Europa League Roundup: Spurs stumble, Liverpool grab first goal under Klopp

1 Comment

Liverpool 1, Rubin Kazan 1

Funny how these things write themselves. In Jurgen Klopp’s first game at Anfield as new manager of Liverpool, it’s a German to break the duck. Emre Can scored just before halftime, moments after Rubin Kazan captain Oleg Kuzmin was sent off, giving Liverpool its first goal under Klopp.

Can’s goal brought the Reds level at 1-1, and the home side completely dominated the entire second half a man up, but could not score, with Christian Benteke coming closest when he hit the post inside the final 10 minutes.

Anderlecht 2, Tottenham 1

Spurs blew an early lead after Christian Eriksen‘s 4th minute goal, conceding twice and falling to the Belgian side on Stefano Okaka’s 75th-minute winner. The loss drops Tottenham out of the Group J top spot and down to third (albeit just a point off the top spot), with Anderlecht and Monaco both jump into advancing positions halfway through group play.

FC Qabala 1, Borussia Dortmund 3

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got back on schedule with a hat-trick, bringing his season total to 17 goals in 17 matches across all competitions to ease Dortmund past last year’s third place finisher in the Azerbaijani league. The win maintains Dortmund’s outright lead in Group C, and returns them to Bundesliga play on a high after early October was not kind to them.

FC Midtjylland 1, Napoli 4

Napoli took firm control of Group D behind Manolo Gabbiadini’s brace and a worldly from Jose Callejon. The latter put Napoli in front after 19 minutes on a brilliant ball over the top from Kalidou Koulibaly, which landed at the feat of a streaking Callejon who lifted it superbly on first touch over Mikkel Anderson. Gabbiadini grabbed his brace, and Gonzalo Higuain came on late to add a fourth to move Napoli three points clear of Midtjylland at the top of the group.

Fenerbahce 1, Ajax 0

Turkish club Fenerbahce topped the Dutch leaders with a Fenrandao header in the 89th minute, throwing Group A even further out of whack. These two clubs came into the group stage favorites to go through to the knockout round, but have floundered early. The win moves Fenerbahce into second place behind Molde, while Ajax continues to flounder with just two points through three matches. Robin Van Persie was not a part of the Fenerbahce squad.

Braga 3, Olympique Marseille 2

Marseille’s nightmare season continued as they came back late before blowing it just moments later to fall out of an advancing position in Group F. The first half saw no goals, but Braga was suddenly ahead with a pair of goals before the 77th minute. Marseille triumphantly came back with two goals in three minutes to draw level on 87 minutes, but as the season has gone for the French club, they gacked it away when Brazilian winger Alan scored from close range just one minute later to push the Porguguese club in front. Marseille sits in 16th in the Ligue 1 table, and now sit on the outside looking in on their Europa League group as well.

Lazio 3, Rosenborg 1
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 0, St. Etienne 1
Lokomotiv Moscow 1, Besiktas 1
Sporting Lisbon 5, Skenderbeu Korce 1
Basel 1, Belenenses 2
Fiorentina 1, Lech Poznan 1
Schalke 2, Sparta Prague 2
Monaco 1, FC Qarabag 1
Villareal 4, Dinamo Minsk 1
AZ Alkmaar 0, Augsburg 1
APOEL 2, Asteras Tripoli 1
Molde 3, Celtic 1
Bordeaux 0, FC Sion 1
PAOK 0, Kuban Krasnodar 0
Legia Warsaw 1, Club Brugge 1
Rapid Vienna 3, Viktoria Plzen 2
Liberec 1, FC Groningen 1

Italian soccer federation signs deal with Chinese government

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Leave a comment

ROME (AP) The Italian soccer federation has signed a wide-ranging memorandum with the Chinese government to promote soccer between the two countries.

The deal foresees playing the Italian Super Cup or Italian Cup in China within the next three years.

[ MORE: Upsets in EURO qualifying ]

The Italian Super Cup – which pits the Serie A champion against the Italian Cup champion – has already been played in China four times over the last 10 years.

The meeting with China Media Group head Shen Haixiong also focused on TV content and rights, collaboration over developing young Chinese players in Italy and instruction for using the video assistant referee.

Shen was in Rome for the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Italian federation president Gabriele Gravina says, “Soccer has shown once again to be a bridge between different cultures.”

More AP soccer: and

WATCH: Asprilla scores terrific bicycle kick on USL cameo

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Portland Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla has had to spend some time in the USL Championship this season, and the second tier would probably like to see Gio Savarese keep the Colombian in Major League Soccer.

[ REPORT: Liverpool to sell Keita? ]

Asprilla scored twice and added an assists on Saturday night in a defeat of Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights, and he put up a near picture perfect bicycle kick on the highlight reel.

Watch as he sets himself up, willingly or not, for the endeavor before splashing a shot in the side panel for an amazing aesthetic.

Report: Bayern, BVB ready to buy Keita from Liverpool

Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A report claims that Liverpool is ready to admit defeat in the case of Naby Keita.

Keita, 24, was bought from RB Leipzig last season and arrived at Anfield in the summer, but has struggled to find consistent playing time under Jurgen Klopp.

[ VIDEO: USMNT’s Saief shines for FC Cincinnati ]

Viewed as the missing link between the Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s torrential attack, Keita has not come close to replicating the form that saw his price tag reach $69 million.

Indeed, Team Talk says Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich look prepared to pay around $53 million to bring Keita back to the Bundesliga.

Keita has played 27 matches in all competitions for Liverpool, accumulating 1,388 minutes and just one assist. He had nine goals and seven assists in more than double the minutes one season ago.

According to, he’s passing the ball better and taking almost a foul less than last season, but almost every other measurable has declined since he moved to England.

I’m as guilty as anyone of thinking Keita would be everything the Reds required after an improved 2017-18, but he’s either being used very poorly or having trouble adjusting to the culture.

It’s early to quit on a player so talented, but maybe Klopp and he just don’t mesh well. But if it isn’t a case of clashing with the club, it may be worth waiting out a player who looked a giant just eight months ago.

EURO qualifying: Hungary stings Croatia, Israel hangs 4 on Austria

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It wasn’t just Germany and the Netherlands staging a tight and entertaining match in EURO 2020 qualifying on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Saief, Manneh lead FC Cincinnati ]

Hungary 2-1 Croatia

Ante Rebic’s early goal made a “business as usual” statement for the World Cup runners-up, but Hungary can be a handful against any opponents and rallied at home.

Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai brought the hosts level at halftime, and Mate Patkai gave Hungary a deserved 2-1 win in Budapest.

Coming three days after a loss in Slovakia to start qualifying, it was an early almost-must-win for Marco Rossi’s men.

Israel 4-2 Austria

Marko Arnautovic‘s brace in defeat couldn’t have come with different vibes. His eighth minute marker gave the Austrians a leg up, his 75th minute goal meaning very little with the side having conceded four-straight in between.

China-based striker Eran Zahavi scored a hat trick for Israel, and RB Salzburg star Munas Dabbur scored the fourth goal to keep the hosts within sight of first place Poland.

Austria is winless through two qualifiers.

Wales 1-0 Slovakia
Cyprus 0-2 Belgium
San Marino 0-2 Scotland
Netherlands 2-3 Germany — RECAP, VIDEO
Northern Ireland 2-1 Belarus
Poland 2-0 Latvia
Slovenia 1-1 Macedonia
Kazakhstan 0-4 Russia