English in action: 4th December

Greece: Panaitolikos 0-1 Panathinaikos (Super League)
For the second day in a row, an Englishman was involved in Greek Super League action. Luke Steele started in goal as his side Panathinaikos travelled to Panaitolikos for match day 11.

Steele has been sharing goalkeeping responsibilities this season so far but yesterday was his third start in a row, as he begins to place a firm hold on the number one jersey.

He did his chances of remaining the club’s number one no harm as he kept a clean sheet in an edgy 1-0 win for the away side, after their goal came just minutes from time. The victory means Panathinaikos move up to third in the table.

India: Kerala Blasters 0-0 NorthEast United (Indian Super League)

James Keene clashes with Michael Chopra

To India now, where an altercation between two English strikers was the main talking point in a goalless draw between Kerala Blasters and NorthEast United.

Former England international goalkeeper David James was a noticeable absentee for the Blasters. He missed out through injury, having hobbled off in their last game early on.

Elsewhere, English forward James Keene started up front for NorthEast, with compatriot Michael Chopra on the bench for his opponents.

The match was relatively uneventful until Chopra’s introduction in the 63rd minute. Twelve minutes after he had joined the action, the former Newcastle United player fouled Keene. Although Chopra was to be booked for his challenge, it was his compatriot’s reaction which would be the key event of the match. Keene reacted angrily, pushing Chopra to the ground, resulting in a straight red card for violent conduct.

It means Keene now holds the unfortunate record of having more red cards than goals in his ten appearances in the Indian Super League so far, one to zero.



English in action: 1st December

The start of advent sees no rest for Englishmen abroad, with another two involved yesterday.

India: Goa 3-0 NorthEast United (Indian Super League)

James Keene in action earlier in the season

NorthEast United suffered a heavy defeat as they fell to a 3-0 loss away to Goa in the Indian Super League.

English forward James Keene came on for NorthEast in the 35th minute, after an injury to a team-mate. By this time, his side were already one goal down.

His introduction could do nothing to stop the flow of Goa goals though, as they grabbed another two before the end of the match to win 3-0. Keene has now made nine appearances without a goal in the Indian Super League.

Medy Elito

Netherlands: Ajax II 4-0 VVV Venlo (Eerste Divisie)
VVV Venlo were on the wrong end of a 4-0 drubbing as they were thrashed by Ajax’s second team in the Eerste Divisie, the Netherlands’ second tier.

English winger Medy Elito started the game for VVV but was substituted at half time with his side 1-0 down.

The change seemed to have an adverse effect though, with his side conceding a further three goals in the second half with the Englishman off the pitch.


English in action: 27th November

Midweek Europa League and Indian Super League action saw three players involved in matches worldwide yesterday.

France: Guingamp 1-2 Fiorentina (UEFA Europa League)

Richards in action earlier in the season

Italian side Fiorentina travelled to French strugglers Guingamp for a Europa League group K match. Earlier in the season, the pair faced each other in the reverse fixture. That match ended with a comfortable 3-0 win for the Italians.

Hoping for a repeat performance was English defender Micah Richards, who started at the back for Fiorentina. It was the internationals seventh appearance of the season but his fourth in Europe, having made only three appearance all year in Serie A.

Another resounding victory was on the cards for La Viola as just 12 minutes into the game, goals from Marko Marin and Khouma Babacar put the visitors two goals up.

However, just before half time, the hosts were given a lifeline. Jose Basanta was sent off for a challenge in the box, awarding Guingamp a penalty, which they duly converted.

The sending off meant Richards and his defensive teammates would have to work hard in the second half to hold onto their lead. Fortunately for the dismissed Basanta, they did exactly that, holding onto their 2-1 lead and securing qualification into the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Russia: Dinamo Moscow 2-1 Panathinaikos (UEFA Europa League)
Elsewhere, in group E of the Europa League, Panathinkaikos made the trip from Greece to Russia’s capital, Moscow to take on Dinamo.

On the bench for Panathinaikos was former Barnsley goalkeeper Luke Steele. Currently in his first season in Greece, the 30-year-old has been in and out of his new side’s starting line-ups. Yesterday’s match was the eighth time he had started a game on the bench but he has also made eight starts this year.

The Russian side were considered strong favourites before the game, having won their first four group games – as opposed to the single point that the Greek side had picked up.

However, after just 14 minutes, Marcus Berg gave the visitors a shock lead.

Order was soon restored in the second half though, as two goals in the opening 16 minutes of the half secured a fifth consecutive win in Europe for Dinamo, consigning Panathinaikos to the bottom of the group with a game left.

India: NorthEast United 3-0 Chennaiyin (Indian Super League)
This was supposed to a routine victory for Chennaiyin. They were top of the league and the travelled to bottom of the table NorthEast United expecting a win. Except the hosts didn’t read the script, and after just 23 minutes, they had stunned their visitors, and fans, by taking a 3-0 lead.

NorthEast managed to hold onto their 3-0 lead for the rest of the game, even though they had former Spain international Joan Capdevila sent off in the second half.

Watching the extraordinary events unfold on the pitch from the bench was English forward James Keene. The former Portsmouth man was not required as his side cruised to a surprise victory.

The result moves NorthEast up to 5th in the table. Chennaiyin remain at the top.

English in action: 24-26 November

The past three days have seen four Englishmen involved worldwide, but only one started in their respective match.

24th November
India: NorthEast United 1-2 Delhi Dynamos (Indian Super League)

James Keene in action earlier this season.

The two bottoms clubs in the Indian Super faced each other on Monday. English forward James Keene was introduced to the match after 60 minutes, with his side NorthEast United already 2-0 down.

Keene has been an Englishman abroad since he left his first professional club, Portsmouth, in 2007. The bulk of his time since has been spent at Swedish club Elfsborg but he has also had spells in Norway and Israel.

The 28-year-old seemed to have an impact, as NorthEast pulled a goal back with ten minutes to go. However, that was all they could manage, as they slipped to the bottom of the table.

Keene was also booked in the ill-tempered affair, which also saw two players sent off.

25th November
Russia: CSKA Moscow 1-1 Roma (Champions League)
In Europe’s most prestigious competition, CSKA Moscow secured a late draw with a 93rd minute equaliser to cancel out Roma legend Francesco Totti’s opener.

English defender Ashley Cole was not required as he watched the game from the bench.

26th November
India: FC Goa 3-0 Kerala Blasters (Indian Super League)
Having gone five games unbeaten, in spell which included conceding just one goal, David James’ Kerala Blasters came crashing back down to earth as they were defeated by three second half FC Goa goals.

The match saw 4th place host 3rd palce and Kerala had beaten Goa 1-0 only three weeks ago. This time though, it would be different.

The game remained tight for the opening hour. English forward Michael Chopra joined his compatriot James on the field in the 61st minute. However, this was when Goa stepped their game up. They fired three goals in 16 minutes to leave James no chance in goal.

The result means Kerala slip to fourth place with three games left to play before the playoffs.