One weekend, three games, Worldwide. All the information.
During the mid-week we all saw the 0:0 between Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid, in what was a great chance to take a nap. In order to make things right, BabaGol is taking you to three matches who has a little bit from that match. For a curt of European football we will go to Moldova, for a taste of Champions League we’ll sail to Oceana, and for a hot derby we will ride our camels to Jordan. It’s time to wake up!
(All the hours are in CET local time)
Friday, 1500, Dacia Chișinău – Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldovan Divizia Națională)
On Friday, the two biggest clubs of Moldova will play each other.When Dacia Chișinău and Sheriff Tiraspolare about to meet it is more than a simple football rivalry. This match is the clash between Chișinău, the capital of Moldova, and Tiraspol, the capital of the separatist Transistria.
Dacia Chișinău became the strongest team in the city 10 years ago, after their city rival, Zimbru, didn't manage to repeat achievements from the foundation of the Moldovan football. They usually finish in the top places of the league, but except from one title in 2013, they failing against the eternal champions of the league, Sheriff Tiraspol. This season they are in 2nd place, just 1 point behind the surprising leader, Milsami Orhei. The leading players are David Siradze, the veteran Georgian player who played in Germany, Jaba Dvali, another Gerogian who won titles in his home nation and Azerbaijan, and Petru Leucă, the leading scorer of the team with 6 goals.
The Story of Sheriff Tiraspol is much more complicated. Tiraspol is the capital of Transistria, a region with a Slavic majority, unlike the rest of Moldova, where there is a Romanian majority. Transistria is claiming for independence, but still doesn't get recognized by any nation. The name of the club is derived from Sheriff Company, which formed by Victor Gușan, the club’s president. Except from the team, their holdings include a TV station, a petrol stations chain, many factories and some small companies. It's also claimed that the company is the actual govern in Transistria, being run mafia-style, and used as a tool to launder money. The team have won the last 13 out of 14 titles, and this season they are in the 3rd place, equaled to Dacia, but behind due to their head-to-head results. Pay attention to Ricardinho, league’s top scorer with 16 goals, Vadim Paireli, who an U-21 national starlet, and Juninho Potiguar, who arrived the team last season and already scored 17 goals in 29 matches.
This game is a chance of ‘once in a lifetime’ for a title in Dacia, can they make it or would it be another one for Sheriff?
Saturday, 0900, Amicale – Auckland City (OFC Champions League)
BabaGol makes a comeback to one of its favorite, our friends from Vanuatu, Amicale FC. The OFC Champions League group stage is played in a neutral venue in Suva, Fiji. The three group winners alongside with the best runner-ups will qualify to the semifinals. The decisive match for Amicale will be once again versus the New Zealand and Oceania Champions, Auckland City.
After the disaster of Cyclone Pam, Amicale will try to make the Vanuatu people a little happy. Amicale won their first two matches against the local team Suva and Western United from Solomon Islands, and want to qualify to the next stage and make one step further than last year- to win the title. In the domestic league, they won 5 consecutive titles and they are on the way to the 6th. Please notice Osea Vakatalesau, who scored 2 goals in the tournament, Alphonse Bongnaim, who played 11 times for Vanuatu national team, and Rijat Shala, Swiss-Kosovar player who was one of the biggest stars of the U-21 team in 2006, but since then played in Albania and the lower divisions of Italy.
Auckland City started their tournament in the same way. They also won twice in their first two matches, but a better goal difference place them in the top spot of the group, and a draw will be enough for qualification. They won the title in the past 4 seasons, and their semifinal appearance in FIFA Club World Cup makes them wish to win it once again. Their key players are Ivan Vicelich, who made 88 caps in New Zealand national team, Iván Carril, who arrived in January and already scored 4 goals in 6 league matches, David Browne, 19 years old hot prospect from Papua New Guinea, and Marko Đorđević, who won the last season Vanuatu championship with Amicale.
While UEFA Champions League quarter final is being played again in this week, trust me – the repeat of last season OFC Champions League final will be much more exciting.
Sunday, 1800, Al Faisaly – Al Wehdat (Jordan Premier League)
Big Arab rivalries always produce great matches, and for this exact reason we are going to Jordan. Sunday's "Derby of Jordan" which being played in the capital Amman, has some strong nationalist characteristics. We already talked about the rivalry between Jordan and Palestine, who is the main issue of this game too – Al Faisaly represents the native nationalists Jordanians, while Al Wehdat represents the Palestinian refugees.
Al Faisaly is the strongest club in the Jordanian football history. They won 32 championships, 17 cups and two AFC Cups. This season the team is far from being one of the greatest in club’s history. With four wins and nine draws, they are ranked on the 8th place, just 5 points from relegation spots. In addition, they scored just 10 goals and have the worst attack in the league. The coach is Mohamed Azima, Egyptian retired-player who played in Germany for years. The team's main players are Hani Al Taiar, a key player in the U-17 Syrian national team appearance in 2007 U-17 World Cup, Jean Michel N'Lend, who arrived after 3 years in Al Shorta from Iraq, Baha' Abdel-Rahman, who played 72 times for Jordan national team, Mohammad Shatnawi, one of the greatest goalkeepers in Jordan.
Al Wehdat was always behind Al Faisaly, but they are progressing a lot in the past seasons. Last season they won their 13th title, and this season they are close to win another one, while leading by 7 points with 4 matches left. The team is based in Amman New Camp, known locally as Wehdat, which was established in 1955 for Palestinian refugees and today is one of the biggest refugee camps in Jordan, with 51,000 refugees registered. The coach, Abdullah Abu Zema, was Al Wehdat player for 12 years. The biggest names in the team are Amer Shafi, the most capped player in Jordan national team with 110 caps, Abdelatif Bahdari, who was born in Gaza and plays for Palestine national team, and Mahmoud Za'tara, a Jordanian-Palestinian who is considered to be one of the biggest hopes of the Jordanian football.
Like in our previous visits in the Middle East, you can feel the passion in this match. Nationalism, local prestige and title aspirations. Just couldn't ask for more, could you?