Какво научихме от първия кръг в групите на ШЛ

1. Аз това си го знам, но да кажа пак – Меси е надценен отвякъде. Достатъчна е малко по-компактна, тактически грамотна и твърда защита и него никакъв го няма. В момента Кристинка, Кака и Джерард са на светлинни години пред аржентинчето.
2. Дебрецен хич не са лошо отборче. За източно европейски тим са си направо перфектни
3. Пипо Индзаги е велик. А тия дето не го признават нищо не разбират

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Мисли за футбол

Какво научих през изминалия уикенд за футбола:
1. Ливърпул пак няма да са шампиони 🙁 – един отбор може да побеждава когато 1 или 2 от най-добрите им играчи играят зле. Добрите отбори го могат тоя номер и когато и 3мата най-добри играчи не играят добре. Но няма отбор в който и 4мата най-добри играчи са пълна трагедия и да побеждават.
2. Манчестър Юнайтед продаде Роналдо и Тевес, но запази най-големите си звезди в отбора – съдиите. – Арсенал бяха грозно наритани и най-накрая дори наказани за това, че си позволиха да протестират.
3. Мишел Платини и поверената му УЕФА са пълни идиоти – не им стига, че не им стиска да въведат технологиите за спорни съдийски отсъждания. Ами подгониха и симулантите без идея как ще ги ловят и т.н. Като резултат, всичкко вече е симулация според публиката.

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Damn

One of my favorite players on the verge of joining my second best hated club – “Michael Owen on verge of shock move to Manchester United” 🙁

Regardless – good luck Michael. I hope this helps your career back on track and help you break all the records you are about to break. And I wish you are part of the England squad for the next year’s World Cup and score the winner in the final 🙂 Just make sure you don’t score against Liverpool and finish second in the Premier League with the Mancs 🙂

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Rumen Galabov – in “The Times” best XI 2008/2009 season

Apparently one of Malta’s newspapers best XI for the seasons 2009/2009 selected my brother as one of them:

Rumen Galabov – Hibs

Rumen Galabov has been rightly dubbed Mr Versatile because he has played everywhere for Hibs this season. Galabov has turned out to be an excellent signing for Hibs, his composed performances showing why Mark Miller acted so quickly to secure his services.

One could easily say that Galabov has excelled in every position but he showed his best in central midfield where he formed an excellent partnership with Christian Callejas.

Here is the full article.

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Разни

Отпуска е. В главата ми както обикновенно е хаос, а също така, както винаги ме мързи като за световно.


Тенис:
Федерер най-накрая спечели Ролан Гарос. И така вече официално е най-великият. Много е приятно да виждаш как един феноменалин спорист, ей така за разнообразие е и свестен тип. Дори само за това заслужаваше да спечели, но освен това изитра и добър турнир. Щеше да е готино отново да гледаме финал с Надал, защото двамата правят жестоки мачове, но не мога да кажа, че съм много тъжен от това, че Надал отпадна 🙂 А и Сьодерлинг играеше много стабилно до финала. Сега с нетърпение чакам Уимбълдън и там вече искам финал мужду Надал и Федерер.


Футбол:
Не стига, че БГ футбола хич го няма, ами и журналистиката ни е трагична. Ето две статии за мача България – Ирландия. Едната в 7 дни спорт, другата в ТопСпорт. Ако човек ги прочете внимателно, ще си помисли, че става въпрос за розлични мачове… Пълна трагедия са тея хора дето ги пишат тия неща. То бива субективизъм. Аз като искам да си казвам личното мнение – поне го правя в тука, не се вра да цапам някой вестник, хората да ми четат глупостите. Макар, че са ги слушали, де 🙂 Когато бях журналист 🙂 А иначе – тъп мач. Два слаби отбора и логичен резултат. Едните искат ама не могат. Другите не искаха, ама не се разбра дали могат… Скука.


Албена:
Очарован съм. Много приятно място. Направо да забравиш че си в България. Хотела също много добре. Учуден съм, че в България, някой явно се е усетил, че в един хотел, най-важното е обслужването. Лукса го има навсякъде и е лесно достъпен. Но обслужването е това, което хората да се врущат или да препоръчват определена дестинация. Пълно 6 за хотела – “Фламинго Гранд“.

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Ееей аман от хейт

Ама хич не съм фен на Бербатов. Не го харесвам като футболист и не изпускам случай да го кажа. Но все пак, човека заслужава уважение защото през кариерата си израстна много и стана много добър футболист. Това че аз не харесвам играчи като него, а и него специално, не значи че е слаб играч. Да не говорим, че сър Алекс даде доста пари за него, което значи че момчето става. Независимо дали го харесваме или не.

Та днес в “7 дни спорт”, една личност, която сигурно не знае от коя страна се рита топката (не ща да му пиша името че да си цапам блог-а :)) е написал доста хейтърска статия за Бербатов. И аз доста се издразних. Разбирам да го критикуват за слаба игра и със някакви факти. Ама тая статия само хейт и обобщения без нищо конкретно. Не играл нищо. Ми какво да играе като целия му отбор го няма. Те най-добрите в Юнайтед бяха трагични – Бербатов ли да ги вади!!?! Отминал журналистите без интервю след края на мача – лелеее ужас. Точно ли Бербатов ще обвиняват за липса на възпитание? Момчето се старае на всякакви лекета от журналистическата професия да угоди. Един път е пропуснал и дай да даваме Христо Стоичков за светъл пример… Бог Ицо (който е най-великия като футболист – спор да няма) журналистите ги биеше. А освен това и той губеше финали без да играе нищо – там едни Милан отнесоха Барса… И Ицо да бъде даван за пример за хъс и възпитание пред Бербатов – аре моля ви се. По-добър от Ицо няма на футбол, ама Бербатов е класи над него по държание.

Много се ядосах на тая статия еба си. Точно за тоя мач в сряда Бербатов не заслужава и грам критика по футболна линия.

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Пфу

От двата ми най-омразни отбора, този за който бях днес спечели. Поне няма да ми се налага да чета колко велик е сър Алекс. Той си е велик, ама аре стига вече – време е Рафа Бенитес да му разкаже играта следващия сезон 🙂 А сега ше чета за това колко велик е Меси. Дрън, дрън ама поне е по-поносимо. За сър Алекс щеше да е верно, а за Меси са си просто журналистически глупости 🙂

Честито на най-надценения отбор в света днес. Пожелавам им догодина повече отбори да се поучат от Челси като играят срещу Барса 🙂

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Hibernians – Malta soccer Premier League Champions 2008/2009!!

Бях забравил какво удоволствие е да се ходи на мач, когато публиката е отишла да се забавлява. Сега като се замисля последния път когато присъствах на такъв, беше преди някъде 10 години. Брат ми беше твърд титуляр на 19 години в един доста приятен за гледане отбор на Берое и в последния кръг играеха срещу Добруджа за да се спасят. Хората на стадиона се радваха. Никакви екцесии и псувни – просто се кефеха, че след сума ти години имат отбор в А група (как това стана е друга история :)) и беше истинско удоволствие да си на трибуните и да усещаш положителните емоции от тълпата, която е дошла да се кефи на своя отбор, а не да псува съперника. Тъй като Берое тогава биха и останаха в А група, радоста беше даже по-голяма, а за мен удоволствието беше огромно щото брат ми играеше супер, а само той си знае през какво премина за да стигне до А група.

И така, fast forward, 10-11 години и брат ми играе в Hibernians, Malta и в следствие на изненадващ, но заслужен развой на първеството, отбор който се нуждае от 1 точка в последния мач за да стане шампион. А какъв мач е последния. На кръв – бедняците от Hibs срещу милионерите от Valetta. Същите Valetta, които са действащите шампиони. Фаворитите. Които даже могат да си позволят да оставят национали резерви. А Hibs имаха за резерви, тъкмо възстановен нападател, който не е тренирал от 3 седмици. Един полузащитник и 5 юноши. Да си поговорим за Давид и Голиат 🙂

Здраво надъхан зарязах работата и семейството и марш към Малта. Така де – брато има шанс да стане шампион, а освен това не съм го гледал от близо 3 години откакто отиде да играе в Малта.

И така – неделя, национален малтийски стадион, жега. И най-якото – феновете на двата отбора със знамена и песни пълнят стадиона почти догоре. Освен това, създадоха страшна атмосфера. То не бяха песни, скандирания, танци. Как не се умориха тия хора – почнаха 3-4 часа отпреди мача и целия мач не спряха. И нямаше изцепки, трошене, бой – никакви такива глупости. Направо празник за душата.

Мача като качество не беше нещо особено, ама все пак това е Малта. Мен ако питат, далеч по приятна игра от българския цирк. На Valetta им трябваше победа та се мъчеха да атакуват. Hibs играеха на контри, нетипично за тях, но удивително добре – единствените чисти положения за гол си бяха за тях. А най-накрая 0:0 и радост, голяма 🙂 Това ще ми е любимия мач завършил 0:0.

След което, въпреки разочарованието, феновете на Valetta си тръгнаха – спокойно, пеейки, отново без изцепки. А ние с феновете на Hibs, сме пели песни 2 часа на стадиона и после до 2 сутринта на площада и по улиците в Paola (градчето откъдето е отбора). Ей така разбирам аз футбола – радост да има. Без драйфане, трошене и бой… Ама в БГ нямям шансове за такива неща.

Ето го брато с гаджето му и медал. А по-нататък и с купата ще сложа – като излезат. Еба си и якото чувство – много съм горд с брат ми 🙂

Rumen and Eli

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Уф

Най-надценения отбор в Европа, подкрепен от сериозно некомпетентен съдия и съперник, който прави всичко възможно да не вкара втори гол, ще играе на финала в Шампионската Лига. Не ми стига, че моите хора отпаднаха отдавна (добре де – преди две седмици), ами сега и ще трябва да подкрепям един от най-омразните ми отбори – Барса, срещу друг омразен отбор – МанЮ. Уф.
А гледайки, колко зле играят Барселона, тия момчета нямат и грам шанс срещу Манчестър, освен ако не се освестят и не сменят тактиката малко. Ама не виждам как ще стане.
Уф

EDIT: Сега като съм наспал да добавя още малко глупости, които са се събрали в главата ми:
На първо място трябва да кажа, че Челси, при все факта че надиграха Барселона, сами са си виновни, че отпаднаха – вкарайте си головете момчета и после съдията може и да не дава чистите дузпи.
Не мога да разбера смешния плач на футболните “естети”, че Челси играли антифутбол. Това на Барселона ли и футбол – с 0 удара в очертанията на вратата за 90 минути и махленски футбол, стил дайте я на Меси, той току виж измисли нещо. Айде стига. Барса са отбор за местна консумация – с този стил на игра, в Англия ще издрапат до средата на таблицата и това е. То не може да играеш само срещу отбори които не знаят как да играят в защита. Ирония на съдбата е, че Челси бяха Барселона-та на Англия със Сколари. Ама ги разкриха за 3-4 месеца и добре, че дойде Хидинк, за да им спаси сезона. Това е. Жалко за Челси, но сами са си виновни. Съдията също, ама това е положението – ясно е, че английските отбори играят и срещу УЕФА и трябва да си използват шансовете, когато ги има.
А иначи мача Ман Ю и Барса е просто ясен. Спомням си един финал за лигата – Милан и Барса. Тогава според “естетите”, Милан също играеха антифутбол, а Барса беше най-доброто след топлата вода. Е да де, ама на финала някакви други неща се случиха. Та си мисля, че същото ще се случи и тази година. Ако играят така както срещу Челси (а то сефижда, че те милите не знаят друг начин), Барса просто ще бъдат отнесени от Юнайтед. Което е тъпо – писна ми от тея Юнайтед, еееей.

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Ей това е съдия

Penalty decision was ‘a mistake’, concedes Howard Webb

Какво мога да кажа повече. Ето това е истински съдия. Човека честно си признава. Без някакъв натиск или нещо подобно. Евалата.

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Аман от тоя Меси бре

Е видяхме го аржентинчето вчера. Изяден. Ама нормално е – играчи като него, които разчитат на индивидулна техника и 1:1 надигравания, винага могат да бъдат неутрализирани от грамотни тактически съперници. А Челси са точно това. Меси е прекрасен играч. И също така страшно надценен. Много се кефа, че вчера беше неутрализиран – аман от журналистически дитирамби за играч който не е спечелил нищо съществено и във всички трудни мачове на отбора си е изчезнал.

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АААРГХ

Добре де – че Ливърпул сами се прецакахме за титлата, спор да няма. Факт. Ама това в събота дето на Юнайтед дадоха дузпа дето от хеликоптер се виждаше, че няма, при положение, че до тогава Тотнъм просто не се виждаше как ше получат гол… ЕЕЕЕЕЕЕ. А тоя път даже и не мога да кажа, че съдията ги подпира. Милия толкова лошо беше застанал, че нямаше никакъв шанс да види какво точно е станало…
Ето, вчера в 56та минута на мача МанЮ – Тотнъм, окончателно се реши титлата в Англия…. ААААРГХ

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Аман

Аман от тия Ливърпул бре. Колко още мачове с по 4:4 ще направят. Нямам нерви. И как може отбора, който винаги беше известен със защитата си, два мача поред да ни вкарват по 4 гола. А че сме играели защитно вече никой не го казва 🙂 Нали, при над 3 гола вкарани средно на мач напоследък, някак си не върви да кажеш, че Ливърпул са един скучен, защитно играещ отбор…

Уф, това е положението – сами се застреляхме с тоя ентусиазъм, а Юнайтед май приключиха с грешките 🙁 Нищо де, надеждата умира последна. Затова утре ще има яко Портсмуууут 🙂

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Why are full-backs the key to winning?

Taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2009/mar/25/the-question-full-backs-football

I absolutely agree with the view. And being a Liverpool supporter, it was not a surprise for me that last season’s first buys that Rafa did were full backs 🙂

Why are full-backs the key to winning?
by Jonathan Wilson

All the hype in football is about forwards and fantasistas, but increasingly the battle is won and lost among the full-backs

It was, strangely, Jack Charlton who first gave voice to the thought, claiming after the 1994 World Cup that the most important attacking player on the team was the full-back. At first, it sounds preposterous, until you consider that every World Cup since has been won by the team with the best pair of attacking full-backs: Jorginho and Branco for Brazil in 1994; Lilian Thuram and Bixente Lizarazu for France in 1998; Cafu and Roberto Carlos for Brazil in 2002; and Gianluca Zambrotta and Fabio Grosso for Italy three years ago.

Now of course, to an extent, that is coincidence. Nobody wins anything simply by having a pair of good full-backs, but what the trend highlights is the importance of full-backs to the tactical side of the game. Take, for example, Spain’s victory over Russia in the Euro 2008 semi-final. The game tends to be remembered for its 3-0 scoreline and used in evidence against Andrei Arshavin, but it started very evenly.

Arshavin, it’s true, struggled to escape the marking of Marcos Senna, but the decisive moment of the game came after 34 minutes, when David Villa was injured. Off he went, on came Cesc Fábregas, and Spain switched from 4-1-3-2 to 4-1-4-1. That brought Andres Iniesta and David Silva into more direct confrontation with Alexander Anyukov and Yuri Zhirkov, the Russia full-backs whose marauding had been such a feature of the tournament. With their forward surges inhibited, Russia lost fluency, Spain took control of midfield and went on to score three times in the second half. Counter-intuitively, without the tournament’s top scorer, they played more effective football – a useful reminder that goals are a measure of success, not a means to it.

Or consider the first leg of Manchester United’s Champions League meeting with Internazionale. In the first half, Park Ji-Sung, presumably selected ahead of Wayne Rooney for the purpose, restricted Maicon’s attacking surges from right-back, which, given how narrow Inter’s midfield was, allowed Patrice Evra to advance. If it looked at times as though United had an extra man it’s because, effectively, they did.

After the break, though, as Oscar Cordoba replaced the hapless Nelson Rivas at centre-back, Estaban Cambiasso was able to play higher – in the first half, he had almost become an auxiliary centre-back, so deep had he dropped to bail out Rivas – allowing Zanetti to push further to his right and so restrict Evra. Accordingly, the second half was far more even than the first had been.

Brazilian beginnings

The full-back, in the modern sense, developed in Brazil in the fifties. The genesis of the 4-2-4 is complex and disputed, but what is significant here is that at the 1958 World Cup, Brazil were using it and nobody else was. It may seem counter-intuitive that it should have been Brazil, with their reputation for attacking flair, who pioneered the use of four defenders as opposed to the three of the W-M, but formations are neutral; it is their application that gives them an defensive or aggressive aspect (which is another way of saying, yet again, that 4-5-1 is not inherently negative).

Terminology here is surely significant. In English the term “full-back” is used as a hangover from the days of 2-3-5. Those two defenders were pushed wider by the backward movement of the centre-half (another confusingly antiquated term) in the W-M, and then wider still when another midfielder (usually the left-half) was pushed deeper to form a back four (this is why the classic numbering of an English back four, reading from right-to-left, goes 2-5-6-3).

In Brazil, though, (and, for that matter, in Spanish-speaking countries as well) a “full-back” is a ‘lateral’. The term gives a notion of width, but not of depth: he was, in other words, a wide player, but not necessarily a defensive one, a mindset that was inherent in Brazilian football almost from the start. Arsenal toured in 1949 and, although broadly successful, were bewildered by what they found. “Suddenly, a bloke comes dashing through and he’s had a shot at goal and the ball went wide,” said the full-back Laurie Scott, describing Arsenal’s 5-1 win over Fluminense in Aidan Hamilton’s An Entirely Different Game. “And we started looking around to see who we’d got to blame for this. We couldn’t find it. We found out it was their full-back. See, they didn’t care. I never went up there like that.”

That exuberance had been a problem for Brazilian football – they won only two Copa Americas before the second world war, and it’s significant that both of Uruguay’s goals in the final game of the 1950 World Cup resulted from the left-back, Bigode, being caught out of position. The 4-2-4, though, gave just enough structure for those attacking tendencies to flourish.

Given the space in front of them, the full-backs were encouraged to advance, while at the same time providing immediate cover. Once marking had ceased to be man-to-man, it became a simple process for the fourth defender to react to the forward movement of the full-back by not pushing out himself, leaving his side still with the three-man defensive cover they would have had in the W-M. The pairing of Nilton Santos and Djalma Santos is often overlooked, but they were key to Brazil’s World Cup victories of 1958 and 1962.

Natural evolution

Even by 1962, though, the shape had changed, with Mario Zagallo shuttling up and down the left rather than acting as a traditional winger – as Garrincha most certainly was on the other side. England, in 1966, operated without wingers, using something that would today probably be described as a 4-1-3-2. Their full-backs, George Cohen and Ray Wilson, while nowhere near as flamboyant as their Brazilian forebears, had vital roles, and were noted for their overlapping runs. This, of course, is a natural evolution: if there are no wingers to defend against, the full-back can be more adventurous; and at the same time, if there is no winger, there is a need for the full-backs to advance to provide width.

In 1970, Brazil operated with just one attacking full-back, Carlos Alberto, with Everaldo tucking in on the left to provide balance. That was a function of the highly idiosyncratic development of that side, but it was symptomatic of a more general trend. Most European sides who used a libero tended to deploy one attacking full-back, balanced by a more defensive player on the other flank, who tucked in and operated as a marker: Giacinto Facchetti and Tarcisio Burgnich in Helenio Herrera’s Inter, for instance; Paul Breitner and Berti Vogts in West Germany’s World Cup-winning side of 1974; or Antonio Cabrini and Claudio Gentile in Italy’s World Cup winners of 1982.

In those last three combinations, the left-back was the attacking one of the pair, which was the orthodoxy. Gianluca Vialli has a theory that the right-back was always the worst player on the team. If he showed defensive ability, and was of average height or above, he would be moved into the centre; if he was good on the ball he would be pushed into midfield. The only players left to play at right-back, then, were those who were outstanding neither defensively nor technically. Left-backs were different, partly because left-footers are rarer and tend to be nurtured, and partly because of the example of Facchetti. That thinking has changed over the past 20 years.

The advent of wing-backs can be seen as attempt to liberate both full-backs again – particularly in a world without wingers, but as the gradual move to a single striker has led to a return to a back four, the full-back has again taken on attacking importance. That Dani Alves can be hailed as one of the greatest players in the world is an indication of how crucial the role has become.

Few sides today play with wingers who stay wide. Part of the point of a 4-2-3-1, in fact, is to restore dribblers to the game without risking becoming over-manned in the centre. Even in a 4-4-2, the wide midfielders rarely play high up the field, which means that, as Charlton said, the full-backs are the only players on the field who regularly have space in front of them, and where there is space there is opportunity: if there is no direct opponent, there is the chance to overman, as United showed in the San Siro.

Trying to counter the full-back

The danger, of course, is that sides become over-reliant on the full-backs to provide attacking width, as happened to Russia in that Euro 2008 semi-final. Equally, Chelsea under Luiz Felipe Scolari, after early success with Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole pushing forwards (a Brazilian coach employing a typically Brazilian tactic), found themselves restricted as teams began to deploy midfielders to pen them back.

The rise of players like Park and Dirk Kuyt, wide men who play high up the field but are capable of taking on a defensive brief, is one of the most striking features of the past couple of seasons (or look at the job Wayne Rooney did in Barcelona last season). In a sense they are modern incarnations of players such as Jair, who operated on the right for Herrera’s Inter. He was a tornante (literally “returner”), a wide midfielder characteristic of classic catenaccio, whose role was to occupy the opposing left-back and track his forward surges.

Most fascinating is what happens when genuine winger and attacking full-back clash, as happened in last season’s Champions League final. Cole has probably played Cristiano Ronaldo as well as anybody, and so Sir Alex Ferguson switched Ronaldo across to the left, putting him up against Michael Essien.

For half an hour, Ronaldo destroyed him, not merely twice beating him on the ground, but even leaping above him to head United into the lead. The temptation must have been to try to double up on Ronaldo, but Chelsea ended up doing the opposite. Essien drove by him again and again. That effectively gave Chelsea an extra man in midfield and as they came to dominate, Ronaldo became increasingly marginalised. Frank Lampard’s equaliser, of course, came from a half-blocked Essien drive. The course of the game mirrored exactly the ebb and flow of that battle between Essien and Ronaldo.

England’s 4-1 victory in Croatia, similarly, can be seen as a tale of winger and full-back. Danijel Pranjic had looked excellent in the Euros, his overlapping runs allowing Ivan Rakitic to drift infield off the left flank on to his favoured right foot. Faced with the pace of Theo Walcott, though, he never had the confidence to abandon his man and surge forward, which had the effect both of stymieing Croatia as an attacking force, and of exposing his own defensive shortcomings. That Walcott scored a hat-trick underlined the point, but came almost a bonus alongside his primary role of disrupting Croatia’s left flank.

Come next summer’s World Cup, of course, all the build-up will be about the forwards and fantasistas – Lionel Messi and Franck Ribéry, Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Robinho. Perhaps though, what we should be concentrating on is the full-backs: Sergio Ramos and Philipp Lahm, Alexander Anyukov and Patrice Evra, Dani Alves and Ashley Cole. For it is there, increasingly, where the battle is lost and won.

—————-
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Кеф :)

Минаха почти 3 пълни дни откакто Ливърпул вкара 4 гола на МанЮ. Ееееей голям кеф 🙂 И все пак горчилката от слабите резултати срещу слаби отбори остава. Какво би станало ако…

Но да не си развалям кефа…

Много ме беше страх от този мач. Моите хора доказаха, че са много добри срещу силните тази година, ама МанЮ са си доста силни. Не са Реал Мадрид, тъй да се каже. Голяма изненада за мен обаче беше стартовия състав на Юнайтед. Абсолютно различно от това което те играят тази година. Всъщност звадиха отбор изцяло съобразен със силните страни на Ливърпул. А не с техните си, на Юнайтед силни страни. И ето тук аз останах шашнат. Рядко съм виждал Фъргюсън да се съобразява с това как играе съперника. Обикновенно Юнайтед излиза и мачка. А сега – не. Смея да твърдя, че сър Алекс се беше уплашил. Смело твърдение, но мисля че е така. И това им изигра лоша шега, защото в течение на мача се оказа, че силните страни на Ливърпул са прекалено силни за този състав на Юнайтед.

Някак си безсмислено е да пиша дитирамби за Торес и Джерард – много са добри, ама мисля че хората които спечелиха този мач за Ливърпул са Масчерано и Аурелио. Ако последния беше здрав миналата година, ние щяхме да сме на финала за Шампионската Лига. Невероятно интелигентен ляв бек. Любимецът на Юнайтед (всъщност напълно заслужено такъв – много е добър) – Роналдо, все едно не игра тоя мач. Аурелио просто го “изяде”. И му остана време да се включва в атака. Невероятно добър мач.

А Масчерано е уникален. Той е всичко което харесвам в един футболист – страст, хъс, желание за победа, способност да се жертваш за отбора. Плюс всичките футболни качества които правят един футболист – футболист. Навремето харесвах Вини Джоунс, които играе на подобна позиция поради същите причини. Но разбира се футболните качества на Вини бяха мнооооого, мнооого по-малко от тези на Масчерано. Та Масчерано завладя центъра на терена – прегази всички които се опитаха да минат от там. И този път без глупостите от същия мач миналата година, когато си изпроси червен картон.

За Юнайтед мога само да кажа, че се идъниха тези които ама най-малко съм очаквал – Видич и Евра. И двамата са най-добрите играчи на Юнайтед тази година. И двамата в събота бяха трагедия. Не знам какво да си мисля. И докато Видич има оправданието, че Торес и Джерард са ама много добри, Евра имаше срещу себе си Карахър и Каут. Нито първия е десен бек (просто му се налага да играе там), нито втория е класическо дясно крило. Да, Каут много добре се справя отдясно, ама все пак…..

Но за мое съжеление не виждам как Юнайтед ще загубят 7 точки от тук нататък. Ама много лесна програма имат….

И за финал, за пореден път искам да кажа колко, ама колко не разбирам хората които казват, че Бенитес кара Ливърпул да играе защитно. Точно в този момент, след 29 изиграни мача, Ливърпул, Челси и Юнайтед са вкарали по 49 гола. И това със невероятно атакуващия стил на Челси и Юнайтед и защитния стил на Ливърпул. Е как става тоя номер не знам. Продължавам да се чудя, колко ли гола ще вкарваме ако случайно почнем да играем нападателно 🙂 🙂

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Unsung Heroes

mascheranoJAVIER MASCHERANO
Position: Midfielder
Date of Birth: 08/06/1984
Birth Place: San Lorenzo, Sante Fe, Argentina
Height: 5’7
Weight: 13st 5
LFC 1st team games: 81
LFC 1st team goals: 1
International caps: 46
International goals: 2
Former clubs: River Plate, Corinthians, West Ham United




aurelioFABIO AURELIO
Position: Defender
Date of Birth: 24/09/1979
Birth Place: San Carlos Brazil
Height: 5’8
Weight: 11st 9
LFC 1st team games: 80
LFC 1st team goals: 3
International caps: 0
International goals: 0
Former clubs: Sao Paulo, Valencia




benayounYOSSI BENAYOUN
Position: Midfielder
Date of Birth: 05/05/1980
Birth Place: Dimona, Israel
Height: 5’8
Weight: 9st 8
LFC 1st team games: 79
LFC 1st team goals: 15
International caps: 70
International goals: 19
Former clubs: Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Maccabi Haifa, Racing Santander, West Ham United




Others were wining the headlines. These three had been just playing 🙂 Well 🙂

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Надеждата е кофти нещо

Мамка му. Liverpool за пореден път се прецакаха и шансовете за титла станаха доста силно малковероятни. И други години сме нямали шансове за титла ама не ми пукаше кой знае колко, ама сега колко ми е тъпо 🙁 Щото имахме шансове… А като гледам как вървят нещата, скоро няма пак да имаме шансове. Собствениците скарани, а Бенитес не ще да подпише нов договор… А ако не станало ясно, аз съм му фен и мисля, че той е правилния човек…. Абе боза.
Та това – надеждата е кофти нещо понякога. А за всеки футболен фен, надеждата се казва “Следващият сезон” 🙂

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TOMKINS: LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD

TOMKINS: LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD
Paul Tomkins 13 February 2009
Taken from: http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/news/drilldown/NG163249090213-1041.htm

Following my piece earlier in the week, I want to expand on a couple of the themes and clarify one small mistake on my part.

I was accused by one Liverpool fan of being obsessed with Manchester United. In truth, I was just responding to people in the media saying that Liverpool can’t cope without key players when, quite clearly, they can, and that United can cope wonderfully without key players when, quite clearly, that’s not totally true.

Manchester United are the current barometer. Their success dictates comparison. They are where we want to be. In the bigger picture, the Reds are catching them up, and at a far greater rate than Ferguson originally caught Liverpool. But it’s still not enough to spare Benítez some appallingly wayward criticism, much of it relating to his rival down the East Lancs Road.

Even as Liverpool fans, we cannot argue with Alex Ferguson’s record or his status as a legend of the game. However, at times he will do something that Rafa also does and be labeled a genius for getting the result, whereas the Liverpool manager will be castigated even after a win. Stuff like that needs redressing.

With the purchase of Berbatov, United now have three £30m(ish) strikers. This season they’ve coped much better without one of those: Wayne Rooney. You can’t argue with their depth up front, which is better than last year, when Rooney’s absence left them light.

But in the four league games Ronaldo has so far failed to start this season, United won just one, drew two and lost one. Two were tough games, but then so too were two of the four Gerrard has missed, and Liverpool’s results were better.

I made one error in my piece discussing United without Rooney and Ronaldo last season: they also won at Fulham. It doesn’t greatly alter the overall picture: that they were much diminished without these two key men.

For me, this is perfectly natural anyway. Any team would miss a pair of the quality of Ronaldo and Rooney. But it’s glossed over with United that, actually, they did really rely on them, and that this season they still look iffy without Ronaldo.

The fact that this season Liverpool have coped exceptionally well without Gerrard and/or Torres is my main point.

And I must emphasise greatly –– I wouldn’t draw the United comparison if it wasn’t for the media ramming that myth down our throats to start with. At the weekend I lost count of how many times different pundits said United can make do without players like Ronaldo. The evidence is suggestive of the contrary.

What’s interesting is that Ferguson, with a Champions League game looming after the Fulham fixture last season, did exactly what Benítez did at the weekend, and left out his star names. At the time, United were trailing Arsenal at the top of the table. Was it a crazy gamble? Was he cracking up?

United won 3-0. Again, this might suggest that his squad was far stronger than Liverpool’s now, but I’ve already shown that United were far inferior without Rooney in 2007/08 to their overall form, and almost impotent without Ronaldo. Also, United hadn’t just had a 120-minute midweek derby and lost players to injury.

Liverpool’s win against Portsmouth may have been less convincing than United’s at Fulham last year, but it was a win all the same; just as United, with a full-strength team, needed a Stoke player sent off late-on to eventually aid a breakthrough. That’s football. Good teams wear down less-good teams. Whatever side you select, you cannot always win the game in the first 80 minutes.

And it can’t be ‘luck’ that Liverpool have won so many games late on under Benítez, including coming back from what appeared impossible situations.

Dirk Kuyt has scored and set-up a lot of last-gasp goals this season, and part of that is down to the manager finding such characters, who will never give up. Similarly, look at the determination of Javier Mascherano, a defensive midfielder, in the dying seconds, to try and win the game. Look at his joy at Torres’ goal. This is no accident, no fluke.

Ferguson deserves great credit for buying Ronaldo amongst others, but then so too does Benítez for purchasing Torres and turning Gerrard from a six-goals-a-season midfielder into a twenty-goals-a-season midfielder-cum-striker. Prior to Torres arriving, Liverpool were accused of lacking a world-class striker; now he’s here, the manager is wrongly accused of an over-reliance on him.

With all this, I’m not trying to belittle Manchester United or Ferguson. What he has done has worked. Some years he may have had luck at vital times, but their enduring success speaks of doing things right time and time again.

But by having a massive head-start on Benítez, he has had the kind of advantage that he himself could not overcome when Kenny Dalglish was Liverpool manager over a similar time span.

Neutrals may now say Ferguson is a better manager than was Dalglish; and yet Ferguson was miles adrift of Dalglish season after season before King Kenny resigned in 1991. And Ferguson had arrived from the similar Scottish football, not a different culture like Spain.

People say that the seven years it took Ferguson to win the title cannot be compared with now; football has changed too much.

But if anything, it’s now harder to come from lower in the league (indeed, below 2nd-place) to win the title. Gone are the days when people like Brian Clough could take a promoted side to the league title; imagine West Brom or Stoke doing that now! And in 1992, Leeds won the title in their second season back in the top flight; I don’t see Sunderland doing that in 2009, do you?

Casting the net further afield, Arsene Wenger is used as an example of how it’s possible for someone to win the league very quickly. But he was a pioneer as the English game changed to a more continental style; his timing was perfect in order to offer new enlightenment. By the time Benítez arrived, you could not get such an advantage. Everyone was enlightened. Even Bolton used sports scientists, dieticians and psychologists.

And if you look at Wenger’s record since Rafa arrived, you can say that the great Frenchman has been decidedly second-best to the Spaniard on the whole. More experienced than in 1998, Wenger, already an expert in English football, has found it tougher because the top end of the table now has a number of great sides to compete with.

Of course, there was Jose Mourinho’s impact at Chelsea. But he had exceptional resources, to add to a team that were already a 2nd-placed 80-point Premiership outfit and Champions League semi-finalists. But even then, what he built appears to have been a little short-term in its vision, given the ageing side and subsequent strife at Stamford Bridge.

Going back to United, Alex Ferguson made a series of astute signings in 1988 and 1989. But it took 4/5 years for Bruce, Irwin, Pallister, Ince, Hughes and co. to win the title. The fees for these players may seem cheap to us now, but in relation to the transfer record of the day, these (and some of the expensive ‘flops’ he bought at the same time, like Danny Wallace and Neil Webb) were big-money deals.

One of the main points of writing Dynasty was to make comparisons across the eras on as even a playing field as possible. The United team that won the 1990 FA Cup had an average cost (at time of purchase) of half of the transfer record; or the equivalent of an average of £16m per player in today’s market.

By contrast, Kenny Dalglish had a far cheaper team at the time. Part of that was the decreased need to spend big, as over the years Liverpool, similar to United now, had become a well-oiled machine that needed tweaks rather than overhauls.

However, to show that it’s not just about money, and also that Liverpool can’t claim to have been paupers when Ferguson finally ended United’s 26-year wait, Graeme Souness, in rebuilding the ageing side he inherited, formed a team that also cost on average close to 50 per cent of the transfer record. His own purchases, which did include some cheap players like Rob and Lee Jones, worked out at 45 per cent of the record: an average of £13m per player in today’s market.

Had a world-class manager spent that money at Liverpool, Manchester United ‘might not’ have made that vital title breakthrough. But they did, just as Liverpool won against Portsmouth at the weekend, despite all the ‘if Liverpool hadn’t won’ speculations.

Even so, Ferguson spent big to lift the burden on United’s shoulders. At the time Dynasty went to print, Rafa’s average spend on all players was just 16 per cent of the English transfer record. (This figure does not include the many youngsters and reserves yet to play a part in the first team, so it’s not skewed by such cheap investments.)

United’s strongest XI based on last season is listed in Dynasty as having an average cost of 43.5 per cent of the record, compared with the 18 per cent of Liverpool’s.

That 43.5 per cent was based on United making the Tevez deal permanent at £32m; so it still stands because Berbatov cost precisely that, and Tevez, rather than a regular pick, is now a rather luxurious reserve (to add to expensive signings like Anderson, Nani and Hargreaves. The first two have just nine league starts between them this time, despite their cost.)

Liverpool’s (perceived) strongest XI did become a little more expensive with the signing of Robbie Keane, but he’s no longer part of the equation, while a signing like Riera, who has replaced Babel as first choice on the left, was actually £3m cheaper.

So for Benítez to have the financial advantage that Ferguson could call upon between 1986 and 1993 – i.e. the ability to outspend a great rival in order to overtake them – he would need a team stuffed full of £15-30m players, as opposed to just a couple. (Again, I’m not saying that if you spend the money you’ll definitely have success, but equally, Ferguson did not overtake Liverpool with thriftiness.)

But there’s an even more crucial point. Not only did Ferguson have a financial advantage that Benítez now doesn’t, he also had disruption at Liverpool from 1989 onwards, when Hillsborough derailed the Reds and left Dalglish suffering from understandable stress. The worst imaginable luck in all senses for Liverpool was, in sporting terms, good luck for United.

It’s also important to note, by way of balance, that United were similarly damaged by Munich in 1958, without which Bill Shankly might have found Matt Busby’s men impossible to overhaul six years later.

No matter how good Shankly was, and how great the team he assembled, if United had not been rebuilding when he arrived 50 years ago, but instead going from strength to strength with a great young side, it might have been too great a gap to bridge. At the very least, it may have taken Shankly beyond 1964 to win the championship if Duncan Edwards and co. were still alive.

You almost always need some disruption with preeminent rivals to sneak a march on them. Because whatever you do, they already have momentum.

Since his arrival, Benítez has elevated the Reds above Arsenal, although it could be argued that they are in transition. This season he has got the Reds above Chelsea, but their constant changing of managers in search of ‘sexy’ football appears to be part of their undoing. All the same, you have to be in a position to take advantage, and so far Liverpool have with their own improvement.

In other years, this might be enough: two strong rivals (and recent European Cup finalists) overtaken. But the one constant remains United, who were miles ahead of Liverpool in 2004, and who, even though the gap has been closed dramatically, still have undeniable advantages that stretch back well into the 1990s in terms of personnel, finances and one manager’s vision.

So I repeat, the point of this is not to demean Ferguson’s achievements. They are set in stone. But what irritates me is how he is seen as almost able to do no wrong, and Benítez no right.

I reiterate: in the last two seasons, United’s results without Ronaldo have been the equivalent to mid-table form. Liverpool’s results this season without either Torres or Gerrard have been far, far better. And yet Liverpool are portrayed as the one- or two-man team, and Benítez the clueless, lucky manager with a weak squad.

And how utterly wrong that is.

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TOMKINS: END THIS TORRES/GERRARD MYTH

Taken from http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/news/drilldown/NG163223090210-1353.htm

TOMKINS: END THIS TORRES/GERRARD MYTH
Paul Tomkins 10 February 2009

There are lies, damned lies and statistics. And there is the absolute guff spouted by pundits who wouldn’t know a fact if it bit them in the part of their body they speak out of.

Of late, I’ve been wondering if Rafa Benítez is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. Now I’m just starting to believe that’s too mild a way to put it. I have never known a manager so unable to win even when he wins. One defeat in 33 ‘main competition’ games, and still the flak flies.

And as I will prove, some of the criticism could not be more wayward.

If ever there was an almost perfect example of how he can’t win, it came at Portsmouth, following the midweek Mersey marathon.

To put it in perspective, if Rafa had played a weakened team at Everton in the FA Cup, he’d have been lambasted for not taking the competition seriously (yawn), and for not understanding the local derby.

He went with a strong team, to try and win the game and keep the momentum going, not least because Mersey derbies have a habit of being blown out of proportion: lose, and it feels like the end of the world; win, and you can get a massive fillip.

But Lucas was sent off for two yellows, when only one was a foul. Steven Gerrard had already limped off injured at the start, and Liverpool were left to play extra-time with ten men and a clearly leggy Fernando Torres. So much then for fielding your best players to win the game early and then be able to rest them: the advice every man and his dog was giving Benítez in the past.

Already physically shattered, a deflected goal in the 119th minute was similarly tough on the psyche. It was a body blow to the, er, mind. So the received wisdom was no use whatsoever on Wednesday.

What it did do was leave a tired, dejected team shorn of its captain and with its best striker seeing the recent run of games take its toll, having returned from a long injury problem to be thrown into a busy schedule.

So what does a manager do in this situation? Play his best players, who were clearly tired (and two of whom – Torres and Alonso – weren’t 100% fit), or use the squad and hope that a little less quality and/or experience is compensated for by far greater freshness, plus the hunger to impress?

After all, Gerrard had just succumbed to an injury from playing too much football; what if Torres followed suit?

With Spain unlikely to rest him on Wednesday, there was a chance that the Reds wouldn’t even get to the upcoming vital weekend break (the one big bonus of going out of the FA Cup) with the striker’s hamstrings intact. So Rafa wasn’t resting him to keep him fresh for Spain; he was trying to avoid another lay-off.

Ultimately, extreme situations demand extreme measures.

I don’t think the result made Rafa a genius, just as having drawn or lost would not have made him a chump. Had everyone been 100% fit and sharp, then it’s a risky judgement call you can perhaps question. But they weren’t. Clearly.

However, there was one very logical reason why, in the circumstances, it was a gamble worth taking. The Liverpool subs looked so sharp precisely because they were entering into a game with the opposition starting to tire, and in which those three Reds wouldn’t need to rely on stamina – just a short burst of effort that didn’t need to be sustained.

What Rafa did in the face of fatigue was pair Torres, Kuyt and Alonso up against an equally tired second-half Portsmouth side, when their quality could tell. Ideally the game would have been won by then, but if it wasn’t, they were there to win it late on. After all, Alex Ferguson has done that countless times in the past, keeping his stars in reserve in case he needed them to come on and win the game.

Had that trio started the game, it could quite easily have been a case of them tiring before the south coast side. Who knows? It’s certainly not unlikely after the midweek exertions, and a whopping 210 minutes of football since Pompey played last Saturday. Either way, it’s an almost impossible situation for the team to play to the best of its ability.

Mixing metaphors somewhat, I just wish the baying hounds would cut Benítez at least a little slack. I honestly can’t recall a top manager being criticised even half as much as the Spaniard – and this with trophies, constant Champions League qualification (and annual progress to at least the semi-finals, bar 2006), along with radical improvements in the league.

After Torres scored the winner on Saturday, one commentator said that Liverpool need to keep him fit and ‘nurse him’; yet there was widespread condemnation before the game for not starting him. So you need to nurse players like Torres and Gerrard, just never rest (i.e. ‘nurse’) them. Oh, okay.

Then later that evening, it was said Liverpool would not have won fielding that side against better opposition.

Which was ludicrously bereft of logic because Liverpool were playing Portsmouth, and that’s the only team the manager could pick a side to beat. Did Rafa select that same XI against Chelsea last week? No. Did Rafa have to pick a side on Saturday to beat Manchester United or Arsenal? Of course not. It was Portsmouth.

In the post-match TV analysis it was all about how Liverpool will get ‘nowhere near’ the title with this squad; having just gone top of the table with 13 games remaining (even if United were still favourites with two games in hand).

And there’s me thinking the Reds had been challenging all season long, sometimes without Gerrard, often without Torres.

The same was said on TV on Sunday morning: journalists declaring Liverpool’s squad as too weak to mount a title challenge –– whilst that very squad is clearly making a challenge. It’s like three blind mice leading equally vision-impaired followers.

(Please, fellas, if you’re reading, stick with it, but I’ve a lot to vent. The facts are on their way. Read them, and consider their implications.)

The result is the only justification of team selection, whether you get the winner in the first minute or the last.

I said last week, when Man United score late, it’s the sign of a great side; when Liverpool do, it’s luck. And yet even before Torres came on, Kuyt had put the Reds 2-1 up with a goal that was wrongly chalked off for offside, while Pompey’s opener looked offside. And Liverpool are ‘lucky’?!

Had that Kuyt goal stood, there’s a fairly good chance Liverpool would have won without their two stellar names even featuring, and yet the Setanta pundits and Sky journos were adamant about how Liverpool are too reliant on Gerrard and Torres.

Again, I ask people to go check Manchester United’s results without Ronaldo and Rooney. And again, I ask people to see how many games Liverpool have won without Torres and Gerrard this season.

If you can’t check, let me do it for you: United lost five league games last season. Rooney missed four of them, Ronaldo missed three, and they did not play together in any of those defeats. Of these opponents, only Chelsea were a team in the top eight, so it’s not skewed by difficult games.

In the 12 league matches Rooney did not start, United’s accrued a 69-point average when extrapolated over 38 games, as opposed to the 87 they actually racked up. In the seven games Ronaldo did not start, the average would have made an even worse total: 65 points. Or the tally that saw Everton finish 5th.

Shockingly, in the four games in which neither started –– against Manchester City, Bolton, Sunderland and Spurs (again, no giants, but admittedly one derby) –– they dropped half of the available points: meaning an average of 57 if extrapolated over 38 games. Or equivalent to finishing 8th, like Portsmouth.

(Also, of the three league games Ronaldo missed at the start of this season, United dropped five points, which is the form of a mid-table side.)

Yes, United have other good players all over the pitch, but do these facts not suggest that they are overly reliant on their best two attacking players?

While United have coped well in the last few games without Rooney, without either him and/or Ronaldo on a regular basis, the form book suggests that they are not a title-winning side. Indeed, far from it.

(Of course, if United did not have these players on a very regular basis, or indeed at all, they’d try to buy similar replacements; just as Liverpool obviously would in the case of Torres and Gerrard.)

Now look at Liverpool without Torres and Gerrard this season.

Gerrard has failed to start four league games –– Villa, United, Fulham and Portsmouth. Two of those are clearly very tough fixtures, against top-three sides. Two were at home, two away. And yet Liverpool’s record is won two, drawn two. Over 38 league games, that is worth an impressive 76 points.

Due to injury, Torres has failed to start no fewer than 15 league games. These resulted in ten wins, four draws and just one defeat. Over a 38 game season, that ratio would earn an incredible 86 points. That is a title-winning tally; last year United got 87, but needed only 86.

Perhaps due to Torres playing at least half a dozen games when lacking sharpness, Liverpool have actually fared better without him; with him starting, the Reds have won five and drawn five, which is 76 points in terms of form over 38 games. (Though he did win the weekend’s game from the bench.)

It gets even more amazing. In each of the two league games Liverpool started without both Torres and Gerrard, the Reds won: against United and Pompey. It’s only two games, of course, but it’s a 100% record. Or 114 points over the course of a season! (Silly, I know, when based on such a small sample, but a 100% record is a 100% record.)

Yes, these are statistics – but then league tables are formed from similar statistics relating to win, lose or draw, which are the most important kind. And yes, United’s figures are based on last season (when they won the title) and Liverpool’s this season (as they challenge for it). Even so, it’s valid.

But even I was shocked at how remarkably disparate the win/lose/draw statistics were. I’m no genius; I just sat down and bothered to check some team sheets and calculate some figures, rather than just make ignorant assumptions like the McPundits.

So why are Liverpool the team perceived to rely on just two players? Why does someone like Tim Sherwood say that United don’t rely on their key men and Liverpool do?

Why isn’t the truth –– that United cannot seem to cope very well without Ronaldo, and certainly not well at all without both him and Rooney –– more well known?

Why isn’t Rafa praised for getting so many great results without his key men this season, rather than just constantly criticised?

Why isn’t Ferguson accused of being lucky or relying on Rooney and Ronaldo to get him out of trouble?

I’ll leave you (and anyone in the media who reads this) to draw your own conclusions. But based on these figures, if I were Alex Ferguson and United lost Rooney and Ronaldo to serious injury, I’d be very worried.

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Perception and reality

Интересно – Рафа Бенитез е критикуван като треньор, които мисли само за защитата. Ливърпул играели много защитно при него. А реалноста е, че с тази защитна игра Ливърпул са вкарали 42 в момента. Само Челси от 20 други отбора във Висшата Лига са вкарали повече – 44.
Направо не си го и представям какво ще стане ако Ливърпул почнат да играят атакуващо 🙂

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