Report: Victor Manuel Vucetich hired as new head coach of Mexico

1 Comment

Mexican news outlet Terra is reporting that the man who brought Monterrey to new heights, Victor Manuel Vucetich, has been hired as the new manager of the Mexican National Team.

The hiring of Vucetich means that Luis Fernando Tena’s reign as coach of El Tri’s senior squad has come to an end after just one match. Tena acted as interim manager following Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre’s dismissal last week following El Tri’s 2-1 home loss to Honduras in World Cup qualifying. The 55 year old will now step aside in favor of Vucetich, who enters the fold in a permanent role.

MORE: Why U.S. fans might want Mexico in the World Cup

MORE: Mexico’s World Cup qualifying scenario

Vucetich, who has spent the better part of the last 23 years coaching numerous clubs in the Primera Divsion de Mexico, is best known for his work as boss of Monterrey.

Arriving at the Nuevo León club in 2009, Vucetich made an immediate impact guiding Los Rayados to their first Liga MX Apertura title. He then repeated the domestic feat in 2010 before making the name “Vuce” part of MLS vernacular when he skipped past Real Salt Lake over the two legged CONCACAF Champions League final in April 2011. The Tampico-born manager went on to make the regional accolade his own by repeating the CCL title feat in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

The most successful era in the club’s history, which also saw Vuce lead the club to a third-place finish at the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup, came to a sputtering stop when Monterrey finished 7th in the 2012 Apertura and 9th in the 2013 Clausura. With the managerial leash tightened, the 58 year old needed a strong start to the 2013 Apertura. It didn’t happen.

After mustering only a single victory in Monterrey’s first seven matches, Vucetich was fired putting an end to his four year run at the club. Now he’s been handed a new task – bailing out his country from the potential travesty that would be Mexico failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

His objective is straightforward: Earn maximum points in El Tri’s two remaining qualifiers, a home game against Panama and a road clash in Costa Rica. Currently deadlocked with Panama for the fourth and final World Cup qualification spot in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, Vucetich has little, if any, room for error.

Pep sticking with Bravo for final: “Locker room more important”

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Petr Cech and Ederson will watch from the bench as their clubs start the League Cup Final on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola announced that Manchester City will turn to Claudio Bravo between the sticks against Arsenal, which has already appointed David Ospina as its backstop for the final.

[ MORE: Europa League draw ]

And if you think Pep, having seen his side lose to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, should go back to Ederson for the final, he gets it.

“You can have an opinion, I am the manager. We are here for Claudio. He saved two lots of penalties. He deserves to play in the final. The locker room is more important than the final.”

The points aren’t completely independent, of course, but at this point the final is pretty darn important as Man City could see its trophy potential drop from 4-2 in little more than a week’s time.

Bravo has played just 45 minutes in the Premier League, against Liverpool in relief of Ederson, but has been the man for each of eight League and FA Cup matches.

City has just one clean sheet in that group, but won the seven matches apart from the 1-0 Wigan defeat. Two of those, against Wolves and Leicester, came in penalty kicks.

Arsenal gets AC Milan in Europa League Round of 16

Claudio Villa / Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsenal’s path to the UEFA Champions League just got a whole lot tougher.

[ MORE: Arsenal loses 2nd leg, advances ]

Already eight points back of the Premier League’s Top Four, the Gunners have drawn Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League’s Round of 16.

The first leg is March 8 at the San Siro before moving to the Emirates a week later.

Milan is currently 7th in Serie A despite its big-spending summer, and faces a similar problem to the Gunners; Gattuso’s men need to make up eight points on Lazio and seven on fifth-place Inter Milan.

Elsewhere, Moscovian sides CSKA and Lokomotiv got no favors with trips to Lyon and Atletico Madrid, respectively.

Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund will be pleased to see Red Bull Salzburg, while the latter’s sister club, RB Leipzig, was held apart from it by a draw with Zenit Saint-Petersbug.

Here’s the draw in full.

UEFA Europa League Round of 16
Lazio vs. Dynamo Kiev
RB Leipzig vs. Zenit St Petersburg
Atletico Madrid vs. Lokomotiv Moscow
CSKA Moscow vs. Lyon
Marseille vs. Athletic Bilbao
Sporting Lisbon vs. Viktoria Plzen
Borussia Dortmund vs. Red Bull Salzburg
AC Milan vs. Arsenal

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter
Leave a comment

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.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

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.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

AP Photo/Alberto Saiz
1 Comment

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.