Back for more? Bored of hearing Toure was banned for drugs, that Fergie was charged for ranting, that Rooney wasn’t charged for anything you’re in the right place. Because here we have owl-killers, a ranting ex-Crazy Gang member, news from Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Portugal and updates on ex-Brazilian heroes Roberto Carlos and Ronaldinho. To round things off we find out who are the Top Ten African goalscorers in the Premier League.
Update from Last Week
Brisbane Roar make it 28 games unbeaten. Tunisia domestic-based national side put aside domestic concerns to win the CHAN. Nothing exciting in Hungary, with Videoton drawing 0-0. Much more exciting in the Sowetan Derby with Orlando Pirates scoring a last-minute equaliser for the 2nd week running (remember Happy Jele last week) to square the game at 1-1. There has since been a midweek set of fixtures which saw Ajax Cape Town lose, Chiefs draw again and Pirates get back to winning ways to see them 3 points clear at the top. A shock in Tahiti as the hosts edged Solomon Islands 4-3 in the final to reach the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup for the first time ever! IturbeWatch: The starlet played his first full 90 against Santos, previously against Olimpia he was untouchable for about 10 minutes then his opponents wised up to him and kept him quiet. In the end it was the real Messi who upstaged him (well his cousin) as Max Biancucchi set up the winner in the Paraguayan clásico 5 minutes from time. If you are interested in the Iturbe story I wrote and article on him this week for IBWM (inbedwithmaradona).
This weeks stories
Furniture stuffers off to winning start in Kenya
The Kenyan Premier League is now underway, defending champions Ulinzi Stars didn’t play due to CAF Champions League commitments. Posta Rangers took full advantage to beat relative has-been Gor Mahia 3-0 to lead the table after Round 1. The only draw was between SoNy Sugar (that is meant to be a capital N) and the confusingly named Congo United. A special mention to 2009 Premier League winners Sofapaka for their 2-1 victory over Mathare United – actually the mention is for their name.
The Panamanian owl murderer
In Colombia last weekend, Deportivo Pereira defender Luis Moreno kicked an owl that had wandered onto the pitch into touch during their visit to Atlético Junior. The poor bird entered a state of shock and 2 days later died. Moreno is now under investigation by the police for the unnecessary act of brutality and could face up to 3 months in prison. He has already been banned for two games and fined $560 by the Colombian FA. In Barranquilla the club mascot won’t be forgotten, he is set to be displayed in a crystal urn as a reminder of the consequences of violence.
Car Park shooting in Ecuador
Sad news from Quito last Friday with news that Luis Bolaños of LDU Quito was shot in the arm in the car park of a shopping mall in the Ecuadorian capital. Thankfully the wounds weren’t serious and he even managed a smile in the hospital (photo posted via his girlfriends’ Twitter) before being allowed to return home on Monday. The shooting seems to be a bungled robbery attempt when Bolaños was chased in his car by two criminals (with previous) after going to the bank.
Sow the early seeds of glory
Senegalese striker Moussa Sow is making a big impression in Ligue 1 this season. He scored the opening goal on Sunday for Lille against Lyon in their 1-1 draw as the Northerners remain top of the French Championnat. But what impressed me most is that of his 17 goals this season 11 have been the 1st goal of the game. That is better than Edison Cavani (9 of his 20 goals) in Italy, Lionel Messi in Spain (also 9 goals) and all of the Premier League (Tevez, Bent and Cahill on 8). What is more surprising is that last season Sow could only muster 3 goals and spent most of his appearances coming off the bench.
Anybody who loves football loves to hear romantic stories about talented players, nobody really wants to read for example that Ronaldinho isn’t training, isn’t trying. They want to read this:Ronaldinho scored a game-winning free-kick for Flamengo to wrap up the Taça Guanabara against Boavista. Next week they play for the Taça Rio in a bid to secure the State Championships.
Roberto Carlos debuts with a defeat
Zenit St.Petersburg held of a spirited Anzhi Makhachkala side containing Roberto Carlos to win 3-2 in Grozny in the Russian Cup the tournament with one of the strangest schedules in world football. The last 16 had started on 22 September before this week’s games. Zenit will face CSKA Moscow who booked their place in the Quarter Finals on Monday in temperatures of -10c with a 1-0 win over Shinnik of the Russian 1st Division (2nd tier of Russian football). Shinnik are an odd case, based 250-km north-east of Moscow they started the season brilliantly but ended it (in November) in 10th place after a crazy run of 8 games without a win, 7 of which were draws (four 0-0 and three 1-1). They haven’t won since the 25th of September.
No repeat of 2010 success for England U-17s
England’s U-17 team returned to the South Coast of the Iberian peninsula to defend the annual Algarve Cup but had little to cheer. A draw against Romania marked a debut goal for 2nd youngest member of the squad, Cauley Woodrow of Luton Town. That was followed by a 3-1 defeat to Germany and the friendly round-robin ended by throwing away a 2-goal lead to draw with the tournament hosts and eventual winners Portugal.
Benfica in line for hat-trick
Staying in Portugal, the Portuguese League Cup is in its fourth season and once again it is Benfica who are favourites to lift the trophy. The back-to-back champions are through to the final for the third successive year after victory in the Lisbon derby against Sporting on Wednesday night. Sporting’s Helder Postiga gave the Leões a 1-goal head start before Oscar Cardozo equalised. A last gasp winner from Javi Garcia saw Benfica home in what was a repeat of the 2008/09 Final. O Glorioso must overcome Pacos Ferreira who booked their place in the final last night with a thrilling 4-3 win against Nacional.
Saudis’ streak still intact
While Manchester United’s unbeaten run came to an end at Molineux, two clubs that still haven’t tasted defeat are Al Hilal and Al Itthiad of Saudi Arabia. Unsurprisingly the two clubs are 1st and 2nd respectively in the league standings after 18 games although Al Hilal find themselves 8 points clear having won four more games than their rivals from Jeddah. The teams meet on 20th March so expect cracking game!
Rant of the week
I’m not a fan of gratuitous swearing, unless it is a manager going nuts at his team and especially if that manager is Vinnie Jones. Thanks to 101GreatGoals for posting this video of Vinnie Jones using the f-word about 34000 times in a 6-minute bashing of his Hollywood All-Stars team. For a goal of the week, well it has to be this effort in France from Coulibaly.
Top Tens of the week
African football has been on a meteoric rise in the last few years and Martins goal in the League Cup Final last Sunday (the 3rd African to score in a League Cup Final) got me thinking about African goalscorers in the Premier League. So with no further ado here is the Top Ten African goalscorers in the Premier League!
10. Salomon Kalou (Chelsea) – 32
9. Peter Ndlovu (Coventry) – 35
8. Shola Ameobi (Newcastle) – 36
7. Benni McCarthy (Blackburn, West Ham) – 37
6. Fredi Kanoute (West Ham, Tottenham) – 43
5. Efan Ekoku (Wimbledon) – 52
4. Kanu (Arsenal, West Brom, Portsmouth) -54
3. Emanuel Adebayor (Arsenal, Man City) – 61
2. Yakubu (Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton) -79
1. Didier Drogba (Chelsea) – 94
No surprises who tops the list but will Drogba become the first African in the 100-club? I have my doubts considering Ancelotti’s recent team selections. And Martins? He is in 12th place with 28 goals behind Henri Camara (31) and just ahead of El Hadj-Diouf (27) and Benjani (26). If you’re wondering about nationality (Shola Ameobi and Efan Ekoku) I’ve gone for the senior national teams they represented rather than their place of birth.
By Ralph Hannah