Monday, 25 July 2011
London 2011: Results so far
Football Beyond Borders: London 2011 kicked-off this weekend with six great games down at The Hive Football Centre in Edgware.
After the late withdrawal of Damascus University and the University of Manchester, the tournament itself was slimmed down to a six-way affair, with four group games to be played each. The top two teams will meet in the final on Saturday 30th July at Wadham Lodge Sports Ground.
On Saturday 23rd, co-hosts University of London FC fell to a shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of Paysandú Universitario from Uruguay. The defeat was ULFC's first loss since November 2010, and came at the hands (feet) of their striker Juan Dorrego, who opened the scoring early on with a penalty before sealing the result in the dying minutes, finishing off a counter-attack as ULFC pressed for a winner.
Juan is in a unique position, as he is eligible to play for 3 of the 6 competing teams! He is currently reading an MA at SOAS, and has been a star player for both SOAS and ULFC for the past season. Born in Paysandú, he moved to London after completing his degree at the Universidad de la República and playing football for Paysandú. In Uruguay - where República is the only state university - student football is split into teams made up of students from various regions, who play in teams made up of players from their home town. Paysandú were formed as a club in 2004, and since then have gone from strength to strength, and have here impressed everyone with their direct, attacking style of play. In this game ULFC could reasonably count themselves unlucky, having hit the bar twice and had two penalty appeals turned down, whilst Paysandú scored their only two clear chances. However, lacking the guidance of coach Andy Zeller, it was an undisciplined performance from the Purples.
On the adjacent pitch, pre-tournament favourites AUC (Egypt) sneaked past Adnan Menderes Üniversitesi from Turkey 2-1 in a game which could have gone either way. Incredibly, Adnan Menderes missed two penalties in the first 15 minutes, before the AUC snuck ahead and then wasted chance after chance in front of goal.
In the final game of the day, SOAS comfortably overcame the University of Helsinki 3-1, with Helsinki's late penalty (which was saved, before the rebound was scored) making it four penalties in the first three games, only one of which was converted!
Yesterday the teams returned to The Hive for the second round of group games, in what proved to be quite an extraordinary day results-wise.
At 1pm, both London-based SOAS and ULFC recorded 8-0 victories, over Adnan Menderes and Helsinki respectively. The scorelines portray an image of two completely one-sided games, but this wasn't really the case - football, as they say, is a funny old game.
At 3pm came the match-up of the day, as Paysandú faced the AUC. Having each won their opening games, both teams were keen to sneak ahead of the other in this vital clash.
The game itself was very even, with both teams creating chances and looking dangerous in the counter-attack. After around 20 minutes played AUC took the lead, and managed to hold on until half-time, partly thanks to a couple of great saves from their goalkeeper, who plays in the Egyptian premier Division back at home.
Paysandú fought back, and midway through the first half almost pulled level, striking the bar from a one-on-one. However it was AUC who wrapped up a 2-0 victory, scoring directly from a corner to break Uruguayan hearts. Only temporarily though, as the Paysandú boys celebrated Uruguay's Copa America victory over Paraguay into the early hours of this morning!
Tuesday the 26th will see Helsinki and Adnan Menderes both look to open their accounts at 5pm, and at 7pm SOAS and ULFC both have important games against Paysandú and the AUC respectively.
Thursday 28th will see the final round of games as Helsinki and Paysandú match up at 5pm, with SOAS playing the AUC and Adnan Menderes facing ULFC at 7pm.
If you can, come down and support the teams! The Hive is easy to reach, being a short walk from Canons Park, Queensbury and Burnt Oak stations. Directions can be found here