Offshore drilling, Euro 2012: France 2, Ukraine 0

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source: Getty Images

Getty Images

Man of the Match: In the first half, Karim Benzema was just like the rest of his teammates: Better than Monday but still not good enough in the final third. That changed in the second half, when Benzema assisted on each of France’s goals. On the first, Benzema took a ball from the left and quickly switched it to the right, giving Jeremy Menez the change to come onto his left foot for the opening goal. On the second, Benzema dropped back to take a ball 30 yards out then turned and delivered a cutting pass to Yoann Cabaye, who’d jumped into the box. From there, it was an easy finish.

NBC Sports: France beats co-host Ukraine 2-0 in Group D

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Players were pulled off the pitch in the fifth minute as thunder cracked around the Donbass Arena. Cameras showed lightning streaming above the venue as rain dropped, collecting in streams that flowed down the concrete aisles.
  • It was 55 minutes before the game restarted, and credit to whomever designed the field, the huge puddles that had collected during the hour’s downtime had dissipated. On the field, the match was not effected by the storm.
  • Laurent Blanc made two changes to his team (before the game; not after the break). Gael Clichy came in at left back for Patrice Evra while Jeremy Menez started in place of Florent Malouda. The latter change pushed Samir Nasri to the middle and France to a 4-2-3-1 (from a 4-3-3). Because the game was played so differently than Monday’s with England, it’s hard to say if the change in formation mattered.
  • The change in personnel certainly did. Not only did Clichy avoid the silly error Evra made on England’s goal, but Menez was France’s first scorer. A second half counter played from Franck Ribery through Benzema to Menez allowed the PSG attacker to cut in, turning left back Yevhen Selin. His shot from 16 yards nestled inside the right post for the opening goal.
  • To that point, the second half had been an open affair (after a first 45 that saw only one chance for each team). Ukraine had been hitting France on the counter and generated two very good chances before the French broke through.
  • Through that first half, though, you got the feeling Ukraine might be walking on eggshells. Their defense played very well – all four defenders putting in strong halves – but there was a danger. If there was any let up in the second half, France would break through. Were those performances sustainable? On the first goal, there wasn’t a let up as much as the defense was hung out to dry a bit, with France executing a great counter-counter attack. Of course that counter attack started through the defense’e right while Oleh Gusev was caught up field.
  • Minutes after breaking through, France put it away, with Yoann Cabaye’s goal capping a night of increased activity for the Newcastle midfielder. Against England, with the Three Lions so packed in, he didn’t have chances to jump into anything but a sea of white. On Friday, as play built on the right, he found a chance to jump into the left of the area, and Benzema found him.
  • Ukraine’s wide play that was so good against Sweden (and deemed so important before the match) was a let down. France didn’t do anything special to stop it. It was just an execution issue. Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka had plenty of touches and had their opportunities to take on French defenders. They just didn’t deliver.
  • Part of the problem may have been Sergey Nazarenko. So good pushing the ball wide versus Sweden, the veteran midfielder did not have a good game. He was the team’s first sub.
  • France now moves top of the group ahead of their Tuesday match with Sweden. England can join them later today, if the Three Lions beat the Swedes.
  • For Ukraine, it’s a disappointing result – a fall back to Earth – but they’re far from done. If they beat England on Tuesday, they’re through to the quarterfinals.

ProSoccerTalk is doing its best to keep you up to date on what’s going on in Poland and Ukraine. Check out the site’s Euro 2012 page and look at the site’s previews, predictions, and coverage of all the events defining UEFA’s championship.

Man City vs Man United: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Manchester City vs Manchester United: Erling Haaland is set for his Manchester derby debut when the two-time defending champions host the rapidly improving Red Devils at Etihad Stadium on Sunday (watch live, 9 am ET on Peacock Premium). 

STREAM LIVE MAN CITY vs MAN UNITED

Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm with an absurd 11 goals scored in his first seven games after (ostensibly) choosing Man City over Man United before leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer.

Six weeks ago, Manchester United had not a single point from their first two games, including a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of tiny Brentford, but Erik ten Hag has since switched tactical course en route to four straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over PL leaders Arsenal last time out, to set up this hugely intriguing showdown on Sunday.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Man City vs Man United

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Manchester City vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9 am ET, Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Despite a pair of disappointing draws (Newcastle and Aston Villa), it’s been an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season for Man City, who still lead the PL in possession (66.4 percent per game) while also becoming an unstoppable offensive force from last season (14 goals in their first seven games) to this season (23). That’s not to say it’s been easy as Manchester City go through a tactical shift of their own to better appeal to the big Norwegian’s poaching abilities. Though they have been forced to grind out results a few times already this season, it’s highlighted a newfound spontaneity for a side that’s been as regimented as any in the world. Will that freedom be what ultimately lands Pep Guardiola his first Champions League trophy since 2011, and perhaps a third straight PL title (and a fifth in six years) to boot?

As for Manchester United, the Ten Hag era has been a wild roller-coaster ride already, short as it’s been. The back-to-back defeats were one thing, but the abject performances were the real cause for discontent. While picking up the four straight victories, the Dutchman has also settled on a midfield setup with Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen operating in (effectively) a double pivot with Bruno Fernandes the most advanced of the three. It has brought defensive stability, of course, but more importantly the change has revealed a deadly counter-attacking side. Each of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have scored twice during the winning run, with new boy Antony also getting in on the fun on his debut. With space in behind (and the proper service from deep), Ten Hag might just have his first winning formula (albeit quite unlike him).


Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Marcus Rashford (thigh), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE, Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

Follow @AndyEdMLS

WATCH: Lionel Messi spins gorgeous free kick goal past Nice’s Schmeichel

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Lionel Messi got the better of Kasper Schmeichel with an outstanding free kick as Paris Saint-Germain outlasted Nice 2-1 on Saturday at the Parc des Princes.

The world’s greatest scorer was fouled to set up a free kick just inside the arc. Nice, of course, got into a wall and former Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel arranged it to his liking.

As he does so many times, however, Messi spun a free kick just over the wall. The ball, which came so close to taking a slight turn off a leaping wall member (actually, did it?), tumbled down and right into the side netting to give PSG a 1-0 lead before the match was a half-hour old.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi scores relentless Groningen goal ]

Gaetan Laborde tied the match before halftime, and Nice’s revamped roster looked set to hold tight for a point (The club’s signed familiar Premier League names Schmeichel, Ross Barkley, Aaron Ramsey, and Mario Lemina).

Even that wouldn’t be enough, though, as Kylian Mbappe came off the bench to replace young Hugo Ekitike to finish a Nordi Mukiele assist for a 2-1 win.

PSG has eight wins and a draw this season, good for a two-point lead on second-place Marseille. Messi has five goals and a joint-league-best seven assists, tied with Neymar. Mbappe and Neymar are tied for the league goals lead with eight.

Lionel Messi free kick goal video

USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi defies xG with relentless goal (video)

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USMNT forward Ricardo Pepi’s goal while trying to will Groningen back into an eventual 4-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar on Saturday will not be one of the expected variety.

The 19-year-old striker, on loan from Augsburg, ran onto an audacious long pass from 20-year-old defender Neraysho Kasanwirjo but had plenty of work to do with AZ leading 2-0.

[ MORE: Josef Martinez scores audacious overhead goal ]

Pepi sees one defender fall in a race to the ball, then bodies up AZ’s Sam Beukema a little outside the six-yard box.

Hand-to-hand combat sees both players hit the turf, and Pepi probably could won a penalty.

But the World Cup hopeful spins while on the pitch and snaps a shot past charging AZ goalkeeper Hobie Verhulst to make it 2-1.

Video after the jump.

Ricardo Pepi
fotmob.com

Ricardo Pepi goal video: Fantastic start to Groningen loan

Pepi now has a goal or an assist in his first three Eredivisie outings, not unlike his fantastic start to life in a USMNT shirt.

His goal contributions have taken a dive since his first two USMNT matches — World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Jamaica — and he only has one assist from the following 10 outings in a U.S. shirt.

Still, Pepi is clearly one of Gregg Berhalter’s favorite options for the upcoming World Cup, and his performances will be measured against Union Berlin’s Jordan Pefok, FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira, and others.

In a tournament where every moment matters, his work for this scrappy finish will be well-noted by the USMNT staff.

Josef Martinez scores vicious overhead kick in Atlanta United loss (video)

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If this is the last goal of Josef Martinez’s (likely) final season with Atlanta United, it will be very appropriate.

So for Martinez, even in a losing effort, to go airborne for an overhead kick that is a simply sensational feat of athleticism and power, well, it just feels right.

The 29-year-old Venezuelan forward joined the Five Stripes in 2017 in what seemed a massive capture for the club at the time and now seems downright gargantuan, but he’s fallen out with current manager Gonzalo Pineda and was even suspended for a match last month.

[ MORE: West Ham beats Wolves | Klopp reacts to latest setback ]

Martinez has nine goals and four assists in an injury-abbreviated 25-game season, giving him 111 goals in 156 appearances for ATL UTD. The former Torino and Young Boys striker is still being capped for Venezuela and would leave with an MLS Cup, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and Campeones Cup as well as a boatload of individual honors.

Atlanta lost 2-1 to New England on Saturday and returns home for their season finale next weekend versus New York City FC. The Five Stripes won’t make the playoffs unless at least two teams decide not to field teams, so if the NYCFC game doesn’t go well, let’s pretend this one was his final appearance for the club.