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.

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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.

English in action: 30th November

Five more expatriates took to the field this Sunday.

Belgium: Union Saint-Gilloise 3-0 Tienen (Third Division)
English defender Amardeep Singh was on the wrong end of a 3-0 defeat in the Belgian Third Division yesterday.

He started as his side Tienen travelled to 7th place Union Saint-Gilloise, looking to end a streak of two consecutive losses.

However, after just 14 minutes Tienen were a goal down and despite Singh playing the full ninety minutes, he could no prevent a three goal loss.

Greece: Panathinaikos 2-1 Veria (Super League)

Luke Steele in action earlier in the season.

Luke Steele was back in goal as Panathinkaikos hosted Veria, in a match between two top eight sides.

The hosts took a two-goal lead inside the first fifty minutes of the game and despite Veria pulling a goal back midway through the second half, Steele and his team-mates held on for the three points. The win sees Panathinaikos move up to fourth in the Greek Super League.

India: Kerala Blasters 0-1 Chennaiyin (Indian Super League)
Player/manager David James started between the sticks as his side Kerala Blasters hosted Chennaiyin in the Indian Super League.

However, the former England international lasted just two minutes before being forced off with injury.

James was off the pitch as his side conceded a late 87th goal to lose 1-0. Fellow Englishman, Michael Chopra, was an unused sub.

Poland: Śląsk Wrocław 1-1 Pogoń Szczecin (Ekstraklasa)

Tom Hateley on the ball.

To Poland now, and Śląsk Wrocław were looking to secure a first win in four as they hosted Pogoń Szczecin in the country’s top division.

Starting in midfielder for the hosts was Englishman Tom Hateley, who was making his 14th appearance of the season.

He played the full ninety minutes as the home side struggled to a 1-1 draw, having to come from a goal behind to secure a point.

Spain: Saint Andreu 0-0 Mallorca B (Segunda B)
English midfielder Connor Ruane started for Mallorca’s second team as they travelled to Saint Andreu for a Segunda B match, Spain’s third tier.

The 21-year-old was making just his third start of the season for Mallorca B, having joined the island side from fellow Segunda B side Constància in the summer.

Despite four bookings for each side, including Ruane who also picked up a caution, the teams could only manage a goalless draw. The result leaves Mallorca B just three points off the top of the table, despite being in 7th place.

On the bench
In Italy, both Roma’s Ashley Cole and Fiorentina’s Micah Richards were unused substitutes as their respective sides both cruised to victory.

In Portugal’s Segunda Liga, English midfielder Peter Gregory remained on the bench as his side Beira-Mer fell to a 4-2 home defeat by UD Oliveirense.

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: 23rd November

It was a busy Sunday for English players abroad, with fourteen players being involved across the globe.

Belgium: Kortrijk 3-1 Zulte-Waregem (Pro League)

A crazy nine minute spell saw Zulte-Waregem go from leading by a goal to playing with ten men and losing 3-1.

The away side took the lead after just six minutes and were leading by a goal when English midfielder Chuks Aneke came on for the visitors in the 62nd minute.

However, just six minutes later, Kortrijk equalised. This then lead to a disastrous spell for Zulte-Waregem as they conceded another two goals and had a man sent off in the next nine minutes.

Former Arsenal man Aneke and his team-mates will be hoping to put this match behind them, after they suffered an eighth loss of the season.

Belgium: Tienen 1-2 Union La Calamine (Third Division)
Another Englishman in Belgium also suffered defeat yesterday. Amardeep Singh made his fifteenth start of the season as he lined up for Tienen against Union La Calamine in a game between two mid-table sides in the Belgian Third Division.

However, despite playing the full ninety minutes, Singh was unable to prevent his side from losing as they fell to a 79th minute winner from defender Dylan Biersard to lose 2-1.

Malta: Valletta 5-0 Mosta FC (Premier League)

English forward Lateef Elford-Alliyu was on the scoresheet as his side Valletta thrashed Mosta FC 5-0.

The 22-year-old former West Brom youngster scored his side’s third goal in the 37th minute as the victory moved Valletta up to second in the Malta Premier League. It was Elford-Alliyu’s third league goal of the season, having made the move to Malta from Tamworth in November last year.

New Zealand: Wellington Phoenix Reserves 1-2 Waitakere United (ASB Premiership)
Waitakere United started with two English forwards as they defeated Wellington Phoenix Reserves 2-1 with two late goals.

The visitors lined up with Adam Dickinson and Derice Richards up top as they looked to bounce back from two losses in a row. However after just twelve minutes, Dickinson was forced off through injury.

Richards remained on the field for the full ninety though, and was involved as his team scored twice in the final three minutes of the game to secure a 2-1 away win.

New Zealand: Canterbury United 2-2 Team Wellington (ASB Premiership)
Two more Englishmen started as Canterbury United lined up with Tom Schwarz and Mark Peers in another match with late drama.

The pair played the full ninety minutes and were joined by compatriot Danny Schwarz on the field by the time Aaron Spain scored his 89th minute equaliser to secure a point for Canterbury United.

USA: New York Red Bulls 1-2  New England Revolution (MLS Playoffs)

Wright-Phillips in action yesterday.

The New York Red Bulls topped the bill yesterday for the number of Englishmen starting as they fielded three in their MLS Eastern Conference Playoff final against New England Revolution. Richard Eckersley, Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips were the men tasked with securing a win for the Red Bulls in the first leg.

The visitors went one-nil up early on but the hosts soon hit back through an unsurprising source. Bradley Wright-Phillips was the man who headed home an equaliser for New York in the 27th minute, his 31st goal in a record-breaking season.

However, the Revolution were to have the last laugh as they scored four minutes from time to take a 2-1 lead back home to New England going into next week’s second leg.

On the bench
Micah Richards was an unused sub as Fiorentina won 2-1 away at Hellas Verona in Italy. Goalkeeper Corin Brooks was not required by his side Nea Salamis as they lost 1-0 at home to Ermis in the Cyprus 1. Division. Finally, Osayaman Osawe watched his side Hallescher FC win 1-0 against Mainz II in Germany’s 3. Liga from the bench.