Fire Alumni Abroad

Blanco helps Irapuato to semifinal

Cuauhtemoc Blanco
and Mexican Liga de Ascenso side Irapuato advanced to the Apertura semifinals
defeating Durango 4-3 on aggregate.

Hosting los alacranes
last Wednesday, Blanco played 90 minutes and scored his third goal of the
season in the 81st minute, giving his side a 2-0 lead going into Saturday’s
return leg.

Back in Durango the home side didn’t waste time in looking
to level the aggregate score line with Brazilian striker Eder Pacheco scoring
twice in the first ten minutes (1st, 10th) to equalize the series.

Irapuato midfielder Jose Luis Lopez responded in the 23rd
minute putting the visitors back on top 3-2, but Pacheco pulled things
level again, completing a first half hat trick in the 32nd minute. The sides
went into the interval knotted at 3-3 on aggregate.

After trading second half blows, Irapuato’s Argentinian
striker Oscar Gonzalez put the visitors up 4-3 with his 80th minute strike.
Despite a red card to Ezequiel Britez three minutes later, Irapuato hung on to
advance to a semifinal series with Blanco’s old club Veracruz.

Irapuato will host the first on Tuesday, November 23 with
the return leg to be played Friday, November 26.

Having returned from a neck strain that kept him out of five
matches, U.S. international Carlos
Bocanegra
went 90 minute for French Ligue 1 side Saint Etienne Saturday,
drawing 1-1 at home against Auxerre.

Given recent results, the draw was welcomed but also extends
Saint Etienne’s league winless streak to six matches, last winning 1-0 on
September 25 at Lyon. The streak has been highly detrimental to their league
standing falling from top of the table to 10th in that time. Bocanegra’s side
is 5-4-4 (19 points) but sit only five points back of league-leading Lille with
a game in hand on the rest of the field.

Saint Etienne will hope to take all three points as they
visit 14th place Nancy on Saturday.

Polish striker Tomasz
Frankowski
helped Jagiellonia Bialystok remain atop the Ekstraklasa table,
playing 73 minutes in the club’s 4-2 win over Cracovia Krakow on Saturday.

Though he didn’t score in the match, the 36-year-old still
leads the Polish first division with eight goals on the year.

The result moved Franek’s side to 9-3-2 on the year and
coupled with Gornic Zabrze’s 2-1 upset over second place Korona Kielce extended
Jagiellonia’s lead at the top of the table to five points heading into Sunday’s
match at 12th place Ruch Chorzow.

Notes: U.S. international
DaMarcus Beasley dressed but did not play for Hannover 96 in their 3-2 win over
Freiburg on Saturday. The result moved Hannover to 7-5-1 (22 points) and fourth
in the Bundesliga table