Friday’s, world leagues’ schedules tend to run a little lighter. So Noob takes the opportunity to dust off his passport and visit soccer leagues hither and yonder!
As always, we’ll start close to home. Then it’s off to exotic footyball hinterlands! You may not always be able to drink the water, but Noobites can safely drink in these sweet match previews.
OK, that was lame. Onward!
Cruz Azul vs. CF America – Liga MX Femenil
Welcome to the Track, mujeres! Noob’s been long overdue to feature a match from your league. Wish it hadn’t been because I had to dash a preview of a women’s International Champions Cup game. Noob thought North Carolina Courage was playing Paris Saint-Germain today, but NCC won that on Thursday.
But we’re all here now, and better for it! Like the men’s league, this one is just getting started. Unlike it, they are divided into two separate Groups for the season, with the top two in each making the Liguilla (postseason).
CF America won their Group last Clausura (half-season) on the strength on scoring half again as many goals as the next-best club. Cruz Azul finished in 6th, unable to hit even double-digit goals in 14 matches. Woof.
RESULT: America 0-3
B. Monarcas Morelia vs. Santos – Liga MX
The 2018-19 season is just getting underway. Santos finished 4th in least year’s Clausura (second half-season and then won that Liguilla (postseason). Morelia finished in 8th, the only team to make the postseason with a negative goal differential. Watch this one to see if Santos is still scoring like it’s pinball. (8:00 PM EST, ESPN Deportes)
RESULT: Morelia 3-1
Number B – looking royal and ready to root for Morelia
Etoile du Sahel vs. Mbabane Swallows – CAF Champions League
They’re halfway through the Group Stage in Africa’s top league tournament. Remaining are four pods of four playing double round robins. The top two in each will advance to the Knockout Round.
Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel are unsurprisingly the leading their Group. Mbabane from Swaziland are not expected to advance – or weren’t! They’re #B in that table. du Sahel won the first matchup between these two 0-3. Little reason to believe the runner-up in the second-best league in Africa won’t crush again today.
Fun Fact: One of du Sahel’s nicknames is Jawharat Sahel, which translates to “Jewel Coast:.
RESULT: EdS 2-0
Lokomotiv Moscow vs. CSKA Moscow – Russia Super Cup
This is a standard Super Cup, two top teams facing off in a glorified friendly as a lead-in to the league season. What isn’t standard is who is playing and why.
Most often, these events pit the reigning league champs against the defending FA Cup winners. Last year, the latter was a club named FC Tosno. But they went belly-up, despite their success. And Premier League runners-up CSKA fill the slot. This is being played in Moscow, though not at the home pitch of either club.
RESULT: CSKA 0-1 AET
One of these adorable kitties could be named Tosno.
Temperley vs. Estudiantes Caseros – Argentina FA Cup
This Knockout tournament is in its Round of 64. Temperely were demoted to the second division after last season. Estudiantes Caseros play in one of the two third-tier leagues. They were the runners-up least season. The winner will play third-division Deportivo Maipu next Round. A Caseros upset would guarantee a Minnow in the Round of 16. Muy bueno.
On a side note, why do both my MS Word and iPhone autocorrect voice feature try to capitalize “bueno”. Is it now common to think that things in Spanish can only be a little better than just regular-good? Inquiring Noobites should want to know. (4:10 PM, TyC International)
Fun Fact: Caseros is a town in the province of Buenos Aires, which is why the club is just as commonly cited as “Estudiantes Buenos Aires” or just “Esudiantes (BA)”.
RESULT: Temperley 1-0
Atletico Pantoja vs. Moca – Dominican Republic Liga Mayor
CONCACAF me! Noob loves to get to know our continental/regional neighbors on Fridays.
These are the 3rd and 5th-place teams in the D.R.’s top league. The top four will have a Championship Playoff at regular season’s end. All the top teams here play about the same level of defense. Pantoja has the superior offense, if not by leaps and bounds. At home, one would think this is enough. If Moca can pull the upset, they will climb into a 4th-place tie.
RESULT: Pantoja 1-0
Peace Corps party in Pantajo – a neighborhood in Santo Domingo.
Mlada Boleslav vs. Sigma Olomouc – Czech First League
Would it surprise you to know this is a top-15 league in Europe?
M.B. were 9th last year. Olomouc finished in fourth, qualifying for the current Europa League. They’re about to get to play, entering in at the Third Qualifying Round. They don’t play nearly the offense that other top Czech clubs do, so Noob thinks the hosts have aa coin flip-chance today.
Fun Fact: Mlada Boleslav was called Bumsla at one time by the Jews, for whom this city had become an important center.
RESULT: Olomouc 0-4
KI vs. Skala – Faroe Islands Meistardeildin
Would it surprise you to learn this league is rated #9 in all Europe? It should. They’re ninth from the bottom. Hey, teeny tiny country. And they’re playing.
Only the winner will get into Champions League, of course. The next two will both make Europa League. KI are #B in the table, five points out of first. Skala is in 6th, the best of the bottom half. There’s a massive gulf between the two halves, too, to this match may not be close.
RESULT: KI 3-1
Noob’ll just stick with “KI”.
Al Merreikh vs. Hay Al Arab – Sudan Premier
This was a two-horse league last year, and Al Merrikh missed wining the title by a nose. Still, that’s good enough in Africa’s 7th-best league to make the CAF Champions League. But they got knockout out of that before the Group Stage.
If Hay Al Arab – last year’s 11th-place club – pull an upset, it will be with a very low score. All last season, they did nothing but take the air out of the ball.
Fun Fact: Al Merreikh was formed by students at former Gordon Memorial College, now part of U. of Khartoum.
RESULT: Al Merreikh 2-1
Dwangwa United vs. Civil Sporting – Malawi Super League
This league is not ranked in Africa’s top 25. Perfect for Friday excursion! Dwangwa are in 14th, just one spot above the Relegation line. Noob couldn’t even quickly find the name of Malawi’s second division-league. It is unworthy and perhaps not spoken of. Civil are in 4th place, eight points out of 1st (Big Bullets).
This may end up a high-affair. Neither team stops anyone.
RESULT: Dwangwa 1-0
So long from Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve (near Dwangwa Utd’s home town)!