Saturday, August 31, 2013

31 August 1980 - Chinaglia's Record-Setting Night

On 31 August 1980, New York Cosmos striker Giorgia Chinaglia scored seven goals in a playoff game against Tusla, setting seven records in the process.

The match was in the first round of the NASL playoffs. The Cosmos had already beaten Tulsa 1-3 away in the first leg and were hosting them at Giants Stadium for the second leg. Chinaglia scored the opening goal in the 21st minute, opening the floodgates for the strikes that soon followed.

His second came five minutes later from the penalty spot before Tulsa's Billy Caskey closed the gap to 2-1. Then a Franz Beckenbauer goal pushed the margin to 3-1, followed by another Chinaglia penalty kick to make it 4-1. Five minutes after that, the Italian international tallied his fourth of the day to end the half 5-1 to New York. He added a fifth goal in the 75th minute, then a sixth with a diving header about five minutes later. Then, with just over a minute left, he scored his seventh of the day to set the final margin at 8-1.

His tally set seven different records, including (1) most goals in a playoff game, (2) most goals in a half at 5, (3) most points in a playoff game (15, under the NASL rules of two points per goal and one per assist), (4) most points in a half with 10, (5) the shortest time between two goals at 4 minutes and 48 seconds, (6) career goals in the playoffs with 29, and (7) career playoff points with 65. Chinaglia already held the latter two records, while most of the others he took over from the Minnesota Kicks' Alan Willey.

Chinaglia continued his impressive performance throughout the playoffs, culminating with a brace in New York's 3-0 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the Soccer Bowl.

Friday, August 30, 2013

30 August 2012 - Every Sports Movie Ever Made Just Became More Realistic

On 30 August 2012, Sarah Crilly scored on her Scotland debut--in a game that started with her as a spectator.

The 20-year old striker had appeared for Scotland's U-17 and U-19 teams and been training with the senior squad. That training earned her an invitation to attend a friendly against Norway at Dunfermline's East End Park. She was in the stands watching as Scotland took a 1-0 lead with a goal from Emma Mitchell in the thirteenth minute.

Ten minutes into the second half, manager Anna Signeul had to make two substitutions due to injuries, leaving only a defender and two goalkeepers on the bench. So when a third player had to come out a few minutes later, Signeul sent for Crilly, who was standing in line for a cup of tea when she was asked to suit up.

She entered in the 62nd minute, with Scotland still leading, but they soon fell behind after conceding twice to Norway's Isabell Herlovsen (70', 75'). Then, in the 85th minute, Crilly scored the equalizer to salvage a 2-2 draw.

She has since made only other appearance, playing in a 1-1 draw with Serbia in August 2013.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

29 August 1979 - Chile Reaches Seventh Heaven

On 29 August 1979, Chile secured their record win, beating Venezuela 7-0 in the first round of the Copa América.

They started the day tied in the three-team group's last place, having only a single point after drawing with Venezuela and losing to Colombia earlier in the month. Colombia were on top with five points, but had played one match more. Venezuela, meanwhile, despite starting strong with a pair of draws, had just been beaten badly by Colombia, 4-0, before traveling to Santiago to face Chile again.

The hosts quickly established their intentions, going up 1-0 with a goal from Jorge Peredo in just the third minute. Venezuela's defense composed itself, however, and limited Chile to only one other goal before the break (Carlos Rivas, 38').

In the second half, both Rivas (54') and Peredo (59') scored again to stretch the lead to 4-0, then Leonardo Véliz (76'), Mario Soto (80'), and Patricio Yáñez (84') added strikes of their own to set the final margin at 7-0. In addition to setting a record victory, it reversed the score of their record defeat, 7-0 to Brazil in 1959.

Chile went on to finish as runners-up to Paraguay. They later matched the record scoreline with a 7-0 win over Armenia in 1997, but have not yet exceeded it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

28 August 1998 - Gus Puts One Over On Guus

On 28 August 1998, Chelsea won the UEFA Super Cup over Real Madrid with a late goal from midfielder Gus Poyet.

It was the first appearance in the Super Cup for both teams. Chelsea qualified for the match by lifting the previous season's Cup Winners' Cup (their second), while Real Madrid, playing their first competitive match under new manager Guus Hiddink, arrived after winning their seventh European Cup/Champions League title. The two teams met previously in the 1971 Cup Winners' Cup Final, which Chelsea won 2-1 in a replay.

Unlike most previous Super Cups which were played over two legs, the 1998 edition was a single match at the neutral location of Monaco's Stade Louis II. Playing in front of a crowd of just over 11,500, the teams remained locked at 0-0 deep into the second half, but Poyet, who had come on a substitute in the 63rd minute, finally gave Chelsea the lead with an 81st-minute goal. It was all the Londoners needed, as they held on for the 1-0 victory.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

27 August 1938 - Makes You Wonder Why They'd Ever Want To Change It

On 27 August 1938, Everton's "beacon" crest made its debut, but did so in a relatively inconspicuous location.

Everton's first crest, which dates back to 1920, consisted simply of the interlocking initials "EFC." According to the official club history, secretary Theo Kelly decided that a newer crest was neededhe wanted to include one on a club necktie. He also designed the crest, using the local landmark known as Prince Rupert's Tower as its centerpiece, adding laurels as emblems off success, and including the motto "Nil satis, nisi optimum," which translates to "nothing but the best is good enough."

The club produced the neckties as proposed, and they were worn for the first time by Kelly and club chairman Earnest Green on the opening day of the 1938-39 season in the First Division. Everton were away at Blackpool that day and won 0-2 with goals from Tommy Lawton and Alex Stevenson.

Kelly and Green continued to wear the ties throughout the season, which ended with Everton claiming their fifth league title (and Kelly became the team's manager for the following season). The new crest was not used on the team's shirts, however, until 1978.

The crest has since undergone several modifications, most recently in 2013 when the club simplified the design, dropping both the laurels and the motto. But those changes caused an uproar among Everton supporters and the club vowed to reevaluate the crest at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Monday, August 26, 2013

26 August 2004 - A Pattern Starts To Emerge

On 26 August 2004, the United States women won Olympic gold, beating Brazil in the final with an extra-time goal from Abby Wambach.

The two teams had met several times in major tournaments, including the 2000 Olympics, the 1991 World Cup and the 1999 World Cup, and their most recent meeting in the group stage of the 2004 Olympics. The US won every meeting, but this was the first time they had met in a final. The game took additional meaning as the last competitive appearance for US stars Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Joy Fawcett.

Playing at the Kiraiskaki Stadium in Piraeus, the US took the lead with a 39th-minute goal from winger Lindsay Tarpleya 24-yard rocket that flew just inside the left post. They held on to it deep into the second half, but just seven minutes from the end of regulation, Brazilian forward Pretinha equalized and the match went into extra time.

Then, in the 112th minute, the US earned a corner. Kristine Lilly took the kick, which found Wambach ten yards out. The forward rose to the ball and sent it into the net with a powerful header to claim the 2-1 win.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

25 August 1928 - Football By Numbers

On 25 August 1928, Arsenal and Chelsea became the first teams in Europe to wear shirt numbers, though not against each other.

The two teams weren't even in the same division at the time, with Arsenal playing in the top flight and Chelsea in Division Two. But when they each opened their seasons, both had adopted the innovation of wearing shirt numbers to help identify the players.

The number were assigned by position used in the 2-3-5 formation prevalent at the time: goalkeeper (1), right full back (2), left full back (3), right center half (4), center half (5), left center half (6), outside right forward (7), inside right forward (8), center forward (9), inside left forward (10), and outside left forward (11) (though only Arsenal used all eleven, as Chelsea's keeper did not wear a number that day).

While both Arsenal and Chelsea may have been able to better identify their players, the day's results went in opposite directions, with Arsenal losing 3-2 to Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea beating Swansea 4-0.

Although this was the first use of shirt numbers in Europe, they were used in the US four years earlier by Vesper Buick, when they lost to Fall River in the US Open Cup Final (shown below).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

24 August 2000 - Akers Away

On 24 August 2000, US midfielder/forward Michelle Akers, one of the earliest stars of women's football, announced her retirement.

She joined the US national team upon its formation in 1985 at the age of 19 and scored the team's very first goal in a 2-2 draw with Denmark that August. In 1991, her ten goals at the inaugural women's World Cup remain a tournament record and helped the US lift the trophy. After a disappointing third-place finish in the 1995 World Cup, she helped the team win the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics, then claimed another World Cup trophy in 1999.

The US Soccer Federation has called Akers "the greatest women's soccer player in history." Her status was recognized commercially when she became the first female footballer to earn an endorsement from a shoe company.

Throughout her career, however, she battled injuries, including multiple knee surgeries, a shoulder injury, and a condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome. After the 1999 World Cup, at the age of 34, she decided that she could no longer continue and chose to retire from the game. At the time, she was the team's second-leading scorer, with 105 goals in 153 appearances (she is currently fourth behind Abby Wambach, Mia Hamm, and Kristine Lilly), and remains in the top ten for assists.

Friday, August 23, 2013

23 August 2008 - Argentina Finds A Way To Beat The Heat

On 23 August 2008, Argentina won their second straight Olympic gold, beating Nigeria 1-0 with a goal from Ángel di María.

The two teams met previously in the 1996 gold medal game, won by Nigeria 3-2 with a 90th-minute strike from Emmanuel Amuneke. Argentina failed to qualify for the tournament in 2000, but went on to win it in 2004 over CONMEBOL rivals Paraguay.

Defending their title in 2008, they got off to a perfect start by winning all three of their group stage matches, then advancing over the Netherlands and Brazil in the knockout rounds to reach the final. Nigeria, meanwhile, also topped their group and made it into the final with wins over Ivory Coast and Belgium.

They played the final at noon at the National Stadium in Beijing, where the temperatures reached 107° F/42° C. The heat was so oppressive that officials twice stopped the match so that the players could rehydrate. The Nigerians tightly marked strikers Lionel Messi and Sergio Agüero, but that allowed enough space for di María to exploit for the go-ahead goal in the 58th minutehe chipped the Nigerian keeper after receiving the ball from Messi.

It was only his second goal of the tournament, but it was the only one of the match as Argentina won 1-0.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

22 August 2006 - Technically, They're Not "Wins," But Try Telling Them That

On 22 August 2006, Bradford City lost to Carlisle in a penalty shootout, notable for the fact that it was their last such loss in seven years (and counting).

The game was in the first round of the League Cup. It ended 1-1 after extra time, forcing a penalty shootout that Carlisle won 4-3. Since then, however, Bradford have won an English-record nine straight shootouts. Although they were in League Two for all of them, their wins include a couple of upsets over Premier League teams Wigan and Arsenal.

  • 2-2 (3-2) over Notts County in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on 6 October 2009;
  • 2-2 (5-4) over Port Vale in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on 10 November 2009;
  • 0-0 (3-1) over Sheffield Wednesday in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on 30 August 2011;
  • 2-2 (4-3) over Huddersfield the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on 4 October 2011;
  • 1-1 (6-5) over Sheffield United in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on 8 November 2011;
  • 0-0 (3-2) over Hartlepool in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on 9 October 2012;
  • 0-0 (4-2) over Wigan in the League Cup on 30 October 2012;
  • 3-3 (4-2) over Northampton in the FA Cup on 13 November 2012; and
  • 1-1 (3-2) over Arsenal in the League Cup on 11 December 2012.

Now in League One, Bradford hopes to continue the streak, which remains an active English record.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

21 August 2004 - I Can Only Wonder What Happened At The Break

On 21 August 2004, Kaiserslautern striker Carsten Jancker set a German Cup record when he put six past Schönberg in the tournament's first round.

A star at Bayern Munich where he won four Bundesliga titles and a Champions League trophy between 1996 and 2002, Jancker had just returned to Germany after a two-year spell in Italy with Udinese. He quickly settled in with his performance against fourth-division Schönberg.

Playing at Schönberg's Jahnstadion, Kaiserslautern took the lead with a goal from Christian Nerlinger in the 20th minute, then extended it with a rapid brace from Ferydoon Zandi (41', 44'). Then, in the second half, Jancker took over, scoring his first goal in the 46th minute, followed by additional strikes (58', 61', 71', 77', 85'). His six goals remain a record for a single player in the German Cup.

In the meantime, Schönberg provided an own goal (53'), while Selim Teber (56', 82'), Kamil Kosowski (64'), Zandi (68'), and Marco Englehardt (88') scored for the visitors to set the final margin at 0-15.

Unfortunately for Kaiserslautern, the goals did not come as easily in the second round, where they fell to Schalke on penalties, 4-4 (4-3).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

20 August 1960 - Pretty Much The Opposite Of His Last Name, Then

On 20 August 1960, John Trollope made the first of his league-record 770 appearances for Swindon Town in a 1-1 draw with Halifax Town.

Born in Wroughton, just over three miles away from Swindon's County Ground, Trollope spent his entire career with the club. A left back, he made his debut at the age of seventeen in their Division Three opener against Halifax and went on to appear in all but two of their league matches that season.

He continued to feature for them over the next twenty years, as they fluctuated between Divisions Two and Three. Between 1960 and 1978, he never made fewer than 35 league appearances and usually made more than 40 each season.

By the time he retired in 1981, his tally reached a total of 770, setting the current league record for the most appearances at a single club. After hanging up his boots, however, he didn't go far, taking over as the club's manager from 1981 to 1983.

Monday, August 19, 2013

19 August 2006 - Not The Housewarming Present They Would have Liked

On 19 August 2006, Arsenal played their first competitive game at the new Emirates Stadium, drawing 1-1 with Aston Villa.

Built over a three-year period with a construction cost of £390 million, the stadium replaced Arsenal's previous home, Highbury, and expanded the club's match-day capacity from 38,000 to over 60,300. A slightly less-than-capacity crowd of 60,023 turned up for the the first competitive game there on the Premier League's opening weekend, with Aston Villa as the guests of honor.

It was a close contest, remaining scoreless through the first half, but Villa managed to break the deadlock early in the second when captain Olof Mellberg headed home from a 53rd-minute corner kick.

Corner kicks became the theme of the day. Arsenal substitute Theo Walcott came on in the 73rd minute and, eleven minutes later, sent in a cross that dropped at the feet of midfielder Gilberto Silva, who prodded it home to earn a share of the points.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

18 August 2012 - Wasting No Time To Make An Impact

On 18 August 2012, Málaga's Fabrice Olinga became the youngest goalscorer in La Liga history (and got the match-winner as well).

After finishing fourth in the league the previous season, financial pressures forced Málaga to sell off several players, including star midfielder Santi Cazorla and their 2011-12 top scorer Salomón Rondón. They also lost striker Ruud van Nistlerooy to retirement, forcing manager Manuel Pellegrini to make some changes for the 2012-13 season.

For their opener against Celta Vigo, Málaga started with Sebastián Fernández as the lone forward, but with the game still scoreless in the 60th minute, Pellegrini replaced him with Olinga. Twenty-four minutes later, Olinga scored the game's only goal. He was 16 years and 98 days at the time, breaking the previous record of 16 years and 289 days, set by Athletic Bilbao's Iker Muniain in October 2009.

Despite the successful debut, Olinga made only five other appearances for Málaga's senior team that season and did not score again.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

17 August 1994 - That's The Way To Make A Debut

On 17 August 1994, Zinedine Zidane debuted for France, scoring two late goals to earn a draw with the Czech Republic.

The 22-year old midfielder had already made a name for himself with eight seasons in Ligue 1split equally between Cannes and Bordeauxand had just completed his first year with Juventus by winning the 1997 Serie A title. But despite six years playing for France's youth teams, he had failed to make the leap into the senior squad.

That changed in August 1994, when he came on as a substitute in a friendly against the Czech Republic. Playing in Bordeaux, Les Bleus were down 0-2 at the break after conceding goals to Tomáš Skuhravý (42') and Daniel Šmejkal (45'). That prompted manager Aimé Jacquet to make a couple of changes at the start of the second half, one of which was bringing Zidane on for Corentin Martins.

France were still down 0-2 deep into the second half when, in the 85th minute, Zidane received a pass just inside the Czech half, beat two defenders, and unleashed a sonic boom of a shot from 25 yards out into the far top corner. That alone would have made it a memorable debut, but he added a second goal two minutes later with a towering header from about 10 yards out to earn the 2-2 draw.

He went on to score a total of 31 goals in 108 appearances for France while reaching the World Cup final twice and winning it in 1998.

Friday, August 16, 2013

16 August 1998 - Later, More Than 50,000 Claimed They Were There

On 16 August 1998, DC United became the first team from the US to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup, beating Toluca 1-0 in the final.

Established in 1962, the Champions Cup (now known as the CONCACAF Champions League) is the federation's premier club competition, comparable in scope to the UEFA Champions League and South America's Copa Libertadores. For over thirty-five years, however, no team from the United States had ever won the competition. Indeed, none of them had even reached the final until the Los Angeles Galaxy managed it in 1997 (but lost to Cruz Azul).

As the reigning MLS Cup holders, DC United entered the 1998 competition in the quarterfinals. They didn't have to travel far, as DC's RFK Stadium hosted all of the remaining matches from that point forward, including the final, which saw United up against Toluca, the Mexican Primera División title holders.

A meager crowd of just 12,600 showed up, but the ones that did were rewarded with Eddie Pope's match-winner in the 41st minute.

DC has yet to return to the final, although other MLS teams have; the Galaxy won it in 2000 and Real Salt Lake finished as runners-up in 2011. Toluca, meanwhile, returned twice more, winning it in 2003.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

15 August 2010 - Seeing Red With Double Vision

On 15 August 2010, Liverpool and Arsenal played to a 1-1 draw that saw a debutant player for each side get ejected.

It was the first game of the season for both teams, with Liverpool hosting the Gunners at Anfield. The home supporters were eager to see their new midfielder, England international Joe Cole, signed from Chelsea earlier that summer on a free transfer. But his season started in an inauspicious fashion, as he received a straight red right before the break for a foul on Arsenal center back Laurent Koscielny, who was also making his first league start after moving from Lorient.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Liverpool took the lead at the start of the second half with a 46th-minute goal from striker David N'Gog and managed to hold onto it until right near the end. In the first minute of stoppage time, Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh bounced a cross off the post and into Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina, who knocked it over the line for an own-goal to bring the game level.

The day wasn't quite over, however, and Koscielny marked the occasion by receiving two stoppage-time yellow cards in quick succession, resulting in his ejection right before the final whistle.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

14 August 1977 - They Were Masters Of Time And Space

On 14 August 1977, the New York Cosmos set a couple of records when they routed the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 8-3 in the NASL playoffs.

The Strikers had just finished their first season in the league and did so with the best record, winning 19 games and losing only 7. That earned them a first-round bye in the post-season tournament and took them straight into the division championship. There, they met the Cosmos, who had played and beaten Fort Lauderdale twice during the regular season, both times by the score of 3-0.

New York hosted the first leg at Giants Stadium, where a record NASL crowd of 77,691 turned out for the occasion. They were rewarded by a dominant performance from the home side. Led by their star quartet of Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, and Giorgio Chinaglia, the Cosmos rolled to a 4-1 lead at the break with goals from Steve Hunt (2), Beckenbauer, and Chinaglia. (Maurice Whittle scored for Fort Lauderdale).

Early in the second half, Tony Field extended the lead to 5-1, then Chinaglia completed his hat-trick with two strikes in quick succession before the Striker's Norman Piper closed the gap. Gary Etherington added an eighth goal for New York, setting a record for the highest score by a team in the NASL playoffs, while Whittle's final score of the day set the 8-3 result.

The second leg was closer, with New York winning in a shootout before going on to win the final over the Seattle Sounders.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

13 August 1997 - It's All About Being In The Right Place At The Right Time

On 13 August 1997, Cruzeiro won their second Copa Libertadores, despite starting the tournament in unimpressive fashion.

Winners of the competition in 1976, Cruzeiro opened the 1997 edition with three straight losses in the group stage, including a 1-0 loss to Sporting Cristal on 28 February. They rallied to win their remaining three group-stage matches, however, with a 2-1 win over Sporting on 11 April to pip the Peruvian club to the group's second place (though Sporting still advanced by finishing third).

The two teams met at the Estadio Nacional in Lima for the final's first leg on 6 August and played to a scoreless draw. Cruzeiro hosted the second leg one week later in Belo Horizonte where the crowd reached an official count of just over 95,000 (and an unofficial count of almost 107,000).

The second leg remained scoreless deep into the second half, when, in the 75th minute, midfielder Elivélton scored the final's only goal. Cruzeiro had taken a corner kick which a Sporting defender headed away. It landed just outside the 18-yard box at the feet of Elivélton, who blasted it into the far bottom corner. The Sporting keeper managed to get a hand to it, but could not keep the ball out of the net.

It was just Elivélton's second goal of the tournament, but was enough to deliver the cup to Cruzeiro.

Monday, August 12, 2013

12 August 1990 - And The Game Hasn't Been The Same Since

On 12 August 1990, striker Mario Balotelli, the first black player to score for Italy, was born in Palermo.

His parents were Ghanaian immigrants who, when Balotelli was three years old, placed him in foster care at the recommendation of social services because they could not afford medical care. From that point on, he was raised by the Balotelli family and, at the age of 18, he became an Italian citizen.

He started his professional career in 2006 with Lumezzane, but made only two league appearances there before moving to Inter in 2007. In three seasons there, he helped the club to three Scudettos, but fell out with manager José Mourinho, who had replaced Roberto Mancini for Balotelli's last two seasons. In 2010, the striker followed Mancini to Manchester City, where he remained for two and half years, winning the 2011 FA Cup and the 2012 Premier League title, before moving back to Italy with AC Milan.

Balotelli earned his first cap for Italy in 2010 and scored his first international goal in November 2011the first for a black player. Since then, he has scored ten goals in 25 appearances, including both goals in Italy's 2-1 quarterfinal win over Germany at Euro 2012.

Despite his talent, Balotelli has drawn heavy criticism for a lack of discipline both on and off the pitch, including disputes with teammates and a scuffle with Mancini while at Manchester City. One of his most memorable incidents, however, was nearly setting his house on fire while shooting off fireworks inside.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

11 August 2012 - El Tri Adds A Fourth Color

On 11 August 2012, Mexico took the gold medal at the Olympics, upsetting favorites Brazil 2-1 in London.

Brazil entered the tournament as the leading contenders, with a cadre of stars including Porto striker Hulk, new PSG signing Thiago Silva, Internacional striker Leandro Damião—the tournament's top scorer—and Santos wunderkind Neymar. But when they met Mexico at Wembley, it was El Tri forward Oribe Peralta who stole the show.

Peralta, who plays his club ball at Santos Laguna, needed only 28 seconds and a mistake from Brazilian defender Rafael to put Mexico ahead. When Rafael tried to play the ball out of the back, it was stolen by Javier Aquino, who passed it to Peralta for the opening goal.

Stunned by the quick reversal, Brazil seemed to play on their heels for most of the match. Although they had scored three goals in every game of the tournament up to that point, they could not crack the Mexican defense and, in the 75th minute, they fell further behind as Peralta struck again, this time with a header off a free kick.

Hulk, who had come on as a substitute in the 32nd minute, eventually found the net with a strike in the first minute of stoppage time, but it was too late to do anything but offer a little consolation.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

10 August 1977 - Dalglish Makes A Deal

On 10 August 1977, Scottish striker Kenny Dalglish moved from Celtic to Liverpool and went on to become one of the club's greatest players.

He was already an established star, having won four league titles and four Scottish Cups with Celtic, before setting his mind on a move to England. Liverpool had been interested in him for a while, but the move acquired an urgency (and funding) when they sold their star forward Kevin Keegan to Hamburg for a British-record £500,000 earlier that summer, and they spent £440,00 of that fee to bring Dalgish to Anfield.

His first season there was a tremendous success; he scored 31 goals in 61 appearances across all competitions while winning the Charity Shield, the European Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup (the latter over Keegan and Hamburg). He spent another twelve seasons there before his retirement in 1990the last five as player-managerand won another two European Cups, six league titles and two FA Cups.

Friday, August 9, 2013

9 August 2011 - Doni Is Done

On 9 August 2011, Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni received a 3.5-year ban for match fixing, effectively ending his career.

The Italian Football Federation announced the penalty after a lengthy investigation into alleged fixes in eighteen matches, mostly in Italy's lower leagues. A total of nineteen people and fifteen different clubs were implicated, including the 38-year old Doni, who had made 151 league appearances for Atalanta over the previous five years and had just helped them win promotion to the top flight for the 2011-12 season (it was his second stint with the club after making 145 league appearances between 1998 and 2003) .

Investigators determined that several of the suspects had ties to a global gambling syndicate. The individual punishments ranged from five-year bans for eight players to one player who was given a warning only. Doni and ex-Fiorentina striker Mauro Bressan received the second-highest bans of three and a half years each. Bressan had retired in 2009, while the ban ended Doni's career.

Atalanta received a six-point penalty to start the season, but still managed to finish comfortably in twelfth place.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

8 August 1976 - There's Something About That Cup, Apparently

On 8 August 1976, AmaZulu got their record win, beating Bizana Lucky Stars 16-0 in the first round of the Benson & Hedges Cup.

Founded in 1932 as Zulu Royal Conquerors, AmaZulu is one of the oldest clubs in South Africa. Despite that pedigree, however, their only distinction up that point was winning the 1972 league title. While that remained their only silverware until they won a minor cup in 1992, they added to their place in South African football history with the win over Bizana in the first round of South Africa's premier domestic cup.

The 16-0 scoreline remained a South African record for several years, though AmaZula hit the same mark again with a win over Ford Pirates in 1986. That win was also in the first round of the cup, renamed at the time as the Mainstay Cup and now known as the Nedbank Cup.

The record finally fell in March 2012, when Mamelodi Sundowns beat Powerlines FC 24-0, which, like the two previous top scores, came in cup's first round.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

7 August 1968 - Leeds Finally Get Their Day At The Fair

On 7 August 1968, Leeds United took a significant step toward securing their first major international trophy, beating Ferencváros 1-0 in the first leg of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final.

Leeds reached the semifinals in 1966 before getting eliminated by Zaragoza, then finished as runners-up to Dinamo Zagreb in 1967. On both occasions, the team that won the first leg went on to win the tie. Drawing on that experience, Leeds knew the importance of doing well when they hosted Ferencváros, who had won the competition in 1965. They had their work cut out for them, though, in defending Hungarian forward Flórián Albert, the 1967 Ballon d'Or winner.

But, playing before a crowd of 25,268 at Elland Road, the Leeds defense, anchored by the center-back pairing of Jack Charlton and Norman Hunter, kept Albert in check. The day's only goal was scored by Leeds forward Mick Jones, who found the net in the 41st minute.

It turned out to be the only goal of the final, as the two teams played to a scoreless draw in Hungary a month later.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

6 August 2012 - Better Late Than Never

On 6 August 2012, the US women advanced to the gold medal match thanks to the latest goal ever scored in Olympic history.

The game was the second women's semifinal, with Japan already advancing with a 2-1 win over France. The US were up against neighbors and rivals Canada, who had just eliminated hosts Great Britain in the quarterfinals.

Playing at Old Trafford in Manchester, the two teams traded a pair of goals each from Canada's Christine Sinclair (22', 67') and the US's Megan Rapinoe (54', 70') to remain level deep into the second half. All four goals were impressive, but Rapinoe's were particularly so, as her first goal snuck in directly from a corner kick and her second was a long-range blast off the opposite post from the edge of the penalty area.

Sinclair then completed her hat-trick in the 73rd minute, which also made her the tournament's leading scorer, before US forward Abby Wambach converted an 80th-minute penalty to bring the sides level once again. They remained level into the second half of extra time. Then, in the third minute of stoppage time, US forward Alex Morgan scored with a header to secure the victory.

The US went into the final, where they beat Japan in a rematch of the 2011 World Cup Final. Canada did not go home empty-handed, though, beating France to claim the bronze.

[Photo credit: Jamie McDonald/FIFA/Getty Images]

Monday, August 5, 2013

5 August 2007 - Welcome Home, Community Shield

On 5 August 2007, Manchester United won the first Community Shield played at the new Wembley, beating Chelsea on penalties, 1-1 (3-0).

Dating back to 1908, the competition pits the previous season's league winner against the FA Cup holder, which, in 2007, were United and Chelsea, respectively. The same two teams met in the last edition of the contest to be played at the old Wembley in 2000, when it was named the Charity Shield, with Chelsea winning 2-0. Since then, Cardiff's Millenium Stadium hosted the event while the new Wembley was under construction.

For the 2007 match, United went ahead with a 35th-minute goal from Ryan Giggs, but Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda equalized right before the break. The score remained level at 1-1 through 90 minutes and stoppage time, forcing a decision by penalty kicks (there was no provision for extra time).

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar shined in the shootout, denying Chelsea's first three attempts, while United scored their first two. That brought up striker Wayne Rooney for the winning shot, which he fired past keeper Petr Cech, who guessed correctly, but could not reach the ball in time.

It was United's twelfth outright Charity/Community Shield, with another four shared. They have since won it another three times, most recently in 2011, for a record of 19.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

4 August 1905 - The Literal Translation Seems A Bit Misleading

On 4 August 1905, Estudiantes de la Plata were founded and went on to become one of Argentina's most successful clubs, with six league titles and four Copa Libertadores trophies.

Led by president Miguel Gutiérrez, the founders broke away from their previous club, Gimnasia y Esgrima, because they believed the latter did not emphasize football enough. They met at a shoe shore in La Plata, where they drew up a charter and elected Gutiérrez, although they did not play their first official match until that November.

They won their first league title in 1913, but enjoyed their most successful period in the late 1960s and early '70s, with another league trophy (the 1967 Metropolitano), the 1968 Intercontinental Cup, the 1969 Interamerican Cup, and three consecutive Copa Libertadores titles from 1968 to 1970 (they finished as runners-up in 1971).

A relatively fallow period followed, but Estudiantes rose to the top again in the 2000s, winning the Apertura in 2006 and 2010 and a fourth Copa Libertadores in 2009.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

3 August 1999 - Remember When Wenger Used To Sign New Players?

On 3 August 1999, Arsenal signed 22-year old striker Thierry Henry from Juventus for a reported fee of £11M. He went on to become the club's all-time leading scorer.

The French international started his career at Monaco in 1994, when he was signed by manager Arsène Wenger. While there, he scored 28 goals and provided 37 assists in 141 appearances as Monaco won both the league title and the Trophée des Champions in 1997. That success led to a £10.5M transfer to Juventus in January 1999, but he failed to adapt to Serie A and left after only half a season.

Arsène Wenger, who had moved to Arsenal in 1996, brought Henry to London, using some of the £23.5M the club had just received from Real Madrid for the sale of Nicolas Anelka. At the time the signing was announced, Wenger said "He is a young international striker who will be a great asset to Arsenal Football Club. He has good experience of both club and international football and will considerably strengthen our firepower."

And Henry delivered, scoring a club-record total of 226 goals between 1999 and 2007 while leading the club to two Premier League titles and three FA Cups. He was the league's top scorer in four different seasons and was the French player of the year five times while at Arsenal.

He left the club in 2007 for Barcelona, and then the New York Red Bulls, but returned for a loan spell in 2012 and added another two goals to his club total.

Friday, August 2, 2013

2 August 2003 - The Cynic In Me Suspects That Deal Was Already Done

On 2 August 2003, the MLS All-Star Game featured a foreign team for the first time, hosting Chivas de Guadalajara.

Established in 1996, the league's first season, the previous All-Star Games pitted an East team against a West team. The only exceptions were in 1998, when the format changed temporarily to a contest between MLS USA and MLS World teams, and 2002, when the All-Stars played against the US national team (and won, 3-2).

For the 2003 edition, the league invited Guadalajara, one of Mexico's most popular and successful teams, with 10 league titles to their credit at that point (though none since 1997). They met at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, where a crowd of 27,000 watched as the All-Stars took a 57th-minute lead with a goal from Chicago Fire forward Ante Razov.

Chivas quickly equalized with a strike from Jair Garcia (66'), but LA Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz (68') put the All-Stars back ahead and a late score from Chicago's DaMarcus Beasley (83') sealed the 3-1 victory.

It wasn't all bad for Chivas, however, as MLS announced a few months later that their next round of expansion would include a new affiliated club, Chivas USA.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

1 August 1943 - An Uncommon Symmetry

On 1 August 1943, América and Guadalajara played each other for the first time, starting a rivalry that would become known as El Súper Clásico.

Both clubs had been around since the early 1900s, with Guadalajara founded in 1906 and América following ten years later, but they played in different regional leagues until the establishment of the Mexican national league in 1943. Guadalajara won that first meeting, 1-0.

At the time, the two teams were not close rivals. That came later, when they rose to become two of Mexico's most popular and successful teams (they currently have 11 league titles each, sharing the record).

Counting that first meeting, they have met a total of 205 times, including 137 times in the league, 12 times in the Copa México, and twice in the Copa Libertadores. América have a slight edge, with 75 wins to Guadalajara's 73 (and 63 draws).

Their most recent meeting was in a July 2013 friendly, played in Las Vegas. Guadalajara won 1-0.