Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Games of the Week #1 - 2014-15

Welcome to my first games' of the week of 2014-15. Today's games include:

  1. Aberdeen vs Dundee United (Scottish Premiership)
  2. The Rangers vs Heart of Midlothian (Scottish Championship)
  3. Stade de Reims vs Paris Saint Germain (Ligue 1)

Aberdeen 0-3 Dundee United

Pittodrie, Att: 16471

The top game on the card on the opening weekend of the Premiership had to be the New Firm derby between Dundee United and Aberdeen. Both sides are seen as the only clubs who could possibly challenge Celtic for top spot in Scotland. Aberdeen probably had the edge of playing six competitive matches in Europe before this one.

In the 23rd minute after a clearance by United left-back Townsend, Ash Taylor lost his balance and a soft pass back to Jamie Langfield was met by Ryan Dow and the United midfielder rounded the keeper and scored to make it 1-0. Almost straight after the kick-off Barry Robson's cross found Cierzniak, who punched the ball away, only to find nearby Niall McGinn, his effort ricocheted of the base of the post and was an inch from being the equaliser. Bang on half time, Dundee United put their counter-attacking skills to the test as  Stuart Armstrong out muscled Willo Flood to give the Tangerines a 3 on 4 situation. Nadir CĂ­ftci's through ball found Gary Mackay-Steven 15 yards out, for him to slot the ball past Langfield to give United their second. Five minutes into the second half, Aberdeen were claiming for a penalty as David Goodwillie's cross touched the arm of Conor Townsend, but it didn't seem much more than an innocent ball to hand.  On the counter, United looked dangerous again as Dow released Ciftci, but after going past two defenders the effort was well wide of the goal. The Turkish striker had another go at goal, two minutes later when his powerful shot was saved by a commanding Jamie Langfield. United sealed the 3 points in the 90th minute, when Mario Bilate surging run to the byline teed-up Chris Erskine to make it 3-0.

MOTM:  Callum Morris

The Rangers 1-2 Heart of Midlothian

Ibrox Stadium, Att: 43683

The Scottish Championship will be the first real test Ally McCoist has, as manager of The Rangers, the last two years have been plain sailing playing against part-time sides like Brechin and Stenhousemuir, respectively. Hearts look stronger after exiting administration and with Craig Levain as director of Football he could steer them back up to the Premiership.

The Rangers had the better of the chances of the first half that included Alim Ozturk's back pass which caught Neil Alexander out, and nearly let a keen Kris Boyd in but the ex-Rangers Goalkeeper recovered to keep the scores level. The worst miss of them all was after 19 minutes when a Kenny Miller shot was deflected and David Templeton headed the ball sailing over an empty net from 5 yards out.  The home side payed for their missed chances in the second half, as after 53 minutes Billy King's corner was headed in by Danny Wilson to give the Edinburgh men the advantage. The away side suffered a significant blow when Neil Alexander was injured, as Nick Law's free kick was caught by the ex-Scotland player but he was he bundled into his own player in the process. After pressure it looked like they would hold out for a win against the Glasgow club, but in stoppage time Kenny Miller's header found Nicky Law who bundled it into the back of  the net, to surely take a draw for the Ibrox club. However, the Rangers were given a taste of their own medicine straight from kick-off as Sam Nicholson's pass found Osman Sow, who slotted the ball past Cammy Bell to give Hearts the win with the last kick of the ball.

MoTM: Neil Alexander

Stade de Reims 2-2 Paris Saint Germain

The French champions kicked-off the French season in Reims, and it took 7 minutes before PSG were winning thanks to a goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic as his shot from 12 yards out beat the Reims goalkeeper, Johny Placide. Ten minutes later, Marcus Verratti let the Swed score into an empty net, but somehow Zlatan hit the post. A couple of minutes later, PSG were awarded a penalty, when Zlatan went down in the box. The veteran Swed stepped up but the penalty was saved by the Reims goalie. However Reims, quickly retaliated with a goal of their own, 22 minutes in, as Diego's free kick was deflected off Lucas Moura and was knocked in by Prince Oniangue, from close range. Twelve minutes later, the home side scored again as Anton Devaux and Gaetan Charbonnier's play led to the former scoring and leading Reims into a half-time lead. The home side, had a chance to double their lead, after the break when Diego forced a great save from Sirigu as his 30 yard effort was looking to go into the top corner. Just after the hour mark, PSG equalised as Zlatan Ibrahimovic's cross was knocked in by the Reims goalkeeper. It was a story of what might have been for the hosts if it wasn't for Placide's blunder but that will be a vital point for them in the season ahead.
MOTM: Diego

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