Sergio Aguero was benched for the second straight game by manager Pep Guardiola in favor of the red-hot Gabriel Jesus, and even before kickoff the rumors of his exit began to materialize.
Teams linked with Aguero in the last 24 hours include Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan.
The Mirror claimed that Chelsea would look to Aguero in the event of Diego Costa‘s exit from Stamford Bridge, although that looks far less likely now that Costa posted on social media to shatter any ideas of his discontent with the Blues. Accompanied by a picture of him playing for the Blues, Costa wrote on Instagram before this weekend’s 3-1 win over Arsenal, “They talk too much s—! Come on Chelsea!”
On Friday, The Mirror had written a report that Aguero was prepared to ignore interest from Madrid and ask for a new deal at City, but with a second game on the sidelines, questions are surely growing if that would be the case.
The most intriguing report comes from The Express, who claimed Sunday morning before City’s kickoff against Swansea City at the Etihad that Inter was seriously considering a move for Aguero. With Pep apparently hoping to convince Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to make his way to the Premier League, it could force the 28-year-old Argentinian to look elsewhere. Inter last played in the Champions League in the 2011/12 season, but have been slowly building their way back up the Serie A table, currently in fourth sitting five points behind Roma in the final Champions League place. Their downswing coincided with a similar dip by rivals AC Milan, but Inter have worked their way back towards the top, while AC continues to flounder in the middle of the pack.
It’s important to note that just last week, Aguero’s agent claimed he has no desire to leave Manchester City, with his contract set to expire in the summer of 2019. Still, rumors of Aguero’s exit will only grow after it took Jesus just 11 minutes to score the opening goal for Manchester City in Sunday’s game.
Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.
Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.
[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]
Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.
With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.
Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.
France and Spain used the Video Assistant Referee program on Tuesday in a friendly, and the French likely rue that decision.
Antoine Griezmann had an incorrectly allowed goal reverse for offside, while Gerard Deulofeu saw an initially ruled offside goal allowed upon review in Spain’s 2-0 win over France.
[ MORE: Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina ]
Here’s an example, as Griezmann’s barely offside goal was overturned in less than a minute (Both calls took less than a minute to decide):
At the risk of sounding like a caveman, I really don’t like these razor thin offside calls being subject to review.
When you consider the improbability of timing the moment of contact with the ball — how many times have you seen a freeze frame conveniently used to make a case? — it just seems to mess with the spirit of sport.
What do you think?
Argentina took steps backward Tuesday in its pursuit of a 2018 World Cup berth, on and off the field.
It started as Lionel Messi was suspended four matches for verbally abusing a referee in Argentina’s Friday win over Chile.
Then La Albiceleste made another move in reverse with a shocking 2-0 loss to Bolivia in La Paz. Argentina started Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, and Ezequiel Lavezzi on the bench in what many presumed to be an easy win.
[ MORE: Three keys for USA v Panama ]
Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins scored as ninth-place La Verde picked up its third win of qualifying with a win over powerful Argentina.
The bad news kept coming for Argentina (and Everton), as Ramiro Funes Mori left the match in the 36th minute with injury.
Bolivia will finish the international break at least 10 points back of the playoff spot, while Argentina could finish as low as that fifth-place spot.
CONCACAF’s bottom three sides in the Hex standings look to make the table incredibly tight as World Cup qualifying finds three-straight matches on the docket beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.
Honduras vs. Costa Rica
Los Catrachos were creamed 6-0 by the U.S. on Friday, and return home hoping a wounded Costa Rica remains vulnerable. Honduras is dead last on goal differential, but three points would be huge and put them level with Los Ticos. Costa Rica won its first two matches before falling to Mexico on Friday.
Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico
El Tri has two wins and a draw from their first three Hex matches, and will be without Rafa Marquez on Tuesday. A win guarantees Mexico the top spot heading into the next round of matches in June. The Soca Warriors surprised some with their 1-0 win over visiting Panama on Tuesday. Mexico is a different class.
Panama vs. USMNT
Despite its miserable start, the U.S. can find itself as high as second with a win and help from Honduras. The injuries remain plenty for the Yanks, who are without Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood, Sebastian Lletget, and John Brooks. Panama has allowed just a single goal through three Hex matches, but also has only managed one.