Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid: Tevez penalty lifts Juve over defending champs

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Carlos Tevez’s brilliant season for Juventus continued today as the striker’s second-half penalty kick was the difference in Juve’s 2-1 win over Real Madrid at Juventus Stadium.

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Massimiliano Allegri’s men now hold a slight advantage heading into the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal matchup, which will take place next Wednesday in Madrid.

[ RELATED: Champions League schedule ]

Juventus had a positive start to the game and was rewarded within the opening ten minutes. Carlos Tevez found a massive gap in the Real defense and took a through ball from Claudio Marchisio, firing on net. His shot was stopped by Iker Casillas, but Alvaro Morata was there at the back post to tap in the rebound against his former club. Nine minutes in and the hosts had the lead.

The match had a good pace to it, and both teams looked fluid when they got forward on the attack. Real Madrid found an equalizer in the 27th minute, when the head of Cristiano Ronaldo connected with a cross from James Rodriguez. It was Ronaldo’s 76th UEFA Champions League goal, and he now holds a one goal advantage over Lionel Messi for the most in the competition’s history.

[ VIDEO: Cristiano Ronaldo scores record-breaking 76th Champions League goal ]

Madrid nearly took the lead towards the end of the half, but James Rodriguez was rejected by the crossbar. Isco played a cross in which found James open in the six-yard box, but the Colombian couldn’t keep his header down as the teams went into the break level at one.

Juventus got off to another good start in the second half, and regained the lead in the 58th minute when a blocked shot in their own end sent Carlos Tevez on a full-field counter attack. Tevez took the ball all the way into the Real box and was taken down by Dani Carvajal to earn Juventus a penalty. Tevez finished what he started, beating Casillas down the middle from the spot to put Juve back ahead 2-1.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men controlled most of the possession down the stretch of the match, but failed to create any dangerous chances on goal. Gareth Bale was nearly invisible for Real, and was substituted off for the final minutes. However, they did score that crucial away goal, which could be massive come the second leg.

LINEUPS

Juventus: Buffon, Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Evra, Marchisio, Pirlo, Sturaro (Barzagli, 64′), Vidal, Tevez (Pereyra, 86′), Morata (Llorente, 78′)

Goals: Morata (9′), Tevez (58′)

Real Madrid: Casillas, Varane, Pepe, Carvajal, Marcelo, Ramos, Isco (Hernandez, 63′), Kroos, James, Ronaldo, Bale (Jese, 86′)

Goal: Ronaldo (27′)

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.