Tuesday, September 26, 2017

26 September 1943 - The Scorer Of Seville

On 26 September 1943, forward Juan Arza scored a hat-trick on his debut for Sevilla. He went on to become the club's all-time La Liga scoring leader.

Twenty years old at the time, the Estella-born Arza had played for Alavés and Màlaga before joining Sevilla. There, in his first official match, his three goals helped them to a 5-2 victory over Sabadell. They were the first of seventeen goals he scored that season as Sevilla finished in third.

He remained with them for sixteen seasons, winning the league in 1946 and the Copa del Rey in 1948. His best scoring season was 1954-55, when his twenty-nine goals won him the Pichichi as La Liga's top marksman.

Before leaving Sevilla in 1959, Arza had collected a total of 207 goals. Although that ranks him second in the club's all-time scoring list, behind Guillermo Campanal (218), Arza's league tally of 182 remains the highest in club history.

Monday, September 25, 2017

25 September 2002 - Arsenal's Quick Silva

On 25 September 2002, midfielder Gilberto Silva scored a record goal to help Arsenal cruise past PSV in the Champions League group stage.

PSV hosted the Gunners in Eindhoven for the game, which was the second of the tournament for both teams. Arsenal took the opening kick-off and Silva immediately raced unmarked down the center of pitch, where he received a cross from teammate Thierry Henry, then knocked the ball into the net. The official time for the goal was 20.07 seconds, making it the fastest goal in European Cup/Champions League history up to that point, narrowly beating Alessandro del Piero's time of 20.12, set in a 1997 match for Juventus against Manchester United.

The day did not get any better for PSV. After Arsenal keeper saved their best chance of the day--a 22nd-minute shot from Mateja Kezman--the hosts went on to surrender three more goals to Freddie Ljungberg (66') and Henry (81', 90') and lost 0-4.

PSV did better in the return leg, holding Arsenal to a scoreless draw in London, but the result eliminated them from the competition. Arsenal advanced, but were knocked out in the second group stage.

Silva's record lasted until March 2007, when Bayern Munich's Roy Makaay scored against Real Madrid after only 10.12 seconds.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

24 September 1957 - Barça's New Camp

On 24 September 1957, Barcelona inaugurated the Camp Nou with a 4-2 friendly win over a Warsaw select team.

Built over a period of three and half years at a cost of 288 million pesetas, the stadium's original name was Estadi del FC Barcelona, but it has been known from the beginning as Camp Nou ("New Ground") (the club officially adopted that name in 2000).

For the inauguration, Barcelona hosted a crowd of over 90,000 for the friendly against the players from Warsaw. Several dignitaries attended, including the Archbishop of Barcelona, who blessed the new stadium. A choir then performed the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah.

It took only eleven minutes for the home side to pull ahead, with striker Eulogio Martínez scoring the first goal. Barcelona got additional goals from Tejada, Sampedro, and Evaristo to win 4-2.

Since then, the stadium's capacity has increased to over 99,000 and it has hosted European Cup and World Cup matches.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

23 September 1986 - Liverpool Takes Ten

On 23 September 1986, Liverpool matched a League Cup record, beating Fulham 10-0 in the first leg of their second round meeting.

The defending league champions, Liverpool had dominated the competition over the previous years, winning it four straight times between 1981 and 1984. They were looking to return to those winning ways after suffering a third-round loss to Tottenham in the 1984-95 season and elimination by Queens Park Rangers in the 1985-86 semifinals.

They entered the 1986-87 tournament in the second round, where they hosted Fulham at Anfield for the first leg. The match was played on a Tuesday, drawing a small crowd of only 13,498. Those that turned up, however, were treated to a scoring explosion. Ian Rush provided the first in just the eight minute, followed by goals from John Wark (10', 63'), Ronnie Whelan (28'), Steve McMahon (44', 66', 71', 79'), and another from Rush (76').

Steve Nicol provided the final goal in the 83rd minute to set the final margin at 10-0, matching the record for the highest single-game margin of victory in the League Cup, set by West Ham's win over Bury by the same score in 1983.

Liverpool went on to win the second leg 203 and kept up their level of play to advance all the way to the final before falling to Arsenal 2-1.

Friday, September 22, 2017

22 September 2005 - The Wrong Way To Make A First Impression

On 22 September 2005, Real Madrid's Jonathan Woodgate used an own goal and a red card to make one of the worst debuts in football history.

The defender had joined Real Madrid over a year earlier, completing a £13.4M move from Newcastle in August 2004. But a lingering thigh injury suffered against Chelsea the previous April had kept him out of any competitive matches for his new club until he finally got the call to start in a league contest against Athletic Bilbao.

He made his mark in the 25th minute, when he misjudged an attempted clearance and headed the ball into his own net past keeper Iker Casillas. Then, just before the break, he received a yellow card for a challenge on Athletic midfielder Carlos Gurpegi. His day ended twenty minutes into the second half after he received a second booking for a foul on winger Joseba Exteberria.

Fortunately for Woodgate, his errors did not impact Real Madrid, who went on to win the match 3-1. But he made only eight more league appearances for them before moving back to England on loan with Middlesbrough, then signing for them on a permanent deal in 2007.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

21 September 1929 - The Start Of Sándor's Story

On 21 September 1929, forward Sándor Kocsis was born in Budapest. He went on to become one of the most prolific scorers of the era.

He started his professional career in 1945 with Hungarian club Kobanyai, but spent only one season there before moving to Ferencváros. He spent two quiet years before his breakout season in 1948-49 when he scored 33 times in 30 league appearances to help the club run away with the title. He gave them another 30 goals in 30 appearances the next season, then moved to Honvéd, where he won three more league titles. His 36 goals in 1952 and 33 in 1954 were European bests for those two years.

His scoring form carried over to the national team, where he knocked in 75 goals in 68 appearances between 1948 and 1956. Along the way, he won Olympic gold (1952) and a Central European Championship (1953), as well as reaching the World Cup Final (1954).

Honvéd were in Spain for the European Cup when the Hungarian revolution started in 1956, so like many of his teammates, he remained there. He spent seven seasons with Barcelona before his retirement in 1965, though he never reached his previous scoring heights.

Later in life, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died in 1979 at the age of 49.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

20 September 2011 - Women And Children First

On 20 September 2011, Fenerbahçe and Manisaspor played in front of a crowd of women and children only. 

The unusual crowd resulted from a friendly that Fenerbahçe hosted against Shakhtar Donetsk the previous July. Several home supporters invaded the pitch, prompting the Turkish football association to take action. They originally ordered Fenerbahçe to play two of their home matches behind closed doors, but later decided to allow a crowd of women and children.

More than 41,000 of them turned up for the match, with players from both teams tossing flowers into the stands. The match ended as a 1-1 draw, but Fenerbahçe captain Alex De Souza said afterward "This memory will stay with me forever. It's not always that you see so many women and children in one game."