Business-like. Haiti put up a more fight fervent fight than many expected, but Honduras ultimately posted a very business-like win over their Caribbean nation, their 2-0 result at Red Bull Arena giving them sole possession of first place after one round of Group B play.
El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago, having drawn in the night’s opening match, sit tied for second, with Haiti occupying the group’s cellar.
Honduras got off to a near-ideal start when potentially former-Sounder Mario Martínez set up his namesake Ronny in the fourth minute, the Honduran forward’s right-footed blast from the middle of the box giving the group favorites an early lead.
That lead persisted through most of an uneventful match, with the Hondurans failing to put another shot on Frandy Montrévil until Marvín Chavez’s insurance tally in the 78th minute. The San Jose midfielder opened his left foot on a weak shot from inside the arc, a ball Montrévil either failed to pick up or misjudged as it rolled toward him. Unable to kick out in time, the Haitian goalkeeper allowed Honduras to double their lead and seal the match.
Despite the lackluster performance, the Honduras posted the first multi-goal win of the tournament, becoming the first favorite to hold serve. With Mexico still struggling and the United States recalling a diminished squad, it’s worth asking whether nations like Honduras, Panama, or Costa Rica could break through and become the fourth nation to win this tournament (Canada is the only other country besides Mexico and the U.S. to claim a title).
If the Hondurans are going to be that team, they’ll have to play better than they did tonight, because although they recorded a two-goal victory, their underlying form was not that impressive.
After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.
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If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.
There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.
Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.
MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.
Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.
Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.
The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.
Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.
Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.
Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.
Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.
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The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:
“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.
“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.
“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”
With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.
The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:
Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.
The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.
There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.