BY DAN KARELL
Sir Alex Ferguson was so furious at referee Cuneyt Cakir’s decision to send off Nani that the Manchester United manager did not attend his own post-match press conference, instead sending assistant coach Mike Phelan to meet with the media.
Nani’s controversial dismissal in the 56th minute turned the match, which had been in United’s favor, over to Real Madrid, who would score two goals in two minutes from the feet of Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo, and eventually hold on to win on aggregate 3-2. The English club did do their best to mount a comeback, but Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez made a couple of brilliant saves to keep the tie in the Spanish club’s favor.
As Cakir blew for full-time, Ferguson walked up to the Turkish official, who by day works in insurance, and gave him a few choice words, before walking off without nary a glance at any of the players on the pitch. UEFA is considering taking action on the long-time United boss for his actions towards the fourth official during the match, and referee afterwards.
Here are some more stories to get your Wednesday started:
DORTMUND DOMINATE SHAKHTAR, MOVE ON IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
While much of the world watched Real Madrid battle with Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund kept their Champions League dreams alive with a commanding 3-0 victory (5-2 agg) over Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.
The two sides drew 2-2 in Ukraine in the first leg, but Dortmund were determined from early on to write a different script at home in the second leg. Goals from Felipe Santana – filling in for Mats Hummels in defense – in the 31st minute, and Mario Goetze in the 37th all but condemned the visitors exit of the competition. A goal from Jakub Blaszczykowski into an open net was the ribbon on the Champions League gift that Borussia had made for themselves.
Manager Jurgen Klopp, who has guided his side to the quarterfinals for the first team since 1998, stated that he was enjoying the moment, and thinks Borussia could make it to the semifinals as well. Forward Robert Lewandowski said after the match that he believes they could even make it to the finals.
REINA PLEADS TO LIVERPOOL FOR SUMMER SIGNINGS
During a difficult first season under Brendan Rodgers, where injuries, inexperience, and poor play have left Liverpool in seventh-place in the Premier League, goalkeeper Pepe Reina is determined to work his way out of it. But not without some help from those above him.
The Spanish international has urged the Liverpool owners to spend money this summer, and bring in a few signings that could get the squad back into the Champions League picture. It was only in 2005 that Liverpool won the competition, but poor management and the rise of Manchester City has left the Merseyside club on the outside looking in.
It’s speculative to say the least whether Liverpool could spend enough money to bolster the squad with top players, after last week’s news on the club’s rising debt was released. In the meantime, recent signings Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have had big impacts on the squad so far, and look to be well worth the money spent.
GREMIO PUTS A BEATING ON CARACAS IN COPA LIB
Brazilian club Gremio’s veteran side have continued their winning ways in the Copa Libertadores, with a 4-1 victory over Venezuelan side Caracas FC. Striker Hernan Barcos got the ball rolling for Gremio with a close range strike in the 16th minute, after Caracas goalkeeper Alain Baroja dropped the ball in his own six yard box. Werley followed with a great header into the near post in the 38th minute for the second goal, and the 38-year-old Ze Roberto scored the third goal of the match seven minutes into the second half, when he beautifully rounded the keeper and slotted into an empty net.
Caracas would score one back in the 60th minute off a header from Andres Sanchez, but Ze Roberto would assume command of the game once more with a close range tap in, after a bullet cross from his teammate Para.
Gremio now sit atop Group 8 with Brazilian side Fluminense, each of them with six points from three matches. With the loss, Caracas slips to third-place in the group.
Elsewhere in South America, Chilean club Universidad de Chile condemned Newell’s Old Boys of Argentina to their second successive Copa Libertadores defeat, by a score of 2-1, moving the Chilean side to the top of Group 7. Paraguayan club Olimpia tied Venezuela’s Deportivo Lara 2-2, putting them in second and third-place, respectively in the group.
In the two other matches on Tuesday evening, Fredy Montero and Millonarios of Colombia defeated San Jose of Bolvia 2-1, and Ecuadorian side Emelec got revenge for their previous loss to Chilean newcomers Deportes Iquique, winning this match 2-1.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, who previously got into trouble by admitting his concern over the Brazil stadium situations, has said again that he is worried about the Maracana’s progress to be ready by this summer’s Confederations Cup. (REPORT)
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has signed a four-year contract extension. (REPORT)
Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has announced his squad for two upcoming friendlies against Italy and Russia, with Kaka and Fred returning to the squad and Adriano and Ronaldinho being dropped. (REPORT)
French champions Montpellier are interested in opening talks with Diego Maradona to be the club’s next manager. (REPORT)
Arsenal have been linked with Swansea centerback Ashley Williams, in an £8 million move this summer. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you see UEFA taking action against Ferguson? Do you see Dortmund having the quality to make the final? Interested in seeing Maradona back in management?
Share your thoughts below.