USA 0-0 Serbia: Serbia downs US 6-5 in penalty kicks in U-20 World Cup quarters

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The United States held on against Serbia for 120 minutes of scoreless soccer, but couldn’t survive a nine-round penalty shootout, losing 6-5 to be bounced from the U-20 World Cup.

It marks the end of a great run for Tab Ramos’ side, who surprised many by making it to the quarterfinals of the competition.

[ RELATED: EURO 2016 qualifying roundup ]

After beating Colombia 1-0 against all the run of play in the round of 16, it looked like the U.S. was about to pull off another unlikely victory against the Serbs in Auckland.

The U.S. had a good run of play for the opening 25 minutes of the match, but facing one of the toughest defenses in the tournament in Serbia, failed to create any dangerous chances on goal.

Once Serbia settled in and found their game, they controlled play for most of the match.

San Jose Earthquakes’ striker Tommy Thompson got his first start of the tournament for the United States and had the best chance of the first half for the Stars and Stripes, but his shot with the outside of his foot curled just wide of the Serbian net.

[ RELATED: What we learned on Day 8 of the Women’s World Cup ]

Both sides went into the break tied 0-0 after a relatively cautious first half, with neither team posing any major threats on the attack.

In the second half Serbia created more opportunities offensively, but Zack Steffen made a few fine saves in net for the U.S.

Steffen enjoyed a brilliant tournament for the United States, as the University of Maryland-product was one of the main reasons they advanced to the quarterfinals in the first place.

One of the brightest prospects following a long line of great U.S. goalkeepers, Steffen showed why he left college early to join Bundesliga-side Freiburg.

[ RELATED: Colombia stuns heavyweights France 2-0 in Women’s World Cup ]

Steffen kept the match scoreless with a great save off a free kick in the 68th minute, diving low to his right side to get a hand on a ball destined for the bottom corner.

As Serbia continued to press, defender Matt Miazga stayed strong on the right-side while Cameron Carter-Vickers cleared anything that came his way. After 90 scoreless minutes, the match headed to extra-time.

Serbia had the better of chances in extra-time, but just as two of the other three quarterfinal matchups ended, the match would be decided in a penalty shootout.

Rajkovic made two big saves for Serbia in the penalty shootout.

Rubio Rubin was the first to shoot for the United States, and had his shot stopped by Serbian keeper Predrag Rajkovic.

The next four shooters for the U.S., Desevio Payne, Paul Arriola, Emerson Hyndman, Gedion Zelalem, would all score, as Stanisa Mandic was the only Serbian to miss.

Then the goalkeepers faced off as Rajkovic stepped up to the spot for Serbia, but Zack Steffen stoned his counterpart to keep the United States alive.

Substitute Joel Sonora would hit the crossbar before Cameron Carter-Vickers skied his shot over the net, unfortunate as the young defender played such a strong game for Tab Ramos’ side.

Steffen would make another stop for the U.S., but John Requejo had his shot saved as Serbia advanced to the semifinals 6-5.

LINEUPS

Serbia: Rajkovic, Antonov, Stevanovic, Veljkovic, Babic,  Zdjelar, Maksimovic, Zivkovic, Sergej (Grujic, 111′), Gacinovic (Saponjic, 68′), Mandic

USA: Steffen, Requejo, Carter-Vickers, Miazga, Payne, Zelalem, Delgado, Hyndman, Arriola, Rubin, Thompson (Sonora, 103′)

La Liga roundup: Celta spoil Hazard’s return in Real Madrid draw

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Real Madrid’s draw against relegation-battling Celta Vigo highlights La Liga’s Sunday action.

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Real Madrid 2-2 Celta Vigo 

Celta’s Santi Mina scored in 85th minute to give a depleted Celta Vigo a precious point at the Santiago Bernabeu, spoiling Eden Hazard‘s return to Real Madrid’s lineup after a notable absence.

Madrid’s eighth draw of the season moves champions Barcelona just one point behind Zinedine Zidane’s side.

Returning from ankle injury that kept his out of action for three months, Hazard returned to the pitch in fine style, leading all players on the field in chances created with three and earning a penalty that Sergio Ramos converted to put Real Madrid ahead.

Hazard – and all of his flair – left the field in the 70th minute, granting Vinicius Junior the final 20 minutes of the match.

Ramos’ sixth goal of the season builded on Toni Kroos’ left-footed strike early in the latter half of the match. Real Madrid, more or less, were cruising against Celta, who had a goal to their name following Fyodor Smolov’s early opener.

Celta, who had arrived in Madrid in 18th place and had lost their last seven at the host’s home, were destined to do the unthinkable. Denis Suarez and Mina – both utilized as substitutes – paired up for the equalizer with five minutes to go, spoiling Hazard’s return.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Sevilla 2-2 Espanyol

Leganes 0-0 Real Betis 

Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Osasuna

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.