5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶 | OneFootball

5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶 | OneFootball

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Padraig Whelan·28 January 2022

5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Article image:5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Several major leagues may be on a break from action this weekend but that doesn’t mean there aren’t games worthy of your attention.

Here are five games you must tune into at both club and international level.

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Beware an FA Cup upset

Article image:5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Spice rating: Mild 🌶

There are only two all-Women’s Super League ties in the fourth round of the Women’s FA Cup on Sunday.

But one of them promises to be a very intriguing contest, with Tottenham-Leicester trumping Brighton’s meeting with Reading as it offers a greater chance of that much-needed cup ingredient: an upset.

While it’s hard to see the likes of Bridgwater United stunning Manchester United or London City Lionesses ending Arsenal’s hopes, the Foxes are capable of springing one of the surprises of the round.

After a nine-game losing streak to start the season, Leicester have won two of their last four in the league and looked a lot stronger defensively so this looks to be the game to keep an eye on for those seeking an early FA Cup shock.

A direct shootout for Qatar

Article image:5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Spice rating: Medium 🌶 🌶

The battle for that all-important fifth spot in CONMEBOL World Cup qualification will become a little clearer after Friday night’s huge meeting between Colombia and Peru.

With the top four in South America ensured automatic progression, it leaves the other six sides fighting it out for just one place in the inter-confederation play-offs.

And ahead of their meeting in Barranquilla, these nations are locked level on 17 points apiece (Uruguay are just two ahead in fourth, while Chile and Bolivia are hovering just behind too) with just four games left.

Colombia haven’t lost a World Cup qualifier against Los Incas since 2001 and won four of their last five but Peru did beat them in the Copa América last year and won three of their last five in the group. This is poised perfectly.

Canada aim to ice out the USA

Article image:5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Spice rating: Hot 🌶 🌶 🌶

There’s a certain irony to Canada’s World Cup qualifier with the USA receiving a spice rating given the conditions it will be taking place in.

The CONCACAF leaders, who are a point ahead of the USA prior to kick-off, will contest a qualifier at home in January for the first time and to further swing the scales in their direction, moved the game to Ontario, where temperatures are expected to plummet to -15° with a 20km/h wind.

It’s hard to blame the Canucks for making the most of any advantage they can as this is a fixture that hasn’t been kind to them down the years, winning just once in their 21 meetings since 1985.

Victory on Sunday would send a big message that they are to be taken seriously as they bid to reach the World Cup for just the second time ever, while failure to do so for the second successive tournament is almost unthinkable for their southern neighbours.

A derby showdown for silverware

Article image:5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Spice rating: Fire 🌶 🌶 🌶 🌶

Benfica and Sporting CP is already one the world’s fiercest inter-city derbies as Lisbon locks down when these Portuguese powerhouses do battle.

So what better way to add some extra heat to this melting pot than by putting a trophy on the line, as will be the case when they face off on Saturday night for Taça da Liga honours in Leiria.

The importance of the country’s third most prestigious competition has increased given the presence of these hated rivals in the final together for just the second time ever, with Sporting out for revenge after losing on penalties in 2008/09.

Although there are some minor absences due to international fixtures (Darwin Núñez for Benfica and Sebastián Coates being the biggest misses), that won’t take anything away from the occasion in this one.

North Africa takes centre stage at AFCON

Spice rating: Insane 🌶 🌶 🌶 🌶 🌶

There’s no doubt what the standout fixture from the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals is as two of the strongest sides left standing, Egypt and Morocco, face off in Yaoundé.

The Pharaohs go in as favourites as they look to add to their record haul of seven continental titles, while Morocco are surprisingly seeking to lift the trophy for just the second time ever, having underwhelmed over the last two decades.

And to add further excitement to an already mouthwatering showdown, the main men for each nation, Mohamed Salah and Achraf Hakimi, come into the contest after starring in the last round and are hitting their stride.

This one ranks so highly because it is a game that, based on form, would be worthy of being the final. Morocco are currently riding a 31-game unbeaten run and haven’t lost in two-and-a-half years, while their north African neighbours have conceded just once in their four games so far this month.

The winner of this will believe it is their year.