Twitter/@moi8ay

With Mahrez missing, Algeria loses in World Cup qualifying

Leave a comment

Algeria may regret the decision to allow Riyad Mahrez to leave the team camp to sort out his club future.

[ MORE: UEFA qualifying wrap — Spain tops Italy; Woodburn scores in debut ]

Without its best player, Algeria lost 3-1 in Zambia in World Cup qualifying on Saturday to stay last in its group.

The defeat to a Zambia team that played most of the second half with 10 men leaves Algeria – Africa’s top-ranked team a few years ago – with little hope of making it to Russia next year.

The North Africans are one of three teams that represented Africa at the last World Cup which are highly unlikely to repeat in 2018. African champion Cameroon and Ghana are also way off the pace in their groups.

Ivory Coast is on track, a 3-0 win Saturday confirmed that, while Sadio Mane‘s Senegal is hanging in there.

A roundup of World Cup qualifying games in Africa on Saturday:

GROUP B

Mahrez was given permission by Algerian officials to travel back to Europe in the hope of securing a move away from Leicester in time for the transfer deadline. A transfer didn’t happen for Mahrez and, with the winger unable to get to Zambia in time, Saturday’s qualifier didn’t go to plan for Algeria.

Zambia striker Brian Mwila hit the woodwork in the opening minutes, headed in Zambia’s first in the sixth minute, and made it 2-0 in the 32nd. Yacine Brahimi’s long-range shot put Algeria back in the game early in the second half.

But even after Zambia’s Fashion Sakala was sent off for a second yellow card in the 56th, Algeria couldn’t score again despite a man advantage for over 30 minutes. Substitute Enock Mwepu netted Zambia’s third with two minutes left.

Algeria is eight points behind runaway group leader Nigeria with three games remaining in qualifying. Only the five group winners qualify for the World Cup.

GROUP C

Marc Wilmots led Ivory Coast to a 3-0 win in Gabon in his first competitive match in charge.

Wilmots was brought in as coach after Ivory Coast, the defending champion, crashed out of the African Cup of Nations in Gabon in the first round at the beginning of the year. The Ivorians eased some of those bad memories on their return to the country, with second-half goals from Max Gradel and two from Seydou Doumbia taking Ivory Coast back to the top of Group C ahead of Morocco.

GROUP D

Senegal and Burkina Faso defenses didn’t give an inch in their 0-0 draw, leaving little space for Mane to operate in.

There were few chances in Dakar. Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly was sent off for Senegal near the end after his second yellow card.

Burkina Faso still leads Group D and holds the qualifying place but just one point separates the top three teams.

Associated Press writer Andrew Jackson Oryada in Kampala, Uganda contributed to this report.

More AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/WorldCup

Leon Bailey stars but Bayer Leverkusen held 4-4 by Hannover

Twitter/@licencetoroam
Leave a comment

BERLIN (AP) Jamaica striker Leon Bailey scored twice after coming on as a substitute but Bayer Leverkusen failed to hang on as Hannover grabbed a 4-4 draw in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

[ MORE: Liverpool smashes Bournemouth to move fourth ]

Bailey, who came on at the break, needed only two minutes to equalize after Hannover had gone 3-2 ahead, and he scored again 20 minutes later to put Leverkusen 4-3 in front.

But the 20-year-old missed another chance to complete a hat trick and Julian Korb scored late for Hannover to draw.

“I had a third chance, and I just know if I had taken that chance it would have been over for them. It’s just unlucky. But that’s football,” said Bailey. “A wise man learns from his mistakes. But a wiser man learns from others’ mistakes.”

Both teams traded goals on an afternoon to forget for the goalkeepers.

“It was worth the entrance price for the spectators,” Korb said.

Julian Brandt fired Leverkusen into an early lead with a brilliant volley but Ihlas Bebou replied straight away with a header for Hannover.

Niclas Fuellkrug put the home side ahead with a penalty, only for Admir Mehmedi to equalize four minutes later for Leverkusen.

Hannover went ahead again after Fuellkrug set up Felix Klaus with his heel before the break, when Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich reacted with two substitutions.

One of them was Bailey, who raced forward to reach Kai Havertz’s through ball and kept his cool to beat Hannover `keeper Philipp Tschauner.

Bailey claimed his sixth goal of the season after the game’s longest stretch without a goal when Mehmedi played him through on a counterattack after a Hannover corner.

But there was further drama to come as Bebou eluded three Leverkusen defenders to set up Korb for Hannover’s equalizer with seven minutes remaining.

Leipzig, level on points with Leverkusen, had the chance to go second again with a win at home against Hertha Berlin later Sunday.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Liverpool dominates, selling Coutinho discussed

Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
1 Comment

Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe start off today’s show by discussing Man United’s win at The Hawthorns as Lukaku scores for the second straight match with Juan Mata impressing with his link up play. The guys also look at Alan Pardew’s influence on the Baggies. Liverpool net four in a dominating victory over Bournemouth and with Mo Salah continuing to dominate, the Robbies ask: can Liverpool now afford to sell Coutinho? And finally, the guys discuss Bournemouth’s recent struggles.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Report: PSV likely to land Man City, USMNT’s Palmer-Brown on loan

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A number of well-known American players have completed moves to Europe over the years, and a former Sporting KC defender is about to embark on his own journey abroad.

[ MORE: Liverpool smashes Bournemouth to go fourth ]

U.S. youth national team centerback Erik Palmer-Brown is headed to Premier League side Manchester City, who currently leads the English top flight, after signing a pre-contract with the club back in September.

It is now believed though that the young player will go on loan once he arrives with the English side.

Metro is reporting is that Palmer-Brown is likely to complete a move to Dutch Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven on loan.

Palmer-Brown helped the U.S. Under-20 national team reach the quarterfinals at this year’s U-20 World Cup in South Korea, after previously representing several other U.S. youth national teams.

La Liga & Serie A: Barca routs Deportivo, AC Milan routed

Twitter/@ChampionsLeague
Leave a comment

A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Barcelona 4-0 Deportivo

Although Lionel Messi’s stardom was rewarded prior to the match at the Camp Nou with the European Golden Shoe, the Argentine forward couldn’t crack the scoresheet one the game kicked off. That didn’t matter though, as Luis Suarez and Paulinho each bagged braces on the day to keep Barcelona six points clear of Atletico Madrid on Sunday. Messi, who had a penalty kick attempt saved in the second half, came close on several occasions, but couldn’t find the scoring touch for the Blaugrana.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Girona 1-0 Getafe
Celta Vigo 0-1 Villareal
Las Palmas 2-2 Espanyol


Hellas Verona 3-0 AC Milan

If AC Milan’s season wasn’t bad enough prior to Sunday, today’s performance at the Stadio Marc`Antonio Bentegodi could have only made the club’s outlook much, much worse. Hellas captured its third league win of the season, however, the team remains in 19th in Serie A despite picking up three points. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri fell to eight in Italy’s top flight, after Genaro Gattuso’s men were completely outplayed on the road. To make matters worse for the struggling side, Suso earned a straight red card in the dying minutes, leaving Milan to fend with 10 men.

Bologna 0-3 Juventus

At the top of Serie A, things are getting very intriguing as the season nears its halfway point. Juventus did its part to keep pressure on league leaders Napoli, but four teams currently sit within four points of one another at the league’s summit, making for a testy title race. Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic each scored before halftime, giving the Bianconeri a comfortable lead before the break. Meanwhile, ex-PSG man Blaise Matuidi capped off the game’s scoring in the 64th minute.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Atalanta 3-3 Lazio
Benevento 1-2 SPAL
Sampdoria 0-1 Sassuolo
Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa
Crotone 1-0 Chievo Verona