Outside the Box: Andorran injustice and other fun tales

We nerd out on many things here at Third Degree but maybe not enough on stadiums. Well that changes in looking at the beautiful FC Krasnodar Stadium in Russia with it’s panoramic LED screens.

Why Kradnodar? Well ahead of the team’s 4-0 Champions League defeat to Chelsea last week, I read a profile of the club that reminded me heavily of FC Dallas.

FC Krasnodar Stadium (Marcus Bredt)

Only founded in 2008, the club is built around its successful academy and pushes the notion of hiring coaches from within. They even share that Homegrown XI dream.

It’s certainly a better story than when Anzhi Makhachkala were bought by some billionaire in 2011, signing Roberto Carlos, Samuel Eto’o and a host of stars to play under Guus Hiddink. That lasted just two years until he got bored and they’re now in the Russian third tier.

Like a Bat in the Night

Barcelona are in some dark times with the controversial appointment of Ronald Koeman and a winless run in La Liga that extends back over a month to October 1. Ahead of their game against Real Betis, Joaquin took the opportunity to get a few shots in on the man who scored Barca’s winning goal in the 1992 European Cup.

“It hurts me what happened [under Koeman at Valencia]. I had a bad time. [I would not] even have him as kitman!”

Koeman took charge of Valencia in 2007 as the club challenged for La Liga regularly, but Koeman dropped Los Murciélagos as far as 15th before being given the chop after five months.

Soccer, the Fastest Game

It’s not often you can watch an entire game in a few seconds but here goes…

Promotion chasing Vrelo Sport were awarded a 3-0 win over Spartak Ljig over in Serbia. The visitors started the game with only seven players – the bare minimum to play – before one took a dive just four touches into the game to force the referee to abandon play.

Who’d be a Keeper?

Slightly across eastern Europe in Croatia, we saw some Sunday League shithousery as NK Croatia Zmijavci pulled off a 1-1 draw against Cibilia through a late injury-time penalty. Tomislav Mrkonjić faffed around with his shoelaces before taking a quick penalty to leave the keeper baffled.

Seriously, Who?

Staying in my home continent (Curse you Brexit!) we go to the 7th tier of Spanish football for a regional game in the coastal village of Vinaros. Vinaros CF fell to a dramatic finish against neighboring ACD Peñíscola.

Trailing 1-0, Vinaros sent goalkeeper Carlos Aguayo up for a free kick deep into injury time with the goalie smashing home the equalizer. Unfortunately, Peñíscola lobbed him from the kick off as he got back to goal to steal Aguayo’s moment and the win. If only one of his teammates stood in the opposition half until the keeper was able to get back in goal. It’s always the simple things!

That’s it, I’m Dropped!

It’s not often you hear of players dropping themselves but that’s exactly what Millwall captain Alex Pearce did after Gary Rowett and his entire coaching staff were forced to quarantine after several COVID-19 cases.

Pearce pulled himself out of the team to assist U-23 coach Kevin Nugent for the two games the first team coaches would miss. A 2-0 win over Preston was followed by a 3-0 loss to Huddersfield for the pair.

Today in Comedic Soccer

Staying in England with Bolton Wanderers scoring not exactly the prettiest goal of the season after a lot of help from Bradford City. This was Nathan Delfounseo’s 13th-minute winner, I can’t think how terrible the rest of the game must have been.

Lima Left in the Cold

You may not have heard of Ildefons Lima, the captain of Andorra’s national team. Lima holds the most appearances for the nation with a population barely above that of North Richland Hills, and has the longest international career in the record books after making his debut in 1997 as a 19-year-old.

With Covid halting international soccer for much of 2020, Lima is one game away from matching Jari Litmanen’s feat of earning a cap in four separate decades. The Finnish legend earned his first in 1989 before making his final two appearances in 2010.

The thing standing in Lima’s way is unfortunately his national association who are punishing the 40-year-old defender for his role as head of the Andorran Players’ Association as they push for COVID-19 testing at national team camps.

On Ma Heed

I had to make that one Scottish since we’re talking about the delights of Scotland’s Championship where an AI-powered camera raised a few laughs.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle brought in Pixellot’s AI-powered cameras for streaming. The camera tracks the ball automatically rather than require an operator to pan and tilt.

Unfortunately for Caley Thistle, their game against Ayr United featured John McCrossan running the line, whose head was pale and shiny rather like a soccer ball. You can see the camera struggle to decide which to focus on in this compilation.

What’s On

Let’s not sugar coat it, we’re heading into an international break with the North American regular seasons over. Enjoy this weekend before a mass of friendlies that American networks didn’t pick up, and some UEFA Nations League.

Before then though, you can catch Der Klassike, some obscure FA Cup football, and binge on MLS decision day as FCD looks to seal that home playoff.

Saturday, November 7:
6:30am – Everton v Manchester Utd (EPL) – NBCSN
8:30am – FC Augsburg v Hertha Berlin (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
11:30am – Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) – ESPN+
5:00pm – Chivas v Monterrey (Liga MX) – Telemundo

Sunday, November 8:
5:30am – Lazio v Juventus (Serie A) – ESPN2
6:45am – Maldon & Tiptree Utd v Morecambe (FA Cup) – ESPN+
8:00am – Atalanta v Inter Milan (Serie A) – ESPN+
10:30am – Manchester City v Liverpool (EPL) – Peacock
2:00pm – Valencia v Real Madrid (La Liga) – beIN SPORTS
2:30pm – MLS Decision Day Eastern Conference games – ESPN+
5:30pm – Minnesota United v FC Dallas (MLS) – FSSW / FCDallas.com/stream
5:30pm – MLS Decision Day Western Conference games – ESPN+ / FS1

Wednesday, November 11:
1:45pm – Netherlands v Spain (Friendly) – TUDN

Thursday, November 12:
1:45pm – Wales v USMNT (Friendly) – FS1 / UniMas / TUDN

Saturday, November 14:
1:45pm – Portugal v France (UEFA Nations League) – ESPN+

Sunday, November 15:
11:00am – Wales v Republic of Ireland (UEFA Nations League) – ESPN+
1:45pm – Kobra Republic v Israel (UEFA Nations League) – ESPN+

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