Hectic week last week so apologies for the lack of blogging. While the European seasons have mostly finished, here in Paraguay we are looking forward to Copa Libertadores 2nd legs and Copa América warm ups next month! We are free of drug-talk here, no Toure or ‘cafe veloz’ in this blog. We do have cup finals in Ukraine and Luxembourg, title winners in South Africa and Mexico and the only game organised by Michael Essien where Drogba will score against Ashley Cole and Florent Malouda.
Last week’s stories
Technically these are ‘previous weeks’ stories but worth noting that Thierry Henry scored again for New York Redbulls in the MLS as did Landon Donovan. In the Chinese FA Cup Shaanxi Chanba (who won 11-10 on penalties in the 2nd round) won their 3rd fround tie 1-0. ITURBE WATCH has been watching him on the bench in last 2 Copa Libertadores games, a sad end to his time in Paraguay.
This week’s stories
Pumas champions again in Mexico
Pumas UNAM repeated their Clausura 2009 success, the team from Mexico City overcoming Morelia 2-1 in the second leg on Sunday having drawn 1-1 last Thursday. Veteran striker Francisco Palencia was the hero scoring for Pumas in both legs, the 38-year-old winning his 2nd title with Pumas. Paraguayan defender Dario Verón who has been a key figure of the team since joining in 2003 (bar a one-year stint at Pachuca) and this was his 4th league title having won both Apertura and Clausura in 2004 before the more recent championships.
Pirates rule in South Africa
The South African season finished top of the PSL on Saturday in a thrilling finale. Going into the final fixture of the championship Orlando Pirates were two points behind Ajax Cape Town. With 10 minutes to go the Pirates were drawing at home but with Ajax losing just one goal would earn them the title. That goal came four minutes later at the hands of Isaac Chansa the Zambian international thundering in a shot from long range (2:16). Ajax managed to equalise in their game but were unable to score the winner and missed out on winning the title for the first time. With both teams ending on 60 points, the Pirates snatched it on goal difference.
Match-fixing suspected in Korea
Two footballers from South Korea’s K-League have been arrested as part of an investigation into match fixing. It is alleged that the 2 unamed players were offered over $100,000 to help their sides lose last month. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Pohang Steelers are currently locked at the top of the K-league table with 22 points after 11 games.
Osaka derby and Korean hat trick
Staying in the Far East and the AFC Champions League Last 16 concluded this week with three Korean sides progressing. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors joined Suwong Bluewings and FC Seoul, the latter two beating Japanese sides to go through. In the big derby between Gamba Osaka and Cerezo Osaka the underdogs made it to the Quarter Finals with a late winner from Daisuke Takahashi. Cerezo and the Korean trio join four clubs from the Middle East in the next round. Al-Sadd, Al-Itthiad, Sepahan and Zob Ahan.
World XI vs Africa XI
In Accra, Ghana an Africa XI took on a World XI to promote Africa Freedom Day, it was organised by Michael Essien. The game finished 4-2 to the World XI and was dominated by goals from Chelsea players. Ashley Cole and Florent Malouda for the World select and Drogba for Africa. Other ex-Premier League stars turned out, namely Nwankwou Kanu, Tony Yeboah and Freddy Ljungberg. Africa’s coach was former Chelsea and Milan player, George Weah.
Double Ds rule in Luxembourg
The Luxembourg Cup semi-finals took place this week with victories for the double D’s Dudelange and Differdange. F91 Dudelange have dominated the tournament this century winning it four times in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Differdange however are the current holders their only ever win coming last season.
Brazilian championship kicks off
Finally the state championships are over and the national competition begins in Brazil. Ronaldinho scored for his team Flamengo who cruised to a 4-0 win while rivals and defending champions Fluminense were beaten at home by São Paulo. The only representative left in the Copa Libertadores, Santos, drew with Internacional and Cruzeiro were stunned by Figueirense. Big Phil Scolari’s Palmeiras got off to a winning start overcoming Rio de Janeiro’s Botafogo 1-0.
Kiev perennial runners-up
The Ukrainian cup final took place on Wednesday pitting league champions Shakhtar Donetsk against second-placed Dynamo Kiev. Once again the Donetsk boys came out on top, winning 2-0 to confine Kiev to being runners-up again having also finished behind Shakhtar last season as well. Eduardo da Silva opened the scoring before being sent off as Shakhtar won the double for the 3rd time in their history. One consolation for Kiev fans, they’ve done the double a total of seven times.
Stat of the Week
2.8 – the goals per game ratio in the Premier League this season. The highest ever.
Goal of the Week
Found on 101GreatGoals.com which you’ll notice a few links go to, it is a great site if you don’t know it. Anyway this is by Jani Virtanen in Finland who did this.
Top Ten of the Week
This was brought to my attention by Mark Gilbey at Four Four Two a couple of weeks ago when he asked if Dinamo Bender of Moldova had the worst defence this season having conceded 118 goals in 39 games. Naturally I trawled all the European, South American and major Asian leagues to see who really had the worst defence in 2010/11.
10. Atlantas (Lithuania) – 2.82 Goals per Game
9. Willem II (Netherlands) – 2.88 Goals per Game
8. Atletico Venezuela (Venezuela) – 2.94 Goals per Game
7. Wiltz (Luxembourg) – 3.00 Goals per Game
6. Dinamo Bender (Moldova) – 3.03 Goals per Game
5. Olimps/RFS (Latvia) – 3.3 Goals per Game
4. Lasanamae Ajax (Estonia) – 3.5 Goals per Game
3. FC Encamp (Andorra) -3.95 Goals per Game
2. B71 Sandoy (Faroe Islands) – 4 Goals per Game
1. CE Benfica (Andorra) – 4.85 Goals per Game
So Dinamo Bender are only the 6th worst, although it is worth pointing out that I didn’t find any other side that had conceded as many goals as they had. Also I should mention that there is a big disparity in the number of games played, Bender for example have played all 39 while B71 Sandoy have just started the league and are only 8 games in. But let us not devalue the only title CE Benfica may ever win, their 97 goals in 20 matches is astonishingly bad and included two 10-0 home defeats and a 12-1 spanking by league winners Santa Coloma.
By Ralph Hannah