On this week’s football review we feature Manchester United, Tottenham and some fan trouble in North Africa. You can listen to these and other stories on our weekly podcast and can find explanations of key vocabulary in bold below.
What a few days it’s been for Manchester United, who are well on the way to sewing up the League title and who have one foot in the door of the Champions League semi-finals. First, a great come-from-behind victory away at West Ham United in the Premier League cemented the Red Devil’s lead at the top of the division. Behind to two penalties at half time and with only thirty minutes remaining, the north west side found the net four times as the Londoners crumbled. Even better for United was the fact that their title rivals all dropped points – Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all drew. To make a good week great, Manchester United went on to secure a fine away win in their first leg Champion League quarter final clash against Chelsea. The 1-0 win, and away goal, puts them in the driving seat for the return leg. A very good day at the office for United.
While one English team was enjoying their Champions League and League football, another, Spurs, are in a bit of a slump. Recently, they only managed three points against West Ham, Wolves, Wigan and Blackpool – all fighting relegation – and are a team struggling to score. Add to that a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter final first leg in Madrid and it’s been a bad few weeks for Spurs’ fans and Harry Redknapp. It’s not just bad form that led to their defeat to the Spanish giants. Two rash challenges by Tottenham striker Peter Crouch resulted in a red card for the lanky forward in the 15th minute of the game, and put Spurs on the back foot. They now have a mountain to climb to stay in the Champions League, while they will also need to pick up some three-pointers soon to have a chance of playing in the same competition next year.
Last week’s African Champions League match between Egyptian side Zamalek and Tunisian team Club Africain ended in disarray as hundreds of fans stormed onto the pitch at the end of the game in protest at the Algerian referee’s decision to not award a goal to the home side – one that would have put them through on aggregate. Zamalek players had to protect the opposing team’s players as fans angrily reacted to the defeat. The club, and indeed the president of Egypt, apologised afterwards to the Tunisians but the club may well be facing some strict sanctions.
sew up: decide, finish, finalise, win
one foot in the door: to be nearly at your goal, to have almost achieved your target
cement (a) lead: make a lead stronger, to improve your lead
crumble: fall to pieces, break disastrously, become a shambles
find the net: to score a goal
a clash: a big game, an important match
be in the driving seat: be in control
a good day at the office: a successful result (in football), to complete a good job
slump: bad form, a period of decline or failure
a hammering: a bad defeat (usually by a lot of goals)
rash: dangerous, stupid, with no thought
lanky: tall and thin
on the back foot: on the defensive, unable to attack
a mountain to climb: a very difficult task, an impossible job
a three pointer: a victory (in football)
ended in disarray : The match finished in complete chaos
stormed onto the pitch: The supporters ran on to the pitch in an angry manner