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Argentina rallies to draw 2-2 against Germany in friendly

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — A weakened Argentina side came from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against an injury-hit Germany team in their friendly on Wednesday. Playing without the suspended Lionel Messi — and the likes of Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel Di María or Sergio Agüero — the visitors still managed to cancel out first-half goals from Serge Gnabry and Kai Havertz with second-half strikes from Lucas Alario and Lucas Ocampos, who scored on his debut. Germany coach Joachim Löw gave four players their international debuts in Dortmund, including Freiburg teammates Robin Koch and Luca Waldschmidt, and Nadiem Amiri and Suat Serdar, who came on in the second half. But Löw's side lost control in the second half and allowed the visitors to level after Bayern Leverkusen forward Alario came on for the ineffective Paulo Dybala in the 62nd minute. Alario scored in the 66th and set up Ocampos to equalize in the 85th. "Basically you're always annoyed when you're leading 2-0 and then draw 2-2," Löw said. "They brought in some quality from their substitutions. In the second half we lost the ball a few times. We weren't so courageous and got into difficulties." With Barcelona's Marc-André ter Stegen in goal in place of regular No. 1 Manuel Neuer, it was the first time Germany started without a World Cup champion on the field since winning the trophy in 2014. Niklas Stark, who had been called up six times already, had to keep waiting for his Germany debut due to gastrointestinal problems. The Hertha Berlin defender has waited longer than any other player since his initial call-up under 13 years of Löw. Leverkusen's Jonathan Tah dropped out earlier Wednesday due to flu, leaving Löw with just Niklas Süle and Koch as the only central defenders in his squad. He had already resisted calls to bring Dortmund defender Mats Hummels back after sending him to early international retirement. Löw's injury list also included Timo Werner, Ilkay Gündogan, Toni Kroos, Jonas Hector, Antonio Rüdiger, Leon Goretzka, Kevin Trapp, Nico Schulz, Leroy Sané, Julian Draxler and Thilo Kehrer. Counterpart Lionel Scaloni was also forced to improvise with Messi suspended for making allegations of corruption at the Copa América, and other stars missing. The visitors were all but overrun in the first half. Joshua Kimmich captained Germany for the first time and was booked for a bad challenge in the 11th, four minutes before Bayern Munich teammate Gnabry broke the deadlock after Angel Correa lost the ball in midfield. Lukas Klostermann surged forward and crossed for Gnabry, who beat three defenders to the ball before dinking it over Agustin Marchesin to score. Gnabry crossed for Havertz to score in the 22nd after another lost ball in the Argentina midfield. It was the Leverkusen midfielder's first international goal. Marcel Halstenberg struck the crossbar with a free kick for Germany, before Rodrigo de Paul replied by hitting the post at the other end. It was the only real chance for Argentina before the break, when the home side was applauded off the pitch. The visitors enjoyed more possession after the interval and Alario duly pulled one back after Marcos Acuna was left in plenty of space to cross. Löw responded by bringing on Amiri and then Serdar for their debuts, but the visitors had all the momentum. Germany endured a few scares before Ocampos finally found the equalizer after a fine run from Alario......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnOct 9th, 2019

Poland, Russia qualify for Euro 2020; Croatia must wait

By Ciaran Fahey, Associated Press Poland and Russia qualified for the 2020 European Championship on Sunday, while Gareth Bale's goal forced Croatia to wait after a 1-1 draw with Wales. Germany beat Estonia 3-0 despite playing with 10 men from the 14th minute. Robert Lewandowski set up both goals for Poland as Chicago Fire midfielder Przemyslaw Frankowski and fellow substitute Arkadiusz Milik scored late in a hard-fought 2-0 win over North Macedonia. Poland is assured of finishing in the top two of Group G, where second-place Austria boosted its hopes of qualifying with a 1-0 win at Slovenia. Russia earlier routed Cyprus 5-0 to join group winner Belgium in securing a place at next year's tournament. Valencia forward Denis Cheryshev scored twice and set up two more goals for the Russians - who only needed a draw to be sure of qualification - to take their tally to 21 points after seven wins from eight games in Group I. With two games remaining, Russia has 11 points more than third-place Cyprus and 12 more than fourth-place Scotland, which thrashed San Marino 6-0 at a poorly attended Hampden Park in Glasgow. Belgium already had secured its place at the finals, but Roberto Martínez's team stayed perfect in qualifying with a 2-0 win over Kazakhstan in Astana. Michy Batshuayi scored in the first half and Thomas Meunier wrapped up the win in the second, giving Belgium its eighth win from eight games. The Belgians have scored 30 goals and conceded just one. BALE THWARTS CROATIA Nikola Vlasic scored early to put Croatia on course for a win that would have secured qualification from Group E. Bale's equalizer in first-half injury time denied the visitors - including Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric - and kept Welsh hopes of qualifying alive. Croatia leads the group by two points from Hungary, which defeated Azerbaijan 1-0 in Budapest thanks to Mihály Korhut's early strike. The top three in the group are Croatia (14 points), Hungary (12) and Slovakia (10). Wales is fourth on eight points with a game in hand over the top two. GÜNDOGAN SHINES Ilkay Gündogan scored twice and set up another for 10-man Germany to beat Estonia with three second-half goals in Tallinn. "The whole week hasn't been easy," said Germany coach Joachim Löw, whose side was hit by injuries. "But we didn't complain. The decisive thing was that we upped the pace in the second half. In the end it was satisfactory." Emre Can, filling in at center back, was shown an early red card for bringing down Frank Liivak, who would have been through on goal. Germany had never had a player sent off so early in a game before, with Can beating the mark set by Robert Huth's 15th-minute ejection in a friendly game against Northern Ireland in 2005. Gündogan finally broke the deadlock in the 51st when his effort from outside the penalty box took a slight deflection off Marco Reus' heel. His second goal six minutes later also took a deflection, this time off a defender. Gündogan's long pass over the top allowed substitute Timo Werner to wrap up the win in the 71st. Germany and the Netherlands are level on 15 points and well-placed to qualify from Group C. Northern Ireland is third on 12 points. The Dutch earlier claimed a 2-1 win over Belarus in Minsk, thanks to first-half goals from Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. The top two teams of each group advance. The other four qualifiers will come through four tiers of playoffs in March......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 14th, 2019

Germany, Netherlands win as Croatia drops points

By James Ellingworth, Associated Press Germany flirted with defeat for a second straight European Championship qualifier before Marcel Halstenberg's first international goal lifted the team to a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland on Monday. Coming off a 4-2 loss to the Netherlands, Germany's recovery was unconvincing, helped by Northern Ireland wasting good chances. The Dutch delivered another impressive attacking display as Memphis Depay marked his 50th game for the Netherlands by scoring one goal and setting up two more in a 4-0 win over Estonia. Belgium made qualifying seem a pushover by beating Scotland 4-0 to keep a perfect winning record, but other favorites faltered. Croatia and Poland both dropped points but remained top of their increasingly competitive groups. REBUILD CONTINUES Germany's still in rebuild mode. More than a year on from its embarrassing group-stage elimination at the World Cup, Joachim Löw's team still struggles to get what should be routine wins. Just as South Korea ran Germany into the ground at the World Cup, so hard pressing from Northern Ireland nearly earned an upset win in Belfast. The host had the better of the first half. Conor Washington had one good shot saved by Manuel Neuer, and later tripped over the ball in front of goal, missing the best chance of the game. Germany emerged from the break refreshed and needed just three minutes before Halstenberg volleyed the ball into the net after Julian Brandt flicked on a cross. Stuart Dallas then went close for Nothern Ireland, who continued to challenge until deep into stoppage time, when Serge Gnabry grabbed Germany's second goal on a counter. "They pressed us hard in the first half, but at some point they got tired," Halstenberg said. Asked if Germany was getting back to the level of Europe's best, he was diplomatic. "It's hard to say." Ryan Babel was crucial in the Netherlands' come-from-behind win over Germany on Friday and he tore up another defense on Monday, scoring twice against Estonia. It was the first time Babel scored two in an international game and left the Dutch third in Group B, though they've played one game fewer than everyone else. The Netherlands' home-and-away games against Northern Ireland next month and in November will likely decide the automatic qualifying places in Group C. CROATIA CHECKED World Cup finalist Croatia was held by outsider Azerbaijan to 1-1 on Monday, denting its chances of reaching next year's European Championship. Croatia won an early penalty for handball, converted by captain Luka Modric, but Azerbaijan wing back Tamkin Khalilzade cut in from the left in the 72nd minute and beat Dejan Lovren before shooting past goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. For Azerbaijan, a Euro 2020 host, it was the first point of the qualifying campaign after four straight defeats. Croatia leads Group E by a single point from Slovakia and Hungary with two qualifying spots available. Slovakia beat Hungary 2-1 to move up to second. The other team in the hunt for qualification, Wales, was playing a friendly. BELGIUM TAKES IT EASY Scotland's Hampden Park was a walk in the park for Belgium. The visitors were three goals up after just 32 minutes as they kept a perfect record of six wins from six in qualifying. With an 11-point cushion to third-placed Kazakhstan, Belgium could seal qualification in its next game against San Marino. Belgium's goal difference of +18 is the best of any team in the qualifying competition and its gone five competitive games without conceding. Russia kept second place in Group I, but was lackluster in beating Kazakhstan 1-0, needing an 89th-minute headed goal from right back Mario Fernandes. Cyprus beat San Marino 4-0. After a fourth defeat, Scotland was in fifth place. It has never finished a European Championship qualifying campaign below fourth. POLAND SCORELESS AGAIN Poland looked a dead cert to qualify until last week, and now that seems a long time ago. After four straight wins, a 2-0 loss to Slovenia on Friday rattled the Poles. A 0-0 draw with Austria on Monday left Poland with its lead cut to two points. Slovenia earned a second big win in four days, beating Israel 3-2 to snatch second place in Group G. The competition's top scorer, Eran Zahavi, netted his ninth goal in qualifying as Israel turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead, but Roman Bezjak drew Slovenia level before winger Benjamin Verdic scored the winner. Fourth-placed North Macedonia kept long-shot qualifying hopes alive by beating Latvia 2-0......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 10th, 2019

US wants win vs Swedes, even if it would mean tougher path

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press LE HAVRE, France (AP) — Victory is the goal for the United States in its group stage finale against Sweden, even though a loss might give the Americans an easier path through the knockout rounds of the Women's World Cup. "I think it's in our team's DNA to want to win and do really well," defender Abby Dahlkemper said Tuesday, two days ahead of the Group F finale. The defending champion U.S. and Sweden both enter with two wins and have clinched berths in the round of 16. The top-ranked Americans have the better goal difference and with a win or draw would play Spain in the round of 16 and could face No. 4 France in a quarterfinal at Paris' Parc des Princes and No. 3 England in the semifinals. The team that finishes second in the group meets the Netherlands or Canada in the round of 16, then could have a quarterfinal against No. 2 Germany, which would not have the backing of a large home crowd the way host nation France does every match. U.S. coach Jill Ellis says she can't convince her players not to tackle in practice, so asking them to hold back against Sweden is a losing cause. Ellis thinks it is dangerous to try to tailor results based on possible matchups. "We want to win every game, so I think that's where we're at and that's what we want to do," Ellis said. "I think if you get too much into manipulating or planning or overthinking something, I just don't think that that's a good message." The United States has played Sweden six times in the group stage at the World Cup, including a 0-0 draw four years ago in Canada. They met again in the quarterfinals at the 2016 Olympics, where the Swedes — led by former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage — bunkered in on defense and advanced on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw. It was the earliest exit for the Americans at an Olympics. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo infamously called the Swedes "cowards." The only meeting since then was a 1-0 U.S. win in a 2017 friendly at Goteborg. After the U.S. opened with a record-setting 13-0 rout of Thailand, Ellis changed seven starters in a 3-0 win over Chile. "If you want to go far in the tournament, you've got to have (fresh) legs," Ellis said, explaining her rotation. No. 9 Sweden started with a 2-0 victory over Chile and followed with a 5-1 win over Thailand. "It's going to be a completely different match, and it will be very important for us, naturally," Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson said. "When you go into the second round we'll have more matches against teams like the U.S. rather than matches against the one with Chile. But we have to win the matches to get through it, it's all about how games develop and how players perform but it will be a different match and we will approach it differently tactically." No. 13 Spain made its World Cup debut four years ago and was eliminated in the group stage. "They're both talented," La Rioja defender Celia Jiménez said. "I think any team that qualifies for the World Cup, it's because they're good enough. The U.S. has a really powerful team, they play a direct game, they like to be dangerous, but at the same time I think Sweden is as well a really good team. They also tend to play direct, so they kind of are similar teams.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

Ronaldo favored to win his 4th FIFA award as world's best

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> Cristiano Ronaldo's remarkable run of success can continue with a fourth FIFA award as the world's best player on Monday. A European champion with club and country last year, the Real Madrid and Portugal forward is favored to beat great rival Lionel Messi and France forward Antoine Griezmann when winners of the rebranded Best FIFA Football Awards are presented in Zurich. Messi leads Ronaldo 5-3 in their career-long duel for FIFA's top individual prize. However, Ronaldo is set to complete a hat-trick of major awards for 2016 after taking home trophies presented by UEFA and France Football magazine's prestiguous Golden Ball. FIFA will also name the best women's player, and the best coaches in men's and women's soccer. Voting is by national team captains and coaches, selected journalists and — for the first time — an online poll of fans. Each category counts for 25 percent of the points. Here is a look ahead to the awards ceremony: ___ CRISTIANO RONALDO After Messi in 2015, it was Ronaldo's turn to win the Champions League in 2016 as the prolific scorer netted 16 goals in the competition. He also got the decisive penalty in a shootout after a 1-1 draw with Griezmann's Atletico Madrid. But where he really dominated Messi was on the national-team stage. Ronaldo captained Portugal to a long-awaited first title at the European Championship — two weeks after Messi's Argentina again lost the Copa America final to Chile. Portugal seemed a long way from glory, and faced a humiliating group-stage exit, before Ronaldo's two goals helped salvage a 3-3 draw with Hungary. He also netted in the 2-0 semifinal win against Wales. In the final against host France, Ronaldo went off injured in the first half, then returned to the bench for extra time as — with his knee strapped — he passionately urged teammates on to a 1-0 win. For good measure, Ronaldo scored a Club World Cup final hat trick against Kashima Antlers in December, but that was after FIFA voting had closed. ___ LIONEL MESSI Messi looks to extend a streak of being winner or runner-up in nine straight seasons since placing second behind Kaka of Brazil in 2007. Last year, Messi and won a Spanish league and Cup double with Barcelona. Yet there was another painful Copa America final loss — a third straight year Argentina lost a major final without scoring — and a Champions League quarterfinal exit against Atletico. Nearing his 30th birthday, Messi's prolific scoring rate has not slowed, and 10 goals in the Champions League group stage means that Ronaldo's season record of 17 — set in 2013-14 — is within his sight this year. ___ ANTOINE GRIEZMANN Griezmann's goals helped get France and Atletico Madrid into major finals in 2016. In the Champions League final in Milan, Atletico trailed 1-0 to its city rival when Griezmann missed with a penalty kick that struck the crossbar. Still, he confidently converted his kick in the penalty shootout. Griezmann's six goals at Euro 2016 made him the tournament top scorer. In a tricky round of 16 match, his two goals overturned an early Ireland lead, and he also struck twice — including a coolly taken penalty — against favored Germany in the semifinals. However, he missed two good chances in the final against Portugal as France 1-0 in extra time. ___ COACHING AWARD Could the coach of a provincial club side beat the men who coached European champions Real Madrid and Portugal? Yes, when that coach is Italian Claudio Ranieri and his team, unheralded Leicester City, won an English Premier League title that delighted and stunned fans worldwide. Zinedine Zidane started 2016 having never coached a senior match. The newly appointed Madrid coach won a Champions League title within five months and started 2017 riding a 37-match unbeaten run. Fernando Santos marshalled one of the less obviously talented Portugal teams of recent years to win Euro 2016 despite winning only one of its seven matches during the 90 minutes. ___ WOMEN'S AWARDS Germany's Olympic gold medal-winning team is favored to sweep the awards. Midfielder Melanie Behringer is challenging two past FIFA award winners: defending champion Carli Lloyd of the United States and five-time winner Marta of Brazil. All three coaching candidates are previous FIFA award winners: Silvia Neid of Germany, last year's winner Jill Ellis of the United States and Pia Sundhage of Sweden. ___ FIFA AWARDS FIFA has added a Fan Award to its annual ceremony, and all three candidates from an online poll are European. Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, whose fans sang You'll Never Walk Alone before a Europa League match at Anfield; Dutch club ADO Den Haag, whose fans brought soft toys to children supporting rival team Feyenoord; and the Iceland fans at Euro 2016 for their inspirational clapping salute to players after games. A fans' vote will also decide the Puskas Award for best goal. The candidates are: Marlone of Corinthians, Daniuska Rodriguez of the Venezuela women's Under-17 team, and Mohd Faiz Subri of Malaysian side Penang. FIFA will also present a Fair Play award, and members of the players' union FIFPro worldwide have voted to select a World XI team. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Ronaldo scores but Dortmund rallies in latest Madrid setback

NESHA STARCEVIC, AP Sports Writer br /> DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Borussia Dortmund scored a late equalizer to earn a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, the latest setback for the 11-time winners. p.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 28th, 2016

Saso rallies to save a 70 in LPGT Stage 2 elims opener

Yuka Saso blazed home with an eagle-spiked 32 at the back to overcome a shaky start and card a 70 at the Panther course to trail a hot-starting Oliva Cowan from Germany at the start of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage II......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated News5 hr. 35 min. ago

Brazil draws 1-1 with Senegal as Neymar reaches 100 caps

SINGAPORE (AP) — Brazil was held to a 1-1 draw by Senegal on Thursday in a friendly in Singapore that marked Neymar's 100th match with the national team. Roberto Firmino opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a lob over the goalkeeper, but Famara Diedhiou equalized from the penalty spot just before the end of the first half. It was Brazil's third consecutive match without a win. After lifting the Copa America title in July, Brazil has drawn 2-2 with Colombia and lost 1-0 to Peru. It will have a chance to end the winless streak on Sunday in a friendly against Nigeria, also in Singapore. "If I said this doesn't bother us, I would be lying," said defender Thiago Silva. "In the last three matches we could not play our best. Today we had the best opportunities, but we failed in the details, in the last passes to score." Veteran Dani Alves blamed the long flight and the jet lag for the poor performance. "I am not trying to find excuses, we could have done better, but it is a trip that wears us out," he said. "We need to win to have tranquility in the preparations for World Cup qualifiers next year." Brazil coach Tite acknowledged that his team's performance was below par against Senegal, the second African team he has faced since he joined in 2016. "We also had difficulties in the 1-0 victory against Cameroon in November. African teams want contact, they are compact and they are strong in the air. We are still finding the best way to play against African teams," Tite said. Neymar started the game, played in a half-empty stadium, but could not add to his career haul of 61 goals for the national team. The 27-year-old striker is only one goal behind two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo, who is in second place on Brazil's all-time list of top scorers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2019

Rampant Belgium becomes 1st team to qualify for Euro 2020

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press Six first-half goals set Belgium on its way to a record-tying victory and a place in next year's European Championship. Three late goals revived the Netherlands' chances of being at the continent-wide tournament, too. Belgium — the world's top-ranked soccer nation — became the first team to qualify for Euro 2020 by crushing San Marino 9-0 on Thursday, matching the biggest margin of victory in its history. It was 6-0 by halftime in Brussels, with striker Romelu Lukaku scoring two of the goals to pass 50 in internationals. The Belgians consolidated their place at the summit of Group I and guaranteed a top-two finish with three qualifiers to spare. Their neighbors didn't have it so easy, with the Netherlands' scoring three goals from the 80th minute to come from behind and beat Northern Ireland 3-1 in the Dutch stronghold of Rotterdam. Memphis Depay scored two of those late goals. It left the two teams in a three-way tie on 12 points with Germany in Group C. The Northern Irish have played one game more, though, and their remaining two qualifiers are against the Dutch and the Germans. Croatia and Poland both won 3-0, against Hungary and Latvia respectively, to stay in control of their groups. RAMPANT BELGIUM Belgium has now won an international game by a nine-goal margin on four occasions, with San Marino on the receiving end of two of those thrashings. In 2001, it lost 10-1 in this fixture. Double figures looked well within reach of the Belgians after they scored six goals in the final 17 minutes of the first half, with Nacer Chadli, Toby Alderweireld and Youri Tielemans joining Lukaku in finding the back of the net. There was also an own-goal from Cristian Brolli. The other three goals came from the 79th minute, through Christian Benteke, Yari Verschaeren and Timothy Castagne. "Nine-nil is a good result," said Lukaku, who now has a record-extending 51 goals for Belgium, "but we would have loved to have scored one more and broken that all-time record." Russia looks almost certain to join Belgium in advancing from the group after beating Scotland 4-0 at home to stay eight points clear of Cyprus in second place. Russia is away to Cyprus on Sunday, and needs only a point to qualify. LEAVING IT LATE With the Dutch trailing 1-0 heading into the final 10 minutes, it looked as though they might need a back-door route to Euro 2020 via the playoffs. A defeat would have left them six points adrift of Northern Ireland but Ronald Koeman's team finally converted one of their chances when Depay scored in the 80th to cancel out Josh Magennis' opener five minutes earlier. Luuk de Jong and Depay — following a surging run by Frenkie de Jong — added goals in injury time to seal victory for the Netherlands, who have now won 17 matches in a row at Feyenoord's De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam since drawing 0-0 with Romania in March 2007. "We are devastated with the nature of the defeat," said Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, whose team went from being favorites to automatically qualify to the outsiders in the space of about 10 minutes. Belarus drew 0-0 with Estonia in the group's other game. Both teams are out of contention. LEWANDOWSKI HAT TRICK Robert Lewandowsi moved onto 60 international goals by scoring his sixth hat trick for Poland in its 3-0 win in Latvia. The Bayern Munich striker netted twice in the opening 13 minutes before adding a third in the 76th. Austria stayed three points behind Poland in Group G by coming from behind to beat Israel 3-1. North Macedonia beat Slovenia 2-1 and is a further two points in third place. CROATIA IN COMMAND Croatia, the World Cup semifinalist last year, opened up a three-point lead in Group E by beating Hungary 3-0 thanks to a fifth-minute opener by Luka Modric and two goals by Bruno Petkovic. Second-place Slovakia was held to a 1-1 draw at home to Wales, which is fourth — three points behind its opponent — but has a game in hand over all the teams above them. The top two in each of the 10 groups qualify for the 24-team Euro 2020, which is being played in 12 countries with no automatic places for hosts. The other four qualifiers will come through four tiers of playoffs in March......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2019

Neymar set to mark 100th game with Brazil

By Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press SAO PAULO (AP) — Ahead of his 100th game with Brazil, Neymar is adamant that he still deserves special treatment in the national team despite never having won a major title in his nine years wearing the famous yellow shirt. The 27-year-old forward will reach the century mark in a friendly against Senegal in Singapore on Thursday, and defended his status as the team's biggest star even though Brazil won this summer's Copa America without him. "I was always one of the main figures and one of those carrying it all on my back," Neymar said at a news conference Wednesday when asked about getting special treatment. "I never ran away from that. I always played my role in the national team very well. When a player reaches that level it is normal that there is a different treatment." "I was in places that had players with more history than me and I had to respect what coaches did for them," the Paris Saint-Germain striker added. "Messi has a different treatment at Barcelona. Is it because he is better looking? No. It is because he is decisive. He earned it. I don't say that only about myself, but I say it about everyone that has performances at that level. That is normal in soccer." Neymar's comments come at a time when some Brazil fans have accused coach Tite and the Brazilian soccer confederation of being too lenient with the striker over his problems off the pitch. Those include his altercation with a fan after the French Cup final in April; his insistence that his father-agent was allowed into Brazil's dressing room during a pre-Copa America friendly; and a rape allegation that was recently closed by police. Neymar is currently at odds with PSG's fans as well after trying to force a return to Barcelona during the offseason. And in Brazil, he remains the country's most polarizing player. His statistics with the national team are impressive: 61 goals and 42 assists in 99 games so far. That puts him one goal behind two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo, who is in second place on Brazil's all-time list of top scorers with 62. Pele tops the list with 77. With Neymar in the team, Brazil has 70 victories, 19 draws and 10 defeats. But aside from the 2013 Confederations Cup, no titles. At the 2014 World Cup at home, Neymar injured his back in the quarterfinal win over Colombia and the team was humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semifinals without him. At least year's World Cup in Brazil he was far from his best after recovering from a foot injury, and made little impact as Brazil lost 2-1 to Belgium in the quarterfinals. And this summer he had to miss the Copa America because of an injury he sustained shortly before the tournament. Asked about his best memories with the national team, Neymar picked his debut, his World Cup debut in 2014 and the goal he scored in the opening game of the tournament against Croatia. "There is a positive balance, but it isn't all about victories in the life of an athlete," Neymar said. "There are many disappointments, defeats and mistakes. But if you fight for it, in the end, you make up for your mistakes. I am very happy to reach that mark of 100 matches. Not even in my best dreams I thought this could happen.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 9th, 2019

Real Madrid stays top after 0-0 derby draw with Atlético

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid stayed top of the Spanish league after a 0-0 draw with derby rival Atlético Madrid on Saturday. The lackluster encounter at Atlético's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium benefited two-time champion Barcelona, which won 2-0 at Getafe to move within two points of the leader. Real Madrid stayed one point ahead of Atlético and promoted Granada, which defeated Leganés 1-0 for its fourth win in seven matches. Real Sociedad can take the lead on Sunday if it defeats eighth-place Sevilla. There were few chances in the Madrid derby. Atlético's best opportunity came less than 10 minutes into the match when teenage forward João Félix went close following a counterattack. Goalkeeper Jan Oblak came to the rescue for the home side with a reflex save denying Karim Benzema's 75th-minute header. The result extended Atlético's four-year winless streak at home against Real in the league. Atlético has won only one of its last 19 home games against Real in the league, with the sole victory coming in February 2015. Real's 3-1 victory at the Wanda last season was Atlético's only defeat in its last 24 home games in the league. It was the first match between the rivals since Atlético stunned Real 7-3 in a friendly in the United States in July. TER STEGEN ASSIST Barcelona overcame the absence of the injured Lionel Messi to beat Getafe, with Luis Suárez scoring off a long pass from goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen. Junior Firpo also netted for Barcelona, which had defender Clement Lenglet sent off for a bad foul on 82 minutes. Ter Stegen set up Suárez's opening goal in the 41st after leaving his area to stop a breakaway. He controlled the ball with his chest before sending it up field to leave Suárez in a one-on-one situation against Getafe goalkeeper David Soria. The Uruguay striker then calmly lobbed Soria for his third goal of the season. "Let's not fool ourselves, I saw him, but not that clearly," Ter Stegen said with a smile. "It was perfect timing and Luis took advantage of it. It was a wonderful goal." Firpo scored his first goal for Barcelona from close range in the 49th after being set up by Carles Pérez, Messi's replacement up front. It was the first away win for Barcelona, and its first league game without conceding. "It you want to win the league you need to win these difficult away matches," coach Ernesto Valverde said. Messi was out again after injuring his left abductor muscle in the first half of Barcelona's 2-1 win against Villarreal on Tuesday, his first start of the season following a long layoff because of a right calf injury sustained in pre-season. Valverde was also without Ousmane Dembele because of a muscle problem. Getafe, which dropped to 11th, had been unbeaten since a loss at Atlético in its league opener. ATHLETIC FALLS Valencia ended Athletic Bilbao's unbeaten streak with a 1-0 away victory. Denís Cheryshev scored for Valencia, which ended a three-game winless streak. Athletic and Real Madrid were the only unbeaten teams going into the weekend. Athletic hadn't lost at home in 14 consecutive matches. Valencia had conceded nine goals in its previous three league games. "I liked how the players responded," Valencia coach Albert Celades said. "We were coming off a sequence of very difficult matches. They put in a great effort.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2019

Ingles 1 assist short of triple-double as Australia rolls

By Stephen Wade, Associated Press Australia showed it can do damage by ending the Americans' 78-game winning streak in a warm-up game just over a week ago. On Tuesday in Group H, the Boomers defeated Senegal 81-68 in Dongguan in the far south of China to improve to 2-0 and qualify for the second round. Senegal is 0-2. Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs led Australia with 22 points, but Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz was the game's top player with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Ingles was one assist away from a triple-double, which a FIBA official told him would have been a first in the World Cup. "I didn't know that, but even though I do know it now it still doesn't bother me," he said. "The only goal today was to win the game and that's all our focus." It was not that easy despite Ingles' big numbers. Australia led 36-33 at the half and struggled with the tall African team. Senegal has nine players at least 2.02 meters (6-foot-8) or taller. And four at 2.08 (6-10) or taller. "That could be the tallest overall team that we've played against in my time as coach," Australia coach Andrej Lemanis said. Added Ingles: "That first half, they kind of had us on our back foot a little bit. We had to come in at halftime and address a few things." Xane Dalmeida led Senegal with 14 points in a game the Africans kept surprisingly close. LITHUANIA 92, CANADA 69 At Dongguan, Lithuania booked its place in the second round. The victory also assured Australia of advancing from Group H. Lithuania, which is 2-0, had six players in double figures, topped by Edgaras Ulanovas and Jonas Valanciunas with 13 each. Kyle Wiltjer led Canada with 24. Canada fell to 0-2. NEW ZEALAND 93, MONTENEGRO 83 At Nanjing, New Zealand downed Montenegro to move to 1-1 in Group F. Montenegro is 0-2. Corey Webster led the Kiwis with 25 points and teammate Isaac Fotu added 20. Nikola Ivanovic had 18 to lead Montenegro, and Nikola Vucevic added 15. BRAZIL 79, GREECE 78 At Nanjing, Brazil improved to 2-0 and moved closer to the second round. Greece fell to 1-1 in Group F and will need a win in its final group game with New Zealand. Anderson Varejao hit a critical jumper for Brazil with 14 seconds left and Leandrinho Barbosa hit a final free throw for the three-point edge. Kostas Sloukas had three free throws with two seconds left that would have tied the score, but he made only two. Varejao led Brazil with 22 points, while Georgios Printezis led Greece with 20. UNITED STATES 93, TURKEY 92 OT At Shanghai, the Americans (2-0) scraped by, and they needed overtime to do it in Group E. The victory moved them into the second round. They face winless Japan in the final group game. Khris Middleton led the Americans with 15 points and Kemba Walker added 14. Ersan Ilyasova of the Milwaukee Bucks had 23 points and 15 rebounds for Turkey (1-1). CZECH REPUBLIC 89, JAPAN 76 At Shanghai, Blake Schilb and Jaromira Bohacik each scored 22 points and the Czech Republic kept Japan winless in Group E. Tomas Satoransky had 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Czechs (1-1). Rui Hachimura led Japan (0-2) with 21 points, while Nick Fazekas had 12 points and 10 rebounds. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 70, GERMANY 68 At Shenzhen, the Dominican Republic improved to 2-0 and Germany fell to 0-2 in Group G. Victor Liz led the Dominicans with 17 points and Eloy Vargas added 16 as the Caribbean team advanced to the second round. Dennis Schroder was Germany's top scorer with 20, and Daniel Theis added 12. FRANCE 103, JORDAN 64 At Shenzhen, France moved into the second round from Group G along with the Dominican Republic. France (2-0) had five players in double figures, led by Nando De Colo with 19. Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz added 16. Dar Tucker led Jordan (0-2) with 20 points. WIN OR ELSE There are a pair of games on Wednesday that are essentially playoff matchups. The China-Venezuela game is for a spot in the second round, as is the Puerto Rico-Tunisia game. Winners of those contests will move on, while the losers will be relegated to the classification round for the remainder of the tournament and unable to finish higher than 17th overall in the 32-team field. Another pair of Wednesday games will decide seeds. The Argentina-Russia winner will be the top seed coming out of Group B, with the loser seeded No. 2. Same goes for the Italy-Serbia game, which will decide the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds out of Group D......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 3rd, 2019

2019 FIBA World Cup Group B Preview

With just about a week to go before action tips off at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in 8 different Chinese cities, it's time to look at each of the groups, gauge the teams' respective depths, and project how they will fare on the biggest stage of international basketball. Here we will look at Group B, which will be hosted in Wuhan, the most populous city of Central China, where a pair of traditional basketball powerhouses are looking to dominate the competition.  Note: In each of these group previews, the teams will essentially be ranked based on their confirmed rosters/pools and their most recent tune-up game results. Favorite: Argentina The Argentines are poised to be not just the best team in their group but perhaps the best team from Groups A and B that will enter the Quarter-Finals. The most familiar name on coach Sergio Hernandez's roster will be former Houston Rocket Luis Scola, who at 39 years old, is among the oldest players in the World Cup. Forming a terrific tandem with him will be prolific point guard Facundo Campazzo of Real Madrid, who in his prime, should be one of the team's main stars. The 28-year-old, after all, wasn't named Spanish Liga Endesa Finals MVP for no reason. This is a team with a rich tradition, having won the first ever World Cup in 1950 and famously finishing a close second in 2002. This unit is coming in hot, winning the 2019 Pan-Am Games, too. Contender: Russia Russia is ranked #10 in FIBA's World Rankings for Men, and though they haven't created as much fanfare as other teams, this is a squad that will contend. Despite being drawn with a bit of a stronger Argentine quintet, the Russians are still favored to advance as far as the Quarter-Finals owing much to the weakness of the other teams in Group A, which they will face in the second round. 6'8" wingman Sergey Karasev of BC Zenit Saint Petersburg will likely be their top gunner along with CSKA Moscow big man Semen Antonov. Dark Horse: Nigeria I want to be super high on Nigeria because of their NBA pedigree, but their inexperience at advancing deep and their off-court distractions may be enough to neuter their innate talent. Portland Trail Blazer Al-Farouq Aminu will be the face of D'Tigers in China, and he should be backstopped by San Antonio Spur Chimezie Metu and Minnesota Timberwolf Josh Okogie. The soon-to-be-21-year-old Okogie, in particular, is built to be a star. He actually represented Team USA in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup before being cleared to join Nigeria this year. Coach Kevin Burleson has such a deep roster at his disposal, but the big question is can they have enough focus to harness all that potential and parlay it into something truly special? Underdog: South Korea The Koreans were certainly one of the most impressive teams at the Asian Qualifiers, but that didn't help their fortunes at the World Cup Draw. Now the traditional East Asian powerhouse will face staggering odds against top 10 teams Argentina and Russia as well as loaded Nigeria. Former PBA import Ra GunA proved to be a great addition to the national team, but when ranged against bigger, better foes, he may seem pedestrian. This is a team led by some of the country's top veterans along with a sprinkling of rising stars, but even that may not help their cause of advancing past the group stage. Overall, Argentina and Russia are the easy picks to advance from Group B, though Nigeria can't be overlooked. The Koreans are really the odd men out, and only a miraculous string of performances will help them alter their fates......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2019

Dortmund starts Bundesliga campaign with 5-1 win v Augsburg

By Ciaran Fahey, Associated Press BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund began its bid to wrench the Bundesliga title from Bayern Munich with a 5-1 rout of Augsburg on Saturday. Encouraged by Bayern's 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin in the league opener on Friday, Dortmund was keen to deliver a statement to the seven-time defending champion. But Dortmund was still settling into the game with Mats Hummels back in defense when Florian Niederlechner scored in the first minute for the visitors. Hummels, back after a successful three years in Munich, was among those badly positioned to deal with Nils Pedersen's cross for Niederlechner. Paco Alcacer was in the right place to reply two minutes later, prodding the ball home after Augsburg goalkeeper Tomas Koubek's foot deflected Marco Reus' cross into his path. Reus drew a good save from Koubek as Dortmund pushed for more, but the hosts had to wait till the 51st for Jadon Sancho to break the deadlock. Sancho shot beyond the flailing Koubek after Augsburg's defense failed to deal with Axel Witsel on the left. Alcacer set up Reus for 3-1, two minutes before the Spain striker fired inside the right corner for his second. Witsel crossed for substitute Julian Brandt to complete the scoring in the 82nd and mark his Dortmund debut with a goal. "We were surprised early on, but we stayed calm," Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said. "We were better after that with 78% ball possession. We increased the tempo even more in the second half." LEVERKUSEN DRAMA Bayer Leverkusen defeated promoted Paderborn 3-2 but the home side was fortunate not to have Wendell sent off in the first half when he used his hands to save Sven Michel's goal-bound strike before the line. Play continued and Streli Mamba converted the rebound to level for 2-2 in the 25th. Wendell was then shown a yellow card when a red card and penalty would have been more beneficial to Paderborn with 65 minutes of the game remaining. Kevin Volland claimed Leverkusen's winner in the 69th. Cologne also lost on its return in a 2-1 defeat at Wolfsburg. BREMEN PARTY SPOILED Werder Bremen overtook Hamburger SV with the most appearances in the Bundesliga as it played its 1,867th game in Germany's top flight. But Fortuna Düsseldorf was in no mood to join in the home side's celebrations and took advantage of defensive mistakes to win 3-1. It was Düsseldorf's first win in Bremen since 1977. Freiburg scored three late goals in a 3-0 win over Mainz. NEW FACES Borussia Mönchengladbach coach Marco Rose and Schalke counterpart David Wagner each had to be content with a point from their Bundesliga coaching debuts in an error-strewn 0-0 draw in the late game. Altogether, eight coaches were to take or had taken charge of their first Bundesliga games over the weekend. Union Berlin coach Urs Fischer - like the club - was to make his league debut against Leipzig on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 18th, 2019

Without Messi, Barcelona loses 1st league opener in 10 years

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Barcelona lost its opening Spanish league match for the first time in a decade on Friday, falling at Athletic Bilbao 1-0 as Antoine Griezmann couldn't make up for Lionel Messi's absence. Veteran striker Aritz Aduriz scored from a spectacular overhead kick a minute after coming off the bench in the 88th minute, handing Barcelona the loss after 10 straight opening league wins. Griezmann, Barcelona's biggest offseason signing, was held scoreless in his competitive debut after joining from rival Atlético Madrid for 120 million euros ($133 million). It was a lackluster performance for the France forward whose only significant scoring chance came with a header in the final minutes. "The ball didn't go in, and in the end that's what matters the most," Griezmann said. "We have to keep working hard to improve and to rebound as soon as possible." Griezmann didn't have Messi by his side because the Argentina star is nursing a right calf injury, and he couldn't count on Luis Suárez either after the Uruguay striker had to be replaced in the first half because of an apparent muscle injury at San Mamés Stadium. Philippe Coutinho couldn't play because of a pending move to Bayern Munich on a loan, but youngster Frenkie de Jong made his competitive debut with the Catalan club after joining from Ajax. Barcelona had most of the significant chances, being denied by the woodwork a few times, including with a shot by Suárez just before he had to be replaced. "We weren't ourselves," Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said. "It happens. We are coming off a preseason, we have a lot of new players in the team. This will be good for us going forward, it's better to lose now than in the end of the season." The match seemed headed to a draw when the 38-year-old Aduriz, in his final season before retiring, came off the bench and scored with his amazing overhead kick from a right-flank cross by Ander Capa. The cross went over the Barcelona defenders and Aduriz reached high with his right foot to send the ball into the far corner and ignite the crowd of more than 47,000 at San Mamés. "Football is so beautiful sometimes because of things like this. It gives you chances like this," said Aduriz, a former Spain international. "It will be impossible not to miss this. I'm just incredibly happy to be able to choose how I'm ending my career, and to be able to do it at the place that I love the most." Barcelona's last setback in a Spanish league opener was in 2008, a 1-0 defeat at Numancia in Pep Guardiola's coaching debut with the Catalan club. Real Madrid, trying to rebound from one of its worst seasons in the last decade, opens at Celta Vigo on Saturday without new signing Eden Hazard because of a left thigh injury. Atlético Madrid, runner-up the last two seasons, hosts Getafe on Sunday without Griezmann but with 19-year-old Portuguese sensation João Félix likely in the squad......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 16th, 2019

11 years after epic, Federer tops Nadal in Wimbledon semis

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — After waiting 11 years to get another shot against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, Roger Federer was so, so close to the finish line. One match point slipped away when Federer missed a forehand return. A second came and went on a backhand return. Later, serving for a spot in a record 12th final at the All England Club, Federer shanked a leaping overhead off the top edge of his racket frame, giving Nadal a break point. After Nadal wasted that chance, Federer earned two more match points — and failed to convert those, either, as his wife, Mirka, peeked through the fingers covering her face. Federer knew it wouldn't be easy against his great rival. Never is, really, no matter where they play. Eventually, Nadal pushed a backhand long on match point No. 5, bringing an anticlimactic close to the otherwise classic contest and allowing Federer to win their semifinal 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday. "I'm exhausted. It was tough at the end," Federer said. "I'm just very relieved it's all over." Federer closed in on a ninth championship at the All England Club and 21st Grand Slam trophy in all. To get to those numbers in Sunday's final, Federer must get past Novak Djokovic, who is the defending champion and seeded No. 1. "We all know how good he is anywhere," Djokovic said about Federer, "but especially here." Djokovic isn't too shabby himself. He reached his sixth final at the grass-court major by beating 23rd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 earlier Friday. Djokovic is eyeing a fifth championship at Wimbledon and 16th major title. As entertaining as that first semifinal was — including a 45-stroke point won by Djokovic — it was merely a tasty appetizer ahead of the day's delectable main course. Not only was this the 40th installment of Federer vs. Nadal, but it also was their first meeting at Wimbledon since the 2008 final. In a match many consider the best in the sport's lengthy annals, Nadal edged Federer 9-7 in a fifth set that ended after 9 p.m., as any trace of daylight disappeared. How excited, then, were the spectators for the rematch? When Federer and Nadal strode out into the sunshine at 4:30 p.m. Friday, they were welcomed by a standing ovation before ever swinging a racket. Quickly, that greeting was justified. These are, of course, two of the greats of all-time — maybe the two greatest — and they lived up to that status for stretches. One key, for Federer, was that his rebuilt backhand, hit strong and flat more frequently than it used to be, held steady against Nadal's bullwhip of a lefty forehand. Another was that Federer was able to withstand Nadal's serve, which has improved a ton over the years. Federer amassed 10 break points, and though he succeeded on just two, that was enough, with the last, vital conversion making it 2-1 in the fourth set. And then there was this: Federer won 25 of the 33 points when he went to the net. "I didn't play well enough," said Nadal, who lost a five-set semifinal to Djokovic a year ago at Wimbledon. There was something of an "Anything you can do, I can do, too" vibe to Friday's proceedings. Federer would kick up chalk with an ace to a corner, and Nadal would do the same in the next game. When Nadal jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the first-set tiebreaker, Federer used sublime returning to reel off five points in a row to claim it. Who else but Federer could strike a serve so well that Nadal's wild reply would be caught by someone in the Royal Box behind him, as happened early in the second set? Who else but Nadal could attack Federer's generally unassailable forehand in such a manner as to draw one so off the mark that it landed in the third row? "I thought probably the biggest points in the match went my way. There were some tight ones and long rallies," Federer said. "He plays with such velocity and spins and everything, you're not always sure you're going to connect the right way." No one ever has managed to reduce Federer to mid-match mediocrity quite the way Nadal can, part of why the Spaniard entered Friday with a 24-15 overall lead head-to-head, including 10-3 at Grand Slam tournaments. This was the second major in a row where they've faced off: Nadal won their windy French Open semifinal last month en route to his 12th championship on the red clay and 18th Slam overall. But Wimbledon is Federer's dominion: He's won 101 matches at the place — more than any other man at any other Slam, even Nadal at Roland Garros — and all of those trophies. Djokovic, meanwhile, leads his series with Federer 25-22, including 9-6 in Grand Slam matches. "I hope I can push him to the brink and hopefully beat him. But it's going to be very difficult, as we know," Federer said. "He's not No. 1 just by chance." On Friday, Djokovic was as animated as ever. When Bautista Agut's shot hit the net tape, popped in the air and slid over for a winner that tied their semifinal at a set apiece, Djokovic motioned to the roaring fans, sarcastically encouraging folks to get louder. When Djokovic ended that 45-stroke point — the longest on record at Wimbledon, where such stats date to 2005 — with a backhand winner, he cupped his ear while glaring into the stands. "I had," Djokovic said, "to dig deep." Even Bautista Agut didn't really expect his visit to the All England Club to last this long: The Spaniard was supposed to meet a half-dozen of his buddies on the island of Ibiza this weekend for his bachelor party. Instead, those pals were sitting in a guest box at Centre Court on Friday. Eventually, Djokovic took control with his enviable ability to return serves, track down balls and go from defense to offense. Now he's Federer's problem......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2019

Copa América: Messi fails again with Argentina

By Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Another elimination for Argentina, another missed opportunity for Lionel Messi to succeed with the national team. Messi's streak without a title with Argentina has been extended after a 2-0 loss to Brazil in the semifinals of the Copa América on Tuesday. Argentina's senior squad hasn't won a title in 26 years, with the last one coming when Messi was five years old. The Barcelona playmaker stood by himself and looked in despair after the final whistle at the Mineirão Stadium. The 32-year-old Messi had a decent match, leading the team and creating most of the danger for Argentina in attack. He made a few good runs and put his teammates in good position to score, but again it wasn't enough. It was from a Messi cross that Sergio Agüero hit the crossbar in the first half, and in the second the Barcelona playmaker had two chances from direct free kicks, one saved by Brazil goalkeeper Allison and another that deflected on the Brazilian wall. Messi's only title with Argentina was with the under 23 squad in the 2008 Olympics. His first major tournament with the senior squad was in the 2006 World Cup, when Argentina fell to host Germany in the quarterfinals. He lost to Brazil in the final of the 2007 Copa América, and three years later Argentina again fell to Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals. Messi and Argentina again couldn't get past the last eight in the 2011 Copa América, losing to eventual champion Uruguay. One of Messi's best tournaments with the national team came in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when Argentina made it to the final but lost 1-0 to Germany. He came close again in the last two editions of the Copa América, losing both finals in penalty shootouts against Chile. Messi was one of the three veterans who lost those two finals and the one in the World Cup in 2014, along with Agüero and Ángel Di María. Argentina will play the third-place game on Saturday in São Paulo against either two-time defending champion Chile or Peru, who will play in the other semifinal on Wednesday in Porto Alegre. ___ AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report from São Paulo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2019

Peru advances in Copa América after Suárez misses penalty

By Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Underdogs Peru advanced to the semifinals of Copa América on Saturday after a goalless draw and a penalty shootout miss from Uruguay striker Luis Suárez. Peru's next opponent will be defending champion Chile, who eliminated Colombia also on penalties Friday night. The match will take place Wednesday at the Arena do Grêmio in Porto Alegre. Brazil and Argentina will face off Tuesday in Belo Horizonte for the other spot in the July 7 final at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Suárez was the only player to miss from the spot and left the field in tears. Edison Flores scored Peru's last goal in the 5-4 penalty shootout win. Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, who was under severe criticism after Peru was routed 5-0 by Brazil a week ago, saved Suárez shot with his belly and decided the match for the Peruvians. "He is a goalkeeper that always appears in the important moments," said Peru coach Ricardo Gareca. Peru got through the group as one of the top two teams finishing third place. Its only win in four matches was a 3-1 against weak Bolivia. The match in Salvador offered few opportunities for both teams and was played under rain in the entire first half. Only 21,000 fans were at the 48,000-seater Arena Fonte Nova to watch. Uruguay, the team that has won the most Copa Américas, with 15 titles, created the best opportunities during the 90 minutes, but the goals scored by Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Edinson Cavani and Suárez were disallowed by offside. Coach Óscar Tabárez started the match with two of his most aggressive midfielders, Federico Valverde and Giorgian de Arrascaeta, hoping to take advantage of Peru's defensive troubles during group stage. But those problems were not there anymore for the knockout stage match. "Soccer is not about deserving. They took their penalty shots better," said Uruguayan defender Diego Godín. "Three goals disallowed. We missed the efficiency to score that goal that would have opened the match." Coach Tabárez agreed. "Nothing was done against the rules," he said. After winning Copa América 2011 in Argentina, Uruguay failed to get out of the group in the 2015 and the 2016 editions. The team known as the Celeste advanced to the quarterfinals after beating Chile 1-0, winning Group C and leaving the impression it could fight for the title again. The Peruvians netted all their penalties against goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. Paolo Guerrero, Raúl Ruidíaz, Yoshimar Yotún, Luis Advíncula and Flores got it right from the spot. After Suárez missed, Cavani, Cristhian Stuani, Rodrigo Bentancur and Lucas Torreira converted their shots for Uruguay. Peru's Gareca said his team deserved to advance because of its will power. His top goal scorer Paolo Guerrero agreed. "We have shown that this group has the will, the blood and the courage," the striker said. Peru could not count on injured midfielder Jefferson Farfán, one of the most important players of his squad. The match in Salvador marked the third goal less draw in the quarterfinals of Copa América in Brazil. The only goals of this phase were scored in Argentina's 2-0 victory against Venezuela. Players once more suffered with the poor pitch of the Arena Fonte Nova, filled with bare patches and uneven regions. Poor fields have been a constant complaint during Copa América in Brazil. In the Copa América semifinals there will be extra time if the matches finish in a tie. In the quarterfinals stage the decision went straight to the penalty shootouts if the teams ended level after 90 minutes......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 2019

Host Brazil still looking for right balance in Copa América

By Eric Nunez, Associated Press PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — After escaping an embarrassing elimination, Brazil is trying to find the right balance for the rest of the Copa América at home. Brazil has been playing solidly on defense from the start, but has struggled in attack against teams with tight defensive systems. It was the case against Paraguay on Thursday in their quarterfinal in Porto Alegre, where Brazil needed a penalty shootout to advance after being held to 0-0 despite playing most of the second half with an extra man. Without the injured Neymar, Brazil has already endured difficulties against Bolivia and Venezuela in the group stage, drawing boos from the local fans. The exception was the match against Peru in the final group game, when Brazil scored early to open up the defense en route to a comfortable 5-0 rout. That victory oosted the team's confidence and raised hopes that coach Tite had found a solution to end the attacking slump. But despite playing with the same attackers who impressed against Peru, including youngsters Gabriel Jesus and Everton, the team struggled to find the net again. "The ball wasn't reaching the forwards," Tite said. "They defended very well in the first half. We made some adjustments and started creating more opportunities, and after the red card we tried to take advantage of that." Brazil pressed nearly full-time after gaining the man advantage in the 58th minute, but couldn't find a way to break the Paraguayan defense and a good performance by goalkeeper Roberto "Gatito" Fernández. Tite said the poor field at Arena Grêmio also didn't help his more technical attacking players. Brazil's defense — led by Dani Alves, Filipe Luis and Thiago Silva — was solid again, and is yet to concede a goal after four matches. Colombia, which plays Chile in the other quarterfinal on Friday, is the only other team yet to concede. Next up for Brazil will be Lionel Messi's Argentina or Venezuela, which meet on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil also suffered against Venezuela in the group stage, being held to a scoreless draw in Salvador. Argentina could theoretically give Brazil a better matchup in the semifinals, as it's not likely to play as defensively as Venezuela did in the group stage. "(Argentina) is a team with great individual quality," said Tite, who is under pressure to win the tournament at home a year after Brazil's World Cup elimination in the quarterfinals. Coach Dunga, Tite's predecessor, was fired in 2016 after Brazil's elimination in the Copa América. "It's part of the job as a coach, (this pressure) it's inevitable," Tite said. "The most important thing is to keep working normally.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2019

Brazil beats Paraguay in shootout in Copa América quarters

By Eric Nunez, Associated Press PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — Facing early elimination in the Copa América at home, Brazil finally found a way to get past Paraguay in a penalty shootout. After two consecutive eliminations against its southern neighbor, Brazil came out on top on penalties on Thursday to avoid an embarrassing elimination in the quarterfinals of the South American tournament. Goalkeeper Alisson made a save and Gabriel Jesus scored the decisive penalty as Brazil defeated Paraguay 4-3 in the shootout to return to the semifinals for the first time since 2007. Alisson dived to his left to stop the initial penalty by defender Gustavo Gómez, and Gabriel Jesus sealed the victory to keep Brazil on track for its first Copa América title since 2007. Brazil will next face either Venezuela or Argentina, which play on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil had lost to Paraguay the last two times the teams met in the Copa América quarterfinals, in 2011 and 2015, both times in penalty shootouts. Derlis González also missed from the spot for Paraguay, while Roberto Firmino failed to score for Brazil. Both players sent their shots wide. González, who also missed a penalty in Paraguay's 1-1 draw against Argentina in the group stage, had scored the decisive goal in the 2015 shootout. He was one of the five players back from that team that eliminated Brazil. Willian, Marquinhos and Philippe Coutinho converted their penalties for Brazil, while Miguel Almirón, Bruno Valdez and Rodrigo Rojas netted for Paraguay. "My teammates did their part, they took on the responsibility and succeeded. That was crucial," Alisson said. "This was an important step toward our goal of winning the South American title." Gabriel Jesus had missed a late penalty in Brazil's 5-0 rout of Peru in its last group game, but calmly found the net with his shot from the spot as Paraguay goalkeeper Roberto "Gatito" Fernández went the other way, igniting the Brazilian crowd of more than 48,000 at the Arena Grêmio. "I was confident, I knew that if I took the penalty the way I'm used to taking it, I would have more chances of scoring," Gabriel Jesus said. "I was upset after the other match because I didn't take the shot my own way. This time I waited for the goalkeeper to move and just sent the ball the other way." Gatito had been key in regulation as the visitors held on to a 0-0 draw despite having a defender sent off in the 58th minute. In the Copa America quarterfinals, extra time is not played and the match proceeded straight to penalties. Paraguay played with 10 men after Fabián Balbuena was sent off for a foul that was initially called a penalty kick but was reversed after video review determined the foul happened outside the area. "We have to be proud of the character shown by this team," said Paraguay coach Eduardo Berizzo, an Argentine. "We could have been rewarded with a wonderful and heroic triumph in the penalty shootout, but that doesn't take anything away from my players' great performance." Brazil controlled possession but struggled to create scoring opportunities against Paraguay's solid defensive system. The visitors had one of the best chances of the first half when González's close-range shot was saved by Alisson. Brazil pressed nearly full-time after Balbuena was sent off, but couldn't capitalize on its many opportunities. Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho, Everton and Firmino all missed great chances in front of the goal. Fernández made a great reflex save on a close-range header by Alex Sandro near the end of the match, and in the 90th Fernández could only watch as a low shot by Willian struck the post. Brazil coach Tite said the poor field conditions didn't help Brazil's attack. "It's absurd to have to play on a field where it's difficult to exchange passes," Tite said. Despite reaching the semifinals in 2015 and finishing runner-up in 2011, Paraguay has won only one of its last 21 matches in the Copa América, taking advantage of penalty shootouts to advance. Paraguay reached the last eight this year with only two points, finishing as one of the two best third-place teams from the three groups. Paraguay and Brazil failed to make it out of the group stage in the 2016 Copa América. An eight-time South American champion, Brazil has won the tournament all four previous times it hosted the event, the last time in 1989. Brazil's Neymar, dropped from the squad because of an ankle injury sustained just before the tournament, watched from the tribunes at the Arena Grêmio......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2019

FIFA makes penalty shootout rule change during World Cup

By Rob Harris, Associated Press VALENCIENNES, France (AP) — The debut of video review in women's soccer is causing confusion and has pushed FIFA to make a rule change heading into the knockout phase of the World Cup. FIFA received approval from the game's lawmaking body to suspend the rule that goalkeepers must be shown yellow cards for stepping off the goal-line during penalty shootouts. With video assistant referees able to keep a closer eye on infringements, FIFA feared more goalkeepers could be penalized — and sent off if it's a second booking with no substitute allowed during shootouts. But the penalty kick will still be retaken. The International Football Association Board granted the temporary dispensation on Friday which means goalkeepers can only be booked at the tournament for stepping off the line with both feet during a penalty kick in normal time. "The caution for a goalkeeper who commits an offense was introduced in the laws as a deterrent," FIFA refereeing chief Pierluigi Collina said in comments provided by the governing body. "But what better deterrent than the VAR? It's not possible that a goalkeeper moves both her feet off the goal line without being noticed. In addition we felt that the risk for a second caution was too high considering the number of penalties that are taken." Penalty kicks have already been retaken during the group stage because VAR has scrutinized goalkeepers' movements more closely. Argentina was facing elimination after missing a penalty kick but it was ordered to be retaken after a video review, and the team scored to clinch a 3-3 draw. That clinched third place in Group D and a place in the round of 16. "If a goalkeeper commits an offence like encroaching before the penalty kick is taken, the VAR cannot do anything but intervene and inform the referee that the penalty kick must be retaken and the goalkeeper cautioned," Collina said. "All the teams were duly informed at the beginning of March and goalkeepers had enough time to get used to it." But the law could be revisited at future meetings of IFAB, which includes four FIFA delegates and a representative from each of the four British associations. "After the end of the tournament the disciplinary sanction for offences committed by the goalkeeper at penalties might be further discussed within IFAB's panels," Collina said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019