Weekend Guide

Weekend Guide 21.5.2016

Here we go with another Weekend Guide. We’re off for the semifinals in Mexico, a decisive match in Paraguay and the newly reborn league in Indonesia. 

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like this defender)

What? Monterrey – América (Liga MX)

When? Sunday, 0330

Where?  Estadio BBVA Bancomer, Monterrey

Why? Even though Monterrey finished 1st at the end of the regular season, they feel the pressure of an elimination. They lost to the 4th ranked América 0:1 in the first leg of the semifinals, and now need to win in order to remain in the title picture.

Key Players: Both teams have tremendous strikers who’ll have chance to score more. Rogelio Funes Mori of Monterrey (19 goals) and Oribe Peralta of América (17 goals) are the top scorers of their teams.

Who's the Boss: In the other semifinal, it’s Pachuca vs León. The interesting fact is that both have the same owners – two companies named Grupo Pachuca and Grupo Carso.

Professional (like that kick)

What? Libertad – Guaraní (Paraguayan Primera División)

When? Sunday, 0000

Where? Estadio Dr. Nicolás Léoz, Asunción

Why? Club Libertad are only one draw away from winning the title. Libertad are in 1st place, 3 points more than the reigning champions, Olimpia. Guaraní are in the 4th place and don't want any team celebrates against them. By the way, if Libertad will lose and Olimpia will win, the tie breaker will be a playoff match for the title.

Key Players: Every team needs veteran players, so we have two 36 years old players as the players to watch. In Libertad it’s Sergio Aquino, who plays for the club since 2006 and won 8 Paraguayan titles with the team. Julio César Cáceres of Guaraní is remembered from his periods in River Plate and Boca Juniors, as well his international career with Paraguay national team.

Coincidence: 61 international caps for Paraguay and being part of the squad in 2002 World Cup. You can say it about Julio César Cáceres, but you can say it also about his manager in Guaraní, Francisco Arce.

World Class (like this goal)

What? Perseru Serui – Persija Jakarta (Indonesia Super League)

When? Sunday, 0900

Where? Marora Stadium, Serui

Why? Political intervention prevented any Indonesian football last year, but now football is coming back to the country, with a great opening for the season. Persipura Jayapura, one of the biggest teams in Indonesia, tied for the 2nd place with 7 out of 9 points. They will travel to Perseru Serui, who’s ranked in the 8th place with 5 points.

Key Players: Amadou Gakou came as an anonymous striker from Mali, but until now he is on fire for Perseru Serui attack. Persija have their faith with Andritany Ardhiyasa, a 24 years old goalkeeper who plays for the team since 2010.

And nicknames for all: Perseru and Persija, alongside with names like Persipura or Persib have no meaning. It's actually a way to nickname the word Persatuan, which means unity or association in Indoensian.

Weekend Guide 12.5.2016

As usual, The Weekend Guide have some great games for you this issue. Great runs who might end in the Tunisian title race, last matchday in Iran with three teams and one title, and a short but musical visit in Korea.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like this miss)

What? Espérance de Tunis – Étoile du Sahel (Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1)

When? Sunday, 1630

Where? Stade Olympique de Radès, Tunis

Why? With amazing runs of these two teams, only one can be the Tunisian champion. Étoile du Sahel are leading the table with 66 points and a single defeat in the whole season, while Espérance de Tunis are behind them with 64 points.

Key Players: In both of the teams’ rosters there are youngsters that had a great season with 22 appearances and 8 goals each. Espérance's Saad Bguir also scored his first international goal last November in his debut. Étoile's Alaya Brigui is a homegrown player who already won 3 cups with his club and now close to first championship.

Proud Tunisian, Proud Arab: Even though their names are in French, both of the teams has official names also in Arabic – Taraji for Espérance (Hope) and Nejmeh for Étoile (Star).

Professional (like that kick)

What?Iranian Persian Gulf League Pro final matchday, Esteghlal Khuzestan – Zob Ahan; Persepolis – Rah Ahan; Saba Qom - Esteghlal

When? Friday, 1530

Where? Ghadir Stadium, Ahvaz;Azadi Stadium, Tehran; Yadegar-e Emam Stadium, Qom

Why? We have special final matchday in Iran, with three team that each have chance to win the title. Esteghlal Khuzestan are on the way to their first title ever with 54 points. The two mega clubs of Iran didn't lose their hopes, as Persepolis is tied for the 1st place with 54 points, and Esteghlal are 3rd with 51.

Key Players: Three Iranian players are the dominant figures in those teams. Khuzestan's Hassan Beyt Saeed is 26 years old who is making a great debut season in the top tier with 9 goals. Persepolis' Mehdi Taremi is one of the lethal scorers in the league with 16 goals. Esteghlal will try to keep a clean sheet with Mehdi Rahmati, who capped 77 times as Iran national team goalkeeper.

The Independence: Esteghlal, which means independence in Persian, is a common name for Iranian clubs. Even Esteghlal Khuzestan local rivals named with the same name - Esteghlal Ahvaz.

World Class (like this goal)

What? Seongnam FC – FC Seoul (Korean K-League Classic)

When? Saturday, 0800

Where? Tancheon Stadium, Seongnam

Why? The Korean league is still warming up, but it's a chance to take a look one two of the league’s strong teams currently. Seongnam FC has 7 championships, more than any other K-League team, FC Seoul have 5 title. Currently, FC Seoul are leading the table with 19 points, Seongnam FC are 1 point behind in the 3rd place.

Key Players: It's not so common to find a young goalkeeper, but Seongnam have faith in Kim Dong Jun, a 21 years old, as the team conceded only 8 goals, less than any other team in the league. FC Seoul have Adriano, the top goal scorer in the K-League with 6 goals.

Playing with the Band: Adriano's goal celebration gained him the nickname "Adriano Michael Jackson". It's even got better when he played at Atlético Goianiense alongside with player nicknamed "John Lennon".

Weekend Guide 7.5.2016

By Yosport

Señoras y señores, our Weekend Guide is in Latino mood! We have an interesting final with the underdogs of the Brazilian Paulista, a close race all the way to the title in Colombia and a team that want to clinch the title in Bolivia.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like this guy)

What? Santos – Audax (Campeonato Paulista)

When? Sunday, 2100

Where? Estádio Vila Belmiro, Santos

Why? After 1:1 in the first match, everyone is ready for the decisive championship game. Santos won 6 out of the last 10 Paulista titles and in this season they lost only once in 18 matches. Audax was founded only 10 years ago, never played in the top Brazilian divisions, but they had a tremendous season after eliminating São Paulo and Corinthians.

Key Players: Santos scoring rate in the Paulista is high thanks to the 19 years old striker, Gabriel, who scored 7 goals this season. Audax main player is Camacho, a midfielder who was part of Botafogo's promotion in the last season.

El Presidente: After being the technical director of Audax, former Brazilian international player Vampeta appointed as the club president.

Professional (like this goalkeeper)

What? Atlético Nacional – Independiente Medellín (Colombian Categoría Primera A)

When? Sunday, 0000

Where? Estadio Atanasio Girardot, Medellín

Why? El Clásico Paisa, the derby of Medellín will turn into a turmoil, as the race for the title is extremely tight. With three matches left the gap between the 1st and the 5th place is only 3 points. Atlético Nacional are in the 1st place with 32 points, Independiente Medellín are in the 3rd place with 30 points.

Key Players: Orlando Berrío is a player you can't miss in Atlético Nacional, as he already have 4 national titles with his team. Independiente Medellín has one of the best defenses in the league mainly thanks to their goalkeeper David González, who spent few years in Turkey and England.

No Rivalries: Even though there is a rivalry between the teams, Independiente Medellín manager, Leonel Álvarez, played for both of the team and even won Copa Libertadores with Atlético Nacional in 1989.

World Class (like this goal)

What? Jorge Wilstermann – Real Potosí (Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano)

When? Sunday, 2100

Where? Estadio Félix Capriles, Cochabamba

Why? Jorge Wilstermann are close to win their first title since 2010. They lead the table by 10 points, while only 5 matches left. Meanwhile, the bottom is on fire. Real Potosí watching their rivals, Nacional Potosí, getting closer to the second division, but Real themselves, are only 3 points above the relegation playoff spot.

Key Players: A top team must have a great defender on their roster, but Enrique David Díaz is maybe too great, as he was booked 34 times in 2 seasons as Jorge Wilstermann’s defender. Gilbert Álvarez of Real Potosí is the leader in this difficult season for his team, as he is the top scorer with 16 goals.

The Aviator: Last week we met the Chilean leader O'Higgins, so now we will meet Jorge Wilstermann, the first Bolivian civil aviator. Wilstermann died at 1936, when he was 25 years old, during flying from Cochabamba to Oruro.

Weekend Guide 30.4.2016

Only one month is left. This is the money time of the season, and this weekend we’re off to Australia’s final match, than to meet the new champions of Chile, and finally, to enjoy a passionate derby from Lebanon. Yallah, vamos, let’s go!

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like these goalkeepers)

What? Adelaide United – Western Sydney Wanderers (Australian A-League)

When? Sunday, 0800

Where? Adeladie Oval, Adelaide

Why? The final match is here. Just 90 decisive minutes, and we will know which team will win its first ever title. Adelaide United were the regular season champions, one point ahead of Western Sydney Wanderers. Both teams previously lost twice in the finals – Adelaide in 2007 and 2009, Western Sydney in 2013 and 2014.

Key Players: He was born in the US, has an Ivorian father and a Togolese mother and he represented Australia, so there is no surprise that

Bruce Djite, Adelaide’s forward, is his team leader. Meanwhile, Romeo Castelen, the Dutchman of Western Sydney, is the semi finals hero.

A Real Drama: Western Sydney Wanderers qualified after a heroic semifinal match, just watch it!

Professional (like this goal)

What? O'Higgins – Universidad de Concepción (Chilean Campeonato Nacional)

When? Saturday, 2100

Where? Estadio El Teniente, Rancagua

Why? O'Higgins is one step from its second title ever. Before the last match of the season, O'Higgins are on top with two points ahead of Universidad Católica. Universidad de Concepción is trying to improve before the playoff, in order to get a Copa Sudamericana spot.

Key Players: The main player of O'Higgins is Pablo Calandria, who scored 16 goals in this season and played in France, Spain and Argentina. Gabriel Vargas is the guy to watch in Universidad de Concepción, as he is one of the club’s biggest players with 102 league goals, what also makes him the club all-time top scorer.

The Leader: O'Higgins named after Bernardo O'Higgins, who was one of the Chilean independence leaders in the 19th century.

World Class (like this goal)

What? Nejmeh – Safa (Lebanese Premier League)

When? Saturday, 1430

Where? Bourj Hammoud Stadium, Beirut

Why? 9 points are left and the race for the Lebanese title is close to its end. The leaders are Safa with 46 points, while the reigning champions Al Ahed are in 2nd place with 45 points and Nejmeh are on 3rd with 41 points. Hot! Besides being a title match, this is also one of Beirut derbies, so we have also the city prestige on the line. Extra Hot!

Key Players: Nejmeh have one of the biggest Lebanese football stars, Abbas Atwi, who plays for the team since 1997 and he is the most capped player for Lebanon national team. Safa have a great defense and that's thanks to Mohamed Zein Tahan, one of the most dominant players in his club’s recent successful runs.

Foreign in the Middle East: The Romanian manager of Nejmeh, Valeriu Tița, previously was the manager of Safa. He spent time also in the Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, where he managed the national team and won the AFC Cup with Al Ittihad Aleppo.

Weekend Guide 22.4.2016

Hurry up, you really wouldn't like to miss the new Weekend Guide. An Argentine hot derby in La Plata, past champions meets future champions in Kazakhstan and a crazy race for the post-season games in Panama.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like these fans)

What? Gimnasia La Plata – Estudiantes (Argentine Primera División)

When? Sunday, 0145

Where? Estadio Juan Carmelo Zerillo, La Plata

Why? The weird system of two groups providing us with an interesting season so far, and this week we have a super match - the Clásico Platense. With 5 games left, Gimansia are in 6th place of group A, but they are just 4 points behind the leaders, Godoy Cruz. Meanwhile, Estudiantes are 2nd in group B, 3 points behind Lanús.

Key Players: Gimnasia's Lucas Licht, the former left back of Getafe, making his historic 10th season for his home team. Gastón Fernández came back to Estudiantes after two years in MLS and he’s doing well with 4 goals and 4 assists this season.

The Forest: Gimnasia stadium is nicknamed El Bosque, which means "The Forest", because it is located in a city park by the same name.

Professional (like this goal)

What? Irtysh Pavlodar – FC Astana (Kazakhstan Premier League)

When? Saturday, 1400

Where? Central Stadium, Pavlodar

Why? FC Astana, with two consecutive titles and a Champions League journey, start its journey for another title. Their opponents, Irtysh Pavlodar, was the biggest team in Kazakhstan during the 90's and now want to restore its big days, with 2 points less than FC Astana.

Key Players: Irtysh Pavlodar's Gerogian striker,Gogita Gogua, played for years in his home nation and in Russia and now opens his first year in Kazakhstan with 3 goals in 6 matches. Don't miss FC Astana captain, Tanat Nusserbayev, who play for his team since 2011 and have 24 caps for Kazakhstan national team.

The Other Continent: Before Astana’s Champions League campaign, Irtysh Pavlodar had one of the greatest achievements of a Kazakh team in a continental level, when they reached the Asian Cup Winners' Cup semi finals in 2001.

World Class (like this shoot)

What? Tauro - Árabe Unido

When? Saturday, 0400

Where? Estadio Rommel Fernández, Panama City

Why? Three matches left to the end of the Clausura regular season and the situation is crazy. 6 points only, this is the difference between the 2nd and the last place, as the top 4 teams will qualify to the semi finals. Among these teams, Árabe Unido, the Apertura champions, are now in 4th place, while Tauro are 7th.

Key Players: Tauro have Jan Carlos Vargas, the talented 21 years old defender that have great role in the team defense. With the shirt numbered 99, Árabe Unido's striker Armando Polo is one of the best scorers in the league with 14 goals.

The Brothers: In Panama, there are two managers with legendary brothers - Tauro's Jorge Dely Valdés, the brother of Armando, and Atlético Chiriquí's Javier Wanchope, the brother of Paulo.