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Weekend in Europe
Le Mans 1-0 Bordeaux

Phew! And YAY! Finally a win for Le Mans. Daisuke Matsui started, and sent in the cross for the goal by Bangoura (he took a big slow wind-up for a difficult volley-type shot off a bounce). Matsui had an opportunity for a goal himself, when he jumped up and in towards the goal to head an incoming ball; however the ball went to the goalie for a catch.

Bordeaux lost a player to a red, when Fernando chop-chopped Matsui's legs (hooked with one and chopped with the other), so Le Mans did have the upper hand for much of the game.

Celtic 3-2 Hibernian

From all accounts this was the most entertaining game of the season so far. Celtic got the lead when Shunsuke Nakamura's free kick from the left downloaded from Hartson's head, but Hibs netted the next two goals. Then, Celtic netted the next two goals (one more from Hartson and a pretty free kick from Maloney -- the Hibs gk could not move, and seemed to be shocked that Nakamura had not taken the kick).

Hibs pressed forward for much of the game, and though they may have had the edge on youth and energy, Celtic may have had the individual superiority in their players to make the difference. Though the last ten or so minutes were quite excrutiating, with the tough Celtic focus starting to crack under Hibs' last-ditch barrage. Luckily the whistle blew with the 3 points for Strachan and his men.

From what I have read/heard from various people, Nakamura had an outstanding day out, many people said it was his best overall performance yet, not only showing his quality in passes and touches but also showing more guts and desire. In particular one play where he persisted after possession, won it, Petrov took off from next to him, and Shunsuke ran and sent the ball forward to Petrov with his left foot as he tumbled to the ground. I can imagine such dynamic displays and respect for defense may have won over a few more doubters. Maybe he was doubly motivated by the fact that his "wish" to play Brazil in the World Cup was granted...!

It sounded like a very difficult game, especially psychologically (for the fans, too!), but being able to fight back for the lead and keeping it was very significant. Especially because they just got atop the table last week.

West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Manchester City

An early goal for WBA when Kamara got a pass from Junichi Inamoto and took advantage of some indecision in defense. It is sooo good to see him playing constantly now...
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