Tag Archives: shakhtar

Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Borussia Dortmund 2: match report

Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Borussia Dortmund 2: Hummels grabs late leveller for Germans

PUBLISHED:

21:38 GMT, 13 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 13 February 2013

Mats Hummels headed home a late equaliser to giver Borussia Dortmund the advantage in their last-16 clash with Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.

Douglas Costa looked to have given the home side a narrow lead with a well-taken goal in the second half before Hummels nodded in Marcel Schmelzer's corner.

Shakhtar took the lead just after the half-hour mark when Darijo Srna whipped home a free kick from 25 yards only for Robert Lewandowski to score a crucial away goal 10 minutes later.

More to follow…

Game on: Borussia Dortmund celebrate after Mats Hummel's header earned them a draw in Ukraine

Game on: Borussia Dortmund celebrate after Mats Hummel's header earned them a draw in Ukraine

Match facts

Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov, Srna, Rakitskiy, Chygrynskiy, Rat, Fernandinho, Hubschman, Alex Teixeira (Eduardo 83), Mkhitaryan, Taison (Douglas Costa 62),Luiz Adriano.

Subs Not Used: Kanibolotskiy, Stepanenko, Shevchuk, Devic, Ischenko.

Booked: Fernandinho.

Goals: Srna 31,Douglas Costa 68.

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Felipe Santana, Hummels, Schmelzer, Kehl, Bender, Blaszczykowski (Leitner 80), Gotze, Reus (Schieber 90), Lewandowski.

Subs Not Used: Langerak, Subotic, Sahin, Bittencourt, Halstenberg.

Goals: Lewandowski 41, Hummels 87.

Att: 52,000

Ref: Howard Webb (England).

Curler: Darijo Srna whips a free kick over the wall and into the net to give Shakthar the lead

Curler: Darijo Srna whips a free kick over the wall and into the net to give Shakthar the lead

Curler: Darijo Srna whips a free kick over the wall and into the net to give Shakthar the lead

In front: Shakhtar celebrate after taking the lead against Borussia Dortmund in Ukraine

In front: Shakhtar celebrate after taking the lead against Borussia Dortmund in Ukraine

Equaliser: Robert Lewandowski pulls the trigger to level the score for Dortmund in Ukraine

Equaliser: Robert Lewandowski pulls the trigger to level the score for Dortmund in Ukraine

Equaliser: Robert Lewandowski pulls the trigger to level the score for Dortmund in Ukraine

Crucial: Dortmund celebrate after grabbing a vital away goal against Shakhtar in the first leg

Crucial: Dortmund celebrate after grabbing a vital away goal against Shakhtar in the first leg

Cracker: Douglas Costa looked to have won the first leg for Shakhtar when he scored in the second half

Cracker: Douglas Costa looked to have won the first leg for Shakhtar when he scored in the second half

Advantage Shakhtar: Douglas Costa celebrates after giving his side the lead against Dortmund

Advantage Shakhtar: Douglas Costa celebrates after giving his side the lead against Dortmund

Willian dreams of move to Chelsea

Chelsea target Willian says he dreams of leaving Shakhtar and moving to Stamford Bridge

|

UPDATED:

07:26 GMT, 21 December 2012

Chelsea target Willian says he hopes to complete his dream move to Stamford Bridge this summer.

The Shakhtar Donetsk forward had hoped to move to Chelsea in the summer but a move never materialised.

Chelsea were not the only English club to show interest in the Brazilian, but they led the chase.

Looking to move: Willian says he would love to play in England

Looking to move: Willian says he would love to play in England

Willian was disappointed to see Shakhtar block a deal, but understands why there were so keen to keep him and believes he will grace one of Europe’s top divisions at some stage in the near future.

He told ESPN.com.br: 'My goal is to play for a bigger club in a high level league.'

On Chelsea, he said: 'If I tell you that I was happy, I would be lying. My desire was there, with a 20.3million offer from a big club like Chelsea. I wanted to pack my things and go, but I can’t do that as I am under contract.

'It shows how much Shakhtar like me and shows that I am doing a good job, which is why they wanted me to stay.

'I have tried to convince them many times to let me go. I know that Juventus and Chelsea have made offers to buy me and that motivates me a lot.

'The club know that I want to leave, everyone knows that. The president has told me that he’ll let me go for 24.4m and my intention is to sign for a big club.'

Champions League draw: Manchester United v Real Madrid, Arsenal v Bayern Munich, Celtic v Juventus

Ronaldo v Rooney & Fergie v Mourinho as Man United face Real Madrid in Champions League (plus Arsenal v Bayern Munich and Celtic v Juventus!)

Real Madrid to visit Old Trafford for the since time since 2003

Arsenal to play last season's runners up, Bayern Munich

After beating Barca, Celtic must get the better of Italian champions Juventus

Hot favourites Barcelona will play AC Milan, as they did four times last year

|

UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 20 December 2012

Full last 16 draw… and when they play

Galatasaray v Schalke
(February 20 and March 12)

CELTIC v Juventus
(February 12 and March 6)

ARSENAL v Bayern Munich
(February 19 and March 13)

Shakhter Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund
(February 13 and March 5)

AC Milan v Barcelona
(February 20 and March 12)

Real Madrid v MANCHESTER UNITED
(February 13, March 5)

Valencia v Paris St Germain
(February 12 and March 6)

Porto v Malaga
(February 19 and March 13)

*First team at home first

Sir Alex Ferguson will face Jose Mourinho in the Champions League last 16 after Manchester United were drawn against Real Madrid.

The game will also pitch Cristiano Ronaldo against his former club for the first time since he left in a world record 80million deal in 2009.

Arsenal dodged Barcelona but have been handed a tough draw against last season's runners up Bayern Munich.

And Scottish champions Celtic, who beat Barca earlier the competition, were drawn against Italian side Juventus, who topped Chelsea's group.

Barcelona's match-up with AC Milan is the pick of the rest of the ties, which will kick off in February.

Turkish side Galatasaray
were drawn against Arsenal's group winners, Schalke, while German
champions Borussia Dortmund, who topped Manchester City's group, will face Shakhtar.

Porto, who won the Champions League
under Mourinho in 2004, will play Malaga, while Carlo Ancelotti's Paris
St Germain take on Valencia.

Scroll down for video

Up for the cup: Sir Alex Ferguson is up against his old friend Jose Mourinho in the Champions League

Up for the cup: Sir Alex Ferguson is up against his old friend Jose Mourinho in the Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo

The two Ronnies: Cristiano Ronaldo will return to Old Trafford for the first time since his move to Real Madrid

CURRENT ODDS TO WIN

Barcelona 9/4
Real Madrid 5/1
Bayern Munich 7/1
Borussia Dortmund 8/1
Juventus 11/1
Manchester United 14/1
Paris St Germain 20/1
Shakhtar Donetsk 33/1
Arsenal 40/1
Porto 50/1
Malaga 50/1
Schalke 66/1
Valencia 66/1
AC Milan 100/1
Celtic 150/1
Galatasaray 250/1

Odds provided by Oddschecker.com

The draw comes just a day after Ferguson heaped praise on his old friend Mourinho.

The Scot said: ‘He is very intelligent, he has
charisma, his players play for him, and he is a good looking guy. I
think I have most of those things, too, apart from his good looks.

'He’s
got a confidence about himself, saying “We’ll win this”, and “I’m the
Special One”. I could never come out and say we’re going to win this
game. It’s maybe a wee bit of my Scottishness’

Rio Ferdinand was first to react to the draw on Twitter, writing: 'Oh yes, Madrid!! What a great couple a games that'll be!! @Cristiano see u soon bro!!'

That was followed by Ruud van Nistelrooy, who played for both.

He wrote: 'United or Madrid.. Who do I
want to win Played my heart out for them both. Proud to have played
for both. #impossible #MayTheBestTeamWin.'

VIDEO Reactions to the draw

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv32932','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_sport&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv32932”,
'videoPlayer' : “2047986049001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2251022/Champions-League-draw-Manchester-United-v-Real-Madrid-Arsenal-v-Bayern-Munich-Celtic-v-Juventus.html”

});

Tuning in: Celtic boss Neil Lennon and his team watch the draw at their training ground

Tuning in: Celtic boss Neil Lennon and his team watch the draw at their training ground

Big names: Steve McManaman helped pull the teams out at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon

Big names: Steve McManaman helped pull the teams out at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon

Names up in lights: The big screen shows the completed last 16 draw

Names up in lights: The big screen shows the completed last 16 draw

And United's club secretary John Alexander hoped there was a lucky omen in the draw.

He told Sky Sports News: 'Out of several standout ties, I think this is the one. It's the tie that everyone wanted to see – but that nobody wanted to see, they wanted to save it for later in the competition.

'When you think about the traditions of these two clubs they have both been incredibly successful, but of course the past is history.

'One thing going in our favour is that our one victory over Real Madrid in this competition was in the year we won the final at Wembley [in 1968] so let's hope that is a lucky omen.'

THE LAST TIME REAL MADRID CAME TO OLD TRAFFORD

WHEN JOSE MOURINHO FIRST APPEARED ON SIR ALEX FERGUSON'S RADAR

SEEN IT SOMEWHERE BEFORE

In what is claimed to be odds of 5,000/1, the results of Thursday's Champions League draw were exactly the same as the rehearsal on Wednesday. just look at the screengrab from Sky Sports News the day before the draw.

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is optimistic his side can see off Arsenal.

He
told Uefa.com: 'I think we enter this match as the slight favourites,
but we can be making the mistake of underestimating them.

Rehearsal: These were the fixtures that came out during the practice draw earlier this morning

'Arsenal
have struggled at times in the league over the last few months, which a
look upon the standings in the Premier League will tell you. But by no
means will this be an easy game for us. I look forward to our game in
London and back home in Munich.

'We want to set the foundations with a good performance in London, that would make things easier for us in our home game.

'I
wouldn't call this a lucky draw, but one that we can overcome. I look
forward to seeing my old friend Arsene Wenger and I hope that we can
reach the next round.'

Indifferent: Arsenal will have sharp focus on the Champions League,with domestic form unconvincing

Indifferent: Arsenal will have sharp focus on the Champions League,with domestic form unconvincing

Better luck this year: Bayern Munich are out to go one step further than they managed last season

Better luck this year: Bayern Munich are out to go one step further than they managed last season

Celtic boss Neil Lennon, on Twitter on Thursday morning, had asked Santa to be nice to Celtic.

And afterwards, he said: ‘In terms of
glamour it’s great, in terms of qualification it will be very tough.
But every team would be tough.

‘We’ll look forward to it. We want to go as far as we can and it’s another huge game for us to enjoy.’

Lennon’s side beat Barcelona and
Spartak Moscow in Glasgow after drawing with Benfica as they progressed
from Group G behind the Catalans.

‘The home game is pivotal. We’ll have
to take some sort of advantage to Turin. Celtic Park is a very special
arena and I’m sure the fans will raise the roof again.’

Scot a problem: Having beaten by Barcelona, Celtic have now been drawn against Juventus

Scot a problem: Having beaten by Barcelona, Celtic have now been drawn against Juventus

Scot a problem: Having beaten by Barcelona, Celtic have now been drawn against Juventus

United will play the first leg at the
Bernabeu on February 13 with the return at Old Trafford on March 5,
just three days after the Spanish champions are due to play rivals
Barcelona.

Arsenal
will play a week later with the first leg at the Emirates Stadium on
February 19 and the second at the Allianz Arena in Munich on March 13.

Celtic will take on Juventus at Celtic Park on February 12, with the return leg in Turin on March 6.

The draw contained nine former champions of Europe, including United and Celtic, though not last year's winners Chelsea.

Proceedings began with a tribute to Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, who is
having an emergency operation today after suffering a relapse of a cancerous tumour in his salivary gland.

Glory, glory: Sir Alex Ferguson is gunning for his third European Cup triumph

Glory, glory: Sir Alex Ferguson is gunning for his third European Cup triumph

Missing out: Arsenal reached the final in 2006 but were beaten by Barcelona

Missing out: Arsenal reached the final in 2006 but were beaten by Barcelona

Shakhtar and Anzhi on alert over Swansea hot shot Michu

Shakhtar and Anzhi on alert over Swansea hot shot Michu

|

UPDATED:

23:44 GMT, 14 December 2012

Shakhtar Donetsk and Anzhi Makhachkala are both showing interest in Swansea striker Michu.

The 26-year-old Spaniard has been one of
the surprise stars of the season, scoring 13 goals in the Barclays
Premier League since his 2million bargain move from Rayo Vallecano in
the summer.

Surprise hit: Swansea striker Michu

Surprise hit: Swansea striker Michu

Swans manager Michael Laudrup slapped a 30million price tag on Michu in a bid to scare off potential interest.

There has already been speculation linking the forward with a move away from south Wales in January, but Laudrup has warned any club wanting to make a move would need to spend a lot more than the 15million Liverpool paid for Joe Allen in the summer.

Hot shot: Michu has scored 13 goals this season

Hot shot: Michu has scored 13 goals this season

He said: 'I don’t want to let him go, sometimes the offer can be so big you have to accept but I really don’t think clubs are going to pay so much money for him.

'We have the example of what Liverpool paid for Joe Allen, if they have to pay double for Michu there are few clubs who could afford that.

'Joe went to Liverpool and you know more or less what they paid for him, but a guy who has scored many goals must be worth a lot more, so you work out the figures.

Champions League – your guide to the knockout stages

Sportsmail's complete guide to the 16 teams through to the Champions League knockout stages

|

UPDATED:

10:07 GMT, 6 December 2012

Chelsea became the first holders to fail to make the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

But 16 teams did make it through to the next round, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Celtic.

Eight of the 16 teams in the draw – those that won their group – are seeded, with the eight runners-up unseeded.

The runners-up are drawn first and play the first-leg matches at home.

They cannot be paired with either the winners from their section or clubs from the same county.

The draw will take place on December 20 at 10.30am in Nyon. The two leg ties in the last 16 will take place between February 12 and March 13.

Group winners: Robin van Persie and Manchester United could face Celtic

Group winners: Robin van Persie and Manchester United could face Celtic

GROUP WINNERS

Paris St Germain
Schalke
Malaga
Borussia Dortmund
Juventus
Bayern Munich
Barcelona
Manchester United

GROUP RUNNERS-UP

Porto
Arsenal
AC Milan
Real Madrid
Valencia
Shakhtar Donetsk
Galatasaray
Celtic

Manchester United could face a battle of Britain tie with Scottish champions Celtic or one of five other sides:

PORTO

Coach: Vitor Pereira.
Star man: Jackson Martinez.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winner 1987, 2004.
Chances: Have shown they can go all the way before, but it seems unlikely they will trouble the major sides this time.
Did you know Pereira was previously assistant boss at Porto under Andre Villas-Boas, who led the team to a treble of the Portuguese league and cup and Europa League in 2011.

Real threat: Ronaldo is Real Madrid's talisman

Real threat: Ronaldo is Real Madrid's talisman

AC MILAN

Coach: Massimiliano Allegri.
Star man: Stephan El Shaarawy.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007.
Chances: Struggling this term domestically and in Europe, they are not the force of old – although their pedigree in this competition means they should not be entirely written off.
Did you know The club was founded as a football and cricket outfit by English expatriates in 1899.

REAL MADRID

Coach: Jose Mourinho.
Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002.
Chances: Over a decade on from Real's last Champions League triumph, it would appear boss Mourinho is determined to clinch the crown for the club this season and they are widely regarded as joint favourites alongside Barcelona.
Did you know Real appeared in eight of the first 11 European Cup finals.

Milan's main man: Stephan El Shaarawy poses a threat for the Italians

Milan's main man: Stephan El Shaarawy poses a threat for the Italians

SHAKHTAR DONETSK

Coach: Mircea Lucescu.
Star man: Luiz Adriano.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Quarter-final 2011.
Chances: Another side to have really grabbed people's attention in the group stage, and one few teams will want to face in the knockout rounds.
Did you know Lucescu guided Shakhtar to the UEFA Cup title in 2009 – the final year before the tournament was rebranded as the Europa League.

VALENCIA

Coach: Ernesto Valverde.
Star man: Roberto Soldado.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Runner-up 2000, 2001.
Chances: Do not appear equipped for a really extended run in the competition this season.
Did you know Valencia recorded their biggest Champions League win last season by beating Genk 7-0.

CELTIC

Coach: Neil Lennon.
Star man: Victor Wanyama.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1967.
Chances: Given little hope after being grouped with Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow but reached knockout stage for first time since 2007/08 season. Anything else would be a bonus for the Scottish champions.
Did you know The club was founded in 1887 with the stated purpose of alleviating poverty in Glasgow's East End parishes.

Arsenal finished as runners-up in their group to Schalke 04, so will face one of these group winners:

PARIS ST GERMAIN

Coach: Carlo Ancelotti.
Star man: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Semi-final 1995.
Chances: Mega-rich PSG have ambitions to win the Champions League this term and if striker Ibrahimovic can continue his superb form, it might just happen.
Did you know Paris St Germain were only formed in 1970, as a merger between Paris FC and Stade St Germain.

I am Zlatan: Ibrahimovic made a big money move to PSG in the summer

I am Zlatan: Ibrahimovic made a big money move to PSG in the summer

MALAGA

Coach: Manuel Pellegrini.
Star man: Javier Saviola.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: First time in competition.
Chances: Impressive so far in their debut Champions League season, although inexperience may count against them in the knockout rounds.
Did you know Pellegrini took Villarreal to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2006, but during his brief period as boss at Real Madrid, could only get Los Blancos to the last 16.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Coach: Jurgen Klopp.
Star man: Robert Lewandowski.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1997.
Chances: Have very much caught the eye in the group stage and are being tipped as dark horses for the title.
Did you know Dortmund, under Klopp, have won the Bundesliga for the past two seasons, securing a domestic double in 2011-12 by adding the DFB-Pokal.

Poles apart: Robert Lewandowski Dortmund's prolific striker

Poles apart: Robert Lewandowski Dortmund's prolific striker

BAYERN MUNICH

Coach: Jupp Heynckes
Star man: Franck Ribery.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001.
Chances: Last season's beaten finalists are looking to make amends and have been effective so far.
Did you know Bayern lost the 2011-12 Champions League final despite it being played at their home ground, being defeated on penalties by Chelsea at the Allianz Arena following a 1-1 draw.

BARCELONA

Coach: Tito Vilanova.
Star man: Lionel Messi.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1992, 2006, 2009, 2011.
Chances: There has been little so far to suggest that Vilanova, appointed as Barca boss over the summer, cannot emulate his predecessor Pep Guardiola this term by winning the competition.
Did you know Prior to their 2006 Champions League triumph, Barcelona had not featured in a European Cup final since 1994.

JUVENTUS

Coach: Antonio Conte.
Star man: Arturo Vidal.
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1985, 1996.
Chances: Serie A champions snuck into last 16 by winning final group game and will be expected to step it up when European competition resumes in February.
Did you know Juve's original strip was pink, back in 1897. They adopted their new colours six years later when Turin-based Englishman John Savage acquired a set of black and white vertical striped shirts from a Notts County-supporting friend.

Petr Cech and Gary Cahill rue Shakhtar v Juventus result

Cech and Cahill rue Shakhtar defeat as European champions crash out at first hurdle

|

UPDATED:

00:58 GMT, 6 December 2012

Chelsea duo Petr Cech and Gary Cahill were left to blame results against Juventus as the reason for the Blues becoming the first defending Champions League winners to fall at the group stage tonight.

Chelsea thrashed FC Nordsjaelland 6-1 to grab a first win of Rafael Benitez's reign, but it was not enough as Juve claimed a 1-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk.

'We knew that it could happen,' Cech told Sky Sports 2. 'We knew that if Donetsk didn't win then we would be out. Unfortunately that is the reality.

Out: Chelsea bowed out of the Champions League

Out: Chelsea bowed out of the Champions League

'We did what we could. We had a good performance and scored six goals.'

Chelsea's fate had rested in the hands of Shakhtar after a stuttering campaign that saw the Blues lose at Juventus as well in Ukraine.

Cech, however, believes the opening day 2-2 home draw with the Italian champions was the most damaging result, when his side squandered a 2-0 lead.

'You have results where we lost away to Donetsk and Juventus but I think the main difference was the draw against Juve at home,” said Cech, who saved a penalty tonight when the game was still goalless.

'We were 2-0 up and then ended 2-2. If you drop too many points in the group then you can't go through.'

Cahill echoed the thoughts of his goalkeeper, saying: 'The two results against Juve were damaging for us.

'I've just said that with 10 points sometimes you through but that was not to be in our group. We had to do more than that.'

Benitez admitted there was a hollow feeling in the Chelsea dressing-room afterwards but was determined to focus on the positives of his first win in charge.

Under-fire striker Fernando Torres scored twice in the rout with David Luiz, Juan Mata, Cahill and Oscar also getting on the scoresheet.

'I think always when you win it is a positive. When it is at home it is even better,' he said.

'The way we won, we had 32 attempts and 18 on target, is really good.

'When you win you have to be happy but at same time we are disappointed as we didn't progress.'

Dependent: Fernando Torres scored two goals, but results elsewhere ensure they finished third in the group

Dependent: Fernando Torres scored two goals, but results elsewhere ensure they finished third in the group

Another one: Torres, who has struggled for goals, put in his second for the night

Another one: Torres, who has struggled for goals, put in his second for the night

Benitez will now attempt to pick up the pieces of their failed Champions League defence with Chelsea dropping into the Europa League.

The Spaniard will also need to arrest a slump in league form that has seen them drop 10 points behind leaders Manchester United, starting with an away trip to Sunderland on Saturday.

'We have to play another competition but at least we showed the level and quality we asked for,' he said.

'We now have to think about Sunderland and the Europa League.

Misery: Juventus secured a win in Ukraine to ensure they finished top of the group

Misery: Juventus secured a win in Ukraine to ensure they finished top of the group

'But the game was so good today and we can see a lot of positives for the future. We pressed well, we created chances and scored a lot of goals.

'If you ask ask about Fernando also he scored goals.'

Asked about Torres' contribution tonight, Benitez added: 'He has to score. He was playing well and the team was helping him.

'If we create chances he will score goals.'

Rafa Benitez knows place in Roman Abramovich"s Chelsea empire – Martin Samuel

Rafa the 'interim' knows his place in Roman's Chelsea empire

|

UPDATED:

08:11 GMT, 26 November 2012

We once visited a house that had an orangery. It was very nice, except it seemed quite like a conservatory. What was the difference At a certain price, we assumed, your conservatory became an orangery.

Managing Chelsea is a little like that.

At most other clubs, Rafa Benitez would be a caretaker. At Chelsea, he is an interim. Spend money at the rate of Roman Abramovich and that's what you get: an interim.

There in black and white: Benitez grimaces during yesterday's game, as the teamsheet shows he is indeed interim boss (below)

There in black and white: Benitez grimaces during Sunday's game, as the teamsheet shows he
is indeed interim boss (below)

There in black and white: Benitez grimaces during yesterday's game, as the teamsheet shows he is indeed interim boss (below)

More from Martin Samuel …

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0: Poisonous welcome for Benitez as Torres draws blank
25/11/12

Manchester City 1 Real Madrid 1: Aguero spot kick not enough to stop Mancini's men crashing out after early Benzema strike
21/11/12

Juventus 3 Chelsea 0: On the way out… humiliated holders facing new Champions League low as Di Matteo heads for the exit
20/11/12

Martin Samuel: Pietersen's 'reintegration' is complete… but now England need to see the destructive, swashbuckling KP of old
13/11/12

Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1: Suarez rescues point for Reds after goalscorer Terry is crocked on return
11/11/12

Chelsea 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 2: Moses works a miracle as Di Matteo's luck holds
07/11/12

Manchester City 2 Ajax 2: It's all gone De Jong as Euro exit looms for Mancini misfits
06/11/12

Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3: Crazy red card for Torres and Hernandez offside goal hand United victory at Stamford Bridge
28/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

And interims are perfect because they
have even less power than the usual Chelsea manager. A full-time
employee would at least hope to have some input into policy, even if his
wishes were largely ignored. An interim appointment has as much of a
say in club matters as the work experience.

A fact Benitez let slip on his first day in charge when he announced the termination of Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. Benitez made it plain that this was not his decision. He didn't say he agreed with it but he didn't disagree with it, either. His thoughts were of no relevance either way.

This was merely something he had gleaned, not from his first training session but from his first meeting with Roman Abramovich. The boss had no use for either man after this season. It wouldn't stop Benitez calling on them until that point but beyond they were gone.

Much like Didier Drogba. Chelsea ditched the striker who won them the Champions League and now they will lose their best full back and one of the finest midfield players this country has produced.

Teams evolve, we know that. Yet there seems to be something almost spiteful about the process at Chelsea because it is not being driven by the coach.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been ruthless at Manchester United on occasions. He dumped Phil Neville, who has gone on to have an outstanding lease of life with Everton. Yet Ferguson's actions never felt vindictive. They were his judgments, his calls and he was professionally expert and entitled to make them.

What jars at Chelsea is that a succession of managers – Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and now Benitez – appear to be under instruction to hurry out the old guard, whether or not they believe that this is wise.

Moving on: Cole is poised to leave Chelsea at the end of the season

Moving on: Cole is poised to leave Chelsea at the end of the season

Abramovich clearly hated it that Di Matteo preferred Drogba to Fernando Torres so gave him no choice in the matter. He would not have appreciated Di Matteo's view that Cole was worthy of a new contract, either.

Villas-Boas was clearly expected to build a new Chelsea and Benitez has already been given his orders.

There was no question that bramovich might seek the counsel of his interim appointment, having given him time to work with the squad and provide an educated assessment.

Benitez could find Cole without peer in English football; he might believe the edge Lampard gives Chelsea in the matches he plays is worth another year. Abramovich is not mindful of Benitez's opinion.

Calling the shots: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich watches his side take on City yesterday

Calling the shots: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich watches his side take on City yesterday

Calling the shots: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich watches his side take on City yesterday

Would he be mindful of those of Pep Guardiola At first, maybe. Of the Premier League and Champions League games played by Lampard this season, Chelsea have lost one, away to Shakhtar Donetsk, and he went off injured in that after 18 minutes. Cole is closing in on his 100th cap for England and Leighton Baines, in outstanding form for Everton, is still not in danger of usurping him.

Carlo Ancelotti will try to take Cole to Paris Saint-Germain in January. Ferguson has discussed his potential for Manchester United, too. Lampard is 34, Cole 32 next month. Injuries are occurring more frequently, the relentless workload of an English season is beginning to tell.

It is not unusual for a club to evaluate the worth of a new contract at this stage in a player's career. It was four years ago, at a press conference at the Club World Cup, that Ferguson spoke of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville being phased out.

Don't tell Sir Alex what to do: Gill or a Glazer brother does not presume to tell Ferguson when Giggs's time is up

Don't tell Sir Alex what to do: Gill or a Glazer brother does not presume to tell Ferguson when Giggs's time is up

Giggs's presence has remained constant, Neville retired, so did Scholes and then thought better of it. In each case, though, the call came from the manager.

David Gill or a Glazer brother does not presume to tell Ferguson when Giggs's time is up. And there is the difference. In being so candid, Benitez confirmed the only view that mattered at Stamford Bridge. It wasn't his. He is just the interim. Sounds posh, like orangery. In reality, it's just words.

Sportsmanship leads to gamesmanship and then we all lose out

The controversial goal by Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano against Nordsjaelland of Denmark last week should have been a moment of realisation for football. Instead, no doubt as part of its one-rotten-idea-a-day quota, it has brought a disciplinary charge from UEFA.

Here's what happened. Nordsjaelland's Morten Nordstrand was barged over by Fernandinho near the centre circle. With Nordsjaelland in possession, referee Anthony Gautier, of France, stopped the game. Restarting with an uncontested drop ball, Willian, of Shakhtar Donetsk, kicked it down field to return possession to the Danes. On doing so, Adriano collected the loose ball, rounded goalkeeper Jesper Hansen and scored an equalising goal.

Nordsjaelland protested furiously then
and again moments later when what they thought was permission to score,
unchallenged, from the kick-off as a means of restoring their lead was
halted by Shakhtar defender Taras Stepanenko. From there, Shakhtar
played on.

What did I do Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano sparked a furious reaction from FC Nordsjaelland players after he raced onto an uncontested bounce ball back pass to score in their Champions League match

What did I do Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano sparked a furious reaction from FC Nordsjaelland players after he raced onto an uncontested bounce ball back pass to score in their Champions League match

A few observations. First, why did Gautier stop the play It wasn't a foul and Nordstrand did not appear to be in agony or unconscious. As his team had the ball, were his team-mates concerned for his well-being, they could have kicked it out, allowing him to receive medical attention.

Second, when Willian struck the ball forward, the obvious recipient was a Nordsjaelland defender, Jores Okore. Adriano's run appeared initially intended to close him down but instead Okore ambled in the wake of the ball, meaning Adriano sped past him to take possession.

This raises another issue, in what has now become a counter-productive grey area for football. The ball having been returned, at which point can the opposition start to play Was Adriano to stand still, while Okore shuffled about before deciding that, yes, he was now happy to receive the ball in 30 yards of clear space

In the 2006 FA Cup final, Steven Gerrard's late equalising goal to send the game into extra time was scored after the ball had been kicked out of play to allow treatment to be administered to a Liverpool player.

On target: Gerrard's late equaliser against West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup final came after the ball was kicked out following an injury to a Liverpool player

On target: Gerrard's late equaliser against West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup final came after the ball was kicked out following an injury to a Liverpool player

Liverpool were instructed to throw it to the nearest opponent, West Ham United full back Lionel Scaloni, but then immediately began closing him down. Struggling to control the bouncing ball, his panicked clearance went straight to a red shirt, and Liverpool scored from the second phase of that play. Some felt the pressure on Scaloni was unsporting on Liverpool's part but what were they to do How long were West Ham to be allowed to play unchallenged These are unnecessary complications.

At the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, a Real Madrid player went down and his team-mates played on. Then they lost possession to Manchester City and began screaming at their opponents to do the right thing and kick the ball out of play.

As so often happens in football, sportsmanship becomes gamesmanship. This never used to happen and nobody died. If a player is seriously injured, the referee can still suspend play and restart the old-fashioned way, a contested drop ball.

What happened in Denmark on Tuesday is all part of the modern fad of game management, in which a referee sees himself also as mediator, facilitator and part of the show. The old way was better. Play on until otherwise instructed. What could have been simpler

And while we're at it…

Jose Mourinho knew he was being unkind at a difficult time but that did not make his observation less true. It was fortunate that it was Manchester City's manager who had disappointed again in Europe, he said, because, had he failed to get Real Madrid out of their Champions League group, he would have been sacked. And he certainly would have. Had Mourinho wanted job security, he could have stayed at Porto for life.

Pressure: The Real Madrid manager doesn't shirk from working under the most intense stress

Pressure: The Real Madrid manager doesn't shirk from working under the most intense stress

'Beautiful blue chair, the Champions League trophy, God, and, after God, me,' as he put it. He is mocked for wanting to work only for the moneyed elite but every job he has taken has carried an enormous level of expectation.

The number of hirings and firings at Chelsea show what a feat he did to stay in Roman Abramovich's employ for three years, the same with Inter Milan – the club he left wanting more – and now Real Madrid, who go through managers the way Lewis Hamilton uses petrol.

Say what you like about Mourinho but he doesn't shirk from working under the most intense stress.

Rory's taking the Nike

It won't have pleased his new sponsors, Nike, but Rory McIlroy's comment on switching from Titleist equipment was priceless.

Couple: McIlroy poses with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki after winning the DP World Tour Championship

Couple: McIlroy poses with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki after winning the DP World Tour Championship

'I don't think it will make any difference,' he said. 'A hockey stick and an orange serves me all right.'

Jaffa would appear to have missed a trick here. Not to mention the Man from Del Monte.

Ref justice for Long and Co

If referees do not know what a foul looks like, they really have to lay off the cautions for diving. Mike Dean is the latest to appear foolish, booking Shane Long of West Bromwich Albion for what was plainly a trip by John O'Shea of Sunderland.

O'Shea appeared to think he had received his second yellow card of the match and was about to head to the dressing room without complaint. To his surprise, it was Long who received Dean's caution. Following on from equally horrendous decisions given against Fernando Torres, of Chelsea, by Mark Clattenburg and Danny Rose, of Sunderland, by Lee Mason, it would appear English football is now giving the benefit of the doubt to the cloggers. Another step forward.

Old Trafford support

There was a fantastic turn-out for the unveiling of a giant bronze statue in Manchester. But who knew Edward Woodward (below left) was so popular at Old Trafford

Edward Woodward

Sir Alex Ferguson

Everybody ignore Chris

So now England's rugby players know how to react to penalties. Consult captain Chris Robshaw, listen keenly to what he has to say, do the opposite.

Satire is dead

'I'm too intelligent to be a footballer,' says Joey Barton. I've checked its pulse but, officially, it would now appear that satire is dead.

Baggies dare to dream

Steve Clarke, rightly, wasn't getting carried away.

'It doesn't mean too much,' he said after West Bromwich Albion went third with a 4-2 win at Sunderland. 'We just need to stay grounded, focused and not get ahead of ourselves.'

We all know the reality is that, if West Bromwich are still holding a Champions League position at the end of the season, Clarke will be a contender for manager of the century.

Flying high: West Brom are up to third in the Barclays Premier League table

Flying high: West Brom are up to third in the Barclays Premier League table

Yet, at the same time, his striker, Peter Odemwingie, dared to dream. He recalled that his Lille team did not even have Champions League bonuses written into their contracts because the possibility was not considered, yet they finished second behind Lyon to qualify.

That's the spirit. There are enough factors holding back small clubs in the Premier League without adding dour fatalism. Don't get carried away but never believe it can't happen.

The enthusiasm for the straitjacket of financial fair play among the elite clubs tells us only one thing: deep down, they are frightened they are not good enough, too.

FIFA slow on the uptake

A mere six years after the Carlos Tevez affair threatened to tear English football apart, FIFA have resolved to take action over third-party ownership of players. Really sprung into action there, didn't they

Scott won't be missed

Michael Scott, who masterminded the Great Britain swimming team at the Olympics – of which the best that can be said is nobody drowned – has quit as performance director. Moving from his base in Australia was apparently the deal breaker for him. He won't be missed, except by Qantas.

Thistle better than Barca

Using the traditional Scottish logic that beating England in 1967 made them world champions, does this now mean that Inverness Caledonian Thistle are better than Barcelona

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez handed Juan Mata backing – EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE: There's nothing the Mata with Rafa! Chelsea ace backs Benitez and says new boss will help Torres rediscover form

|

UPDATED:

10:49 GMT, 22 November 2012

Juan Mata believes Rafa Benitez is the perfect man to drive Chelsea to further success in the Barclays Premier League – and backs Fernando Torres to get back to scoring ways.

The Spanish playmaker was the first member of the squad to publicly thank 'legend' Roberto Di Matteo after his sacking, and he is now the first to welcome Benitez.

'Rafa Benitez is a great coach,' Mata told Sportsmail. 'He's got lots of experience and won a lot of trophies with Liverpool, taking them to a very high level. He knows the Premier League too.'

New man in charge: Benitez has been announced as the caretaker boss of Chelsea

New man in charge: Benitez has been announced as the caretaker boss of Chelsea

Mata also backs Torres to return to the sort of form that saw him arrive at Stamford Bridge with a 50million price tag.

'I have total faith in Fernando Torres. He will score goals. He is a great striker and a great professional.'

Protest: A fan stands outside Chelsea's Cobham training ground with a clear message

Protest: A fan stands outside Chelsea's Cobham training ground with a clear message

He added: 'Di Matteo's sacking means things haven't been going well but we can't just blame it all on the Juventus game. We can't just focus on what happened recently. It was a really tough blow losing to Juventus. It was a sad night for all the players. We thought we could at least draw if not win the game.

'I still think we can qualify for the last eight. If we win and Juventus lose, we're in the last eight. I hope Juve and Shakhtar don't arrange to draw their game so we are knocked out. It wouldn't be professional.'

Bad day at the office: Mata (right) believes Benitez is the right man to take Chelsea forward

Bad day at the office: Mata (right) believes Benitez is the right man to take Chelsea forward

Mata took to social media on Wednesday to wish his ousted manager well after Roman Abramovich ruthlessly dispensed of the Italian only hours after the defeat in Turin.

He posted on Facebook: 'I would like to thank him for all this time with us and wish him the best of luck for the future. As a player, he has been a legend for the 'Blues'.

'With him as a manager, we won our first Champions League. He will always be remembered. Good luck Robbie!'

Harry Redknapp Ukraine manager"s job: Ex-Spurs boss says he is "serious" about Ukraine post as his advisors head to Kiev

EXCLUSIVE: Bring on Redknapp v Roy… Harry says he is 'serious' about Ukraine job with his advisors in Kiev for talks

|

UPDATED:

10:53 GMT, 21 November 2012

Harry Redknapp has confirmed his advisors are today in talks with the Ukrainian FA over him becoming the new manager of their national team.

It is a move which would offer Redknapp the chance to
shatter Roy Hodgson's World Cup dream – six months after being
overlooked for the England job. England face Ukraine in a potentially crucial tie next September in Kiev.

Speaking exclusively to Sportsmail today, Redknapp said: 'It's a fantastic job. I found out about it a couple of weeks ago when they got in touch with my advisors. I am serious about it.

Crunch clash: Roy Hodgson, manager of England, could fave Harry Redknapp, who is in talks over the vacant Ukraine managerial positiion, next year in a crucial World Cup qualifier

Crunch clash: Roy Hodgson, manager of England, could fave Harry Redknapp, who is in talks over the vacant Ukraine managerial positiion, next year in a crucial World Cup qualifier

'They are an up and coming football
country with some very good young players, some great teams like
Shakhtar and some great stadiums.

'I will talk to them and see if we can sort something out. I'm definitely interested, without a doubt.'

Paul Stretford, Redknapp's agent, is in Ukraine today talking to their FA on Redknapp's behalf.

Hodgson, the man who was appointed
England boss in the face of popular opinion – with many wanting former
Tottenham manager Redknapp in the post – has admitted even he was
shocked to beat Redknapp to the job.

‘As soon as Fabio’s position became
vacant the papers had a clear idea about who the man replacing him would
be,’ Hodgson said. ‘One name was cropping up more and more. So I didn’t
expect the call.

'I remember it distinctly – I was
driving back to London on Saturday night, and my son had just flown home
from America that evening. Then the FA phoned, saying they wanted to
meet me.

'The West Brom chairman had
deliberately kept it quiet, until after the game against Aston Villa,
because he didn’t want my concentration to be affected.’

Old foes: England faced Ukraine for the second time this year in September

Old foes: England faced Ukraine for the second time this year in September

Both the Ukrainian FA and Redknapp's
representatives confirmed that an approach had been made, with talks now
expected to take place to discuss what sources said would be an
extremely lucrative offer to the former Tottenham manager.

Eastern promise: Paul Stretford, the agent Redknapp shares with Wayne Rooney, is in Kiev for talks

Eastern promise: Paul Stretford, the agent Redknapp shares with Wayne Rooney, is in Kiev for talks

Hodgson's team are making hard work
of their campaign to reach the 2014 finals in Brazil. They have dropped
four points from four qualifiers and the prospect of Redknapp delivering
a potentially fatal blow in Ukraine next September will fill the FA
with dread.

It would be quite an act of revenge,
even if the prospect of such an outcome may deter Redknapp from
accepting the offer given his sense of patriotism.

The Ukrainian football federation declared their interest after a meeting yesterday.

A statement said they had taken 'the
decision to begin talks with Redknapp's representatives relating to him
working in the post of chief coach'.

Mikhail Fomenko, of the UFF, added:
'He has a lot of experience, coaching talent and knows how to motivate
footballers. In whatever team he led Redknapp very quickly improved the
quality of the play and achieved significant progress.

'Today he is an expert in the game and one of the best English coaches.'

Educated morning: England manager Roy Hodgson spoke at the Oxford Union yesterday

Educated morning: England manager Roy Hodgson spoke at the Oxford Union yesterday

In a statement issued on Tuesday
night, Redknapp's agent Paul Stretford said: 'I can confirm we have been
approached by the Ukrainian FA who are keen to talk to us about the
possibility of Harry becoming the next manager of the national team.'

The Ukrainians have been without a
manager since Oleh Blokhin quit after a 1-1 draw at Wembley in September
to take control at Dynamo Kiev.

The road to Rio…

World Cup Group H

Remaining fixtures

March 21: San Marino v England;
March 25: Montenegro v England; September 5: England v Moldova;
September 9: Ukraine v England; October 10: England v Montenegro;
October 14: England v Poland.

Victor Moses should be playing for England but Fabio Capello messed up, says Roberto Martinez

Capello messed up over Moses: Nigeria's gain is England's loss, says old boss Martinez

|

UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 9 November 2012

England missed out on a potential world-beater, according to Roberto Martinez, after Fabio Capello let Victor Moses slip through the net and pledge his international allegiance to Nigeria.

The Wigan manager twice called Capello to outline Moses’ rich potential and eagerness to represent his adopted country England, rather than Nigeria, where he was born.

But the 21-year old winger, snapped up by Chelsea for 9million in August, abandoned his dream in exasperation after being called up for an Under 21 international at Doncaster but failing to make the final 16.

Hold on to him: Juan Mata and Gary Cahill grab Victor Moses after his dramatic winner against Shakhtar

Hold on to him: Juan Mata and Gary Cahill grab Victor Moses after his dramatic winner against Shakhtar

Nigeria’s gain is England’s loss, according to Martinez, who said: ‘Victor is a quite unique player. When you work with him you realise he is not a normal footballer, not a typical modern winger.

‘He is an old-fashioned type of winger, with incredible raw talent that allows him to go past people. He brings real penetration to the wide positions. Teams are so well set-up tactically these days that you need players who can bring something different, and they don’t appear that often.

‘Victor is that type, though. Even if you look at the great footballing cultures, like Spain and Holland, you see that players of this type are very rare. Victor could have been a real weapon for any team in world football.

‘His experience with the Under 21s was frustrating for him, and for us, because, from our point of view, we could see he was something special. He offers something very different.

Top finish: Moses nods Mata's corner beyond Andriy Pyatov

Top finish: Moses nods Mata's corner beyond Andriy Pyatov

‘Football is a matter of opinions, so there is no right or wrong over whether he should have been tied to England. But it is difficult to find players like him, not just in England, and I am sure he could have adapted to anything.

‘If he continues to have the same impact at Chelsea, he will get plenty of chances to show his talent. He is ready to compete at that level and show what he is about.

‘It is no surprise to see him playing at the highest level, and you have to remember he is still a very young man in football terms. He is going to be as good as he wants to be. You just have to admire his mentality. Nothing fazes him, and the best is yet to come, that is for sure.’