Monday, May 29, 2017

29 May 2011 - It Really Shouldn't Be That Difficult

On 29 May 2011, DC United beat Portland 2-3, but not without a little penalty kick controversy.

Portland, in their first MLS season, were hosting DC at Jeld-Wen Field. In the 64th minute, with DC leading 0-1, the referee awarded a penalty kick to Portland after defender Dejan Jaković dragged Portland striker Kenny Cooper down in the box. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid guessed correctly and blocked the shot, but was flagged for coming off his line too early.

Cooper took the re-kick with Hamid blocking the shot again, but the keeper was once more flagged for coming off his line. Replays confirmed the linesman's call on both shots, though the second one was slightly more subjective, as Hamid's movement was relatively minor. For the third attempt, Portland replaced Cooper with Jack Jewsbury, who buried the kick to level the score.

The ordeal turned out to be a minor footnote as DC won 2-3 after Chris Pontius converted a penalty kick of their own and Josh Wolff added a late cushion.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

28 May 1980 - Forest Climbs To The Top (Again)

On 28 May 1980, Nottingham Forest repeated as European Cup champions, making them the first team to win the tournament more times than their domestic league.

Forest won the previous tournament over Malmö, while Hamburg were making their first appearance in the final. Both had ousted prior champions in the semifinals, with Forest beating three-time winners Ajax 2-1 on aggregate and Hamburg eliminating six-time winners Real Madrid 5-3. The latter was particularly poignant, as the final was played at Madrid's home ground, the Bernabéu.

Forest's Trevor Francis, who scored the winning goal in 1979, was out injured, but they found another hero in winger John Robertson (pictured). In the 20th minute, Robertson played the ball to forward Garry Birtles, who held it up under pressure, then sent it back to a charging Robertson, who fired it low to the keeper's left, just edging it inside the post. It turned out to be the winner as the game ended 1-0.

It was part of a period of English dominance in the tournament, with Liverpool winning it in 1977 and 1978, Forest in 1979 and 1980, then Liverpool again in 1981 and Aston Villa in 1982 for six straight English wins. Hamburg broke the streak in 1983 when they returned to the final and beat Juventus 1-0.

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.