Good morning all. With the UEFA Cup in the rearview mirror it is time to look toward what should be an entertaining weekend of soccer, particularly in Italy. I will be heading to Red Bulls practice today and reporting from there. For now, here are some stories from yesterday and this morning to get your day going.
Zenit wins UEFA Cup
After 72 minutes of trying to break down Rangers’ stingy defense, the attack-minded artists from Zenit finally broke through with a pair of late masterpiece goals to help Zenit post a 2-0 UEFA Cup final win in Manchester, England.
If you missed the match then you missed a stunning performance from Zenit playmaker Andrei Arshavin, who has surely rocketed up the wanted list of Europe’s top clubs. I think it’s safe to say that Roman Abramovich is getting a pile of cash ready.
Long-time Bayern Munich and German national team goalkeeper Oliver Kahn has retired, ending a 21-year playing career. I will never forget his heroics at the 2002 World Cup, particularly how he stoned Landon Donovan on two occasions to keep the U.S. national team from pulling off an all-time upset. As much as he was an easy player to hate, there was never any doubting his quality when he was at his best.
Hull thumps Watford to reach promotion final
So much for Watford making its way right back to the Premier League. Hull City, which has never played in the top flight in its 104-year history, thrashed Watford 4-1 to advance to the Coca Cola Championships playoff final against Bristol City.
Jay DeMerit did get the start for Watford, but endured an ugly match in what could very well be his last for a club he served as captain of earlier this season.
Hicks hit by credit crunch
As if Liverpool fans didn’t already hate Tom Hicks enough, now there’s word that the American owner may not have the financial strength to carry out the building of a new stadium for Liverpool. News emerged on Wednesday revealing that Hicks has had to scrap plans for a stadium project in Texas. Anybody else get the feeling that Hicks should unload his half of Liverpool ASAP? If he doesn’t, you could see things get very ugly this summer.
Odds and Ends
Rio Ferdinand has signed a new deal with Man U through 2013. … Sven Goran Erikkson is set to meet with Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra regarding his future, though no decision is expected for a week, which might explain why Benfica has given up on hiring him.
That’s all for now. Feel free to share your thoughts on these stories, or any other stories emerging from the morning, in the comments section below.