Hungarian side Debrecen completed a club record 9-2 victory over Skonto Riga in the second leg of the second round in the Europa League qualifiers.
Debrecen were considered as top dogs against Skonto after their first leg fixture in the second round of the Europa League qualifiers. However, looking at their first respective match, nobody thought that the reverse fixture will bring Debrecen’s record European success. However, the Hungarian side dominated the Latvian outfit that is not used to the hot weather, bagging a goal in every ten minutes on average, nine in total.
While Loki thrashed Riga 9-2 and advanced with a 11-4 aggregate score, the West Ham United players were fighting for their lives in the Maltese heat. After winning the first leg in the last minutes in London, they conceded early against Birkirkara. Moreover, they went down to ten before half time, and they faced a long night. Only the penalties saved them eventually, as the WHU players scored all of their spot kicks, sending themselves to the next round.
Debrecen played a 2-2 in the first leg in Riga against Skonto in the second round of the Europa League qualifiers. That result made the Hungarian outfit favourite to advance, but not too many of those who are involved in UEFA Europa League betting would expect what would have come in the reverse fixture.
Tibor Tisza opened the scoring in the seventh minute, and Debrecen finished the game off in the first half with a 5-0 havoc in the Hungarian heat. That wasn’t enough for the home side however, and Loki stopped at nine goals eventually, while the visitors also had two for consolation. The 9-2 result that marks out from this week’s sports scores is the largest European win in Debrecen club history, while also the biggest loss for Skonto.
After the 11-4 aggregate victory, Debrecen will meet Rosenborg, one of the three Norwegian sides advancing to the third round, while West Ham United will face Astra Giurgiu. To set up the trip to Romania, the Hammers needed to survive 120 minutes plus penalty shootouts in Malta. Birkirkara, the home team scored the only goal of the game in the 15th minute, and WHU went down to ten in the first half. However, they were able to secure an advance in the Russian roulette.
West Ham United, playing the majority of the match with ten men, relied on a penalty shootout against Birkirkara. The Maltese side achieved a 1-0 through Fabrizio Miccoli’s goal on a humid and hot evening. Matching the result from the first leg of the second round in the Europa League qualifiers, extra time and then a shootout was needed to determine who to advance.
All five selected WHU players scored from the spot. The decisive penalty was sent home by Diego Poyet, the son Gustavo, the former Uruguayan international. Gus played for Chelsea and Tottenham, as many of those, who follow live sports results might remember.
The Hammers were down to ten in the first half, when James Tomkins, who scored the winner in the first leg, was sent off. He was the second WHU player who received a red card this year’s competition, after Diafra Sakho was sent off in the previous round. This is interesting, since the Hammers were qualified to the Europa League through their Fair Play ranking. The numbers were evened out when Birkirkara’s Mauricio Mazzetti was also red carded in overtime.
Astra Giurgiu eliminated Scottish Cup winners Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the second round of the Europa League qualifiers. Through this, they set up a meeting with West Ham United, however Inverness midfielder Greg Tansey thinks that the weaker side advanced from their respective fixture.
He said, “We look at them and there’s better sides in the Scottish Premiership. We more than held our own and I firmly believe we were the far better side.” However, Caley Thistle weren’t able to score a single goal during the two legs, and experts of gambling facts know, that such an unprolific display rarely results advancing.
Tansey added, “We gave everything, but we’re just lacking maybe that bit of killer edge in the final third and it’s something we need to get as quickly as possible. For the possession we had, I thought we could have done better. I thought over the two legs we were by far the better side in terms of ball possession.”
The bitter fruit of soccer governing body UEFA’s labor is blooming in a Europe-wide probe across 12 countries to determine to what extent matches are being fixed for gambling purposes. It appears impossible to say whether UEFA’s efforts will or even can succeed before the 2010 World Cup kicks off in South Africa on June 11.
Sydney Morning Herald: Nine Swiss footballers suspended
Switzerland’s national soccer association has suspended nine players, including five for an indefinite period, for match-fixing as part of the Europe-wide UEFA probe.
The national league board said in a statement that “The Swiss Football Association is, according to current information, the first and only federation which has treated in the consequent manner the suspects of match-fixing made public in autumn 2009.”
None of the nine players suspended were in the top division of Switzerland football. The four players given sentences were banned from Swiss soccer for between 12 and 36 months.
The suspensions were the result of 50 raids in November in Austria, Britain, Germany and Switzerland in the probe’s first big move. In these 50 actions, over €1 million was seized. UEFA official stated that “Without doubt this is the biggest scam there has ever been in European football.”
Sports Illustrated: UEFA quizzes players at Hungarian champion Debrecen over suspected match-fixing
UEFA officials recently questioned eight players of Hungarian league champion Debrecen, which lost all six of its Champions League matches to Fiorentina, Liverpool and Lyon in the 2009-10 season, for which the club earned €9.2 million.
Though UEFA offered no comment as to the extent or subject matter of the discussion, Debrecen official Csaba Bartha did not make much of it, writing on the official club website that “the degree of seriousness of the matter is reflected by the fact that they didn’t even [transcribe] the statements.”
Debrecen is the second Hungarian club to come into question in this particular investigation, after UEFA looked into a suspicious Honvéd loss in November. More than 200 games are being considered for the possibility of match fixing in the UEFA investigation.
USA Today: World Cup arrives amid global match-fixing probes
Referees in Bosnia and Ukraine have been banned for life as part of a UEFA probe in a season when fixing matches has “spread more widely through football than ever.” UEFA President Michel Platini described the situation as seriously enough to put the sport itself in “mortal danger.”
Another threat to the integrity of soccer has arisen aside from the existing match-fixing problems has appeared as well. English Football Association chairman David Triesman stated that Russian criminal elements would be attempting to bribe referees to favor Spain in exchange for Spain’s support of the Russian bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
To prevent scandal from tainting the 2010 World Cup, FIFA officials created the company Early Warning, which would monitor any suspicious activity online concerning match outcomes. The World Cup is expected to generate about $3.4 billion for FIFA.
China is also taking on corruption in soccer at home, arresting among others Chinese Football Federation head Nan York and former World Cup referee Lu Jun.
The UEFA probe first began last year, when a “nest of corruption” was revealed to have involved matches in four World Cup nations (Germany, Greece, Slovenia, Switzerland) and six others (Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary and Turkey).