Weekend Recap

Weekend Guide 23.10.2015

It's football time! This weekend we will visit the newly born derby of Sydney, a 'Good Old Times' clash in Iran and a match between the two rising clubs of the Balkans.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like this guys)

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

When? Saturday, 1030

Where? Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Why? It's only the 10th ever Sydney derby in the A-League era, but and it's already one of the best rivalries in this league. When Sydney FC is the host side, the stadium is full with 40,000 fans that make an extraordinary atmosphere in Australian terms.

Key Players: In Sydney FC we should focus on the captain, Alex Brosque, who led the team for the A-League final last season. Western Sydney Wanderers have Nikolai Topor-Stanley, who play for the club since its establishment, and led the team to its greatest moment - winning the AFC Champions League in 2014.

A-Legend: In order to have legendary match, you need legendary players. Sydney FC won the first ever derby in October 2012 and the first ever scorer was Alessandro Del Piero. The Italian Prince went for it. Just watch the madness.

Professional (like this guy)

What? Sepahan – Esteghlal (Iran Pro League)

When? Monday, 1430

Where? Fooladshahr Stadium, Isfahan

Why? A clash between the two league leaders, as Esteghlal leading the ladder and Sepahan are two points behind in 2nd. Historically it's more than another match. It's a match between two of the largest cities, Tehran and Isfahan, and two of the biggest clubs of Iranian football.

Key Players: Sepahan have one of the Iranian hot prospects for the future, Ali Karimi. He is not the former Bayern Munich player, but a promising young fella, just 21 years old. Esteghlal's main figure is Omid Ebrahimi, who scored 5 goals in his first 8 matches, and was part of Iran squad for the last Asian Cup.

Continental Luxury: In 2012, the teams faced for an historical match in the AFC Champions League, round of 16. Sepahan defeated Esteghlal 2:0 and qualified for the next stage. Sepahan was eliminated in the quarter finals after losing to the eventual runner-ups, the Saudi Al-Ahli.

World Class (like this guy)

What? Feronikeli – Trepça'89 (Kosovo Superliga)

When? Saturday, 1330

Where? Rexhep Rexhepi Stadium, Drenas

Why? Feronikeli made a sensational season last year, winning the club’s first ever title. The club is in 3rd place with 19 points at the moment, trying to defend the title. Meanwhile, Trepça'89, the smaller club of Mitrovicë, leading the table with 21 points. It is going to be another Classy Balkan clash.

Key Players: Feronikeli is based on Behar Maliqi, one of the heroes of last season’s heroic title, who made also 3 caps for Kosovo national team. In Trepça'89 you can't miss Blerand Kurtishaj, one of the young top guns of the domestic league.

All around the World: The war in Kosovo led many families to immigrate from the area. Today there are over than 80 players, 46 out of them in Switzerland, which plays for different European youth and senior national teams.

Weekend Guide-Recap Birthday Edition

Hey Baba!

I've heard it's your birthday. As a real football enthusiast, I decided to give you the best present. So take your sit back, and enjoy  the best matches we had on our Weekend Recap during the past year.

January 23, Iran – Iraq (AFC Asian Cup)

After the Asian Cup group stage, Iran was one of the favorites for winning the tournament, although the Iraqis had different plans. With amazing 90 minutes, four goals in the extra time and great penalty shootouts, Iraq sensationally qualified for the semifinals.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9QpyXx9znY

March 14, Universidad de Chile – Colo Colo (Chilean Primera División)

Imagine it. It's the biggest derby of your club, in your opponent's stadium. Your team struggled behind, but equalized during the second half. Then, in the additional time, your team gets a penalty. This is the story of this match, and this is how it looks from the POV of Colo Colo fans. Goosebumps.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb_xWIlC2TM

March 22, Al Nasr – Al Ahli (Saudi Premier League)

These two teams were in the race for the title during the season. Al Nasr took the lead quickly, but a great performance by Al Ahli made the change. Despite this victory, Al Ahli failed to win any title, finished second in the league, 4 points behind Al Nasr.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg46wk5KDH8

April 25, Crvena Zvezda – Partizan Belgrade (Serbian Superliga)

A Goalless draw? That's not a big deal! The derby of Belgrade is always full of passion with its fans and atmosphere. You can see that even with a dull result, the game was great, so maybe until your next birthday you will visit that match! (I know a few guys who can give you some tips).

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxZ-KrUGVv0

June 1, Nigeria – Brazil (U-20 World Cup)

So Baba, I hope you will keep enjoy football, like these talented kids. Keep showing up the beautiful side of the game, and always keep it happy. By the way, Brazil were the runner-ups of the World Cup, I wish that this year you will be the World champion.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU7MpwqDboI

Weekend Guide 19.9.2015

The Weekend Recap is here with Assyrian refugees, the surprising teams of Peru and the league that can be played in two different continents.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like this guy)

What? Assyriska – Syrianska (Swedish Superettan)

When? Sunday, 1400

Where? Södertälje Fotbollsarena, Södertälje

Why? It's not that common we visit Western Europe, but the Assyrian derby of Sweden is an event you don’t want to miss. The Assyrian people are originally from a wide region in West Asia, each team is recognized with different origin – Assyriska formed by refugees from Turkey and Syrianska formed by mixture of immigrants from Syria and Iraq.

Key Players: As both teams are Assyrians, the key players hold the same ethnicity. In Assyriska it’s David Durmaz, the veteran defender who started his 11th season in the club. In Syrianska, you cannot miss Saman Ghoddos, the team’s top scorer at the moment, with 7 goals.

Everything for the national team: In 2014, a team of Assyrian players won the bronze medal in the ConIFA World Cup.

Professional (like this guy)

What? Universidad San Martín – Juan Aurich (Peruvian Primera División)

When? Tuesday, 0300

Where? Estadio Alberto Gallardo, Lima

Why? After the bad performance in the Aperutra, Universidad San Martín is now the most surprising team, as they are on the 3rd place with 7 points after 4 games. Meanwhile, Juan Aurich wants to qualify once again to the league finals, and they are in 2nd place with a perfect record of 9 points in 3 games.

Key Players: Universidad San Martín will base on their midfielder Joel Sánchez, who was part of the Peruvian national team that reached the 2015 Copa América third place. Juan Aurich wish to see some goals from Luis Tejada, one of the heroes of the club's sensational title in 2011.

Yes, sir: You probably ask yourselve who is Juan Aurich? Well, the answer is strange – the team was founded by workers from hacienda Batán Grande, which Don Juan Aurich used to own and manage.

World Class (like this guy)

What? Saint-Pauloise – AS Excelsior (Championnat de La Réunion)

When? Saturday, 1800

Where? Stade Paul-Julius-Bénard, Saint-Paul

Why? The French overseas territory of Réunion have very interesting league with a close race for the title. After 14 rounds, there are only 5 points between the 1st and the 5th place.

Saint-Pauloise is on 3rd place, while AS Excelsior is leading the league.

Key Players: Last summer the Réunion national team won the luxurious gold medal in the Indian Ocean Games, with few of these clubs key players. Alexandre Loricourt, Saint-Pauloise midfielder, was the scorer of the decisive goal in the semifinals, and Gaël Payet, AS Excelsior defender, helped his team to keep a clean sheet.

Between Europe and Africa: If one of the teams in in Réunion will win the double, it can theoretically play in two continental competitions from different continents; As champions at the African CAF Champions League, and as the cup winners, they will qualify for the French Cup and the Europa League. Last remains of colonialism, someone?

Weekend Guide 12.9.2015

On this weekend we’re off for two South American spicy derbies, and a decisive match in the African Champions League. Don't waste your time, here we go!

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like this guy)

What? Independiente – Racing Club (Argentine Primera División)

When? Saturday, 2110

Where? Estadio Libertadores de América, Avellanda

Why? Few hundred meters, that's the distance between the stadiums of these two teams. As one of the craziest derbies of Argentina, the Avellaneda derby will show you great football and amazing atmosphere. Racing Club is in the 4th place with 43 points, while Independiente are on 6th place with 38 points, both fighting for a Copa Libertadores place.

Key Players: Independiente will trust on Matías Pisano, a talented 23 years old player that could be the next Argentine talent in Europe. Racing Club will lay on their legend, Diego Milito, is a former Champions League winner who returned to his youth club 11 years after he left.

Always rivals: The teams’ rivalry is not ending with the football matches. The clubs have team in other sports. For example, check how it looks in futsal.

Professional (like this guy)

What? Emelec – Barcelona SC (Serie A de Ecuador)

When? Monday, 0000

Where? Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil

Why? The immortal Ecuadorian football macth, unlike similar matches in South America, played far from the capital city. Guayaquil is ready for the match of Emelec and Barcelona SC. Emelc are on 4th place, Barcelona at 6th, but everything changes quickly, as there are only 7 points separating the 1st and the 9th place.

Key Players: Look for Miller Bolaños, Emelec's top scorer this season with 14 goals, what earned him a national team spot that he justified, with 5 goals in 8 caps. In Barcelona, the leader will be Ismael Blanco, who made long trip in Greece, Poland and Germany, and he is a player who can make the difference for his team.

That's my name: There are nice stories behind the team names. Emelec is an acronym of Empresa Eléctrica del Ecuador, a local electric company who founded the team. Barcelona's name was given as honor to the origin city of the club’s founders.

World Class (like this guy)

What? TP Mazembe – Moghreb Tétouan (CAF Champions League)

When? Saturday, 1530

Where? Stade TP Mazembe, Lubumbashi

Why? The last matchday of CAF Champions League will have a tight race for the two semifinal spots. TP Mazembe, the D.R. of Congo champions, and Moghreb Tétouan, the Moroccan champions, are both with 8 points, the same as Al-Hilal, the Sudanese champions.

Key Players: Mazembe key player is Rainford Kalaba, a Zambian midfielder who made 77 caps in his national team and played in Portugal for two years. The dominant player of Moghreb is Yassine Lakhal, local player who left the team in 2011 to Wydad Casablanca, but returned last January.

Colonial Times: Both of the teams have interesting stories from the colonial times. Moghreb Tétouan played as Atlético Tetouán in the Spanish Primera División in 1952. Mazembe's original name is Engelbert, named after a Belgian tires manufacturing company, who used to sponsor the club.

Weekend Guide 3.9.2015

This weekend we have a bunch of International clashes, and it is a great chance to take a tour to Asia. Top clash in Argentina we’ll be our appetizer, before we will roam to the east.

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Amateur (Like these guys)

What? Boca Juniors – San Lorenzo (Argentine Primera División)

When? Sunday, 2315

Where? Estadio Alberto J. Armando, Buenos Aires (La Bombonera)

Why? The weird marathon called the Argentine league is close to its end. This week, the two leaders of the league will have a face off, on the 23rd matchday. Boca Juniors is leading the table with 49 points, as San Lorenzo is just 2 points behind, on the 2nd place.

Key Players: In Boca Juniors, the absence of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Gago will be a great opportunity for Sebastián Palacios, to show his talent. San Lorenzo have an impressive defensive record of just 13 goals conceded, and one of the players that are responsible for that is the veteran Colombian, Mario Yepes, who is still playing in the age of 39.

Amazing Numbers: In August 2006, Boca Juniors defeated San Lorenzo in an unusual result - 7:1. The old and good Martín Palermo scored a hat-trick, while Rodrigo Palacio scored twice.

Professional (like this guy)

What? China – Hong Kong (2018 World Cup Qualifiers)

When? Thursday, 1335

Where? Bao'an Stadium, Shenzhen

Why? In 1997, Hong Kong became a Chinese territory and during the past year the tension between China and the region aroused. This World Cup qualifier match will be some kind of a derby. China started their campaign perfectly with an easy 6:0 victory against Bhutan. For Hong Kong it will be their third match, after defeating Bhutan (7:0) and Maldives (2:0).

Key Players: It's not so common to find Chinese players in Europe, but they have one in their current squad, Zhang Chengdong, who previously played in Portugal and Germany, and now he is part of the Spanish side Rayo Vallecano squad. The dominant player in Hong Kong is Huang Yang, who led his team Kitchee to another Hong Kong championship title.

Amazing numbers: In 2004 Hong Kong lost to China 0:7, its biggest defeat ever.

World Class (like this guy)

What? Palestine – United Arab Emirates (2018 World Cup Qualifiers)

When? Tuesday, 1600

Where? Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium, Al-Ram

Why? The Palestinian football has made an impressive progress in the past two years, and the UAE team would be one of the best visitor teams to play on Palestinian soil. The United Arab Emirates team, the semifinalist of last AFC Asian Cup, wishing for first World Cup appearance since 1990, and opened their campaign with 1:0 against Timor-Leste. Palestine are the clear underdogs in that match, and they already lost 2:3 to Saudi Arabia and won 6:0 against Malaysia.

Key Players: Palestine will be missing Ashraf Nu’man due to injury, but will display a line of foreign-based Palestinian-origin players from Chile, Paraguay, Sweden and more. Slovenian-born Jaka Ihbeisheh, the 29 years old LB, who scored the historic goal for Palestine in the last Asian Cup, will be there. For the UAE it's clear that Omar Abdulrahman, the most promising player in Asian football, will dominate the game.

Amazing Numbers: The most capped player in the history of UAE is Adnan Al Talyani made 161 caps. He ranked in the 10th most capped player in the history of international football.