For anybody interested, the first leg of the African Champions League is kicking off shortly. Al Ahly v Esperance Tunis, two good teams in what should be a solid match. You can find a stream here: myopsports.org/op-hd2
I'll be continuing my, what is now customary, watching of Australia's 'A-League' tomorrow morning. Wellington vs WS Wanderers at 06:35 might be a little too early for a Saturday, but Newcastle Jets vs Melbourne Victory (08:50) and Perth Glory vs Brisbane Roar (11:00) will both be being watched. Followed by Central Coast vs Adelaide (06:00) on Sunday morning.
Great stuff Nick, I really do need to find time to watch more world football.
The Ahly match was a cracker, 3-1 final score with some proper football corruption to boot. Al Ahly opened the scoring with a penalty awarded via VAR, despite every replay showing it was a clear dive (genuinely not even close) and later on an Esperance player was booked (I think) for ripping the shirt of another player during a set piece, and the replay clearly shows the Ahly player ripping the shirt himself (http://footballburp.com/stories/video-al-ahly-player-rips-own-shirt-in-first-leg-of-african-champions-league-final/)
Excellent first half as well. River should have been ahead before Boca even got going. Pratto took his goal very well too.
Yeah, terrific game so far. I went to the toilet 0-0 and came back to 1-1 hahaha. That's a classic Lucas Pratto goal, here in Chile I suffered him a bit as he played on Universidad Católica (in fact, he launched his career here). My fondest memory in football comes with him on the pitch, as he scored the lonely goal in a 4-1 La U win that handed us a Championship coming from behind (we lost the first leg 0-2). It was epic.
It was about time wasn't it? The writing has been on the wall since the start of the season and the only surprise was that it took this long for them to act. Some of the names linked to the interim job are a bit worrying though. Mark Hughes? He's more of a clown than Ed Woodward.
Yep, awful campaign, but problems run deep, at least since the end of 2017
We started off 2019 (seasons run alongside the calendar year here) with Frank Kudelka as coach, who had arrived around May 2018 after we sacked Angel Guillermo Hoyos, who was shamefully eliminated from Copa Libertadores 2018 group stage (Cruzeiro beat us 7-0 in Brazil). Kudelka had a decent end of the year, but nothing spectacular. The team didn't play good, but in the end it was good enough for us to finish in 3rd place and qualify for the preliminary stages of the Libertadores 2019.
We brought in around 7 players and in the friendlies they played great, but when the real deal started, it was shambolic. We played Melgar from Perú in the Libertadores Preliminary Second Round (we had a bye on the first). We lost 0-1 in Perú, then drew 0-0 in Santiago despite playing against 10 men for a long period of time. Kicked out of the Libertadores before the group stage against a team we should've beat easily was bad. Then, in the League, after 4 games we had won 1, drew 1 and lost 2, which was enough for the Board to sack Kudelka and bring in another coach, Uruguayan Alfredo Arias who had negotiated his contract before the Board sacked Kudelka, it was a fucking disgrace.
Well, Arias didn't work as well, in fact he was the worst win% of a coach in all La U history. After taking over in the 5th game of the season, he only won 1 game in the rest of the first semester, and only gathered 9 points in 11 games. Surely it was enough to sack him, right? No, the La U Board is a bunch of incompetent dimwits who know shit about football. They let Arias plan the second semester, bring in a few players and then, after a 1-1 draw in the first game of the second half of the season, they decided to sack him.
At least, they brought in someone from in-house, as it was Hernán Caputto who took the job as interim at first (he was the Head of Youth Squads) and then ratified until the end of the year at least. In his first game, we beat Antofagasta, a direct rival on the relegation battle, and then we had 3 draws against top teams, La Calera away (3rd), Universidad Católica home (1st) and Coquimbo away (4th). But most of all, the team is starting to play better, you can see improvement on the pitch and there's a bit of hope. We won 6 points from 4 tough games, and our schedule is fairly easier now, except for the Superclasico against Colo Colo at their stadium.
I think we can stay up, but a couple of things go wrong, and we might not.