Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Baichung sizzles with brace in all-star ‘Goal 4 Africa’ match

July 13, 2008

Baichung Bhutia sizzled on a starry night with a spectacular brace in the ‘Goal 4 Africa’ charity match between two all-star international teams at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

Playing for the ‘Edu’ team under the captaincy of Dutch star Clarence Seedorf in number 30 white jersey, Baichung scored in the 28th and 68th minutes though for a lost cause as the Michael Ballack-led ‘Cation’ side won the match 9-6 at the Bayern Munich home ground late on Saturday night.

Baichung Bhutia

Baichung Bhutia

The match, the first event of a two-year programme aimed at raising 90 million Euros and inspired by Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela’s dream of ‘Education for all — all for education’, however, lost much of the sheen with several top international stars missing out of it.

Brazilian stars Kaka and Ronaldo¬†, Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy¬†, England midfielder Steven Gerrard and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba did not turn up, nor were there Samuel Eto’o, Michael Essien, Emanuel Adebayor, Paolo Maldini and Andrea Shevchenko who were listed to play in the match.

Arsenal’s Robin van Persie, AC Milan goalkeeper Nelson Dida, Dutch star Mark van Bommel, Italian World Cup winner Gennaro Gattuso¬† and Bayern Munich’s Ze Roberto were the few big names besides Ballack and Seedorf.

Bayern coach and former German striker Jurgen Klinsmann and former Brazilian star Zico kicked off the match in the absence of all-time greats Pele and Michael Platini.

Playing alongside some of the best in the business, Baichung, who played the entire duration of the match, was in the thick of action as early as the fourth minute but his shot went straight to Dida. Another shot in the 24th minute from a one-to-one with Formula One legend Michael Schumacher produced the same result.

The Indian captain, who came here from Portugal where his national team is undergoing a training-cum-exposure tour, was fouled by Gattuso in the 12th and 14th minutes and Seedorf missed from the resultant free kick from the latter.

In the 28th minute, Baichung made the scoreline 3-3 with a beauty of a goal. He coolly chested down a Nigel de Jong aerial pass from the left and blasted a first time left-footed half volley and Dida had no chance to stop it.

Towards the half time, Baichung got a couple of chances but failed to find the target.

First in the 38th minute, he could not beat Dida after being fed by Schumacher and a minute later his right footer on the run from another fine pass from the German ballooned inches over the near post.

Three minutes after the changeover, Seedorf fed Baichung on the clear and the Mohun Bagan striker’s right footer beat the substitute goalkeeper Kasey Keller but missed the upright by inches.

Baichung also initiated Schumacher’s only goal of the match in the 64th minute with the Sikkimese Sniper sending a defence-splitting pass to Seedorf who set up the German to tap the ball into the net.

Four minutes later, Seedorf was alone with the opposition goalkeeper and the Dutch star instead of scoring himself sent a parallel pass to Baichung who had all the time in the world to just tap the ball into an empty net for his second goal.

Courtesy :- Rediff

Inspiring Ivan Klasnic is the real comeback HERO

June 18, 2008

Ivan KlasnicTHERE’S been a lot of talk of brave comebacks at the European Championships but, with all due respect to Turkey and their remarkable recovery against the Czech Republic, it pales in comparison to Ivan Klasnic’s own personal battle against the odds.

In January 2007, the Werder Bremen striker was diagnosed with kidney failure and rushed into hospital for a life-saving transplant from his very generous mother. Unfortunately, the Croatian striker’s body wasn’t having anything to do with Mrs Klasnic’s cast-offs and promptly rejected it.

OPERATION

A second operation was carried out, this time with Mr Klasnic senior’s kidney coming on as a late substitute and, thankfully, reaching some kind of accord with his son’s body.

Most people would consider such an episode a very good reason to go into early retirement, but not this young man.

Klasnic returned to training in under six months, was back in the team a month before last Christmas and, last night in Klagenfurt, slammed home the winning goal for his country giving Croatia maximum points in Group B.

All of which, I’m sure you’ll agree, puts those three Turkish goals and football itself, firmly into perspective.

If Poland had shown just a fraction of Klasnic’s determination and bravery, they might have left these Championships with their heads held high. Instead, they sloped off into the night having shrugged their shoulders at the slight chance of qualification and played out time against Croatia’s second string.

The Werder Bremen striker Klasnic, 28, became the first man to play and score at a major football tournament after a kidney transplant. Only very few sportsmen in general have returned to action after such an operation.

“The man who did not give up after pessimistic forecasts and two kidney transplants,” the Index portal says above an interview with Klasnic.

“I’m so happy I was allowed to play again. This miracle that I could runout onto the pitch is my second life in football,” Klasnic said. Hail the real hero….