31 March 2018

Five 'small' and one worst-ever fines

Four days from now the European competitions are going to resume with its quarter final duels, and UEFA from last and this week will collect a good amount (huge is a 'small' word to say, but decent is a correct one...except for the last penalty).
Champions league: From this tournament in total there are two punishments. Manchester City and Basel, who played on the first Wednesday this month, ended this duel with a well known win for the visitors. However, this historic night was spoiled with fireworks from Switzerland supporters, so yesterday the organization have decided that the club has to give away 8.000 euros. The following morning after the match with Real Madrid, L'Equipe newspaper reported that PSG fans lighted up in their own stadium 150 fireworks on 06 March. Whether that was the exact number or not, we will never know, but from last Thursday French champions are going to say goodbye to 43.000 euros. In addition to that in this fine is added: blocking stairways, lasers and too little security personnel...or in short - poor organization. Also, the team has to close part of its stadium, and that will happen next season (in September) because the club already qualified for 2018/19 tournament.
Europa league: In this section we begin with Crvena Zvezda - CSKA Moscow match from the first knock-out round. Fans from both clubs caused troubles with fireworks plus:  home team has blocked stairways and has to give 31.000 euros, while their opponents are penalized with 1.000 euros less (30.000 euros) as spectators threw various objects on the pitch. Last Thursday Olympique Marseille was penalized for the game against Athletic Bilbao which was this March. Due to serious fighting and fireworks from their fans the team has to: deliver 30.000 euros and forbidden to sell tickets as visitors for the next 2 games (first is going to be next Thursday against RasenBallsport Leipzig) plus the club got suspension for a probationary period of 2 years. And from today has been announced the biggest and record fine to date: one million euros in payment and 10 years out of European competitions - this burden belongs to Skenderbeu. The club from Korce is accused of match-fixing after suspicious plays in group phase games from 2015, when was playing with Besiktas, Lokomotiv Moscow and Sporting Clube de Portugal. The Albanian team has announced that it will fight this injustice at the highest sporting and the Supreme court in Switzerland. There are couple of more problematic duels from this competition, but the decision for those are going to be judged later on.
All punishments here are in bold, so if you are good in mathematics you can calculate how many euros the European football organization will be rich from just 14 days.

30 March 2018

Offensive banner on a friendly match

Couple of days ago finished all preparatory games for the World Cup which is starting in three months time. Usually, in almost every stadium we can expect rude banners and offensive words which happened on one friendly match.
This Tuesday night, Montenegro and Turkey, who did not qualify for the main football event in June, played an entertaining 90 minutes with 4 goals. As players showed an interesting match on the pitch, on the stands was spotted one insulting banner. Group of supporters from Niksic who gathered in the south tribune spread 'F**k NATO pact' as a result of anniversary of the aggression on Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from the alliance, and that content was quickly shared on social media. Also, there was a flag of Anagastum (which is the oldest name of the town dated from fifth century).

29 March 2018

Back to football

Lower leagues in Greece have been playing uninterruptedly, but the top championship was suspended two weeks ago after ugly scenes happened on the pitch in a derby match. In order to avoid serious punishment from the world football organization, this Monday all 16 clubs have reached an agreement with the sports Minister Georgios Vassiliadis. As local media reported, the consent is saying the following: each club faces automatic relegation if have troubles with violence three times in one season, penalties for teams whose presidents incite rage in their statements, clubs will be responsible for security in matches plus police are going to be present on stadiums. Because all have said the affirmative word to these points Super league will continue this weekend (from 31 March).

28 March 2018

All representatives are known for the Asian championship

Just 5 days into 2019 the football world will turn to Asia as that continent is going to play its championship. After World Cup qualifiers in Russia - Asian zone (from the second round) qualified 12 teams: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Qatar, PR China, IR Iran, Japan, Syria, Thailand, Iraq, South Korea and Uzbekistan. As today finished the additional qualifiers for the Asian Cup 2019, the rest representatives who joins the event are: India, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, North Korea, Jordan, Vietnam, Oman, Palestine, Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Philippines and Yemen. Three debut teams is going to contest at the seventeenth edition: Kyrgyzstan, Philippines and Yemen. Draw for the finals will be made on 04 May in Dubai.

Without a visiting win

North Korea - Hong Kong 2:0

Scorers: 1:0 18 Jong Il-Gwan
              2:0 24 Park Kwang-Ryong

Afghanistan - Cambodia 2:1

Scorers: 1:0 26 Jabar Sharza
              2:0 44 Jabar Sharza
              2:1 69 Khoun Laboravy

Chinese Taipei - Singapore 1:0

Scorer: 1:0 37 Chen Po-Liang

Myanmar - Macau 1:0

Scorer: 1:0 74 Kyi Lin

Philippines - Tajikistan 2:1

Scorers: 0:1 64-pen Akhtam Nazarov
              1:1 73 Kevin Ingreso
              2:1 90-pen Philip Younghusband

Kyrgyzstan - India 2:1

Scorers: 1:0 02 Anton Zemlianukhin
              2:0 71 Mirlan Murzaev
              2:1 87 Jeje Lalpekhlua

Jordan - Vietnam 1:1

Scorers: 0:1 24 Nguyen Cong Phuong
              1:1 71 Munther Abu Amarah

Lebanon - Malaysia 2:1

Scorers: 1:0 19-pen Hassan Maatouk
              1:1 72 Muhd Syafiq Ahmad
              2:1 90+4 Hilal el-Helwe

Oman - Palestine 1:0

Scorer: 1:0 87 Khalid al Hajri

Yemen - Nepal 2:1

Scorers: 1:0 24 Abdulwasea al Matari
              1:1 45 Nawayug Shrestha
              2:1 84-pen Abdulwasea al Matari

Bahrain - Turkmenistan 4:0

Scorers: 1:0 11 Abdulla Yusuf
              2:0 24 Abdulla Yusuf
              3:0 64 Sayed Redha Hashim
              4:0 67 Abdulla Yaser

Maldives - Bhutan 7:0

Scorers: 1:0 35 Hamza Mohamed
              2:0 66 Naiz Hassan
              3:0 69 Ibrahim Waheed Hassan
              4:0 77 Naiz Hassan
              5:0 79 Naiz Hassan
              6:0 81 Naiz Hassan
              7:0 90+3 Hussain Sifaau Yoosuf

27 March 2018

Deception will not go unpunished

Two days ago the court in Leipzig charged Naby Keita for giving falsifying driving documents to German authorities. The RasenBallsport Leipzig member used that on two occasions: in December 2016 and in January the following year. Guinea midfielder had to pay 415.000 euros after the fine was issued this February, but his lawyer succeeded to cut the penalty, thus the player now has to say goodbye to 250.000 euros.

26 March 2018

Last 12 qualifying duels

Apart from many (meaningless) international friendlies that are happening these days, one official tournament is going to end its qualifying cycle.
We began searching for 24 Asian Cup finalists from 2015 where World Cup qualifiers from the Asian continent gave 12 teams (in the first 2 rounds of play), while for finding the other half we had to had additional qualifiers. These games alone has started exactly one year ago, and next week will play the final (sixth) leg. Eleven teams practically reached the finals next January, whilst two teams will make fierce fight to get there. That is why the most interesting duels are in the last group (F) where couple of teams are on equal points, and each one need a win to get to United Arab Emirates (unfortunately, they are not facing each other).

27 March, Tuesday at 10.30 CET: North Korea - Hong Kong.
27 March, Tuesday at 13.00 CET: Chinese Taipei - Singapore.
27 March, Tuesday at 13.30 CET: Myanmar - Macau.
27 March, Tuesday at 13.30 CET: Philippines - Tajikistan.
27 March, Tuesday at 16.00 CET: Afghanistan - Cambodia.
27 March, Tuesday at 16.00 CET: Kyrgyzstan - India.
27 March, Tuesday at 17.00 CET: Jordan - Vietnam.
27 March, Tuesday at 17.00 CET: Lebanon - Malaysia.
27 March, Tuesday at 17.00 CET: Oman - Palestine.
27 March, Tuesday at 17.15 CET: Yemen - Nepal.
27 March, Tuesday at 17.30 CET: Bahrain - Turkmenistan.
27 March, Tuesday at 18.00 CET: Maldives - Bhutan.

Ready to be back on international scene

On 10 October 2017 Pakistan was blocked playing games at international level due to third party interference on its football federation. After the local court agreed to reinstate legally elected president in February, last Tuesday the world football organization has lifted the suspension. This means that the team is returning to football scene, playing both international matches and in the Asian Cups. Leader of the federation Faisal Saleh Hayat said that he hope to 'bring stability in Pakistan football' and 'will start international activities as soon as possible'.

25 March 2018

Stunning figures of World Cup tickets sales

The third and penultimate phase in sales of World Cup tickets began past Tuesday exactly at 10.00 CET and is going to last until 03 April. This stage is more complicated than the other two, as purchase for the 'golden piece of paper' is occurring in real time, so number of demands is very high. Only for the first 24 hours (until Wednesday) 356.700 tickets are sold and with that stunning figure the world football organization is very satisfied how ticket sales are going. Out of this number supporters from Russia have bought most tickets - 197.036. While in the foreigner list of top ten, buyers are fans from: United States of America 14.845, Argentina 14.564, Colombia 13.994, Mexico 13.505, Brazil 9.691, Peru 9.493, Australia 5.500, Germany 5.476, PR China 5.459 while India concludes with 4.166 purchased tickets from just one day. Also, two duels are completely sold out: therefore do not bother to search tickets for the final game and for the pair Argentina - Iceland.
Knowing that until now, from last September has been sold 1.303.616 tickets, we may say that the 2018 World Cup would be a big success with plenty of fans. There is no guarantee that for certain games are going to be tickets left, but for those who forgot at this stage, last round of purchase will begin from 18 April until the start of the event.

24 March 2018

One country against three compete for World Cup hospitality

We all know where will be the 2018 edition, and also the next event is familiar as well. However, in 8 years time are competing two candidates and from now the world football organization are on 'sweet troubles'.
For the first time from 2026 World Cup there is going to be 48 teams, and for the first time a trio of countries may host this event. Canada, United States of America (USA) and Mexico are preparing a joint bid for which, under regional rotation of FIFA, the North American continent should get the rights. If this candidature succeeds: 60 games will be played in USA and by 10 each in Canada and Mexico. Last Thursday 23 cities announced their desire to welcome the best teams in the world.
But, 24 hours later (past Friday) one nominee made an official request which may 'steal' this football show and bring it on another continent. After 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010, Morocco is bidding for the fifth time to bring the 2026 World Cup on its soil. This Kingdom is proposing 12 cities and 14 stadiums: from which some are going to be build - two new in Casablanca and by one each in Oujda and Tetouan, while some are going to be renovated - in Agadir, Fez, Marrakech, Rabat and Tangier. The North African state is in small advantage over the mentioned trio, because all cities are in range of central European time, which is making this tender more attractive to European viewers and sponsors. Today this bid began a promotional journey across Europe and so far the French football federation has support it in full.
Final verdict of where the 2026 World Cup will be is going to be known on 13 June in Moscow, Russia.

22 March 2018

Three points for finals

Kyrgyzstan - Myanmar 5:1

Scorers: 1:0 02 Islam Shamsiev
              2:0 04 Anton Zemlianukhin
              3:0 63 Anton Zemlianukhin
              4:0 74 Vitalii Lux
              4:1 83 Kyaw Ko Ko
              5:1 87 Bekzhan Sagynbaev

Additional information: Played on neutral venue in Incheon, South Korea this morning due to security reasons, the home side qualified for the Asian Cup 2019 finals event in United Arab Emirates next January.

Clear to play at home

The last FIFA council meeting in Bogota, Colombia brought some joy for one Asian country: after 28 years, Iraq can play international matches on home soil. Basra, Erbil and Karbala has been named the towns that spectators can enjoy quality games from its team. 'This is a significant moment in shaping the future of football in Iraq' said AFC president Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa. Also past Friday the president of the world football organization mentioned that they received a request for games to be played in the capital as well, but because it 'came very, very late' Baghdad is now on the waiting list.
Unfortunately, the return was not so positive as today Iraq lost to Qatar in Basra sport city stadium in a friendly game. Another attempt, for the first official win after nearly three decades at home, the team will have against Syria next Tuesday at the same venue.

21 March 2018

Rude behaviour with offensive words

Last weekend Maribor lost from Krsko at home in round 24 from Prva liga Slovenija. The game itself was in peaceful atmosphere, but after it, one professional deteriorated this whole situation with scandalous words.
Instead of coach Darko Milanic at the usual press conference after the match went the sporting director of Maribor Zlatko Zahovic. The current champions are having some troubles winning matches, and as questions were continuing to be asked one after another, the 47 year old had become more and more nervous. Dejan Mitrovic asked a simple query about whether he was disappointed with 1.500 spectators in the stadium, to which the former Slovenian midfielder answered something completely different: 'You just want to provoke. Wait a minute, son. How old are you? You recently had a family tragedy, and I thought you learned something from it, but I would say you did not'. As the media member indeed lost his father lately, those insulting words produced an outrage, shock and disbelief at everyone in the hall, journalistic associations and the club itself. Although the director has said that it will not apologize as he did nothing wrong, Maribor suspended him as of today.

(This is a long video with the whole press conference, and the incident happened from 10.20 until 11.13)

20 March 2018

Victims of technology

While some cannot wait for media to embark in this sport by playing in fair atmosphere, others are very much against it. Almost hundreds of Lazio fans staged a protest yesterday night before Italian football federation showing dissatisfaction against how their beloved club is treated. They were furious over the actual judge on the pitch and video assistant referee system as are claiming are robbed on many occasions. Infront of the headquarters spectators exposed a huge banner 'VARgogna', coming from the Italian word 'vergogna' which means 'shame'. Also, flyers were distributed outside the federation which was printed the following: 'Fiorentina, Torino, Milan, Juve, Cagliari...not to mention those games we won in spite of incredible mistakes'.

19 March 2018

World Cup referees are going to get some extra help

Up to 4 minutes or more will be lost, but with a good cause: at the beginning of the month the world football organization has decided that referees from the World Cup in Russia this summer for the first time are going to get some additional help from media. It has been passed exactly one year (from March 2017) about solving the issue of video assistant referees whether should be present in a major football event like this one and now it became official: this Friday in Bogota, Colombia the FIFA council approved that the actual judge on the pitch will have some extra help 'from above'. After laws of the game are re-written, video reviews are going to monitor controversial moments in four cases: giving penalties, showing direct red cards (NOT on second yellow), replace identities and whether the ball has crossed the goal line or not.

18 March 2018

Generous donation from a great player

Unfortunately, this kind of news are very rare in football world, however, when they are made, it touches the kindness and heart of every human being.
One of the best strikers Egypt has ever had, donated a large sum of amount for a good cause. Last Tuesday, the 2017 African footballer of the year Mohamed Salah gave away 12 million Egyptian pounds (551.767 euros) to 57357 Children's cancer hospital in Cairo. This money are going to be used for buying new medical equipment: a bone marrow transplant machine. After that, social media had only words of praise to what this big player has done for his native country...and very deservedly so!

16 March 2018

Europa league four pairings

After lots of chances, a saved penalty in the most important moment with an extra 30 minutes in one game and plenty of goals at the others yesterday night, today we found out the Europa league duels for last 8. Unlike previous tournament, here we have a variety of teams which makes this league not boring every year: all 8 representatives are from one country. The excitement will be decided on two consecutive Thursdays: 05 and 12 April.

RasenBallsport Leipzig - Olympique Marseille.

Arsenal - CSKA Moscow.

Atletico Madrid - Sporting Clube de Portugal.

Lazio - Red Bull Salzburg.

Quarterfinal duels for Champions league

Exactly at midday, the European football organization began today the draw show for the 'strongest' competition. In contention are three Spanish teams who competes with two English and Italian together with a lone club from Germany. This round will be decided next month in a space of one week: 03 and 04 April are scheduled first 90 minutes, while 10 and 11 April are going to be played second leg.

Barcelona - Roma.

Sevilla - Bayern Munich.

Juventus - Real Madrid.

Liverpool - Manchester City.

Very entertaining game from all was the one where additional time were needed

Lokomotiv Moscow - Atletico Madrid 1:5

Scorers: 0:1 16 Angel Correa
              1:1 19 Maciej Rybus
              1:2 47 Saul Niguez
              1:3 65-pen Fernando Torres
              1:4 69 Fernando Torres
              1:5 85 Antoine Griezmann

Viktoria Plzen - Sporting Clube de Portugal 2:0, after extra time 2:1

Scorers: 1:0 05 Marek Bakos
              2:0 64 Marek Bakos
              2:1 105+2 Rodrigo Battaglia

Dynamo Kyiv - Lazio 0:2

Scorers: 0:1 23 Lucas Leiva
              0:2 82 Stefan de Vrij

Zenit Saint Petersburg - RasenBallsport Leipzig 1:1

Scorers: 0:1 21 Jean-Kevin Augustin
              1:1 45+1 Sebastian Driussi

Athletic Bilbao - Olympique Marseille

Scorers: 0:1 38-pen Dimitri Payet
              0:2 51 Lucas Ocampos
              1:2 74 Inaki Williams

Red Bull Salzburg - Borussia Dortmund 0:0

Olympique Lyon - CSKA Moscow 2:3

Scorers: 0:1 38 Aleksandr Golovin
              1:1 57 Maxwel Cornet
              1:2 60 Ahmed Musa
              1:3 64 Pontus Wernbloom
              2:3 70 Mariano Diaz

Additional information: Atletico Madrid, Sporting Clube de Portugal, Lazio, RasenBallsport Leipzig, Olympique Marseille, Red Bull Salzburg and CSKA Moscow qualified for the quarterfinal where the draw will be made on Friday at 13.00 CET.

14 March 2018

A night to remember for both 'Ba' teams as last travellers

Besiktas - Bayern Munich 1:3

Scorers: 0:1 18 Thiago Alcantara
              0:2 46-own goal Gokhan Gonul
              1:2 58 Vagner Love
              1:3 83 Sandro Wagner

Barcelona - Chelsea 3:0

Scorers: 1:0 02 Lionel Messi
              2:0 20 Ousmane Dembele
              3:0 63 Lionel Messi

13 March 2018

Clubs with home and away victories are through to next phase

Roma - Shakhtar Donetsk 1:0

Scorer: 1:0 52 Edin Dzeko

Manchester United - Sevilla 1:2

Scorers: 0:1 73 Wissam ben Yedder
              0:2 77 Wissam ben Yedder
              1:2 83 Romelu Lukaku

Armed owner on the pitch

Everyone was entitled to enjoy a good football holiday derby last night in Thessaloniki which on the end finished with scandalous and even unbelievable scenes from the Greek local championship. This was played in peaceful atmosphere until the ninetieth minute where one armed man entered the stadium and suspended the match.
Last weekend at the Super league, second team meet the first or in other words PAOK entertained with AEK. No goals were given in 89 minutes when after happened the controversial moment. Approximately 30 seconds before 90, Fernando Varela brought the home club to a 1:0 advantage where Georgios Kominis first recognized the goal, then it was disallowed due to offside, and at the end it was (finaly) recognized again (the goalscorer was NOT on offside position, but it was his team mate Mauricio). At that moment on scene enters PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis with a gun on the pitch who wanted to oppose the referee, but it failed. Soon after, the venue was invaded and started a real chaos. With this (little) detail practically he was the cause for abandoning the game, although the official report is stated as 1:0.
These scenes from yesterday night prompted the association to cancel the championship on indefinite time until all is resolved. Against the owner, Greek police today issued an arrest warrant together with 4 other people who believed to be his bodyguards.

12 March 2018

Fierce fighting for last eight

Due to the minute silence that we had this week, most games were delayed for up to 2 - 3 minutes (which is unusual for both competitions), but next week all are going to begin in exact time. Four of them are completely new, who together with 8 pairs are going to have a fierce battle for the next round. For the first time this year equal stage are playing and some games also might go in additional minutes or even penalties. At the end in this phase we are going to have 5 different time slots.

After one month of 'torture' round of 16 will finally conclude in the Champions league with with the last part of matches. Four teams finished their job this midweek, and four are going to join them only to qualify for next phase.

Tuesday, 13 March at 20.45 CET: Manchester United - Sevilla.
Tuesday, 13 March at 20.45 CET: Roma - Shakhtar Donetsk.

Wednesday, 14 March at 18.00 CET: Besiktas - Bayern Munich.

Wednesday, 14 March at 20.45 CET: Barcelona - Chelsea.

Playing in full on one day Europa league indeed has no break. After this weeks action and some tight results, second leg is promising to entertain us with lots of goals (which is known for) basically from the afternoon towards late in the night.

Thursday, 15 March at 17.00 CET: Lokomotiv Moscow - Atletico Madrid.

Thursday, 15 March at 19.00 CET: Athletic Bilbao - Olympique Marseille.
Thursday, 15 March at 19.00 CET: Dynamo Kyiv - Lazio.
Thursday, 15 March at 19.00 CET: Viktoria Plzen - Sporting Clube de Portugal.
Thursday, 15 March at 19.00 CET: Zenit Saint Petersburg - RasenBallsport Leipzig.

Thursday, 15 March at 21.05 CET: Arsenal - Milan.
Thursday, 15 March at 21.05 CET: Olympique Lyon - CSKA Moscow.
Thursday, 15 March at 21.05 CET: Red Bull Salzburg - Borussia Dortmund.

11 March 2018

New ideas - same meaning...and more football

Last year the European continent introduced a new tournament and two months ago conducted the first ever draw. Two months later North, Central America and Caribbean announced this event with the same name. It seems regions with most members can have this competition, so now we are only awaiting Africa and Asia to follow this example and do the same.
Newly formed Nations league is going to be played (for now) on two continents. After the above mentioned confederation, next in order is CONCACAF, which introduced it at the start of the week (on Monday). Here this event is going to be divided in 2 parts: qualifying and group phase. As this region counts for 41 members, 34 will start in the first stage, 6 are going to join on the second while 1 team is not allowed to start. Qualifying section will begin with 34 teams, who are based on the latest CONCACAF ranking. This part is going to start from September, while from 2019 will begin the official tournament where 6 strong teams from the Hexagonal event (which were at the World Cup qualifiers) are going to join the competition. For this system, like the European model, the same rule will apply: we also are going to have leagues A, B, C and D where top and bottom finishers will go one league higher or lower. One and the only team who is going to miss this inaugural event is Guatemala, which is still suspended by FIFA. At this whole process time for joy certainly are going to have the small ranked teams who will also benefit from this tournament.
Last month this confederation has announced that is expanding the Gold Cup event for 4 new teams, so from 2019 edition the future CONCACAF champion will be seeking from 16 participants. Nations league also is expected to give places to the main tournament in the region - the Gold Cup.

10 March 2018

Getting in trouble for one player

At the end of the first full working week in March came one bad news for a club from Turkey. Trabzonspor failed to deliver 250.000 euros to Trencin for Matus Bero. They were reminded for this fee at the end of January, but for some reason the team did not made the transaction to the Slovakians. Thus today the world football organization forbids the Turkish club to sign new footballers for the next (summer) transfer window. Although they can still sign new players, however are going to officially be registered in January 2019. Because of this suspension, Trabzonspor announced that will appeal to the sports highest court. The 22 year old midfielder was purchased for 2.5 million euros in August 2016.

09 March 2018

Marvelous second halves in all games

Atletico Madrid - Lokomotiv Moscow 3:0

Scorers: 1:0 22 Saul Niguez
              2:0 47 Diego Costa
              3:0 90 Koke

Borussia Dortmund - Red Bull Salzburg 1:2

Scorers: 0:1 49-pen Valon Berisha
              0:2 56 Valon Berisha
              1:2 62 Andre Schurrle

CSKA Moscow - Olympique Lyon 0:1

Scorer: 0:1 67 Marcelo

Sporting Clube de Portugal - Viktoria Plzen 2:0

Scorer: 1:0 45+1 Fredy Montero
            2:0 49 Fredy Montero

Lazio - Dynamo Kyiv 2:2

Scorers: 0:1 51 Viktor Tsygankov
              1:1 53 Ciro Immobile
              2:1 61 Felipe Anderson
              2:2 78 Junior Moraes

RasenBallsport Leipzig - Zenit Saint Petersburg 2:1

Scorers: 1:0 56 Bruma
              2:0 77 Timo Werner
              2:1 86 Domenico Criscito

Olympique Marseille - Athletic Bilbao 3:1

Scorers: 1:0 01 Lucas Ocampos
              2:0 13 Dimitri Payet
              2:1 45+2-pen Aritz Aduriz
              3:1 57 Lucas Ocampos

07 March 2018

Brave guests with a spectacular goal shocked Etihad

Manchester City - Basel 1:2

Scorers: 1:0 07 Gabriel Jesus
              1:1 16 Mohamed Elyounoussi
              1:2 71 Michael Lang

06 March 2018

Three scorers on opening of second leg

Liverpool - Porto 0:0

PSG - Real Madrid 1:2

Scorers: 0:1 51 Cristiano Ronaldo
              1:1 70 Edinson Cavani
              1:2 80 Casemiro

Horrible tragedy before a match

The football world was shocked yesterday morning from an unexpected death of Davide Astori right before the Udinese game. After his teammates waited him for breakfast around 09.30 CET nor did he answered his phone, the massage therapist found him dead in his hotel room. There are couple of theories what caused this dreadful tragedy (from manslaughter to heart attack), but so far the official version is that the Fiorentina captain has suddenly passed away in his sleep. Until now is known that against unknown person(s) were raised charges. An autopsy will be performed on Tuesday, while 2 day later is going to be the funeral in Florence. The 31 year defender old left behind his girlfriend Francesca Fioretti and 2 year old daughter Vittoria.
Starting in the next 3 days there is going to be a minute silence in both European Cup (league) matches.

05 March 2018

Same round - different leg

These couple of weeks most of Europe has one serious problem - unusual for this month: freezing and very cold days, especially nights. In most parts of the continent matches are being cancelled, but we hope that everything will be in order next midweek where European Cups (leagues) are back. And while the first tournament will be incomplete, the second is going to finish all games from this same round.

Part 1 out of 2 is going to be played on 2 days, with equal number of matches - 2. In these first 4 plays of the Champions league, some may need extra time, so that troubled teams can qualify into last 8.

Tuesday, 06 March at 20.45 CET: Liverpool - Porto.
Tuesday, 06 March at 20.45 CET: PSG - Real Madrid.

Wednesday, 07 March at 20.45 CET: Manchester City - Basel.
Wednesday, 07 March at 20.45 CET: Tottenham - Juventus.

There is no division, nor parts at the Europa league. Like a good and small obedient child (competition) this one is playing in full - all 8 pairs in 1 day. Separating in two time slots we have to see good football as always, but with these extreme weather conditions this may lack in the first leg.

Thursday, 08 March at 19.00 CET: Atletico Madrid - Lokomotiv Moscow.
Thursday, 08 March at 19.00 CET: Borussia Dortmund - Red Bull Salzburg.
Thursday, 08 March at 19.00 CET: CSKA Moscow - Olympique Lyon.
Thursday, 08 March at 19.00 CET: Milan - Arsenal.

Thursday, 08 March at 21.05 CET: Lazio - Dynamo Kyiv.
Thursday, 08 March at 21.05 CET: Olympique Marseille - Athletic Bilbao.
Thursday, 08 March at 21.05 CET: RasenBallsport Leipzig - Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Thursday, 08 March at 21.05 CET: Sporting Clube de Portugal - Viktoria Plzen.

04 March 2018

Videos are good for review

It looks like from next season we are going to have some (not to say major) changes in this sport. First, European Cups are going to be revamped, and now in Spanish Primera division additional referees will be installed.
Yesterday LaLiga Santander has decided that from 2018/19 season video assistant referees are going to be introduced for better view in its matches. The president announced last November that this shift would eventually have to come, and this Friday it has been made official, where referees and assistants has been training on offline simulation games.
In another and related news, today the world football organization is so close to carry out with this technology on the World Cup event this summer. FIFA itself gave the green light, but the final decision on whether to use it or not is going to be at the FIFA meeting in Bogota, Colombia 16 March.

03 March 2018

Accused manipulators, and yet free

Out of 84 people that were originally named in this scandal, 58 are charged for being a part of a massive criminal organization in Greek football. This Wednesday the court in Athens indicts them for match fixing, illegal betting, bribery and money laundering which mostly operated in matches from second league and two from local championship (Super league). Among this number there are players, city mayors, club owners and football officials from 2011 case better known as 'Koriopolis'. Each of these manipulators are facing prison sentences from 30 months up to 10 years, however because all of them are suspended, noone will go to jail. The European football organization has praised itself that it helped giving information to Greek authorities to catch the villains.

02 March 2018

Great legend, goalscorer and fighter has left us

This Tuesday night one of the best European strikers in his time unfortunately passed away. Enrique Castro, better known as Quini has died from heart attack at the age of 68. Played an whole career in Spain, from 1974 to 1982 has won the Pichici trophy for the best goalscorer in LaLiga 5 times, and due to his fantastic skills also was known as: 'The Wizard', 'Quinocho' or 'Quinigol'.
Just one season after signing for Barcelona, in 1981 Quini was kidnapped on the day when he scored two goals. That afternoon the Asturian was headed to the airport to pick up his wife and kids when was attacked from two gunmen who held him hostage for 25 days. Later the assailants were found, and the player who was unharmed finished top scorer in the championship that season.
Many supporters and football stars paid tribute yesterday at El Molinon stadium (now called after the great striker) in his native city of Gijon. Another icon and his teammate at the time in Barcelona Diego Armando Maradona through social media wrote 'the kind of scorer that no longer exists'.

01 March 2018

'Big' transformation per both European Cup competitions

Yesterday the European football organization accepted measures to change rules for both European Cup (league) tournaments. With this new system we are going to encounter first from 2018/19 season. Important things in all this revamp process are the following:
- This new (and unnecessary) remodeling is made up on coefficients from 2016/17 season.
- Before qualifying stages, in both events are introduced preliminary round.
- For the 'strongest' tournament, 26 clubs will enter directly into the group stage. Out of that number, 6 are going to come from the qualifying part: 4 from the Champion and 2 from the league path. In the second competition 17 teams will have a direct access to the group phase.
- One of the 'big' news is that no matter in what qualifying stage they lost in the Champions league, teams will have another chance to qualify for the Europa league. In short: losing club from Champions league will play again (qualifiers) in the Europa league. 
- At both tournaments there will be Champion and league route. But, what is more confusing is why do we need Champion (or league) route for the Europa league. To what cause do we actually need both paths in qualifiers for this competition?
- From the group stage and onwards, we will no longer have 3 fixed times to start the games (19.00, 20.45 and 21.05 CET). However, that is going to be reduced to only 2. Thus, from September our new time habit for matches are going to be 18.55 and 21.00 CET for both competitions.
In the end all unanswered questions (if any) are going to be clear from the end of June.