Sturridge nabs point for Liverpool at Chelsea

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  • WATCH: Hazard puts Blues ahead
  • Reds have more possession, shots
  • Kovacic with assist
  • Sturridge scores 50th LFC goal

Daniel Sturridge‘s amazing 89th minute goal helped Liverpool rescue a point against Chelsea in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Eden Hazard scored for Chelsea in the first half, and Liverpool had chances cleared off the line by both Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz, once in each half.

Liverpool joins Man City on a league-best 19 points, two better than Chelsea

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Chelsea had wealth of possession in the first 20 minutes aside from a Roberto Firmino half-chance that went out for a Liverpool corner.

The best chance of the early throes deservedly went to Chelsea, with Alisson Becker racing off his line to thwart Willian‘s left-footed plan.

The Blues’ well-earned lead came when Hazard met a terrific ball from Mateo Kovacic and beat Alisson with a low left-footed shot.

The play began with Hazard deep in the midfield, working a quick exchange and then flying down field to meet Kovacic’s invitation.

Amazing work from Mohamed Salah nearly leveled the score line in the 32nd minute, as he out-battled David Luiz and Kepa Arrizabalaga only to see his sharp-angled effort cleared off the goal line by Antonio Rudiger.

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The break ended and Chelsea came out of the gate with energy, Willian especially dangerous down the left.

N'Golo Kante spied Hazard with a magnificent cross field pass, but the Belgian’s hopeful cross did not yield a proper shot on goal.

Arrizabalaga made an outstanding slap save on Mane in the 58th minute, leading to a series of corner kicks.

A quick restart gave Hazard a 1v1 with Becker, but the Belgian’s nutmeg effort caught the Brazilian’s dragged foot and popped over the bar.

Klopp removed Salah for Xherdan Shaqiri, and the Swiss attacker left David Luiz behind before missing a far post sitter of sorts.

But it was another sub who would find Liverpool’s goal, as Sturridge dipped an effort from distance over Arrizabalaga.

Former Arsenal, Brazil midfielder Baptista announces retirement

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Julio Baptista’s time at Arsenal only lasted 12 months, but it was a memorable stint.

The Brazilian, who played the 2006-07 season for the Gunners, announced his retirement on Thursday at the age of 37. The former Brazil international only managed 10 goals with Arsenal, but they came in bunches.

Baptista memorably scored four goals against Liverpool in the League Cup quarterfinal, as Arsenal finished with a 6-3 win. Baptista even missed a penalty kick that game.

Baptista cemented his legacy later in the season with a brace in the FA Cup against rival Tottenham.

Baptista, clearly an immensely talented player, suffered from being a good, but not great player. He seemed to have no perfect position other than the No. 10, and most teams he played for had better players in that position. It forces him to play along the wings, deeper in midfield or as a striker during the prime of his career.

In the end, injuries beset his career, especially a short spell at Orlando City in MLS.

 

U-20 World Cup Rewind: Italy tops Mexico, host Poland falls on Day 1 (video)

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Italy opened the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with a bang, knocking off fellow Group B favorite Mexico, 2-1, in Gdynia, Poland.

It only took Italy three minutes to get on the board, as Davide Frattesi found a pocket of space in front of the El Tri backline and dribbled in on goal. The Sassuolo midfielder then decided to fire on goal from distance, hitting a rocket into the corner to give Italy a 1-0 lead.

Later in the first half Gianluca Scamacca also took a rip from outside the box, but his strike sailed just wide.

A defensive error on a corner kick gave Diego Lainez and Mexico life. In the 37th minute, AC Milan product Alessandro Plizzari committed a howler, coming out to punch away the curled corner kick. Plizzari missed the ball and it went right to the head of Roberto De La Rosa, who calmly made it 1-1.

El Tri however suffered a blow late in the match as Italy took back the lead. In the 67th minute, Luca Ranieri collected the ball on the edge of the six yard box and from a tight angle, he scored past Mexico goalkeeper Carlos Higuera.

For Mexico, it’s a rough way to start the World Cup, having to go against a perennial power in Italy and playing on European soil. Not all is lost for Mexico, but it has to rebound with a win in its next game against Japan.

Elsewhere, Colombia defeated host Poland, 2-0, Japan tied Ecuador 1-1, and Senegal beat Tahiti, 3-0.

Saudis, Bahrain, UAE join to bid for FIFA’s U-20 World Cup

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GENEVA (AP) Middle East neighbors Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are jointly bidding to host the Under-20 World Cup in 2021.

FIFA says the Gulf plan is among five to express interest in bidding, including Brazil.

Indonesia, Peru and a Myanmar-Thailand joint bid are the others.

FIFA announced the contenders Thursday, one day after dropping a proposal for Qatar to share hosting duties for the 2022 World Cup with regional neighbors.

The 2021 U20 contenders must submit a formal bid by Aug. 30. FIFA’s ruling Council will pick the winner, likely in October.

The 2019 edition kicks off Thursday in Poland.

Putin awards medal to FIFA president Infantino

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MOSCOW (AP) Vladimir Putin has given FIFA president Gianni Infantino a medal.

The Russian president awarded Infantino the Order of Friendship at the Kremlin on Thursday.

Infantino has often said last year’s World Cup in Russia, where the host nation surprisingly reached the quarterfinals, was the best of the 21 editions of the tournament.

Putin thanked the FIFA leader for “your glowing assessment of our efforts.”

Infantino says of Russia’s “bonds of friendship” with soccer “is not the end, it is only the beginning of our fruitful cooperation and interaction.”

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