Tuesday, October 17, 2017

17 October 1990 - Turkey Gets Stuffed By Ireland

On 17 October 1990, Ireland beat Turkey in a European qualifier to launch their record unbeaten streak. But it didn't get them to the Euros.

It was the first match day of qualifying in Group 7, with Ireland hosting Turkey in Dublin. Playing before a crowd of 46,000 at Lansdowne Road, the Irish took an early lead with a goal from striker John Aldridge (pictured) in the 15th minute. Center back David O'Leary added another in the 40th minute to send Ireland into the break with a 2-0 lead. In the second half, Aldridge scored twice more (58', 73'), with a goal from striker Niall Quinn in between (60') to raise the final score to a dominant 5-0 for the hosts.

Ireland followed the win by drawing with England (1-1) and Poland (0-0), with the combination leaving them one point short of qualification for Euro 1992. They continued their unbeaten run for a record total of 16 matches before eventually losing to Spain in their last qualifier for the 1994 World Cup. They did qualify for the World Cup, though, and advanced to the Round of 16.

Monday, October 16, 2017

16 October 1968 - United Gets Taken To School

On 16 October 1968, Estudiantes won the Intercontinental Cup, beating Manchester United over a contentious two-legged final.

By winning the previous season's Copa Libertadores, Estudiantes earned the right to face Manchester United, the reigning European Cup champions. They met for the first leg in Buenos Aires on 25 September, with the hosts eking out a narrow 1-0 victory in a match that saw United midfielder Nobby Stiles get ejected and striker Bobby Charlton receive a blow to the head that required stitches.

Despite that result, United were favorites going into the second leg at Old Trafford three weeks later, where a crowd of 63,500 gathered for the event. But they quickly fell behind when Estudiantes forward Juan Ramón Verón scored in just the seventh minute. The situation grew worse for United when striker Denis Law received an injury and had to come off in the 43rd minute, replaced by Carlo Santori.

Tempers flared in the second half as both teams had a player ejected--George Best for United and José Medina for Estudiantes--in the 88th minute. Willie Morgan drew the home team level in the 89th minute, but they could not find another goal and Estudiantes won on points.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

15 October 1887 - Preston Cooks Up A Double Baker's Dozen

On 15 October 1887, Preston North End delivered the biggest beating in English football history, crushing Hyde FC 26-0 in the FA Cup.

Although they had been playing football for only nine years, Preston had already established themselves as a rising power, reaching the FA Cup semifinals the previous season. When the returned to the tournament in the 1887-88 season, they met Hyde at Deepdale in the first round and proceeded to win 26-0. It remains the biggest margin of victory in English football (but still behind the British record, set by Arbroath's 36-0 Scottish Cup win over Bon Accord in 1885).

Preston advanced all the way to the final before losing to West Brom, but won the tournament the following season as part of the first English FA Cup and league Double. They repeated as league champions in 1990 and finished as runners-up in 1991, 1992, and 1993.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

14 October 2006 - Terry Takes A Turn In Goal

On 14 October 2006, Chelsea needed three goalkeepers to get through their match against Reading, with captain John Terry pulling on the gloves for a bit.

Playing in a league game at Reading's Madjeski Stadium, Chelsea lost starting goalkeeper Petr Cech after just 20 seconds. Diving to make a save at the feet of Reading's Stephen Hunt, Cech took a blow to the head that fractured his skull. He left the pitch on a stretcher and was replaced by substitute keeper Carlo Cudicini.

Reading tested Cuducini, but it was Chelsea who took the lead after Reading defender Ivar Ingemarsson put the ball in his net off a Frank Lampard free kick in the 45th minute.

In the second half, both teams went down to 10 men as Chelsea's John Obi Mikel (in the 62nd minute) and Reading substitute André Bikey (in the 83rd) both received second yellow cards and were sent off. Then, shortly before the final whistle, Cuducini collided with Reading defender Ibrahima Sonko and lost consciousness. Having already used all three substitutes, manager José Mourinho sent John Terry into goal.

With only moments left, Terry had little to do to see out the 0-1 win.

Friday, October 13, 2017

13 October 1977 - Di Natale's Natale

On 13 October 1977, striker Antonio Di Natale was born in Naples. He went on to become one of Italy's top scorers, leading Serie A in back-to-back seasons.

He started his professional career in 1996 with Empoli, at that time in Serie B, but made only one appearance in that first season, then spent the next two on loan. In 1999, he finally broke into Empoli's first team, making 30 appearances in all competitions and scoring seven goals. His best season there was 2001-02, when his 16 league goals helped them get promoted to Serie A and earned Di Natale his first cap with Italy.

After the 2003-04 season, with Empoli relegated back to Serie B, he stayed in the top flight by moving to Udinese and immediately helped them to a fourth-place finish. His breakout season came in 2009-10, when he scored 29 goals to claim the Capocannoniere and the 2010 Italian Footballer of the Year award. He claimed the scoring title a second time in 2010-11 with 28 goals.

He remained with Udinese until his retirement in 2016, scoring a total of 227 goals in 446 appearances for the club.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

12 October 1965 - Chile Gets A Ticket To Europe

On 12 October 1965, Chile beat Ecuador in a playoff to qualify for their first European World Cup.

They were coming off their best showing in the tournament, finishing in third place as hosts in 1962. But they had never played in a World Cup hosted by a European country, withdrawing from Italy '34 and France '38 and failing to qualify for Switzerland '54 and Sweden '58.

To reach England for the 1966 edition, they had to get through a CONMEBOL qualification group whose other members were Ecuador and Colombia. After four games each, Chile and Ecuador had identical records, with each having two wins, a draw, and a loss. Although Chile had a better goal differential and beat Ecuador 3-1 in the last scheduled match of the group, the rules ranked the teams by points only, forcing a decision through a playoff.

The teams met in the neutral location of Lima, Peru, where Leonel Sánchez (pictured)--the hero of Chile's 1966 World Cup performance--opened the scoring in the 16th minute, followed by a goal from Rubén Marcos in the 40th minute to stake Chile to a 2-0 lead at the break. Ecuador finally managed to get on the scoreboard in the 89th minute, but it was nothing more than a consolation goal.

The 2-1 win sent Chile to England, but they were unable to recapture their form from the previous tournament and were eliminated in the group stage.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

11 October 2011 - The Japanese Sun Sets On Tajikistan

On 11 October 2011, a couple of Japanese players scored their first international goals as they handed Tajikistan a record loss.

The occasion was a third-round match in Asian Football Confederation for the 2012 World Cup, with Japan hosting Tajikistan at Nagai Stadium in Osaka. Up to that point, all five games played earlier in the group had ended either 1-0 or 1-1, including two games each for Japan and Tajikistan, so nobody was quite prepared for what happened next.

Striker Mike Havenaar (pictured), in second appearance for Japan and first start, scored the opener--his first for the national team--with an 11th-minute header. It was followed by goals from Shinji Okazaki (19'), Yuichi Komano (35', his first for Japan), and Shinji Kagawa (41') to stretch the lead to 4-0 at the break.

In the second half, Havenaar again led off with a header (47'). Kengo Nakamura added one on the 56th minute before both Kagawa (68') and Okazaki (74') scored again. The final 8-0 margin set a new record low for Tajikistan, who proceeded to finish last in the group, eliminating them from qualification. Japan advanced to the fourth round, where they currently sit at the top of their group.

As impressive as the win was for Japan, it fell far short of their record victory, a 15-0 win over the Philippines in 1967.