Mad About Futbol Team Of The Week: March 26 – April 2

4 04 2009

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We head back to the club schedule this weekend, specifically in Europe.  However the performances of national teams cannot be ignored.  So much drama and so we’re here to pick a Team Of The Week.  The TOW played matches and/or made headlines during the calendar week of March 26 – April 2. The winner is: Read the rest of this entry »

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African World Cup Qualifying Wrap: March 28-29

1 04 2009

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The African continent was in full grip of World Cup qualifying fever as the opening round of matches in the final stage of qualifiers began.  In 2006 World Cup qualifying, Africa witnessed a changing of the guard with 4 new teams making their 1st appearance in The Great Tournament and according to the results from the weekend, it might be changing again.

In Group A, Gabon stunned Morocco with a big 2-1 win in Casablanca.  Azingo Nationale got 1st half goals from teenage sensation Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Roguy Meye to get the 3 points and get off to a great start with a crucial road win. The other Group A contest saw Togo defeat Cameroon 1-0 as African Footballer of the Year, Emmanuel Adebayor scored in his return to the Sparrow Hawks from injury.  The Arsenal forward scored in the 10th minute but showed some rust when he missed a PK in the 76th minute. Despite playing in Ghana due to a home ban, Togo got the 3 points and now share the top spot with Gabon in Group A.

A couple of traditional superpowers were humbled by disappointing draws.  The 2-time defending African Cup of Nations champions Egypt were held to a 1-1 draw at home versus Zambia in a Group C match.  Francis Kasonde’s goal in the 56th minute turned out to be the point salvaging goal.  In Maputo,Nigeria’s Super Eagles were held to a 0-0 road draw against Mozambique in a Group B encounter. The draw ended Nigeria’s 6 game qualifying winning streak.

Group E was loaded with goals and marred by tragedy.  Burkina Faso beat Guinea 4-2 in the Burkina Faso capital city of Ouagadougou.  Al-Khor striker Moumouni Dagano scored twice to lead The Stallions to the victory.  The other Group E match was an ass whippin as Cote D’Ivoire embarassed Malawi 5-0.  The Chelsea duo of Didier Drogba & Salomon Kalou accounted for 3 of the 5 goals with Drogba scoring twice.  The match result was stained by the tragedy of a deadly stampede at Abidjan’s Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium. A terrible stampede killed 19 people and injured 132 others.

The tragedy occurred before the start of the match when fans began pushing and shoving trying to get into the stadium.  According to witness accounts, fans without tickets tried to get into the stadium when police fired tear gas into the crowd, setting off the deadly stampede. The push of fans against a stadium wall caused it to collapse.  Authorities are investigating the tragedy, it would be the fourth time since 2001 that police firing tear gas into a crowd set off a deadly stampede at a stadium in Africa before a match.

Here are the results from the opening round of the final stage of African qualifying:

Group A
Togo 1 – 0 Cameroon
TOG: Adebayor (11′)

Morocco 1 – 2 Gabon
MOR: Mounir El Hamdaoui (84′)
GAB: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (34′) & Roguy Meye (45′)

Group B
Mozambique 0 – 0 Nigeria

Kenya 1 – 2 Tunisia
KEN: Dennis Oliech (70′)
TUN: Ammar Jemal (5′) & Issam Jomaa (72′)

Group C
Rwanda 0 – 0 Algeria

Egypt 1 – 1 Zambia
EGY: Amr Zaki (26′)
ZAM: Francis Kasonde (56′)

Group D
Sudan 1 – 1 Mali
SUD: Mudathir El Tahir (24′)
MAL: Frederic Kanouté (19′)

Ghana 1 – 0 Benin
GHA: Prince Tagoe (1′)

Group E
Burkina Faso 4 – 2 Guinea
BFO: Mahamoudou Kere (23′), Alain Traore (29′), Moumouni Dagano (pen 53′ & 66′)
GUI: Pascal Feindouno (pen 61′) & Kamil Zayatte (pen 86′)

Cote D’ Ivoire 5 – 0 Malawi
CDI: Ndri Romaric (1′), Didier Drogba (pen 7′ & 28′), Salomon Kalou (59′), Bakari Kone (71′)





Asian World Cup Qualifying Wrap: March 28-29

30 03 2009

This weekend’s matches in Asia provided further proof that there is some high quality, dramatic football being played in Asia. The big, news making result from Asia this weekend came from Tehran where Iran gave up 2 goals in the last 12 minutes of the match to lose to Saudi Arabia 2-1 at Azadi Stadium.  Iran took the lead when Osasuna’s Masoud Shojaei’s well placed shot beat Saudi keeper Walleed Ali in the 57th minute to give Team Melli the 1-0 lead.

As the Iranians seemed content to sit on the lead the Saudis attacked and in the 78th minute Al-Hilal midfielder Naif Hazazi slotted a well placed through ball past Iran keeper Seyed Rahmati for the equalizer. Then in the 86th minute off a corner kick defender Osama Al-Harbi beat his marker and headed in the game winner into the far post side net.  The Green Falcons stunning victory puts them in 3rd place in Group 2 with 7 points.

As for Iran, they still have a chance but the loss made their path to South Africa a lot more difficult.  Team Melli is in 4th place with 6 points having only 1 win in their 5 final stage qualifying matches.  To make matters worse, depending on your perspective, the Iranian Football Federation fired Ali Daei as their coach.  The legendary player has struggled as head coach of Iran. Some questionable player choices and the loss to Saudi Arabia made Daei a victim of the ax.

The race for 3rd place in Group 1 just got more interesting as Uzbekistan moved into a 3-way tie with Qatar and Bahrain.  Uzbekistan rose above the Qatar defense for a crushing 4-0 home win.  Uzbeks were led by Farhod Tadjiev’s hat trick.  The forward used his head to score his 3 goals and put Borat’s most hated rival in 3rd place in Group 1 ahead of Bahrain & Qatar on goal differential.

Check out the highlights from the Iran-Saudi Arabia match:

Iran vs. Saudi Arabia Highlights

Here are the results & standings from this weekend’s Asian World Cup qualifiers:

Group 1
Uzbekistan 4 – 0 Qatar
UZB: Farhod Tadjiyev (34′, 45′+3, 53′) & Anvarjon Soliev (61′)

Japan 1 – 0 Bahrain
JAP: Shunsuke Nakamura (47′)

GROUP 1 STANDINGS
afc wcq group 11 Asian WC Qualifying Wrap: March 28 29

Group 2
Korea DPR (N. Korea) 2 – 0 United Arab Emirates
DPR: Pak Nam Chol (51′) & Mun In Guk (90′+3)

Iran 1 – 2 Saudi Arabia
IRN: Masoud Shojaei (57′)
KSA: Naif Hazazi (78′) & Osama Al Harbi (86′)

GROUP 2 STANDINGS
afc wcq group 21 Asian WC Qualifying Wrap: March 28 29





CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Wrap: March 28

29 03 2009

Trinidad and Tobago vs Honduras, 29 Mar 09
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying just got a lot more interesting after this weekend’s matches. Trinidad & Tobago remained undefeated with a dramatic 1-1 draw versus Honduras in Port-Of-Spain.  The Soca Warriors battled Los Catrachos to a 0-0 score at half then Carlos Pavon put Honduras in front in the 50th minute.  The home crowd had to wait till the 88th minute for relief when 2nd half substitute Kaleem Hyland scored to save a point for Trinidad. Honduras earned its 1st point of the hexagonal and sit on the bottom of the table.

Mexico celebrated a big 2-0 win versus Costa Rica at the Azteca.  The Mexican press were making this a do or die match for Sven Goran Eriksson as coach of El Tri.  His charges came up big as goals from Omar Bravo and a skillful PK placement by Pavel Pardo gave Mexico the victory and gave Eriksson a reprieve.  The victory moved Mexico into 2nd place in the standings as El Tri were the only team to win on Saturday.

El Salvador experienced a bit of their own medicine in their 2-2 draw against the United States.  In February, El Salvador came back from 2-0 down at home to draw 2-2 with Trinidad & Tobago.  This past Saturday, El Salvador was up 2-0 at home and drew 2-2 to the U.S.  The Stars & Stripes got late goals from Jozy Altidore & the equalizer in the 88th minute from Frankie Hejduk.  El Salvador was done in by poor decision making from substitute keeper Juan Gomez who entered the game in the 74th minute after starting keeper Jose Henriquez went out with injury. The U.S. are atop the group with 4 points.

Here are the results from Saturday’s action – home team listed first:

Mexico 2 – 0 Costa Rica
MEX: Omar Bravo (20′) & Pavel Pardo (pen 53′)

El Salvador 2 – 2 United States
SLV: Eliseo Quintanilla (19′) & Cristian Castillo (72′)
USA: Jozy Altidore (77′) & Frankie Hejduk (88′)

Trinidad & Tobago 1 – 1 Honduras
TNT: Kaleem Hyland (88′)
HON: Carlos Pavon (50′)