Tuesday, October 24, 2017

24 October 1966 - He Came, He Saw, He Conquered

On 24 October 1966, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was born in the city of Saratov in southern Russia. Currently one of the richest men in the world, he has spurred Chelsea to a massive haul of silverware including multiple league titles and the Champions League trophy.

Abramovich accumulated his wealth quickly, though he has been accused of using methods of questionable legality. For example, while still serving in the Soviet Army, he made money by selling allegedly stolen gasoline. By 1995, however, he, along with a partner, had acquired a controlling interest in a large Russsian oil company, paying $100 million.

In 2003, he bought Chelsea from then-owner Ken Bates. He paid £140 million for the club, who at the time were saddled with debt, and quickly steered them to back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006--their first league titles since 1955.

Chelsea have had twelve different (non-caretaker) managers under Abramovich, including Claudio Ranieri, José Mourinho (twice), Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, and current boss Antonio Conte. Throughout, Chelsea have won five league titles (2005, 2006, 2010, 2015, and 2017), four FA Cups (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012), and the Champions League (2012).

Monday, October 23, 2017

23 October 1971 - Those Sheets Need Cleaning Now

On 23 October 1971, Bundesliga leaders Schalke visited defending champions Borussia Mönchengladbach and were crushed, 7-0.

Gladbach had won the league the previous two seasons, but started the day five points behind Schalke. Schalke's run to the top was driven by their strong defense, who had surrendered only three goals so far that season and had just completed their seventh straight clean sheet. But it did not take long for Gladbach to end that streak, as striker Jupp Heynkes scored after only four minutes (pictured).

It was the start of a long day for Schalke keeper Norbert Nigbur, who picked the ball out of his net another four times in the first half alone after goals from Günter Netzer (5'), Hartwig Bleidick (23'), another from Heynckes (29'), and one from Ulrik Le Fevre (36').

With the margin stretched to 5-0 at the break, the match was effectively over as a contest, but Gladbach were not done. In the 52nd minute, Le Fevre scored another by juggling the ball over two Schalke defenders before slamming the ball into the net with a right-footed volley. Netzer then completed the rout with a 64th-minute strike to extend the final margin to 7-0.

As impressive as the victory was, it fell short of the record at the time, set by Gladbach with an 11-0 win over Schalke in 1967 (they beat their own record in 1978 by beating Borussia Dortmund 12-0). Schalke went on to finish as runners-up to Bayern Munich in the league that season, while Gladbach finished in third.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

22 October 1899 - From The Humblest Of Beginnings, Great Things

On 22 October 1899, A Swiss businessman in Spain placed a notice in a local newspaper to drum up interest in forming a new club. It went on to become known as FC Barcelona.

The businessman, Hans-Max Gamper, who had once captained FC Basel, had founded FC Zürich three years earlier. His trip to Barcelona in 1898 was originally intended as a short visit, but he fell in love with the city and decided to remain (eventually adopting the Catalan form of his name, Joan Gamper).

In order to continue playing football, he submitted a notice to the local paper, Los Deportes. Translated into English, the notice read "Our friend and partner, Mr. Kans Kamper, from the Foot-Vall Section of the 'Sociedad Deportes' and former Swiss champion, wishing to organize some matches in Barcelona, requests that everyone who likes this sport contact him, come to this office Tuesday and Friday nights from 9 to 11." The notice generated a positive response, leading to the first meeting of FC Barcelona on 29 November.  

Gamper was the club's first captain, making 44 appearances and scoring 100 goals between 1899 and 1903. He later served as club president five different times, for a total of 25 years, during which Barça won the Copa del Rey three times.

They have since become one of the world's most successful clubs, with 21 league titles and four European Cup/Champions League trophies.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

21 October 1960 - A Little Asian Cup Déjà Vu

On 21 October 1960, South Korea won their second consecutive Asian Cup, beating China 1-0.

It was the second edition of the tournament, with South Korea returning as defending champions after winning it in 1956. They were joined in 1960 by China, Vietnam, and Israel, the 1956 runners-up. Each team played the other team once, with the standings decided by points. Wins were worth two points and draws one.

South Korea opened the tournament with a powerful statement of intent by beating Vietnam 5-1, followed by a 3-0 win over Israel. They entered their last match in the top spot, two points clear of Israel and China (Vietnam was at the bottom). Israel, like South Korea, had only one match left, but China had two, including their game against South Korea. So while the Koreans needed only a draw to guarantee that they would finish over Israel, they needed a win to ensure a higher finish than China.

And they got it, narrowly. Playing before their own supporters at the Hyochang Stadium in Seoul, forward Moon Jung-Sik scored the day's only goal in the 54th minute. Israel again finished as runners-up, beating China 1-0 two days later in the final match of the tournament.

Friday, October 20, 2017

20 October 1996 - That's Not Really A Cup, Though, Now Is It?

On 20 October 1996, DC United rallied from a two-goal deficit to win the first MLS Cup over the Los Angeles Galaxy.

LA and DC finished with the second- and third-best records, respectively, in that first MLS season, behind the Tampa Bay Mutiny. In the playoffs, the Galaxy advanced with wins over the San Jose Clash and the Kansas City Wiz, while DC reached the final by beating the NY/NJ MetroStars and Tampa Bay.

They met at a rainy Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts, where LA striker Eduardo Hurtado gave his team an early lead with a 4th-minute goal. His teammate, midfielder Chris Armas then doubled the lead in the 56th minute with a goal that appeared to secure the trophy for the Galaxy.

But DC came storming back late in the second half, getting scores from substitute midfielders Tony Sanneh (72') and Shawn Medved (81') to send the match into extra time, where a 94th-minute goal from United defender Eddie Pope sealed the comeback victory.

DC went on to appear in the next three MLS Cup finals, repeating as champions in 1997 and winning it for a third time in a 1999 rematch with the Galaxy.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

19 October 1974 - Independiente Takes Five

On 19 October 1974, Independiente won their third straight Copa Libertadores--and fifth overall--beating São Paulo in a playoff, 1-0.

Going into the final, Independiente were already the tournament's most successful team, winning it in 1964, 1965, 1972, and 1973, while São Paulo were in the final for the first time. But they split the two legs, with São Paulo winning 2-1 in Brazil and Independiente taking the honors in Argentina, 2-0. Level on points, they met at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago for a playoff.

There, 60,000 people looked on as Independiente left back Ricardo Pavoni scored in the 37th minute. It was the only goal of the match, giving Independiente the win, their fifth title in five final appearances for the Argentinians.

They continued their perfect record in the final, winning it again in 1975 and 1984. São Paulo, meanwhile, reached the final five more times, lifting the cup in 1992, 1993, and 2005.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

18 October 1981 - West Germany Cuts Loose On Qatar

On 18 October 1981, West Germany won the U-20 World Cup, beating Qatar 4-0.

It was the first time in the tournament for both teams, who failed to qualify for the two previous editions. Qatar were the surprise of the tournament, beating Poland in the opening match of the group stage (followed by a 1-1 draw with the United States and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay), then beating Brazil (3-2) and England (2-1) in the knockout rounds to reach the final.

There, they faced a West German team that won their group with wins over Mexico (1-0) and Spain (4-2) (as well as a 2-1 loss to Egypt), then advanced to the final by beating hosts Australia (1-0) and Romania (1-0 (aet)).

The met at the Cricket Ground in Sydney, where West German defender Ralf Loose opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Striker Roland Wohlfarth doubled the lead in the 40th minute, before Loose completed his brace with a 66th-minute goal. Holger Anthes then capped the victory with an 86th-minute shot to set the final margin at 4-0.

Of the three scorers, only Wohlfarth would later play for the full national team, making two appearances between 1986 and 1989. The only other player to earn a senior cap was midfielder Michael Zorc, with seven.