Thursday, September 19, 2013

Soccer Week (8 of 8): Suppose They Gave a Soccer Game in Cyprus, and No One Cared (plus 11 European teams you've never heard of)

Hmm....we were going to post a photo of Trabzonspor's Turkish soccer player Yusuf Erdogan, but what we got were photos of Turkish Prime Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is about as popular amongst Turks abroad as Porky Pig cartoons are in Dubai (forgive the political humor).

At any rate, this image is of Marco Streller, the Swiss international and captain of the Swiss team Basel, which is ranked 51st in UEFA club standings. He kicked the winning goal for Basel in the Champions League. Basel went into London on Tuesday and shocked the global soccer community with a 2-1 win over Chelsea.

Our lead though is in reference to today's soccer game in Limassol, Cyprus, between traditional Turkish soccer power Trabzonspor and Appolon Limassol, the team that surprised Europe last year by reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

Even though Cyprus is just across the sea from Turkey, Trabzonspor traveled quite a ways for the game as Trabzon is located in northwestern Turkey.

For those who feel asleep in your history class at Cornell University (next time we'll pick on Princeton), Turkey and Greece had a short, but ugly war over Cyprus in 1974. Even though I was four years old at the time, I remember the Cyprus War quite well, or at least as well as the Vietnam War, for my late father Mehmet Gokbudak hailed from Turkey.

Thankfully, no one on either side of my family died in Famagusta or Hanoi.

Before we get to the ten European soccer teams you've never heard of, let's look at some scores that will help you the blog-reader get through this entry:

UEFA Champions League:

Sociedad (Spain) 0 Shkhar Donesk (Ukraine) 2

Chelsea 1 Basel 2

Benfica (Portugal) 2 Anderlecht (Belgium) 0

UEFA Europa League:

Apollon 1 Trabzonspor 2

Dynamo Zagreb (Croatia) 1 Odessa (Ukraine) 2

PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) 0 Ludogorets (Bulgaria) 2

Standard Liege (Belgium) 1 Esberg (Denmark)  2

Freiburg (Germany) 2 Liberec (Czech) 2...........tie game

Rubin Kazan (Russia) 5 Maribor (Slovenia) 2

Now here on the 11 teams you've never heard of:

1. Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine): This was considered the second biggest upset in the Champions League. Brazilian international Alex Teixeira scored both goals for the Ukrainian club in their 2-0 win in Spain).

2. Basel (Switzerland)

3. Benfica (Portugal): They are seemingly a team which always sneaks up on other teams in European play.

4. Anderlecht (Belgium)

5. Apollon Limassol (Cyprus): "The Daily Hurriyet," an English-langauge newspaper in Turkey said Trabzonspor won in 'Greek Cyprus,' but we don't like to get into politics here. Well, at least, not when we are writing about soccer. Gaston Sangoy (Argentina) scored for the Cypriot team in the team's close loss to Trabzonspor.

6. Trabzonspor (Turkey): This squad is one of only two teams outside of Istanbul that has won a Turkish domestics championship; Bursasapr from Bursa is the other team.

7.Dyanmo Zagreb (Croatia)

8. Ludogorets (Bulgaria): Amazingly enough Virgil Misidja a Dutch international player for this Bulgarian team kicked in the second goal in his native country today to help Ludo upset PSV Eindhoven 2-0.

9. Esberg (Denmark): Not to be confused with Swedish team Elfsborg, which is also in the Europa League, this Danish squad celebrated a road win in Belgium thanks to the game-winning goal from Musaga Bakenga, a Norwegian player of Congolese heritage.

10. Rubin Kazan: This team which plays in the Tartar region  of Russia boasts Gokdeniz Karadeniz, one of Turkey's better exports. Today, he scored a goal today in their win over Maribor of Slovenia.

11. Maribor (Slovenia): Today's lop-sided loss to Rubin Kazan was apparently closer than the score sheet indicates. Maribor is a competitive team from the former Yugoslavia and today the team saw a goal from Slovenian national Martin Milec. (in Turkish)

No comments: