Game On: South American Saturday continues, Colombia vs. Uruguay up next

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Free-scoring Colombia take on Luis Suarez-less Uruguay in Rio de Janiero at the Maracana on Saturday.

Colombia has been one of the best teams of the tournament so far, racking up three wins from three and scoring nine goals in the process. As for Uruguay, Diego Godin’s late header in their final group game vs. Italy sent La Celest through to the last 16 as they recovered from their opening game defeat to Costa Rica.

The two sides have met 38 times in history, with Uruguay winning 18 and Colombia taking 11.

It will be a rambunctious affair in the famous Maracana, as both teams will be supported heavily by a vast army of travelling fans.

This could go all the way to extra time and penalties, so expect a tight and rambunctious affair in Rio.

[ MORE: Colombia hammer Japan | Uruguay beat Italy to go through ]
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LINEUPS

Colombia: Ospina; Armero, Yepes (c), Zapata, Zúñiga; Aguilar, Sánchez, Cuadrado, James; Jackson, Teo.

Uruguay: Muslera, Godin (c), Pereira, Rodriguez, Forlan, Gimenez, Pereira, Arevalo, Gonzalez, Cavani, Caceres

Talking points

How much will Uruguay miss Suarez? 

This is the HUGE question around this game as La Celeste prepare for life after Suarez. Following his bite on Giorgio Chiellini in their final group game vs. Italy, Suarez has been banned for four months by FIFA and is out of the rest of the World Cup. Edinson Cavani has looked a shadow of the player who ripped it up with Napoli in years gone by but now he needs to step up and shine in Suarez’s absence. He is Uruguay’s only hope up top.

Can Colombia score early… and often?

With the likes of James Rodriguez and Jackson Martinez ripping it up for Colombia in the group stages, they are riding a wave of euphoria into the knockout rounds. If Colombia scores early, in front of what is bound to be a huge number of their own supporters, things could get out of hand. Just imagine if star striker Radamel Falcao would have been fit for the World Cup?

Expectations 

If Colombia score early it will force Uruguay to attack and this game could become a real cracker. However, the likelihood is that Uruguay will sit back, frustrate Colombia and try to score on a set piece like they did vs. Italy.

One blogger’s prediction

This will be a close encounter between two teams who know eachother very well. Expect late challenges, heated tempers and some staunch defense. It will be a real clash of styles at the Maracana, one that Colombia should just sneak with their superior attacking talents. Losing Suarez will prove costly for Uruguay.

VIDEO: Celtic’s 1st minute goal breaches PSG

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Celtic still have hope of advancing to the UEFA Europa League, but have a new feather in its cap regardless of whether they hold their table advantage on Anderlecht.

Moussa Dembele became the first UEFA Champions League player to score against Paris Saint-Germain, when he side-footed a first minute corner kick off PSG backstop Alphonse Aréola.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Neymar would score just eight minutes later to level the score at the Parc des Princes, but Celtic had its moment and PSG is no longer unbreached despite entering the match with 17 goals scored, conceding zero.

2017 CONCACAF Awards shortlist revealed

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The 2017 CONCACAF Awards shortlist is up, and fan voting counts.

Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, and Christian Pulisic are among the nominees for Men’s Player of the Year. Philadelphia Union’s Jamaican backstop, Andre Blake, is also on the list along with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and others.

[ MORE: Big American Soccer Survey results ]

The Female Player of the Year is predictably American-heavy, with Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Ertz, Megan Rapinoe, Sam Mewis, and Tobin Heath competing with a trio of international players.

Tim Howard is the only American up for Male Goalkeeper of the Year, though Blake is again in the running. The female side has American backstops Adrianna Franch, Alyssa Naeher, Ashlyn Harris, Jane Campbell, and Nicole Barnhart.

The full ballot, including Best XI, coaches, referees, and goals, is up for your votes here.

UCL: Chelsea advances vs. 10-man Qarabag (video)

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  • Chelsea into knockout rounds
  • Willian draws two penalties, scores two more
  • Hazard, Fabregas score

Willian scored two goals from the run of play and drew a pair of penalties in Azerbaijan, as Chelsea beat 10-man Qarabag 4-0 on Wednesday.

His second goal was a fantastic thump from atop the arc, and further iced the result in the 85th minute.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Qarabag hung tough for the first 20 minutes, but saw its odds of getting a point take a hit with a penalty and red card.

Rashad Sadygov made contact with Willian inside the 18, and Portuguese referee Manuel de Sousa awarded a penalty. That was understandable, but surprisingly he produced his red card to send Qarabag down a man.

Eden Hazard converted his low penalty, wrong footing keeper Ibrahim Sehic, and Chelsea took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute.

Willian would score a goal of his own in the 36th, part of a terrific team goal with Hazard and Pedro.

The Blues were largely content to let Qarabag have the ball early in the second half, but resumed control around the hour mark and Sehic made an outstanding stop on Hazard before substitute Alvaro Morata dragged a shot wide of the far post.

Willian drew a second penalty in the 71st minute, as Maksim Medvedev tugged on the Brazilian’s jersey on a dribble into the 18. Yellow card for this foul.

Cesc Fabregas scored but two Chelsea players infringed on the 18 thanks to the shooter’s stuttering — and stopping — PK. He finished the second as well as the first. 3-0.

Willian added the fourth with a vicious strike five minutes from the end of scheduled play.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia fires coach Edgardo Bauza

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia has fired coach Edgardo Bauza nine days before the draw.

The Saudi Arabia Football Federation announced the Argentine coach’s exit after only five friendlies in charge. The team lost to Portugal and Bulgaria this month.

[ MORE: Big American Soccer Survey results ]

Bauza has been fired twice this year by teams in the World Cup lineup. He lost the Argentina job in April, after eight months in charge, when the two-time World Cup champions risked missing out on qualification.

In September, Bauza was appointed by Saudi Arabia to replace Bert van Marwijk, who was fired despite leading the team to its first World Cup since 2006.

Saudi Arabia joins Australia without a coach for the World Cup draw in Moscow on Dec. 1.