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Riches to Rags PDF Print E-mail
Written by Satish Sekar   

Humble Beginnings

Anži Machačkala (Anzhi Makhachkala) and their charismatic owner Suleyman Kerimov rewrote football financing when the billionaire bought the club in January 2011. He made it the richest club in football and paid enormous wages.

It had been founded just 20 years earlier by Magomed-Sultan Magomedov, who had played for Dinamo Machačkala previously. Within a year Anži won Dagestan’s championship – after playing an Invincibles season, drawing just four of their twenty matches. They were parachuted into Zone One of Russia’s Second Division which was the third highest level in Russian football in 1992.

The former Soviet Union had fallen apart and that meant football too had to be reorganised. Further reorganisation of Russian football in 1993 robbed them of the benefits of finishing top of their group. Promotion came three years later. The vastly experienced coach Eduard Malafeev played a pivotal role in that success, but left in 1998.

A year later they were promoted to the Russian Premier League; they lost the Russian Cup Final to Lokomotiv Moskva in 2001 on penalties. Their stay in the top flight was brief; Anži was relegated in 2002 and took seven years to return. Kerimov bought the club within a couple of years of promotion.  

A Rich Man’s World

Kerimov’s plan was a simple one – he would buy success, but it had to come quickly. But first the pole had to be greased. Kerimov received the 50% of shares that former owner Igor Yakovlev had owned along with all other shares in return for financial support.

Dagestan’s then President Magomedsalam Magomedov was also involved in the deal to put the region on the sporting map. Kerimov pumped resources into the club starting by bringing in Brasilian legend Roberto Carlos as captain.  The following year Carlos became Technical Director. Among the players that he brought in was Samuel Eto’o, making the Cameroonian international his marquee signing and the best paid footballer in the world, although the relationship later broke down.

The Times Are Changing

Roberto Carlos succeeded in bringing in top names and challenging for the chance to win top honours. Renowned coach Guus Hiddink – one of the few who has won the European treble – arrived in February 2012, but left unexpectedly in July 2013, saying that he had completed his mission and left Anži able to move forward.

Kerimov’s wealth had made it possible to crash through the barrier into football’s elite before financial fair play kicked in. Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Chelsea also broke through in time, but the bubble burst or Kerimov lost patience. The expensively assembled squad had no trophies to its name. It was time for a change.

The Crash

Two games into the current season Hiddink jumped ship without securing alternative employment. Roberto Carlos departed to manage Turkish club Sivasspor. The club was left in the hands of Sir Alex Ferguson’s former number two René Meulensteen, who had come to assist Hiddink. Meulensteen lasted a month.

Hiddink had perhaps seen the writing on the wall. Kerimov had lost a fortune – he was still incredibly wealthy – but decided on a change of plan. There was a fire-sale of expensive players including Eto’o as Anži, now served a salutary lesson – even hundreds of millions couldn’t guarantee that success could be bought.

Kerimov’s millions failed to bring success. The two years of ownership saw millions slip away without any trophies to their name. Eto’o could not fire Anži into the Champion’s League. They finish the Group stage of the Europa League at White Hart Lane on Thursday night with Tottenham Hotspur guaranteed to win Group K and Anži assured of qualifying for the knock-out stage.

The Fall of Anži Machačkala

Their league form offers a lesson for European opponents. Anži, now managed by Gadzhi Gadzhiyev, are rooted to the bottom of Russia’s SOGAZ Championship – the top league. Anži is four points adrift of closest rivals Ural Yekaterinburg and 32 shy of leaders Zenit St Petersburg and Lokomotiv Moskva.

Perhaps the most alarming statistic is that of the 19 matches Anži has played and eight points won they have not won a single league match home or away. The sparse attendances at their new home in Dagestan shows not even huge amounts of money can buy love.





Fluminense – Leaving it Late PDF Print E-mail
Written by Satish Sekar   

A Long Time in Football

A week is a long time in football. Less than a week ago Fluminense – one of Rio de Janeiro’s top teams –were staring down the barrel of relegation. Wanderley Luxemburgo, a well-known proponent of the beautiful game was shown the door. Luxemburgo delivered the Campeonato Brasileirao last year for Fluminense, but the defence of the title stalled badly.

“I believe that Luxemburgo is a great coach and our current success is due to his influence,” said new manager Dorival Júnior. “Our victory tonight is a tribute to Luxemburgo.”

An easy match against the already doomed Náutico helped, but Dorival knew that he needed something from this evenings clash. “We have three hard games ahead, but now is the time to work,” Dorival said. “Fluminense need to focus and work hard to win the next games, but I believe that we will not be relegated.”

Green Shoots of Recovery

It was far from beautiful football, but it was effective and it had to be done the hard way. São Paulo took the lead through Welliton after 17 minutes having been put through by João Schmidt. A crazy minute saw Fluminense equalise through Jean as the striker ought to have done better with just the keeper and it turned out woodwork to beat. Jean hit the crossbar and the ball found its way to Samuel, whose long range shot hit the post.

Jean profited from the rebound to raise the spirits of the more than 30,000 strong crowd. Gum secured the points with a header 2 minutes from the end of normal time from Rafael Sobis’ corner.

Niggles and Precision

Wellington was the first to earn the displeasure of the referee. He was booked for fouling Sobis after 12 minutes. After half an hour Sobis’ long-range shot was saved by Denis. The resulting corner ought to have at least tested Denis in São Paulo’s goal, but Leandro Euzébio headed over.

Edinho joined Wellington in the referee’s book after fouling João Schmidt. Early in the second half Sobis wasted a golden opportunity to give Fluminense the lead. Ten minutes later Gum fouled Osvaldo and was booked. It didn’t deter him. With ten minutes remaining Sobis hit the woodwork again. Gum was treading a fine line, but found Márcio Chagas da Silva lenient towards him at least. Substitute Mateus Caramelo was booked for fouling Sobis a minute earlier.

Jean was booked for fouling Ademilson and Gum wasted a golden opportunity to clinch the points. Rafael Toloi conceded a corner after 87 minutes. It was taken by Rafael Sobis and headed in by Gum. There was still time for Digão to get booked for fouling Osvaldo, but Fluminense held on for the win that boosts their survival hopes – achieved without their star player Fred, currently on national team duty.





Náutico Flop PDF Print E-mail
Written by Satish Sekar   

New Lease

Just days after former Real Madrid coach Wanderley Luxemburgo was fired, his former charges Fluminese easily despatched the already relegated Náutico of Recife 2-0. A 25 yard wonder strike by Wagner was worthy to settle any match. It was almost wasted on this match. Náutico barely mustered a shot on former Liverpool keeper Diego Cavalieri’s goal.

Derley and Gustavo earned yellow cards in a largely forgettable first half. Náutico mustered a solitary shot which was not on target while Fluminese had six, half on target. Marcos Júnior was credited with a 17th minute assist for Wagner’s goal, but that goal belonged solely to Wagner, who gave Ricardo Berna no earthly chance.

Putting the Nought into Náutico

Marcos Júnior was replaced at half time by Samuel Rosa. It proved an inspired substitution by new Fluminese coach Dorival Junior. Six minutes into the second half Jean broke free on the left of the area, shooting from a tight angle. Berna parried into the path of Rosa who couldn’t miss from six yards out.

Fluminese had other chances which they failed to take. Referee Marcos André Gomes da Penha kept Raffinha waiting on the touchline long enough for Dorival to change his mind about withdrawing Digão. Rhayner was taken off instead with 13 minutes remaining. Before Rafinha had an opportunity to make a mark on the match defender Alison lunged into him leaving Rafinha in a heap. Penha had no choice but to send Alison off.

Náutico will depart the Campeonato Brasileiro with a pathetic whimper while Dorival may just save Fluminese from Serie B next term. He won’t face such easy opposition again though.





England take big step away to Brazil PDF Print E-mail
Written by Satish Sekar   



1 Joe HART (GK)


3 Leighton BAINES

4 Steven GERRARD (C)






10 Wayne ROONEY

11 Danny WELBECK


1 Vukasin POLEKSIC (GK)



5 Vladimir VOLKOV


8 Stevan JOVETIC (C)



18 Nikola DRINCIC

21 Stefan SAVIC

23 Branko BOSKOVIC

Match Officials

Referee: Alberto UNDIANO (ESP)

Assistant Referee 1: Raul CABANERO MARTINEZ (ESP)

Assistant Referee 2: Roberto DIAZ PEREZ (ESP)

Fourth official: Carlos CLOS GOMEZ (ESP)


by Lucio Menin


WEMBLEY. Half time has gone at Wembley Stadium and frustration is arising among the Three Lions ranks as they cannot get through the well placed Montenegro defenses.

Wayne Rooney got the golden chance at 41' but went unconvinced and perhaps panicked on the ball and the end product was a misplaced shot with the open foot on the external part of the nearer post with Poleksic still on the floor for the previous save on Andros Townsend shot from the 18 yard line after a prodigious 40 yard run with the ball.

Earlier Sturridge had another chance in the box but again showed that uncomfortability with finishing which is dreadfully penalizing English football.

Montenegro for instance showed much better how to deal with techniques and showed it with the good feet of Jovetic and Damjanovic which almost took the lead only for the latter being offside at the moment of the pass exchange from the Manchester City star.


48' GOAL for ENGLAND. Again another deep run of 60 yards by the Spurs rookie down the right flank who then crossed when arrived just past the 18 yards line; Montenegro defender Branko Savic headed weakly and wrongly towards the middle of the pitch in front of the box where the incoming Danny Welbeck shot first time but not an impossible shot. It was then badly spilled by the Montenegro goalie Poleksic just outside the small box where Wayne Rooney this time jumped promptly on the loose ball and despite still not blasting it he however managed to slot it underneath Poleksic hapless body and in the back of the net. It was enough though to the break the deadlock.

61' GOAL for ENGLAND. Branko Boskovic dreadfully miskicked on his own goal whilst trying to prevent a dangerous ball from again Danny Welbeck – launched into space beyond defenders by a skilful Daniel Sturridge back hill pass – who managed to run to the byline before crossing to reach the criss-crossing movement of the Liverpool forward.  If before there was a chance to equalise for the Montenegrins, now it looks like a mission impossible for them.

71' GOAL for MONTENEGRO. A fine training ground drill that found England midfield unable to impede. Following an uninterrupted build up from the Montenegrins' third a double change of  the front of attack managed to open up the Three Lions' midfield and when the ball was lumped to the feet of Stevan Jovetic just over the half way line, he firstly feinted a run along  the left flank but then turned inside and passed and inviting ball into the space on the England's right third where substitute Fato Beciraj  had all the time to control and then testing Hart from just outside the 25 yards mark,  Damjanovic already going beyond the two central defenders skilfully launched himself on the trajectory with an extended leg and impacted the ball from just inside the box in front of an off his line Joe Hart to send the ball on the bottom right corner to bring his team back in the game with 20' to go. Montenegro showed what quality team they are and managed to reopen the match at Wembley.

Earlier Manchester City and former Fiorentina star Stevan Jovetic silenced the football cathedral with a stunning shot from 38 yards that hit the bar next to the left top corner of Joe Hart. There will be now minutes of passion unless the Three Lions will restore the cushion of two goal difference to secure the match.

77' GOAL for ENGLAND again. Tottenham Andros Townsend scored at his debut rewarding Roy Hodgson for gambling his reputation by conceding him a risky debut in a match so important for the qualification and in front of the majestic Wembley Stadium home crowd.

A task that would have killed anyone. Not Andros, who already proved to be ruthless and to be made of a thick skin by being already in his young carrier being involved in an FA's betting scandal investigation in May.

Instead he shook off almost immediately the inevitable emotions and played like and better than the veterans on the pitch. He was instrumental and almost unstoppable in the first half creating that only chance in  to which Wayne Rooney wasn't ready to blast in from six yards.

Then – in the crucial phase of the game – when the goings went tough as the opponent came back into the game, he almost single-handed sealed the match – in a life's dreamed manner which is only allowed to those moved by the hunger and desire, like anyone debuting at Wembley – with a bending thunder from 30 yards that voids Poleksic good dive on the left post to lift the back of the net to send Wembley Stadium 86,000 crowd and Roy Hogdon's himself into a roaring meltdown of immense exultant astonishment.

92' Penalty for ENGLAND. Sturridge is reputed fouled in the box by the so far alert and impeccable Spanish referee. This time however perhaps was overzealous as the ball seemed to be effectively touched by the defender in corner whilst the Liverpool striker played the shot-on-the-spot scene. A further gift that England didn't necessitate. Daniel Sturridge however  takes it himself and scores the final 4-1 results with a well taken and well placed shot with the goalie sent on the wrong way.

ENGLAND will have to worry less for Tuesday's home game against a presumably hopeless Poland which lost today 1-0 against Ukraine. But this is dangerous has relaxation proved in the past fatal in the World Cup's second weekend match.

It may well be that the England subdued performance could be down to a 'reduced' mental energies intake of the sort we see in the Premier League and in all the other Leagues whenever there is a league match followed few day later by the Champions League round.

In that case we may well see a roaring Three Lions making mince of poor disheartened Poland squad which is by the way already out of the World Cup. And may well be that clatter from the media newsrooms for underground manoeuvres from Borussia Dortmund to behold the dreaded Robert Lewandoski to appear on the Wembley Stadium turf on Tuesday night as the Hammer of the England in a manner Jan Tomaszewski was in that October 1973 denying the Three Lions the road to the World Cup at Wembley seven years after their triumph on the same Ground.

MONTENEGRO came at Wembley missing almost half of his regular squad due to injuries and suspensions including the regular goalie and their best striker, Juventus and former Roma striker Mirko Vucinic.

Who knows what could have happened seen how the game went on the pitch. Their dramatic home defeat by 4-0 to Ukraine is however still inexplicable.

Roy Hodgson has therefore broken the ice and beaten an opponent that the Three Lions had never managed to beat in competitive game before whilst maintaining England unbeaten in the group matches.

The Londoner's forward traction tactics, a sort of 60's 4-2-4,  paid up a good dividend at the end. But it was an edgy game for all the first half although and can perceive the tension that was holding the players down.

Whenever they were going for the finishing in fact the shots were all out of measure either they were from legends like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard or debuting rookies like Andros Townsend. It was an obvious sign the squad was acting under fear and wasn't releasing their full value and skills

Undoubtedly the Kiev result against Ukraine was paramount in this qualifying prospective although the Ukrainian still have a lot of rambling about it.

Not for nothing however Hodgson was chosen to complete Fabio Capello's earlier job. If only his 'Italianate' experiences and assimilated footballing culture is at last paying back.

In other times another English manager would have gone in Kiev trying to win by playing an hazardous 3-5-2 as it was in 2007 against Croatia with the results of compromising the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign..

Now at least even all the English media has learnt the sour lessons of the past and prefer to go cautious with their copy rather than bombastic claims. Again slowly another good sign of Europeanisation

At the end it seems the results start coming in the Football Association coffers - if only under the shape of precious qualifying points.

Football Report : From the Publishers of 1st Interactive Journal. Established 1992. Copyright 2005 - 2013 C.S.E. Limited. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproductions of any part forbidden





Botafogo trounce rivals PDF Print E-mail
Written by Satish Sekar   


Although Atlético Paranaense could be forgiven for licking their wounds in the wake of Cruzeiro’s crushing seizure of the Campeonato Brasileiro, their meek 0-4 surrender to Botafogo who went third tonight will appal their trainer Vagner Mancini. A brace by substitute Bruno Mendes followed a header by Elias and Clarence Seedorf’s 7th of the season.

The much decorated Seedorf rolled back the years to boss the midfield with a goal and an assist.

“Clarence Seedorf is a very distinguished player,” Botafogo’s trainer Oswaldo de Oliveira said. “As a player and person, they are complimentary – one helps the other. He could be my assistant on the pitch and at same time he is able to create. I am very proud to work with him. Our friendship continues for ever.”

Botafogo was determined despite the sparse crowd of less than 11000 to restore some pride to the bruised ego of Rio de Janeiro’s football tonight. A dismal first half effort by the visitors saw the second Atlético muster a paltry three shots in a first half that failed to test Botafogo’s captain and goalkeeper Jefferson.

Elias had a sighter or two at Weverton’s goal before breaking the deadlock with a close range header from the left of the goal. He could hardly miss after being picked out by Seedorf after 27 minutes. Mariano Rafael Marques almost doubled the lead 6 minutes later but was denied by the woodwork. Botafogo dominated the half and were worthy of at least the two-goal lead that they had at half-time thanks to Seedorf stroking it in from 10 yards out after being located by Hyuri.

Botafogo had six shots on target out of eleven. The visitors’ response came in the last five minutes of the half with timid efforts that failed to remotely test Jefferson.


A stop and start second half found referee Wilson Luiz Seneme in picky mood. Eventually the match settled down. Former Arsenal and Atlético de Madrid striker Fran Mérida failed to impress and was replaced at half time. With just over an hour gone Mariano Rafel Marques ought to have made the points secure, but struck the woodwork and substitute Bruno Mendes – he replaced Elias after a bad foul – hit the rebound over.  Bruno Mendes soon made his mark on the match.

Léo fouled Seedorf and was deservedly booked after 68 minutes. Three minutes later the same player gave Seneme no alternative but to brandish another yellow card and then red for hauling down Marques. 4 minutes later Bolivar Guedes found Bruno Mendes to grab his first of the night. After 78 minutes Lima turned provider for Bruno Mendes to complete the scoring.

There was still time for Bolivar to get himself a second yellow for a needless foul on João Paulo with three minutes of normal time. He was applauded off by Botafogo fans. Some city pride was restored tonight, but  Belo Horizonte definitely has the season’s bragging rights – Atlético Mineiro won the continent’s big prize the Copa Libertadores and Cruzeiro demolished all contenders to claim the Brasilian championship easily.

“I would like to congratulate them,” de Oliveira said. “At the moment they are the two best [Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro]. One won Americas [Copa Libertadores] and the other very easily won the championship. I am very happy to be in Rio and doing what we did today [but] at this moment the teams from Minas [Gerais] are at the very top of Brasilian football.”





England Seal Trip to Brazil's World Cup PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lucio Menin   

Poland had at least six chances to score of which four in the first half. Hodgson 4-2-4 formation was right on the night but only because of the Pole striker poor finishes and thanks to a learned deep defending tactics that at the end delivered the goods.

LONDON. Wembley Stadium.
High tension at Wembley for this Group decider. Poland is not resigned to let Three Lions to go to Brazil easily.

So far it is an open game and electrifying game with many of chances so far from both sides.

Robert Lewandowski (twice) and Jakub Blaszczykowski had the chance to put Poland ahead before England would come back with passion and put heavy strain on the Poles.

Best chance for England was a shot from distance by Andros Townsend at 26' with a long shot from 30 yards that dropped to hit the bar with Arsenal goalie Wojcech Szczesny almost saving it with a fantastic dive.

41' GOAL for ENGLAND. Leighton Baines receives from Gary Cahill a Poland clearance and placed it early in the middle of the box where Welbeck and Rooney have run for the impact. It was down to the number 10 to have the honor to head down one of his best and most important goals for England.

45' Poland equalises but the cheers and Polska-Polska chant from their magnificent twenty thousands was immediately repressed by the assistant referee's offside flag. The imagines replay showed it was as marginal as the one instead allowed to stand to Montenegro's

Damjanovic on Friday's match. In refereeing decision we know - you win some and lose some and this was the one that would have mattered.


Second Half
60' After the first half (16') glorious 80 yards run with the ball popular Polish striker Robert Lewandowski was free again in front of Joe Hart freed by a clear ball through; this time perhaps he had a bad first touch but here he was again in front of the England goalie - who saved the result so far. Joe Hart however was ready to make a prompt exit off his line to stop the Borussia Dortmund striker's touch.
71' England is controlling the game and now Hodgson replaces Michael Carrick with Frank Lampard to improve it.

88' GOAL for ENGLAND.. Steven Gerrard showed the great form he was when after an incredibly fought game he found the energies to transform a pass he promptly received from Jack Wilshere and trusted it through in the box in manner he used to do last decade and slotted past the outcoming Szczesny despite being fouled – simply magnificent

92' Referee Damir Skomina blows the whistle for the plane to BRAZIL.

Football Report : From the Publishers of 1st Interactive Journal. Established 1992. Copyright 2005 – 2013 C.S.E. Limited. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproductions of any part forbidden.





Inglaterra se acerca a Brasil tras golear a Montenegro PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leo Pareja   


Londres-. La selección de Inglaterra despejó todas las dudas y venció a Montenegro por 4-1 pasando a ocupar el primer lugar del Grupo 8 con 19 puntos, uno más que Ucrania y dejando su clasificación para el martes 15 de octubre en Wembley frente a la eliminada Polonia. Los ingleses requieren los 3 puntos para sellar su pasaporte a Brasil.

Los dirigidos por Roy Hodson fueron muy superiores en los 90 minutos y aunque dispusieron de buenas ocasiones en la primera parte con Rooney, Sturridge y Welbeck como protagonistas, el marcador no se abrió.

Fue precisamente Wayne Rooney quien abrió el marcador nada más comenzar el segundo tiempo tras un remate de Daniel Welbeck que el guardameta de Montenegro, Poleksic, no atrapó.

El segundo tanto fue en propia meta del defensa Branko Boskovic que acabó de complicar el partido para Montenegro, una selección que fue demasiado conservadora en su juego en Wembley, pese a que requería de un buen resultado para conservar sus posibilidades mundialistas.

En uno de los pocos ataques de Montenegro llegó el descuento en el minuto 70 por intermedio de Damjanovic, justo minutos después de que su compañero Jovetiv estrellara un remate de larga distancia en el horizontal.

Sin embargo, Inglaterra siguió con su juego y toque rápido buscando la tranquilidad y esta llegó con el mejor gol de la noche conseguido por Andros Towsend en el minuto 77 de un precioso disparo que rozó el vertical izquierdo antes de irse al fondo de las redes.

La puntilla final llegó sobre los 91 minutos tras jugada personal de Daniel Sturridge que fue derribado en el área y el juez central, el español Undiano Mallenco sancionó el punto penal. El propio Sturridge cobró con mucha frialdad y puso el 4-1 definitivo.

Los 83.807 espectadores que acudieron a Wembley disfrutaron de un vibrante partido a pesar de  la lluvia que antecedió al juego pero que no afectó el gramado del monumental estadio.

En Wembley y ante Polonia, Inglaterra sellará su clasificación

Inglaterra, gracias a la victoria ante Montenegro, es ahora puntera del Grupo 8 con 19 puntos; Ucrania es segunda con 18 tras vencer por 1-0 a Polonia. En esta misma jornada Moldavia goleó 3-0 a San Marino.

Los ingleses requieren los 3 puntos ante Polonia, que aunque está eliminada, “no será un partido fácil” dijo el entrenador nacional Roy Hodson en rueda de prensa. Si Inglaterra gana clasificará directamente a Brasil como primero del grupo y dejará el segundo lugar a Ucrania que optaría a la repesca mundialista.

Próxima Jornada – Martes 15 de Octubre

Inglaterra Vs Polonia

Montenegro Vs Moldavia

San Marino Vs Ucrania

Tabla de Posiciones

1- Inglaterra         19 Puntos

2- Ucrania            18

3- Montenegro    15

4- Polonia            13

5- Moldavia         8

6- San Marino     0

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