For the first time in his international career, Cote d’Ivoire striker Didier Drogba was dropped from the lineup, the former Chelsea and Marseille icon left out of Sabri Lamouchi’s starting XI for today’s match against Tunisia. Anzhi Makhachkala beanpole Lacina Traoré was given the start and produced a nice backheel assist on Gervinho’s opening goal.
The move comes after an opening match that saw Les Elephants struggle to put away Togo, a team expected to finish at the bottom of Group D. Gervinho’s 88th minute goal salvaged a 2-1 result, but from a team that’s against favored to win the tournament, more was expected. Potentially as a result, Drogba and fellow stalwart Kolo Touré found themselves on the bench.
Drogba and Touré’s are two very different cases, though. Touré struggled against Togo and was understandably dropped, with midfielder Didier Zokora assuming the central defense role he has periodically occupied for the national team. Touré very well may have slipped enough to justified this move on form alone.
For Drogba, his first match struggles were less a result of his play than the tactics of his opponent. Not surprisingly, Togo paid an undo amount of attention to the Ivorian starter. As a result, his impact on the first game was marginalized.
A more viable explanation for Drogba’s benching is fitness. The 34-year-old has had only three days rest since the match against Togo. With three points booked, Lamouchi can afford to give his best attacker some rest. If the move backfires, Cote d’Ivoire can still go through with a win against Algeria, a match for which Drogba will be rested.
Now in the 67th minute, Cote d’Ivoire has a 1-0 lead, and Didier Drogba is getting ready to come on. With only 20 minutes of action today, he should be well rested for Wednesday’s match.
From Fabian Delph‘s curler to Alvaro Morata’s surging run and dink and from Philippe Coutinho‘s perfect free kick to Leroy Sane’s delicate touches.
Boy, did we have some fine strikes in the Premier League in Week 6.
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Click play on the video above to see the best of the bunch and let us know your favorite in the comments section below.
“What is your favorite?” I hear you cry. Settle down, settle down. I love a good curler which clips off the bar and in so I’m going with Delphy’s goal against Crystal Palace. Sublime.
Now, of course, they have to qualify first.
But if Bruce Arena’s men do make the 2018 World Cup in Russia they could be wearing this beauty in the photo below.
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With all leaked jerseys there is a real possibility it could turn out to look completely different but information from Conrad Burry of Sportslogos over the weekend suggested something along these lines.
Take a look at the photo below of the home jersey (the away jersey is said to be “Midnight Navy with a second color of Blue Nebula”) and let us know what you think.
The UEFA Champions League group stage kicks off Week 2 on Tuesday, so let’s have some fun and try to predict the scores.
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Feel free to join in down in the comments section, as I’m predicting another unbeaten week for all five Premier League teams in action.
[ MORE: Group stage predictions ]
Below you will find score predictions for all 16 UCL games across the next two days.
Sevilla 3-1 Maribor
Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool
Man City 3-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Napoli 3-1 Feyenoord
Besiktas 0-2 RB Leipzig
Monaco 2-1 FC Porto
Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Real Madrid
APOEL 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
CSKA Moscow 1-2 Manchester United
Basel 0-2 Benfica
Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Bayern Munich
Anderlecht 2-1 Celtic
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Chelsea
Qarabag 1-3 Roma
Sporting Lisbon 1-3 Barcelona
Juventus 2-1 Olympiacos
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) Witnesses in Uruguay’s capital testified before a judge on Monday about an attack on two referees by spectators at a soccer match.
A male and a female referee were attacked on Saturday during a second division under-19 game between Basanez and Platense.
The next day, the Uruguay Football Association cancelled all organized football as referees protested the violence by refusing to officiate. Officials are expected to meet on Wednesday to decide if they will lift the stoppage.
Witnesses told Judge Julia Staricco it started after a kid threw rocks on the field with encouragement from his father. The female referee’s partner asked the kid to stop, leading to an argument with other spectators who punched and kicked the referees.
An attorney representing the country’s referees union, Fernando de Los Santos, says the officials suffered bruises to their bodies.
“There are several people responsible here: The players, especially who are all young in the under-19 category; their parents, and their families,” de Los Santos said.
“This is not new. We’ve seen this kind of violence in the lower divisions. But this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
The Basanez and Platense clubs have issued statements condemning the violence. Basanez also said it fired one of its players who was part of the attack.
The case is being handled by the same local judge who recently charged three people for violent acts during the Penarol-Nacional derby.