English in action: FIFA Club World Cup

Auckland City, with four Englishmen in their ranks, stunned football fans across the globe as they finished third in the FIFA Club World Cup.

The tournament, which sees the winner of each continent’s premier competition take on each other, was held in Morocco from the 10th to the 20th December.

Auckland qualified as winners of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions League and were involved in the first match of the tournament as they took on the host country’s entrant Moghreb Tétouan. The winner would qualify for the quarter-finals of the tournament.

The match went all the way to penalties and it was the New Zealand side who held their nerve, winning 4-3 on spot-kicks. Both Englishmen who featured, John Irving and Darren White, were successful converting from the spot. See the highlights here.

In the next round, Auckland were pitted against Africa’s champions, Algerian side ES Sétif.

In another tight encounter, it was Irving who was the hero, with his goal in the 52nd minute securing a 1-0 win, and passage to the semi finals. Darren White also featured as a late substitute. See the goal here.

San Lorenzo were next up for Auckland, and they stood between them and a place in the final against Real Madrid.

The South American champions were a significant jump in quality compared to the two sides Oceania’s champions had already defeated but they battled well, taking the game to extra time following a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

However, the professional side were to be a step too far for Auckland, as San Lorenzo secured a 2-1 victory with a goal in the first half of extra time. Again, Irving started and Sam Burfoot also featured for the first time. See the highlights here.

Despite the loss, there was still one more game for Auckland to play, as they took on North America’s top club Cruz Azul in the 3/4 playoff.

The Mexican side has just been defeated by Real Madrid 4-0 in the semi-finals so were looking to end their tournament on a high.

However, Irving, White, Burfoot and co. made sure it would be them who would go home happiest as a 4-2 win in their second penalty shoot-out of the tournament secured them third place after a 1-1 draw in normal time. See the highlights here.

English goalkeeper Louie Caunter was on the bench for all the games.

For a semi-professional side, Auckland did themselves and the Oceania confederation proud, beating side’s with vastly superior budgets and reputations.

This year was the sixth time Auckland had ever played in the FIFA Club World Cup and their third place finish was by far their best ever result.






English in action: 11th December

There were two Englishmen involved in the final round of group stage matches in the UEFA Europa League.

Greece: Panathinaikos 1-1 Estoril (UEFA Europa League)
Both of these teams were already eliminated from the competition before this match but Panathinkaikos were out for revenge after losing 2-0 earlier in the competition to Estroil.

English goalkeeper Luke Steele started between the sticks for the Greek hosts, who took the lead in the 55th minute.

It looked like Steele would be keeping a clean sheet but going into the final moments of the match, Kléber grabbed an equaliser for the Portuguese side to level the match at 1-1 and secure a point for Estoril.

Italy: Fiorentina 1-2 Dinamo Minsk (UEFA Europa League)

Micah Richards (in purple) in Europa League action earlier in the season.

With a game to spare, Fiorentina had already secured passage to the knock-out stages of the tournament and therefore made changes to their side as they hosted Dinamo Minsk, who were still looking for their first group stage win.

English defender Micah Richards started for the hosts. Despite being a regular this year in Europe, the Manchester City loanee has made only three appearances in Serie A this season.

His side were in for a shock as Minsk took a surprise two goal lead after 55 minutes.

Fiorentina pulled a goal back with three minutes to spare but it was not enough to prevent their first loss in the group stage.

Richards played the whole match.

English in action: 9th December

India: Kerala Blasters 1-0 Pune City (Indian Super League)

Michael Chopra.

Two Englishmen shared seven minutes on the pitch as Kerala Blasters took on Pune City in the final group stage match of the Indian Super League.

Former Stoke City winger Jermaine Pennant started for Pune City but could not prevent his side from going a goal down in the 23rd minute.

He was joined on the field by compatriot forward Michael Chopra, who came on in the 71st minute for Kerala.

Pennant was then replaced seven minutes later as the game finished 1-0 to the Blasters.

The result means David James’ Kerala side make it into the playoffs but Pennant’s Pune are eliminated after finishing outside the top four.

English in action: 8th December

Michael Felgate

Cyprus: Ayia Napa 0-0 Ethnikos Achna (1. Division)
Two sides in the bottom half of Cyprus’ top division faced each other as Ayia Napa hosted Ethnikos Achna.

English defender Michael Felgate was in the starting line-up for the hosts, who were looking for their first win in four.

The points were shared in the end though, as Felgate played the full match as the game ended goalless.

English midfielder Krasniqi Kreshnic was an unused substitute for Ethnikos Achna.

Greece: Panathrakikos 0-0 Ergotelis (Super League)

Hakeem Araba after signing for Panthrakikos.

To the Greek Super League now, as another Englishman was involved in a goalless draw.

Two teams in the league’s bottom three took on each other but in the end, the result suited neither side as Panathrakikos and Ergotelis played out a stalemate.

English forward Hakeem Araba was an 85th minute substitute for the hosts. He was making his fifth sub appearance of the season since his summer move from Cypriot side AE Kouklion.

English in action: 7th December

Belgium: Club Brugge 2-1 Zulte-Waregem (Pro League)
Zulte-Waregem suffered a narrow defeat against top of the league Club Brugge yesterday.

English midfielder Chuks Aneke started for the away side, fresh from his goal midweek in the cup.

However, despite playing the full 90 minutes, the former Arsenal player was not able to secure a win for his side as he picked up a booking the 2-1 loss. His side remain in 14th place in the league.

Belgium: Visé 1-6 Tienen (Third Division)
Tienen thrashed Visé to move up to 12th in the Belgian Third Division.

English defender Amardeep Singh played the entire match for Tienen, as they fired four second half goals to record a comfortable victory.

Germany: Meuselwitz 2-0 Auerbach (Regionalliga)
Two Englishmen started for Auerbach as they took on Meuselwitz in a battle between two of the Regionalliga Nordost’s bottom three.

Defender Korede Aiyegbusi and midfielder Moses Makinde lined up for Auerbach as they looked for the three points which would take them out of the bottom three.

However, they would have left the match very disappointed as they fell to a 2-0 defeat.

Aiyegbusi played the whole game but Makinde was substituted after 55 minutes, with his side already one goal down.

Greece: Asteras Tripolis 1-1 Panathinaikos (Super League)
Englishman Luke Steele started in goal for Panathinaikos as fourth hosted third.

The game started badly for Steele and his team-mates as they found themselves a goal down after 30 minutes.

However, six minutes later, his side equalised to secure a 1-1 draw. The result means Panathinaikos remain in 3rd place in the Greek Super League.

Greece: Acharnaikos 0-0 AOT Alimos (Football League)
English midfielder Jamie Moore was on the bench for AOT Alimos as they headed to Acharnaikos for a Greek Football League match, the country’s second tier.

The slight attacking midfielder joined Cypriot side Ethnikos Achna in July this summer but just two months later, joined AOT Alimos, where he has since made six appearances in all competitions.

With the game still goalless after 64 minutes, Moore was introduced as AOT looked for the win.

However, 25 minutes later, the English substitute was substituted as they game ended goalless.

Netherlands: Vitesse 2-2 Twente (Eredivisie)
Chelsea loanee Josh McEachran was on the bench again for Vitesse as they hosted Twente.

The English midfielder has not seen as much first team football as he would have liked so far this season out on loan, having started just one game all season in the cup.

The match was tied at 2-2 when McEachran was brought on in the 56th minute for his first appearance since early October.

The change failed to alter the match, as they game ended all square.

Netherlands: VVV Venlo 1-1 Roda JC (Eerste Divisie)
When English winger Medy Elito was brought on in the 73rd minute for VVV Venlo, the game was goalless.

Just five minutes later though, his side took the lead and thought they had secured the victory until Roda JC hit back with an equaliser in the 89th minute.

New Zealand: Hawke’s Bay United 2-5 Wellington Phoenix Reserves (ASB Premiership)
English midfielder Ryan Tinsley started as his side Hawke’s Bay United hosted Wellington Phoenix Reserves in New Zealand’s top division.

The former Nottingham Forest man made it two goals in two games when he fired home a penalty kick in the 31st minute.

However, Wellington, already two goals up at the moment, would go on to fire a further three goals in the second half to win 5-2.

Portugal: Beira-Mer 1-2 Feirense (Segunda Liga)
English defender Peter Gregory started for Beira-Mer as they hosted Feirense in a mid-table battle in Portugal’s second tier.

Gregory’s side had a great start, taking the lead after just four minutes but Feirense hit back with two first half goals of their own to win 2-1.

The former Portsmouth defender played the whole match.



English in action: 6th December

Belgium: Dessel Sport 1-1 OH Leuven (Second Division)

John Bostock.

John Bostock‘s first goal in four games ensured OH Leuven secured a point as they drew 1-1 with Dessel Sport.

The hosts were in the bottom two before the match and took the lead in the seventh minute. The equaliser came half an hour later, when Bostock fired home his sixth of the season. The six goals scored by the English midfielder this season by far ranks as his best for the number of goals in a single season, with his previous best being just two.

The visitors had a man sent off in the second half but managed to hold on for the draw.

Cyprus: AEL 1-1 Nea Salamis (1. Division)
English goalkeeper Corrin Brooks-Meade started in goal for Nea Salamis in Cyprus’ top division, as his side travelled to AEL for a match which saw just three domestically-born players start.

In a match with a high proportion of foreigners, it was two Africans who got themselves on the score-sheet.

First, Brooks-Meade’s side took the lead through Nigerian forward Eze Vincent Okeuhie but in the second half, AEL hit back through Mauritanian midfielder Diallo Guidilèye.

The former Fulham goalkeeper picked up a booking in the match, as his side remain 8th in the league.

Germany: Chemnitzer 0-2 Hallescher (3. Liga)
5,603 people watched on as Chemnitzer took on Hallescher in Germany’s third tier.

English forward Osayaman Osawe was on the bench for the visitors and his side had victory wrapped up when he was introduced to match in the 91st minute.

Two first half goals from Hallescher meant Osawe’s 13th substitute appearance of the season ended in a 2-0 win.

Germany: Alemannia Aachen 3-0 Wattenscheid (Regionalliga)
English defender Kris Thackray played the whole match as his side Alemannia Aachen cruised to a 3-0 home win over Wattenscheid in Germany’s fourth tier.

Thackray helped his side keep a clean sheet as they win took them top of the Regionalliga West.

Germany: Kray 0-0 Rödinghausen (Regionalliga)
Also in the Regionalliga West, English forward Francis Williams played the full ninety for Rödinghausen as they drew 0-0 away to Kray.

The result leaves the two sides 13th and 12th respectively.

Greece: Veria 2-0 Platanias (Super League)
Having come on as a substitute on Wednesday evening, English forward Walter Figueira was given his first league start of the season as his Platanias side headed to Veria.

It turned out to be a match to forget for the former Chelsea player as he was replaced after 50 minutes with his side already one goal down.

Veria went on to score once more as they ran out 2-0 winners and moved up to 4th in the table. Platanias slip to 13th, in a league which contains 18 teams.

India: Pune City 0-1 Delhi Dynamos (Indian Super League)
Pune City suffered a late defeat against Delhi Dynamos, as the visitors scored an 88th minute winner to take all three points in the Indian Super League.

English winger Jermaine Pennant continues to have a less than exciting time in India, as he played the whole match for Pune City.

Pune have won just one match that the former Stoke winger has featured in.

Italy: Pro Patria 1-1 Renate (Lega Pro)
English defender Myles Anderson was the only non-Italian player to start as his side Pro Patria hosted Renate in the country’s third tier.

Anderson’s side took the lead in the first half but had to settle for a draw after Renate equalised in the second half.

The draw means Pro Patria remain in the league’s bottom three.

Malta: Valletta 4-1 Floriana (Premier League)

Lateef Elford-Alliyu in action earlier in the season.

English forward Lateef Elford-Alliyu was the hero as his grabbed a hat-trick to help Valletta to a 4-1 win over Floriana.

The former West Brom man scored after just two minutes to give his side an early lead and followed that up with two more strikes, wrapping up his hat-trick was a penalty in the 60th minute.

The hat-trick means Elford-Alliyu has five goals in his last matches, and eight overall in the league this season.

Portugal: Benfica 3-0 Belenenses (Primeira Liga)
English goalkeeper Matt Jones faced the unenviable task of starting between the sticks for Belenenses as they took on top-of-the-league Benfica in front of 46,000 spectators.

Jones was one of only two non-domestic players to start for the away side, whereas Benfica lined-up with just one Portuguese player.

Jones and his Belenenses team-mates remained solid for over a hour, before three goals in final half an hour from Benfica consigned the visitors to just their third loss of the season.

On the bench
Ashley Cole was an unused sub as his Roma side drew 2-2 at home to Sassuolo.

English in action: 5th December

Belgium: Westerlo 1-2 Waasland-Beveren (Pro League)
Waasland-Beveren moved to seven points above the relegation places in the Belgian Pro League after coming from a goal down to defeat Westerlo 2-1.

English midfielder Jonny Rowell was in the starting line-up for Waasland, as his side looked for just their second league win of the season.

The match began poorly for Rowell’s side though, as after just 13 minutes his side were a goal down.

However, goals in the 41st and 80th minute were enough to secure the three points for Waasland.

Rowell helped his side to victory as he played 89 minutes before being substituted. He also picked up a booking in the first half.

Poland: Zawisza Bydgoszcz 0-1 Śląsk Wrocław (Ekstraklasa)

Tom Hateley in action earlier in the season.

Despite being in the top three of Poland’s Ekstraklasa, Śląsk Wrocław were looking for their first win in five as they travelled to bottom club Zawisza Bydgoszcz.

Monte Carlo-born English midfielder Tom Hateley started in midfield for the away side.

It looked like it would be another frustrating match for Śląsk, with four of their players picking up bookings (including Hateley), but with just four minutes to go, a goal from Sebastian Mila secured victory.

Hateley played the full ninety minutes as the visitors made hard work of defeating the league’s bottom side.

Italy: Fiorentina 0-0 Juventus (Serie A)
Micah Richards was an unused substitute for Fiorentina as they played out a goalless draw at home to Juventus.