AP Photo/Francisco Seco

Real Madrid 1-1 Spurs: Lovely Lloris!

Leave a comment

An error from each time in its own box and outstanding goalkeeping gave Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid a 1-1 draw in UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday at the Bernabeu. (video)

Raphael Varane recorded a 28th minute own goal, but Serge Aurier gave away a penalty as Cristiano Ronaldo equalized for Real Madrid at home in the 43rd minute.

Hugo Lloris and Keylor Navas were the stars of the show, with Lloris making the lion’s share of saves.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Both teams are well-positioned to advance, with seven points. Spurs have the tiebreaker advantage, but both Tottenham and Real are six points clear of Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia after a surprising draw in Cyprus.

Early nerves were apparent for Mauricio Pochettino‘s men, but Tottenham grew into the game and took an early lead.

Concerned with the presence of Harry Kane, Real defender Raphael Varane saw a cross move off his pegs and behind Keylor Navas to put Spurs ahead.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The lead was short-lived, however, as Spurs back Serge Aurier cut short Toni Kroos’ rare foray into the 18, and Ronaldo buried the ensuing penalty kick.

Lloris made an outstanding save on a point-blank Karim Benzema header in the 54th minute.

A moment later, offside Ronaldo flashed a sitter over the goal before the whistle alerted viewers to his offense.

Ronaldo had another chance stymied by Lloris as Real really began to pile on pressure past the hour mark.

Kane had a 71st minute chance against the run of play off a gorgeous pass from Fernando Llorente, but Navas got low quickly to redirect Kane’s point-blank shot wide of the far post.

Navas made another save when Llorente cued up Christian Eriksen for a chance, and the Dane then sent in a corner that led to a Davinson Sanchez’s header wide of goal.

Llorente was quite good in the second half in this surprise two-striker move from Mauricio Pochettino, and the Spurs boss also deployed Danny Rose for a season debut off the bench.

Man City 2-1 Napoli: Early goals stand up

AP Photo/Dave Thompson
Leave a comment

Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scored early, and Ederson stopped one of two penalty kicks as Manchester City held off Napoli 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

Amadou Diawara converted Napoli’s second PK after Dries Mertens saw his effort saved.

Napoli is six points back of Group F leading City, and three behind Shakhtar Donetsk.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Raheem Sterling was near the spot to blast an open rebound past Pepe Reina in the ninth minute.

Then Kevin De Bruyne swept an incisive pass into the six for Gabriel Jesus to slot home, giving Man City a 2-0 lead in the 13th minute.

Kyle Walker saw yellow after giving a penalty kick in the 37th minute, and Napoli star Dries Mertens had his chance to pull one back denied by Ederson.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

John Stones‘ impressive growth at City continued when he slid to stop Marek Hamsik from testing Ederson in the second half.

Fernando took down Faouzi Ghoulam to give Napoli a second penalty kick, and this time it was converted thanks not to Mertens, but Diawara.

USMNT confirm friendly v Portugal in November

Getty Images
1 Comment

Life goes on. So will the U.S. men’s national team.

[ MORE: Latest USMNT news ]

On Monday, less than a week after their 2018 World Cup dream was ended in shocking fashion, U.S. Soccer announced that the USMNT will play reigning European champions Portugal in an international friendly next month.

After Bruce Arena resigned following the USA’s shock defeat to Trinidad and Tobago which left them fifth in the CONCACAF Hex standings and out of the 2018 World Cup, no replacement or even an interim boss has been announced by U.S. Soccer.

But they have a game.

The friendly vs. Portugal will take place at the Estadio Algarve, just outside Faro, and will be on November 14 during the next scheduled international window.

U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said last week that he was unsure if the U.S. would have another game in Europe as part of the upcoming international break or just one with a training camp.

Portugal is currently ranked third in the world and Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. qualified for automatically for the 2018 World Cup after winning their final group game against Switzerland to finish top of their qualifying group ahead of the Swiss.

U.S. Soccer said the following about the match and did not confirm who would be in charge of the team after Arena’s resignation.

The match falls on an international fixture date, which makes all players available for selection. U.S. Soccer will determine in the coming days who will coach the squad for this friendly.

The last time the U.S. played Portugal was at the 2014 World Cup in the group stage as they drew 2-2 in Manaus in a thriller.

With the U.S. managerless and several veterans unlikely to play (both in this game and in the future), you can bet on it being a youthful USMNT roster for this friendly, while Portugal boss Fernando Santos may not play all of his star men as he prepares for the World Cup next June.

Still, it should be a tasty friendly in a very cool region of Portugal to visit for U.S. fans.

U-17 World Cup wrap: USA loses but advances, Paraguay and Mali clinch

Associated Press
1 Comment

The first two groups are set at the U-17 World Cup as Mali, Paraguay, Ghana, and Colombia have all move on with victories, while the United States lost but still clinches one of the knockout spots.

[ MORE: Predicting the Liverpool, Man Utd lineups ]

A recap of the day below.

Group A

United States 1-3 Colombia

The U.S. squad fell to Colombia 3-1, bumping them to third place in Group A, but they hold enough points to have already secured one of the four spots given to third-place finishers in the group stage.

George Acosta’s 24th minute goal cancelled out a nightmare start for the U.S. back line as Colombia had opened the scoring in just the third minute on a long throw, but the Stars & Stripes couldn’t hold on for long. Colombia’s Juan Penaloza scored just past the hour mark on a free-kick to re-take the lead, while Deiber Caicedo scored with three minutes to go in the match to put the icing on the cake.

The United States could simply tip their cap to their South American opponents, who were high-quality on the day in Navi Mumbai.

Ghana 4-0 India

Elsewhere, Ghana smothered hosts India 4-0 to clinch the top spot in a cannibalistic Group A, leaving the top three teams (Ghana, Colombia, and the United States) all level on three points. Ghana secured the top spot with their +6 goal differential, while Colombia and the U.S. were separated not by goal differential but on head-to-head matchup, leaving the USA in third.

Group B

Turkey 1-3 Paraguay

Paraguay rolled to a perfect record in Group B play as they stuffed Turkey 3-1 on goals from Giovanni Bogado, Fernando Cardozo, and Antonio Galeano, all within a 20-minute span bracketing halftime. The day was only marred by a stoppage-time goal by Kerem Kesgin to ruin the clean sheet. Paraguay tops Group B with nine points in three matches, holding a +5 goal differential.

Mali 3-1 New Zealand

Mali smothered New Zealand 3-1 thanks to a trio of goals from Giddou Salam, Djemoussa Traore, and Lassana Ndiaye. Neither New Zealand or Paraguay have a shot at advancing via the third-place finish, as both were marred on just a single point.

Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool: Frustrated Reds come back for point

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A point from far from home is not the end of the world, but Liverpool will rue its missed chances in a 1-1 draw at Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Goalkeeper Artyom Rebrov had a stellar day for Spartak before being injured and then replaced by Aleksandr Selikhov, who was also strong for the Russians.

Fernando (not that one) scored a free kick for Spartak, while Philippe Coutinho bagged the equalizer that keeps the Reds ahead of Spartak on goals scored. Both sides are three points behind Sevilla.

Liverpool visits Maribor on Oct. 17, while Spartak will host Sevilla.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]  

Roberto Firmino saw a promising header saved, and Brazilian attack partner Philippe Coutinho cleared a launch pad for countryman Fernando with a needless foul minutes later.

The 25-year-old ex-Sampdoria man that curled a free kick over the wall, and not too near to a post. Loris Karius was too slow to move, and the ball found its way to the back of the net. 1-0.

Sadio Mane was lively as usual, and let fly with a low drive for Spartak backstop Rebrov to collect inside the six.

Coutinho made amends with a solidly struck equalizer just after the half-hour mark, working a 1-2 with Mane and lacing a shot beyond the hopes of Rebrov.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Spartak wasn’t sleeping to start the second half, and both Karius and his Russian counterpart Rebrov had work to do early.

Rebrov needed to be substituted following a collision with Mohamed Salah and long delay. A Man of the Match candidate, would the goalkeeper swap tilt the scales?