Saturday, October 21, 2017

21 October 1960 - A Little Asian Cup Déjà Vu

On 21 October 1960, South Korea won their second consecutive Asian Cup, beating China 1-0.

It was the second edition of the tournament, with South Korea returning as defending champions after winning it in 1956. They were joined in 1960 by China, Vietnam, and Israel, the 1956 runners-up. Each team played the other team once, with the standings decided by points. Wins were worth two points and draws one.

South Korea opened the tournament with a powerful statement of intent by beating Vietnam 5-1, followed by a 3-0 win over Israel. They entered their last match in the top spot, two points clear of Israel and China (Vietnam was at the bottom). Israel, like South Korea, had only one match left, but China had two, including their game against South Korea. So while the Koreans needed only a draw to guarantee that they would finish over Israel, they needed a win to ensure a higher finish than China.

And they got it, narrowly. Playing before their own supporters at the Hyochang Stadium in Seoul, forward Moon Jung-Sik scored the day's only goal in the 54th minute. Israel again finished as runners-up, beating China 1-0 two days later in the final match of the tournament.

Friday, October 20, 2017

20 October 1996 - That's Not Really A Cup, Though, Now Is It?

On 20 October 1996, DC United rallied from a two-goal deficit to win the first MLS Cup over the Los Angeles Galaxy.

LA and DC finished with the second- and third-best records, respectively, in that first MLS season, behind the Tampa Bay Mutiny. In the playoffs, the Galaxy advanced with wins over the San Jose Clash and the Kansas City Wiz, while DC reached the final by beating the NY/NJ MetroStars and Tampa Bay.

They met at a rainy Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts, where LA striker Eduardo Hurtado gave his team an early lead with a 4th-minute goal. His teammate, midfielder Chris Armas then doubled the lead in the 56th minute with a goal that appeared to secure the trophy for the Galaxy.

But DC came storming back late in the second half, getting scores from substitute midfielders Tony Sanneh (72') and Shawn Medved (81') to send the match into extra time, where a 94th-minute goal from United defender Eddie Pope sealed the comeback victory.

DC went on to appear in the next three MLS Cup finals, repeating as champions in 1997 and winning it for a third time in a 1999 rematch with the Galaxy.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

19 October 1974 - Independiente Takes Five

On 19 October 1974, Independiente won their third straight Copa Libertadores--and fifth overall--beating São Paulo in a playoff, 1-0.

Going into the final, Independiente were already the tournament's most successful team, winning it in 1964, 1965, 1972, and 1973, while São Paulo were in the final for the first time. But they split the two legs, with São Paulo winning 2-1 in Brazil and Independiente taking the honors in Argentina, 2-0. Level on points, they met at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago for a playoff.

There, 60,000 people looked on as Independiente left back Ricardo Pavoni scored in the 37th minute. It was the only goal of the match, giving Independiente the win, their fifth title in five final appearances for the Argentinians.

They continued their perfect record in the final, winning it again in 1975 and 1984. São Paulo, meanwhile, reached the final five more times, lifting the cup in 1992, 1993, and 2005.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

18 October 1981 - West Germany Cuts Loose On Qatar

On 18 October 1981, West Germany won the U-20 World Cup, beating Qatar 4-0.

It was the first time in the tournament for both teams, who failed to qualify for the two previous editions. Qatar were the surprise of the tournament, beating Poland in the opening match of the group stage (followed by a 1-1 draw with the United States and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay), then beating Brazil (3-2) and England (2-1) in the knockout rounds to reach the final.

There, they faced a West German team that won their group with wins over Mexico (1-0) and Spain (4-2) (as well as a 2-1 loss to Egypt), then advanced to the final by beating hosts Australia (1-0) and Romania (1-0 (aet)).

The met at the Cricket Ground in Sydney, where West German defender Ralf Loose opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Striker Roland Wohlfarth doubled the lead in the 40th minute, before Loose completed his brace with a 66th-minute goal. Holger Anthes then capped the victory with an 86th-minute shot to set the final margin at 4-0.

Of the three scorers, only Wohlfarth would later play for the full national team, making two appearances between 1986 and 1989. The only other player to earn a senior cap was midfielder Michael Zorc, with seven.



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

17 October 1990 - Turkey Gets Stuffed By Ireland

On 17 October 1990, Ireland beat Turkey in a European qualifier to launch their record unbeaten streak. But it didn't get them to the Euros.

It was the first match day of qualifying in Group 7, with Ireland hosting Turkey in Dublin. Playing before a crowd of 46,000 at Lansdowne Road, the Irish took an early lead with a goal from striker John Aldridge (pictured) in the 15th minute. Center back David O'Leary added another in the 40th minute to send Ireland into the break with a 2-0 lead. In the second half, Aldridge scored twice more (58', 73'), with a goal from striker Niall Quinn in between (60') to raise the final score to a dominant 5-0 for the hosts.

Ireland followed the win by drawing with England (1-1) and Poland (0-0), with the combination leaving them one point short of qualification for Euro 1992. They continued their unbeaten run for a record total of 16 matches before eventually losing to Spain in their last qualifier for the 1994 World Cup. They did qualify for the World Cup, though, and advanced to the Round of 16.

Monday, October 16, 2017

16 October 1968 - United Gets Taken To School

On 16 October 1968, Estudiantes won the Intercontinental Cup, beating Manchester United over a contentious two-legged final.

By winning the previous season's Copa Libertadores, Estudiantes earned the right to face Manchester United, the reigning European Cup champions. They met for the first leg in Buenos Aires on 25 September, with the hosts eking out a narrow 1-0 victory in a match that saw United midfielder Nobby Stiles get ejected and striker Bobby Charlton receive a blow to the head that required stitches.

Despite that result, United were favorites going into the second leg at Old Trafford three weeks later, where a crowd of 63,500 gathered for the event. But they quickly fell behind when Estudiantes forward Juan Ramón Verón scored in just the seventh minute. The situation grew worse for United when striker Denis Law received an injury and had to come off in the 43rd minute, replaced by Carlo Santori.

Tempers flared in the second half as both teams had a player ejected--George Best for United and José Medina for Estudiantes--in the 88th minute. Willie Morgan drew the home team level in the 89th minute, but they could not find another goal and Estudiantes won on points.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

15 October 1887 - Preston Cooks Up A Double Baker's Dozen

On 15 October 1887, Preston North End delivered the biggest beating in English football history, crushing Hyde FC 26-0 in the FA Cup.

Although they had been playing football for only nine years, Preston had already established themselves as a rising power, reaching the FA Cup semifinals the previous season. When the returned to the tournament in the 1887-88 season, they met Hyde at Deepdale in the first round and proceeded to win 26-0. It remains the biggest margin of victory in English football (but still behind the British record, set by Arbroath's 36-0 Scottish Cup win over Bon Accord in 1885).

Preston advanced all the way to the final before losing to West Brom, but won the tournament the following season as part of the first English FA Cup and league Double. They repeated as league champions in 1990 and finished as runners-up in 1991, 1992, and 1993.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

14 October 2006 - Terry Takes A Turn In Goal

On 14 October 2006, Chelsea needed three goalkeepers to get through their match against Reading, with captain John Terry pulling on the gloves for a bit.

Playing in a league game at Reading's Madjeski Stadium, Chelsea lost starting goalkeeper Petr Cech after just 20 seconds. Diving to make a save at the feet of Reading's Stephen Hunt, Cech took a blow to the head that fractured his skull. He left the pitch on a stretcher and was replaced by substitute keeper Carlo Cudicini.

Reading tested Cuducini, but it was Chelsea who took the lead after Reading defender Ivar Ingemarsson put the ball in his net off a Frank Lampard free kick in the 45th minute.

In the second half, both teams went down to 10 men as Chelsea's John Obi Mikel (in the 62nd minute) and Reading substitute André Bikey (in the 83rd) both received second yellow cards and were sent off. Then, shortly before the final whistle, Cuducini collided with Reading defender Ibrahima Sonko and lost consciousness. Having already used all three substitutes, manager José Mourinho sent John Terry into goal.

With only moments left, Terry had little to do to see out the 0-1 win.

Friday, October 13, 2017

13 October 1977 - Di Natale's Natale

On 13 October 1977, striker Antonio Di Natale was born in Naples. He went on to become one of Italy's top scorers, leading Serie A in back-to-back seasons.

He started his professional career in 1996 with Empoli, at that time in Serie B, but made only one appearance in that first season, then spent the next two on loan. In 1999, he finally broke into Empoli's first team, making 30 appearances in all competitions and scoring seven goals. His best season there was 2001-02, when his 16 league goals helped them get promoted to Serie A and earned Di Natale his first cap with Italy.

After the 2003-04 season, with Empoli relegated back to Serie B, he stayed in the top flight by moving to Udinese and immediately helped them to a fourth-place finish. His breakout season came in 2009-10, when he scored 29 goals to claim the Capocannoniere and the 2010 Italian Footballer of the Year award. He claimed the scoring title a second time in 2010-11 with 28 goals.

He remained with Udinese until his retirement in 2016, scoring a total of 227 goals in 446 appearances for the club.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

12 October 1965 - Chile Gets A Ticket To Europe

On 12 October 1965, Chile beat Ecuador in a playoff to qualify for their first European World Cup.

They were coming off their best showing in the tournament, finishing in third place as hosts in 1962. But they had never played in a World Cup hosted by a European country, withdrawing from Italy '34 and France '38 and failing to qualify for Switzerland '54 and Sweden '58.

To reach England for the 1966 edition, they had to get through a CONMEBOL qualification group whose other members were Ecuador and Colombia. After four games each, Chile and Ecuador had identical records, with each having two wins, a draw, and a loss. Although Chile had a better goal differential and beat Ecuador 3-1 in the last scheduled match of the group, the rules ranked the teams by points only, forcing a decision through a playoff.

The teams met in the neutral location of Lima, Peru, where Leonel Sánchez (pictured)--the hero of Chile's 1966 World Cup performance--opened the scoring in the 16th minute, followed by a goal from Rubén Marcos in the 40th minute to stake Chile to a 2-0 lead at the break. Ecuador finally managed to get on the scoreboard in the 89th minute, but it was nothing more than a consolation goal.

The 2-1 win sent Chile to England, but they were unable to recapture their form from the previous tournament and were eliminated in the group stage.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

11 October 2011 - The Japanese Sun Sets On Tajikistan

On 11 October 2011, a couple of Japanese players scored their first international goals as they handed Tajikistan a record loss.

The occasion was a third-round match in Asian Football Confederation for the 2012 World Cup, with Japan hosting Tajikistan at Nagai Stadium in Osaka. Up to that point, all five games played earlier in the group had ended either 1-0 or 1-1, including two games each for Japan and Tajikistan, so nobody was quite prepared for what happened next.

Striker Mike Havenaar (pictured), in second appearance for Japan and first start, scored the opener--his first for the national team--with an 11th-minute header. It was followed by goals from Shinji Okazaki (19'), Yuichi Komano (35', his first for Japan), and Shinji Kagawa (41') to stretch the lead to 4-0 at the break.

In the second half, Havenaar again led off with a header (47'). Kengo Nakamura added one on the 56th minute before both Kagawa (68') and Okazaki (74') scored again. The final 8-0 margin set a new record low for Tajikistan, who proceeded to finish last in the group, eliminating them from qualification. Japan advanced to the fourth round, where they currently sit at the top of their group.

As impressive as the win was for Japan, it fell far short of their record victory, a 15-0 win over the Philippines in 1967.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

10 October 1966 - O Captain, My Captain

On 10 October 1966, Arsenal defender Tony Adams was born in Romford, England. He went on to become the team's most successful captain and also skippered the England national team.

He spent his entire career at Arsenal, joining them as a youth player in 1980 and remaining there until his retirement in 2002. In all, he made a total of 672 appearances for them across all competitions. He received the captain's armband from manager George Graham in January 1988 and kept it for the next fourteen years.

During that time, he led Arsenal to a collection of silverware that included the league title in 1989 and 1991, the 1993 FA Cup, and the 1994 Cup Winners' Cup. Then, in 1998, he guided them to a league and FA Cup Double, a feat they repeated in 2002.

Adams also made 66 appearances for England between 1987 and 2000 and captained the team to the semifinals in Euro 96.

Monday, October 9, 2017

9 October 1961 - Planes, Trains, And Automobiles

On 9 October 1961, Gillingham made a tremendous effort to reach Barrow for a league match and, for their troubles, left with a 7-0 loss.

The day started badly enough for Gillingham when their train to Barrow missed its connection in London. In an attempt to make it to the match on time, they chartered a plane to Blackpool, then took a set of cabs to Barrow's ground. When they finally arrived, it was well past the scheduled starting time, but the match went ahead.

Due to the late start, and because Barrow did not have floodlights, darkness soon became an issue, forcing the referee to halt the match in the 76th minute. By that time, Gillingham were already down 7-0. Given the scoreline and the fact that the delay had been caused by Gillingham, the Football League allowed the result to stand. It was just one goal short of their record defeat, an 8-0 loss to Luton in 1929.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

8 October 2011 - Sometimes, It Helps To Read The Rules In Advance

On 8 October 2011, South Africa played to a scoreless draw with Sierra Leone, thinking the result qualified them for the African Cup of Nations. They were wrong.

It was the final match for both teams in Group G of the tournament's qualifying stage, with South Africa starting the day one point behind group leaders Niger, who were playing Egypt at the same time South Africa faced off against Sierra Leone.

With the latter two locked in a scoreless draw midway through the second half, South Africa received news that Niger had fallen behind Egypt by the score of 3-0. If the scores held, South Africa and Niger would finish level on points, but South Africa would have a goal differential of +2 to Niger's -2. Content to play for the draw, South African boss Pitso Mosimane made a late substitution, bringing on a midfielder in place of a striker. And, when the match ended 0-0, the South Africans celebrated the result with a dance and a lap of honor before their exultant fans.

What they failed to realize, however, was that goal differential did not serve as the tie-breaker. Instead, the rules of the tournament provided that teams level on points were to be ranked by their head-to-head record against each other. That metric favored Niger.

South Africa lodged a protest, claiming that goal differential should have been the deciding factor, but later dropped their appeal. Niger advanced to the Cup, where they were eliminated in the group stage after losing all three matches.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

7 October 1964 - Hibs Just Got Real

On 7 October 1964, Hibernian hosted Real Madrid in a friendly, beating the Spanish champions 2-0.

Accepting an invitation from Hibs manager Jock Stein, Real Madrid arrived at Easter Road having won the last four La Liga titles and having finished as runners-up in the previous season's European Cup. Their line-up boasted a number of stars, none brighter than their prolific forward pairing of Ferenc Puskás and Francisco Gento. But they were up against a Hibs team that included six Scottish internationals, including forward Willie Hamilton.

But it was Hibs' unheralded 19-year old midfielder Peter Cormack who scored the opening goal to put the hosts up 1-0. They then got a second, though reports disagree as to who scored it; some say it was forward Jim Scott, while others claim it was an own goal from Real Madrid left half Ignacio Zoco. Either way, it cemented a 2-0 victory for Hibs that saw the home supporters invade the pitch in celebration.

Real Madrid went on to end the year with their fifth consecutive league title, while Hibs finished in their league's fourth-place spot.

Friday, October 6, 2017

6 October 1987 - He Died With His Boots On

On 6 October 1987, Roald Jensen, widely considered Norway's greatest player, died while training with his old club, SK Brann. He was 44 years old.

Nicknamed "Knicksen"( meaning "juggler") for his tremendous technical ability with the ball, Jensen joined Brann in 1956 as a youth player, then made his first-team debut in 1960 when he was 17 years old. He earned his first cap for the national team that same year.

In his first three seasons with Brann, they won the league twice (1962 and 1963), but his fourth season ended in relegation, prompting his move to Scotland, where he turned professional and became Heart of Midlothian's player from outside the UK.

He remained with Hearts for six seasons, then returned to Brann in 1971 and stayed until 1973, when a dispute with the team's manager led to Jensen's retirement in 1973 at the age of 30. He continued to be involved with the club, however, and was training with them when he collapsed and died.

Three years after his death, the Norwegian football association honored Jensen with the creation of the Knicksen Award, given annually to the best player in Norway's top flight. In 1995, Brann further celebrated him by putting a statue of him outside their stadium.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

5 October 1973 - Kempes Reaches The Top

On 5 October 1973, striker Mario Kempes made his top-flight debut for Instituto de Córdoba in a 1-0 win over Newell's Old Boys. He went on to become one of Argentina's greatest players.

Nineteen years old at the time, Kempes had already spent three years with Instituto, helping them reach Argentina's Primera División for the 1973 season, the team's first time in the top flight. Kempes made thirteen appearances for them that season, scoring eleven goals, before moving in 1974 to Rosario Central, where he scored eighty-five goals in three seasons.

That performance earned him a move to Spain to play for Valencia. He was the league's leading scorer in 1977 and 1978 and won his first silverware there, winning the 1970 Copa del Rey, the 1980 Cup Winners' Cup (though he missed the first kick in the final's penalty shootout), and the 1980 UEFA Super Cup.

Despite those successes, Kempes is best known for leading Argentina to their first World Cup trophy in 1978. He was the tournament's top scorer with six goals, including two in Argentina's 3-1 win over the Netherlands in the final.

He continued to play for several teams in Argentina and Europe until he called time on his career in 1996, then spent five years in management before retiring in 2001.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

4 October 1990 - The Passing Of Peter Taylor

On 4 October 1990, Peter Taylor, who won a league title and two European Cups as an assistant to Brian Clough, passed away while on holiday in Spain. He was 62.

Although best known for his abilities as a manager and scout, Taylor enjoyed a lengthy playing career with Coventry City (1950-55), Middlesbrough (1955-61), and Port Vale (1961-62). Then, in 1962, he took his first managerial job as player-manager for Burton Albion and spent two seasons there before leaving to join Hartlepool as an assistant to his former Middlesbrough teammate, Brian Clough.

Taylor and Clough spent ten of the next twelve seasons together, including six and a half years at Derby County where they won the league title in 1972. Their only time apart was from 1974 to 1976, when Taylor took charge of Brighton & Hove after Clough left for his ill-fated spell at Leeds United. They reunited in 1976, when Taylor joined Clough at Nottingham Forest and the pair proceeded to win two European Cups (1979, 1980).

In 1982, Taylor left Clough and returned to Derby County, managing them for two seasons before retiring in 1984. During that second spell at Derby, Taylor signed winger John Robertson from Derby without telling Clough in advance. The signing created a rift between the two men, who never spoke to one another afterward, a fact deeply regretted by Clough after Taylor's death.

In 2010, Derby County commemorated Taylor and Clough with a statue of the pair outside the ground.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

3 October 1984 - The Day The Lights Went Out For The NASL

On 3 October 1984, the Chicago Sting won the North American Soccer League title over the Toronto Blizzard in a match that turned out to be the league's last.

Established in 1968, the NASL grew to prominence in the 1970s due in large part to the signing of high-profile players like Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff, and George Best and, by 1978, included a total of 24 teams across the United States and Canada.

But the anticipated crowds failed to materialize and the team owners suffered substantial financial losses, resulting in several clubs folding or moving to the lower-tier (and less costly) Major Indoor Soccer League. At the start of the 1984 season, the NASL had dropped to only nine teams, four in the Eastern Division and five in the Western.

Two teams from each division met in the playoffs, which consisted of a pair of semifinal matches, followed by a best-of-three final, with Chicago and Toronto advancing over their Western Division counterparts to set up an all-Eastern final. Chicago won the first leg in Toronto, 1-2, on 1 October, then won the second in Chicago two days later, 3-2, rendering the scheduled third match unnecessary. With the win, Chicago became only the second team (after the Cosmos) to win more than one NASL title.

After Chicago's victory, Blizzard supporters knocked over a police barricade and invaded the pitch, forcing officials to hold the trophy ceremony in Chicago's locker room.

The NASL intended to return for another season, but several more teams, including Chicago and New York, defected to the MISL. With only two clubs left, the NASL folded in early 1985.

Monday, October 2, 2017

2 October 2010 - Just Imagine Where They'd Have Been Without It

On 2 October 2010, Dundee beat Greenock Morton 2-1 to start a club-record 23-game unbeaten streak. Which left them in the exact same spot in the table they were in when they started it.

It was the eighth matchday of the Scottish Division One season, which opened with Dundee in seventh place after an away loss to Cowdenbeath. They were hosting Morton at Dens Park, where a crowd of 4,068 turned up to see what turned out to be the start of a record run.

Dundee took the lead in the 25th minute after the referee called a handball on Morton and Matt Lockwood converted the ensuing penalty. They failed to hold it to the break, however, as Peter Weatherson drew the visitors level with a goal off a corner kick in the 41st minute. But Dundee pulled back ahead for good in the 57th minute with Colin McMenamin scoring the match winner.

They followed the result by going undefeated in their next 22 matches, with thirteen more wins and only nine draws. But remarkably, when that record string ended with a loss to Raith Rovers on 2 April 2011, Dundee were still in seventh place (and had even dropped down to 10th for a period of eight weeks in the middle of the streak). They finished the season in sixth.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

1 October 1912 - The Ascension Of Cerro Porteño

On 1 October 1912, a group of friends in Ascunsión founded Cerro Porteño. With 31 league titles, they have become one of Paraguay's most successful clubs.

That first meeting was held at the home of Susana Nuñez, mother of one of the players. They chose the name "Cerro Porteño" after the nearby location of a famous battle where, in 1811, Paraguayan soldiers held off an invasion by Argentinian forces. As their colors, they chose red and blue, uniting the colors associated with the country's rival political parties. That choice led to Cerro Porteño becoming known as "the club of the people." 

They won their first national title in 1913, quickly followed by additional ones in 1915, 1918, and 1919. The 1920s passed without silverware, but Cerro Porteño have claimed at least one league title in every decade since. Their most dominant period came in the 1970s, when they won five (1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1977). The club's current total of 31 is second only to Olimpia (40).

Their most recent trophy came in 2015, when they won the Apertura by five points over Guaraní.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

30 September 2007 - Germany Doubles Up On Brazil

On 30 September 2007, Germany won their second consecutive Women's World Cup, beating Brazil 2-0.

In their bid to retain the trophy, the Germans started with an offensive explosion, annihilating Argentina 11-0. But then their dominant defense took over, keeping clean sheets all the way to the final. The only blemish on their campaign was a scoreless draw with England in the group stage.

The Brazilians were similarly stalwart. Though they had conceded two goals to Australia in the quarterfinals, they won every match on the way to their meeting with Germany, thanks in part to the seven goals provided by Marta, the tournament's leading scorer.

Playing at the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai, the teams kept each other scoreless through the first half, but German forward and captain Birgit Prinz broke the deadlock with a strike in the 52nd minute. It was her fourteenth World Cup goal overall, making her the competition's all-time leading scorer.

Marta had a chance to equalize with a second-half penalty, but German keeper Nadine Angerer saved the attempt. Midfielder Simone Laudehr then cemented the victory in the 86th minute. The 2-0 scoreline was a mirror image of the men's final in 2002, when Brazil took the honors.

Prinz retired after the tournament. Marta continued to play at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, raising her tally to a new record of fifteen goals.

Friday, September 29, 2017

29 September 1971 - Chelsea Cooks Up A Baker's Dozen

On 29 September 1971, Chelsea recorded their widest margin of victory, beating Jeunesse Hautcharage 13-0 in the second leg of their first-round meeting in the Cup Winners' Cup.

The tie was effectively over after the first leg, with Chelsea beating Hautcharage, an amateur side, 0-8 in Luxembourg. But the 27,621 people who turned up at Stamford Bridge for the second leg were treated to a match of historic proportions.

Striker Peter Osgood (pictured) started the scoring deluge, providing the opening goal in the fourth minute, then adding another two minutes later. By halftime, the Blues were leading 6-0 with additional goals from Alan Hudson (11'), John Hollins (13', pen.), David Webb (23'), and Ron Harris (44').

In the second half, Hautcharage successfully defended their goal until the 61st minute, when Tommy Baldwin increased the lead to 7-0. More goals soon followed, including two more from Baldwin (68', 90'), a second-half hat-trick from Osgood (63', 80', 88'), and one from Peter Houseman (77').

The final score of 13-0 set a single-game Chelsea record and, with a combined score of 21, also beat the previous European aggregate record of eighteen.

Unfortunately for Chelsea, their scoring fortune ended in the next round, where they lost to Swedish side Atvidaberg on away goals, 1-1.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

28 September 1968 - The Title Was Probably Recognition Enough

On 28 September 1968, the Atlanta Chiefs won the inaugural NASL title, beating the San Diego Toros 3-0 over two legs in the final.

Formed earlier that year from a merger of the United Soccer Association and the National Professional Soccer League (both of which had formed in 1967), the new North American Soccer League divided a total of seventeen teams into four different divisions. They used an unusual scoring system in which teams earned six points for a win, three points for a draw, no points for a loss, and one point (up to three per game) for each goal scored.

The Chiefs (pictured) won the Atlantic Division comfortably, while the Toros--who had an identical record as the Oakland Clippers but more goals--won the Pacific Division by a single point. After playoff wins over the Cleveland Stokers and Kansas City Spurs, respectively, the two teams met in the two-legged final.

The first leg, played on 21 September, ended as a scoreless draw. But Atlanta took the second leg 3-0 with goals from Peter McParland, Kaizer Motaung, and Delroy Scott.

Afterward, Atlanta boss Phil Woosnam was named Manager of the Year and Motaung received the Rookie of the Year award. But not a single Atlanta player was included on the league's All Star Team (which included five Oakland players and only two Toros).

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

27 September 2007 - The Travels Of FC Marco

On 27 September 2007, the Portuguese Football Federation relegated FC Marco and suspended the club for two years. Not that it mattered.

Founded in 1927, Marco spent its entire existence in Portugal's lower divisions. Their best finish was fourth place in the second division, achieved in 2005. But two years later, they were back in the third division, where the 2007-08 season started without them, as they failed to show up for their first four matches.

The FPF kept a close eye on the situation after the first missed game and gave Marco a little time to pull things together. By the fourth missed game, however, the FPF had had enough. On 27 September, they issued a formal notice of punishment, dropping Marco into the fourth division and suspending them for two seasons. It was a hollow punishment, however, as Marco never showed up for the fourth division, either. Shortly after the notice, the club dissolved. 

In 2009, a new club rose to take Marco's place. Called AD Marco 09, they entered the Porto Second Regional Division and began to work their way up the pyramid, earning promotion in their first season. They currently sit at the top of the Porto FA First Division, which is in the sixth tier of the Portuguese pyramid.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

26 September 1943 - The Scorer Of Seville

On 26 September 1943, forward Juan Arza scored a hat-trick on his debut for Sevilla. He went on to become the club's all-time La Liga scoring leader.

Twenty years old at the time, the Estella-born Arza had played for Alavés and Màlaga before joining Sevilla. There, in his first official match, his three goals helped them to a 5-2 victory over Sabadell. They were the first of seventeen goals he scored that season as Sevilla finished in third.

He remained with them for sixteen seasons, winning the league in 1946 and the Copa del Rey in 1948. His best scoring season was 1954-55, when his twenty-nine goals won him the Pichichi as La Liga's top marksman.

Before leaving Sevilla in 1959, Arza had collected a total of 207 goals. Although that ranks him second in the club's all-time scoring list, behind Guillermo Campanal (218), Arza's league tally of 182 remains the highest in club history.

Monday, September 25, 2017

25 September 2002 - Arsenal's Quick Silva

On 25 September 2002, midfielder Gilberto Silva scored a record goal to help Arsenal cruise past PSV in the Champions League group stage.

PSV hosted the Gunners in Eindhoven for the game, which was the second of the tournament for both teams. Arsenal took the opening kick-off and Silva immediately raced unmarked down the center of pitch, where he received a cross from teammate Thierry Henry, then knocked the ball into the net. The official time for the goal was 20.07 seconds, making it the fastest goal in European Cup/Champions League history up to that point, narrowly beating Alessandro del Piero's time of 20.12, set in a 1997 match for Juventus against Manchester United.

The day did not get any better for PSV. After Arsenal keeper saved their best chance of the day--a 22nd-minute shot from Mateja Kezman--the hosts went on to surrender three more goals to Freddie Ljungberg (66') and Henry (81', 90') and lost 0-4.

PSV did better in the return leg, holding Arsenal to a scoreless draw in London, but the result eliminated them from the competition. Arsenal advanced, but were knocked out in the second group stage.

Silva's record lasted until March 2007, when Bayern Munich's Roy Makaay scored against Real Madrid after only 10.12 seconds.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

24 September 1957 - Barça's New Camp

On 24 September 1957, Barcelona inaugurated the Camp Nou with a 4-2 friendly win over a Warsaw select team.

Built over a period of three and half years at a cost of 288 million pesetas, the stadium's original name was Estadi del FC Barcelona, but it has been known from the beginning as Camp Nou ("New Ground") (the club officially adopted that name in 2000).

For the inauguration, Barcelona hosted a crowd of over 90,000 for the friendly against the players from Warsaw. Several dignitaries attended, including the Archbishop of Barcelona, who blessed the new stadium. A choir then performed the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah.

It took only eleven minutes for the home side to pull ahead, with striker Eulogio Martínez scoring the first goal. Barcelona got additional goals from Tejada, Sampedro, and Evaristo to win 4-2.

Since then, the stadium's capacity has increased to over 99,000 and it has hosted European Cup and World Cup matches.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

23 September 1986 - Liverpool Takes Ten

On 23 September 1986, Liverpool matched a League Cup record, beating Fulham 10-0 in the first leg of their second round meeting.

The defending league champions, Liverpool had dominated the competition over the previous years, winning it four straight times between 1981 and 1984. They were looking to return to those winning ways after suffering a third-round loss to Tottenham in the 1984-95 season and elimination by Queens Park Rangers in the 1985-86 semifinals.

They entered the 1986-87 tournament in the second round, where they hosted Fulham at Anfield for the first leg. The match was played on a Tuesday, drawing a small crowd of only 13,498. Those that turned up, however, were treated to a scoring explosion. Ian Rush provided the first in just the eight minute, followed by goals from John Wark (10', 63'), Ronnie Whelan (28'), Steve McMahon (44', 66', 71', 79'), and another from Rush (76').

Steve Nicol provided the final goal in the 83rd minute to set the final margin at 10-0, matching the record for the highest single-game margin of victory in the League Cup, set by West Ham's win over Bury by the same score in 1983.

Liverpool went on to win the second leg 203 and kept up their level of play to advance all the way to the final before falling to Arsenal 2-1.

Friday, September 22, 2017

22 September 2005 - The Wrong Way To Make A First Impression

On 22 September 2005, Real Madrid's Jonathan Woodgate used an own goal and a red card to make one of the worst debuts in football history.

The defender had joined Real Madrid over a year earlier, completing a £13.4M move from Newcastle in August 2004. But a lingering thigh injury suffered against Chelsea the previous April had kept him out of any competitive matches for his new club until he finally got the call to start in a league contest against Athletic Bilbao.

He made his mark in the 25th minute, when he misjudged an attempted clearance and headed the ball into his own net past keeper Iker Casillas. Then, just before the break, he received a yellow card for a challenge on Athletic midfielder Carlos Gurpegi. His day ended twenty minutes into the second half after he received a second booking for a foul on winger Joseba Exteberria.

Fortunately for Woodgate, his errors did not impact Real Madrid, who went on to win the match 3-1. But he made only eight more league appearances for them before moving back to England on loan with Middlesbrough, then signing for them on a permanent deal in 2007.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

21 September 1929 - The Start Of Sándor's Story

On 21 September 1929, forward Sándor Kocsis was born in Budapest. He went on to become one of the most prolific scorers of the era.

He started his professional career in 1945 with Hungarian club Kobanyai, but spent only one season there before moving to Ferencváros. He spent two quiet years before his breakout season in 1948-49 when he scored 33 times in 30 league appearances to help the club run away with the title. He gave them another 30 goals in 30 appearances the next season, then moved to Honvéd, where he won three more league titles. His 36 goals in 1952 and 33 in 1954 were European bests for those two years.

His scoring form carried over to the national team, where he knocked in 75 goals in 68 appearances between 1948 and 1956. Along the way, he won Olympic gold (1952) and a Central European Championship (1953), as well as reaching the World Cup Final (1954).

Honvéd were in Spain for the European Cup when the Hungarian revolution started in 1956, so like many of his teammates, he remained there. He spent seven seasons with Barcelona before his retirement in 1965, though he never reached his previous scoring heights.

Later in life, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died in 1979 at the age of 49.