If you can't get excited about the NIT of soccer, the Europa League, I just don't know what to tell you. It's kind of like NFL Europa used to be, only better. This tournament had its round of 32 on Thursday, and here's some of the notable results:
- AS Roma went down 3-2 again to Panathinaikos, this time at home, and Djibril Cisse's team will be advancing to the round of 16. The French forward scored his second and third goals of this matchup.
- Juventus and Ajax dribbled to a 0-0 draw in Torino, giving Juve the 2-1 win on the aggregate.
- Everton has been riding a wave of cubby magic in the Premier League lately, knocking off both Man U and Chelsea recently. Apparently they had nothing left for European play, as they went to Lisbon with a 2-1 lead over Sporting, and took a 3-0 whooping to knock them out of the tournament.
- Valencia was upset by Belgian club Brugge in the first leg of their matchup, but in Leg 2 came away with a 3-0 win, with 2 goals coming in extra time from Pablo Hernandez.
- Liverpool's other club, Liverpool, is the only Premier League team left in this consolation tournament. Things got a little unsettling when they fell behind early in the second leg of their match with Unirea Urzecini, which evened up the aggregate, but Liverpool stormed back with 3 goals to drive a stake thru the heart of the Romanians.
- What would happen if Tiger Woods golfed against the ex-boyfriend of that Perkins waitress he was boinking? It might have looked something like Saturday's heavily anticipated Man City v. Chelsea matchup, featuring the cuckolded Wayne Bridge against mohawked cuckolder John Terry. Wayne Bridge and his inadequate penis got their revenge, as City ambushed Chelsea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge. 2 goals apiece for Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy, while Frank Lampard had 2 for a losing Chelsea team that was down to 9 players by the end of the match. 2 losses and an injury to their goalkeeper adds up to a pretty bad week for Chelsea.
- And if that weren't bad enough, here comes Arsenal out of nowhere to make it a 3 team race again. The Gunners continued to close ground on Saturday, closing to within 3 points of the lead with a 3-1 win at a game Stoke City club, who was 1-1 with Arsenal in the 90th minute before giving up a pair of late goals.
- In La Liga, Barca and Real Madrid both held serve. Barca got a late goal from Lionel Messi to get a hard fought 2-1 win at home against Malaga, while Real put on a show at Tenerife, winning 5-1 with 2 goals from Gonzalo Higuain, and goals from Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Raul. Barca stays 2 points ahead of Real.
- The Bundesliga has acquitted itself pretty well in the Champions League, and Bayer Leverkusen has led it most of the year. They remain unbeaten following a 0-0 draw with Cologne, but Bayern Munich has now overtaken them for the lead.
- Ligue 1 remains a tight race. Montpellier moved into a tie with Bordeaux with a 3-1 win over Rennes. Perennial champs Lyon are charging hard though, they trail by 2 points after a 2-0 win against visiting Nice.
- If the Europa League is the NIT of soccer, surely the Carling Cup is on a par with the CBI. Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney had the goals as Man U retained with a 2-1 win in the final over Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium.
- 2 of the teams in the race for 4th in the Premier League won to keep pace with Man City on Sunday. The red hot Roman Pavluchenko (six goals in 4 games) tallied again as Spurs held off Everton 2-1, thanks in part to Landon Donovan missing an open net for the Toffees. Liverpool remains one point back of Spurs and Man City following a 2-1 win over Blackburn, with Fernando Torres getting the winning goal.
- The Old Firm tangled on Sunday, with Rangers coming away with a 1-0 win that pretty much salts away the Scottish league for them. Celtic captain Scott Brown was sent off in minute 50 for a Zidane-esqe headbutt, and Maurice Edu had the winning goal late in the match. Celtic fans interrupted a moment of silence for former Rangers keeper Gary Neef who passed away this week. Classy!
- Valencia's hold on 3rd place and an automatic spot in the group stage of the Champions League got a little more tenuous after they took a 4-1 pounding at Atletico Madrid. 4th place Sevilla missed a chance to make up ground though, when they could manage only a 0-0 tie against Atletico Bilbao. They trail Valencia by 3 points.
- Inter was bound for a letdown after their huge Champions League win over Chelsea last week, and indeed they struggled on Sunday, but still managed to come away with a 3-2 win at Udinese. Alberto Diego Milito had his 15th goal of the season for Inter. AC Milan is in second, 4 points back. They beat Atalanta 3-1 behind 2 goals from Pato, who left the match with an injury after his goals. 3rd place AS Roma failed to keep pace, Napoli's Marek Hamsik drilled home a tying penalty kick at the end of the match. Palermo vaulted into 4th place with a huge 2-0 win at Juventus. It was Juve's first loss under new coach Alberto Zaccheroni, but the loss drops them out of the 4th and final Champions League spot in Serie A.
- As mentioned earlier, Bayern Munich took over the Bundesliga lead this weekend. They beat Hamburg 1-0 on Sunday with a goal from Frank Ribery.
- Checking in with Los PDM, Chivas is ruling the league with a perfect 8-0-0 record. They've been led by 21 year old Javier Hernandez Balcazar, who has 8 goals. Monterrey and Santos are the other division leaders, while Morelia is also off to a good start at 5-2-1.