Saturday, May 27, 2017

27 May 2007 - Cacho Fue Muy Macho

On 27 May 2007, Pachuca won their fifth Primera División title, beating América 3-2 on aggregate in the Clausura final.

Pachuca had a slightly easier road to the final than América; their semifinal opponent, Cruz Azul, whom they had beaten 3-1 in the first leg, was suspended for the second leg by the FMF for fielding an ineligible player. So Pachuca enjoyed some additional rest while América completed their semifinal victory over Guadalajara.

In the final, Pachuca hosted the first leg and won 2-1, with both of their goals coming from Juan Carlos Cacho. But in the second leg, América drew level on aggregate with a 69th-minute free kick from Cuauhtémoc Blanco. Then, with time winding down, Pachuca sent the ball into a crowded box where it somehow found its way through several América defenders to Cacho, who tapped in the winner. 

It was another victory in a tremendous eighteen-month period for Pachuca, who had already won that year's CONCACAF Champions League to go along with the previous season's Clausura and Copa Sudamericana and would go on to win the 2007 North American Superliga.

Friday, May 26, 2017

26 May 1993 - A Hill Too High To Climb

On 26 May 1993, São Paulo repeated as Copa Libertadores champions despite losing the second leg of the final to Universidad Católica, 2-0.

The Brazilians won the tournament for the first time in 1992, beating Newell's Old Boys on a penalties. For the 1993 final, they did their best to prevent going to another shootout, winning the first leg against Católica by the score of 5-1 (including an own goal by Católica defender Daniel López). The Chileans' only goal that day was a penalty kick by forward Juan Carlos Almada (pictured) in the 85th minute.

In the second leg, played at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Católica did their best to overcome the deficit, going up 1-0 with a 25-yard blast from midfielder Ricardo Lunari in the 9th minute that beat the keeper to the top corner. Then, just six minutes later, the referee awarded a penalty kick to Católica and Almada again converted. The keeper, diving to his right, did well to get a hand to it, but the shot was too strong.

Despite the rapid 2-0 lead, that would prove to be day's last goal, as São Paulo clamped down on defense and prevented Católica from narrowing the aggregate margin any further. It remains Católica's only appearance in the final, while São Paulo went on to win it for a third time in 2005.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

25 May 1934 - The Valise Derby

On 25 May 1934, a doctor's bag made a surprise appearance in a controversial derby between Peñarol and Nacional, nicknamed "the valise derby."

The Montevideo rivals were playing in the final of the Copa Uruguaya. With the match scoreless, a Peñarol player sent in a cross that carried past the box and out of bounds. But the ball struck a medical bag belonging to the Nacional physio and rebounded back onto the pitch, when Peñarol put it into the back of the net. The Nacional players immediately protested the goal, with two of them getting sent off by the referee before he eventually disallowed it.

The confusion delayed the game long enough that it could not be completed before dark, so the remainder of the match was postponed until 27 August. When they resumed, the undermanned Nacional held Peñarol to a draw, forcing a subsequent replay, which Nacional won 3-2.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

24 May 1927 - Chile's Masters Of The Universe

On 24 May 1927, three clubs merged to form Universitario de Deportes. Now known as Universidad de Chile, it is one of the country's most successful clubs with 18 league titles.

The three clubs were Internado FC, Atletico Universitario, and Nautico Universitario, who agreed to merge in order to strengthen their candidacy for Chile's new national league, the Liga Central. The new club adopted Nautico's owl logo and originally played in the white shirts and blue shorts of Internado. But by 1930, they switched to the royal blue shirt that they use today. Shortly afterward, they became affiliated with the Universidad de Chile, then changed their name in 1934.

They joined the Chilean Primera División in 1938 and won their first title in 1940. Their most successful period came between 1959 and 1969, when, led by striker Carlos Campos (pictured), they won six additional titles. They fell off in the 1970s and '80s, resulting in relegation to the second division in 1988, but they returned to the top flight in 1989 and proceeded to win another 11 titles, including their most recent, the 2017 Clausura. Their overall total of 18 is second only to Colo-Colo's 31.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

23 May 1954 - It Had To Be The Shoes

On 23 May 1954, Hannover won their second German championship, beating Kaiserslautern 5-1. And they did it with a little tactical advantage in footwear.

Six teams--the five regional Oberliga champions and one runner-up--qualified for the German championship tournament and were split into two groups. The two group winners then contested the final, which was played at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg.

Before the match, eight of Hannover's eleven starters were given new Puma boots with a special feature--screw-in studs. Puma had been developing the technology for several years, first releasing the "Super Atom" model in 1951. When Kaiserslautern won the German championship in 1953, seven of their players wore the Super Atom. By 1954, however, Puma had developed an improved style dubbed the "Brasil" and Hannover quickly adopted the new boots.

They must have been quite an improvement. Even though Kaiserslautern took a 13th minute lead, Hannover reeled off five straight goals to take the title with an overwhelming 5-1 victory (including one Kaiserslautern own goal from defender Werner Kohlmeyer in the 48th minute). It was their second title, with the first having come in 1938.

After seeing the success of the Brasil, West Germany used the boot for their 1954 World Cup team which won the tournament over Hungary. Coincidentally, the German team included five members from Kaiserslautern side (including Kohlmeyer), but no player from Hannover.

Monday, May 22, 2017

22 May 2011 - A Goal In Time For Pavlyuchenko

On 22 May 2011, a pair of goals from Spurs striker Roman Pavlyuchenko relegated Birmingham and set a new Premier League record.

On the last day of the season, Birmingham went into their match against Tottenham in the table's seventeenth place, one spot above the relegation zone and level on points with eighteenth-place Blackpool and nineteenth-place Wigan.

Playing at White Hart Lane, Birmingham--who had won that season's League Cup--went down 1-0 to a goal from Pavlyuchenko in the 49th minute, but drew level thirty minutes later with a strike from Craig Gardner. Then, as they pushed forward for the goal they needed to secure their top-flight survival, Pavlyuchenko struck again with a match winner in the 93rd minute to seal Birmingham's drop. (As it turned out, even a draw would not have been enough for Birmingham, as Wigan won their match at Stoke.)

For Tottenham, the win kept them in fifth place and qualified them for the next season's Europa League.

Pavlyuchenko's goal was the 1,063rd of the Premier League season, setting a new English scoring record for a 38-game season. The record was broken the following season, however, as Premier League teams scored a total of 1,066 goals. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

21 May 2005 - Turbine Takes Djurgårdens For A Spin

On 21 May 2005, Turbine Potsdam won their first UEFA Women's Cup, beating Djurgårdens 1-5 over two legs.

It was the fourth edition of the tournament, which had been dominated by German and Swedish teams up to that point. Frankfurt were the first winners in 2002 over Umeå, then Umeå lifted the cup in 2003 and 2004 (the latter over Frankfurt). But Frankfurt did not qualify for the 2004-05 tournament and Umeå were eliminated by Djurgårdens in the quarter finals.

The two teams met in Stockholm on 15 May for the first leg of the final, with Turbine Potsdam winning 0-2 with goals from their forward pairing of Conny Pohlers (34') and Anja Mittag (53'). In the second leg, played six days later before a crowd of 8,677 at the Karl-Liebknecht Stadion in Potsdam, the hosts quickly resumed their momentum, extending the aggregate lead to 4-0 in the first ten minutes with goals from striker Petra Wimbersky (2') and Pohlers (9').

Djurgårdens got one back in the 10th minute with a goal from Kristin Bengtsson, but Pohlers restored the margin with a 16th-minute strike, effectively ending the contest.

Potsdam returned to the final in three more times (2006, 2010, 2011), and won it again in 2010.