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Barcelona 4-0 Man City: Messi bags hat trick; Bravo blunders

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Barcelona beat Manchester City 4-0 on Wednesday night at the Nou Camp as a moment of madness from Claudio Bravo proved decisive in the Group C UEFA Champions League encounter.

[ MORE: UCL scores, stats ]

Before the game Pep Guardiola said he’d find out where his new team were at after facing his former club Barcelona. City showed signs of promise but that man Lionel Messi, Guardiola’s protege, tore them apart once again.

Messi gave the Spanish champions the lead in the first half and after Bravo was sent off for a calamitous red card early in the second half, Messi grabbed another as City were their own worst enemies.

Despite a promising spell either side of half time, Guardiola left his old stomping ground with his tail between his legs as Messi completed his hat trick and Neymar added a goal to put some extra gloss on the scoreline.

The win moves Barca to nine points from their opening three group games, while City remains on four points.

[ VIDEO: Sanchez wonder-goal ]

Early on Barca were dealt a blow as Jordi Alba hobbled off injured and Lucas Digne replaced him.

After a bright start City were then caught out by Messi (who else?) as he ghosted into the box after an unfortunate slip by Fernandinho and scored his 10th goal in his last eight Champions League games.

Before the game all the talk had been about Messi and how Guardiola wanted to try and sign him, if he ever decided to leave Barca, and it was the Argentine wonder who added the killer blow whenever the Catalan club needed it.

City’s uphill task just got more difficult after Messi’s first and they could’ve been 2-0 down had both Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic finished better in the box.

Guardiola’s boys felt the heat for a few moments following the opening goal but, overall, City responded well to going behind with Raheem Sterling getting some space on the right then Nolito got free down the left but Marc-Andre ter Stegen denied him.

Moments later ter Stegen was called into action again as Ilkay Gundogan drove into the box and he should’ve done better with his finish after skipping past three Barca defenders.

Before half time Gerard Pique had to come off injured as Luis Enrique was forced into yet another defensive reshuffle with Jeremy Mathieu coming on.

Messi played in Suarez before the break and he was clean through but Bravo blocked his first effort and then tipped the looping ball over.

City had a penalty shout for handball in the box before the break as Sterling’s cross appeared to hit Digne on the hand but nothing was given and Kevin De Bruyne slammed the loose ball into the side-netting.

Despite trailing 1-0 at half time, Guardiola would’ve have been encouraged by City’s response to going behind.

Man City started the second half brightly, too, with De Bruyne getting in behind and David Silva pulling the strings but then a moment of madness swung the game in Barcelona’s favor.

Before the game City’s players talked about having to be “perfect” to get anything at Barcelona. Bravo was far from that as he first miscued his attempted pass to give the ball straight to Suarez who chipped goalwards for what have been a certain second goal, bur then Bravo pushed the ball away with his hands while stood outside his box.

The Chilean goalkeeper was correctly shown a straight red card on his return to the Nou Camp less then two months after leaving Barca for Man City.

It was a nightmare scenario for Guardiola as Pablo Zabaleta was also injured in the play. City were down to 10 men with Willy Caballero and Gael Clichy subbing on.

It got worse moments later as Messi slotted home his second of the game and 88th UCL goal with a simple finish. 2-0.

City kept plugging away as De Bruyne raced through and drilled low by ter Stegen saved and they put on some pressure from set pieces but Barca managed to clear.

Barca then proceeded to pick City off on the counter and a mistake from Gnndogan let in Suarez who put it on a plate for Messi to grab a hat trick. 3-0. That’s now 89 UCL goals for Messi.

It wasn’t all good news for Barca as sub Mathieu was sent off late in the game for two yellow cards as he scythed down Sterling. Although the game ended level in terms of men on the pitch, 10-10, it was a convincing win for Barcelona as Neymar also missed a PK but then slotted home stylishly in the final minute. 4-0.

Welcome back to Barca, Pep…

AFCON wrap: Diaby’s sensational rip highlights trio of matches

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The Africa Cup of Nations said hello to six more competitors on Monday, with a thrilling goal amongst the eight tallied across the competitions in Egypt.

[ MORE: Copa America roundup ]


Mali 4-1 Mauritania

Two different men named Adama Traore — neither of them the Wolves winger — joined Moussa Marega on the score sheet but it’s difficult to describe the class and small margins that defined the tournament’s goal of the day.

Sporting Lisbon’s Abdoulay Diaby somehow got this shot off through two defenders and into the upper reaches of the goal to open the scoring in the three-goal win for Mali, which is having some summer when you take into account the U-20 World Cup.

Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa

There were only 13 total attempts in the game, and Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodija scored the lone goal of a tournament opening win for Les Elephants.

Tunisia 1-1 Angola

A draw was probably fair, as Youssef Msakni’s first half penalty was met by Djalma Campos’ late goal to split the spoils in Group E.

Copa America roundup: Uruguay tops Chile; Full knockout bracket

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Ecuador and Japan drew to allow Paraguay to sew up the final knockout round spot, sending Miguel Almiron and Co. into a match-up with Brazil.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

And Uruguay rode Edinson Cavani’s goal into the other side of the bracket, moving ahead of Chile in a tight match.

Ecuador 1-1 Japan

There was a lot to like in a match with 30-plus shots and the ultimate prize of a match-up with Brazil on Thursday in Porto Alegre.

Shoya Nakajima put the Asian side ahead a quarter-hour into the match, but Angel Mena provided an equalizer before halftime to put both sides in danger of failure to reach the knockout rounds.

Chile 0-1 Uruguay

Cavani scored for the second time this tournament as Uruguay claimed first place in Group A and a knockout round meeting with Peru.

Cavani’s deftly flicked header of a Jonathan Rodriguez pass pushed Uruguay above Chile, which had won both of its group matches and now meets Colombia on Friday.

Knockout round schedule

June 27
Brazil v. Paraguay

June 28
Venezuela v. Argentina
Colombia v. Chile

June 29
Uruguay v. Peru

July 2
Brazil/Paraguay v. Venezuela/Argentina
Colombia/Chile v. Uruguay/Peru

July 6
Third place playoff

July 7
Final

Norwich City adds Switzerland international Drmic on free transfer

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Norwich City has added a new star striker to a unit which produced 93 goals in the Championship last season.

Josip Drmic will join Swiss national teammate Timm Klose with the Canaries for the next three seasons, hoping to bring his Bundesliga and international experience to a Premier League safety campaign.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

Drmic turns 27 next month, and scored two goals in five appearances for Borussia Monchengladbach last season. He has 31 goals and seven assists in 107 Bundesliga appearances between Gladbach, Hamburger SV, Bayer Leverkusen, and Nurnberg.

Coach Daniel Farke got 30 goals from target forward Teemu Pukki, who plays a similar role to Drmic and has plenty of top flight experience with Celtic and Schalke amongst others.

Drmic can also operate on the wing, usually left over right, and has featured in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cup. From Canaries.co.uk:

“I’m going to do everything and give 100% on the pitch. I will be ready to give everything for the club. My job is scoring but I also want to help my team and help us be successful.

“When I first came to Norwich, the first thing I noticed was how kind everybody was. It’s given me a lot of positive energy and I’m excited to see what happens.”

Between Pukki and Drmic, Norwich can have faith that its well-prepared to have an answer up top.

Canada’s Beckie: Sinclair asked if I wanted to take penalty v. Sweden

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Prolific forward Janine Beckie didn’t dodge cameras after her missed penalty helped seal Canada’s fate at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, and she also explained why legendary striker Christine Sinclair wasn’t at the spot.

Beckie, 24, scored two goals in Canada’s run to the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and the Houston Dash forward and Texas Tech product has 25 goals in 57 caps.

[ MORE: Sweden tops Canada ]

The American-born Beckie was called upon to try to level the score against Sweden on Monday in the Round of 16, and took a solid effort which was parried by Hedvig Lindahl in an outstanding bit of goalkeeping.

“I’m confident in my penalty,” Beckie said. “I thought I hit it really well. I thought she made a really good save. It’s the big moments. It’s the moments that you live for. You get all the glory if it goes in, and you take the blame it feels like if you miss. That’ll stay with me for a long time.”

So why was she at the spot? Here’s Beckie on TSN, and Sinclair’s confirmation of the tale. As we expected, Lindahl’s success against Sinclair at the Algarve Cup played a role.

“Christine actually asked me if I wanted to take it. That’s a big moment for me and it’s gonna be hard for a while.”

Full marks for stepping up to both places: The penalty spot and the post-match interview.