Posts Tagged ‘UEFA’
It’s been a while since I was on a plane all night, but I must say, the trip from Dallas to Madrid was most pleasant. It was right at a little over 9 hours flying time, so ample time to get some shut-eye, even in coach class.
I don’t know if I dreamed on the way over, but if I did, I’d like to think it was about soccer (or, “futbol,” as many refer to it across Europe and around the world).
I’ve been a futbol fan ever since I was a wee lad, having played starting in YMCA leagues early on, and having embraced that most defensive of positions, goalkeeper.
So I would like to think I was dreaming on the flight over of the Chelsea v. Bayer Munchen final for the European Champions League, played Saturday night in Munich.
It seemed a minor miracle that Chelsea even made it that far, but as a team, they pulled together to beat some of the best in the world to get there, and Didier Drogba once again demonstrated what a clutch player he is — even as his contract with Chelsea expires shortly.
It was all Bayern Munich all the time for the first half, and well into the second half. Possession slid into 54-55% Munich, easily, and it seemed like every time I looked up, their relentless offense was pounding Chelsea on their end of the field.
But things took a turn for Chelsea late in the second half. They were getting the ball more on Bayern’s end of the field, and seemed to be picking up momentum…that is, until Bayern’s Thomas Muller knocked in a brilliant header in the 83rd minute.
Chelsea’s sails deflated, with only 7 minutes left in the match, it looked as though it was Bayern’s for the taking…but that’s where Didier Drogba comes in, levelling it at 1-1 with his own brilliant header. You could feel the tide turning across the Bayern stadium.
Drogba almost became the anti-hero in extra time, fouling Franck Ribery and engendering a penalty kick from Arjen Robben that Petr Čech was able to deflect.
Enter the drum roll, as the two sides went to penalty kicks, and the last opportunity came down to Drogba’s penalty try, which sent Petr Čech diving to the left as Drogba spun the ball into the right side of the net, anointing Chelsea this season’s European Champions League victor.
Anybody following the UEFA Champions League semi-finals this week?
If you’re a soccer fan, it’s been a “must-see” week, with Chelsea outing the world-class Barcelona team on a 2nd half lay-up by Fernando Torres in a match earlier this week, and Real Madrid losing to Bayern Munich last night in a heartbreaking 3-1 penalty shoot-out after Bayern had tied Real-Madrid 3-3 in the aggregate.
Bayern, a four-time champion of the Champions League, will now have reached the final for the second time in three seasons, and will take on Chelsea at Allianz Arena May 19.
Of course, if you’re more interested in the football that takes place on this side of the Atlantic (I happen to enjoy both!), then you’ll want to tune in to ESPN this evening at 8 PM EST for the first round of this year’s NFL draft.
The first five projections? Stanford QB Andrew Luck is expected to go to Indianapolis at #1. #2 is Baylor’s QB Robert Griffin III to the Redskins. #3 is offensive tackle Matt Kalil from USC, expected to head to the Vikings. #4 looks to be Alabama running back Trent Richardson, expected to be picked up by Cleveland. And bringing in the rear is LSU corner back Morris Claiborne, expected to be taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But this is all pure speculation, so watch tonight’s first round tidings to know for sure.
Meanwhile, IBM made an important announcement today in the healthcare research field. It announced that researchers from The State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo are using IBM analytics technology to study more than 2,000 genetic and environmental factors that may contribute to multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms.
As part of the initiative, Researchers will tap into IBM’s analytics technology to develop algorithms for big data containing genomic datasets to uncover critical factors that speed up disease progression in MS patients. Insights gained from the research will be shared with hundreds of doctors to better tailor individual treatments to slow brain injury, physical disability and cognitive impairments caused by MS.
Using IBM analytics technology, SUNY Buffalo researchers can for the first time explore clinical and patient data to find hidden trends among MS patients by looking at factors such as gender, geography, ethnicity, diet, exercise, sun exposure, and living and working conditions. The big data including medical records, lab results, MRI scans and patient surveys, arrives in various formats and sizes, requiring researchers to spend days making it manageable before they can analyze it.
Using an IBM Netezza analytics appliance with software from IBM business partner, Revolution Analytics, researchers can now analyze all the disparate data in a matter of minutes instead of days, regardless of what type or size it is. The technology automatically consumes and analyzes the data, and makes the results available for further analysis. As a result, researchers can now focus their time on analyzing trends instead of managing data.
MS is a chronic neurological disease for which there is no cure. The disease is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, infectious and autoimmune factors making treatment difficult. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there are approximately 400,000 people in the US with MS, and 200 people are diagnosed every week. Worldwide, MS is estimated to affect more than 2.1 million people.
You can learn more about IBM’s Big Data strategy and portfolio here.