AP Photo/Francisco Seco

Ramos cleared to play for Real Madrid in La Liga

Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has recovered from a broken nose and been cleared to play in the Spanish league this weekend.

The defender, wearing a protective mask, trained fully and was available to face Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, coach Zinedine Zidane said on Friday.

Ramos was injured two weeks ago in the derby against Atletico Madrid, and missed three matches.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Right back Dani Carvajal has also regained his fitness and is likely to return on Saturday.

Gareth Bale, however, is out again because of a muscle injury. Bale returned to action on Tuesday in the Copa del Rey against Fuenlabrada, helping to set up two goals, but felt discomfort again and has not practiced.

“It’s not something serious but we don’t want to take any risks,” Zidane said. “He hasn’t played for a long time, so it’s tough for him. I don’t know when he will be available again. He will overcome this.”

Bale has played only 10 matches for Madrid this season and missed the final World Cup qualifiers for Wales, which failed to qualify.

Madrid is fourth in the league, eight points behind leader Barcelona.

Athletic, 16th in the 20-team standings, is winless in five league games and is coming off Copa del Rey elimination by third-division club Formentera.

BARCELONA’S NEMESIS

On Saturday, Barcelona hosts a Celta Vigo team it has struggled against recently. The teams have split their last four matches.

“We have to be cautious,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on Friday.

ATLETICO’S STREAK

Third-place Atletico Madrid hosts Real Sociedad on Saturday to try to extend its three-match winning streak in all competitions.

“Our defense had been playing well, but now the offense has been doing a god job as well,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

Haiti stuns Costa Rica to claim Group B at Gold Cup

AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Leave a comment

Poetic justice, put it in a Song.

Haiti’s Djimy Alexis made up for his early own goal by scoring a deserved winner as Haiti won Group B of the Gold Cup with an upset of Costa Rica on Monday.

[ ROUNDUPS: AFCON | Copa America ]

Los Ticos got everything they could handle from the upstart Gombey Warriors, who are now 3-0 on the tournament, and the World Cup mainstays tossed aside their early lead to meet Mexico in the quarterfinals.

Haiti will challenge Canada in the quarters, guaranteeing the semifinals an intriguing participant.

An early own goal had Costa Rica in control, but Duckens Nason’ 16th international goal was a part of a hard charge from the Haitians in the second half.

The other match saw Bermuda earn a 2-0 win over Nicaragua via goals from Lejuan Simmons and QPR’s Nakhi Wells. That gives the Gombey Warriors a 1-2 record while dropping Nicaragua to 0-3.

Bermuda was ranked 174th by FIFA to Nicaragua’s 129, but that will certainly change next month.

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

(Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Leave a comment

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

AP Photo/Leo Correa
Leave a comment

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

Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.