USA 1-0 Colombia: Heroic display puts 10-man USA into U-20 World Cup quarterfinals

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Against all the odds the U.S. national team U-20’s advanced to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, as the young Americans beat Colombia 1-0 in Wellington on Wednesday.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT vs. Germany ]

Tab Ramos’ side were second-best for most of the match but a clinical finish from Rubio Rubin in the second half, then a clutch penalty save from goalkeeper Zack Steffen late on after Kellyn Acosta had been sent off, handed the U.S. a spot in the last eight where they will meet Serbia on Sunday in Auckland.

Despite being outshot 24-8, the U.S. defense dug deep with Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga rocks at the heart of the defense. Every single player for the U.S. kept their discipline and shape, as they have now reached the last eight for just the fifth time in history to emulate the likes of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore who did the same with the U.S. back in 2007.

[ VIDEO: Watch Rubin’s goal, Steffen’s PK save ]

Early on in the first half the U.S. were dealt a blow as Bradford Jamieson went off injured and was replaced by Jordan Allen. Colombia were calm in possession and had plenty of the play in the first 45 minutes but failed to really test Steffen in goal for the U.S.

At the start of the second half Alexis Zapata clipped a delightful ball over the top to Jeison Lucumi but his shot was well-saved by Steffen who stayed tall. Colombia’s best chance of the game so far went begging. Moments later Lucumi set up Jarlan Barrera but he curled his effort wide.

Just when wave after wave of attack was coming from Colombia, the U.S. broke away and took the lead against the run of play.

A looping ball forward was nodded down my Emerson Hyndman to Paul Arriola and his blocked shot fell perfectly into Rubin’s path. The FC Utrecht striker instinctively hammered home his third goal of the tournament to put the U.S. 1-0 up and withing 30 minutes of reaching the quarterfinals.

[ VIDEO: Zelalem’s outrageous rabona ]

After going ahead the U.S. grew in confidence and were dangerous on the break as Colombia threw caution to the wind. Allen broke free but squandered a good chance, while Colombia managed to scramble the ball clear after a corner from the left caused plenty of problems.

Late on Colombia won a penalty kick as Acosta and Rodin Quinoes came together in the box and the latter went down rather easily but the referee pointed to the spot and showed Acosta a second yellow card as the U.S. were down to 10-men. However, Steffen emerged as the USA’s hero as he stopped Barrera’s weak penalty kick and moments later Arriola headed off the line superbly as Colombia piled the pressure on.

Despite being down a man the U.S. youngsters dug in and recorded a dramatic 1-0 win to book a spot in the quarterfinals against Serbia on Sunday. The dream of becoming world champions down under goes on.

LINEUPS

USA: Zack Steffen; Desevio Payne, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga, Kellyn Acosta; Marco Delgado, Emerson Hyndman, Gedion Zelalem (Tommy Thompson, 87′); Paul Arriola (John Requejo, 84′), Rubio Rubin, Brandon Jamieson (Jordan Allen, 11′)

Goal: Rubin (58′)

Colombia: Montero; Quinoes, Sanchez, Angulo, Quintero; Zapata (Rodriguez, 72′), Tello, Barrera, Lucumi (Ibarguen, 64′); Gutierrez (Quinones, 60′), Santos Borre

Teammates appear to stop Marega leaving after racist slurs

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LIBSON, Portugal — FC Porto striker Moussa Marega, who tried to walk off the field after being the target of racist slurs from fans, faced apparent attempts Sunday by his own teammates and opposition players to prevent him from leaving.

Marega, who is black and from Mali, was visibly angered by monkey noises targeting him after he scored Porto’s second goal in a 2-1 win at Guimarães in the Portuguese football league.

But when Marega started to walk off the field, several players from both Porto and Guimarães appeared to argue with him. Porto coach Sérgio Conceição also went on the field and spoke with Marega.

It took Marega several minutes to leave the field when he was substituted.

Marega held his thumbs down at the crowd as he went into the tunnel to the changing rooms. The crowd responded with loud jeers.

The attitude of the other players has drawn criticism on social media.

“We are indignant with what has happened. Moussa was insulted from warmups (before kickoff),” Conceição said after the match.

“We are a family. One’s nationality, color, or height does not matter. We are human beings. We deserve respect and what happened was despicable.”

Marega received a yellow card following his goal in the 61st minute when he appeared to respond to the slurs by pointing at his skin and by picking up a seat that had been thrown on the pitch.

Timothy Weah returns to action with Lille after lengthy| absence

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Timothy Weah was back in action in Lille’s 2-1 loss to Marseille on Sunday after a 183-day absence.

The American attacker played the final 10 minutes of the defeat after being inactive since Lille’s second match of the season back in August 17 in which he suffered a “very bad hamstring tear“.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Weah arrived at Lille in June on a $12 million deal from Paris Saint-Germain, placing high expectations on the 19-year-old son of Ballon d’OR winner George Weah.

Since, however, the U.S. men’s national team player has had little activity with the French side, accumulating less than 100 minutes over a three-game stretch.

Lille manager Christophe Galtier will likely ease Weah’s way into the a starting role moving forward – which is largely contingent on his performances at practice and in official play.

Lille, who’ve accumulated 40 points in 25 matches, are currently fourth in Ligue 1.

WATCH: Ashley Young opens his Inter Milan account with volley

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The first English goalscorer in Serie A this decade is 34-year-old Ashley Young.

Inter Milan’s newly-integrated wingback opened his Serie A account in proper fashion – scoring with a first-time right-footed volley strike against a strong Lazio side.

Why did Manchester United let Young walk away from Old Trafford during the winter transfer window? Surely, Young will answer that in detail when the time is right. At this moment, he’s too busy scoring goals – stellar ones, too – as we can see for ourselves above.

Young arrived at Inter in January on a reported $2-million deal for the remainder of the season, with an option to extend for another season.

Arsenal laud star man Ceballos

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LONDON — Arsenal hammered Newcastle on Sunday and to make sure you have every angle covered for the marquee Premier League games, our new feature “In the Mixed Zone” will take you behind-the-scenes and into the tunnel areas to hear from the star players moments after their magic has decided games or drama has ensued.

[ MORE: In the Mixed Zone

The idea is to set the scene of being inside the tunnel area in Old Trafford, by the dugouts at Stamford Bridge and in the swanky new players area in Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium as Premier League stars walk out of the dressing room and break down the game with media members around the world. We will tell you what they are saying and the kind of antics going on amid the hubbub of the mixed zone as players from both teams have their say on the 90-plus minutes of action we’ve just witnessed.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Here’s the scene from deep inside the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal’s players were very willing to stop and chat after the 4-0 win but Newcastle’s players were not as Martn Dubravka and Valentino Lazaro were the only two who wanted to discuss the drubbing as the scoreline flattered Arsenal a little.


WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Arsenal center back David Luiz, looking toasty on a chilly London evening in his Rag and Bone beanie, was full of praise for central midfielder Dani Ceballos.

Asked by Pro Soccer Talk about the Spanish midfielder playing in a slightly deeper role and dominating the game with his slick passing, Luiz is clearly a fan of the man on loan from Real Madrid.

“He is a great player. He is a player who is improving and working very well every single day,” Luiz said. “I think this kind of mentality is what we need for the team. He started very well when he came, he got an injury, he went and came back, he lost his position, he lost a bit of game time. He was trying to improve his game and in the moment that he has the opportunity he shows that he is a great player, like he did today. I think this is the kind of mentality that we need in the team. Big teams who win titles don’t just depend on 11 players. We need more players who are always ready to help. Dani showed that today, even the boys who came into the game showed the right mentality. I think we are improving because of that and we are understanding what we need to be a big team.”

Arteta also waxed lyrical about the performance of Ceballos, who walked through the mixed zone wearing a Louis Vuitton backpack which was designed like a soccer ball. My goodness, it was awesome. Also, how much do we estimate that cost!? Anyway, here’s Mikel…

“Dani Ceballos is a good example. He was injured and when he started to train I didn’t think he was fit enough. He completely changed his behavior and trained like an animal. I thought he was the best player on the pitch,” Arteta said.

As Ceballos is pushing for a permanent move to Arsenal and a place in Spain’s EURO 2020 squad, expect plenty more displays like this.

Alexandre Lacazette also stopped for a chat and was very positive about Arsenal’s performance, while Bukayo Saka was also extremely happy with his display. Shkodran Mustafi and Bernd Leno weren’t keen to stop for a chat but that’s probably because they were heading off towards Highbury and Islington tube station to down a few pints…


ALL ABOARD THE BANTER BUS

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang walked out and had a chuckle as the media lined up to speak to Luiz and then said something to him in French. Auba didn’t stop, while Hector Bellerin and Lucas Torreira nodded as they headed towards the exit.


MIXEDZONEOLOGY

Newcastle’s players did the classic move of walking behind the sponsorship boards and out of the exit. Danny Rose, on loan at Newcastle from Spurs, was in and out of the tunnel area as he tried to keep a low profile. Clever boy.

Arsenal’s sporting director Edu said hello and looked pretty happy after that win. He emerged from the elevator a few minutes later wearing a red and white scarf around his neck. A proper club man.


HERO OF THE MIXED ZONE

Congrats to Martin Dubravka, he is actually one of the nicest blokes in the game. The Slovakian goalkeeper is the most worked goalkeeper in the PL, according to stats released over the weekend, and despite letting in four goals and not covering himself in glory for Ozil’s goal, Dubravka spoke to the press. We appreciate that.