The Guatemalan national team is back on track after its devastating FIFA suspension. They now play in the lowest division of CONCACAF’s Nation League, but the fans are just happy the team is back.
One weekend, three games, Worldwide. All the information.
A new weekend is here, and a new recap is here too. On this one, we will take a look upon one of the tightest leagues in the world right now, a great Latino clash and we will return to Australia in order to figure out if they got over the hangover from the Asian Cup celebrations. Let's go!
(All the hours are in CET local time)
Saturday, 1505, Al-Riffa – East Riffa (Bahraini Premier League)
Reigning champions are always wishing for a repeat. Al-Riffa, the current champions of Bahrain, has the same wish, but it seems to be extra-tough this season. The league in Bahrain this season is so close that the gap between the 1st place and the 5th place is just 2 points. On Saturday, it will be Al-Riffa’s chance to make this gap bigger, as they will play against their local rivals, East Riffa.
Al-Riffa won the title for the 11th time last year, and they are still improving. The team was established by Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the current prime minister of Bahrain, and the chairman is Abdulla bin Khalid Al Khalifa, another royal family member. This season Al-Riffa is in 2nd place, with the same points of the leaders, Muharraq. The major players of the team are Abdallah Deeb, one of the top Jordanian players today, Abdulla Shallal, 22 years old and considered to be one of the hottest prospects in the Bahraini football, and Rodrigo Possebon, an Italian-Brazilian player who was part of the Manchester United youth system and also made 3 appearances in the Premier League.
East Riffa is not as big as Al-Riffa, but they made an impressive progress in the last years. In the previous term, they won the cup and the domestic super cup against Al-Riffa. It was a huge surprise, as East Riffa was playing in the second division last year.
This season they are ranked in the 5th place, just two points behind the leaders, and this match is their chance to produce another sensation.
The main players are Mladen Jovanovic, with a 10 years’ experience in the Gulf football, Faisal Bodahoom, the current team’s top scorer and Séïdath Tchomogo, who played 45 times for the national team of Benin.
As the league is so close, every win could get you one step further in the race for the title, and what could be better than move further in the table and to win a derby? Nothing my friends, nothing at all.
Saturday, 2300, Comunicaciones – Antigua (Liga Nacional de Fútbol de Guatemala)
Golden beaches and amazing nature are the main characteristics of Guatemala. Unfortunately, the football is less successful, but like every country in Latin America, never mind if the football is bad or good, the matches are full of passion. This weekend, the league leaders, Comunicaciones, will try to get closer to another title in a home match against Antigua.
Comunicaciones is a famous club in Guatemala. The club established in 1949 and adopted by the ministry of communication, and that is the origin for their name. In the Apertura, they won the title after defeating Municipal in the final. This title was their 29th title in the history and their 5th consecutive one.
The top players of the team are Rolando Blackburn, who played 15 times for the national team of Panama, Juan José Paredes, the best goalkeeper in Guatemala three years in a row. Paolo Suárez, the elder brother of Uruguayan international Luis, is also part of the team after eight years in El Salvador.
From the other side, Antigua is much smaller team. Being promoted and relegated consistently, and in a very weird way – this season they purchased the place of another club, Heredia, in the league. In the Apertura they were eliminated in the quarterfinals, and now they are in the 3rd place, 5 points behind Comunicaciones. The biggest name in the team is Fredy Thompson, one of the best players in the in Guatemalan football’s history with 90 caps in the national team, Roberto Peña, a Colombian who formerly played in El Slavador, and Juan Valenzuela, who was the top scorer of the team in the Apertura.
It looks like another title for Comunicaciones, but Antigua has a great chance to catch them up, should be a fascinating one.
Sunday, 0700, Adelaide United – Perth Glory (Australian A-League)
The Asian Cup celebrations came to an end, this is the time to get back to reality. Two third of the A-League regular season is completed and every win could be decisive for the playoffs spots. In the case of Adelaide United and Perth Glory, it will be a bit different – the two will probably play in the playoffs, but have to try to finish in the top two, as these places sends automatically to the semifinals.
The last seasons of Adelaide United were not so good. Since the finals of 2009, Adelaide United qualified only three times to the playoffs and didn't reached the semifinals. This season they took it differently. The team is ranked on 3rd place, with a hope of winning the title.
The coach is Josep Gombau from Spain, has two championship titles in Hong Kong, and he already led Adelaide United to win the domestic cup in the last year. Pay attention to Isaías Sanchez and Sergio Cirio, two Spaniards which played under Gombau at Barcelona youth teams. Eugene Galekovic, the current captain, Bruce Djite, who played in Turkey and China, and Awer Mabil, a 19 years old South Sudanian, who were born in a refugee camp in Kenya, and now as he is considered as the biggest promise of the Australian football.
Perth Glory never was one of the biggest teams in the A-League. On the last 9 seasons they qualified just three times for the playoffs, and twice they have been eliminated in the quarterfinals. Something is different in Perth this season, as they are the league leaders, and were defeated only three times in 16 matches. The leading players are Andy Keogh, the team’s top scorer last season, Danny Vuković, one of the great goalkeeper who was part of the 2008 championship of Central Coast Mariners, and Richard Garcia, who played for 5 years in Hull City.
The Australians fell in love with football (even though they call it soccer), and each match have a great atmosphere. This is our chance to check this new passion, in one of the most important matches of this season.