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The Week That Was

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Welcome to the latest TWTW, and with the international fixtures done and dusted, the focus returned to domestic matters this weekend past. There were a couple of ding-dong battles involving clubs at the top of the table – on Saturday Yossi Benayoun saved Liverpool’s bacon with a dramatic late winner at Craven Cottage, after the Reds had hit the woodwork no less than 4 times in the first half. We want to know if that’s some sort of record.

The win put the Reds top, but only temporarily. Manchester United came back on Sunday with a late, late show of their own. Again.

A star is born in the shape of Federico Macheda, the 17 year old who came off the bench to score a stunning 93rd minute winner on his debut. Why, he even outshone Cristiano Ronaldo, who also netted twice in the 3-2 win. He also has to be just about the oldest-looking 17 year old that TWTW has ever seen, however. He even had the cheek (or perhaps the lip) to plant a kiss on the camera at the full-time whistle, just like Steven Gerrard had done weeks previously. The boy’s learning quickly, it seems.

Elsewhere, it was grim up north (east), as Middlesbrough received a 4-1 spanking at the hands of Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland went down 2-0 at West Ham, and the return of the Alan Shearer at St James Park didn’t alter the fortunes of the faltering Geordies, who lost 2-0 to Chelsea. It’s looking increasingly like two of the three may well be playing Championship football next year.

From the top to the bottom (literally), officials were never far away from the spotlight this week. The linesman at St James’ Park didn’t allow a seemingly valid goal by Michael Owen as Ashley Cole cleared the ball from behind the line, but their performance was definitely trumped by the referee in the Manchester Publicity Sunday League match between Chorlton Villa and International Manchester. A Villa player was booked for unsporting behaviour when he loudly broke wind as an opposition player was about to take a penalty. The players apparently kicked up a stink, and the spot-kick was re-taken. Who’d be a referee, eh?

Mike Dean probably wishes he wasn’t, after he was struck by a coin thrown by a Cardiff fan in their tempestuous 2-2 derby draw with South Wales neighbours Swansea. The Bluebirds have responded, saying that if the fan who was arrested is found guilty, he’ll be banned from Cardiff for life. Too right.

Off the pitch this week it was something of a case of ‘Where’s Wally?’ Amr Zaki failed to return to Wigan after his recent spell with the Egypt squad. Still, this wasn’t exactly ‘news’ – it’s the 4th time this season that he’s been slow in coming back to Wigan (and who can blame him?), and it prompted Steve Bruce to label the striker as the most unprofessional player he’s ever had to deal with.

Bruce wasn’t the only one having problems – Brazil manager Dunga had to issue a press statement saying he was worried about the health and safety of striker Adriano, who missed his flight back to Italy. Apparently the Brazilian had some ‘delicate personal issues’ that needed dealing with, and went to spend time with his family. Quite what these ‘delicate’ problems are, TWTW can only speculate.

The midweek focus was on the Champions League, as Man United continued their slump with a 2-2 draw at home to Porto. They’ll now have to be the first English side ever to win in the Dragao to progress to the next round – check out our Guide to Porto here. Arsenal gained a creditable draw at Villarreal, and last night Chelsea shocked Liverpool with a 3-1 win at Anfield. The Reds now need 3 goals in the second half of the tie (as if they’d ever score 3 goals in the second half in the Champions League, eh?) or Chelsea will go through to meet Barca, who smashed Bayern Munich 4-0 at the Camp Nou.

Keep an eye out for the FSF’s weekly column in the Daily Mirror this Saturday, as well as keeping your eyes peeled on our homepage for all the news from up and down the football pyramid, like this week’s announcement by Reading and their Supporters’ Trust that the club will be laying on free travel to their end of season clash with Norwich. A good result for Royals fans, there.  If you want to get involved, then don’t forget that our Southern, Midlands and Yorkshire divisions are all meeting this month – get along to London, Walsall or Leeds if you can.

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