Chelsea chalked up another pre-season victory, defeating Malaysia XI by a score of 4-1.
The Blues had the match well in hand from the opening kick-off. Six minutes in, Kevin De Bruyne tore down the right wing and cut the ball back for trialist Bertrand Traore, who found the back of the net from 12 yards out.
In the 29th minute Chelsea doubled their lead when goal-keeper Mark Schwarzer, who was handed his Chelsea debut, sent a 60 yard free-kick up the pitch that Romelu Lukaku headed on to De Bruyne, who hit a fantastic first time strike into the roof of the net.
Sadly, the Belgian winger’s stellar night was cut short after suffering an ankle injury on the goal.
In the 48th minute the Blues had their third when Traore collected the ball just in front of midfield, turned, and found Lukaku with a neatly threaded through-ball. The Belgian international broke into the right side of the box and took a set-up touch with his right foot before dispersing a left-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Amidst the oppressive heat, the second half slowed to a snail’s pace until Victor Moses latched on to a ball played through the right side of the Malaysia XI defense, cut back and fired his right-footed effort into the back of the net.
To their credit, Malaysia worked quite hard throughout the match and their diligence paid off in stoppage time when a free-kick fired into box was not clearly by Petr Cech and Shas headed in from close range.
With the victory in hand the Blues now make their way to Jakarta where they will face the Indonesia All Star XI next Friday.
Lionel Messi is back with Barcelona a week earlier than expected, as the Camp Nou set prepares to defend another La Liga title.
That means Messi will be on the roster for the International Champions Cup, as Barcelona is slated to play Celtic, Leicester City, and Liverpool.
[ MORE: Manchester Derby in China on Monday ]
That’s not the only surprise from the 29-year-old, who has pulled an Aaron Ramsey and dramatically altered his ‘do.
Glad to have him back on our screens a bit earlier than planned, and — although I’m far from a style icon — I’ll be just as glad when the blonde grows/washes out of his head.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s long summer has earned him an extended vacation, but the knee injury he suffered in the EURO 2016 Final would’ve kept him from this season’s first big club match anyway.
The 31-year-old star will not be available for the Aug. 9 UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Sevilla, saying he’ll be back in the mix just one day later.
[ MORE: Discussing Yedlin’s future ]
Ronaldo also said he’s going to speak with the club about extending his contract, which runs through the 2017-18 season. He’s very been vocal about his desire to finish his career at the Bernabeu, and will put pen to paper in order to prove it.
From Sky Sports:
“I spoke to the president on the phone and when I get to Madrid, we will talk about it.
“Obviously it’s something I want, I have mentioned it many times, and the club also wants it. But we only spoke briefly, and there will be more concrete things to come.”
No surprises here, though it would’ve been nice to have Ronaldo on our screens for the match-up between his Champions League winners and the Europa League champions.
Preseason matches rarely have legitimate hype, let alone live up to it.
Yet Monday will see Manchester United and Manchester City tangle outside of England for the first time in history, and there are a lot of fans looking forward to the early morning match in China.
[ MORE: Discussing Yedlin’s future ]
A lot of that has to do with it being the first match-up between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho as bosses of City and United, to the extent where journalists asked whether the longtime rivals would shake hands (admittedly a weird question, as if to say, “Are you a grown-up?”).
They essentially issued the same answer, and here are Mourinho’s comments, from ManUtd.com:
“Of course I will shake his hand – why wouldn’t I? I don’t understand the question to him or to me. We were opponents for three years [in Spain] but we are professionals. I don’t see why I wouldn’t shake his hand.”
Both managers also talked, understandably, about fitness and health being their No. 1 goal of the match, and there are concerns about the pitch in China due to heavy rains.
Guardiola also gave insight into Vincent Kompany‘s continued struggles with recovery from the injury that hampered him for much of last season, refusing to give a timetable for the captain’s return.
The game in 100 words (or less): In keeping with the the theme of “we never really learn anything in MLS, it just kind of happens,” both the Colorado Rapids or FC Dallas had the chance to make a massive statement in the two sides’ ongoing race for the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield (FCD entered Saturday’s clash at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with a three-point lead), but they ultimately settled for a 1-1 draw, and we settle for “wait until next week, maybe we’ll actually learn something then.” At least the goals were great, though — Marlon Hairston opened the scoring by rounding the goalkeeper with traffic in all directions, and Victor Ulloa unleashed a rocket from well outside the penalty area to equalize late on. In that sense, the 90 minutes were befitting a first-versus-second matchup. The draw means the Rapids are unbeaten in their last 15 league games, but the LA Galaxy, who won away to the Portland Timbers and inched two points closer to the league’s elites, are ultimately the day’s biggest winners.
[ MORE: Previewing the rest of the MLS weekend ]
Three Four moments that mattered
26′ — Akindele goes inches wide of the far post — Quick, decisive movement around the penalty area is the only way to create that half-yard of space needed to fire a shot off.
33′ — Hairston breaks out, Zimmerman makes the dramatic block — Hairston was thisclose to having a one-on-one chance on goal, but Walker Zimmerman made a spectacular recovery run and an even better last-second sliding tackle to deflect Hairston’s shot narrowly wide of the post.
44′ — Hairston rounds Seitz to make it 1-0 — Composure, quickness, finesse. Hairston displayed it all on this goal, his second in as many games.
82′ — Ulloa unleashes a blast from 25 yards out f0r 1-1 — If not for the net on the goal, Ulloa’s strike might still be traveling at an ever-so-slightly upward trajectory for the rest of time.
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Man of the match: Sam Cronin
Goalscorers: Hairston (44′), Ulloa (82′)