Chelsea and Bayern Munich will have their respective roster depth tested in the biggest match of the season. Officially.
The six Chelsea and Bayern Munich players suspended for the UEFA Champions League final because of card accumulation will remain suspended, after UEFA stated that its rule regarding cards would not change ahead of the final and for at least the next three years.
There was hope in some circles that the rule would be overturned because UEFA employs a different rule in the European championship. All yellow cards are wiped out prior to the semifinal round, giving players more leeway throughout the tournament. Nevertheless, the rule stands, and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanonic, Ramires and Raul Meireles and Bayern Munich's David Alaba, Luiz Gustavo and Holger Badstuber will remain ineligible for the final.
"Different rules can apply in different competitions. The rules are a result of careful, democratic procedure," Michael van Praag, chairman of UEFA's Champions League rules and competition workshop, told reporters.
Here are a few more stories to get your Wednesday going:
FULHAM MAKE HISTORY WITH WIN
It was far from pretty, but Fulham won at Anfield for the first time ever with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool on Tuesday.
Martin Skrtel's own goal accounted for the scoring, as he finished off a play orchestrated by Clint Dempsey. The American standout received the ball, turned, ran at a defender, competed a stepover and slotted a ball out left for John Arne Riise. The former Liverpool player's cross was redirected into the net by Skrtel in the fifth minute, and the Cottagers won a top flight match in Merseyside for the first time in 41 games.
Dempsey came close on two occasions to scoring his 23rd goal in all competitions, heading a corner kick wide and having an open look from inside the area stuffed by a diving Doni.
REPORT: VILLAS BOAS TO ROMA
Andre Villas Boas' next challenge appears to be bringing Roma back to the European spotlight.
According to reports out of Portugal, the Chelsea castaway will replace Luis Enrique as Roma manager this summer. Big things were expected out of Villas Boas when he took over as Chelsea boss after a brilliant run with Porto, but he never found his footing in the Premier League and was axed by Roman Abramovich midway through the season.
Roma are limping to the finish line in Serie A and are in danger of missing out on European competition altogether. They sit three points behind Inter Milan and Udinese for Italy's UEFA Europa League spots, but must also contend with Lazio, whom they trail by three points as well.
BARRIOS HEADING TO CHINA
Score another one for China's soccer league.
Borussia Dortmund and Paraguay striker Lucas Barrios, 27, is leaving the Bundesliga for China's defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande, reportedly signing a four-year contract with the club.
Barrios is a year removed from a 16-goal campaign, but he lost his place in the back-to-back champions' lineup to injury and never recovered it after the emergence of Robert Lewandowski.
Did you think those players should have had their suspensions lifted for the final? What do you make of Fulham's win? Think Roma is a good fit for Villas Boas? Surprised a player of Barrios' caliber and age is making the move to China?
Share your thoughts below.
Wow… I probably should have read the thread before posting a near identical comment below.
With Barrios leaving Dortmund, that’s one less striker ahead of Terrence Boyd in the pecking order.
Barrios would have been a nice pick up for an MLS team. I’m getting annoyed with the Chinese league.
Barrios leaving Dortmund is good news for Terrence Boyd. One fewer striker ahead of him on the depth chart.
If you are not going to give players the “right to play” at least don’t make them all wear shirts that say “RIGHTTOPLAY” on the back.
+1 whats the scenarios for Fulham to get a Europa spot? 8th place finish? or is it more complicated this year?
Ramires and Gustavo will be the bigger losses. Gustavo took Ozil out of the game with strong challenges from the first minute till the last. Ramires helped Chelsea completely shut down the wing play of Barcelona. Will Chelsea’s FBs contain Ribery and Robben without help?
Well, the article DID mention both Liverpool and Fulham and there has been some robust discussion about whether Dempsey would fit in a place like Liverpool.
Liverpool fans shouldn’t flatter themselves. No one obsesses over them.
OT question for the board: visiting a few countries in Europe later this summer and was hoping to have a chance to see a match, even if it’s just preseason. Does anyone know approximately when schedules become available for some of the leagues? Thanks.
If the yellow card rule is a bad one, as most seem to agree, why not change it right now? It will effect both teams (almost) evenly, and might well result in a better game. The rational for sticking with it doesn’t seem to go beyond a simple statement of “because we can’t change it now.” But why not?
it’s interesting OV, but there IS something about Liverpool fans that brings out the worst in folks (even me!). As a long-time Chelsea fan, I have no reason for it as they aren’t natural rivals or but I can’t deny it’s there.
Maybe it’s that damned song. 😉
Why are people so obsessed with Liverpool fans? Pick a team to cheer for, and quit obsessing over another team’s supporters. It’s creepy.
Yeah, I know, I’m just feeling a little evil this AM. 🙂
Yeah, wow. The 3 years seems a bit inflexible; I missed that part (Reading Is Fundamental). Did they provide a rationale for that?
oooof, that’ll ruffle some feathers. 🙂
I don’t like the scousers at all but c’mon, they ARE a rather big club apart from their current woes.
Still, I like the ‘tude!
To all those self-aggrandizing Liverpool fans who’ve insisted that, when Dempsey’s name is brought up as a potential transfer target, “we’re too big a club for the likes of him”, I hate to break it to you, but he’s too big for the likes of you. If he wants to finish 9th, he could just stay with Fulham, no need to move to Anfield. But his ambitions are just a little higher than that. Sorry. Maybe Wayne Routledge is available.
Agreed… they can’t change course mid competition. But the statement that they’re not going to change it for the next 3 years is ridiculous.
Fifa is right to not change it mid-competition, but the rule is terrible. Red cards of course should hold, but yellow accumulations? bogus!
China is really starting to splash the cash.
“Martin Skrtel’s own goal accounted for the scoring, as he finished off a player…”
Good decision by UEFA. If they want to change the rule for next year, do so. But it would be NASCAR-esque to change the rules mid-season.