Flying Kiwis – September 24

Screen Shot 09-23-19 at 10.05 PM.JPG

Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

It was a while in coming but then once that first goal of the season rustled rewardingly into that net, Chris Wood didn’t have to wait long for a second. His last Premier League goal came on 14 April against Cardiff City. After waiting 160 days between strikes he only had to wait four minutes and fifteen seconds for the next one. In fairness that first bit includes the entire offseason during which he was banging them in for fun in friendly games so a hugely misleading stat… in truth he only had nine scoreless PL games and that includes games against Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal x2, and Liverpool.

Nobody was panicking as he went without a goal in those first five games but it was slightly uneasy seeing the ball refuse to fall for him so consistently. Only six shots in total in five games. But it was only noticeable because it was that first goal of the season he was striving for – five games in a row without a goal in the middle of things wouldn’t be a drama at all. Woody’s attitude throughout was pretty excellent, he knew that all he needed was to get that first one under his belt and the pressure’s off. Well, against Norwich City he finally got his day in the spotlight.

The first chance of the day actually fell to Teemu Pukki of Norwich, who hasn’t had any trouble finding his own goals recently, but this time Nick Pope was good enough to deny him. Then it was The Woodsman’s chance. An Ashley Westwood corner found Woody drifting off the near post to nod a glancing header in for a slick little set piece goal. Fantastic cross from Westwood too. Then soon after Norwich tried to play the ball out from the back, got in a bit of trouble, and were picked off superbly as Dwight McNeil swing in a low cross again to the near post and Chris Wood showed some top notch striking instincts to first time his movements to where he got on the ball in space just as it arrived and then to guide it into the roof of the net with a sharp finish. How good!?

Burnley then did as Burnley do and slowed the game down with a multi-goal lead, making sure they wouldn’t make the mistake that allowed Norwich back into it. They “smothered” it in the words of Sean Dyche. Moritz Leitner did hit the post for the Canaries but a team which beat Manchester City last week lost to Burnley this week, so it goes.

Wood only had one real chance to complete his hatty and he couldn’t get the contact on a ball that was a little behind him, hitting it straight at Tim Krul. However Ashley Barnes was convinced he’d won a penalty later on in the game and while VAR agreed with the ref that there wasn’t enough in it… would’ve been curious to see if Barnesy would’ve let Wood take it since the rule between those two seems to be that whoever wins it, takes it. 2-0 to Burnley was the final score though. Man of the match Chris Wood and the sun is shining and the birds are singing and flowers are blossoming again.

Sean Dyche: “The thing is, he’s been working diligently, and Barnesy has been getting the praise, rightly so, for his performances and goals, Woody has been working behind that, Jay Rod is knocking on the door, Vyds has come to life the last few weeks. There’s a good group there, and as people know, generally I like to play with two strikers, we want to affect the game, and o thought we did. I’m pleased for Woody, he’s stuck at it, and scored two really good goals.”

Burnley Express: “For Wood, it was vindication, having failed to score in the first five Premier League games, after netting nine in pre-season. There had been some sections of the support who would have replaced him, but, while struggling to find the net, his form had largely been good, helping create space for strike partner Ashley Barnes with some selfless work. He deserved his goals, and it is game on for a third season of the pair battling it out for the club’s golden boot.”

LancsLive Player Ratings: “Chris Wood - Scored both goals and held up every ball put up to him, deserved a hattrick and almost got it (9)”

Up Next: Aston Villa vs Burnley, Sunday at 3am, (NZT)

Ali Riley – Bayern Munich (German Bundesliga)

It’s that kiwi connection at Bayern again, aye?

Moving on to the footy itself and that went pretty well too. Bouncing back from a surprise defeat against Bayer Leverkusen a week ago, in which Riley didn’t play, she was named to start away to SC Sand and got herself an enjoyable ninety minutes out there playing in a back four with Bayern romping to a 5-0 victory. What’s more is that on the other team was none other than Paige Satchell who was subbed on for the final eleven minutes (with the score at 3-0) – her second appearance of the season and her most prominent yet. Satchell’s been unused on the bench for SCS’s other two matches so she’s already a regular matchday squad member.

Bayern bossed this thing from minute one and took the lead through Linda Dallman in the 12th. Yet it was a fair while until they were able to add to that despite chance after chance, with Mandy Islacker finally breaking through after an hour. When Jovana Damnjanovic poked one in at the near post soon after there was nothing left to worry about. A late goal for Nicole Rosler and a second for Islacker then polished things off. Barely even a glimpse of Riley’s #5 jersey during the highlights which gives you a pretty accurate impression of how this one went.

Ah but there’s always time for a bit of a national team reunion afterwards, of course…

Screen Shot 09-23-19 at 02.35 PM.JPG

Up Next: Second leg of that Champions League tie with Göteborg, Bayern leading 2-1, that’s in Munich at 5am on Thursday (NZT)

Sarpreet Singh - Bayern Munich II (German Liga 3)

Meanwhile the other kiwi footballer at Bayern Munich had a bit of a quiet one this week for the ressies. A quiet one for him personally but a very valuable win for the team as they look to establish themselves in this third tier after promotion last time around. Singh played a little deeper than usual with the reserves welcoming first teamers Michael Cuisance and Alphonso Davies into the mix against Ingolstadt.

Marcel Zylla got things started with an early goal to add to the double he scored last game, however Dennis Eckert levelled for Ingolstadt almost straight away. But a lash-out from Peter Kurzweg late in the first half saw him sent off and that definitely changed the complexion of things. Early second half and Davies picked up the ball off a short pass from Singh and he charged forwards, releasing Cuisance into the area and the Frenchman curled in what would prove to be the winner off his sweet left foot. A little bit like the kind of goal Sarpreet Singh might have scored for the Wellington Phoenix once upon a time… while we’re at it Cuisance was also a menace from set pieces with that left peg, probably a decent reason why Singh was more peripheral in this one having been so influential over the last month for Bayern 2. But a win is a win, no dramas. They needed this one – only their third win in nine games.

Up Next: Away to Preußen Münster on Sunday at midnight (NZT)

CJ Bott – Vittsjö GIK (Swedish Damallsvenskan)

A 3-1 win for Rosengård on Sunday put the pressure firmly on Vittsjö if they were going to make a serious run at the title and sadly they didn’t quite get there. A day later they fell 1-0 away to Eskilstuna United and with a seven point gap between them and the Rosies with only four games left it looks like that miracle title race might not be too realistic.

Having said that, they’re still second and sitting in that final Champions League spot, with just five points between sixth and second things are getting feisty. And over their last four games they play the three other teams in the top four so no time now for slip ups. Funnily enough they play Göteborg next… just four days before Göteborg face Ali Riley’s Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Fingers crossed they take their eye off the ball for at least one of them.

Against Eskilstuna, CJ Bott’s lot walked in on the back of four straight clean sheets and with only 10 goals conceded in 18 games they have the best defence in the league this season. However that defence got a right old test in the first half as Eskilstuna came pressing forwards. A couple saves from Sabrina D’Angelo in goal kept it even but there was no stopping Loreta Kullashi’s header from a free kick swung in from the left side of the defence. That was basically the way it continued too with Vittsjö having a tough old time creating any meaningful chances. Michelle De Jongh came closest with quarter of an hour left but couldn’t get the purchase on her shot at the near post. CJ Bott was subbed off with a couple minutes left, the final roll of the dice as they tried in vain to salvage something. 1-0 the final score. Preeeeetty close there at the top these days…

Screen Shot 09-23-19 at 05.20 PM.JPG

Highlights for perusal over here.

Up Next: Midnight on Monday away to Göteborg (NZT)

Betsy Hassett - KR Reykjavik (Icelandic Úrvalsdeild kvenna)

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Betsy Hassett (@betsyhassett) on

And with a 3-1 defeat away to Stjarnan, KR finish their season in seventh place out of ten teams with 19 points from their 18 games. Enough to avoid relegation with a couple weeks to spare plus let’s not forget they also made a run all the way to the Icelandic Cup final as well.

Nothing much to say about the last game – they were level at the half after Gloria Douglas’ goal had cancelled out the deficit but couldn’t hold on, losing both their games after top flight survival was assured. All goods. Betsy Hassett finishes the season having started all 13 games (the World Cup obviously a factor in that – as was the wrist injury she suffered leading up to that tournament) and scoring two goals with a few more assists as well. Also had an influential role in that cup run. So a bit of a strange season at times but definitely one of the undercover high performers in the ol’ Flying Kiwis ranks.

Up Next: A long, warm offseason most likely

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

Last week Billy T scored an own goal as the Timbers lost 1-0 to DC United. This week they played twice and scored zero times, their playoff hopes taking a bit of a hit in the process. Midweek they were at home against New York Red Bulls and trailed within three minutes as nobody picked up Kyle Duncan at the back post and the damage was done. Portland then spent the next eighty seven minutes and change trying their best to equalise but just nobody could put one away.

All the while NYRB were gassing for a second themselves. They should probably have been 2-0 up after six minutes but Tuiloma made a superb goal-line clearance with his knee. He also had a shot on target with a header from around the penalty spot but it was straight at the keeper. Earlier on Diego Chara had lifted one over the NYRB keeper only to hit the post. Then Jeremy Ebobisse smashed a header straight at the keeper from six yards out. Then the same guy slid one wide with only the goalie to beat. Finally New York won a penalty kick on the break in the third minute of stoppage time and Daniel Royer scored to seal the points… although there was still time for Tui to almost pull one back getting forwards for another set piece. He couldn’t quite get the ball under control is all as the goal opened up in front of him. Brian Fernandez then stabbed it wide and that about summed it up for Portland who lost 2-0.

Which took us to the game against Michael Boxall’s Minnesota United on Monday morning and… with Larrys Mabiala back from injury it was Tuiloma who dropped to the bench. He’d had a couple errors in him the last few weeks but still a surprise to see him not favoured ahead of Claude Dielna, although coach Gio Savarese made a number of other changes so it might have been more about rotation in the midst of a tricky run of congested fixtures. They’re right in the middle of a run of five games in 15 days and Tuiloma had played all but 35 minutes of their previous eight games including four full games already in September prior to this one.

The game ended 0-0 and Boxall played a full game so we’ll come back to the match itself when he’s in focus. But it did allow a bit of mix-and-match at the end there as Portland, chasing the points at home, went for it with the last roll of the dice: subbing on Bill Tuiloma as an attacking fullback. Harkening back to his early days with the All Whites, that one. But yeah the draw means that with FC Dallas also picking up a point, the Timbers stay outside the playoff zone – though they have three games remaining and could potentially jump three places with a win in their next one… still all in their own hands but this recent form isn’t flattering.

Up Next: Thursday at 2.30pm against New England (NZT)

Michael Boxall – Minnesota United (American Major League Soccer)

Hey that’s one way to do it. Shout out to the happy couple – Boxy apparently jumped the hoardings to congratulate them even after the little pink dust stunt there.

The Loons didn’t play midweek and therefore had plenty of time to prepare to face Bill Tuiloma’s Portland Timbers. At this stage they’re probably a win away from clinching a first ever playoff berth but even with two of their last three games against the two teams placed above them in the west (LAFC and Seattle Sounders), a point away from home in Portland was a good point. And a point well earned.

Despite this being a nil-all draw, there were fifty total shots in the game. Portland had an insane 30 of them while Minnesota pegged off another twenty so you know it was at least a scoreless draw full of action. Also of statistical note, the day before this game Montreal Impact had set a new MLS record of only conceding a single foul in their loss to LA Galaxy… then Boxall and the Loons went right on ahead and matched it the very next day. Kevin Molino was the silly bugger who conceded it, not Michael Boxall in case you were wondering.

So yeah, righto, heaps of chances in this one. Even Tuiloma had a crack late on after he was subbed in. But Vito Mannone made twelve saves for Minnesota while Steve Clarke was pretty solid in the other goal and neither side could find a way through despite all sorts… most notable being Seb Blanco’s crack off the frame for Portland and Robin Lod doing the same with a header at the other end for Minnesota. Christian Paredes hit the post with a header too, Ebobisse headed wide from close range with a diving one. Portland thought they should’ve had a penalty for handball later on. Molino couldn’t score a one on one for Minnesota in stoppage time. Yeah, all sorts.

By the way, Boxall and Ike Opara were already the locked-on first choice CB pairing for Minnesota heading into crunchtime of the 2019 season but just in case anyone still had doubts, third choice Brett Kallman just got banned for 10 games for testing positive for some PED or other.

Up Next: Minnesota vs Sporting KC, Thursday at midday (NZT)

Olivia Chance – Bristol City (English Super League)

Olivia Chance: “First of all we want to make sure that we get the win this weekend. It’s key for us to get some goals this weekend and begin to in build momentum for our game against Chelsea and winning always brings confidence, so it’s an important game this weekend. Every time you play a team from the division below you know they’re always going to want to win the game and prove a point, because there is nothing better from their point of view. We can’t look past this game, we’ve got to make sure that we win and build our confidence.”

Them’s fighting words ahead of Bristol City’s opening Conti Cup game against London Bees. She also talked a little in that interview about how she’s settling into her new club and how everyone’s still staying patient with her fitness having come back from such a bad injury only a matter of months ago. She took some time off after the World Cup for that reason so she’s getting her preseason in on the fly as well.

This Conti Cup game was a lovely chance for Chance to make her starting debut for the club and sure enough she did not only that but she also logged the full ninety minutes. Set up the opening goal too, how about it. Picked out Carla Humphrey in the penalty area and Humphrey buried it for the early goal. Here’s

“City needed a fast start and got off the mark inside ten minutes thanks to a well taken goal from Carla Humphrey. It was the midfielder’s first goal in over twelve months and got the hosts off to a perfect start. Olivia Chance’s neat pass behind the Bees defence free Humphrey who made no mistake in burying the ball in the bottom corner.”

Ebony Salmon then dashed through to make it 2-0 after 25 minutes and then right at the end of the second half, in the second minute of stoppage time, Abu Harrison scored another for a 3-0 win to get their campaign off to a quality start. London Bees did hit the post at one point but otherwise a comprehensive result and performance from Bristol City… who have got Chelsea up next so they’ll need a bit more of that then as well.

Elsewhere in the FA Continental Cup, Ria Percival played 62 minutes as Spurs got kinda picked apart by Reading, losing 4-0 as Brooke Chaplen scored in each half and Ash Neville put one in her own net along with Millie Farrow putting the icing on the cake in the 55th minute. Percival played in the midfield again and was replaced soon after that fourth goal, might as well save the legs for next time, and with Amalie Eikeland also hitting the post Spurs were lucky it wasn’t worse against a Reading team that’s made the knockouts the last couple years in this competition – something Spurs have never done.

And then the other kiwi involved was Katie Rood for Lewes. They played Crystal Palace in an exciting one as Magda Mosengo and Zoe Ness traded goals before Cherelle Khassal, a former Lewes forward no less, finished a simple one after Lewes had failed to clear. The Rooks fought back once more to make it 2-2 thanks to Amy Taylor after Ness had missed a great chance to score her second and a much improved second half from Lewes had them scrapping for the win. Didn’t happen though. Instead Rea Laudat came off the bench for Palace and whipped in the winner from outside the box. 3-2 to Palace. Katie Rood was one of a few players rotated out for this game but she did get subbed on for the final 18 minutes.

Up Next: Bristol City vs Chelsea, Monday at 3am (NZT)

Tommy Smith – Colorado Rapids (American Major League Soccer)

Might as well bloody milk it after that one, aye?

It was a game between two teams that didn’t have anything left to play for except pride but sometimes those are the best ones and this one… utter madness. Gerso Fernandes put Sporting Kansas City up 1-0 inside three minutes and then a further ten minutes after that it was looking like one of those days for Colorado when Tommy Smith picked up where Bill Tuiloma left off last week and turned one into his own net.

But then Matt Besler forget he had a head and forgot that other people have heads too and tried to kick a ball about six feet off the ground and swiftly saw a red card (a second yellow) after he kicked Sam Nicholson right in the snout. Seventy minutes left, Colorado Rapids down by two goals but with a man advantage. Could they do it? Could they ever. Kei Kamara scored a bicycle kick to get them going late in the first half. Then in the 75th minute Tommy Smith made his apologies by scrapping at the far post in the box and managing to lay the ball back to Diego Rubio as he fell backwards… Rubio smashing it in for 2-2. Then Smithy put himself in the profit zone with an 85th minute winner. Scenes, my friend. Scenes.

So to recap… Tommy Smith scored an own goal to put his team down 2-0 after quarter of an hour, then set up the equaliser with fifteen minutes left and scored the winner to complete the comeback with five minutes left. Not bad for a centreback. Supreme header too, getting that much power and direction on a ball that he had to leap backwards to reach.

Tommy Smith on the assist: “I was going to shoot and then I heard Diego (Rubio) shouting my name, so I just assumed that he was in a better position than I was. I had a few bodies in front of me so I just laid it off for him. He’s the goal scorer at the end of the day so I let him do the hard work.”

Tommy Smith on his goal: “You just try to get a header on target. You don’t really aim too precise. Thankfully for me, it went right in the corner and the goalkeeper had no chance. It’s so nice to see them go in like that especially when it’s a game winner.”

Tommy Smith on the win: “The character to come back from two goals down to go on and win the game. That’s a massive plus for us. We don’t want to be two goals down in games going forward and that’s two in a row now. That’s something we have to address. We have to start games better and I’m sure we’ll be looking at ways we can stop leaking goals early in games, starting with these next two games. It shows the character we’ve got in the squad. We’ve had that character all year. A team that goes 11 games without a win could’ve easily folded and said that’s it, the season is done but we all rolled up our sleeves. Even during that stretch, nobody ever gave up. That’s the basis that this team builds from. We never say die. I know that’s a cliché, but it rings true for us. We’re never going to give up. We’re going to try and finish the season strong with two more wins.”

Up Next: Monday at 12.30pm at home vs FC Dallas (NZT)

Hannah Wilkinson - Sporting CP (Portuguese 1a Divisão)

Nothing quite like returning from that first away trip of the season with a 17-0 victory. Having scored a couple quick and late ones to beat Sporting Braga 2-1 in their season opener, Sporting CP then had a much easier task on their hands against A-dos-Francos who are pretty clearly going to be propping everyone else up from the bottom. You think 17-0 was bad? They lost 24-0 to Benfica last week so that’s 41 goals conceded in two games for that lot. Guts on the draw, facing two of the three top teams from last season straight up, but yeah this was a sitter of a game.

Hannah Wilkinson has started on the bench in both games so far, subbed on in place of Carolina Mendes for the last half an hour (and all the fun stuff) against Braga and joined the party against A-dos-Francos in time to sneak her first goal for the club right at the end – the sixteenth of seventeen on the day. It was only 3-0 at half-time! Also if it sounds like a milestone for Wilkie it was but not quite on the same level as Raquel Fernandes who scored seven goals on debut. There’s now a three week break for Sporting before they face the other of the two teams left without a point from the opening two weeks.

Up Next: Sporting CP vs Ovarense, October 14 at 6am (NZT)

Katie Bowen – Utah Royals/Abby Erceg – North Carolina Courage (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Another Flying Kiwis Derby this week, what bountiful times we live in. Abby Erceg’s table-topping and sizzlingly in-form North Carolina Courage travelling to sunny Utah where the Royals were waiting for them hoping to sneak a valuable point or three for their playoff hopes.

But… yeah nah. It was Courage from the opening whistle to the final whistle as per usual. Erceg almost set up a goal with a nod back from a corner though Jess McDonald had her own header cleared off the line. This amidst a flurry of NCC chances in the first half – Samantha Mewis eventually gave them the lead from the penalty spot after 29 mins after Kristen Hamilton had won the spottie.

The Courage eased off a little after the goal though and Utah had a moment or two that really worried the defending champs… but then a goalkeeping error allowed Jaelene Hinkle to score from a looping cross. Hugely uncharacteristic from Nicole Barnhart, one of the best in the business. NCC then scored immediately after through Debinha and that about wrapped it up. Full games for both kiwis, it ended 3-0 to NCC who clinched the 2019 NWSL Shield with this result.

Which means that Abby Erceg’s gonna get to lift some more silverware soon…

This was the second game of the week for the Courage, who also beat Houston Dash 1-0 for another clean sheet win last Wednesday. Sam Mewis scored the only goal there and just like her strike here it was a penalty… though that one she saved until the 87th minute for the drama. The Courage are currently on a six game winning streak during which they’ve only conceded twice. Hitting maximum potential just in time for the semis.

Up Next: Away to Washington Spirit on Sunday at midday (NZT)

Rosie White – Seattle Reign (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Important game at home against Sky Blue, the sort of game they need to be winning to stay in the hunt for the semi-finals… but despite Megan Rapinoe making her first start of the season and despite Beth Balcer looking in immense form the Reign had their troubles making anything count. A couple times in that first half Rosie White made runs to the near post but teammates weren’t able to pick her out with their cut-backs and then you chuck in a couple excellent saves and this was a very frustrating game for the home side. Those frustration levels then multiplied when Carli Lloyd broke the line and scored against the run of play for Sky Blue late on.

Rosie White had already been subbed off in the 66th minute (and had been listed as questionable with a hip injury). Safe to say when the final whistle went for a 1-0 defeat the crowd was none too pleased – luckily for them, Utah’s defeat was coupled with Washington Spirit getting dropped by a Sam Kerr masterclass (the Aussie’s up to 17 goals for the season so next week’s game against the Royals, who are level with them on 31 points, is going to be maaaassive.

Up Next: Reign FC vs Utah Royals, Thursday at 2pm (NZT)

Marco Rojas – SønderjyskE (Danish Superliga)

It was a third draw in a row for Sonders as they travelled to play Hobro, although it shouldn’t have been. With seventy minutes gone they subbed off Marco Rojas with a 1-0 lead thanks to a Mathias Haarup own goal late in the first half – a real awkward one that pretty much fell on him after a corner kick was deflected up into the crossbar – and a strong second half probably should have seen them extend that lead. But then Pal Alexander Kirkevold scored an absolute ripper direct from a free kick in the 79th minute and such is football. Mads Albæk went close to matching that effort only his free kick was tipped wide… but he had a chance from much better range in stoppage time: the penalty spot. Only drama was that one was saved too. Both brilliant saves to be fair but a 1-1 draw after all that probably feels a tad disappointing to the Sonders crew.

Up Next: Cup stuff on Thursday away to Hvidovre at 4.30am (NZT)

Erin Nayler – Girondins Bordeaux (French Division 1 Féminine)

No game this week so no opportunity to add to their perfect start (they’re playing PSG next so maybe better to say an extended opportunity to bask in that perfect start while it’s still there) but we did get our first glimpse of Erin Nayler on her old favourite Saves of the Week compilation, getting the nod in the top trio for a diving effort against Montpellier last game where she plucked that thing right out of the air no worries at all.

Up Next: PSG vs Bordeaux, Monday at 1.45am (NZT)

Winston Reid – West Ham United (English Premier League)

Manuel Pellegrini: “The injuries - Winston Reid is recovering from his injury. I hope he will next week starting working with the squad. Probably the first game Winston will play will be with the U23s. It may be next week but it could be one week more.”

Straight from the mouth of the man who matters. Reid made a comeback from injury in preseason but it only amounted to 112 minutes across their first three friendly games and then he’s been absent again ever since, taking only limited part in training as he rebuilds his fitness levels after so long out. But he’s close now. He’s closer than he’s ever been to that return… and it sounds like it might be worth keeping an eye on those U23 games.

The Guardian’s Forgotten Men of the Premier League: Winston Reid, West Ham United

“But for Mark Noble, the New Zealand defender would be the longest-serving player at the club. The scorer of the last goal at Upton Park, Reid is something of a cult hero but West Ham supporters have not seen him in first-team action since March 2018 owing to injury. Reid returned in pre-season after twice undergoing knee surgery but continues to build his fitness behind the scenes. The club are reluctant to rush Reid, who signed a new six-and-a-half year contract to stave off interest in 2015, given his injury history and in the meantime they can call on Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena.”

Up Next: Well now that depends, doesn’t it?

Ryan Thomas – PSV Eindhoven (Dutch Eredivisie)

Say… recognise a familiar face in there? Ol’ mate Thommo ticked off another milestone this week as he was named on the bench for PSV’s clash with Ajax. First time he’d made a PSV matchday squad and it only took an entire year. it was an extended bench and he wasn’t used but to be a part of that atmosphere for a game as big as this one, at home against last season’s Champions League semi-finalists, must have been a huge experience. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, if you were wondering. Donyell Malen equalising in the 77th min after Quincy Promes had given Ajax the lead on 63 mins.

Also on that extended PSV bench were Ibrahim Afellay and Lars Unnerstall who have also been recovering from long injury layoffs and, oh what do you know, the trio of them were then named as part of PSV’s squad to take part in the Premier League International Cup. All part of the process.

PSV: “Ibrahim Afellay, Lars Unnerstall and Ryan Thomas have been included in the PSV U21 squad that travels to England to kick off their PLIC (Premier League International Cup) campaign. PSV U21 take part in the international tournament this season as well. They have been drawn in Group D with Swansea City, FC Porto and Everton. They play Swansea City on Thursday 19 September.  ”

Up Next: PSV’s next game is at home against Grongingen on Thursday at 4.30am (NZT)

Be a part of the journey with us and support The Niche Cache on Patreon if you rate what we do

Also whack an ad whenever you read something decent to say cheers