What is T2T? The ten goldarn best, most important matches to follow for us, the newish American soccer fans. And let more-seasoned fans fear us, Noobites! We’ll end up more knowledgeable than they. Muahaha.
Relegation Monday was a sweet success, as we witnessed two mighty league upsets. But now Noob returns us to our regularly scheduled, traditionally-“important” games for Tue-Thurs.
Leicester City vs. Manchester City – EFL Cup
So many Cups! Fear not, Noobites. This is a safe place. EFL Cup is one vied for by just the top four tiers in the English football pyramid. It is also often referred to by its sponsor name, “The Carabao Cup”. Easy peasy.
This year’s is now in the Quarterfinals. Leicester’s been making moves up the Premier League table in recent weeks, but no one’s been a match for Man City all year. If L.C. hopes to catch they’re guests napping, they’ll still need to shore up their very dodgy defense.
RESULT: Man City 1-1 / 3-4 pk
B. Carlisle United vs. Gillingham – English FA Cup
The FA Cup is the most popular one. Teams all the way down to the 20th level have been competing. This one’s in its Second Round Proper (Proper referring to the stage when Premier League teams start playing this even).
This is a Replay. These two faced off about a week ago and had a 1-1 draw at tier-three Gillingham. Rather than settle it with penalty kicks, they play again. But this time, it’s at the tier-four side’s place. Either way, we’re treated to a Minnow (over-achieving lower-tiered team) in the next Round.
RESULT: Carlisle 3-1 The tier-four side is through to the Round of 64!
Those bend-y lights and giant soccer ball are pretty humorous.
Paderborn vs. Ingolstadt – DFB Pokal (German FA Cup)
Round of 16 time. 3. Bundesliga (third tier) Paderborn is your Minnow, facing a top-flight team.
Paderborn have been as high as 2. Bundesliga as recently as two seasons ago. They would’ve been Relegated last season into the tier-four Regional Leagues, but a team from 2. Bundesliga was sent down two levels instead. Probably for naughtiness.
RESULT: Paderborn 1-0 Minnow success!
Bristol Rovers vs. Manchester United – EFL Cup
Bristol is the only non-Premier League team left alive here in the Quarterfinals. They’re’ in 3rd place in the ECL (English second tier), but facing a Man club is another universe.
RESULT: Bristol 2-1 Upset! The Championship League team is through!
Wouldn’t you love to see someone try diving into that and finding a stud?
AS Monaco vs. Rennes – Ligue 1
2nd place hosts 7th here. This one is closer-looking in the table than it will be on the field. Rennes is having a .500 year. Monaco is tied for 2nd with Lyon, but nine points in back of Paris-Saint-Germain. If they dream of a title push, they know they must lock down home games like these.
RESULT: Monaco 2-1
AS Roma vs. Torino – Coppa Italia (FA Cup)
Italy doesn’t appear to do a random draw for who hosts during the bracketed portion of its FA Cup. They’re down to 16 teams, and the eight good Serie A teams all get to host these elimination matches.
This game match has at least a fair chance of us seeing an upset. Torino is in 10th in league play, Roma in 4th. Roma have given up the fewest goals in league, just ten in 16 games.
RESULT: Torino 1-2 Best chance realized – upset!
Utter fear, mild surprise, and– whatever that is…
Torino football fever!
Anorthosis vs. APOEL Nicosia – Cyprus First Division
APOEL is a name tenured Noobites may recognize. They competed in the Champions League Group Stage. They didn’t advance, but weren’t expected to. If they want to make it again next year, they have some work to do, being in 4th place currently. But they’ve played fewer league games because of their international play, so even travelling to #1 and undefeated Anorthosis isn’t too bleak a prospect.
RESULT: APOEL 0-3
Union Española vs. Universidad de Concepcion – Chile Premier
The Chilean format is a little blurry for Noob, but we can get this down to brass tacks. This is the second match of a Runners-Up Playoff for a spot in next year’s Copa Libertadores. Concepcion had the best second half record of all teams not already qualified for CL next year. Española had the second-best record for the overall season (and perhaps second-best in the Apertura/first half-season).
It’s two pretty good teams that didn’t quite qualify in other ways for C.L. There! Much easier. Concepcion won the first match of this two-legged tie 1-0.
RESULT: Concepcion 1-2 And they win on aggregate 3-1, on to next year’s Copa Libertadores!
Monterrey vs. Pachuca – Apertura 2017 Copa MX
If this event seems familiar, it may be because it started all the way back in July. The big earthquake derailed football there for a time.
Mexico is a country that basically plays two FA Cups per season. Each only involves teams from the top two leagues.
This is a one-off match for the Apertura (first half-season) Copa title, and fittingly between the top league #1 and #2 sides. Monterrey’s been dominant in league, but Pachuca has been demolishing opponents in this tournament. Can they go into the lion’s den and rip away the trophy?
RESULT: Monterrey 1-0 The favorites have done it – Apertura Copa MX chamPEEEEEENS!
Gent vs. Sporting Charleroi – Belgium First Division A
This league likely only gets two berths in next year’s Champions League. The top six teams here make the league playoffs.
Gent have an excellent goal differential, but apparently have been winning big but losing close, as they’re just in 5th place. Charleroi won’t catch Club Brugge for the #1 seed, but a big road win would gain them a firmer grip on the #2.
RESULT: Gent 1-0 Gent move up to 4th place.
Step 1.) Do steps 2-4 for a LONG time BEFORE picking up a baby.