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 Post subject: Division 4H (Season 27)
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2009, 15:09 
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Round 1

Red Star Belgrad 1-1 Ajax Cape Town
36' Markovs 84' Cipot

Red Star Belgrad, so strong at home last season, continued that form in the first league round, drawing with newly-relegated Ajax Cape Town. The odds were heavily in favour of Ajax Cape Town, but Belgrad shocked everyone and took the lead through 32 year old Adreijs Markovs, the former Latvian international. A wonderful through ball by forward Smirnovs set up Markovs for a clinical finish in the top right-hand corner. After the break, Belgrad desperately defended and looked as though they were going to snatch an unlikely victory, when Juan Belda rolled back the years with a superb corner, which defender Cipot placed into the bottom corner.

Yellow cards: Duarte, Markovs (Belgrad) Alegbe, Belda, Spautz (Cape Town)
Man of the Match: Thembela Matsau (GK, Ajax Cape Town)

Panionios 0-0 RC Lens

A match between two relegated teams, everyone thought this would be a keenly fought contest. Instead, it turned out to be a drab affair, with RC Lens' penalty miss the only significant talking point of the match. Panionios dominated possession, as you would expect them to, especially since they were playing at home. However, their end product was very poor and it was clear to see that the centre-back pairing of Kolev and Molina was greatly frustrating Hossam and Oleksic. 14 minutes before the end, however, 20 yr old Brazilian goalkeeper Almeida, playing his first league match, brought down Dixon in the box. This earnt Almeida a yellow card and the referee awarded Lens the penalty. Alonso stepped up to take it and promptly blasted it over the bar. The relief was clear on the Panionios players' faces and there was little to talk about before the end.

Yellow cards: Almeida, Chatzkyriakidis, Guilherme (Panionios) Nilsson, Briggs, Pilan (RC Lens)
Man of the Match: Donald Dixon (AT, RC Lens)

Perth Glory 2-0 Atlantas
56' Groarke
63' Tassone

Perth Glory recorded their first victory of the new season with an efficient 2-0 win against last season's dark horses, Atlantas. Manager Rui Rodrigues strengthened his team over the break and many expected Atlantas to achieve a draw against the formidable and organised Australian outfit. This was not the case. Right from kick-off, Glory kept the ball and hardly let Atlantas get whiff of it. However, that breakthrough goal, which they throughly deserved eluded them, as time after time, Glory, and in particular the forward pairing Groarke and Tassone, found Atlantas' Norwegian goalkeeper, Ingvaldsen, in inspired form. The first-half ended 0-0 and Atlantas were fancying their chances of drawing, or even nicking a goal on the counter-break. However, after the break, with manager Sam Man's words ringing in their ears, Glory surged forward and after 11 minutes into the second-half, found that goal. Midfield master Cohen Marriott, the Welsh legend, superbly found Groarke in acres of space, with the defence nowhere to be seen. Groarke took one touch and placed it under the diving body of Ingvaldsen. 7 minutes later, young French talent, Besnier, played a magnificent defence-splitting ball, to allow Tassone to finish it off. After that, Glory defended very well and saw out the game.

Yellow cards: Fong, Besnier, Tassone (Glory) Abramian (Atlantas)
Man of the Match: Cohen Marriott (Perth Glory)

CD Universidad Catolica 2-1 Iraklis Thessaloniki
12' Ivan 60' Schneider
68' Ivan

Catolica, reinforced by bringing in experienced manager Craig Pollock to the helm, took to the field in confident mood ahead of the perennial whipping boys of Div 4H, Iraklis Thessaloniki. It was clear to see that Catolica fancied their chances of a mauling, as they dominated possession for the first 10 minutes or so. However, things took a turn for the worse, when Moroccan youngster, Abdellaoui, was sent off for a dreadful tackle on winger Labi, who was lucky that his legs were still intact. The dismissal did not upset the momentum of Catolica, and within 2 minutes, they found themsleves ahead, courtesy of a brilliantly crafted goal by talisman Ivan, who has surged into prominence through a series of fine displays. Krakovski passed the ball to Ivan, who took one touch and rifled it into the top left hand corner of the Thessaloniki goal. He was immediately mobbed by the rest of the team. After this, Catolica enjoyed a brief spell of possession and pressurised the Thessaloniki defence, but they survived. After the first-half interval, Thessaloniki upped their game significantly, suggesting that this season might be different and they would eventually shake off their whipping boys image. After some sustained pressure on the Catolica defence and some tremendous saves by Saudi Arabian international Al-Hagbani, Thessaloniki equalised. Umar Malyutin, long past his best, brilliantly lobbed the centre-backs to find Schenider, who expertly volleyed it past the hapless Al-Hagbani. Catolica were shell-shocked and their one-man disadvantage began to show for the first time in the game. That didn't last long. Schneider turned from hero to villain, as he lashed out at Al-Hagbani, which resulted in a straight red from the referee. Thessaloniki still continued their pressure on Catolica. Polish international Lukasz Wojda forced two magnificent saves from Al-Hagbani and headed a corner onto the crossbar. However, it was not to be their day, as influential midfielder Ivan once again came to Catolica's rescue, as Corrales unsselfishly squared the ball to the captain, who only had to tap-it in to ensure a victory for Catolica.

Yellow cards: Abdellaoui (Catolica) Durica, Ivanov, Malyutin, Wojda (Thessaloniki)
Red cards: Abdellaoui (Catolica) Schneider (Thessaloniki)

Litex 1-0 Fenix
81' Takayama

Red-hot promotion contenders Litex, with an enviable home record in the division since manager Mihir Choughule took over, started their first game of the season well against newly-relegated Fenix, who still had huge amount of star players and experience. Despite the buildup, the match greatly disappointed, as Litex dominated and had few shots on goal against Fenix. The real turning point of the match, however, was the sending-off of Fenix captain Martin Rosa for a high-tackle on defender Zhuang, whilst the ball was in air. However, replays showed that Rosa might have got a bit of the ball, and he can count himself unlucky to get sent off. As usual, Litex then gained momentum afterwards, but they still couldn't find that goal that would eventually settle matters. After the first-half interval, Litex pressed on for a search of the goal, perhaps aware of the small contingent in the crowd booing, disgusted that their team couldn't break down a team with 10 men. On the other hand. Fenix, sensing an uneasiness about Litex, surged forward and centre-backs Ngom and Tanska had to be alert to deny Rariz a one-on-one with de Souza in the Litex goal. The breakthrough eventually arrived 9 minutes before the end of the game, as legendary Croatian striker, Klincic, found Takayama screaming for the ball just outside the box. Takayama brilliantly sidefooted the ball, from outside of the box into the bottom right-hand corner of the Fenix goal, with Fenix goalkeeper Yaque clutching at air. Litex defended bravely after this and proudly preserved their home record.

Yellow cards: Hlebski, Zhuang (Litex) de Souza, Sanseverino, Gonzales, Tolosa, Rosa (Fenix)
Red cards: Rosa (Fenix)
Man of the Match: Jani Tanska (Litex)

West Ham United 3-0 Aston Villa
9' own goal
12' Takizawa
24' Takizawa

West Ham, fresh off their best ever season in Div 4H, throughly decimated Aston Villa in this all-English affair, and it could've been much more, had Villa keeper Sorensen not been in his best form. The warning signs were there as early as the 5th minute, when a stray backpass from Henneman to his keeper was latched onto by Gillard, who wasted a wonderful opportunity and put it into the side-netting. However they didn't have to wait long for a goal. A corner taken by Acuna, was directed into his own net by defender Peixoto, who to be fair, was unsighted by the mass horde of United players in front of him. 3 minutes later, a scintillating move involving Suyumagembetov and Japanese defender Takizawa resulted in Takizawa showing a striker's pedigree by coolly placing the ball past Sorensen. 12 minutes later, Takizawa once again found the net, a strange feat considering he's a defender. Suyumagembetov, who had dropped deep, once again produced an inch-perfect pass to Takizawa, who had been running profusely into the Villa box and once he got the ball, he brilliantly chipped the oncoming Villa goalkeeper. It was turning into a heavily one-sided affair and it could've been a lot more, had Sorensen not produced some magnificent saves right at the end.

Yellow cards: Zacharias, Lopez, Gillard, Suyumagembetov (West Ham) Peixoto, Weatherstone, Aponte (Aston Villa)
Man of the Match: Benjamin Rouyer (West Ham United)

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PostPosted: 03 May 2009, 13:56 
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Round 2

Iraklis Thessaloniki 0-2 West Ham United
44' Suyumagembetov
76' Kaurin

West Ham, fresh off their mauling of Aston Villa, travelled to Thessaloniki with great hope, as they were aware of Thessaloniki's status as the whipping boys of Div 4H. However, it was Thessaloniki who started brighter, passing the ball around fluidly and efficiently. Captain Lukasz Wojda had a great chance from the first corner, heading narrowly over, when he should've really scored. West Ham United improved as the first-half progressed and had a huge penalty shout turned down by the referee. Replays showed that Thessaloniki goalkeeper, Christiansen, had brought down Suyumagembetov in the box and was lucky not to be sent off. It didn't make a huge difference, as United opened the scoring just before the interval. Acuna, United's midfield maestro, hit a free-kick against the wall, of which the rebound was struck hard and low by Gordon. Christiansen could only parry the ball into the oath of Suyumagambetov, who had the easiest of tap-ins to make it 0-1. As the second half began, it was clear that Thessaloniki were slowly tiring and West Ham pressed on for the second goal which would kill the game off. They got it 14 minutes before the end, when Uruguayan youngster, Lopez, displayed his potential, with a wonderful ball to Kaurin, who finished it exquisitely.

Yellow cards: Reasco, Wojda (Iraklis Thessaloniki) Sonck, Rouyer, Zacharias (West Ham)
Man of the Match: Murat Suyumagambetov (West Ham United)

RC Lens 0-1 Litex
63' Tanska

The hard run of fixtures continued for Litex, who had to face their second relegated team in a row, RC Lens. Litex hadn't looked very convinving in their first match, and this game offered very little in terms of quality, as most of the football was played in the middle of the park. It was Lens who started better, dominating possession, but creating very little, as the Litex back four of Hlebski, Ngom, Tanska and Zhuang held firm to their task. Brazilian sensation Maciel surprised Litex by hitting a rasping shot from 30 yards, which thoroughly stung the palms of Sales de Souza. Otherwise, there was no real conviction about any team, and at the interval, it was about even. However, this was a game of two halves, as the second half was much more interesting and lively. This time, it was Litex who started the better of the two teams, forcing a brief period of pressure upon the Lens defence. Takayama, the hero last time, hit the bar with another superb shot from the outside of the box, with the keeper nowhere in sight. Litex didn't have to wait long for their goal. Nearly 20 minutes into the second half, Takayama, now playing on the wing, turned provider, as his inch-perfect cross was met by centre-half Tanska, who had run the length of the pitch to score the header. Instead, of being rejuvenated, Lens were forced back into their shells as Litex, buoyed by the goal, pressed on for the second, but with no success. Lens task was made much harder 5 minutes before the end, when midfielder Webb was booked for a dangerou tackle on Clayton, and then sent off for offensive language towards the referee. Remarkably, there was time for one more sending off, as Belarussian talent, Khomenko, was sent off for a two-footed lunge on Alonso, having been booked just a minute previously. However, Litex held onto their lead and cemented their place at the top of the table.

Yellow cards: Silva, Webb, Alonso (Lens) Khomenko, Sukiasyan, Klincic (Litex)
Red cards: Webb (Lens) Khomenko (Litex)
Man of the Match: Falle Ngom (Litex)

Ajax Cape Town 3-3 Perth Glory
16' Barberis 15' Besnier
24' Moshoeu 21' Casoltan
32' Fanteni 33' own goal

A classic of a match, the battle between the two relegated teams was as intense as there ever had been in Div 4H. 6 goals in the first half was testimony to the great attacking of both teams, neither wanting to back down and be defeated. This was just the type of match that both teams needed, after Ajax's tame draw and Glory's comfortable win against Atlantas. Both teams attacked incessantly right from kick-off and Ajax could've been ahead in inside a minute, but Vukic fluffed a great chance, as he was stopped as he tried to round the keeper. They were made to pay for that miss, as Glory took the lead against the run of play. French talent Besnier rounded off a slick move by finishing beautifully, after good work from Benin wonderkid winder, Mané. However, Ajax were level inside a minute. Right from the restart, midfielder Guerrero went on a mazy run, beating 3 defenders on the way, but his shot was superbly saved by Glory keeper, Kossimli. However, he could do little to prevent the bullet header by Barberis, which almost broke the net. Ajax were rejuvenated by this and immediately went close again, as Fanteni struck the woodwork with a beauty of a shot. It was not to be, as Glory once again went ahead, again against the run of play. After a free-kcik was cleared, Glory broke in numbers, but winger Saraceno was brought down just on the edge of the box by defender Barberis, who was lucky only to receive a yellow card. However, from the resulting free-kick, Romanian striker Casoltan smashed the ball through the wall and into the net, with the keeper nowhere to be seen. It seemed as though Ajax had nothing left, but there was a surprise, as slack defending, coupled by precise shooting, enabled Ajax to equalise. Fong's clearance fell to Fanteni, who instead of having a shot, unselfishly squared the ball Moshoeu, who tapped in. And just eight minutes later, Ajax went in front for the first time. Guerrero was the provider, as his defence-splitting pass found Fanteni in acres of space, who blasted the ball pass the keeper. By this time, the supporters were throroughly entertained by this game. However, inside a minute, Glory were level, albeit fortunately. Groarke's shot was going wide until it took a massive deflection off Ali, which wrong-footed the keerp and made the scores 3-3. There was little to talk about in the second half, as neither team ventured forward to grab that decisive goal.

Yellow cards: Dimov, Barberis, Berchem, Guerrero, Vukic, Spautz (Ajax) Kossimli, Hudson, Saraceno, Groarke (Glory)
Red cards: Groarke (Glory)
Man of the Match: Thembinkosi Fanteni (Ajax Cape Town)

Aston Villa 0-1 Red Star Belgrad
27' Maida

Aston Villa, destroyed by English counterparts West Ham, took to the field in renewed optimism as they faced another one of the bottom blubs, Red Star Belgrad. However, it was Belgrad who started the game better with a siege on the Villa defence, as they tried to score the goal which would put additional pressure on Villa. They finally got their reward 27 minutes into the first half, when right-back Di Paolo fouled Smirnovs in the area. From the resulting penalty, Italian striker Maida dispatched the penalty straight down the middle, completely fooling the goalkeeper. Instead of trying to equalise, Villa offered little pressure on Belgrad defence and the service was horrendous for the strike pairing of Aponte and Petrov. The second-half was a drab affair, as Belgrad 'parked the bus' in front of their goal. The only talking point was the harsh dismissal Sokolskis, who was shown an undeserved second yellow card for bringing down Rujana, when replays showed he had clearly got the ball. However, Belgrad held on for the win.

Yellow cards: Di Paolo, Petrov (Villa) Sokolskis, Smirnovs (Belgrad)
Red card: Sokolskis (Belgrad)
Man of the Match: Vanni Maida (Red Star Belgrad)

Atlantas 2-1 Panionios
45' Finlayson 90' Oleksic
72' Crespo

This was a game that was dominated by the midfield of both the teams. Atlantas were the ones who started brightly, perhaps wanting to show that the comfortable defeat against Perth Glory was a one-off. Atlatas could've been out of sight in the first-half, but the attack was culpable for a series of gilt-edged chances that really should've been in the back of the net. Instead, the failure of taking those chances buoyed Panionios , and they were showing ominous forms of their best, as a crisp one-two by Zelmikas and Crespo only found the side netting. So it was a relief, when at the stroke of half-time Finlayson ensured that Atlantas would have something to show for their efforts, as his deilightful curler from 25 yards found its way in the bottom right-hand corner of the net, with Panionios goalkeeper Almeida well beaten, despite his despairing dive. After the second-half, however, Panionios came out firing all cylinders, with clearly the manager's words still ringing in their ears. This time, it was Panionios' turn to miss several good chances, with striker Kotsolis the most culpable as his headers, first from a corner from 2 yards and then a diving header were easily saved by Atlantas keeper, Ingvaldsen. Panionios were made to pay for their inept attacking, as Atlantas broke awya, with defender, Abramian's long hoof found Crespo in acres of space, who only had to slot the ball past Almeida to give Atlantas a 2-0 lead. Panionios deflated after this goal, but still found time for a consolation, as Cristaldo's cross was perfectly placed by striker Oleksic. However, it was a mere consolation, as Atlantas held on to clinch their first victory of the new season.

Yellow cards: Ingvaldsen, Stashauskas, Rishkus, Crespo (Atlantas) Almeida, Barreto (Panionios)
Red card: Chatzikyriakidis (Panionios)
Man of the Match: Seryozha Abramian (Atlantas)

Fenix 0-0 CD Universidad Catolica

The game was marred by serious offences by two players. However, in terms of quality or chances, this game was very poor. However, Fenix did force a couple of very good saves from Arabian goal keeper Al-Hagbani, who is slowly looking like a bargain at £4m. However, there was a huge setback for Catolica, as influential midfielder, Issam Abdellaoui, was red-carded for punching opposition counterpart Cardozo. Despite going down to 10 men, Catolica had little problems with the Fenix attack and went into half-time all square. In the second half, much like the first, there was little in terms of quality and chances created. The talking point was another sending-off by the referee. This time, the guilty party was Fenix's Uruguayan striker, Rariz, who was sent off for a two-footed lunge at Prieto, who was lucky he still had his two legs intact. Other than that, it was a dull affair, as neither team looked likely to break the deadlock.

Yellow cards: Cardozo, Rariz (Fenix) Antoine, Tskitishvili, Corrales (Catolica)
Red cards: Rariz (Fenix) Abdellaoui (Catolica)
Man of the Match: Salman Al-Hagbani (CD Universidad Catolica)

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