Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ligue 1: Monaco win again, now five points clear in title race

Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) French league leader Monaco prepared for its Champions League showdown with Manchester City by beating Bordeaux 2-1, a win overshadowed by an injury to top scorer Radamel Falcao on Saturday.

Falcao, who has 24 goals this season, went to ground clutching his ribs late on after a heavy challenge from Bordeaux defender Nicolas Pallois.

The striker got back up, only to go straight down to his knees again. Although he did not need the stretcher that went on for him, preferring to hobble off, it was unclear if the injury will rule him out of Wednesday’s last-16 return leg.

“He received a violent blow to his right side,” coach Leonardo Jardim said. “I hope it’s not serious.”

Monaco’s win moved it five points clear of Nice and – although Monaco’s formidable goal tally reached 123 this season – it was a labored win against a resilient side chasing a place in the Europa League.

Teenage striker Kylian Mbappe pounced midway through the second half with his fourth goal in three games and midfielder Joao Moutinho scored a brilliant curling shot.

After good work from Falcao, the 18-year-old Mbappe finished with a crisp low shot from just inside the penalty area in the 68th minute for his 16th goal of the season.

Six minutes later, Moutinho collected a pass from Portuguese compatriot Bernardo Silva some 25 meters out to the right of the penalty area and curled a superb first-time shot into the top left without breaking stride.

“I saw it coming, but it was magnificent. The ball dipped at the last moment,” Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso said. “Sometimes you just have to appreciate a great goal.”

Moutinho’s goals for Monaco are as rare as they are for Portugal, and this was only his eighth in 117 league games.

Next week in the Champions League, Monaco has to overturn a 5-3 deficit from the first leg to advance, and will need goalkeeper Danijel Subasic to start concentrating again.

He let in a sloppy goal against City three weeks ago and an even worse one on Saturday – gifting Bordeaux a lifeline with six minutes left.

After a Monaco attack broke down, Bordeaux hopefully lofted the ball forward. There was no immediate danger as defender Jemerson collected the ball near the halfway line. But his hurried back pass was under-hit and forced Subasic to come out of the area to clear it.

But the goalkeeper waited too long. When he did clear, the ball struck Bordeaux striker Diego Rolan and then bounced back off Subasic’s face into the path of Rolan, who ran through and tapped into an empty net.

Jardim refused to criticize him.

“I said to Suba: `How many important saves have you made for us?'” Jardim said. “A lot, so stop thinking about it.”

Monaco is six points clear of third-placed Paris Saint-Germain. The defending champion travels to last-placed Lorient on Sunday.

There were plenty of goals elsewhere.

Guingamp moved up to eighth place with different scorers on target in a 5-0 home romp against relegation candidate Bastia.

Striker Emiliano Sala netted a last-minute winner as Nantes won at Montpellier 3-2 to move up to 10th.

Another late winner from midfielder Rony Lopes earned Lille a 2-1 win at Nancy, easing the club’s relegation fears. But Nancy dropped to 18th.

Ninth-placed Rennes drew 1-1 at home to Dijon.

At long last, Butland returns to full training with Stoke

Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Stoke City’s long-coming goalkeeping dilemma will come to a head soon, as Jack Butland is back in training.

A year ago today, the Potters confirmed that star backstop Butland would miss EURO 2016 with a broken ankle. He’d need multiple surgeries as recovery dragged on and on.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

That was more palatable thanks to the play of Lee Grant, who arrived on loan from Derby County but became a permanent Potter in January. Grant has been a key part of Stoke’s season.

Butland is contracted to Stoke through 2021, and he’ll ascend to the starting gig sooner rather than later. But Grant is in the catbird seat for now, and at least will have made himself attractive to other clubs seeking a keeper.

Report: Everton linked with $4 million swoop for Canada’s Larin

Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Sun only hits on a few of the many transfer rumors it tosses around, but this one bears a second look for fans of Everton, MLS, and Canada.

Everton is already eyeing replacements for Romelu Lukaku, according to the report, and is hunting for a bargain in Canadian national teamer Cyle Larin.

Larin, 21, was the first overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft by Orlando City SC after an electric career at UConn.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

He’s since scored 35 goals in 63 matches for the Lions, picking up three in his first two matches of the 2017 season. The 6-foot-1 Ontario native has five goals for Canada in 19 caps.

The Sun says Larin would cost close to $4 million, a fraction of what the Toffees will get if they sell Lukaku.

Fan dies after falling off football stadium in Brazil

Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

SAO PAULO (AP) A Brazilian football fan has died after falling 25 meters from the top of Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo onto a parking lot.

The height is equivalent to an eight-story building.

Bruno Pereira da Silva, aged 23, suffered head injuries and died upon arrival at a local hospital on Sunday.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

He and other fans were attempting to jump to a section of the stadium where they could get a better view of the Sao Paulo state championship match between Sao Paulo and archrival Corinthians. The game ended 1-1.

Friends of da Silva told Brazilian media Silva was attending his first football match.

CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers: CRC, Honduras get off the mat

Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The two traditional CONCACAF powers are riding high following Friday’s round of World Cup qualifiers, while the two other sides to qualify for Brazil 2014 are licking their wounds.

Honduras and Costa Rica both found themselves on the wrong side of shutout losses to the United States and Mexico, while Trinidad and Tobago injected itself into the discussion with a home win over Panama.

[ WATCH: CONCACAF qualifiers on Telemundo ]

What’s cooking for Tuesday? Read on:

Honduras vs. Costa Rica — 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Two sides which love to play physical, on-the-edge soccer meet on the heels of Friday losses. Expect Jorge Luis Pinto’s Catrachos to adapt after a 6-0 beatdown at the hands of the U.S., but they’ll have to do much, much better at home.

The dates at Estadio Morazan have to be the key for Honduras to climb into the Top Three, and it’ll be buoyed by memories of its 3-1 win over T&T two rounds ago. As for Costa Rica, Los Ticos aim to respond from conceding their first two goals of the Hex.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico — 7 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Kevin Molino’s strike gave T&T its first three points of qualifying, but its odds of getting a result against visiting Mexico aren’t nearly as good. The Soca Warriors desperation will be easy to see, as June’s qualifiers include trips to the U.S. and Costa Rica.

El Tri now has wins in two of its trickier Hex matches after adding Friday’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica to its upset of the Yanks in Columbus. Ten points through four matches would be exemplary; A draw or loss leaves the door open for Costa Rica to summit the Hex table.

United States vs. Panama — 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Read our extensive preview here, but the upshot is this: The United States can rise into the Top Three by beating Panama, while Los Canaleros will be happy to scoop a draw to stem any bleeding cause by Molino and T&T.