon.
He was also awarded the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year title in 2009, ahead of Buffon of Juventus and Federico Marchetti of Cagliari and was nominated for the 2009 Ballon d’Or and was voted into 21st place; Casillas was the only other goalkeeper nominated.

Petr Cech – Chelsea & Czech Republic
Petr Cech born 20th of May 1982 plays for Chelsea and the Czech Republic. Cech has received the individual award of Best Goalkeeper in the 2004/2005, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 seasons of the UEFA Champions League. In addition, he was named in the FIFPro and UEFA Champions League teams of the season in 2006.
Petr Cech currently holds the Premiership record for fewest appearances required to reach 100 clean sheets, having done so in 180 league appearances. He also holds a Czech professional league record of not conceding a goal in 855 competitive minutes.

He may also look at either of the two top Scottish stoppers, both of whom are among the best in Europe.

Craig Gordon - Sunderland & Scotland
Craig Gordon has established himself as Sunderland's number one goalkeeper and one of the top stoppers in Europe after an excellent 2009-10 campaign.
The towering Scot made 29 appearances in all during the 2009-10 season, keeping seven clean sheets and turning in a string of fine displays.
The experienced Scottish international came through the youth system at boyhood club Hearts, playing a handful of games at Cowdenbeath before being recalled.
Gordon claimed a Scottish Cup winners' medal with Hearts in 2006.
The Edinburgh-born stopper joined Sunderland for a then-club record £9m on August 8, 2007 and has gone on to be the club's regular starter in goal.
All being well, he will pass a century of appearances for Sunderland during the 2010-11 season.

Alan McGregor - Rangers & Scotland
(born 31 January 1982) is a Scottish footballer who plays for Rangers and the Scotland national team as a goalkeeper.
To date, McGregor has made just under 200 appearances for Rangers, winning nine major honours in the process, including back to back league titles in 2009 and 2010, three Scottish Cups and four Scottish League Cups.
On 30 January 2007, ex-Rangers manager Alex McLeish named McGregor in his first squad as Scotland manager.[21] He made his international debut against Austria on 30 May 2007, playing the first half in goal before being substituted.[22] He was initially back up to fellow keeper Craig Gordon but was chosen ahead of him for Scotland's 2010 World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands.
These are just a few of the quality keepers around the footballing world with many more unmentioned, the list could go on and on. One thing is for certain, Van der Sar won't be around much longer and its just a case of who Sir Alex fancies the most.

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Major League Soccer Play-off Time, Let's Rock !!

After seven months of football, eight battle-scarred teams are set to engage in the frenetic, wild-eyed joust that is the Major League Soccer play-offs. 

Star-studded Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls enter as nominal favourites, but with the ‘post season’ hinging as much on momentum, mistakes, pressure and luck as form and panache, anything can happen.

Here we take an in-depth look at the first round of action as MLS’ 2010 title hunt hits fever pitch on 28 October with the stakes set squarely at all-or-nothing.

The big-money New York Red Bulls, bolstered this year by the high-profile signings of superstars Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez, take on perennial strugglers San Jose Earthquakes.

All the pressure will be on the men from the Big Apple, with the Northern California-based ‘Quakes relying almost solely on their top scorer Chris Wondolowski, who is responsible for virtually all of their attacking output this season.

New York enter the tie as favourites, but with former Arsenal hero and France ace Henry having missed several games with a wonky knee, coach Hans Backe will have to wait and see if 2010 is finally the year an MLS crown comes to New York.

Another star, Argentina’s Guillermo Barros Schelotto, will be leading the lines as 2008 champions Columbus Crew take on Colorado Rapids. The Boca Juniors icon was crucial in leading the Ohio-based outfit to the play-offs and his big-game experience made him the driving force the last time the Crew put hands on silverware. “We have basically the same team that we had when we won MLS Cup three years ago,” Barros Schelotto said, knowing full well the team’s form heading into the play-offs is questionable, with three losses in their last four games and a serious injury to goalkeeper William Hesmer. “It’s the same players, the same team with the same ideas about how to play the game and win games. Our targets are simple and unchanged.”

Whereas the Crew are built around the orchestrations of their 37-year-old maestro, the men from the high Rockies will rely on an energetic, collective approach. The Rapids are always willing to pressure the ball and will be looking for attacking output from the experienced Conor Casey and speedy Omar Cummings, who have scored 27 goals between them this term.

Los Angeles Galaxy are heavy favourites to excel out west, having finished first on points in the league’s ‘regular season.’ With Landon Donovan and a now-fit David Beckham showing the way, the Southern Californian side will face off with defending Open Cup champions Seattle Sounders in their first round. “I believe we can win the league this year,” Beckham said in an interview with

“When we play with passion and intensity, and when we keep focused, we are a very difficult team to beat,” he added as the Galaxy look to reach their second straight MLS Cup and claim their first title since 2005.

The Sounders, in only their second year as an MLS team, will have other ideas. The side from the Pacific Northwest have a fine balance of experience (Kasey Keller and Blaise Nkufo) and young enthusiasm (Sanna Nyassi) that has served them well in reaching the play-offs for the second straight season. “We have the kind of team that can do big things. We have all the things you need: talent, experience and depth. This is a dangerous combination,” said Gambian sensation Nyassi, whose two goals against the Crew earlier this month saw the Sounders pick up their second straight Open Cup (North America’s version of the FA Cup) for a timely boost in confidence.

The last of the first-round meetings pits Real Salt Lake against FC Dallas with Utah-based RSL keen to make lightning strike twice and win their second title on the trot after shocking LA in a penalty shoot-out last year. Finishing only three points off the Galaxy in this ‘regular season,’ the men from Mormon Country will be the slight favourites heading into the clash.

They set a league record by conceding only 20 goals this term and are currently on the crest of a 14-game unbeaten streak. Regardless of current form and momentum, the Salt Lakers will need to beware the attacking threat of Jamaica-born USA international Jeff Cunningham, whose pace can undo any defence.

The first series of games will be played over two legs (home and away) with the winners moving on to the one-off conference finals. The champion of MLS will be decided by another one-off match between the two conference winners in Toronto, Canada on 21 November.

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Remember Ronaldo?

Ronaldo, remember him?

No not the current Portuguese Ronaldo, the Brazilian Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was on target for Corinthians in a 1-1 draw against Flamengo but his goal was not enough to send his side clear at the top of the Braisleirao.

The veteran former Brazil striker opened the scoring on the half-hour mark but Diogo levelled matters a minute into the second half.

The point lifts Corinthians into a three-way tie at the top of the standings alongside Fluminense and Cruzeiro, although they have played a game more.

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Michael Owen Hints at Retirement

Michael Owen has hinted he will consider retiring if Manchester United don't offer him a new contract at the end of this season.

Owen's current deal expires at the end of the season and the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker has yet to be offered a new contract. The 30-year-old has endured an injury-ravaged time with United and is sidelined again at present due to a hamstring problem.

He has started just six league games since arriving at Old Trafford last year and with the emergence of young Mexico striker Javier Hernandez this season, Owen knows there is decent chance boss Sir Alex Ferguson will deem him surplus to requirements.

"I would honestly love to stay but you will have to ask the manager about the long term. I could score at this level for many years and would love it to be at a top club like United," Owen told The Sun.

"Whether I would want to be dropping down to a poorer Premier League team, I don't know. Yes I could score goals but I would probably get less opportunities and less enjoyment.

"I just don't feel my game is suited to a team that is really struggling. I won't drop down leagues. I have played in big teams before and played every game and I have played in a struggling team. I know which I prefer. When you play here, you play with quality.

"I was fit for most of last season but got the injury in the League Cup final. I'd like to play as much this season but this injury has been a kick in the teeth."
Owen, 30, is already looking towards his post-playing career and, although he is becoming more involved in horse racing as an owner, he revealed a move into management is a distinct possibility.

"I'm on my second stage of coaching badges and management is a real possibility," he said. "Horse racing will always be a big part of my life but, if there's a job going forward, it will be in football."

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Adidas Exchange Programme launches in West Africa

Between 27-29 October a three day workshop took place in Ghana to herald the start of the adidas Exchange Programme – West Africa. 

The programme is part of the FIFA Partners' Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programme, a collaboration between adidas and FIFA on CSR and implemented through Football for Hope, a movement led by FIFA and streetfootballworld, which uses the power of the game for social development.

The workshop featured two main elements: Coerver coaching and Capacity Development sessions:

Coerver coaching
High-quality football training is an important asset to any organisation active in the field of development through football. The Coerver Coaching seminar is implemented to provide coaches with an advanced football training course including practical and theoretical modules to improve the coaches' methods and skills. The seminar adds significant value to existing training curricula by further developing players' self-esteem, confidence, creativity and communication. By making training sessions more stimulating and enjoyable, projects are better equipped to attract, motivate and retain their participants.

Capacity Development sessions
Capacity development take place both with the help of external experts and among the organisations themselves. The programme entails a series of sessions, in which organisations work together to review existing practises, key factors of success and actions for improvement concerning a pre-identified areas of work. Experts on certain topics also provide additional knowledge for the participants.

Hopes for the future
The Opening Ceremony in Ghana attracted media, local officials and former football players. At the welcome address, Nana Sam Brew Butler, the Director of Play Soccer Ghana and the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at the Oguaa Football for Hope Center, said: “We are proud to host this very special event in our country and welcome everybody who has made the long way to come to Ghana and be our guest. The adidas Exchange Programme provides us with the opportunity to come together with our West African fellows who share our vision and who are also using football as a tool for social development. This event will us get closer together and discuss future West African networking possibilities and not to forget to learn from each other.”

The response was wholly positive. Ghana footballing legend and now General Secretary of the country’s Professional Footballers’ Association Anthony Baffoe responded: “This programme will be over after three days, but we are still going to be here. It is important that both the participating organisations and also the relevant sports and political authorities do what is necessary to follow up on the direct outcomes and commitments resulting from the exchange.”

The debut event in Bunso brought 13 organisations together for the first time to exchange knowledge and experiences, while receiving professional training in resource mobilisation and football coaching as well as advice on fundraising strategies. Further workshops are planned in the Middle East, India and South America between now and the end of November.

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by Marc Roseblade

Well, nice sentiment but not exactly the truth in the truest form.
Ayr United Football Academy did win the Scottish Cup, sadly though, only for a day.

The SFA recently ran a contest to win the Scottish Cup for a day. One of the Academy volunteers (me) entered and duly won it, the rest of course is history as the Cup winged its way down the M77 for a photo shoot with the AUFA players on Thursday night at Belmont Academy.

Most players from the Academy got themselves involved in getting up close and personal with the cup, after all its not every day you get yourself next to the oldest footballing trophy on the planet, and with much excitement surrounding the romance of this famous old trophy, everyone wanted to touch it and look for winning teams etched on its silvery stature.

The girls 11′s and 13′s sides were involved first and the players must have felt like it was a red carpet event as hoards of photo hungry parents filled the room to get shots of their daughters with the trophy. In some aspects, the parents appeared more overawed by the cup than the players did, maybe its an age thing but it did hold peoples attention for quite a while.

The 14′s also turned up for their shoot, kitted out in their AUFA refinery for a mock ‘We are the Champions of Scotland’ shot, hopefully with this memory, they can forge on and one day become the real champs of Scotland, holding the cup aloft at a packed Hampden park in front of 53,000 adoring fans.

The 15′s, fresh from training, also took the opportunity to sit aside the cup and the moment wasn’t lost on them as the silvery glow from the shiny trophy disappeared amongst a group of boys swarming round it like bees round honey all trying to find who won the cup the year they were born.

The 16′s who had a match that night also took part, posing like professionals in the aftermath of a glorious Scottish Cup victory, fixing their hair before the cameras started clicking away to capture a superb moment on celluloid that will forever live in their memories.

It was a night not to forget and with the images now stored in the photobanks of many computers worldwide, the night will always be remembered as the day that Ayr United players won and lifted the Scottish Cup.

aufa-photobox2-e1288042496527.jpgOfficial AUFA products are available on their photobox site with prints, fridge magnets, posters, t shirts, mousemats and many more items with photos from the night costing from only 50p.

Thanks go out to the SFA for allowing us this opportunity. Thanks also to (in no particular order) Ayr Advertiser, Ayrshire Post and Graeme Pollock Photography.

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Pirates Keep Busy Between League Matches

With the Pirates not having a competitive since 10th October and not another until 13th November, the motley crew would have been excused for resting on their laurels and taking some much needed RNR.

However they headed out on Tuesday evening for a friendly match against Fusion SC from Alvin to keep themselves sharp as a steel tipped dagger and made the Fusion side walk the plank with a 2 nil defeat bestowed upon them.

Pirate coach, Brendan Keyes, gave four new players and his fringe players the opportunity to show their metal on the field but although putting on a good show, coach Keyes once again had to rely on superstar goalscorer and club captain to show everyone how to finish of a move and put the ball in the back of the net.

Roy Hernandez
With 15 minutes remaining of a fiercely fought match left, Hernandez was pulled from the bench in order to break the deadlock and break the deadlock he did. Like Captain Blackbeard, he picked the lock to the golden chest and brought the golden pieces home.

The first of his two goals came courtesy of a great cross from Orlando Gomez with Captain Roy taking it nicely on his chest before volleying home into the top right hand corner of the goal.

Adam Montelongo
El Capitanos second resulted from a superb lobbed pass over the defence from 25 yards out by Adam Montelongo with Roy heading home easily for his incredible goal scoring tally for the season to reach 22.

Coach Keyes said afterwards, "It was a good run out for some newer players and fringe players we have at our disposal but ultimately we wanted to win the match and that's where Roy steps in. His two goals were beauties and he really showed he's a class act."

The Pirates still have 3 weeks to pillage some friendly matches though as their next league match comes on 13th November against the superstar academy from MLS side, Club America. That match will be a true test for the Galveston side but the date all Galveston have been waiting for is the day after, on the 14th, when Pirate SC will play their first SPSL league match at their home ground of Courville Stadium.

Tickets for Pirate Soccer Club home matches are on sale now at the following venues - Holiday Inn Resort, Strand Bar and Grill, Soccer time, Galveston Pirate SC or at the stadium gate, $10 entry.

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Rangers First Blood in Glasgow Old Firm Derby

The great divide
by Marc Roseblade

That's it all over folks, the first Old Firm match has come and gone.

Both teams came into this match with 100% win record so far this season in the SPL so something had to give, even if it ended a draw.

With a record 8 wins apiece, both managers knew this match would set the men apart from the bhoys and so it did with the Ibrox side winning by 3 goals to 1 over their east end rivals.

The touchpaper had been set alight right from the start after an early booking for Anthony Stokes and Rangers started brightly after Whittaker struck the post with a superb strike from outside the box. Celtic's Maloney had to leave the park injured early on after a clash of heads with Mexican Juarez taking his place in his first Old Firm match.

Hooper has scored 6 in 6 for Celtic
It was Celtic who would take the lead though, right on the stroke of half time after an in swinging corner was met at the back post by an unmarked Hooper who fired in from 3 yards out. Neil Lennon, the players and Celtic fans went ballistic at getting the opening goal with Rangers barely getting time to take the restart before the ref blew for half time.

It was the stereotypical sucker punch that every teams wants just before the 45 minute mark with the TVs commentary team having the match won for the home side at this point.

Lafferty & Miller celebrate
Walter Smith's men had other ideas and started the 2nd half with a belief and passion that would take them on to eventually win the match. Only 2 minutes into the half, Rangers were to equalise through a Kyle Lafferty strike that took a deflection of a Celtic defender on its way into the net.
Miller acts like a teapot

Within 10 minutes, Rangers added their second after some nice play ended with Kenny Miller slotting past Celtics keeper Forster and the game was put beyond doubt when Kirk Broadfoot went down in the box to earn the Rangers side a controversial penalty which Kenny Miller fired into the back of the net to give his side an unassailable lead. It was the 2nd time in a week Celtic were involved in a controversial penalty incident, both times losing out and there will undoubtedly be a Spanish inquisition down Parkhead way this week over this.

Rangers defence were never going to concede another couple of goals to throw away the points let alone three goals to give Celtic the win, after all, Rangers have been stoic in defence this season against both Man United and Valencia who are better sides than Celtic are.

Celtic were to get more opportunities but time passed without the back of the net bulging and the ref brought the match to an end with the Ibrox side the only team now left in the SPL with a 100% win record. This win also gives Walter Smiths side the best start to a season since 1921.

Both clubs now go forward into midweek matches in the CIS league cup hoping to progress to the semi finals of the competition.

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The Rooney Ruckas

Wayne Rooney, one of the best strikers of the round ball on the planet, wants to leave one of the best football teams on the planet, managed by arguably 'THE' best manager on the planet. So what' wrong?

Rooney has stated that his reason for wanting to quit the Manchester United is their lack of spending which ultimately doesn't equal my ambition.

Does this mean United are a spent force unable to compete in either England or Europe and like a stone gathering moss will become stagnant and not have the ability to purchase world stars of the Rooney calibre ever again?

Seems unlikely and more the words of football agents who have secured deals elsewhere for the 24 year old who would be allowed to move on a Bosman when his current deal expires in the summer of 2012.

Many words have been spoken over the past couple of days about this saga and it looks likely he will move sooner rather than later in order for Man Utd to maximise the transfer fee, wait any longer and you'll visibly see the transfer pounds fall of him.

Wait until the last possible minute and he walk for free which if happens, could beg the question if another party have offered him huge transfer fee amounts of money to stay on and run out his time in order for a club to get him on a Bosman and pay him and his agent all the original transfer fee instead of United.

There is always the chance that a deal is struck with Rooney to keep him at the club and could have been a way for the deal makers to up the ante in terms of weekly pay from his already reputed £150,000 a week, however if past conflicts within the Old Trafford dressing rooms can tell us anything, its that Sir Alex will not back down from an out in the open ridicule of his club and as the old saying goes, there is no one bigger than the club.

Only time will tell and it may end up a storm in teacup.....teacup, that's a recollection that Mr Beckham could have done without!

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Raul, The Best Striker In UEFA Competition, EVER!

Raul is by far the best striker in the World, bar none. He has shown his scoring ability time after time and now has the plaudits and title he deserves as the best EVER in Europe.

Dedication, a long career and no small amount of skill are what you need if you want to be a record breaker. Raúl González's brace for FC Schalke 04 in Wednesday's 3-1 win against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC eased him clear of AC Milan's Filippo Inzaghi as the outright top scorer in UEFA club competition.

Raúl's personal haul now reaches 70, with 68 of those strikes coming in the UEFA Champions League. The 33-year-old's move to Germany appears to have given the former Spanish international a new lease of life. Two expert finishes, one with either foot, sent the Arena AufSchalke into raptures as the Real Madrid CF great netted his first European goals for the Bundesliga side.

Raúl has been there, done that, and won it all, yet scoring in the UEFA Champions League has lost none of its lustre for the much-garlanded forward. He said: "I never imagined I would get so many goals in a competition like the Champions League, and even for me this is really special. I won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid, but today is a great day because I scored my first two Champions League goals for Schalke."

José Manuel Jurado created his compatriot's third-minute opener, and also contributed a delightful curled goal on 68 minutes to cap a magnificent individual display, yet his first thought was for his illustrious colleague. "I'm happy for my mate Raúl who scored historic goals," former Club Atlético de Madrid player Jurado told "I think this is important, and people in Spain will be happy too. I have not checked my phone, but there will probably be some text messages to scroll through."

Such is the potency of the attacking triumvirate formed by the two Spaniards and Dutch international Klaas-Jan Huntelaar – who narrowly failed to score for the ninth game running for club and country – that Raúl was unable to hide the extent of the Bundesliga strugglers' European ambitions: "We have two weeks to prepare for the next match against [Hapoel] and have a good chance of getting into the next stage."

Jurado added: "Myself, Raul and Klaas-Jan are playing really well together. Huntelaar is scoring loads of goals in the Bundesliga and Raúl and me got on the scoresheet here. Our understanding is getting better and better."

Hapoel managed a late consolation through Etey Shechter but that was little comfort for goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who had notched the Israeli club's only previous UEFA Champions League goal this term – a penalty – in the 3-1 home defeat by Olympique Lyonnais.

The Nigerian international said: "I just wish I could have helped the team more. Today I was not that up to the task. We just hope we can take points from the game against Schalke in Israel. We are novices on the European scene and are on a steep learning curve."

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Inter 4 Gareth Bale 3

Bale's hat trick may just have alerted Europes top clubs to his whereabouts and ability but he was in no mood to celebrate.

He may have just scored a hat-trick in one of Europe's most famous stadiums but Gareth Bale was in no mood to accept personal plaudits after his ten-man Tottenham Hotspur FC team lost 4-3 to UEFA Champions League holders FC Internazionale Milano.

The north Londoners had gone 4-0 down by half-time at San Siro following a torrid first half in which goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was dismissed after eight minutes for bringing down Jonathan Biabiany. Yet Bale, irrepressible throughout down the left, reduced the Premier League club's arrears early in the second half after a superb solo run and completed his treble with two equally emphatic stoppage-time strikes.

Any joy at his individual achievement, however, was tinged with regret at the way Harry Redknapp's side had begun the Group A fixture. "It's hugely disappointing," said the left-winger when asked about his feat. "The result is what matters to us and it was massively disappointing so we want to put that right next time."

Of Tottenham's nightmare opening, when they fell three goals behind inside 14 minutes, the 21-year-old Welsh international explained: "We started off sloppy and paid the price in the first half but with ten men we showed what a good team we are. If we had 11 men on the field it could have been a different game."

Nevertheless, Bale drew encouragement from how Tottenham caused the Serie A champions problems after the restart despite their numerical disadvantage. He is confident of a different outcome when the sides meet again on 2 November.

"A lot of positives came out of the second half. We kept the ball well with ten men and hopefully back at White Hart Lane we can do a better job and get a victory," said the former Southampton FC full-back, who scored all his goals with his favoured left foot.

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Rangers' European Adventure Continues

Glasgow Rangers managed the almost seemingly impossible last night as they walked away from Ibrox with a draw against Spanish Giants, Valencia.

by Marc Roseblade

Ian Durrant had stated midweek on his scouting mission that Valencia were the best counter attacking team he had ever seen but on last nights viewing, I would say Rangers were better on the night at that particular tactic.

In their first Champions League match against Manchester United, many had criticised Walter Smith for the 'Park the bus' tactic employed at Old Trafford but last nights match was not in the same vein as Rangers stormed there way through this match and should have won it by a comfortable margin it has to be said.

Although Valencia were the more technically gifted side of the two on the night, Rangers showed glimpses of 'Swagger' as they harried and hurried the Spanish players, sometimes knocking the Spaniards out of tune of there normal style of play.

However it didn't start off that way as Valencia controlled the ball for the first 10 or 15 minutes quite easily without the Scottish Champions getting much ball time. This was to be a theme for the evening as the possessional play and passing percentage of the visitors ended up double that of their hosts.

Steven Naismith, who has been on a rich vein of form and goalscoring recently, should have opened the scoring when a neat lob over the defence left him with a chance to tap it past the keeper but tap it he did, barely, and the chance was gone. No one could believe he had some much space and missed the opportunity but it gave the Ibrox faithful hope that they could actually get something form this match.

However up stepped American, Maurice Edu, who wouldn't have played had Lee McCulloch been fit ironically, to head in from a corner to give his side the lead but he took a knock to the face for his efforts and remained on the ground for a couple of minutes receiving treatment.

Edu Rangers goal
Valencia suddenly realised they weren't to have it all their own way and the cool slow methodical passing that we had seen up to that point was replaced by fast, slick passes, moving the ball about much quicker than they had previously.

Edu own goal
Rangers missed chance after chance during the game, Kenny Miller, so often the goalscorer this season, missed a couple of excellent opportunities and this was to be punished when Valencia scored 46 seconds into the second half when Rangers goalscorer, Edu, scored again, in the same net, same corner, same header, wrong team. Edu had unfortunately tried to clear the ball but somehow managed to head it goalward that left McGregor no chance of saving.

The American was having a great game apart from that mishap, he was everywhere on the park, even hitting the post in the first half with a belter of a shot that was unfortunately hit over the bar on the rebound by Miller.

Steven Naismith had another glorious effort missed when a carbon copy of his earlier opportunity arose and again he failed to hit the target.

The night was to end as a draw though but most of the Rangers fans would have took a draw before the game commenced. Their next match takes them to the Camp de Mestalla with many expecting the 'Bus' to reappear but on the form they showed tonight, Rangers are a match for the counter attacking Valencia side and a win or draw would surely see them through into the next round of the Champions League.

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