With Wayne Rooney making history twice in one night, becoming the highest goalscorer in all competitions for Manchester United as well as the player with most away goals in Premier League history, I thought of listing my Top 10 Favourite Wayne Rooney goals. Be warned, this list represents my opinion and there will be a touch of emotion attached with almost every entry. However, there are some goals on this list which I did not personally watch live. Some of these came before I regularly started watching and supporting Manchester United. However, I could not resist but add great detail to those which I saw live and remember vividly.
Goals scored at Old Trafford will be listed with (H) after the opposing team;s name with goals scored on the road will have a (A).
10) Athletic Bilbao (A), March 2012
In the 2011/12 Champions League season, after being finalists in the competition the year before, Manchester United had been knocked out in the group stages by FC Basel. They finished 3rd and dropped down to the Europa League where they drew with Ajax in the Round of 32. The two traded away victories with United coming out on top on away goals. In the Round of 16, United were paired with a new opposition. A club they had never faced before in their 126-year history so far. Spain and the Basque Country's (El Pais Vasco) club, Athletic Bilbao.
I have had the opportunity to see Athletic Bilbao's stadium in person and it is a sight to see. My immediate thought was of Wembley stadium (even though I've never seen it) without the arch. It is magnificent. The crowd is close to the pitch and they make a huge racket especially during important games of the season.
Athletic Bilbao had totally outplayed Manchester United in the first-leg at Old Trafford, with only David De Gea saving the score from looking like a one-sided baseball match. United had lost the first leg 2-3 and went to Bilbao knowing they needed to win by two clear goals.
The first-leg had made a Bilbao fan out of me which is why this goal makes my list, I was almost happy Bilbao were going through at the expense of ManUtd. They had absolutely deserved it based on their first-leg performance and they absolutely dominated the second as well, going 2-0 up by the hour mark thanks to, first, Fernando Llorente's brilliant volley (underrated, very underrated goal) and then Oscar De Marcos' finish. Llorente was really unlucky to get injured shortly after scoring the first goal and had to be brought off later in the first half.
United had not looked capable of responding with anything before Wayne Rooney came up with a beautiful curler from 30-yards in the last 10 minutes to restore some pride to the United camp and bring the aggregate score down to a slightly more respectable 5-3. Atheltic really should've scored more than 10 goals over the two legs, considering the amount of clear-cut chances that they had.
What made this goal special for me was not only the distance and technique but the fact that, after the goal, the Athletic fans rose up to their feet, recognized the quality of Wayne Rooney and gave him a standing ovation!
Athletic Club de Bilbao has always been my favourite team in the Spanish 'La Liga' because of its policy of only fielding players with Basque Country nationalities, which greatly limits the pool of players available to them in any transfer market. Even then, they have achieved great success, reaching the final of the Europa League in this same season, only to lose out to Atletico Madrid.
9) Fenerbahçe (A), November 2016
This was my first and, sadly, only Manchester United that I have had the opportunity to go see live for myself to date. This was always going to make my list!
The match had the top-spot in the Europa League group riding on it and United came to Istanbul having dispatched of Fenerbahçe 4-0 in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford a couple of months back. The script of this match was almost in parallel to the Bilbao match in the above entry with Fenerbahçe going 2 goals up midway through the second half and United having it all to do to get anything out of the game. I was lucky enough to see three great goals from this fixture, first through Moussa Sow's overhead kick in the first-minute which sent the Fenerbahçe fans around me (dont ask, long story) delirious before Dutchman Jermain Lens' perfectly executed free-kick put the Istanbul side 2-0 up in the second half.
United turned to their skipper in response and he delivered in similar manner to the goal at Bilbao, receiving the ball 30-yards from goal before unleashing one in the top corner of the Volkan Demirel's goal. Although the Turkish fans around me did not applaud like their Basque counterparts did four years previously, there was a pin-drop silence to be heard in the Şükrü Saraçoğlu stadium. The goal could not save United from a 2-1 defeat, however, as they finished second in their group behind Fenerbahçe.
8) Portsmouth (H), January 2007
The FA Cup is really a magical tournament. In my 10 years of supporting the club, I have only been able to see Manchester United win it once, which was this past season, in 2016 (King Louis!). This match in the list came in my first full season of supporting and watching United matches regularly. I had heard even before I started watching regularly that the FA Cup was supposedly the oldest footballing competition in the world. So, naturally, I wanted to see United win the competition that year.
In the 4th round, United were drawn with Portsmouth. Rooney scored an early goal in the first half before a second to round-off a brilliant performance and it is the second that makes the list here. Receiving the ball just around 25-yards away from goal, he turns brilliantly before seeing Pompey keeper David James off his line. Rooney goes for the exquisite and just delicately lofts the ball over the head of James into the goal. Old Trafford rose to salute a moment of sheer genius from their then-No.8 of Manchester United and all of his teammates rushed to congratulate a player with a unique talent.
How much difference a year makes. In 2007, United went on to lose in the FA Cup final while their 4th round opponents would return again to Old Trafford in 2008, this time in the quarter-finals. This time, they would knock-out Manchester United thanks to a Sulley Muntari penalty past Rio Ferdinand in goal as Pompey went on to lift their first and, as of now, only FA Cup triumph. That match in 2008 made me a Portsmouth fan as well as they put up an extremely gutsy fight to eliminate United and I've always had a soft spot in my heart for them since then.
7) Bolton (H), March 2007
Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are still the best duo I believe United has had ever since I started watching (start of 2006/07 season). There's been Rooney and RvN, Rooney and Tevez, Rooney and Berbatov and Rooney and RvP but seeing United when Rooney and Ronaldo were together and on song was like watching football from a dream factory.
In March 2007, United were in a race with Chelsea for what was to be their first Premier League title since 2003 and, on this day, in their way were Bolton Wanderers. Roo and Ron absolutely tore the Trotters to shreds with three goals in the first 25 minutes, I believe, with the second one quite a beauty.
It took the ball all but 13 seconds to reach the Bolton net from Manchester United's own penalty box. The only two players involved in the move were Ronaldo and Rooney. It was a great display of pace, control and sheer raw ability by the two monsters and masters of their craft. Rooney's finish - a cute dink over Jussi Jaasklainen - was just the cherry on top of what was a great move.
6) ManCity (H), February 2011
Yes, this is THAT goal. And it comes this early on my list because 2010/11 was a time in my life when I watched the least amount of football ever since I started watching regularly. I did not see this match live. But what I remember distinctly from this season is Wayne handing in a transfer request in October, wanting to join Carlo Ancellotti's Chelsea.
Anyway. This was Nani's year. He went on to be named United's Player of the Year for the title-winning 2010/11 campaign and many people seem to have forgotten how important a player he was in Sir Alex's team when both of them were at United. After scoring the first goal in this 2-1 triumph, he then provided the assist for Rooney's spectacular game-winning bicycle kick. He had had criticisms about his weight, his physique as well as his commitment to the club before this game - and he has had them since then - but this was the best way to shut up all critics.
Dare I say, looking back, this goal seems like the turning point of Wayne Rooney's Manchester United career. He was already a club icon, but threatened by controversy surrounding his commitment to Sir Alex and the club. However, this goal put aside all doubts and set him on the path of legendary status, which he has duly attained since then. The goal was voted the best in Premier League history, enough said.
5) Chelsea (A), April 2011
Manchester United drew Chelsea in Europe for the first time since their 2008 Champions League final in the spring of 2011 when the two sides met in the quarter-finals. Ever since I started watching football, Chelsea has been somewhat of a bogey team for United. I take that back, not just 'somewhat' but they most definitely have been United's bogey team from 2006 to 2017.
Even just recently, the 2016/17 Premier League season. they dispatched United of 4-0 at Stamford Bridge so any kind of a positive result, forget a victory, at the Bridge for United were always hard work and seldom came by. So you can imagine the ecstasy any United fan must've felt when United managed a rare win in the Champions League at the home of their most biggest domestic rivals in recent years.
Not sure when United's last win had been at Chelsea in any competition but they had most certainly not won there in the League since at least 2002-03. This result was a big deal. Patrice Evra's cut-back and Wayne Rooney's side-footed finish sent United into the second leg 1-0 up with a crucial away goal. Leading by example after his transfer request debacle, requesting a January move to Chelsea mere months ago, Wayne exorcised some demons by scoring the winning goal against the same club at such an important stage in the season. United would go on to win both legs and qualify for the semis.
4) Newcastle (H), April 2005
This was the personification of Wayne Rooney in his younger days, in my opinion. Fiery temper, heart on his sleeve, passion dripping out of every sweat and a quite unbelievable volley from 25-30 yards coming out of absolutely nowhere.
Newcastle had taken a shock lead at Old Trafford and Rooney was busy arguing with the referee about some decision he believed should've gone United's way while not even looking at the ball. 5 seconds later, the ball was hitting the roof of Shay Given's net and Rooney was immediately on the spot to pump it back in out of celebration. Even in his celebration, he seemed angry that the foul had not been given earlier. Typical Wayne Rooney, and he was still just a teenager in his first season at ManUtd, mind you.
3) Arsenal (H), October 2004
We go even further back for this next entry and the day is Wayne Rooney's 19th birthday. Arsenal are the visitors to Old Trafford with a 49-game unbeaten streak. And what does Wayne do for his 19th birthday? Win one penalty and score one goal to end one of the most successful periods in the history of a club. What did you do on your 19th birthday?
Albeit controversially, Rooney won the penalty for the first goal scored by Ruud Van Nistelrooy before converting Alan Smith's cross to put the result beyond doubt. You just have to watch that match again and listen to the decibel levels in the ground to know why this goal is on this list. Every one associated with United wanted them to end the streak that day. There was no way Arsenal coming out of that game 50 unbeaten.
2) Everton (A), April 2007
If there's one thing that every fan loves from their club's players is a nice gesture towards the club's badge to indicate love and loyalty. Add that to the fact that goal comes against the player's old club just makes the moment more special. Then, add that to the fact that goal occurs to bring the team from 2-0 down to 2-3 up at the home of the player's old club, well, that just makes the moment unforgettable.
United were at Goodison needing a positive result towards the end of the 2006/07 season with Chelsea hot on their heels. They went 2-0 down in the first half and the noise from London could be heard all the way to Merseyside. However, Wayne Rooney and co. had other plans as John O'Shea struck soon after the break to make it 2-1 before Phil Neville scored one against his current club and for his old club to make it 2-2 before Rooney, who had been booed all game, retrieved a cross on the left side, cut inside one man and slotted it into the far corner to put United 2-3 up after a hard-fought game. I remember absolutely jumping and shouting in joy when the ball went in and the moment was just summed up for me when I saw Rooney grab the United badge on his shirt and kiss it. For a young fan, what else do you want to see? Absolutely loved it.
Just for good measure, United went on to score another through debutant Chris Eagles and win 2-4.
1) AC Milan (H), May 2007
The match was built as the battle between Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka. And Wayne Rooney upstaged both of them. This is the simplest definition I can give you for this game and the best reason for this being No.1 on my list and my favourite goal from Rooney's career.
The stage was the first-leg of the Champions League semi-final. United were close to the trophy they would ultimately win a year later but they had had a long, tiring season. They would go on to lose in the FA Cup final to go with a long title-race that would go down to the final two games on the season and the result was that most players went without a lot of rest in the last stretch of the season. Nevertheless, United took an early lead through Ronaldo's header but Milan came back and in a 15-minute spell, they went 1-2 up at Old Trafford thanks to the genius of Kaka. For a long time, it was looking like the predictions of Ronaldo vs Kaka had come true and Kaka had won the first-leg. However, up step Wayne Rooney. United need a positive result and knew even a 2-2 might not be enough back at the San Siro in the return leg. First, a simple finish to make it 2-2 by Rooney before United upped the ante and tried to clinch a winner. Giggs slipped a pass through and Wayne's early shot surprised Dida at his near post and Old Trafford erupted. United had beaten a major European giant at the peak of their abilities. This was to be a false hope though as the long season caught up with United in the return leg, getting smashed 3-0 at the San Siro. Milan would go on to win the Champions League, beating Liverpool in the final (at least there was that), while United would be left licking their wounds and preparing another charge at Sir Alex's second European trophy which would arrive a year later.
As explained, the reason for this goal being no.1 is simple. In my opinion, Wayne Rooney is one of the best all-round footballers to have ever lived. He can attack, he can defend, he's a team player, he can be everything you want him to be for your team and more. About how many footballers can you say that these days? For me, he is one of the most underrated players of his generation as players with more tactical freedom in their respective teams get more credit and more accolades. This match was the crowning moment of Wayne Rooney's goalscoring career as he upstaged two of the best players in the world at the time, one from his own team and one in the opposing side's, showing what he can do when void of other responsibilities.
Only one Wayne Rooney! And I'm glad he plays for Manchester United.
Four months ago, our journalism teacher informed us that for this course we would have to make our own blog and start writing. But for me, this goes far beyond four months. I had been meaning to create my own blog and start writing for a long time. This course came as an unexpected pleasant surprise to me. If I had a dollar for every time someone had said to me "you should start a blog", I would be a millionaire right about now.
With the course now over, we all have a choice. Either abandon our blogs, stop writing and keep moving on with our already hectic lives as university students or somehow manage to find the time to continue writing. For me, this is about pursuing a passion. Writing.
From this moment on, this blog will stay active. I will try to keep churning out posts. The topics discussed will be football and pro-wrestling. Being a very big Manchester United and professional wrestling fan, this blog will hopefully become a treat for any football or wrestling fan. Thank you for following "Shah Says" for the past four months, and I hope I keep you interested enough that keep doing so.
Lets have one final look at what was a very successful and highly entertaining football tournament, taking place at Bilkent University 2016/17 Fall semester. Hope you enjoyed the coverage of the tournament and enjoy this video.
So I have decided to start my own podcast which will have its own episodes from time to time involving informal discussions regarding most things Bilkent and everything my life.
Here go the first and second episodes of the podcast - first episode is thanks to my good friend and the organizer of the Pakistani Football League in Bilkent this semester, Alyy Haroon. He was also the Captain of his team, Lag FC, which participated in the tournament.
In the second episode, we have Klajdi Hoxha, an Albanian student in Bilkent who finished top goalscorer of the tournament. Hope you enjoy!
The final match of the Pakistan Football League Season 1, taking place in Bilkent in the 2016/17 Fall semester, just concluded one week ago on the 4th of December with Footy FC coming out victorious in a nail-biting final which went all the way to penalties! Goalkeeper Yawar Abbas was the hero as he made three saves in the shootout to help his team be the inaugral winners of the Pakistan Football League in Bilkent!
22/11/2016. One of the final League matches before the knockout stages would begin in the Pakistani Football League. This match would decide whether Footy FC finished top of the league and whether Lag FC would finish in 3rd or 4th position. With this victory, Footy confirmed their position as the winners of the League stage and booked a semi-final date against the same opposition in 5 days.
The first-ever Pakistani Football League in Bilkent has lived up to expectations so far with many high-scoring games, upsets and controversies galore.
There has been one team occupying the bottom position as the proverbial whipping-boys for the rest of the teams while the top five teams, BCFC, Lag FC, Footy FC, Adilaar FC and Jandaar FC, have been slugging it out for the top four positions and a place in the semi-finals. The tournament has seen many entertaining games to date, from one 6-6 draw to another 8-8 draw while controversy has also not been far away with some bad decisions from the referee (that would be me) and injuries to the players affecting the tournament.
At the time of writing, this is how the teams shape up in the League Table and how the matches have gone up till now:
And here are the Top 5 moments of the tournament so far:
5) Every KBH FC match so far:
You would have received very good odds if you were a betting man and, at the start of the tournament, you placed a bet on KBH FC going on and winning the whole thing. Maybe even better odds than there were of Leicester City winning the Premier League last season. Sadly, this fairy tale is not coming true.
Every match that the underdogs have been a part of up till now has involved all the fans sitting outside the football courts cheering them on. Their stubbornness in not knowing when they're beaten as they keep coming back, perhaps surprisingly, for more in their match has been a thing to behold in itself in this tournament. The sheer enthusiasm with which the team plays their games with every goal being cheered like a victory has been a treat to call as the referee.
Led by their captain Abu Bakr Cheema and star player Usama Saqib, who has looked like a sad and lonely figure at times during their games, the team to their credit never gives up and keeps on playing till the final whistle. Despite being on the wrong end of multiple double-digit scorelines so far, they still show up to the next match with the same level of enthusiasm as before.
4) When The Favourites Clash
For every 11-0, 14-1, 11-4 scoreline that KBH has been a part of, there have been the odd 2-1 and 1-0 wins in the tournament as well.
As neutrals, we all like to see goals but as a player, there is a different satisfaction to winning and winning while keeping a clean sheet.
Whenever the favourites for the tournament have clashed, the games have been much more tight with less space on offer for attacking players. This has resulted in Footy FC's 1-0 win over fellow-favourites BCFC and BCFC's 2-1 win over one of the other pre-tournament favourites, Lag FC.
Footy FC, captained by Abdul Hannan, and Lag FC, captained by the organizer of the tournament Alyy Haroon, have had the tightest defences, conceding only 14 goals in their 5 games so far. However, BCFC on the other hand have completed their 7 League games finishing with only 17 goals conceded so there's a chance the former two times could concede more than three goals in their remaining two games and BCFC might end up with the fewest goals conceded in the League. The race for the Best Defence award is well and truly on.
3) That Injury
For every great goal and entertaining game, there is a reminder that football is still at the end of the day, a sport. And nothing is more important in the tournament than the safety of the participants.
When Haziq Khan of Adilaar FC collided with Footy FC's goalkeeper Yawar Abbas in Footy's 8-4 victory, at first nothing looked serious. Football is, of course, a contact sport and collisions occur. However, after a while, neither did Haziq get up nor did he move. The match was temporarily stopped as everyone on the pitched helped the Adilaar player to his feet. He spoke of a burning headache which wouldn't go away so after the match, Haziq was taken to the Bilkent Main Campus Health Centre where the Doctors confirmed that he had suffered a mild concussion, putting an end to the player's participation in the tournament. Haziq has not featured for his team since then, leaving a reminder to us all that injuries can happen when you least expect them. What seemed like an innocuous collision with both Haziq and Yawar going for the ball, ended up with Haziq suffering from temporary memory loss and severe headache. This, by far, has been the scariest moment of the tournament so far.
2) The Red Card
Football is a passionate sport for both the ones playing and the fans supporting the team. Passion is something you would not want to kick out of any player. However, there is a fine line between being passionate and letting your emotions boil over in the heat of the game.
There has been only one red card shown by me so far in the tournament and, sadly, it was to one of my close friends, and the organizer himself, Alyy Haroon, in his team, Lag FC's 4-4 draw with Jandaar FC. With the score at 3-3, Alyy, the captain and goalkeeper, while already on a yellow for showing dissent to a decision earlier, wandered out of his goal with the ball and lost possession. Jandaar FC's Yahya won the ball, although there was some physical contact after he touched the ball before tapping it into the open goal. Alyy did not like the decision and let the referee, that would be me, have it. After one too many choice words, I had no choice but to unfortunately give my friend a second yellow and a red. His team was now a goal down and their captain had just been sent off. Luckily for Alyy, and thankfully for me, his team managed to get a late equalizer and get a very important point from that game.
After the game, Alyy came up to me and we agreed that what happened was in the heat of the moment. I have to admit, I'm a very passionate football fan and player whenever I play it and maybe if I was in his place, I'd have done the exact same thing. I know Alyy, he's a winner and he was only trying to lead by example for his team by coming out of his area and leading an attack. In the end, his emotions got the better of him. I have to admit, after every thing was set and done, after his team got a late equalizer and Alyy and I made up, I breathed a sigh of relief too.
1) The Goal That Never Was
Being a referee is a hard enough job as it is without the referee being too stuck up to accept a mistake. And that's exactly what I did in one match between Footy FC and Jandaar FC.
With the game evenly poised at 1-0 to Footy FC, Footy striker and captain, Abdul Hannan, received the ball on the edge of the opposition area with a defender right next to him and the keeper to beat. The defender went to ground, making contact with the striker as he committed a foul. Me, the referee, with the whistle in my mouth, blew immediately without waiting to see the play develop. What happened next was Hannan regaining his balance just enough to fire a shot past the opposition keeper into the far corner. It all seemed to happen within a couple of seconds as Hannan celebrated but the Jandaar FC players claimed to have stopped after hearing the whistle. And that's really how it should've been. What followed next was one of the most stupidest instinctive, judgment calls I've made in my life, not just counting playing or refereeing in football games. I allowed the goal to stand as in my mind the whistle had not affected the shot and the keeper's attempt to save the shot. In hindsight, I shouldn't have blown the whistle in the first place and allowed advantage. Second, once I had blown the whistle, I should've stuck to my decision and brought the play back for a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. However, I chose the third, most stupid, option of allowing the goal to stand. Furthermore, I refused to listen to the advice of the organizer, Alyy, standing outside as the league scorer and my assistant referee, choosing to stick to my original decision instead of changing it again.
After the match, my curiosity and regret got the better of me as I went online to a professional referees' website called AskTheRef.com, where I told them about the situation and what happened. In their reply, they cited one of the most famous controversial incidents in a high-profile game as an example for me. The 2006 Champions League final, Jens Lehmann's red card for a foul on Barcelona' Samuel Eto'o which could have been prevented had the referee let the play go on and allowed Ludovic Giuly to tap home into an empty net.
Hopefully, there is less controversy and more entertainment to come as the tournament gets ready to enter its knockout stage!
I have been a Manchester United fan since 2006. I remember my first full match like it was yesterday. United started the 2006/07 season with a resounding 5-1 win over Fulham thanks to goals from Louis Saha, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. United were 4-0 up inside 20 minutes and the team played some of the most sumptuous football I had ever seen.
For me, it had always been a distant dream to be finally able to go and watch my favourite team play live and in person. When it finally became a reality on the 3rd of November, 2016, it was an experience I will never forget. Studying in Turkey has opened so many opportunities for me, many of which I take for granted on a daily basis. Being back in Pakistan, I would not be able to do, or have access to, most things that I have in Turkey.
Last semester, from January to June, I had the opportunity to go and study in Barcelona, Spain. There I fulfilled another dream, getting to see the Camp Nou stadium, home of the European Champions (at the time), FC Barcelona. It also happened to be the scene of my favourite club, Manchester United's, greatest night in its history. 26 May, 1999, United faced German side Bayern Munich in the final of the European Cup at Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium and thanks to two very, very late goals, won the tournament in dramatic fashion. So to be there, have the opportunity to sit in the stands and trying to visualize those moments reliving themselves in front of you was an overwhelming experience. Also, I got to see the world's best player (my opinion), Lionel Messi, mere 20 feet away from me, kicking a football. I could not believe my luck.
Manchester United came to Istanbul to play Fenerbahçe in the Europa League, a competition befitting their current mediocre state, with all due respect to the competition. No matter what the occasion would have been, I was not going to let this opportunity pass. and no matter what you say or might have heard about Turkish football fans, they know how to create an atmosphere at a stadium.
Before the match, I had bought the tickets a month in advance and despite some last-minute complications with the ticket, there was no way I was going to miss this game. Even if I had an exam the next day (which I didn't, luckily!), I would still have gone. And I would've missed my exam with no regrets. Yes, you read that right.
I travelled to Istanbul from Bilkent, in Ankara, at around noon on Thursday with the match due to kick-off at 9 in the evening. I was travelling with my friend, Aish, and we bought our bus tickets on the spot and they ended up being very cheap, 30 Turkish liras per person to Istanbul is not that bad. Plus, we good seats in our bus so the journey ended up being not so bad.
We reached Istanbul with almost 4 hours still to kick-off. We quickly reached the stadium and got the final process of our ticket done and, at last, we had our single-entry tickets in our hand. We went inside the stadium one and a half hour before kick-off.
Before the match started, me and my friend ran into a fellow fan who responded in English to a question I asked in Turkish by saying that he did not speak Turkish. Surprised, I also continued in English and asked him where he was from? He replied saying Iraq. I then asked him who does he support, with a feeling that I already knew the answer. He hesitated for a second, scared I'm sure of who I might be or my motives for asking that question. He then answered "Manchester, but I have to sit with the Fenerbahçe supporters." I laughed and said to him "us too, bro, don't worry" and then to see the relief on his face once he realized I wasn't going to punch him for supporting Manchester United against a Turkish team was very amusing, to say the least.
The noise at the Camp Nou in Barcelona was nothing compared to Fenerbahçe. Not for one minute of the entire 90 did I get to sit down and have a breather.
Insane. Crazy. A TV screen cannot do justice to the hostile reception United received at the Şükrü Saraçoğlu stadium tonight. Nothing can compare to this experience. No tourists, no casual fans, just 30,000+ passionate, fanatic, crazy, my-type-of football fans gathered to support their favourite team. For all the talk about United's great away support, you couldn't hear a word from the away end tonight. Absolutely no regret about sitting with the Fenerbahçe fans.
Nevertheless, it was a poor performance and it was very hard to keep acting like you were supporting Fenerbahçe instead of United.
I was lucky to see three great, GREAT goals. Moussa Sow might just have won the Puskas Award. Wayne Rooney was the only one not intimidated by the atmosphere while others around him wilted under the pressure.
You can go to Camp Nou, Bernabeu or even Old Trafford, I'm sure, but you will not find the type of atmosphere anywhere in Europe that Turkish fans in Istanbul bring to their stadiums. If I had to do this whole one-day trip to Istanbul again, I wouldn't change a thing. And I honestly don't know what I have done in my life to deserve this.
Hello guys, allow me to tell you in this blog about the first ever Pakistani Football League in Bilkent University started on the 7th of October and has seen over 15 matches played so far in its initial League format between 8 participating teams.
The tournament, organized by Alyy Haroon, a 3rd year Economics student at Bilkent and someone who will be featured in more detail later on in this blog, comprises of 8 teams gunning for the title of the first winners of the PFL in Bilkent. Up till now, we are half way through the League stage of the competition with each team having played four games each. The top four sides after all seven games have been played by each team advance to the semi-finals before a final showdown between the two winners.
Furthermore, you are getting a first-hand inside look into the tournament as yours truly is not only blogging about the tournament but I am also the official referee for the whole competition. Up till now, the tournament has had one nasty concussion to a player and I have had to dish out quite a few yellow cards as well. However, there has been only one red card which itself was to the aforementioned, and my good friend, Alyy Haroon (and the organizer himself!). As you can see, the tournament has already more than lived up to its expectations of high passion and drama.
6 of the 8 teams participating. More to follow!