Thursday, August 25, 2016

25 August 2002 - Deportivo's Game Of Threes

On 25 August 2002, Deportivo de La Coruña won their third Supercopa de España, beating Valencia 4-0 over two legs. 

They had all but secured the trophy in the first leg played one week earlier at the Estadio Riazor in La Coruña. It had been a heated battle that spilled over into the stands, as Valencia keeper Santiago Canizares was struck by an object thrown from the crowd at the end of the match, which Deportivo won 3-0. 

The emotions carried into the second leg, played at Valencia's Estadio Mestalla. In only the third minute, Valencia defender Roberto Ayala was sent off for elbowing striker Roy Makaay. Down to 10 men, the hosts were unable to create much of an attack while Deportivo were content to protect their 3-goal aggregate lead. 

Tempers continued to flare and Valencia nearly had a second player sent off after left back Fabio Aurelio delivered a nasty challenge on midfielder Juan Carlos Valeron. Although the challenge could have earned a red card, the referee saw fit to issue a yellow. 

There were a few other dust-ups before Deportivo midfielder Victor Sanchez scored in the 90th minute to end the competition as a 4-0 aggregate win. It was Deportivo's third win in three tries and they are the competition's third most successful team, after Real Madrid and Barcelona. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

24 August 1975 - The Rowdies Go Bowling

On 24 August 1975, the Tampa Bay Rowdies won the inaugural Soccer Bowl, beating the Portland Timbers 2-0.

The North American Soccer League, which dated back to 1968, had used playoffs since the 1969 season, but the finals had always been played at the home field of one of the participants. By 1974, league commissioner Phil Woosnam believed that a neutral venue would generate more excitement along the lines of the NFL's Super Bowl and thus the Soccer Bowl was created for the 1975 season.

Like the Soccer Bowl, both Tampa Bay and Portland were in their first NASL season. Tampa Bay, coached by former Charlton Athletic manager Eddie Firmani, won their division, then reached to the Soccer Bowl with playoff wins over Toronto and Miami. Portland, meanwhile, led by former Aston Villa manager Vic Crowe, also won their division, then advanced with wins over Seattle and St. Louis.

They met at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California, where a capacity crowd of 17,000 gathered for the event. The two teams were deadlocked at 0-0 until the 66th minute, when Tampa Bay substitute defender Arsène Auguste, who had come on only three minutes earlier, unleashed a blast from 35 yards out to beat Portland keeper Graham Brown. Striker Clyde Best then sealed the win with a goal in the 88th minute.

It was the only Soccer Bowl apperance for Portland. Tampa Bay returned twice more, but lost to the New York Cosmos in 1978 and to Vancouver Whitecaps in 1979.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

23 August 1995 - Like A Phoenix Rising From The Ashes

On 23 August 1995, the former Heysel Stadium hosted a football match for the first time in almost ten years, as Germany beat Belgium in a friendly.

Originally opened on 23 August 1930, the stadium was the location of one of football's greatest tragedies when it hosted the 1985 European Cup Final between Juventus and Liverpool. Approximately an hour before kick-off, a retaining wall collapsed, leaving 600 people injured and killing 39 others.

It was the last football match played at the stadium for several years, though it continued to be used for other events. By 1995, however, it had undergone a $50 million renovation and re-opened as the home of the Belgian national team.

For the first match in the new structure, renamed King Baudouin Stadium, Belgium hosted Germany in a friendly. A crowd of 33,000 watched as the Germans won 1-2 with goals from Andreas Möller (6') and Fredi Bobic (84'). Belgium's lone goal was provided by Michaël Goossens (17').

Monday, August 22, 2016

22 August 1937 - I Hope It Was Worth The Wait

On 22 August 1937, Bordeaux made their league debut, losing to Toulouse, 3-2. 

The club dates back to 1881, but initially offered only gymnastics and shooting. They added football on a trial basis in 1910, then abandoned it again for nearly a decade. It returned for good in 1919 and they played their first official match in 1920, beating Section Burdigalienne 12-0. 

In 1936, the club merged with Girondins Guyenne Sport and assumed professional status. They joined the French league for the 1937-38 season, playing in the second division, where they opened the year with the loss to Toulouse. It was not a good season for the Girondins, who finished sixth out of seven teams in Division 2's Sud subdivision. 

They remained in Division 2 until 1939, finishing eleventh in the league's last season before the hiatus for World War II. When league play resumed in 1946, Bordeaux were placed into Division 1, but were promptly relegated at the end of the season. 

Bordeaux returned to the top flight in 1949 and won the league that season, the first of their six league titles. They enjoyed their greatest period of success in the 1980s, winning the league in 1984, 1985, and 1987, then won it again in 1999 and 2009. They have also won the Coupe de France three times (1941, 1986, 1987) and the Coupe de la Ligue three times as well (2002, 2007, 2009). 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

21 August 2008 - Carli Lloyd's Gold-Medal Goal

On 21 August 2008, the United States women won their third Olympic gold medal, beating Brazil in extra time. 

It was the fourth straight appearance in the gold medal match for the US, who had won it twice before, including a 2-1 extra time win over Brazil in 2004. The two teams had developed a healthy rivalry, intensified by Brazil's 4-0 drubbing of the US in the 2007 World Cup that cost manager Greg Ryan his job. The 2008 Olympics were the first major tournament for his successor, Pia Sundhage. 

Played before a crowd of 51,612 at the Workers Stadium in Beijing, the final was a fluid, attacking affair that nonetheless failed to produce a goal in the first 90 minutes. The best chance of the day fell to Brazilian star Marta in the 72nd minute when she slipped through the US defense and fired from point-blank range. But goalkeeper Hope Solo managed to get a hand on the ball and stopped the shot. 

Then, in the 96th minute, a charging Carli Lloyd (pictured) passed the ball to Amy Rodriguez, who quickly returned the ball. Lloyd drove a shot in from just outside the box, crossing the face of the goal and beating Brazil's keeper, Barbara. 

Brazil pressed hard for an equalizer, with both Marta and Cristiane creating chances, but the US defense held firm to preserve the 1-0 victory. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

20 August 2003 - Ronaldo Goes International

On 20 August 2003, winger Cristiano Ronaldo made his first appearance for Portugal in a 1-0 victory over Kazakhstan. 

Only 18 years old, he was clearly a star in the making for the national team, having already played 25 times for Portugal's youth teams and scoring 11 goals. And, just ten days before his senior international debut, he completed a high-profile move from Sporting to Manchester United. 

The match itself was an inauspicious friendly, with the only goal coming from Portuguese midfielder Simão Sabrosa in the 65th minute. It was a lucky bounce, as Kazakhstan defender Ihor Soloshenko's attempted clearance hit Sabrosa in the chest and deflected into the goal. But Ronaldo became a regular starter for theSelecção, helping them reach the Euro 2004 final and fourth place in the 2006 World Cup. 

In 2007, Ronaldo claimed the captain's armband for Portugal and led them to the European Championship in 2016. He is the team's all-time leader in appearances (133) and goal (61). 

Friday, August 19, 2016

19 August 2007 - Sevilla Delivers A Severe Beating

On 19 August 2007, Sevilla won their first Supercopa de España, destroying Real Madrid at the Bernabéu to win 6-3 on aggregate. 

Sevilla, the 2007 Copa del Rey and UEFA Cup winners, hosted the first leg on 11 August and scraped out a 1-0 victory thanks to a 27th-minute penalty kick from striker Luís Fabiano. The second leg was hosted by Real Madrid, the 2007 La Liga champions. 

A crowd of 69,000 turned out at the Bernebéu and were stunned to see Sevilla increase their aggregate lead in the 16th minute when a scramble in front of the Madrid goal allowed forward Renato to knock the ball home. But just seven minutes later, Madrid midfielder Royston Drenthe beat Sevilla keeper Andrés Palop with a rocket from over 35 yards out. 

In the 37th minute, a Madrid handball led to another Sevilla penalty, converted by striker Frédéric Kanouté, who had missed the first leg. Madrid surged back to take a 2-3 lead on the day with goals from Fabio Cannavaro (44') and Sergio Ramos (78'). The 3-3 aggregate score would have seen them take the cup on the away goals rule, but Sevilla pulled away with three late strikes from Kanouté (80', 89') and Renato (88') to claim the victory. 

Real Madrid eventually sorted out their defensive woes, giving up the fewest goals in the league en route to the 2007-09 La Liga title, while Sevilla finished fifth that season.