You’d better watch out, and crying is optional – Santa Noob has come to town! Just because most of the Western world is off from footyball, that doesn’t mean there aren’t games for us to Track.
Relegation Monday! Our celebration of teams that might get demoted out of their current leagues by season’s ends. Let’s get to know them before they are Dropped into soccer oblivion.
As always, we first start with some games of import that aren’t Relegation-related.
U.A.E. vs. Saudi Arabia – Arabian Gulf Gup
Reminder: This event is seven Gulf national teams, plus Yemen. Two Groups of four, top two finishers advance from each.
These two each won their first match. No surprise, given they are the most highly FIFA-ranked teams in this tournament (#73 and #63 respectively). It’s likely both will advance out of the Group, but finishing 1st versus 2nd probably matters for the next round’s seeding.
B. Kuwait vs. Oman – Arabian Gulf Cup
#189 and #101. Oman should have the better shot at passing one of the above two should slip up.
RESULT: Oman 0-1
Giant soccer ball slip and slide.
Noob doesn’t get it. But Noob doesn’t need to.
Jordan vs. Libya – international friendly
Nothing directly at stake in this one. But on 12/25, this is where the footyball is being played. We track with joy!
Southern District vs. Eastern – Hong Kong Senior Shield
This is Hong Kong’s FA Cup, though it’s just teams from their Premier League. These are the league’s 5th and 6th place teams presently. This is a Semifinal. The winner will face off against league 9th-place club Yuen Long.
RESULT: Eastern 0-1
Al-Shorta vs. Naft Al-Wasat – Iraqi Premier
They’re only a few games into this league’s season, but Al-Shorta is one of three still undefeated. The Al-Wasat “Euphrates Nightingales” are in 5th.
Karbalaa vs. Amanat Baghdad – Iraqi Premier
Welcome to Relegation Monday, Karbalaa! Noob has a feeling we’ll be seeing you again. 0-0-6. One goal scored in those matches. Given up 16. Yep, we’re going to be best friends. Amanat is in 7th.
Fun(?) fact: According to Shi’ites, the translation of the city name Karbalaa is “land which will cause many agonies” and “afflictions”.
How far does the price on even a mansion get knocked down in the City of Agonies and Affliction?
Naft Al-Janoob vs. Al-Sinaat Al-Kahrabaiya – Iraqi Premier
JaNOOB! Adopted! We have an Iraqi fave.
This league demotes two clubs to Division One annually. Al-Sinaat sits in the second-to-last position. They have a more favorable matchup today than their Relegation Zone playmates above though. Al-Janoob is in just 15th.
Fun fact: Al-Sinaat is owned by the Ministry of Industry and Minerals.
El Geish vs. Al-Ittihad Al-Sakandary – Egypt Premier
The Egyptian Premier League Relegates three sides at each season’s end to the Second Division. Due to being on the wrong side of a tiebreaker, Ittihad is on top of the trio staring at the Drop. El Geish is in 12th place.
Fun fact: Ittihad plays in the Alexandra area. The stadium is named after the town, Borg el-Arab, which seats 86,000.
1) 86,000 fans would disagree.
2) Strangely, this actress is more attractive as a Klingon than out of costume.
Hapoel Be’er Sheva vs. Macabbi Haifa – Israeli Premier
The top six in this league play a postseason championship. The bottom eight will all play in a Relegation-avoidance tournament at season’s end.
More points separate 6th and 7th place in the table than between 1st and 6th. The difference between the two groups is much more pronounced on offense than defense. M.H. will need to score early and often against 2nd-place Be’er to have a shot.
Fun fact: It would really be something if M.H. were to be Relegated. The “Green Locomotive” are one of the historical four powerhouses in Israeli football.
RESULT: HBS 2-0
Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem vs. Hapoel Ramat Gan – Israeli Liga Leumit
Noob saw there was a little room left at the top of your Christmas stocking, correctly deduced could squeeze in a second-tier league match. And yes, I realize that mixing a Christmas reference with Israeli football is odd. Read the archives, Noobites. Stick around a while. This won’t budge the weird needle.
This league has 16 clubs which will split evenly after the regular season into Promotion and Relegation playoffs. Ramat Gan are in 12th, courtesy of not being able to find the back of the net much. 3rd-place Katamon sports the league’s best defense.
Fun fact: Ramat Gan is a city east of Tel Aviv, and is where the club plays. But the full, official name of the club includes another area city – Givatayim.
RESULT: Ramat Gan 0-1 It’s an Xmas miracle… sort of? in Israel! Ramat Gan pulls the upset.