Barcelona Still 10 Points Behind After Win Against Atletico

While FC Barcelona has taken some time in recent matches to fully get into the game, on Sunday night they started out fully in their stride. Barcelona were guests of Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium and with none of the apparent grogginess of late they started out on the attack.

This seemed to pay off after just seven minutes when Lionel Messi scored, however the referee ruled it out for handball. Next up came Xavi, whose 30 yard free kick forced Atletico keeper Courtois to show what he could do and save the ball.

The hosts quickly stepped up to the mark and responded to the Barcelona attack with a couple of dangerous looking breaks of their own. However, solid work by the defence and by Victor Valdes ensured nothing came of these.

The match started to get a little tough, but Barcelona settled down and then showed why they are considered the best team in the world at the moment when Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Dani Alves worked in perfect harmony to score the first goal of the match. However, Atletico’s Falcao responded with an attack on the Barcelona goal, which was denied by the quickness of Valdes.

After the break Atletico came on with a renewed sense of purpose and quickly started to push. This paid off a few minutes into the second half when Falcao, on the back post, volleyed the ball into the Catalan’s net from a corner.

As is so often the case Barcelona dominated possession, but even so the hosts were quick to attack when they had the opportunity. Dani Alves was instrumental in setting up an attack on the Atletico goal, but the ball was just beyond Messi’s reach and Alexis headed it over the post. Close to the end Barcelona’s defence messed up and allowed Falcao into the area. However, Valdes kept his head and reached the ball to prevent a second goal.

The match was won from a free kick by Messi. The ball soared over the Atletico defence and looked like it would go over the goal; however at the last second it dipped and went into the back of the net, much to the surprise of the Atletico goalie.

The final score was 2-1 to Barcelona, but with a 10 point disadvantage to Real Madrid their dream of another Spanish league title in 2012 was already over; coach Pep Guardiola admitted the fact, saying only that they would continue to play until the end.

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Manchester United Ready for Champions League Semifinals

Manchester United Captain Gary Neville believes the team is well prepared to win this season Champions League due to the ability and the preparation the team possesses.

Last year the Manchester United was defeated by the AC Milan, but the team players think they can overcome Barcelona and prove they are better suited this new season.

Manchester Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has invested a lot of money in new players after making an exhaustive research he decided to bring Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves as well as the promising couple of Anderson and Nani to the squad.

Actually it was Tevez who scored the goal that marked the victory of Manchester over Roma and sealed the ticket to the semifinals 3-0.

Neville said "We have a great chance this season. Once you get to a semi-final anything we can happen. We are playing well at the moment and winning games regularly. Last year we were maybe not quite ready. to go all the way. The games and the atmosphere against Barcelona will be brilliant. There will be some great players on show. Both teams like attack.

Ferguson could even afford to leave 37-goal Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes on the bench with a crucial Barclays Premier League match against Arsenal to come on Sunday.

Also; Neville's words echoed into another experienced campaigner Ryan Giggs who was a Neville's team mate nine years ago when both of them used to play with the Bayern Munich. He agreed with what Neville had to say and also is expecting a great English final in Moscow; since the other two teams involved in the semifinals are the Chelsea who must face Liverpool in the next few weeks.

Giggs also thinks that Manchester has a lot of possibilities of winning over the Barcelona team since this season is not the best for the Spaniard team. He thinks the one who wins is the one who is going to perform better in two legs.

He also thinks that all of the 4 teams that are right now in the semifinals are capable of winning the Champions League this season.

"If you are not up for that game you will never be. Both are very good teams. It is nothing better than the two legs mentioned Giggs. happens on the day. Games against Barcelona are what you want, playing against great teams ".

Manchester United set a new record by having 11 straight home victories by defeating Roma last Wednesday.

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Big Data And New Avenues For The Hospitality Industry

Big Data has been the buzzword in the technology and business space for quite some time now and is showing no signs to cease. Engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists from all over the world are being hired by big names in business to tame and leverage the tremendous potential of big data analytics. The change is so powerful that it has almost wiped out all previous methods of decision making and is going to be the prime mover of companies, government agencies and societies on a global scale.

Essentially, big data and advanced algorithms, coupled with very high amount of computing resource, crunches numbers and churns out probabilities and correlations – the two weapons of any management team. For example, the HR and recruitment team of any company would be happy to get insights on the probability of a new recruit’s attrition. The board members would be happy to know the correlation between national GDP, an executive’s skill-set and his chances of sabotaging the company, before taking him on board!

On the other side are the clients and customers of any product or service, who would be interested to know the probability that the claims made by the manufacturer or the service provider would be justified by the end results. To illustrate the point, we shall take the travel and hospitality industry as a case study and build the arguments on that basis.

The travel and hospitality industry has two kinds of customers – the first category comprises of seasonal customers who plan month before taking a long vacation and the second one are the random ones. If someone belongs to the second category and needs to travel frequently, stay in hotels and do stuff on the move, there is little big data based predictive models can do to cut costs. However, the first category can be a big gainer with the help of predictive models that operates on the big data framework.

Mathematicians and computer scientists can create highly complex algorithms that give rise to artificial intelligence with unimaginably large amount of data crunching capacities. Such infrastructures are quite capable of running programs with high resource requirement and in turn, can churn out probabilities and correlations between remotely related parameters.

For example, scientists have successfully developed and tested predictive mathematical models that can show an ordinary customer the optimum time and route for travel, so that a vacation can be planned with minimum cost. Such models can suggest, for example, that a person should buy plane tickets from X airlines exactly five days later for travelling to Barcelona after exactly forty three days, during which the tariffs of hotels A, B and C is expected to be minimum, the weather is expected to be pleasant and the overall probability of enjoying a relaxing vacation is very high. If one wants to calculate the optimum itinerary for a trip to Spain, it can also be done easily.

The big data paradigm feeds on astronomical volumes of data and statistical methods suggest that greater the sample size better is the accuracy of the stochastic output. In today’s age, there is no dearth of data and therefore, big data analytics is working fine for companies that are adding value to people’s lives by application appropriate techniques. When it comes to the hospitality industry, Hotel And Ticket Booking Service providers can also apply these techniques on their own or outsource the same to experts, so that they can provide real and unique values to their customers. These can be a great strategy for them to win customer loyalty, as a customer will surely return to the booking service provider once he realize that while others have bought expensive tickets, he has been benefitted by the booking agent’s advice!

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