In what began as a very quiet weekend for the Irish abroad, thankfully in the end, the goals outweighed the benchings with Robbie Keane back among them, Kevin Walker continuing his hot streak and Jonny Steele netting in style to end New York Red Bulls Eastern Conference regular season in style.
In Sweden, the most pressing issue of the weekend neared its conclusion, with Kevin Walker firing two goals as GIF Sundsvall kept within striking distance of the Superettan top two ahead of next week’s final round of games.
Walker struck from outside the box for Sundsvall’s second and minutes later curled a fantastic free kick past the Brage keeper, his third in three games, with Sundsvall going on to complete a 4-0 win at their Norporrten Arena. They now lie in the promotion playoff spot in the Superettan, just two points off leaders Falkenbergs and one behind second Orebro, Walker’s former club.
With next week’s match with Landskrona taking on such a great importance, Sundsvall have moved this week to release a statement about Walker’s participation in Swedish Idol, on which he will perform on Friday night, leading him to miss training sessions with GIF.
Robbie Keane also made a timely return to goalscoring form on Sunday, with his 78th minute equaliser against Seattle Sounders in the final MLS Western Conference game confirming LA Galaxy’s third place Conference finish. After a goalmouth scramble, the Republic of Ireland captain volleyed past Mike Gspurning for his 16th goal of the season.
New York Red Bulls’ Jonny Steele was also on the scoresheet on an eventful final day, scoring their fifth in a come from behind 5-2 winover Chicago Bulls. The win also captured the Red Bulls’ the MLS Supporters Shield.
— jonny steele (@jonnysteele22) October 28, 2013
Shane O’Neill played 90 minutes for Colorado Rapids but could do nothing to prevent Camilo Sanvezzo scoring a hat trick to claim the MLS Golden Boot. Andy O’Brien, who lost his place in the side towards the end of the season, was unused on the Whitecaps bench.
On Friday evening in the Dutch Ereste Divisie, a second assist in two games for Barry Maguire proved to be mere consolation as Sparta Rotterdam thrashed ten man Den Bosch 7-1. When goalkeeper Wesley de Ruiter was sent off on the half hour, Sparta took the lead only for Erik Quekel to meet Maguire’s cross to equalise.
That was as good as it got for Den Bosch. With last week’s hat trick hero Alexander Mols sacrificed, they capitulated, going down 3-1 at half time and leaking another four goals after the break. Not the ideal way to celebrate his birthday, as Maguire turned 24 on Sunday.
Metalurh Donetsk managed to keep their first clean sheet in seven league matches, with Darren O’Dea returning to central defence after last week’s outing at left back. A 0-0 draw at home to struggling Metalurh Zaporizhya could have been much better however, after Metalurh were denied a late goal when the referee disallowed a seemingly legitimate effort.
O’Dea said afterwards, “We scored, a good goal, I think that the referee was wrong. In an away game, to keep a clean sheet, it's a good result for us. But the biggest disappointment is our disallowed goal.”
In Russia, Valeri Karpin changed his Spartak Moscow side around for the visit of FC Rostov, with Aiden McGeady among those rested. There was still enough strength for Spartak to routinely see off their opponents though, with goals from Yuri Movsisyan and Tino Costa sealing a 2-0 win. McGeady was an 80th minute substitute.
Among several Exiles making appearances from the substitute’s bench over the weekend was Kyle Lafferty, a late introduction as Palermo sought in vain to find a winner in their scoreless draw with Varese. Despite failing out of starting contention at the Stadio Renzo Barbera since Gennaro Gattuso’s exit, Lafferty has scored three goals in nine Serie B appearances.
Exiles in Brief
- In Thursday’s Europa League action, former Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Lawrence played the last five minutes as PAOK Salonika held out for a 3-2 win over Maccabi Haifa. Cillian Sheridan, despite travelling to France with the squad, did not make the APOEL Nicosia 18 man squad for the Europa League defeat with Bordeaux.
- Liam Lawrence was then an unused substitute as PAOK dismantled Panthrakikos Komotini to take a 3-0 win and three points back to Thessaloniki on their return to Greek Super League action.
- While last season Sean Tse was assured of his place in the South China side, the versatile defender started the second successive game on the bench on Sunday, with his team running out 2-1 winners over Yokohama FC thanks to a 95th minute Mamadou Barry penalty. Tse was a 66th minute substitute.
- In India’s I-League, one time Republic of Ireland Under 21 cap Billy Mehmet played 90 minutes but couldn’t prevent Dempo SC from going down 1-3 to Bengaluru last Wednesday morning.
- Selcuk Tidim helped Hansa Rostock’s second team to a 2-1 away win over Neubrandenburg in the Oberliga Nord on Saturday afternoon. The Republic of Ireland youth international couldn’t add to his goals tally for the year but contributed to his team’s come from behind win before being replaced in injury time.
- Liam Miller lasted just 67th minutes as Brisbane Roar’s promising start to the season halted by a 0-1 defeat to Melbourne Victory in Australia’s A-League. Although Roar netted six goals in their opening two games this term, it’s been a quiet start to life at his new club for Miller, sacrificed as Roar boss Mike Mulvey searched for an equaliser.
- Starting on the bench for the second consecutive game, Patrick Kohlmann played the last 20 minutes to help Union Berlin see out a 1-0 win over Erzgebirge and go level on points at the top of the Bundesliga 2.
- Pat O’Shaughnessy played over an hour as MyPa ended their Veikkausliiga campaign with a 1-0 win over JJK. Thanks to UEFA Fair Play, O’Shaughnessy may compete in the Europa League next year.
- Ireland Under 21 keeper Sean McDermott was dropped by Sandnes Ulf coach Asle Andersen but they got dragged further into relegation trouble with a 1-2 defeat to Sogndal.
- Republic of Ireland Under 19 cap Paul Mahony (pictured) made his FC Torrevieja debut as a 81st minute substitute as they drew 0-0 with Novelda in Spain’s Tercera Division.
- APOEL Nicosia are back in domestic action on Monday evening but having not made the last two matchday squads, it remains to be seen whether Cillian Sheridan will be involved.
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