Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

FIFA: Pachuca claim 5th place thanks to Cvitanovich

Posted in Asian Football, North and Central American Football by peterbein on December 15, 2010

Dario CvitanivichNorth and Central American champions Pachuca CF had their Argentinian striker Dario Cvitanvich to thank as they ultimately heralded a fifth place finish in their FIFA Club World Cup 5th/6th play-off match with local favourites Al-Wahda in Abu Dhabi.

The United Arab Emirates champions took a 1-0 lead into the break thanks to an Ismail Matar strike just sixty seconds before the half-time whistle. In the second half Hamdan Al Kamali saw red as he received a second yellow card which left Al-Wahda with ten men and only eighteen minutes left on the clock. However their setback was to be forgotten five minutes later when Mahmoud Al Hammadi popped up to double their lead and it looked like the Mexican side were going to suffer the ignominy of losing both their games in this year’s tournament. But it was with eight minutes to play that the game turned into the Dario Cvitanivich show with the Argentine pulling a goal back in the 82nd minute. With just sixty seconds of normal time to go Cvitanovich guided the ball home from close range to send the game into extra-time, during which there was no further scoring.

Pachuca, who have four continental titles to their name, showed the most composure from twelve yards (eleven metres if you prefer) as they converted all of their four necessary kicks. Al-Wahda, on the other hand, missed with their third and fourth efforts through club captain Abdulraheem Jumaa and Modibi Diarra. This allowed the Mexicans to restore some pride and breathe a sigh of relief as they won the shoot-out 4-2 to seal fifth place in their third FIFA Club World Cup competition.

FIFA: TP Mazembe and Seongnam to meet big boys in semi-finals

TP Mazembe

TP Mazembe (in black and white stripes) upset Pachuca and hope to do the same to Internacional on Tuesday

The quarter-final stages have passed in this year’s FIFA Club World Cup with African champions TP Mazembe and Asian champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma having made it through to the final four of the competition where they will meet South American champions Internacional and European champions Internazionale FC respectively.

TP Mazembe, champions of Africa for the past two seasons, faced up to the North & Central American champions Pachuca in their quarter-final match-up this weekend. Having defeated the Mexicans by a goal to nil, Mbenza Bedi scoring the only goal in the 21st minute, the Congolese side have already bettered their performance in last year’s tournament. Last time out Mazembe were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Pohang Steelers so this year represents further progress on the international stage although the club were disappointed not to win their domestic championship this year, losing out to AS Vita-Club by virtue of goal difference. Nonetheless for coach Lamine N’Diaye Tuesday’s encounter with this year’s Copa Libertadores champions Internacional of Porto Alegre will be an historic match for the club and they will want to upset the odds by becoming the first club from outside Europe or South America to participate in the final of this tournament.

Saša Ognenovski

Saša Ognenovski scored in Seongnam's 4-1 win over Al-Wahda

The same goes for Asian club champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma who defeated United Arab Emirates representatives Al-Wahda by a much more comfortable scoreline of four goals to one. Mauricio Molina, Saša Ognenovski, Choi Sung-Kuk and Cho Dong-Geon scored the goals for the South Korean club who will compete in the semi-finals in their maiden appearance in this tournament. Their opponents on Wednesday are UEFA Champions League winners Internazionale FC who have struggled domestically in recent weeks having taken only five points from their last six Serie A games, their only victory coming against AC Parma a fortnight ago. Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma have completed their K-League season, losing in the 2nd round of  the Championship play-offs and have only played in one competitive fixture since November 24th. For Seongnam’s coach Shin Tae-Yong Wednesday’s game is a real chance to upset the odds and they will hope that the Italians will have another off-day. Inter coach Rafael Benítez, however, has unfinished business in this tournament having been a runner-up with Liverpool FC in 2005 and success in this year’s competition could be the difference between keeping or losing his job.

FIFA: Al-Wahda further local interest with victory over Hekari United

Posted in Asian Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on December 8, 2010

Abu Dhabi stadiumThe FIFA Club World Cup began in Abu Dhabi today with host club Al-Wahda securing their berth in the quarter-finals of the competition following a 3-0 win over underdogs Hekari United.

The tournament is being held for the second year running in the United Arab Emirates. Following the disappointment of national representatives Al-Ahli in last year’s competition, in which they lost 2-0 to Oceania champions Auckland City, Al-Wahda were determined not to suffer the ignominy of going out in the preliminary round and further local interest in this year’s tournament. Al-Wahda’s opponents were Hekari United who came to the Middle East with the status of massive underdogs following their against all odds triumph in the 2009-10 OFC O-League, in which they defeated two-time champions Waitakere United in the final, and guaranteed themselves a shot at the big time. Alas they found it tough going against the home side who were, admittedly, made to work hard for their 2-0 lead going into the half-time break. Goals from Brazilian duo Hugo and Fernando Baiano came in the last five minutes before the break and meant that the Papua New Guinea team would need a miracle to turn it around in the second half.

Sadly for Hekari, despite their greater possession, they were unable to score and they were made to rue their profligacy in front of goal. Al-Wahda just had that little bit more extra quality which made the difference and so it proved when Abdulrahim Jumaa scored the third goal with twenty minutes still to play. With only two yellow cards shown all game, one for each team, the South African referee Daniel Bennett would’ve been pleased to have such a quiet game to preside over.

Hekari United certainly didn’t disgrace themselves and can hold their heads high as they get back to normal business in January, hoping to defend the OFC O-League in order to qualify for this competition again next year. As for Al-Wahda, following a good performance, they will find it tougher in their quarter-final match-up against Asian champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma which will be played on Saturday, twenty-four hours after the first quarter-final which pits African champions TP Mazembe against North & Central American champions Pachuca CF.

 

FIFA: Club World Cup 2010 Preview

FIFA Club World CupFor the second year running the FIFA Club World Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates and it looks like being yet another thrilling competition. Last year saw 2008-09 UEFA Champions League holders FC Barcelona narrowly edge out 2009 Copa Libertadores winners Estudiantes de La Plata with the Catalans needing extra-time to defeat their illustrious Argentinian opponents. This year it is expected that this truly “international” tournament will prove to be so with 2009-10 UEFA Champions League winners FC Internazionale Milano face off against their South American counterparts Internacional of Porto Alegre. But there are five other teams who hope to have their shot of glory and Stoppage Time – International Football Blog looks at all seven contenders.

INTERNAZIONALE FC – UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS 2009-10

The José Mourinho era may be over but Internazionale FC still go into this tournament as favourites despite some initial teething problems under new coach Rafael Benítez. Inter haven’t been crowned world champions since 1965 when they defeated Argentinian side Independiente in the old Intercontinental Cup and the Nerazzurri are desperate to add the new trophy to their list of achievements. Internazionale became European champions for the third time in their history having beaten German giants FC Bayern München 2-0 in Real Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, ironically where their former coach now works. Their current coach Benítez has been in the final of this tournament once before but saw his Liverpool FC side lose to a Brazilian side in the final. Will history repeat itself for the Spaniard? Inter first have to dispose any of Hekari United, Al-Wahda or Seongnam Ilhwa Chuma at the last four stage before they can think of the final.

INTERNACIONAL SC – COPA LIBERTADORES WINNERS 2010

The last South American team to win this trophy, Internacional are hoping to create history by becoming the first team to win the FIFA Club World Cup for a second time since the tournament was re-branded in 2004. Their first triumph in this competition came in 2006 in Tokyo where they defeated an FC Barcelona side who were expected to turn up and win the trophy but Inter had other ideas and Adriano Gabiru’s 82nd minute strike remains the club’s finest moment. Internacional would’ve qualified for this year’s tournament even had they have lost the Copa Libertadores final to Mexican side C.D. Guadalajara but a 5-3 aggregate victory for the Porto Alegre based side means that they travel to the UAE with the champion status they deserve. Internacional will face the winners of TP Mazembe and CF Pachuca in the semi-finals.

CF PACHUCA – CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS 2009-10

The champions of North and Central America are competing in this tournament for the third time which is a competition best along with Egyptians Al Ahly. Pachuca’s two previous appearances saw them exit at the quarter-final stage in 2007 before losing to Gamba Osaka in a 3rd/4th place play-off twelve months later. The Mexicans saw off the challenge from compatriots Cruz Azul in the two-legged CONCACAF Champions League final winning courtesy of the away goals rule. Following a 2-1 away defeat, Pachuca were only seconds away from disappointment as the second leg reached its dying moments. However Édgar Benítez’s last gasp goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time gave Pachuca their fourth continental title and another shot of glory at the world stage. They will face off against African champions TP Mazembe in the quarter-finals.

TP MAZEMBE – CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS 2010

The Congolese side are back-to-back African champions and undoubtedly the strongest team on the African continental at the moment. Tout Puissant Mazembe, to give their official name, have come back to prominence in the last couple of years and have put four decades without the top African trophy firmly behind them. Following what was an unexpected CAF Champions League win in 2009 TP Mazembe proved their critics wrong by thrashing Tunisian champions Espérance Tunis 6-1 on aggregate and will hope to better their performance in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2009 where they failed to beat Asian champions Pohang Steelers and OFC Champions Auckland City. Coach Lamine N’Diaye has to negotiate his team’s way through the quarter-finals against CONCACAF champions CF Pachuca before they can meet Internacional SC in the last four stage.

SEONGNAM ILHWA CHUNMA – AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS 2010

The South Koreans may not have won a domestic trophy in four years but that didn’t prevent them from winning Asian football’s elite club competition this year. Coming from the city of Seongnam, this team qualified for the 2010 AFC Champions League as losing finalists from the 2009 K-League final which they lost to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup having defeated Iranian side Zob Ahan Isfahan in the AFC Champions League winning 3-1 in the National Stadium, Tokyo. Their reward is to play against the winners of the qualifying match between Ocenaia champions Hekari United and UAE League champions Al-Wahda in the quarter-finals. Should they be successful in their opening match a semi-final against European champions Internazionale FC awaits.

PKR HEKARI UNITED – OFC O-LEAGUE CHAMPIONS 2009-10

The rise of Papua New Guinea’s biggest club has been something of a fairytale in world football’s smallest confederation. Having only picked up just one point from their opening two group matches in the 2009-10 O-League, Hekari United then won all of their four remaining games against group opponents Lautoka FC, Tafea FC and Marist FC before going on to meet strong favourites Waitakere United in the final. The New Zealanders, twice O-League champions in the previous three years, came unstuck in the first leg in Port Moresby losing 3-0 before going on to gain some pride with a 2-1 second leg win. The 4-2 aggregate victory for Hekari signalled the first time that a club from outside Australia or New Zealand had won Oceania’s top tournament and rewards them with a qualifying match against UAE champions Al-Wahda which they’ll hope to win in order to meet Asian champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.

AL-WAHDA – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES PREMIER LEAGUE WINNERS 2009-10

In order to gain some local interest FIFA has decided to include the national champions of the host nation in the last four tournaments. The middle eastern state of the United Arab Emirates hosts this tournament for a second consecutive year and it is 2009-10 Premier League champions Al-Wahda who will hope to do their country proud. Al-Wahda qualified for the tournament after winning their national championship by seven points from nearest challengers Al Jazira and they will hope to better the performance of last year’s representatives Al-Ahli who lost 2-0 to OFC Champions League winners Auckland City in the play-off round. Should Al-Wahda defeat Hekari United in this year’s play-off they will face off against Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in the quarter-finals.