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FC Barcelona finished pre-season with a 2-0 victory over Romanian side Dinamo Bucharest with the goals coming courtesy of a typically composed finish from Lionel Messi and a delightful (Messi-esque) chip from Ibrahim Afellay wear nike soccer cleats. The Blaugrana dominated proceedings at the National Arena in Bucharest, and on another night they could have scored so many more. The win ensured that Barcelona ended their pre-season unbeaten, but the big news comes in the shape of a long-awaited return to action for David Villa, who played 20 minutes in his comeback from a broken leg. The big news prior to kick-off involved David Villa wear adidas f50 adizero trx, who was ruled fit enough for a place on the bench, paving the way for his potential return from injury. There were also a few surprises in Tito's starting XI, as Dani Alves started at right-back despite missing training during the week with a slight knock, while Jordi Alba made his first start for the club. All in all, it was a very strong line-up, and save for Marc Bartra and potentially Cesc Fàbregas, it might just be the strongest XI at Tito's disposal, and it didn't take long for Barcelona's superiority to show. Just four minutes into the match and the Blaugrana broke the deadlock. Barcelona were looking comfortable in possession, using the ball well in the opening stages of the game, but it was their attitude off the ball that created the goal. A Dinamo defender was dallying in possession, so Alexis Sanchez moved in to nick the ball away and make the pass to Messi wear adidas soccer cleats. It may well have been Leo's first touch of the game, but it wasn't going to make a difference as La Pulga dropped a shoulder to shake off the challenge of Grigore and curled a left-footed shot into the far corner of the net. After going 90 minutes against Manchester United without scoring, the goal was a huge boost. Minutes later Sanchez was at it again, pressuring the Dinamo keeper into a poor clearance, and then moments later he turned creator once more, beating his man on the left to send in a low cross, but Messi couldn't keep his effort down. Messi also had another chance on the 16th minute after good work on the left-flank by Jordi Alba, but having controlled Alba wear nike mercurial vapor viii driven cross, Messi couldn't engineer enough space for a decent effort on goal. Heavily favouring the left-hand side of the field, Barca were creating chance after chance against a shaky Dinamo defense with Alexis Sanchez causing the most problems with his relentless pressing. Dinamo quite simply couldn't cope with Barcelona's creativity and the sheer number of bodies that they were committing to each attack, and Messi had yet another chance to extend Barca's lead. Playing a one-two with childhood teammate Cesc Fabregas wear nike ctr360 maestri ii elite, Messi tried to catch the keeper off-guard at the near post, but he could only find the side-netting. Around the 35 minute mark, Pedro and Alexis swapped wings meaning that Pedro could try his luck down the left-hand side. Just like with Sanchez, Alba built up an instant rapport with his compatriot, freeing him with a delightful lobbed pass, but on that occasion, Pedro's control deserted him. However, when Alba played Pedro in again just minutes later, his control was better, but this time his finishing was a little off as he swerved his shot wide of the far post. Pedro turned creator for Barcelona's next chance, playing the ball into the six-yard box towards Dani Alves wear adidas adiPower predator, but under pressure from the Dinamo defense, the Brazilian couldn't divert the ball goal-wards. It was the final chance of an impressive first-half showing from the Catalans, but heading into the break, it was only 1-0 to Barcelona. As we have grown accustomed to in Barcelona's pre-season matches, Tito utilised the half-time break to make a number of changes as Martin Montoya, Javier Mascherano wear nike mercurial vapor superfly iii, Adriano, Sergi Roberto, Andres Iniesta and Ibrahim Afellay all took the field with Dani Alves, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Fabregas and Alexis all making way. That meant that Sergi Roberto was at pivote, presumably with a view to judging whether or not Barca needs to sign a new midfielder in the coming weeks. Dinamo started the second half, forcing a corner and a good save out of Victor Valdes, although they were going to have to improve further if they were to salvage a result out of the game. The half-time subs had affected Barcelona's rhythm so it took them a good 15-20 minutes to get back into their stride, but when they did, the chances started to come in thick and fast once again. Iniesta had a chance to double the lead with a lob over the Dinamo keeper, although somewhat uncharacteristically his technique was lacking and he lifted the effort well over the bar. This was around the hour mark, and Tito took this as a signal to make yet more substitutions as Ilie, Cristian Tello and Andreu Fontas wear nike total 90 laser iv were brought (for Xavi, Pedro and Bartra) on with the latter making his return after seven months out with a knee injury. Tello made an instant impact, straying offside within seconds of arriving on the field. Barcelona nearly created another chance, and it won't surprise you to know that Messi and Iniesta were the players involved. The Argentine fed Iniesta, who was positioned on the edge of the Dinamo box, and shielding the ball from the challenge of a defender, Andres played it back to Messi with a superb back-heel. Leo was tackled before he could get his shot off, but it was a good move from the Blaugrana wear adidas adipure 11pro. Then, with a little over 15 minutes remaining, David Villa returned to the field. Sidelined since December with a broken leg, he replaced Sergi Roberto (who may or may not be injured) to a good ovation from the Romanian crowd. It was great to see El Guaje back, even if he couldn't seal his comeback with a goal. Rafinha replaced Lionel Messi with 76 minutes on the clock which coincidentally allowed Villa the space he needed to play a one-two and even if he ran out of space to control the return pass, it was promising play nonetheless. Ibi forced a good save from the Dinamo keeper with a stinging left-footed effort on the 83rd minute, and with play drawing to a close it was the Dutchman who put the icing on the cake with a fabulous chip after a great pass from Javier Mascherano wear nike tiempo legend iv elite. Barcelona may have only won by two goals, but it could have been so many more and you get the feeling that there is much more to come from Tito Vilanova's side.
For a while Paolo Di Canio seemed in danger of finishing this match naked. The more frustrated the Italian grew at his team's dishevelled display, the more clothes he discarded wear nike soccer cleats. Midway through the first half he hurled his coat into the dugout, early in the second he jettisoned his suit jacket, so when Lee Cook scored what turned out to be the winning goal for Leyton Orient in the 59th minute, the pitchside photographers who track Di Canio wear adidas soccer cleats every strop began to look forward to a bumper payday. "I was very hot and not just because of the weather," said Di Canio, who resisted the urge to remove any further garments, although he did twice have to be spoken to by the referee for stomping onto the pitch to complain about time-wasting as the minutes ticked away wear adidas f50 adizero trx. "But I throw my jacket around [rather] than treat my players that way," reasoned the manager, which is not to say he refrained from tearing strips of his squad after what he described as Swindon's worst performance in his 15-month tenure at the club. Di Canio has emerged as one of the most interesting managerial prospects in England since surprisingly taking charge at the Country Ground wear nike mercurial vapor viii - and the intrigue is set to grow now that his team have lost three matches in a row for the first time in his reign. How he responds to this adversity will be fascinating, as will his players' reaction to his response. The manager has publicly lambasted several members of his squad already this season wear adidas adipure 11pro, but despite deteriorating performances, he has no intention of sparing their feelings now. "I don't change, they have to change," said Di Canio before pointing out that last season's surge to the League Two title began after he publicly denounced the players as "Chihuahuas" following a meek start to that campaign. He has, however, made one concession to the squad, reluctantly granting them [Sunday] off after three matches in six days. "After an empty performance they say they need a day off and I say wear nike mercurial vapor superfly iii 'OK, if that is the magic potion to help us win at Carlisle next week, you can have it'. But that is also a sign of a weak mentality. I would also like a day off but I work 24 hours a day to get better. I analyse myself and they need to analyse themselves too. Maybe I overestimated them after our good start to the season." And what a good start it was. Swindon won four of their first five matches after last season's excellent promotion, the most recent victory, just two weeks ago, being a 4-3 triumph over Stoke City in the League Cup wear nike total 90 laser iv. But the manager turned as soon as results went bad, ridiculing the goalkeeper Wes Foderingham after last week's 4-1 defeat at Preston and blaming the defender Aden Flint for the mid-week elimination from the Johnstone's Paint Trophy by local rivals Oxford United. Both those players say they have accepted the manager's comments, but Di Canio's challenging methods have led to fall-outs with several players, notably Leon Clarke, the striker who left within two weeks of joining last season, following a fight with the manager, and Paul Caddis wear nike tiempo legend iv elite, the erstwhile captain who was loaned out to Birmingham after a dispute with Di Canio in the summer. "The manager has a right to be upset with us after that one," said the midfielder Raffaele De Vita after the latest defeat. Orient arrived at Swindon without a point to their name this season, but it was the hosts who looked short of confidence as the visitors were sharper and more cohesive. Only shoddy finishing by Cook and Kevin Lisbie wear nike ctr360 maestri ii elite prevented Orient from taking the lead in a first half in which Swindon did not have a shot on target despite their most creative player, Matt Ritchie, returning from injury after missing the last two defeats. Swindon improved slightly in the second period and Ritchie twice forced saves with snapshots. But Orient responded and seized the lead just before the hour mark when Dean Cox slashed a cross from Leon McSweeney into the path of Cook, who was unmarked as he fired into the net from six yards. Di Canio made three substitutions in an attempt to get back into the game and one of them, Adam Rooney wear adidas adiPower predator, should have equalised in the 66th minute. Collecting a flick-on from a throw-in, the striker held off the defender but steered a low shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Frank Lampard knows that England's rally against Ukraine was good for the process of World Cup qualifying. Frank Lampard wear nike soccer cleats has called for patience as England attempt to integrate younger players into the senior setup over the course of their World Cup qualification campaign, but insists there were still positives to be picked up from Tuesday's draw with Ukraine at Wembley. The Chelsea midfielder's late penalty, his 26th international goal, salvaged a point for the home side after England initially struggled to contain slippery opponents. Roy Hodgson wear adidas soccer cleats had been handicapped by the absence of 12 senior players for the fixture, with the youngsters in the ranks who had excelled in defeating Moldova last week duly struggling to muster repeat performances against more imposing rivals, yet there was encouragement to be had from the hosts' late rally to secure a draw. "Of course it won't click straight away," said Lampard wear nike mercurial vapor viii, who will captain the side, form and fitness permitting, for next month's visit of San Marino in the absence of the suspended Steven Gerrard. "Sometimes it won't click at all. It's international football. Ukraine are no mugs. We have a mixture of young players and more experienced players, and we're trying to find the right blend wear adidas f50 adizero trx. We can get excited about a win in Moldova but you have to understand that it's a process of getting where we want to be. Ukraine was another night in the process. "They're a good team. They have some quality players, wingers who are good on the ball, so this group was never going to be easy. Poland and Montenegro aren't mugs, either, and can cause you problems wear adidas adipure 11pro. They've drawn already, so the group's well balanced. The point against Ukraine seems to me like a good point at the moment. San Marino we should win, and then Poland [four days later] will give us a tough game. But we have to learn. If there was a negative to take from the Ukraine game, it was that, if a team goes man to man in midfield and tightens up, maybe lets our defence have it, that's where we need to show more invention wear nike mercurial vapor superfly iii. But it's hard to be too critical. We kept going and got the point we deserved at the very least." Two of those absent at Wembley on Tuesday, Ashley Cole and John Terry wear adidas predator lz, returned to training at Chelsea on Wednesday after ankle injuries and hope to be fit to feature for their club in Saturday's potentially combustible west London derby at Queens Park Rangers. Both would expect to play in next month's games against San Marino and Poland, in Warsaw, with Hodgson hopeful to have other significant performers restored by then wear nike total 90 laser iv. Yet the younger players will have benefited from the experience of life on a tougher stage, with Tuesday's toils an education for the likes of Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. "They'll have learned a lot more [than against Moldova]," Jermain Defoe wear nike tiempo legend iv elite said. "Ukraine were really organised and that's when you've got to think: your movement has to be good and you have to keep the ball better. Against teams like that, if you lose the ball they can hit you on the counter-attack and score. So it's important to be focused throughout the whole game. We're certainly not panicking after one draw. It's a good result, and there are a lot of games to come wear adidas adiPower predator. If you look at the way the team is playing, we don't look like we're going to be beaten. "There was great energy in that second half, we kept it going and made them look really tired. And they're a good side. They showed that at the Euros, when they were the best team we played against. They were sharp and had good movement, organised, and were just as good without the ball wear nike ctr360 maestri ii elite. But we still deserved something, and we know we're capable of picking up plenty of points ourselves away from home."
Japan produced a major shock in men's Olympic football on Thursday, beating medal favorites Spain 1-0. Japan forward Yuki Otsu wear nike soccer cleats broke away from his marker during a corner in the 34th minute and the ball landed right at his feet for a simple tap-in past Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea wear adidas soccer cleats. Spain started the match brightly with good build-up play and quick passing in the first 20 minutes, but they couldn't break through a solid Japan defense and didn't have a meaningful shot on goal. Spain were second favourites for gold having won the last three major tournaments, as well as last year's European Under-21 Championship. But Yuki Otsu wear adidas adipure 11pro 34th-minute strike was enough for Japan's first win over Spain at any level after Inigo Martinez was sent off in the 41st minute. Earlier in Glasgow, Honduras drew 2-2 with Morocco in the other Group D game. Spain now go into Sunday's match with Honduras bottom of the group, despite starting with Euro 2012 winners Jordi Alba, Javi Martinez wear nike mercurial vapor viii and Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata. In similar style to the senior side, Spain dominated possession early on, with Mata forcing a fine save from Shuichi Gonda, but Japan threatened more often and were rewarded when Otsu lost Martin Montoya to turn in Takahiro Ohgihara wear nike mercurial vapor superfly iii corner. Hiroshi Kiyotake should have doubled Japan's lead after pouncing on a wayward Alvaro Dominguez backpass and Inigo Martinez was then shown a straight red card for pulling down Kensuke Nagai just outside the area. Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea wear adidas predator lz was called into action just after the break to deny Keigo Higashi, before Nagai fired wide when through on goal. Kiyotake spurned a similar chance after a fine run through the Spanish defence and although Spain brought on Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu wear adidas f50 adizero trx, Japan could have made victory more emphatic on the counter-attack, with De Gea denying Nagai before Hotaru Yamaguchi fired wide in stoppage time wear nike total 90 laser iv. Abdelaziz Barrada had earlier given Morocco a 39th-minute lead with a superb volley, before Jerry Bengtson wear nike tiempo legend iv elite tap-in gave Honduras a 56th-minute equaliser. Bengtson put Honduras in front with a 65th-minute penalty but Zakaria Labyad levelled two minutes later and Morocco held on for a point after Zakarya Bergdich wear nike ctr360 maestri ii elite was sent off for kicking out at Mario Martinez with 18 minutes left.