sabato 1 gennaio 2011

2010’s top 10 most unusual football facts

2010 has been an eventful year, but for some players eventful doesn’t begin to describe the 12 months they have just experienced. From a 56-year-old making a comeback, to a professional cyclist swapping the bike for a ball, through to amazingly unexpected 3-3 draws. 2010 is a year to remember, and here are the top 10 unusual reasons why:

1. From illegal immigrant to rising star
Looking for the football fairytale of 2010? Just listen to the story of Papa Sene. On 15th May, 2009, the Senegalese landed in Brussels from Barcelona, having left the hotel in Zaragoza where he was staying with the Senegal Under-18 team. Once in Belgium, Sene sought asylum. He was housed in a reception centre in Menen, a town in West Flanders, and began to play football once again with the local club, a fifth tier outfit. Last summer, he joined third division club Koksijde, and then in December, the 20-year-old striker – who had proven to be a real goal-machine in the lower leagues – signed his first professional contract with Cercle Brugge. From asylum seeker to top flight striker!

2. Miss it!
IFK Goteborg’s 2010 Allsvenskan campaign was far from impressive, but it surely didn’t help to have five consecutive penalties missed by five different blåvitt (blue and white) players: Ragnar Sigurdsson (against Häcken), Hjalmar Jonsson (against Atvidaberg), Jakob Johansson (against Mjällby), Elmar Bjarnason (against GAIS) and Thomas Olsson (against Malmö). And if Tobias Hysen’s miss at the end of the 2009 Allsvenskan is counted, the number amazingly rises to six consecutive failed spot-kicks.

3. No surrender
On 6th June, at the Aker Stadium in Molde, the city of roses, Norwegian sides Molde and Lillestrøm produced a game completely unsuitable for anyone with heart problems. With Molde leading 3-0 heading into injury time, Lillestrøm proved their coach Henning Berg’s never-give-up philosophy was not just a slogan, and scored three times, to grab a 3-3 draw. Frode Kippe, Tarik Elyounoussi and Anthony Ujah managed to turn a clear defeat into the most exciting draw in the club’s history. Molde star Magne Hoseth even claimed to have shed a tear going into the dressing room after the match.

4. Get off your bike mate, and play football
From cyclist to football player. Oscar Pereiro Sio, 2006 Tour de France winner, signed a contract with FC Coruxo, a Segunda Division B (Spanish third division) side this year in one of the stranger transfers. The tough competitor, who quit professional cycling last summer, at the age of 33, has started to turn out with Coruxo’s reserves, but soon hopes to “make my childhood dream come true” and play for the first team.

5. Forever young
Yuri Pudyshev hung up his boots in 1994. So far, so normal. The midfielder won the USSR league 12 years before with Dinamo Minsk and also earned one international cap in his career. In 2010 however, Pudyshev made his comeback in the Belarusian first division, as he stepped onto the pitch for Dinamo Brest – where he worked as assistant coach – in a match against BATE Borisov. Pudyshev was 56 years old, and was named man of the match, despite Dinamo Brest losing 2-0. Roger Milla, eat your heart out!

6. Match point
A storm of tennis balls thrown onto the pitch was the reason why a Swiss Super League match between Basel and Luzern started almost 40 minutes late. The game was broadcast live across Switzerland, amidst massive protests by irate fans, who had complained that the scheduling meant a kick-off time of 12:45pm on a Sunday morning. The decision was taken by Swiss TV, as they considered a first round meeting between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the first round of the ATP Basel Tournament more important than the Basel vs Luzern clash. After the stewards had cleaned up the first batch of tennis balls, which numbered in the hundreds, fans let loose a second load.

7. A Bohemian war
In the 2010 season, Bohemians Prague were deducted 20 points and fined 6 million Koruna, because they refused to play Bohemians 1905 in the Gambrinus Liga – the Czech Republic’s top flight. Relations between the two Bohemians began to deteriorate in 2005, when the ancient FC Bohemians Prague – one of the most popular clubs in the Czech Republic – were relegated to the third division due to financial problems and sold their brand to FC Strížkov Praha 9, a small side with very few fans, who soon renamed themselves Bohemians Prague, and also played in the same colours, green and white. This year however, the Prague City Court ruled that the club could not use the name Bohemians, as they had no connection with the traditional Bohemians Prague (now Bohemians 1905). Frosty doesn’t begin to describe the two clubs’ relationship.

8. Absolute beginner
On 19th August, 2010, striker Johan Voskamp left Dutch Eerste Divisie (second division) side Helmond Sport and signed a three-year contract with newly-relegated Sparta Rotterdam. Just 24 hours later, Voskamp made his debut with the Spartaans, scoring a breathtaking eight goals against Almere City. Sparta won the match 12-1, and Voskamp himself left the pitch after 77 minutes, jokingly complaining that he could have ended the game with a double digit total.

9. Making plans for Nigel
Stuart Holden: broken leg. Xabi Alonso: a kick to the chest. Hatem Ben Arfa: broken leg. Moreover, Yuto Nagatomo, Shunsuke Nakamura, Angelo Palombo, and Martin Jørgensen all suffered through Nigel de Jong’s horror tackles. The gifted, but reckless, Dutch midfielder found himself dropped from the Holland squad due to his violent approach to the game. De Jong likes to be labelled Barracuda though, because of his passion for the Plymouth Barracuda – he has one in his car collection – and not, as some might suppose, because of what remains of opponents after one of his tackles.

10. Last Greek standing
In the third round of the 2010/11 Greek Super League, 17-year-old striker Kostas Fortounis scored for Asteras Tripolis against AEK in Athens. That goal could not help his side though, they lost 2-1. However, it was the only goal scored by a Greek player in the whole round of games; the other 17 were notched by foreign players. The statistic should not be a surprise though, in a league where local players make up less than half (48.9%) of those competing. Little wonder therefore that the national team fared badly at the World Cup in South Africa.

Fonte: Inside Futbol

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