Cyprus car bomb puts USMNT friendly with Ukraine in doubt again


The USMNT only three days ago moved their March 5 friendly against Ukraine away from the country suffering from political unrest (which now appears to be even better of a move).

However, the match is once again under a black cloud of doubt, with no word yet on its fate.

A car bomb targeting a top Cyprus official detonated today, and while nobody was injured in the blast, all first-division matches in the Cypriot First Division were postponed this weekend as a result.

Cypriot police confirmed that an explosive device was found on the hood of referee Leontios Trattos’s car, and it detonated early Friday morning.

No word has been given as to why the official was targeted.  He most recently was in charge of a 1-0 derby win last Saturday for Apollon Limassol over AEL Limassol.  Eight yellow cards were handed out in that match.

The Ukraine match is scheduled for the final day in FIFA’s international window, meaning that postponement of the match is out of the question.  This is the last FIFA international window before the 2014 World Cup, and is therefore a last opportunity for Jurgen Klinsmann to call up European-based players.

His last opportunity to look at domestic players will be on April 2 in a friendly with Mexico scheduled to be played in Phoenix, AZ.

The USMNT friendly match, originally scheduled to be played in Kharkiv, Ukraine, was moved to Larnaca, Cyprus due to political unrest in the former Soviet state.

The US Soccer Federation has not yet commented on the situation.

In the Cypriot First Division, the club with the most name recognition is APOEL (pictured), who won the league title last season and were eliminated in this year’s Europa League group stage, finishing third behind Eintracht Frankfurt and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Newcastle’s Krul on crutches after injury in Dutch win

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Tim Krul of Newcastle United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.

Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.

[ MORE: Ultimate guide to USMNT vs. Mexico ]

Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.

Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.

The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.

McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.