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Brazil battle past Mexico as Neymar stars

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  • Brazil has never lost to Mexico at World Cup (scoring 13 goals, conceding 0)
  • Seventh-straight World Cup quarterfinal for Brazil
  • Mexico out at last 16 round in seven-straight World Cups

Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 in the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup on Monday in Samara, with the five-time champions battling past a stubborn El Tri side.

Neymar scored one and assisted Roberto Firmino for the other as Mexico ran out of steam after a fine first half performance.

Brazil will play the winner of Belgium v Japan in Kazan on Friday in the quarterfinal.

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Mexico started the game superbly as a cross from Andres Guardado on the left was only half cleared by Alisson and Lozano’s shot was blocked.

El Tri continued to threaten on the break and Carlos Vela was enjoying plenty of the ball on the left, as that set up another chance but Hector Herrera’s shot was blocked.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Brazil finally got going in the first half as Neymar cut in from the left and his shot was smothered by Guillermo Ochoa at the near post. Soon after both Gabriel Jesus and Coutinho got shots off but Brazil were second best as the half time whistle blew.

Jesus then danced through Mexico’s defense but his shot was saved by Ochoa and then another effort was blocked by the El Tri defense. Neymar went down theatrically to win a free kick but he curled the resulting free kick way over.

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At half time 39-year-old Rafael Marquez came off and Miguel Layun replaced him in a reshuffled for Juan Carlos Osorio as Layun went to right back and Edson Alvarez moved into holding midfield.

Ochoa saved well from Coutinho as the playmaker was allowed to dribble inside easily from a corner kick and get a shot off. Then on the break Jesus Gallardo then drove forward and then curled inches over with Lozano free on his right.

Neymar scored the opener after fantastic work from Willian who turned on the jets to glide past his marker and then cross to the back post for Brazil’s talisman to tap home.

Paulinho then forced Ochoa into a fine stop at the near post as he curled in a powerful effort, while Casemiro was then booked, meaning he will miss Brazil’s World Cup quarterfinal.

On the break Raul Jimenez, on as a sub for Javier Hernandez, played in Lozano who found Vela and his shot was pushed over by Alisson. Ochoa then tipped over brilliantly from Willian’s shot as Brazil pushed hard to get the killer second goal late on.

Neymar received plenty of rough challenges from Mexico’s players throughout, despite some embellishment, and Layun was shown stepping on him on the sidelines but no VAR review was sanctioned.

Brazil’s star man had the last laugh as he ran free down the left and his shot was saved by Ochoa but substitute Firmino tapped home to wrap up the 2-0 win and the Selecao into the last eight.

Jurgen Klopp has some hot takes on the UEFA Nations League

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Jurgen Klopp loves tepid friendlies.

Of course, we’re kidding, but the Liverpool manager is not happy with the new UEFA Nations League, which has amped up matches during international breaks previously reserved for experimental XIs and low-key affairs.

[ MORE: MLS State of Play ]

With Liverpool losing several players to injury — albeit two during Africa Cup of Nations qualifying — Klopp was asked for his opinion on Friday.

The vociferous German did not disappoint. From The Liverpool Echo:

“They say ‘now we have proper games, real opponents and it’s better than having friendlies’, stuff like that. … Maybe people want to see (boxer Anthony) Joshua fighting every second night but it’s not possible. Nobody asks for it in other sports.

“Do we really want opera every night or every two months? That’s the question. We have to be careful. That’s all I said. I like competition of course but at one point someone has to step back and say ‘wait, they are players, I want to watch it, but if they don’t perform then I am angry’. How can we make sure they perform? That’s all I wanted to say.”

Now I’m all for more personalities like Klopp in sports, but I have to say this is about as poor a take as it gets. Do I want any event I watch, let alone pay to see, to be less intense? Nope. Not at all.

Do I like preseason matches, or dead rubber games late in the season? Only in-as-much as they are examples of sports I like. Sorry that your guys are hurt, Jurgen, but no one short of Liverpool fans and other club managers are giving thumbs up to your talk.

I mean, seriously, have you ever watched a game and thought, “I’m glad these guys or girls aren’t trying as hard as they can!” Doesn’t being less tuned into a game provide more chances for someone to get hurt.

I don’t buy it one bit. Anyone in Jurgen’s camp? I’m happy to argue in the comments section.

Reports: Atlanta seals deal for Pity Martinez, will head to club Jan. 1

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Atlanta United is still sorting out its Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup runs, but 2019 is also coming into focus.

[ MORE: MLS State of Play ]

Reports say that Argentine winger Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez will indeed be the star Atlanta signs to offset to presumed sale of Miguel Almiron, who may be moving to Arsenal amongst several rumored European clubs.

Multiple reports say the Five Stripes’ pursuit of Martinez has paid off, with the River Plate man ready to bring his flashy game to Georgia.

Martinez has 25 goals and 23 assists in 136 matches, and will reportedly cost Atlanta around $17.2 million. TNT Los Angeles says the move will happen January 1.

Martinez debuted for Argentina’s senior national team last month, and scored on debut against Guatemala. He ticks all the boxes for technical director Carlos Bocanegra and president Darren Eales.

MLS State of Play: The final playoff spots

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Major League Soccer’s playoff races still carry intrigue heading into the final two weekends of the season, but the midweek matches which threatened to either amp up the excitement or take it down a few notches fell decidedly in the latter category.

[ PL PREVIEW: Chelsea vs. Manchester United ]

DC, Seattle, and Real Salt Lake all won their matches, as only eliminated New England and Real have played more than 32 matches.

Here’s what still at play at the bottom of the East and West playoff pictures, with the latter going first:

Real Salt Lake puts its on Rio Tinto, then has to wait

Mike Petke’s men play their final match of the regular season on Sunday, nursing a four-point lead over the LA Galaxy. RSL’s opponents are equally desperate Portland, which has fallen behind Seattle in the race for one of two first round home matches.

Should Real win, it can not be caught by the Galaxy regardless of what Zlatan Ibrahimovic might have up his sleeve. It would put Portland in danger of missing the playoffs by losing out and seeing the Galaxy win both of their matches, as the second tiebreaker would decide it and LA would make amends on its current three goal disadvantage in differential on the virtue of simple math.

Oh, and Vancouver! The ‘Caps need to win out, have the Galaxy gain no more than two points, and have Real lose in Portland on Sunday.

Sunday
LA Galaxy at Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers
Vancouver Whitecaps at LAFC

Oct. 28
Houston Dynamo at LA Galaxy
Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps

Western
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – FC Dallas 32 16 9 7 51 39 12 10-5-1 6-4-6 57
x – Sporting KC 32 16 8 8 60 39 21 9-5-2 7-3-6 56
x – Los Angeles FC 32 16 8 8 65 48 17 9-6-1 7-2-7 56
x – Seattle 32 16 5 11 47 34 13 9-2-5 7-3-6 53
Portland 32 14 9 9 50 46 4 10-4-2 4-5-7 51
Real Salt Lake 33 14 7 12 55 55 0 11-4-2 3-3-10 49
Los Angeles 32 12 9 11 61 60 1 8-4-4 4-5-7 45
Vancouver 32 12 7 13 50 64 -14 6-5-5 6-2-8 43
Minnesota 32 11 3 18 46 65 -19 10-1-5 1-2-13 36
Houston 32 9 8 15 53 53 0 8-3-5 1-5-10 35
Colorado 32 7 6 19 34 62 -28 5-3-8 2-3-11 27
San Jose 32 4 8 20 48 69 -21 2-5-9 2-3-11 20

Let’s be honest: For seventh place Montreal to make the playoffs, the Impact need either DC United or Columbus to get a really bad team-wide flu.

The Impact are four points back of DC and five behind Columbus with two matches to go.

Columbus plays at Orlando City and home to Minnesota United. Orlando has a single win since May 16, while Minnesota has a win and two draws in 16 away matches this year.

DC is home to New York City and away to Chicago, so this is clearly the club Montreal will be seeing as its target. For as bad as the Fire have been, they’ve beat some decent teams at home (This is MLS, after all, where home teams run free).

So the Impact will want to win out, but at least get four points and hope DC loses out. The Impact is home to struggling Toronto in a derby match and away to New England. It’s not improbable it gets the points it needs, but will it get help.

Eastern
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – Atlanta 32 20 6 6 67 39 28 10-4-2 10-2-4 66
x – New York 32 20 5 7 60 33 27 13-1-2 7-4-5 65
x – New York City FC 32 15 8 9 55 41 14 11-4-1 4-4-8 53
x – Philadelphia 32 15 5 12 48 46 2 9-2-5 6-3-7 50
Columbus 32 13 9 10 39 41 -2 10-4-2 3-5-8 48
D.C. 32 13 8 11 57 49 8 12-2-2 1-6-9 47
Montreal 32 13 4 15 45 52 -7 10-2-4 3-2-11 43
New England 33 9 11 13 48 55 -7 7-5-4 2-6-9 38
Toronto FC 32 9 6 17 55 61 -6 7-2-7 2-4-10 33
Chicago 32 8 7 17 47 59 -12 6-3-7 2-4-10 31
Orlando City SC 32 7 4 21 41 72 -31 5-4-7 2-0-14 25

Unstoppable Jovic nets 5 as Frankfurt routs Dusseldorf 7-1

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BERLIN (AP) Luka Jovic was in unstoppable form, scoring five goals as Eintracht Frankfurt crushed promoted Fortuna Dusseldorf 7-1 in the Bundesliga on Friday.

The 20-year-old Serbian is the first Frankfurt player to score five goals in a league game.

After grabbing two goals and two assists in his past two matches, he continued his rich vein of form. Jovic scored twice in quick succession during the first half after Sebastian Haller opened the scoring with a penalty.

[ PL PREVIEW: Huddersfield vs. Liverpool ]

Haller scored his second goal of the game shortly after the break, and he also set up Jovic’s fifth goal with a deft chip over the defense which the forward headed home in the 72nd minute.

Frankfurt coach Adi Hutter took Jovic off a few minutes from the end, but only so he could get a standing ovation from the home fans.

Frankfurt climbed to sixth place on goal difference ahead of Bayern Munich – which has not won its past three league games and is at Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Dusseldorf dropped to last place ahead of the rest of the eighth round.

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