Football

REPORTS & ANALYSIS

Please click and browse through the reports below:

21-11-21 Rangers 1 Hibernian 3 Premier Sports (League) Cup

Watched by new Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst, sitting high up in the South Stand at Hampden, his new charges lost comprehensively to Hibernian.

The Light Blues, with most of their hordes of fans wearing orange, produced an incoherent, tepid performance.

And that meant Jack Ross's Hibees will now play Celtic in the final on December 19th.

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18-9-21 York City 3 Hebburn Town 0 FA Cup

York City moved through to the next qualifying round of the FA Cup principally thanks to the 37-year-old Clayton Donaldson.

The tall Jamaican striker scored a double for the Minstermen to complete a comfortable victory against their visitors from the North East.

On a very mild September day at the brand new LNER (York) Community Stadium.

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July 2021 UEFA Euro 2020 final analysis

Italy win Euro 2020.

 

Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri won their second Euro Championship after they overcame England on penalties at Wembley.

It was a major disappointment for the hosts who had reached their first-ever senior final since their 1966 World Cup victory. 

The tournament was completed despite being played during a global pandemic. 

Although the teams had to endure restrictions and, in some cases, unparalleled travelling between matches.

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UEFA Euro 2020 Finals Preview

 

Delayed a year because of the epidemic the Euros are scheduled to begin on June 11th in Rome.

Adding to the chaos is the decision to spread this ‘romantic’ (according to Michel Platini)  tournament around Europe.

That never looked like a particularly good idea and it looks even less so given the current circumstances.

 

Anyway, after some rearrangements, eleven venues will now stage the event.

With Wembley stadium now hosting both semis and the final. 

Allowing for reduced capacities in many stadiums and travel rules varying from country to country it will be a potential nightmare for travelling fans.

But on a more positive note, it will bring together many of the best players in the world to strut their stuff (assuming they don’t get covid)

 

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29-5-21 Solihull Moors 2 Eastleigh 0 National League

The main focus in this final game of the league season was whether Eastleigh could take a place in the play-offs.

Ultimately they fell short against a solid performance by the home side.

Solihull Moors ended with six out of seven wins to the evident enjoyment of their fans in Damson Park. 

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May 2021 UEFA Champions League final preview

Manchester City v Chelsea   Porto  29th May 2021.

Two leading Premier League meet in Porto to decide who wins the Champions League.

With Pep Guardiola's City side strongly favoured to deliver a first-ever UCL title for the Emirati-funded Etihad team.

If so it would be a triumph for what some have called the 'best team in the world'.

And for the many millions watching on TV and the limited number of fans in the stadium it would be the stage on which to realise their apparent destiny.

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25-5-2021 Barnet 2 Maidenhead United 0 National League

An improved performance from Barnet who may not now finish as the effective bottom team in the National League.

Goals from Harry Taylor and Anthony Wordsworth gave the Bees the deserved victory before 560 fans at the Hive.

Against an under-par Maidenhead side who could be ready for the end of the season.

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May 2021 UEFA Europa League final preview

Big Favourites Manchester United meet Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League final in Gdansk, Poland.

On paper, it looks like a foregone conclusion that the men from Old Trafford will claim another title.

But the Spanish side, under far less pressure, are coached by a triple-title winning coach in Unai Emery and might cause a big upset.

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22-5-2021 Non-League finals day Wembley

The Non-League finals day produced a feast of football at Wembley with epic wins for Warrington Rylands and Hornchurch.

Essex team Hornchurch won the FA Trophy on their first visit to Wembley after scoring three second-half goals to beat higher level Hereford.

And Warrington Rylands navigated nine rounds of the FA Vase before overcoming a spirited Binfield 3-2 in an entertaining final.

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11-5-2021 Sutton United 3 Woking 2 National League

Sutton United returned to the top of the National League table with this home defeat of lowly Woking.

The U's needed a couple of fine strikes from forwards Wilson and Adiboye to overcome a spirited Cards side.

Now with just three games remaining Sutton are still on course for that historic promotion to the Football League.

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8-5-2021 Sutton United 2 Weymouth 0 National League

Sutton United continued their challenge for a first-ever promotion to the Football League.

With a comfortable three points against a disappointing Weymouth team.

The game featured a stunning strike from Donovan Wilson that sealed an important victory for the South London side.

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1-5-21 United Services Portsmouth 2 Flackwell Heath 0 FA Vase

This was a famous win for US Portsmouth who progressed into their first FA Vase semi-final after beating their higher-level opponents, Flackwell Heath, 2-0 at the Victory Stadium.

The United Services side have got through seven rounds to be just one step from Wembley.

James Franklin and Harry Sargent got the goals before a limited but ecstatic crowd.

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27-04-21 Sutton United 1 Barnet 0 National League

Sutton needed this win over the bottom side to maintain their push for the National League title.

They took their time before Omar Bugiel crashed in the decider with twenty minutes remaining at Gander Green Lane.

The home side had to overcome a stubborn Barnet team that had gone four unbeaten under coach Simon Bassey.

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Analysis of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League semi-final matches

In the aftermath of the short-lived European Super League, action from the last four of the UCL and UEL begins on April 27th.

With the second legs scheduled for one week later.

Premier League clubs feature prominently in both competitions with Manchester clubs, City and United, considered favourites for the respective titles. 

Sadly, because of the ongoing pandemic few, if any, fans will be able to watch the games from inside the stadiums.

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24-4-21 Warrington Rylands 1 West Auckland Town 1 (Rylands won on penalties) FA Vase

The sun shone on Warrington and the locals were out enjoying drinks and food al fresco.

While next to the Rylands Recreation ground the home team were progressing into the quarter-finals of the FA Vase.

They definitely deserved the victory having created many more chances before, somewhat unluckily conceding an own goal.

But in the end, they got the job done via the penalty spot.

 

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13-4-21 Sutton United 0 Torquay United 1 National League

Sutton lost their lengthy unbeaten record to a late Torquay goal at Gander Green Lane.

After being odds-on for the title the U's will now face a battle for the National League title.

As a whole group of ex-League clubs are now closing in on Matt Gray's team with ten games remaining.

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FIFA World Cup qualifiers - analysis of the European groups as at April 2021

An analysis after the initial rounds of European (UEFA) qualifiers.  

A total of 13 places are available to the 55 UEFA national teams including the ten group winners plus three others via a second round of play-offs.

 

The groups are divided into 5 or 6 participants.

And so far the countries have played either two or three matches up until March this year.

With the first round expected to be completed by November.

 

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5-4-21 Solihull Moors 0 Sutton United 0 National League

League leaders Sutton continued their progress towards entry into the Football League with this hard-fought draw at Solihull.

The goalless draw provided something for both sides with Mark Yates' Moors having not conceded for four and Matt Gray's Sutton being unbeaten in 14 games.

Not helped by a very chill wind this was a match of limited goalmouth incident.

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2-4-2021 Barnet 0 Solihull Moors 2 National League

What to make of Barnet?

As they go down to yet another 2-0 home defeat.

With fourteen games to play this felt like an end-of-season encounter at the Hive. 

But for Solihull, it was their third successive victory.

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27-3-21 Notts County 3 Hornchurch 3 FA Trophy (Hornchurch won on penalties)

Part-time Essex side Hornchurch made history by knocking out Notts County on penalties to reach Wembley for the first time ever.

The Urchins continued their unbelievable run in the FA Trophy to edge out the Magpies in their eighth such cup tie.

Under ex-league player Mark Stimson Hornchurch have continually overcome the odds, this time scoring late equalisers in both halves before converting all their spot-kicks. 

As well as having to compete without any league games in the last three months due to the covid lockdown restrictions.

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European Leagues roundup March 2021

European leagues roundup  March 2021. 

As the leading European leagues take a break for the internationals this is their current status, particularly in relation to the respective title races.

In this (hopefully) unique season some things are the same as usual whereas some leagues are experiencing atypical contests.

The latter would apply especially to France, Italy, and to some extent in Spain.

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Football in England in lockdown March 2021

Football in England in lockdown. March 2021.

 

How has football changed during the covid pandemic? 

With fans unable to watch from inside the stadiums the experience for everyone is radically different from the previous 150 years.

Hopefully, this scenario will be unique or at least a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of us.

But what has changed?

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UEFA Europa League quarter-finals preview March 2021

 

UEFA Europa League 2021 Preview

Will the Europa League end with a clash between Manchester United and Arsenal in Poland?

These two Premier League teams seem to dominate the quarter-final lineup which also comprises a couple of mid-table Spanish sides, and one each from Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, and the Netherlands.

With Manchester City favoured to win the Champions League this could be a special season in Europe for the EPL, and possibly the city of Manchester.

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UEFA Champions League quarter-finals preview March 2021

UEFA Champions League 2021 quarter-finals preview.

The eight remaining teams comprise three from the Premier League, two from the Bundesliga, plus Porto, Paris Saint-Germain, and just one Spanish side in Real Madrid.

The odds consider the title favourites to be Manchester City and the holders, Bayern Munich.

And the games begin on April 6th, as usual in the prevailing covid situation, behind ‘closed doors’.

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20-3-2021 Barnet 0 Chesterfield 2 National League

A change of coach for Barnet but it was the same result for the unfortunate Bees.

They were missing a number of key players and that meant it was a relatively easy afternoon for Chesterfield at the Hive.

Assuming there is no relegation, Barnet will need some new recruits if they are to compete in the National League next season.

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09-03-2021 Barnet 0 Wrexham 2 National League

While many eyes were on the Harry and Meghan show in California a touch of Hollywood came to the Hive on a Tuesday night.

When celebrity-enhanced Wrexham consolidated their chances of EFL participation next season with this solid 2-0 victory.

Sadly, it continued the desperately poor run of results for Tim Flowers' Barnet.

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6-3-2021 Solihull Moors 1 Maidenhead Utd 1 National League

 

This National League encounter matched a team created in the twenty-first century with one that was formed 150 years ago.

At a chilly Damson Park, the current covid secure conditions precluded any fans attending including those from the nearby Jaguar Land Rover plant.

They would have seen an even contest where both goals came from defensive errors.

Which left both the Moors and Alan Devonshire's Maidenhead just below mid-table.

 

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20-2-2021 Barnet 0 Woking 2 National League

So another bad afternoon at the office for Tim Flowers' Barnet.
The effort is there but they lack creativity in the final third.

Perhaps the Bees will be saved by the unusual circumstances surrounding this season characterised by some teams not completing their fixtures and the possible lack of promotions from the curtailed North & South divisions.

Either way, Barnet will need some boosts to their playing roster before next season.

The shouting will not be enough.

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6-02-21 Hornchurch 5 Maidstone United 4 FA Trophy

Viva the Urchins!

A nine-goal thriller in Essex kept Hornchurch in the spotlight as they knocked out another higher level opponent in the FA Trophy.

This match had no shortage of goals with the visitors consistently fighting back before a very late winner gave them no chance of responding. 

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30-01-21 Barnet 0 Torquay United 2 National League

Two ex-league clubs met on a cold afternoon at the Hive, in North London.

And it was the team from the English Riviera who came out on top to enhance their chances of returning to the Football League.

Barnet had invested in a new coach and some new players but unfortunately the result was still negative and sadly for their chairman Tony Kleanthous it's hard to see them evading relegation.

 

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16-1-21 Hornchurch 1 King's Lynn Town 1 (Hornchurch won on penalties)

A team from Essex hosted a team from Norfolk two levels higher and it was Hornchurch, with their league suspended for the foreseeable, that deservedly came out on top.

Joe Wright in the Urchins goal proved the hero as he saved all three of the visitor's spot-kicks to ensure their season will continue into the next round of the FA Trophy.

And in a battle between two coaches with vast Football League experience it was Mark Stimson who prevailed.

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2020 End of Year status report

A review of the leading European leagues as they stand at the end of 2020.

In what has been a unique time for mankind and the world of football the situation at the top of these leagues is unusually competitive.

Taken in turn this is the way it is as we look forward to a better 2021, beginning with the English Premier League.

 

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15-12-2020 UEFA Europa League knockout draw

UEFA Europa League knockout draw.

 

The draw for the Round of 32 was made in Switzerland on December 14th and it comprises the top two from each of the eight qualifying groups plus eight teams dropping down from the Champions League.

 

What follows is an analysis of what could be the more interesting matchups.

 

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14-12--2020 UEFA Champions League knockout draw

The UEFA Champions League knockout draw has matched Barcelona against PSG, Liverpool versus the progressive RB Leipzig, Frank Lampard's exciting Chelsea team against the pragmatic Simeone's Atletico Madrid amongst other intriguing ties.

Here is an analysis of what could happen next in February/March 2021.

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11-2020 UEFA Nations League review

 

The second iteration of the UEFA Nations League has produced a heavyweight semi-final lineup.

That comprises world champions France, top-ranked Belgium, Spain, and hosts Italy.

These four will battle it out for who follows Portugal as the title winners at the iconic San Siro and the superb Juventus Arena.

Many expect the winner to be decided between France, who include the world's most highly valued player Kylian Mbappe, and Roberto Martinez' very talented Belgian squad.  

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11-2020 Maradona - football genius

Diego Armando Maradona died on 25th November 2020.

John Bethell looks back on the times he saw this football icon at the World Cup finals.

He was a flawed genius in life but an undoubted genius on the football field and for many the greatest ever.

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28-11-2020 Sutton United 1 FC Halifax Town 0 National League

 

An established amateur club Sutton is known for reaching Wembley in both the Amateur Cup and its forerunner the FA Trophy.

But most of all, up until the present, for their exploits in the FA Cup which included famous wins over Coventry City in 1989 and Leeds United in 2017.

However, Football League glory could now beckon for the South London club.

As they are currently well placed in the top echelons of the National League.

 

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24-11-2020 Barnet 0 Hartlepool United 0 National League

Barnet left their fairly cramped Underhill ground in 2013 and moved into the Hive Stadium in the Canons Park area of North London.

Some four years earlier a centre of excellence and training complex was created on the site before the 6500 capacity stadium was opened.

The Hive has staged various international matches, rugby league and often acted as a training ground for visiting foreign sides. 

Offering such a comprehensive range of modern facilities it also benefits from being close to Wembley Stadium.

 

On the field the team has become somewhat of a yo-yo club moving between the Football League and the National League.

After initially being promoted under the legendary Barry Fry’s management. Their last relegation FL relegation coming in 2018.

 

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11-9-2020 A review of the leading EPL title contenders

A review of the leading contenders for the Premier League title.

Four teams are likely to compete for the 2020/21 title - Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United.

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4-03-2020 The best Liverpool team ever?

The best ever Liverpool team?

 

The current Liverpool team has dominated the Premier League this season and they could well go on to clock up a record points tally. 

Could it be that Jurgen Klopp’s men are better than all those outstanding Anfield winners from the past?

 

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14-2-2020 Al-Shabab 2 Al-Nassr 4 Saudi Pro League

A Riyadh derby that had a dramatic conclusion to keep Al-Nassr still in contention for the league title.

Prolific Moroccan striker Abderazak Hamdallah scores a treble in the last ten minutes to delight their many supporters.

 

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11-2-2020 Al-Nassr 2 Al-Sadd (Qatar) 2 AFC Champions League

This Champions League group game produced an entertaining encounter in chilly Riyadh.

Including another goal from Moroccan striker Abderazak Hamdallah and a stunning equaliser from Nassr's defender Al-Obaid.

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21-12-2019 Liverpool 1 Flamengo 0 FIFA Club World Cup final.

 

Liverpool win their first FIFA Club World Cup.

 

A Brazilian scores the decisive goal against a famous Brazilian team.

Jurgen Klopp’s team need extra time to beat Flamengo before 45,000 fans in Qatar.

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17-12-2019 Esperance 6 Al-Sadd 2 FIFA Club World Cup

 

This was a minor triumph for the Tunisians who easily beat the local Qatari representatives to secure 5th place at the CWC.

It was a result that gave their large number of boisterous fans plenty to cheer on a showery evening at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

The game was also a personal milestone for Libyan forward Hamdou Elhouni who scored a hat-trick something only previously achieved at the CWC by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, and Gareth Bale.

 

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6-12-2019 FIFA Club World Cup 2019 - Will Liverpool triumph?

FIFA Club World Cup 2019 - Will Liverpool triumph?

UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool bid for their first Club World Cup (CWC) title. 

Can Jurgen Klopp’s team add another prize to their well-stocked Anfield trophy room? 

 

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25-11-2019 UEFA Champions League breakthrough?

UEFA Champions League breakthrough.

Who will make it through to the prestigious knockout phase of the Champions League (UCL)?

And will there be any surprise maiden qualifiers?

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14 November 2019 England 7 Montenegro 0 Euro 2020 qualifier

 

England confirmed their qualification for Euro 2020 with this facile victory against Montenegro before 77,000 fans at Wembley.

The Three Lions have now completed 1000 senior internationals and this win was one of their easiest.

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11th October 2019 Czech Republc 2 England 1 Euro 2020 qualifier

 

England lose a main tournament qualifier for the first time in ten years.

This defeat in Prague could serve as a wake-up call for Gareth Southgate's team who are not quite as good as they thought they were.

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10th October 2019 Slovakia 1 Wales 1 Euro 2020 qualifier

 

Spirited Welsh performance gains a point in Slovakia.

Wigan striker Keiffer Moore epitomises a battling effort by Ryan Giggs' men.

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10th September 2019 Albania v Iceland Euro 2020 Qualifier

 

Albania needed this victory to maintain hopes of Euro 2020 qualification from Group H.

In a battle of contrasting styles the home team prevailed much to the enjoyment of the local fans in Elbasan.

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29 August 2019 Eintracht Frankfurt 3 Strasbourg 0 (3-1) UEFA Europa League

 

Lamina Kone (Ivory Coast) - 30-year-old central defender, rated 3 mil, was part of a Strasbourg back three, found it tough at times against Rebic as Frankfurt pressed, his defence looked a bit ragged at times, goes up for corners, was substituted in second half as his team switched to a back four.

Kevin Lucien Zohi (Mali) - 22-year-old, played wide left, rated at 2mil, limited in the first half but showed some pace in breaks forward in the second, left-footed, had one chance blocked, kept going in losing side.

Nuno Da Costa (Cape Verde) - 28-year-old, rated 5 mil, came on after 68 minutes to play wide right, never got in a serious threat, one header went wide.

Lebo Mothiba (South Africa) - 23-year-old, rated 7 mil, very late sub. unable to affect the outcome.

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19 July 2019 Algeria 1 Senegal 0 AFCON final

 

A deflected shot by Baghdad Bounedjah in the opening minutes gives Algeria their second AFCON title.

The Desert Foxes had to survive a penalty decision that was (correctly) annulled by VAR.

 

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14 July 2019 Senegal 1 Tunisia 0 AFCON 2019

 

An own-goal in extra time sends Senegal into the AFCON final and on course for their first title.

Both sides miss second-half penalties before a goalie error gives the Lions of Teranga victory.

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11 July 2019 Algeria 1 Ivory Coast 1 (Algeria won on penalties) AFCON 2019

 

A dramatic penalty shoot-out decides this quarter-final.

As Algeria keep their nerve to set up a meeting with Nigeria in the last four.

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10 July 2019 Nigeria 2 South Africa 1 AFCON 2019

 

A late Wiliam Ekong goal gives the Super Eagles a place in the semi-finals of AFCON 2019.

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23 June 2019 Columbus Crew 0 Sporting Kansas City 1 MLS

 

Harrison Afful (Ghana) - 32-year-old, rated 600k euros, right back, smallish, moves forward readily and often leads the home attacks down his flank, dangerous crosses, but his game ended early with a red card after he held back Gerso.

David Accam (Ghana) - 28-year-old, rated 910k euros, will join Nashville next season, wide left, sadly had to go off with a hamstring injury early in the match.

Gerso (Guinea-Bissau) - KC wide man/forward, 28-year-old, rated 1.5m euros, dangerous pace on the break, setup Nemeth at least once, better second half beginning with a nutmeg and cross for the winning goal, brought down by Afful later on. 

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22 June 2019 FC Cincinnati 0 LA Galaxy 2 MLS

 

 

Kekuta Manneh (Gambia) - 24-year-old, rated 800k euros, left midfield, one of the more dangerous home players, early pacy run, good deliveries from left, testing shot late on, overall solid game.

Emmanuel Boateng (Ghana) - 23-year-old, rated 2.5m euros, LA midfielder, medium height, early left-foot cross, very nice finish for the opening goal, always looked lively across the pitch, booked later and then immediately substituted.

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20 June 2019 Los Angeles FC 3 San Jose Earthquakes 1 US Open Cup

 

LAFC qualify for the last eight of the Open Cup.

And one of their stars was young Ghana midfielder Latif Blessing.

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18 June 2019 USA 4 Guyana 0 CONCACAF Gold Cup

 

New boys Guyana produce a spirited effort against the US.

But a Tyler Boyd double gives the Gold Cup hosts a winning start to their campaign.

 

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16 June 2019 Costa Rica 4 Nicaragua 0 CONCACAF Gold Cup

 

Costa Rica enjoy hosting their first match at the Gold Cup.

Easily beating a well supported but limited Nicaragua.

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9 June 2019 Portugal 1 Netherlands 0 UEFA Nations League final

 

Portugal win the inaugural Nations League with one strike from Goncalo Guedes (rather than Cristiano Ronaldo).

And England claim third place after winning a penalty shoot-out against Switzerland.

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6 June 2019 Netherlands 3 England 1 UEFA Nations League

 

Calamitous England defending contributes to the Dutch victory.

The mass ranks of England fans will have to wait at least another year before they might see the senior England team in a final.

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5 June 2019 Portugal 3 Switzerland 1 UEFA Nations League

 

Another Cristiano Ronaldo masterclass.

Featuring a trademark free kick, an excellent cross conversion, and a brilliant run and finish.

 

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1 June 2019 Liverpool 2 Tottenham 0 UEFA Champions League final

 

Joel Matip (Cameroon) - right-sided centre back, 27-year-old, rated £18m, partnered MOM Virgil van Dijk, doesn't have the passing ability of the Dutchman but provides a solid combination, wins headers, dealt with Harry Kane, maybe fortunate not to be booked, part of a Liverpool side that gave Tottenham few chances.

Mohamed Salah (Egypt) - striker, 26-year-old, rated £135m, decisively converted the early spot-kick, always offered that forward outlet, though given few other chances since Liverpool conceded a lot of possession.

Sadio Mane (Senegal) - striker, 27-year-old, rated £77m, his forward break resulted in the penalty, looked sharp and often presented the most danger to the opposition, but again limited opportunities with LFC less coherent than usual. 

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23 May 2019 Red Star Belgrade 0 Partizan Belgrade 1 Serbian cup final

 

Ben Naboulane (Comoros) - 29-year-old Red Star midfielder, rated £2.70m, medium height, part of a home side that generally failed to sparkle, switched sides but to limited effect, subbed on 69 minutes.

Ricardo Gomes (Cape Verde) - 27-year-old central striker for Partizan, rated £1.58m, some missteps at first but showed good skill and some pace later on, also nice control, came close with a lobbed chance. 

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21 May 2019 Levski Sofia 0 CSKA Sofia 2 Bulgarian League

 

Khaly Thiam (Senegal) - tall holding midfielder for Levski, 25-year-old, rated at £1.35m, patrolled the area in front of the back line, coolly intercepted, won headers, the odd move forward later in the game.

Ali Sowe (Gambia) - bleached hair, striker for CSKA, 24-year-old, rated at £1m, limited chances but did occupy the opposition defenders, some good forward surges.

Janio Bikel (Guinea-Bissau) - late substitute for CSKA, 23-year-old, rated £450k, few opportunities to contribute.

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19 May 2019 Crvena Zvezda 3 Nepredak 0 Serbian League playoff.

 

A night of 1000 flares and a biblical thunderstorm.

Red Star celebrate winning the league and 30 years of their ultras.

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18 May 2019 Varberg 1 Halmstad 0 Superettan

 

Keanin Ayer (South Africa) - tallish right-sided wide man for Varberg, young (19), rated at £68k, generally stayed out wide, one or two missteps, limited effect on match probably contributed to his being subbed on 54 minutes.

Karim Sadat (Ghana) - 27-year-old, solid, medium height, Halmstad forward, rated £180k, can win headers, some decent crosses, also wide left, but one weak finish, subbed on 75.

Thomas Boakye (Ghana) - Halmstad sub. on 58, medium height, 26-year-old, also rated £180k, left midfield, mostly defended, did create one chance with break down left, moved into centre later.

 

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17 May 2019 Brondby 1 Midtjylland 1 (Midtjylland won on penalties) Danish Cup final

 

Paul Onuachu (Nigeria) - very tall 24-year-old Midtjylland striker. rated 2.2m in the transfer market, an Adebayor lookalike, missed a couple of half-chances including a stooping header, maybe could have own aerial duals, intermittent good touches,  but certainly a presence up front. Subbed in extra time.

Frank Onyeka (Nigeria) - 21-year-old attacking midfielder for the winners, rated at 540K, appeared on 66 minutes, nearly reached a dangerous cross, has some pace and looked lively, pushed forward through the centre.

 

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15 May 2019 Lazio 2 Atalanta 0 Coppa Italia final

 

Bastos (Angola) - 27-year-old, rated at 4.5m in the transfer market, medium height, Lazio central defender, often involved early on with right and left-foot passes, mostly solid but some wayward, booked for a tackle from behind then substituted on 35 minutes (either for the booking or the odd misplaced pass - seemed a little harsh and he was applauded by the fans)

Musa Barrow (Gambia) - 20-year-old late substitute forward, rated at 5.4m in the transfer market, came on when Atalanta were reeling from a late Lazio goal, unable to affect the outcome.

 

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11 May 2019 Extremadura 0 Real Zaragoza 3 Segunda

 

James Igbekeme (Nigeria) - 23-year-old, stocky midfielder, rated £630k in the transfer market, left foot emphasis, one or two misplaced passes early on, moved further forward changing with Javi Ros, his interception led to the first goal, solid in the second half, injured late on and was replaced.

Jannick Buyla (Equatorial Guinea) - young midfielder, a late replacement for Igbekeme, solid build, right footed.

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3 May 2019 Gornik Zabrze 1 Wisla Krakow 2 Polish Premier

 

Emmanuel Kumah (Ghana) - late substitute for Wisla, nineteen-year-old attacking midfielder, showed good intent and some left foot skills in the short time he was on the field.

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1 May 2019 Rapid Wien 0 Red Bull Salzburg 2 Austrian cup final

 

Jerome Onguene (Cameroon) - Red Bull centre back, 21 years old, right foot pass, strong in the air, some good blocks, looked to organise back line, went up for corners, solid overall.

Diadie Samassekou (Mali) - Red Bull holding midfielder, 23 years old, a few early missteps, but kept in position as a defender in front of the back line, again solid overall.

Aliou Badji (Senegal) - tall, rangy Rapid striker who came on for the last 20 minutes, won some headers but struggled to affect the outcome.

Patson Daka (Zambia) - young forward substitute for Red Bull, missed a decent chance went put through just after coming on and scuffed a pass later on.  But his team had already secured the win.

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28 April 2019 Lille 5 Nimes 0 Ligue 1

 

Youssouf Kone (Mali) - Lille left-back, quick to go forward, battled with Thioub, left foot delivery, supplied the excellent cross for the second goal, overall very good, cramped near the end.

Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Cast) - coveted wide man, mostly left foot, long-striding, better in the second half as were his team, pacy though not at the Mbappe level. 

Herve Lybohy (Ivory Coast) - left-sided centre back for Nimes, looked solid but often exposed especially in the second period, struggled, as did the rest of his defence.

Denis Bouanga (Gabon) - Nimes wide man, stayed on the left with the odd move inside, right footed, lacks pace, subbed on 75 minutes.

Sada Thioub (Senegal) - right-sided Nimes wide man, did move inside to get involved, tough against Kone, some decent surges, taken off with 5 minutes remaining.

Rashid Alioui (Morocco) - brought on as Nimes striker in the second half, but inevitably found it hard to make an impact, often isolated as his team concentrated on defending.

 

 

 

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27 April 2019 Paris St-Germain 2 Rennes 2 (Rennes won on penalties) Coupe de France final

(Rennes)

Ismaila Sarr (Senegal) - played wide right, has pace, combined with Traore, right foot cross, converted winning Rennes penalty.

N'Baye Niang (Senegal) - tall central striker, linked with Ben Arfa, some good touches, excellent turn and shot that clipped the post, looked a handful, booked later on. Scored the initial penalty in the shootout.

Remy Bensebaini (Algeria) - left back, talented left delivery, got forward, clashed with Neymar, booked later on for arguing. Converted penalty.

Hamari Traore (Mali) - right back, often drove forward, some skill, his cross caused the first Rennes goal.

Mexer (Mozambique) - centre back, managed to cope with Mbappe and Neymar though exposed at times, headed in from a corner for the equaliser, was booked, excused penalty duties.

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6 April 2019 Foggia 1 Spezia 0 Serie B

Emmanuel Gyasi (Ghana) - right midfield for Spezia, solid, made various runs in the first half without involvement, moved inside for more play, booked for foul, also tracked back, more touches in the second period, subbed on 75. 

David Okereke (Nigeria) - tall Spezia striker, early touches, tried combinations with da Cruz, control looked ok, showed some pace, moved to wing later on but overall limited.

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2 April 2019 Espanyol 1 Getafe 1 La Liga

Djene Dakonam (Togo) - very solid right-sided centre back for Getafe, some quality interceptions, a few slight errors but able to recover, also got away with a miskick. Able to distribute with both feet. Booked later in the second period.

 

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