Tribute to Chapecoense and Humanity

Chapecoense, known as Chape, was in the midst of a remarkable run. As recently as 2009, the club was playing in Brazil’s fourth division, but it won promotion to the top league in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s.Victories over San Lorenzo and Independente - two of Argentina’s fiercest squads - as well as Colombian club Junior took the team to the Copa Sudamericana finals, the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament.

The Brazilian team was flying to Colombia for one of the biggest matches in its history, the final of the Copa Sudamericana, when disaster struck. Chapecoense tragically lost 19 players when a plane crashed on route to Colombia - killing 71 people on board.

Five of Brazilian football’s top clubs have said they will loan Chapecoense players for free after the horrific plane crash that killed all-but three of their squad. The directors of Coritiba, Corinthians, Palmeiras, Portuguesa, Santos and Sao Paulo have put forward a motion to the Brazilian FA that Chapecoense will not be relegated from the top flight for three years.

Football legends Pele and Maradona as well as current superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo led tributes to the players of Chapecoense, a humble team whose march to glory was cut abruptly short. Meanwhile, South American legends Ronaldinho and Juan Roman Riquelme are reportedly considering coming out of retirement to play for Chapecoense following a huge social media campaign. Riquelme, who last played for Argentinos Juniors in 2014, has won Argentina’s Footballer of the Year four times whilst Ronaldinho was crowned the world’s best player in 2005.

As a football fan, I am very proud of the solidarity shown by the football world towards Chapecoense. The football world has come together to pay tribute to the side and their families. Sometimes football restores your faith in humanity. Actually, football can teach us many good lessons if we are willing to observe and learn.

The great Torino side in 1949 was wiped out in a plane crash - they received a lot of solidarity afterwards. But you look at their subsequent history and you see how difficult the challenge has been for them. Chapecoense are a much smaller team from a small town, so even with all this solidarity, it is a very difficult task for a club, a fairytale club from a small town that came so far in such a short time. The Copa Sudamericana final was to have been the game of their lives - destiny decided they would be denied the opportunity to live out that dream.

Image: Credit to Chapecoense Facebook
Source: BBC, The Guardian, Associate Press
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Midweek Action: Bundesliga, Serie A & La Liga

Midweek saw plenty of action across Europe and quite a few eye-catching performances and results. All the major European leagues had fixtures in midweek, as we round up all the major stories in the Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga.

BUNDESLIGA: Lewandowski the hero for Bayern, Dortmund stumble

Not many would have imagined the benched Robert Lewandowski making much of an impact in Bayern Munich’s important league game against last season’s runners-up Wolfsburg. But with Pep Guardiola’s side trailing at half-time to a Daniel Caligiuri goal for the away side, Lewandowski came on for the second half and produced a masterpiece in goalscoring.

The Pole, astonishingly, scored five goals in nine minutes, and helped Bayern to an eventual 5-1 win. On the way, Lewandowski broke quite a few records, becoming the fastest scorer of five goals in the world and the first substitute to score five goals in the Bundesliga. He broke the internet too.

Meanwhile, staying at the top end of the table, Borussia Dortmund–who started their season like a train–finally had their first stumble as they only managed a point away to Hoffenheim in a 1-1 draw, consequently dropping behind Bayern in the table for the first time this season. Hoffenheim were promising but failed to convert their chances as their winless start to the season has now stretched to six games.

Elsewhere, managerless Borussia Monchengladbach earned their first points of the season after losing five games on the spin, beating Augsburg 4-2 in their first game since Lucian Favre walked away earlier this week. While newly-promoted Ingolstadt’s recent good run of results came to a halt as they suffered a home reverse against Hamburg.

In other results, Schalke needed a late show to get past Eintracht Frankfurt as goals from Joel Matip and Leroy Sane in the final quarter hour saw them emerge 2-0 victors and move up to third. While ex-Man Utd striker Javier Hernandez netted his first goal for Bayer Leverkusen with a solo effort to help his team earn a narrow 1-0 win over Mainz. Hannover remain rooted to the bottom as they lost their third straight home game of the season.

LA LIGA: Barcelona stunned, Madrid duo win, Sevilla rock bottom

Luis Enrique’s Barcelona suffered their first loss of the season in disastrous fashion as defensive shambles meant they lost their way entirely in a 4-1 loss to Celta Vigo. Celta–Enrique’s former club–were good value for their win as they climbed above the Catalans up to second.

Gerard Pique’s return from his four-game suspension was a forgettable experience for the Spaniard as the Barca stalwart struggled to deal with the pace of the Celta forwards, Nolito and Iago Aspas. Barca’s 100 percent record in the league is now over and they now find themselves fifth in the table.

Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez’s Real Madrid continued their ascent up the table with a hard-earned 2-1 win in a seemingly difficult fixture away to Athletic Bilbao at San Mames. Karim Benzema scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season to lead his team to the top of the table. City neighbours Atletico Madrid, too, continued their good start as they saw off Getafe 2-0 at home.

Elsewhere, Sevilla remain winless and rooted to the bottom after another loss, this time at the hands of newly-promoted Las Palmas. Unai Emery’s side are in a slump not many expected but these are testing times for the Andalusian outfit. Villarreal maintained their good start to the season, and are one of only three clubs to remain unbeaten so far with their fortuitous 1-0 win over struggling Malaga.

In other news, Real Sociedad’s first win of the season–a 3-0 away win over Granada–eased the mounting pressure on manager David Moyes after their uninspiring start to the season. La Real climbed out of the relegation zone with a hat-trick from striker Imanol Agirretxe. Valencia’s miserly start in front of goal continued as they suffered their first loss of the season against Espanyol at the Cornella-El Prat 1-0.

SERIE A: Juventus, Roma stumble, Inter continue title surge, Balotelli shines

Just when it seemed they had turned a corner after an indifferent start, champions Juventus were pegged back in stoppage time by tiny Frosinone at the Juventus Stadium as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Simone Zaza’s second half opener was cancelled out by a dramatic late equaliser from centre-back Leonardo Blanchard as the newly-promoted club earned their first point of the season.

Meanwhile, Inter Milan maintained their perfect start to the season with another 1-0 win–their fourth in five games–as they now lead holders Juventus by ten points. Felipe Melo’s second half goal was enough for the solid Nerazzurri, who have conceded only one goal this season, to see off Hellas Verona.

Last season’s runners-up AS Roma suffered their first loss of the season as a late Konstantinos Manolas own goal was enough for Sampdoria to secure a 2-1 win and continue their good start to the season. Rome’s other club, Lazio, recovered from last weekend’s humbling at the hands of Napoli to register a 2-0 win over Genoa, who ended the match with ten men.

AC Milan’s summer loan signing Mario Balotelli once again offered glimpses of his ability and potential as he helped the Rossoneri to their second successive 3-2 win, this time over Udinese at the Stadio Friuli. Udinese were on the brink of a famous comeback after being 3-0 down at one stage, but Milan held strong and now find themselves seventh in the table.

Elsewhere, Napoli failed to maintain their momentum after back-to-back 5-0 wins as they were held to a 0-0 draw at newly-promoted Carpi. Chievo recovered from last weekend’s loss to Inter by winning 1-0 against Torino, while Paolo Sousa’s Fiorentina continued their rise as they notched their fourth win of the season, with new signing Jacub Blaszczykowski scoring his first goal for La Viola.

Source: Associate Press, Fox News, Sky Sports, ESPNFC

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Di Maria, Martinez, Sevilla, Monaco and Juve

AS Roma 2 Juventus 1: Watch the match highlights

Defending champions Juventus have lost their opening two Serie A games of the season for the first time in their history, with Roma deserved victors. Roma, runners-up for the past two years, led when Miralem Pjanic, who also hit the post, lifted a fine free-kick over the wall. Juventus had Patrice Evra sent off after 77 minutes for two yellow cards. Edin Dzeko doubled the lead with a header, although Paulo Dybala ensured a tense finish with a close-range strike. Leonardo Bonucci almost rescued a draw with an injury-time header but Wojciech Szczesny, who is on loan from Arsenal, did brilliantly to tip it wide. Juve have won four consecutive titles, but their bid for number five looks in trouble already following an opening-day 1-0 defeat by Udinese and now this. Massimiliano Allegri's side, who won the title by 17 points last year, sold star midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal, as well as top scorer Carlos Tevez, in the summer. And hours before kick-off, teenage winger Kingsley Coman joined Bayern Munich. Roma overran them in midfield, with Paul Pogba not looking as effective without Pirlo and Vidal helping him out.

Sevilla 0 Atletico Madrid 3: Watch the match highlights

Atletico Madrid made it two wins from two games with victory at fellow Champions League side Sevilla. The visitors enjoy easy win over Sevilla as Koke ends his goal drought and Jackson Martinez came off the bench to score his first Atletico Madrid goal in a 3-0 win over Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. The 28-year-old Colombian forward moved to the Spanish capital over the summer after a prolific spell in Portugal with Porto and the South American opened his account with Atleti to cap off a comfortable win for Diego Simeone's men. Spain international Koke prodded in the opener 10 minutes before the interval and Martinez's introduction as a 78th-minute substitute to replace Fernando Torres paid dividends to the tune of two further goals.

Monaco 0 PSG 3: Watch the match highlights

Angel Di Maria set up a goal on his debut as Paris St-Germain maintained their 100% start to the Ligue 1 season with a deserved win at Monaco. The former Manchester United winger, on for the last 25 minutes, teed up Ezequiel Lavezzi to score after Edinson Cavani had struck twice. Cavani powered in a first-half header to round off a 20-pass move. The Uruguay striker slotted in a second after being played through by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, returning from injury. Laurent Blanc's side, winners of the last three league titles, are three points clear at the top of the table, having won four matches without conceding a goal.

Source: The Guardian, Sky Sports, BBC, Fox News

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VOTE: The Best Women's World Cup Goal

With the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™ tantalizingly close, what better way to get you in the mood than by giving the chance to relive some of the tournament's greatest ever goals?

FIFA has chosen some of the best strikes from the competition's 24-year history for our '15 for 2015' poll, letting you help decide the fans' favorite goal from 625 scored so far. Perhaps the hammer of a strike by Marie Hammarstrom from 2011 takes your fancy, or Ingrid Johansson's thunderbolt two decades earlier?

Get in the mood for the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 by voting for the greatest goal in the tournament's history in FIFA's '15 for 2015' poll. Maybe you prefer a bit of Marta magic or Homare Sawa's silky finish, then cast your vote between 11th May and 5th June to ensure your choice sits atop the fans' poll, with efforts coming from all six previous tournaments.

While the latest helping of Women's World Cup does not kick off until 6th June, there is bound to be a goal in there that speaks to you. Be it Jin Pyol Hui capping off a flowing North Korea team move or Jie Li's sweetly struck free-kick. Watch all 15 fabulous goals and pick from the shortlist to make your decision. Make sure you visit once Canada 2015 begins to find out the winner!

The '15 for 2015' winner will be selected by users. This does not represent an official FIFA award.

Source: FIFA
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