Liverpool 2-1 Ludogorets: Gerrard rescues Reds to secure winning start to Champions League return

first_img Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard celebrates his match-winning penalty in the Champions League A stoppage-time penalty from Steven Gerrard ensured the Reds kicked off their return to the Champions League with a winning start against plucky European minnows Ludogorets.It was far from plain sailing for the hosts at Anfield, as the Bulgarian champions proved worthy opponents in their first ever Champions League appearance.After a tight 80 minutes of football Mario Balotelli finally broke the deadlock, and opened his Liverpool account, with a neat half-volley to put the Reds in front.But the spirited visitors soon netted a shock equaliser when substitute Dani Abalo found the net in stoppage-time after a swift counter-attack.And just when it seemed Brendan Rodgers’ side had seen a dream start to their European campaign snatched away, Liverpool were awarded a penalty.It was goalkeeper Milan Borjan who took out Javier Manquillo in the box and captain Gerrard, as he has done on so many occasions,  kept his cool under pressure to sweep home from the spot and secure a fortunate three points for the five-time winners.A turgid opening half saw both teams create few scoring opportunities.In similar scenes to Saturday’s poor 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa, Liverpool saw the majority of the possession but had little end product, with Balotelli and Adam Lallana – playing more as a second striker than wide man – going closest for the hosts with a series of half-chances.Little is known of Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets, but they certainly impressed with an industrious performance on their debut at Europe’s top table.They restricted their hosts throughout the game, with the Reds growing increasingly frustrated as half-time approached.But Rodgers’ men did improve in that final spell before the break, with Lallana again going close again with perhaps Liverpool’s best chance – Jordan Henderson provided a good pass into the box but the former Southampton captain just couldn’t get the ball from out of his feet, with his scrappy effort easily blocked away.Liverpool continued their decent form after the restart as they produced two quick attacks leading to further half-chances for Philippe Coutinho and Henderson, while Lallana was felled in the box by a strong, but fair, shoulder barge after a well weighted headed knock down from Balotelli.Full-back Manquillo then wasted a great opportunity to put Liverpool in front, tapping his close-range effort over the bar after being put clean through by a brilliant Henderson pass.But despite the home side’s increasing confidence, the gutsy visitors still proved a threat, with Mignolet forced into action moments later as he parried away a thumping 30-yard effort from Ludogorets defender Junior Caicara.Striker Roman Bezjak then spurned another great chance for the travelling side, taking advantage of a mistake from Dejan Lovren and running clean through on goal, only to slice his one-on-one shot over the bar.With 20 minutes remaining Rodgers began to make changes, with Coutinho, after a poor performance in which he often gave away possession when looking for crafty passes that just weren’t there, replaced by Fabio Borini and Lucas coming on for Lallana.And while Borini made an immediate impact by going close with a powerful header, Liverpool almost went behind and were only saved by the woodwork as Bezjak hit the post with a low strike.The home side were shaken but were soon celebrating when Balotelli got the breakthough with his first Reds goal.The Italy international failed to really impress in two Premier League games for the Merseyside outfit since his £16million summer switch, and wasn’t too much better against the Bulgarian champions.But all it took was one moment of brilliance from the striker, as he shrugged off challenges from two defenders to find the net with a neat half-volley to give Liverpool the lead.They were instantly pegged back though, and the Reds’ poor back-four were undone by a clever through pass from Hamza Younes which frontman Abalo, who only came on the pitch minutes before, ran onto and finished well past Mignolet to send the minnows wild in added-time.The previously ecstatic Anfield crowd were silenced by what was a deserved goal for Ludogorets, but they were up on their feet again soon enough when Borjan, who was signed by the side just days ago amid a goalkeeping crisis, took out Manquillo in the area.The stage was set for Gerrard, the sole remaining member of Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League-winning squad, to rescue the Reds once again, and the skipper made no mistake as Liverpool were left to celebrate their nervy victory. 1last_img read more

Teacher on El Pueblo board can help shape history

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE As a member of the city’s El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority, the 33-year-old’s dynamic approach to local history will spread beyond his classrooms of Morningside Elementary and Glendale Community College and reach more than a million people a year. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa nominated the Sylmar resident to the board, and the City Council confirmed him unanimously, giving the Valley rare representation on the panel that oversees Olvera Street. “Mr. Cervantes is a historian who is not only passionate about Los Angeles history, but he also cares deeply about one of our city’s oldest and most treasured monuments,” said Diana Rubio, a spokeswoman for Villaraigosa. “He was a natural choice to serve on El Pueblo Commission.” The Department of El Pueblo de Los Angeles manages the cluster of historic sites marking the Spanish colonial settlement that was the foundation for modern Los Angeles. The agency has been in the news lately for its business operations, with City Controller Laura Chick issuing a rare positive audit crediting new management with turning around a formerly dire financial situation. While Cervantes said he is studying up to perform his business oversight duties as an El Pueblo commissioner, his focus is on the agency’s other prime function – historical interpretation. El Pueblo sees about 1.5 million tourists a year, and it provides 12,000 educational tours to groups from about 200 schools. “I bring my students here every year on a field trip,” Cervantes said. “Now I can actually affect how the history gets disseminated to kids.” Marianne Gatto, museum curator for El Pueblo and the author of its educational program, has been working with Cervantes since he joined the commission. “Definitely he has a wealth of knowledge of Chicano history,” she said. “He is an advocate for children, and that’s very important.” In the spirit of making history feel urgent and alive, Cervantes would like to see more period photographs illustrating the signs around El Pueblo so people can see the contrast in their surroundings. He wants to emphasize the area’s multicultural origins and doesn’t think educational materials should shy away from describing historical conflicts. Some of those struggles resonate with Cervantes’ own family history. His father, Pedro, came from the Mexican state of Michoacan, and his mother, Alicia, is from Jalisco. Cervantes grew up in San Fernando as his father moved from agricultural labor to a job with General Motors in Van Nuys. An influential teacher at Sylmar High School spurred Cervantes’ interest in history, and he made it his major at Occidental College. Cervantes went on to earn a master’s degree in history from Claremont Graduate University before beginning his career as a teacher. He has served on the city of San Fernando’s Cultural Arts Commission and created a public-access TV show about the history of the Valley. Along with a partner, Cervantes has written and published a pair of children’s books, one on San Fernando Valley history and the other about Cesar Chavez. He has been politically active as well, taking part in demonstrations and a hunger strike in the 1990s to protest restrictions on immigrants’ rights and affirmative action. Today, Cervantes’ activism is quieter, but he still aims to improve conditions for the North San Fernando Valley community in which he grew up. He strives to give students the type of educational experience their circumstances might not ordinarily provide. “There’s this great enlightenment that happens your first year of college,” he said. “And most people never get to experience that.” Sitting on the main plaza of Olvera Street this past week, Cervantes recounted a quote from Malcolm X that he first encountered in his own freshman year that continues to inspire him. “The only people who change history,” he said, “are the ones who change the way people think about themselves.” Dan Laidman, (213) [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! If Angel Cervantes’ students complain that history seems distant, he tells them to have a look around. The San Fernando Valley native might then rattle off the story of Maclay Avenue, a route his kids at Morningside Elementary School travel all the time, starting with Charles Maclay, the person the street was named after. “Maclay, his homeboy was Governor Leland (Stanford) up in Sacramento,” Cervantes said. “He got a tip-off that the railroad was coming through town and he bought up all the land in San Fernando.” Cervantes’ love of history propelled him to become the first person in his Mexican-American immigrant family to attend college, and now it has landed him a prestigious civic post. last_img read more