Welcome back to footballtoptens, the place to avoid talk on the size of the hole in Nani’s leg, Andy Carroll’s debut, Robin Van Persie’s sending off and Flamini’s non-sending off. It is the place to catch up on Plastic Penguins in Argentina, Brazilian World Cup Winners in Chechnya, low-downs on the Sudanese Premier Leauge and J-League, Derbies in Mexico and Tanzania and a very very fanatic dad!
Last week’s stories
Delving into the archives the FIFA investigation into match-fixing, first mentioned last month football’s governing body has started disciplinary proceedings against 6 of the match officials in the Bolivia vs Latvia and Bulgaria vs Estonia friendly matches. Two week’s ago we focussed on the AFC 2012 Olympic Qualifiers and particularly Turkmenistan. They lost their home leg but make it through on aggregate. In the same competition Palestine played their first-ever home match (in front of 16.000 people in the West Bank) and won 1-0 only to lose to Thailand on penalties. In Saudi Arabia Al Hilal and Al Itthiad remain unbeaten. IturbeWatch: Got the winning goal for Cerro in the league against Independiente after coming off the bench. In the Copa Libertadores he showed flashes of what he can do as he played 80 minutes against Táchira but there was little end product.
This week’s stories
Dar es Salaam Derby all square
The Dar es Salaam Derby between Young Africans and Simba finished 1-1 in the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Tanzania. That means no change at the top for the teams in 1st and 2nd place respectively. Simba however have a game in hand to make up the one point gap.
Goal of the week
As seems to be the law on this blog the goal of the week comes from South America again and indebted to 101GreatGoals as I hadn’t seen this until I checked their site. From the Fourth Tier of Argentinian football it is was scored by Claudio Riano of Talleres. If you’re intrigued by the number of fans, Talleres were riding high in the Primera not so long ago (2004 if memory serves).
Curitiba from birth
Football fanatic Lélio Paul Jones Sotto Maior took his daughter to the offices Coritiba Futebol Clube aged just 2 hrs 38 mins to register her as a member of the club! In a spooky coincidence I was 23 yrs 8 months when I got my Arsenal membership. Anybody heard of any similar stories of younger members?
Peñarol achieve parity
Apologies to those who may have seen this on my Twitter feed but it is a geeky stat worth repeating. Peñarol’s 1-0 win on Wednesday night against LDU Quito meant that incredibly they have now scored and conceded exactly the same amount of goals in the Copa Libertadores as their bitter rivals Nacional! That makes the Montevideo clubs joint record holders for most goals scored in the Copa Libertadores and Peñarol are now just one win behind equalling River Plate (Arg) for the most wins in the competition! They also employed some interesting defensive tactics.
Brazil beat Chechnya President’s XI in 10 goal thriller!
A team of Brazilian World Cup Winners ran out 6-4 winners against a Chechen President’s select on Tuesday night in Grozny. The President duly selected himself but it was a good decision he scored twice (and had 2 penalty misses!). He also knows who to pick, getting Terek Grozny manager to play…that would be Ruud Gullit. Brazil re-united the deadly ’94 combination of Bebeto and Romario who grabbed 2 goals each. Dunga was present as was a frozen-looking Denilson on the bench. The other goals for the World Cup Winners were from Cafu and Sávio.
Thanks to Jack Lang (@snap_kaka_pop) for the heads up and the links to the full game if you feel the urge.
Plastic Penguins attack Pitch!
In Argentina the clásico del sur took place over the weekend with Banfield overcoming Lanús 2-1. More interesting than the opening goal from the penalty spot by Bologna to give Banfield the lead was their supporters decision to throw plastic penguins onto the pitch. A bunch of the inflatables rained down from the stands (photo at bottom of page). I was first alerted to this by the Hand of Pod team and I’m still a bit confused as to why it happened!
J-League kicks off with no early risers
Draws for two big guns and a hard-fought derby win for another, meant nobody laid down their mark in Week 1 of the 2011 campaign. Defending Champions Nagoya Grampus drew 1-1 while Kashima Antlers who have won the tournament a record 7-times had an exciting 3-3 draw. The Osaka derby between Gamba and Cerezo finished 2-1 to Gamba. Top of the league are Kashiwa Reysol and Albirex Niigata who both recorded 3-0 wins.
Guadalajara Grudge Match
Chivas Guadalajara, one of the few teams in the world to still have a policy of only fielding home-based players, face city rivals Atlas in the Clásico Tapatío on Saturday. The game is hard to call with both teams struggling for form with Chivas having a fetish for draws (5 in 9 games so far this season) and Atlas unpredictable, winning 4 and losing 4 up to now. Also found this stat via FMF State of Mind, since 1996 the derby has produced 11 Chivas wins, 11 Atlas wins and 11 draws – loving the statistical symmetry this week!
No Sudanese Surprises
The Sudanese league kicked off (weird timing because in the next few months temperatures often get above 40c in Khartoum) and it was no shock to see Al Merreikh and Al Hilal Omdurman record opening day wins. The two teams have dominated the Sudanese league for the last 40 odd years. In fact since 1969 the two have won all but one title on offer with Al Merreikh taking 17 and Al Hilal Omdurman winning 21. The only team outside of these two to win the Sudan Premier League is Al Hilal Port-Sudan in 1992.
Buonanotte let off
Diego Buonanotte the super-talented Malaga-bound Argentinian has been found not guilty of “homicidio culposo” in Santa Fe after crashing his car in 2009 killing 3 friends and severely injuring himself. No blame has been apportioned to the 22-year-old who was alleged to have been driving at high speeds on the wet motorway the night of the crash.
Top Ten FA Cup Semi-Finalists
With the Quarter Finals this weekend of the world’s oldest domestic cup competition, it seems apt to look at which teams have made it through to the Semi Finals the most times.
10. Newcastle United – 17 semi final appearances
=8. Tottenham Hotspur – 18
=8. Blackburn Rovers – 18
7. Chelsea – 19
=5. West Bromwich Albion – 20
=5. Aston Villa – 20
4. Liverpool – 22
3. Everton – 25
=1. Arsenal 26
=1. Manchester United 26
So the pick of this year’s Quarter Final ties has an added incentive with the winner of Manchester United vs Arsenal set to hold the outright record for the most semi-final appearances. Interestingly they are the only teams in the sixth round who also make this Top Ten list.
By Ralph Hannah