- So I was gone this past weekend as you know. Conveniently enough, pretty much next to nothing happened in either version of football. A quick rundown on the minor goings on:
- A late goal from Stilyan Petrov staved off elimination in the 5th round of the FA Cup for Aston Villa, they will face Crystal Palace in a replay on Wednesday. Palace is playing to pay off their debts and the replay serves them good as they will get a fat payout for it. It's kind of like Herschel Krustofsky's Clown Related Entertainment Show after he got busted by the IRS.
- Chelsea, Portsmouth, Birmingham City, and Fulham have all advanced to the FA Cup Quarterfinals.
- Barcelona is no longer unbeaten in La Liga. Atletico Madrid nipped them 2-1 on Sunday. Barca's lead over second place Real Madrid is now just 2 points, as Real closed the gap with a 3-0 pounding of last place Xerez behind 2 goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, who was returning from suspension for throwin' elbows a few weeks back.
- An uneventful weekend in Serie A. First place Inter muddled to a scoreless draw at Napoli. Napoli sits in 4th place six points back of AC Milan, who they have an outside chance of catching for the 3rd and final Champions League spot in Serie A. Juventus got their first win under their new coach, Alberto Zaccheroni, as a Alessandro Del Piero PK gave them a 3-2 win over Genoa.
--OK now that we've got all that out of the way, today we had our first matches in the Champions League Round of 16.
AT AC MILAN 2, MANCHESTER UNITED 3
Well, this one didn't disappoint. Ronaldinho opened the scoring in the third minute, putting one home on a play initiated off a David Beckham set piece to put Milan up 1-0 early. Milan continued to dominate the action early, generating a bunch of scoring chances.
None of them were successful, but a freakish goal by Paul Scholes scored with his enchanted left shin after he wiffed with his right foot tied things up at 1 in the 36th minute.
Wayne Rooney, who is having a career year and might be the best player in the world right now, took over after that. He headed one home in the 66th minute to put Man U up, then made it 3-1 with another goal just 8 minutes later. Milan got a a late goal from Clarence Seedorf to make it 3-2. Might turn out to be a big one since this series is won or lost on aggregate goals, might not.
AT LYON 1, REAL MADRID 0
wOwww Patrick, your team got beat by the fourth place team in the French league.
That's what Real Madrid usually does though, nobody gets knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 like they do. They've done it 5 years in a row and now are working on a sixth. Jean Makoun, who has un goal in 19 Ligue 1 matches this year, had the game's lone tally.
- Tomorrow it's Fiorentina, who somehow is still alive in this thing despite being in 11th place in Serie A and winless in their last 5 matches, visting Bayern Munich, who hasn't lost since Bordeaux beat them in the group stage on Nov 3. A very banged up (missing 5 regulars) Arsenal travels to Portugal to take on a mysterious Porto squad led by someone named "Hulk", one name.
- The Bengals had some reasonable amount of success with their NFL halfway house program last year, so in keeping with that they signed former Jags WR and cocaine enthusiast Matt Jones, and worked out rainmaking sociopath Pacman Jones.
- Some bizarre goings on in Miami. Joey Porter, who just 2 seasons ago had 17 1/2 sacks to lead the league, and still had a pretty good year with 9 sacks last year despite being unhappy and in a reduced role, was released by the Dolphins. Then he was un-released with the Dolphins saying it was not a "valid termination". Anybody want a guy who has had 26 1/2 sacks in the last 2 years? If I'm a GM I'm thinking I kinda do.