Fridays, here at Noob we put on our adventure outfits and Trot the Globe. What’s that mean?
Schedules run a little light most everywhere right before the weekend. Rather than a stay-cation, we pack our bags and binoculars and head out to see the footyball world! Take some time to see tournaments, clubs and leagues we don’t get to the rest of the week.
As always, we start more local, then we jet-set to soccer hinterlands of wonder.
1. CF America vs. Pachuca – Liga MX Femenil
Time for the Semifinals in Mexico’s top women’s league! These are the Apertura (first half-season) playoffs, meaning they’ll have another half-season and set of playoffs right after this set ends.
Semifinalists will play two-legged, home-and-away ties to see who makes the Finals. Since America won their regular season Group (the league is divided into two), they get to host the second match of this series.
The teams were pretty similar statistically throughout the Apertura. Neither team led their Group in goal-scoring or defense, but both were very balanced. America leaned a touch more heavily on their defense, so odds are they’ll keep the pace under control, the score low.
B. Sinaloa vs. San Luis – Ascenso MX
Mas Mexico! Ascenso is the second division league there, and this is the first match of their Apertura finals. The top eight teams all made these playoffs.
Surprisingly, these two finalists were just 7th and 5th in the regular season, respectively. These were the lowest-scoring teams off all those that made the playoffs (and some that didn’t). This won’t be the smexiest series ever, with goals likely being hard to come by all around.
RESULT: Sinaloa 1-0
We can agree to disagree.
This fellow always sees the Smexy in everything.
3. Cardiff City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers – English Premier League
The only EPL match today involved two teams that were in the second-division Championship league last season. They finished #B and #1, respectively.
Cardiff are playing like they’re headed right back down. They’re in a three-way tie for last and three teams is the number that will be Relegated. They don’t score much, but the defense has been even more lacking. They’ve lost three of four coming into today.
Wolves – even though their nickname is officially Wanderers – had a hot start to the season, sit in 11th place. But they haven’t won in their last five outings. They don’t score, which was fine when they weren’t conceding many goals, either. But that’s changed. So look for this to at least be entertaining, likely to be a shootout.
RESULT: Cardiff 2-1 a come from behind that win that – for the moment – lifts them out of the Relegation zone
4. Solihull Moors vs. Blackpool – England FA Cup
This is the Second Round Proper of England’s FA Cup Noobites, check out the vocab page at the top of this site for a few more details on what that entails.
The only match from this event today features a home team from the fifth level of the English soccer pyramid. Some teams from the sixth tier are alive as well, but fifth is low enough we can call them Minnow – an underdog fans all over will cheer for to make a deep run in the event.
Solihull are in the National League premier division. They’re in 5th so far this season. Last year, they nearly got Relegated to one of the regional National League for finishing so low. Good balance, a little more reliant on their defense.
Blackpool are from the third division – League one. They’re just a bit better than average there. If they want to be more than that, it’s going to require a surge in offensive power they’ve yet to display.
RESULT: 0-0 So they’ll play again in a few days, but at Blackpool
If you don’t look too closely, it appears the horse is trying to make someone slow dance with it.
5. Dundee United vs. Ayr United – Scotland Championship
This is the Scots’ second-tier league. It’s earlyish, yet the league is starting to shape up to be a three-horse race. But just one will be automatically Promoted to Premier. The next top few finishers will have a Playoff to see what other club also moves up.
Ayr sport the league;’s second -best O and D, which has them in 1st. Noob thinks Ross County will be the only true competition they’ll have by the end. Dundee can score, but don’t have the defense apparently to keep pace long-term. A home match like today’s is the perfect chance to be proven wrong though.
RESULT: Ayr 0-5
6. Lorient vs. Lens – Ligue 2
The top two in the French second division will move up at season’s end automatically, while the next three battle for one more berth.
The defense for these two is good enough to get them where they want to be. But only two teams have serious goal-scoring capability and these ain’t them. These two are in 3rd and 4th place. A draw feels likely. If either wins, that puts the other one in a bad way for the title race.
French defense is the funniest
7. Shandong Luneng vs. Beijing Gouan – China FA Cup
The Final! And the second leg, at that. When the two met in Beijing for the first match, it ended 1-1. The two finished 3rd and 4th in the Super League this year. Of the top four, Shandong are the ones who rely on their defense, so this may be a tight, tactical affair on their pitch.
The top for league finishers in China all qualify for the next Champions League in Asia. The stakes seem to be today that the winner will get to enter that tournament at the Group Stage, while the vanquished will have to play through a pre-group stage qualifying round.
RESULT: 2-2 …which means Beijing are your FA Cup winners! Aggregate score is 3-3, which means Beijing win on away-goals tiebreaker.
8. Cameroon vs. Mali – Africa Women Cup of Nations
Cup of Nations is the premier international Cup event in Africa, held every two years. This version’s been hosted in Ghana. Here we’ve reached the Consolation Match, a battle for 3rd place.
FIFA ranks these nationals teams as 49th and 89th- best in the world, but 3rd and 10th-best in the CAF. Both can score, but Cameroon defends well, too. Both advanced to the Knockout Round out of the same Group, so they’ve played already during this event. Cameroon won 2-3.
RESULT: Cameroon 4-2 Bronze to the home side
9. Sepahan vs. Padideh – Persian Gulf Pro League
Iran’s top flite is rated as the fifth-strongest in all Asia. As such, they will qualify two clubs into the next AFC Champions League. As of right now, these would be them.
Sepahan are the only club in the league scoring a whopping 2+ goals per match. Irresistable force, mean Immovable object. Padideh give up less than one every other match. The former are one of two clubs that are still undefeated. But the latter lead everyone because they win a lot more than they draw.
RESULT: Sepahan 1-0
10. Gokulam vs. Churchill Brothers – India I-League
A reminder: This is one of two leagues considered “top tier” in India. I-League is the one that actually qualifies a team into the AFC Champions League. They only get one team in, as they are ranked only14th in the confederation.
Churchill are undefeated, but so are Chennai City, and the latter get mostly wins, not draws. That’s why they lead Churchill Bros. By seven points in the table already, just five-six matches into the season.
Gokulam are just a point further back. They score pretty well, for a team that isn’t Chennai anyway. Both teams come in having won two matches in a row.
So long from Kozhikode, home of Gokulam!
Backwater Cruises here and around Kerala look heavenly.