31 August 2016

Terrible mistake

All was going well for one Italian team last weekend, and soon after they learned that they have to 'give away' the points to their rivals i.e. losers.
One of the surprise package in the Europa league, has just gone from joy to desperation. Everything was quite well when Sassuolo won Sunday's Serie A game against Pescara with 2:1. But then Italian federation spoiled their victory and treated the visitors with three points. The reason was obvious (and every team's nightmare): the club from Modena has fielded an ineligible player as Antonio Ragusa was not on the list until midday on the day of the match. Sassuolo will now appeal the decision...

Leaving the team for a 'better' job

On the first Tuesday in September Netherlands is playing its first away qualifying match against Sweden in Solna, Stockholm as the two teams open their account towards the World Cup finals, 2018 in Russia. And exactly one week before the encounter the 'Oranje' is loosing a prominent name from the bench to find a preferable post elsewhere.
Second assistant coach, and well known name in world football, Marco van Basten will quit his position with Netherlands because he was offered a job at FIFA on a football development and reform. However, he will remain to assist main trainer Danny Blind until the end of the year.
Will Dutch officials are going to regret letting van Basten to go, we will find the answer on 06 September.

30 August 2016

Marseille has a new owner

Olympique de Marseille by the end of the year will have a new owner. As the club was on sale in April from billionaire businesswoman Margarita Loius-Dreyfus, Frank McCourt has agreed to take over the shares. Different reports are coming for the final amount: some are saying that the 63 year old US businessman has been bought the club for 50 million euros, but RMC Sport is mentioning the sum of 40 million.

29 August 2016

Completely new region

To the five qualifying zones that we have so far for the World Cup finals in Russia 2018, next weekend is going to start a completely new one. Over 13 months European teams will battle for the top two precious spots from each 9 groups. Unlike the other qualifiers European one are having two fixed time slots and first 9 matches are scheduled to begin at the end of next weekend.

04 September, Sunday at 18.00 CET: Denmark - Armenia => Group E.
04 September, Sunday at 18.00 CET: Kazakhstan - Poland => Group E.
04 September, Sunday at 18.00 CET: Lithuania - Slovenia => Group F.
04 September, Sunday at 18.00 CET: San Marino - Azerbaijan => Group C.
04 September, Sunday at 18.00 CET: Slovakia - England => Group F.

04 September, Sunday at 20.45 CET: Czech Republic - Northern Ireland => Group C.
04 September, Sunday at 20.45 CET: Malta - Scotland => Group F.
04 September, Sunday at 20.45 CET: Norway - Germany => Group C.
04 September, Sunday at 20.45 CET: Romania - Montenegro => Group E.

CONCACAF's penultimate leg

Over in North, Central America and Caribbean zone we reached the penultimate leg from the fourth round towards World Cup finals in Russia 2018. One team already qualified for the last round, while the others are in big battle for the five remaining spots. Out of the two scheduled next month, first leg is at the start of next weekend.

02 September, Friday at 21.30 CET: St. Vincent and the Grenadines - United States of America => Group C.
02 September, Friday at 23.06 CET: Honduras - Canada => Group A.

03 September, Saturday at 01.00 CET: Trinidad and Tobago - Guatemala => Group C.
03 September, Saturday at 02.00 CET: Haiti - Costa Rica => Group B.
03 September, Saturday at 03.30 CET: Panama - Jamaica => Group B.
03 September, Saturday at 04.06 CET: El Salvador - Mexico => Group A..

Last leg in Africa

Starting from next weekend is the sixth and last qualifiers for the African Nations Cup in Gabon 2017. Some of the teams already qualified in the first five matches by getting it to the finals and for some these are crucial games. The following schedule is released but always in Africa all times are subject to change.

02 September, Friday at 19.00 CET: South Africa - Mauritania => Group M.

03 September, Saturday at 15.00 CET: Ethiopia - Seychelles => Group J.
03 September, Saturday at 16.30 CET: Cameroon - Gambia => Group M.
03 September, Saturday at 17.00 CET: Angola - Madagascar => Group B.
03 September, Saturday at 18.00 CET: Nigeria - Tanzania => Group G.
03 September, Saturday at 19.00 CET: Cape Verde - Libya => Group F.
03 September, Saturday at 19.30 CET: Ghana - Rwanda => Group H.
03 September, Saturday at 19.30 CET: Mozambique - Mauritius => Group H.
03 September, Saturday at 19.30 CET: Senegal - Namibia => Group K.
03 September, Saturday at 20.00 CET: Ivory Coast - Sierra Leone => Group I.

04 September, Sunday at 15.00 CET: Malawi - Swaziland => Group L.
04 September, Sunday at 16.00 CET: Burkina Faso - Botswana => Group D.
04 September, Sunday at 16.00 CET: Uganda - Comoros => Group D.
04 September, Sunday at 16.30 CET: Guinea - Zimbabwe => Group L.
04 September, Sunday at 16.30 CET: Congo - Guinea-Bissau => Group E.
04 September, Sunday at 16.30 CET: Zambia - Kenya => Group E.
04 September, Sunday at 18.00 CET: Equatorial Guinea - South Sudan => Group C.
04 September, Sunday at 18.30 CET: Democratic Republic of  Congo - Central African Republic => B
04 September, Sunday at 19.30 CET: Mali - Benin => Group C.
04 September, Sunday at 19.30 CET: Niger - Burundi => Group K.
04 September, Sunday at 19.30 CET: Togo - Djibouti => Group A.
04 September, Sunday at 19.30 CET: Tunisia - Liberia => Group A.
04 September, Sunday at 21.00 CET: Morocco - Sao Tome e Principe => F.
04 September, Sunday at 21.30 CET: Algeria - Lesotho => Group J.

One of the interesting region resumes its qualifiers

Reaching the mid qualifiers in South American zone, all ten teams are resuming next month with two legs. Over here in Europe the first leg will happen in two days.

01 September, Thursday at 22.00 CET: Bolivia - Peru.
01 September, Thursday at 22.30 CET: Colombia - Venezuela.
01 September, Thursday at 23.00 CET: Ecuador - Brazil.

02 September, Friday at 01.30 CET: Argentina - Uruguay.
02 September, Friday at 02.00 CET: Paraguay - Chile.

Asian round three

AFC qualifiers for the World Cup is reaching its climax. This final round officially kicks off in September where we will have two legs. The first is starting next Thursday. 

01 September, Thursday at 12.30 CET: Australia - Iraq.
01 September, Thursday at 12.35 CET: Japan - United Arab Emirates.
01 September, Thursday at 13.00 CET: South Korea - PR China.
01 September, Thursday at 17.00 CET: Uzbekistan - Syria.
01 September, Thursday at 18.30 CET: IR Iran - Qatar.
01 September, Thursday at 19.30 CET: Saudi Arabia - Thailand.

International qualifiers

We are stepping away from club football and for 6 days and we go international. At the beginning of September various qualifying matches are starting for three tournaments. Some of the matches are last qualifiers while some are starting for the very first time in the following order:

1. Asian qualifiers for World Cup, Russia 2018 (01 and 06 September).
2. CONMEBOL qualifiers for World Cup, Russia 2018 (01 and 06 September).
3. African qualifiers for Africa Cup of Nations, Gabon 2017 (02, 03 and 04 September).
4. CONCACAF qualifiers for World Cup Russia, 2018 (02 and 06 September).
5. European qualifiers for World Cup, Russia 2018 (04, 05 and 06 September).
6. Asian qualifiers for AFC Asian Cup, UAE 2019 (06 September).

28 August 2016

Revenues at the Europa league

One of the most exciting European cup competition with full of action and plenty of goals is having an income increase. More than 399.8 million euros will be shared among Europa league clubs for 2016/17 season. This number comes from 239.8 million which is going to be distributed to clubs as fixed sum and an estimated 160 million euros from marketing purposes.
Of course that every particular appearance in the tournament, qualifiers, group stages and from the round of 32 matches will be payed as well as the final game which has the highest amount. The losing finalist will receive 3.5 million euros while 3 million more will get the winner.

Champions league changes

In two years time the top four European leagues will get four secure places in the Champions league group stages. As it now stands, in the current position clubs from Spain, Germany, England and Italy will be 'released' from qualifying rounds and they will be automatically qualified for the group phase.
The coefficient table may always change in the following years to come. Speaking of it the table system will also alter. Instead of team coefficient from previous five years, historical success from the competition will be counted for points.
These new 'odd rules' will be applied from 2018/19 season.

26 August 2016

Exciting games from September

Friday is the usual day when the last draw is made for the Europa league. This 'lower' rank competition is becoming more entertaining from main European cup tournament (Champions league) as we are seeing lots of goals, plenty of running and exciting action all over the place.
From next month 48 clubs will entertain us in what is promising to be another full packed interesting season. They are all divided into 12 groups with 4 teams each. From now on this competition will be played only on Thursdays and the official start from the group stages is from 15 September. Every team will play home and away match, so last matchday will be on 08 December. UEFA today allocate group position to each teams which looks like this:

Group A:                                                                     Group B:
1. Manchester United                                                   1. Olympiacos
2. Fenerbahce                                                             2. APOEL Nicosia
3. Feyenoord                                                               3. Young Boys
4. Zorya                                                                      4. Astana

Group C:                                                                     Group D:
1. Anderlecht                                                               1. Zenit
2. St. Etienne                                                               2. AZ Alkmaar
3. Mainz                                                                       3. Maccabi Tel Aviv
4. Qabala                                                                     4. Dundalk

Group E:                                                                      Group F:
1. Viktoria Plzen                                                           1. Athletic Bilbao
2. Roma                                                                       2. Genk
3. Austria Vienna                                                          3. Rapid Vienna
4. Astra Giurgiu                                                            4. Sassuolo

Group G:                                                                      Group H:
1. Ajax                                                                         1. Shakhtar Donetsk
2. Standard Liege                                                          2. Braga
3. Celta Vigo                                                                 3. Gent
4. Panathianaikos                                                          4. Konyaspor

Group I:                                                                       Group J:
1. Schalke                                                                     1. Fiorentina
2. Red Bull Salzburg                                                       2. PAOK
3. Krasnodar                                                                 3. Slovan Liberec
4. Nice                                                                         4. Qarabag

Group K:                                                                      Group L:
1. Inter                                                                         1. Villarreal 
2. Sparta Prague                                                            2. Steaua
3. Southampton                                                             3. Zurich
4. Hapoel Beer Sheva                                                     4. Osmanlispor

25 August 2016

End of the qualifying cycle

Qarabag - IFK Goteborg 3:0

Scorers: 1:0 19 Rashad Farhad Sadygov
              2:0 25 Muarem Muarem
              3:0 50 Dani Quintana

Brondby - Panathinaikos 1:1

Scorers: 1:0 35 Hany Mukhtar
              1:1 66 Ivan Ivanov

Grasshoppers - Fenerbahce 0:2

Scorers: 0:1 76 Fernandao
              0:2 84 Miroslav Stoch

Slovan Liberec - AEK Larnaca 3:0

Scorer: 1:0 08 Jan Sykora
            2:0 15 Jan Sykora
            3:0 41 Jan Sykora

Rosenborg - Austria Vienna 1:2

Scorers: 0:1 57 Alexander Gruenwald
              1:1 59-pen Christian Gytkjaer
              1:2 68 Olarenwaju Kayode

Partizani - Krasnodar 0:0

AZ Alkmaar - Vojvodina 0:0

Anderlecht - Slavia Prague 3:0

Scorers: 1:0 22-pen Youri Tielemans
              2:0 40-pen Lukasz Teodorczyk
              3:0 60 Michael Heylen

BATE Borisov - Astana 2:2

Scorers: 1:0 27 Mikhail Gordeychuk
              1:1 50 Nemanja Maksimovic
              1:2 76 Patrick Twumasi
              2:2 89-pen Igor Stasevich

Genk - Lokomotiva Zagreb 2:0

Scorers: 1:0 01 Mbwana Samata
              2:0 50 Leon Bailey

Osmanlispor - Midtjylland 2:0

Scorer: 1:0 20 Tiago Pinto
            2:0 50 Tiago Pinto

PAOK - Dinamo Tbilisi 2:0

Scorers: 1:0 05 Garry Mendes Rodrigues
              2:0 45 Giorgios Tzavellas

Sparta Prague - SonderjyskE 3:2

Scorers: 0:1 35 Mikael Uhre
              0:2 40 Troels Kloeve
              1:2 44 David Lafata
              2:2 69 Josef Sural
              3:2 84 Jakub Brabec

Maribor - Qabala 1:0

Scorer: 1:0 66 Tavares

Crvena Zvezda - Sassuolo 1:1

Scorers: 0:1 28 Domenico Berardi
              1:1 54 Aleksandar Katai

Hajduk - Maccabi Tel Aviv 2:1, on penalties: 3-4

Scorers: 1:0 40 Marko Cosic
              1:1 52 Ezequiel Scarione
              2:1 59 Marko Cosic

Olympiacos - Arouca 0:1, 2:1 after extra time

Scorers: 0:1 80 Gege
              1:1 94 Alejandro Dominguez
              2:1 113 Brown Ideye

St. Etienne - Beitar Jerusalem 0:0

Shakhtar Donetsk - Basaksehir 2:0

Scorers: 1:0 22-own goal Joseph Attamah
              2:0 70-pen Marlos

Rapid Vienna - Trencin 0:2

Scorers: 0:1 12 Jamie Lawrence
              0:2 35 Jakub Paur

Additional information: Losers from the previous couple of nights from the Champions league plus Qarabag, Panathianikos, Fenerbahce, Slovan Liberec, Austria Vienna, Krasnodar, AZ Alkmaar, Anderlecht, Astana, Genk, Osmanlispor, PAOK, Sparta Prague, Qabala, Sassuolo, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Olympiacos, St. Etienne, Shakhtar Donetsk and Rapid Vienna have all qualified for the Europa league group stages.

Another trophy for the Portuguese

With no surprises, Cristiano Ronaldo collected new trophy. After EURO 2016 title with Portugal this summer Ronaldo has won the best European player award for 2015/16 season. He beat La Liga's colleague Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid and his teammate from Real Madrid Gareth Bale.
The 31 year old collected this award for the second time.

2016/17 Champions league groups

Four rounds of qualifying games from this summer are over and now it is time to get into the real business. From next month it will start the so awaited Champions league who will mark the official opening of the new season in Europe. Thirty two teams, which will entertain us from 13 September up until 07 December, are divided into eight groups and here is their outcome from tonight's draw:

Group A:                                                             Group E:
1. PSG                                                                 1. CSKA Moscow
2. Arsenal                                                            2. Bayer Leverkusen
3. Basel                                                               3. Tottenham
4. Ludogorets Razgrad                                          4. Monaco

Group B:                                                             Group F:
1. Benfica                                                            1. Real Madrid
2. Napoli                                                              2. Borussia Dortmund
3. Dynamo Kyiv                                                    3. Sporting
4. Besiktas                                                           4. Legia

Group C:                                                             Group G:
1. Barcelona                                                        1. Leicester
2. Manchester City                                               2. Porto
3. Borussia Moenchengladbach                              3. Brugge
4. Celtic                                                             4. FC Copenhagen

Group D:                                                            Group H:
1. Bayern Munchen                                              1. Juventus
2. Atletico Madrid                                               2. Sevilla
3. PSV Eindhoven                                                3. Lyon
4. Rostov                                                            4. Dinamo Zagreb

24 August 2016

Surprise winner in Austria after extra time

APOEL Nicosia - FC Copenhagen 1:1

Scorers: 1:0 69 Pieros Sotiriou
              1:1 86 Federico Santander

Rostov - Ajax 4:1

Scorers: 1:0 34 Sardar Azmoun
              2:0 51 Aleksandr Yerokhin 
              3:0 59 Christian Noboa
              4:0 66 Dmitry Poloz
              4:1 84-pen Davy Klaassen

Borussia Moenchengladbach - Young Boys 6:1

Scorers: 1:0 09 Thorgan Hazard
              2:0 33 Raffael
              3:0 40 Raffael
              4:0 64 Thorgan Hazard
              5:0 77 Raffael
              5:1 79 Yoric Ravet
              6:1 84 Thorgan Hazard

Red Bull Salzburg - Dinamo Zagreb 1:1, 1:2 after extra time

Scorers: 1:0 21 Valentino Lazaro
              1:1 87 Junior Fernandes
              1:2 95 El-Arbi Hilal Soudani

Additional information: Porto, Celtic, Legia, Monaco, Ludogorets Razgrad, FC Copenhagen, Rostov, Borussia Moenchengladbach and Dinamo Zagreb have all made it to the Champions league group stages.

Losing clubs: Roma, Hapoel Beer Sheva, Dundalk, Villarreal, Viktoria Plzen, APOEL Nicosia, Ajax, Young Boys and Red Bull Salzburg will have another chance and play in the 'lower', but always exciting, Europa league tournament.

Last five qualifiers of the season

Tonight games will determine the proper five clubs that will go through the qualifying session for the Champions league group stage. Most ties are already resolved eight days ago, but we know that everything can happen in football.

- APOEL Nicosia - Copenhagen. Danish champion have to defend a one goal lead from the first leg and Copenhagen knows very well what happened to another Scandinavian club from the previous round in Nicosia. We are sure that the will not sit back and defend their advantage but lately their form is down so are not playing like they want. On the other hand, from game to game APOEL is very confident and from the help from its own crowd can achieve their goal. Both can score goals in this match, Copenhagen is a slight favorite to come victorious.
- Rostov - Ajax. From an ordinary match, this second leg happens to be one of the derby of the night. A famous name in world football is threatened to miss out from the Champions league group stages while their rival wants most of all to compete as debut club. Rostov seems to be unbeatable in their own stadium and since the previous round blunder are recording only victories. On the other hand Ajax is playing very well away, but still their form is shaking. Because of that we are expecting a thrilling match tonight in Rostov-on-Don, the home side is looking as a favorites to take the match, so no one will leave the stadium undefeated.
- Borussia Moenchengladbach - Young Boys. Last Tuesday the favorite has won and this evening home side is still remaining favorites for another win. The team from Bern, Young Boys, is playing dreadful football as visitors and the question is with how many goals they will go back in Switzerland. It still can happen a surprise, for example a draw, but simply Borussia Moenchengladbach would not allow that.
- Red Bull Salzburg - Dinamo Zagreb. Not long ago Red Bull Salzburg barely has won any match. Nowadays they are playing very confident and their results are only positive at home. So no matter how Croatian champions are playing as visitors either good or bad, Dinamo Zagreb is very determined to cross this last hurdle towards the final goal. Everyone wants to be in it, but Red Bull Salzburg will conclude it with a new win.

23 August 2016

Twelve goals on five games

Roma - Porto 0:3

Scorers: 0:1 08 Felipe Monteiro
              0:2 73 Miguel Layun
              0:3 75 Jesus Corona

Hapoel Beer Sheva - Celtic 2:0

Scorers: 1:0 21 Ben Sahar
              2:0 47 Ovidiu Hoban

Legia - Dundalk 1:1

Scorers: 0:1 19 Robbie Benson
              1:1 90+2 Michal Kucharczyk

Monaco - Villarreal 1:0

Scorer: 1:0 90+1-pen Fabinho

Viktoria Plzen - Ludogorets Razgrad 2:2

Scorers: 1:0 07 Michal Duris
              1:1 16 Virgil Misidjan
              2:1 64 Ales Mateju
              2:2 90+5 Claudiu Keseru

First clubs that will enter tonight for the group stages

Five pairs tonight and first five winners, from these long qualifiers, will enter Champions league stages staring from September. We are sure that these ten teams will give us their best to entertain us, but after that everyone of them will go in different path with a fair distribution.

- Roma - Porto. After scored that precious away goal in the first leg the Italian club is a step closer of progressing through. Over at home Roma have nothing but victories opposing to Porto who are achieving mixed results. The Portuguese club will try to score at least a goal to salvage their Champions league season and they can succeed that with a victory.
- Hapoel Beer Sheva - Celtic. Always dangerous Hapoel Beer Sheva looks very positive at home and they have to play without mistake. For going though the Israeli club will need at least three goals or more and they do have strength and power to do that. Opposite to Celtic in which the are playing some dreadful football away. The Scottish will try to keep the 5:2 result but unsuccessful.
- Legia - Dundalk. Most of the job Legia have done in the first leg of this tie and here it only needs to confirm it. Lately they can not find the positive winning form and this is a chance for Dundalk to retaliate. The Republic of Ireland champions will see this as opportunity, but Legia will do everything that no one will win this game as both clubs are in dreadful form of play.
- Monaco - Villarreal. Villarreal can still make it but their current form does not allow it. Having trouble in defense mostly cannot be guaranteed a place among 32. Monaco, is more or less in the same position but will not give out without a fight. As the French have the positive result Villarreal cannot sit back, both sides will attack but without success.
- Viktoria Plzen - Ludogorets Razgrad. Bulgarian champion have a unattainable two goal advantage and they are playing tonight Czech team who records mainly draws at home. This could not be a worst time for them to play such an important game. It means that they have to win this match but with this form it will be difficult to do that. Because of this Ludogorets looks like a favorite to win this game.

Animal's head near the pitch

There was a small incident in the German cup game last weekend.
On Saturday, in the competition's first round Dynamo Dresden played with RB Leipzig. And the next day it was reported that during the game home supporters threw bull's head near the athletic track. As the rivalry is fierce between these two clubs, Dynamo Dresden fans have done this act on purpose to mock against Leipzig's sponsorship. However it is still unclear how the fans smuggled the head onto their stadium. On top of that supporters displayed 'provocative' banners, like: 'Bulls for slaughter'. 'Simply tasteless' and 'exceeded tolerable limits' are just words that officials from both clubs were using.
The initials RB means Red Bull who is an Austrian energy drink company and a main sponsor of the Leipzig team. This club is very unpopular in Germany.

22 August 2016

Group stage draws

Next week also we will be familiar with all 20 groups from both cup competitions which will entertain us up until December.

Immediately one day after all its over and on the night when Europa league games will be well underway, UEFA is conducting the Champions league draw next Thursday, 25 August. All in all, 32 clubs will enter the group stages: ten (lucky) winners from previous two days plus 22 automatic qualifiers. Eight groups will be formed with four teams each. Thirty minutes earlier than expected, the fate for these clubs will slowly be revealed from 18.00 CET.

At the most interesting competition from its predecessor and in its usual time of 13.00 CET, on Friday, 26 August it will be the Europa league draw. Ten losing sides from the Champions league will have another chance to play and they will be mixed with 22 play off winners plus 16 automatic entries. So, this 48 will set up 12 groups with 4 teams each.

Decision time

The exciting Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro may be over on a world level, but next week another sporting event will draw us attention with its qualifying conclusion in Europe. Over three days it is time to find out which clubs will go in the group stages and which will say good bye until next season in both European cup competitions. For the following clubs 90 more minutes are ahead of them while some can acquire the right to play additional time or even penalties. Will it be luck or pure knowledge to enter into next month's group stages we will find out from Tuesday until Thursday. 

In the Champions league a fair distribution of the clubs will be conducted over two days. Five winners each from Tuesday and Wednesday will have the right to entertain us until December. All ten games are starting from 20.45 CET:

Tuesday, 23 August: Roma - Porto.
Tuesday, 23 August: Hapoel Beer Sheva - Celtic.
Tuesday, 23 August: Legia - Dundalk.
Tuesday, 23 August: Monaco - Villarreal.
Tuesday, 23 August: Viktoria Plzen - Ludogorets Razgrad.

Wednesday, 24 August: APOEL Nicosia - FC Copenhagen.
Wednesday, 24 August: Rostov - Ajax.
Wednesday, 24 August: Manchester City - Steaua.
Wednesday, 24 August: Borussia Moenchengladbach - Young Boys.
Wednesday, 24 August: Red Bull Salzburg - Dinamo Zagreb.

All Europa league matches second leg from the play off round will be played on the last Thursday of the month. This will be the last time that games are beginning before 19.00 CET because from the group stages two well known time slots will be applied.

Thursday, 25 August at 18.30 CET: Qarabag - IFK Goteborg.
Thursday, 25 August at 19.00 CET: Brondby - Panathinaikos.
Thursday, 25 August at 19.00 CET: Grasshoppers - Fenerbahce.
Thursday, 25 August at 19.00 CET: Slovan Liberec - AEK Larnaca.
Thursday, 25 August at 19.00 CET: Rosenborg - Austria Vienna.
Thursday, 25 August at 19.30 CET: Partizani - Krasnodar.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.00 CET: AZ Alkmaar - Vojvodina.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.00 CET: Anderlecht - Slavia Prague.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.00 CET: BATE Borisov - Astana.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.00 CET: Genk - Lokomotiva Zagreb.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.00 CET: Osmanlispor - Midtjylland.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.00 CET: PAOK - Dinamo Tbilisi.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.00 CET: Skendija - Gent.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.00 CET: Sparta Prague - SonderjyskE.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.15 CET: Maribor - Qabala.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.30 CET: Crvena Zvezda - Sassuolo.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.30 CET: Hajduk - Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.45 CET: Olympiacos - Arouca.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.45 CET: St. Etienne - Beitar Jerusalem.
Thursday, 25 August at 20.45 CET: West Ham - Astra.
Thursday, 25 August at 21.00 CET: Shakhtar Donetsk - Basaksehir.
Thursday, 25 August at 21.05 CET: Rapid Vienna - Trencin.

21 August 2016

Congratulations to Brazil!

There is a saying: there is first time for everything in life.
63.707 spectators at famous Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro saw live how Brazil becomes Olympic champion for the first time in their career. The match was decided on penalties as the host nation defeated Germany 5-4 on penalties after 1:1 in 90 minutes. As in the additional time there were no goals scored, Brazil's main star Neymar Jr. gave his country its first gold medal in history. After he scored the last goal in the penalty series home crowd went berserk from happiness.
It seems that the Brazilian delegation made the right decision that Neymar Jr. was to be omitted from the squad for this summer's Copa America Centenario tournament. All that 'trouble' paid off tonight!

20 August 2016

Palestinian flag is a nightmare for Celtic

They may have won the match against Hapoel Beer Sheva, but their fans let down a good spectacle. In an thrilling game from all ten played this Wednesday Celtic has won the Israeli side 5:2 and now they have to pay the price for its supporters' behavior.
Because of Palestinian flags which was waved on Celtic Park, the Scottish champions will now likely be fined. As around 100 of them were on the stadium, this 'incident' is 'treated' as 'illicit banners' who UEFA explicitly forbids and yesterday the organization confirmed that it has opened disciplinary proceedings. This case will be dealt on 22 September.
It is the second time that Celtic is accused for the same reason after 22 July 2014 when the club played against KR Reykjavik on the same competition - Champions league, but in second qualifying round.

19 August 2016

Remarkable list

At the beginning of next month lots of qualifying football matches are taking place all over the world for various tournaments. One of them resumes its games for the World Cup qualifiers and one South American nation is already in the news with its approach.
Every coach for competitive games are calling up to 23, 24 or even 26 players to join the team, but Bolivia has almost tripled the invitations. Their new trainer Angel Guillermo Hoyos called 7 goalkeepers, 27 defenders, 34 midfielders and 25 forwards into the camp. These 93 players will have only one mission on their mind: to win both upcoming games against Peru (01 September) and Chile (06 September) if Bolivia wants to have a real chance of qualifying for Russia 2018. Currently Bolivia needs to step up things as they are in ninth place and have 3 points from 6 games played. All invited players can not appear on the pitch, but it certainly is an honor to be on the list. We wish them best of luck!
Bolivia is trying to enter into the World Cup for the second time, after its debut performance suffered two losses in 1930 event.

18 August 2016

Completion of the Europa league games, day two

Astana - BATE Borisov 2:0

Scorers: 1:0 70 Junior Kabananga
              2:0 81 Azat Nurgaliev

Dinamo Tbilisi - PAOK 0:3

Scorers: 0:1 20 Leo Matos
              0:2 71 Jose Angel Crespo
              0:3 83 Facundo Abel Pereyra

SonderjyskE - Sparta Prague 0:0

Krasnodar - Partizani 4:0

Scorers: 1:0 18-pen Joaozinho
              2:0 27 Fedor Smolov
              3:0 45 Artur Jedrzejczyk
              4:0 72-own goal Gezim Krasniqi

Midjylland - Osmanlispor 0:1

Scorer: 0:1 20-own goal Patrick Banggaard

AEK Larnaca - Slovan Liberec 0:1

Scorer: 0:1 29 Vladimir Coufal

Austria Vienna - Rosenborg 2:1

Scorers: 1:0 50 Alexander Grunwald
              2:0 53 Pires
              2:1 90+1 Tore Reginiussen

Qabala - Maribor 3:1

Scorers: 0:1 17 Marcos Tavares
              1:1 37 Sergei Zenjov
              2:1 50 Bagaly Dabo
              3:1 52 Bagaly Dabo

IFK Goteborg - Qarabag 1:0

Scorer: 1:0 56 Mads Albaek

Maccabi Tel Aviv - Hajduk 2:1

Scorers: 1:0 08 Gal Alberman
              1:1 56 Said Ahmed Said
              2:1 77 Ezequiel Scarione

Slavia Prague - Anderlecht 0:3

Scorers: 0:1 49 Idrissa Sylla
              0:2 60 Lukasz Teodorczyk
              0:3 71 Sofiane Hanni

Basaksehir - Shakhtar Donetsk 1:2

Scorers: 0:1 24-own goal Sokol Cikalleshi
              0:2 41 Viktor Kovalenko
              1:2 55-pen Emre Belozoglu

Fenerbahce - Grasshoppers 3:0

Scorers: 1:0 04 Aatif Chahechouhe
              2:0 71 Miroslav Stoch
              3:0 90+1 Miroslav Stoch

Lokomotiva Zagreb - Genk 2:2

Scorers: 0:1 35-pen Leon Bailey
              0:2 47 Mbwana Samata
              1:2 52-pen Mirko Maric
              2:2 59 Ivan Fiolic

Panathinaikos - Brondby 3:0

Scorers: 1:0 45+2 Marcus Berg
              2:0 54-pen Christian Daniel Ledesma
              3:0 82 Marcus Berg

Vojvodina - AZ Alkmaar 0:3

Scorers: 0:1 32 Stijn Wuytens
              0:2 45+1 Fred Friday
              0:3 80 Stijn Wuytens

Sassuolo - Crvena Zvezda 3:0

Scorers: 1:0 17 Domenico Berardi
              2:0 41 Matteo Politano
              3:0 69 Gregoire Defrel

Arouca - Olympiacos 0:1

Scorer: 0:1 27 Seba

Trencin - Rapid Vienna 0:4

Scorers: 0:1 32 Louis Schaub
              0:2 54 Louis Schaub
              0:3 73 Stefan Schwab
              0:4 83 Louis Schaub

Former FIFA president dies

Brazilian former lawyer, athlete, International Olympic Committee member and FIFA boss Joao Havelange has died in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. The Brazilian resigned from FIFA in 2013 and since then he experienced lots of health problems from bacterial infection to pneumonia. Havelange, who lived 100 years, enlisted Coca-Cola and Adidas as primary sponsors in the world football organization. He was FIFA president for 24 years, from 1974 to 1998.
Brazilian Football Confederation has announced one week mourning in respect of the sporting legend.

17 August 2016

Entertaining game on Celtic Park

Celtic - Hapoel Beer Sheva 5:2

Scorers: 1:0 08 Tom Rogic
              2:0 39 Leigh Griffiths
              3:0 45+1 Leigh Griffiths
              3:1 55 Lucio Maranhao
              3:2 57 Maor Melikson
              4:2 73 Moussa Dembele
              5:2 85 Scott Brown

Dundalk - Legia 0:2

Scorers: 0:1 56-pen Nemanja Nikolic
              0:2 90+4 Aleksandar Prijovic

Ludogorets Razgrad - Viktoria Plzen 2:0

Scorers: 1:0 51-pen Cosmin Moti
              2:0 64 Virgil Misidjan

Porto - Roma 1:1

Scorers: 0:1 21-own goal Felipe Monteiro
              1:1 61-pen Andre Silva

Villarreal - Monaco 1:2

Scorers: 0:1 03-pen Fabinho
              1:1 36 Alexander Pato
              1:2 72 Bernardo Silva

Big advantage for the visitors

Beitar Jerusalem - St. Etienne 1:2

Scorers: 1:0 07 Idan Vered
              1:1 15 Fabien Lemoine
              1:2 29 Florentin Pogba

Surprises are still possible

In the second half of the Champions league play off games we might see few surprises tonight. Out of five pairs, two of them are actually derby matches from this evening.

- Celtic - Hapoel Beer Sheva. This can be easily called second derby from Wednesday's games. Celtic's awful season has just been improved but their opponent are much more tough than expected. From the last round the Israeli side looks dangerous, and by eliminating a familiar name (Olympiakos) in these qualifiers, Hapoel Beer Sheva certainly want (and have the strength) to enter the group stages. We have to see some exciting football, the odds are maybe on the visiting club but we will have no winner tonight.
- Dundalk - Legia. For the first time in the play off round Dundalk have its debut appearance. From game to game the Republic of Ireland champions plays very well unlike Legia where it has one of the worst (opening) seasons. No matter who the rival is Polish team barely score a goal so this is a chance for Dundalk to upset them. If the first timers might repeat their last game against BATE Borisov the home side can get a positive result.
- Ludogorets Razgrad - Viktoria Plzen. Bulgarian champions are accomplishing some positive results and they are in the good form lately. But Viktoria Plzen are looking dangerous as visitors, so this could be a entertaining game. This time Ludogorets Razgrad is playing in the Bulgarian capital but there will be no problem to become victorious again.
- Porto - Roma. No doubt the derby of the night. It was the merciless draw that put these teams together and now only one team can go into the Champions league group stages. And that team could well be...Porto. Lately they are not playing very well but when it comes to big and decisive matches like this the Portuguese club can be superb. Roma will try to score that precious away goal but the night will belong to the home club.
- Villarreal - Monaco. This meeting comes in the worst possible moment for both as neither one has the advantage and are playing sloppy football. Spanish Villarreal might be in a slight lead before its own crowd and even a minimal positive result can be good for them. Monaco is also playing dreadful in away games and the French might try not to leave the stadium undefeated.

One game tonight

In order not to collide with Champions league matches, first competitive game tonight will be from the Europa league tournament from 18.00 CET.
In the capital of Israel, Beitar Jerusalem and St. Etienne have the honor to open the competition with its first leg. Both teams are playing good football and both are capable of scoring goals. The host team is on the great run of winning games and it seems that they will easily take this one too. However, St. Etienne will try to stall them back and hope to get a positive result next Thursday in their own stadium.

16 August 2016

Leg one, day one results

Ajax - Rostov 1:1

Scorers: 0:1 13 Christian Noboa
              1:1 38-pen Davy Klaassen

Dinamo Zagreb - Red Bull Salzburg 1:1

Scorers: 0:1 59 Valentino Lazaro
              1:1 76-pen Marko Rog

FC Copenhagen - APOEL Nicosia 1:0

Scorer: 1:0 43 Andrija Pavlovic

Young Boys - Borussia Moenchengladbach 1:3

Scorers: 0:1 11 Raffael
              1:1 56 Miralem Sulejmani
              1:2 67 Andre Hahn
              1:3 69-own goal Alain Rochat

Play off opening games

After a week break, fight for the Champions league group stages are resuming tonight with the final qualifying round. Around 22.36 CET we are going to find out first leg results from the following pairs:

- Ajax - Rostov. As hosts, Ajax does not play very well as they are showing some (big) oscillations in the games. However Rostov looks quite confident and since their last competitive game in Anderlecht they must be regarded as a serious opponent. This may be called a little derby of the night both teams can score goals, their level of play will be very high at this stage, any mistakes will be punished, but no one will celebrate at the end.
- Dinamo Zagreb - Red Bull Salzburg. Croatian champions at home are recording only victories but this evening comes a serious rival which which have never beaten in previous occasions. Red Bull Salzburg would like very much to finish off the game in the first leg, and as they are still adapting to the new season, having some difficulties in play the Austrians will barely come victorious (again).
- FC Copenhagen - APOEL Nicosia.In these competitive games Scandinavian football looks to be very positive. Win in every match FC Copenhagen will try to finish of the tie at home by just knowing that APOEL Nicosia are playing awfully away. The Cypriots will try to score at least a goal but the real question is how much they will receive.
- Young Boys - Borussia Moenchengladbach. From first sight Young Boys may easily win tonight's game against not so attractive Borussia Moenchengladbach side. But lately the Swiss runner-up are achieving some mixed results at home and they do not look very confident to win. Germans (of course) will be very happy of that as they are now favorites. Their last meeting end up in an exciting draw last month, but this month the visiting team would rejoice.

Teen attacked a goalkeeper

Instead of finishing it calm and peacefully hooligans once again abandoned the match, this time in Sweden. Jonkopings Sodra and Ostersund played in week 18 from the Allsvenskan league, but unfortunately the game was suspended in ninetieth minute because of a hooligan attack on the visiting goalkeeper Aly Keita. Before the perpetrator was knocked down to the ground by security Keita was hit in the eye. After the incident police arrested the 17 year old masked assailant who told them that he hid a bomb in the stands, but after searching they found nothing.
With stoppage time left to play Jonas Eriksson stopped the game at 1:1.

15 August 2016

Hundred eighty minutes away from glory

National championships slowly opens the new season but in some countries are yet to start. But for the following teams the priority is to stay much longer in Europe and every club's dream is to compete in the group stages. These teams are only two matches away from achieving that goal as they will make a name for themselves in the new season's competitions which will entertain us until December.
Which teams will have the strength to overcome this final hurdle we are going to find out next week with the final games. But next week is only the first 90 minutes...

Five pairs are divided into two days in the strongest competition. From this round all games in the Champions league are starting at the usual time - 20.45 CET.

Tuesday, 16 August: Ajax - Rostov.
Tuesday, 16 August: Dinamo Zagreb - Red Bull Salzburg.
Tuesday, 16 August: FC Copenhagen - APOEL Nicosia.
Tuesday, 16 August: Steaua - Manchester City.
Tuesday, 16 August: Young Boys - Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Wednesday, 17 August: Celtic - Hapoel Beer Sheva.
Wednesday, 17 August: Dundalk - Legia.
Wednesday, 17 August: Ludogorets Razgrad - Viktoria Plzen.
Wednesday, 17 August: Porto - Roma.
Wednesday, 17 August: Villarreal - Monaco.

One day earlier than expected, the Europa league happens to be the most interesting tournament from its predecessor. Lots of goals and plenty of surprises are expecting in the first leg.

Wednesday, 17 August at 18.00 CET: Beitar Jerusalem - St. Etienne.

Thursday, 18 August at 16.00 CET: Astana - BATE Borisov.
Thursday, 18 August at 18.00 CET: Dinamo Tbilisi - PAOK.
Thursday, 18 August at 18.15 CET: SonderjyskE - Sparta Prague.
Thursday, 18 August at 18.30 CET: Krasnodar - Partizani.
Thursday, 18 August at 18.30 CET: Midtjylland - Osmanlispor.
Thursday, 18 August at 19.00 CET: AEK Larnaca - Slovan Liberec.
Thursday, 18 August at 19.00 CET: Austria Vienna - Rosenborg.
Thursday, 18 August at 19.00 CET: Qabala- Maribor.
Thursday, 18 August at 19.00 CET: IFK Goteborg - Qarabag.
Thursday, 18 August at 19.00 CET: Maccabi Tel Aviv - Hajduk.
Thursday, 18 August at 19.00 CET: Slavia Prague - Anderlecht.
Thursday, 18 August at 19.30 CET: Basaksehir - Shakhtar Donetsk.
Thursday, 18 August at 20.00 CET: Fenerbahce - Grasshoppers.
Thursday, 18 August at 20.00 CET: Lokomotiva Zagreb - Genk.
Thursday, 18 August at 20.00 CET: Panathinaikos - Brondby.
Thursday, 18 August at 20.00 CET: Vojvodina - AZ Alkmaar.
Thursday, 18 August at 20.15 CET: Astra Giurgiu - West Ham.
Thursday, 18 August at 20.30 CET: Gent - Skendija.
Thursday, 18 August at 20.45 CET: Sassuolo - Crvena Zvezda.
Thursday, 18 August at 21.00 CET: Arouca - Olympiakos.
Thursday, 18 August at 21.05 CET: Trencin - Rapid Vienna.

14 August 2016

Latest female entered as official

As a part of an anti-corruption program in the region, CONMEBOL has appoint Monserrat Jimenez as interim general director. From 2014 she is a legal advisor for the Paraguay FA.
The Paraguayan attorney became the latest female, after FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura, who are encouraged to enter in football institutions as administrative officials. Her countryman and president of the region Alejandro Dominguez has very high opinion for Jimenez by saying that 'she has the capacity, integrity and temperament to build a new CONMEBOL'.
Jimenez inherits another lawyer Gorka Villar, who left the institution last month, as a general director.

12 August 2016

Arrest warrant for ex-Turkey international

Turkey continues to fight against 'the helpers' from failed coup last month and latest on the arrest warrant list is Hakan Sukur, one of the well known football names in the country. The 44 year old is believed to be in connection with cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey believes to be responsible for the situation.
Prosecutors also issued an arrest warrant for Sukur's father and manager Selmet Sukur. State agency Anadolu reported that neither of them could not be found after the warrant.

11 August 2016

Help from Ronaldo

He was there this summer to help Portugal winning its first major European football title and now he is offering necessary help for the biggest catastrophe at the island.
One of the best Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo is offering financial help to his native Madeira and its residents for fight against the deadliest wildfires on the island. So far three people have lost their lives and hundreds were forced to evacuate. In a telephone call to the island president Miguel Albuquerque, Portuguese captain has promised to financially aid Madeira. Media in Portugal have not mentioned the offered amount.

Inquiry into Brazilian president (from all sides)

FIFA's ethics committee has confirmed yesterday they have opened an thorough search towards the Brazilian president Marco Polo del Nero. 'We are able to confirm that there are formal proceedings going on against Marco Polo del Nero' says FIFA's investigatory chamber report.
When he was on the list of accused officials last December, del Nero was on furlough three months from the presidency before coming back to the job in April. However, he remained Brazilian FA (CBF) president despite he was indicted last year of football corruption that struck this sport. Del Nero will be charged with money laundering and racketeering.
CBF president is also being investigated from the Brazilian senate who is charging him with corruption.

Arrests for match fixing

Police in Wales have detained eleven people for trying to fix a match back in April from age 20 to 48 years old, Welsh FA has said. Its organization also added that 'eight men and three women were arrested on suspicion on conspiracy to defraud, including players, stuff and associates', with no names given in the report. Majority of the imprisoned ones are from Swansea. Later they have all been released on bail.
The controversial match was in the thirtieth round of the Welsh Premier league played on 09 April between Rhyl and Port Talbot. Many bets were placed on Rhyl's favor, as the team won after quite some time - the club was winless 17 games. In the match itself the home side came victorious 5:0.