Getty Images

La Liga: Valencia strengthens European position, Valladolid takes massive late blow

Leave a comment

Valencia earned a massive three points in the race for a European place as they topped Levante 3-1 thanks to a brace from Santi Mina. The 23-year-old directed a pinpoint header inside the far post on just two minutes in to give Valencia the lead at home, and while the rest of the first half was uneventful, the second half began with excitement, especially for Valencia winger Carlos Soler.

The 22-year-old saw a Levante corner deflect off his foot and into the back of his own net to level the score 56 minutes in, then just a minute later he assisted Goncalo Guedes with a fabulous back-heel as the hosts went back in front.  Six minutes later, Soler was also involved in Valencia’s third as his shot from a tight angle was saved and fell right to Mina on the doorstep for a simple tap-in.

Real Valladolid was in position to pull themselves out of the relegation zone, leading Getafe 2-1 and up a man, but the visitors snatched a last-gasp draw as an Oscar Plano foul in the penalty area sent Jorge Molina to the spot in the 96th minute, and he buried the penalty to level the score at the death. The loss of two points is massive for the hosts as they now remain in 18th place, failing to climb out of the drop. All three points would have sent them above Celta Vigo into 17th in the table.

The game started with a bang, as Getafe’s Mauro Arambarri scored a wonderful strike from well outside the penalty area, a howitzer that found the top-left corner. The hosts came from behind to eventually take the lead, finding goals from Sergi Guardiola a half-hour in, followed by Enes Unal who put Valladolid in front on 64 minutes.

Athletic Club remained in the hunt for a European position as they topped 10-man Rayo Vallecano 3-2 behind a brace from Inaki Williams. The 24-year-old scored his 11th goal of the season just two minutes in to put the hosts up, followed by his second just five minutes after the halftime break to put Athletic back in front. Raul Garcia scored the eventual winner in the 72nd minute, able to hold off Rayo who pulled back within one as Raul de Tomas scored with five minutes to go.

Real Sociedad and Eibar played to a 1-1 draw on goals in the 1st minute and 85th minute bookending a weird one that featured total domination by Eibar, and yet they failed to do much of anything. Real Sociedad went in front right from the jump as Juanmi scored 11 seconds in, the fastest La Liga goal since 2014. That was essentially it for the hosts, who were peppered by 17 Eibar shots, but just two of those found the target. Marc Cardona should have scored in the 34th minute in the best chance for the visitors, but Joan Jordan was on hand with five minutes remaining to finally break the deadlock with an exquisite free-kick.

Villareal kept pace two points above the drop with a monumental 1-0 road win at Girona behind a seventh-minute strike from Samuel Chukwueze. The 19-year-old blistered down the field on a breakaway and finished calmly for the game’s only goal.

Premier League weekend friendlies: Man Utd-Inter, PL Asia Trophy

Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP
Leave a comment

This weekend in Premier League preseason friendlies sees Liverpool taking on a pair of top European foes, while four PL foes trade blows in Shanghai.

Man City and Wolves move on from significant defeats of Newcastle and West Ham, who in turn will face each other on Saturday.

You can watch Saturday’s Premier League Asia Trophy matches between Wolves and Man City, and Newcastle versus West Ham here on NBC Sports Live.

Meanwhile, Manchester United will tangle with Romelu Lukaku-chasing Inter Milan on Saturday (and, no, the Belgian striker won’t be in uniform).

There’s also a sneaky good match-up of Watford and Bayer Leverkusen in Austria on Saturday, while Sunday’s light docket has Spurs facing Matthijs de Ligt and Juventus in Singapore.

Friday
Borussia Dortmund v. Liverpool (Notre Dame, Indiana)

Saturday
Girona v. Bournemouth
Arsenal
v. Fiorentina (Charlotte)
Fulham v. Brighton and Hove Albion
Cheltenham Town v. Leicester City
Crewe Alexandra v. Burnley
Port Vale v. Burnley
Bromley v. Crystal Palace
Man City 
v. Wolves (Shanghai)
Inter Milan v. Manchester United (Singapore)
Newcastle United v. West Ham (Shanghai)
Northampton Town v. Sheffield United
Preston North End v. Southampton
Watford 
v. Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Sunday
Shrewsbury Town v. Aston Villa
Liverpool 
v. Sevilla (Boston)
Juventus v. Spurs (Singapore)

PL friendly wrap: Pukki leads Norwich past Schalke

Photo by Thomas F. Starke/Bongarts/Getty Images
Leave a comment

London sides went 0-2, while three other Premier League sides won ahead of Friday night’s friendly between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund in Indiana.

[ MORE: Algeria wins AFCON ]

The wins included defeats of Schalke and Monaco, while Brighton and Hove Albion topped lower league Crawley Town.

Schalke 1-2 Norwich City

Teemu Pukki had a goal and an assist, giving hope that the Championship goal collector can bring his game to the Premier League.

Pukki’s 13th minute goal was assisted by Man City loanee Patrick Roberts, and the Finn later assisted Moritz Leitner‘s winner.

Rabbi Matondo scored Schalke’s only goal, and American midfielder Weston McKennie was neither with the starters nor the bench.

Everton 1-0 Monaco

Seamus Coleman scored and Maarten Stekelenburg stopped a penalty as the Toffees handled their Ligue 1 opposition in Switzerland.

Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 ChelseaRECAP

Leandro Damaio scored the lone goal as Chelsea had plenty of chances to win in Christian Pulisic‘s debut. The American came off the bench for the final 25 minutes in Japan.

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Crystal Palace

Albert Adomah scored the lone goal in a win for the Championship side.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 Crawley Town

New signing Taylor Richards‘ late penalty kick was enough for the Seagulls to get a result at home. The Man City midfielder arrived on Thursday.

Liverpool v. Borussia Dortmund (Notre Dame, Indiana) — 8 p.m. ET

Algeria wins Africa Cup of Nations

Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP
Leave a comment

In the words of a Missouri-born rapper, you only get one shot. In Algeria’s case in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, that was true and it was all the Desert Foxes needed to claim their first AFCON title since 1990 with a 1-0 defeat of Senegal on Friday at Cairo International Stadium in Cairo.

Baghdad Bounedjah’s wildly-deflected second minute shot was enough to give Algeria its second AFCON crown.

Senegal out shot Algeria 11-1 on the day, but Sadio Mane and Co. couldn’t find their way over the goal line.

One-time Man City and Southampton player Djamel Belmadi has now managed an AFCON winner and a Gulf Cup of Nations champion (Qatar, 2014).

[ MORE: Ballon d’Or w/o Messi, Ronaldo? ]

Bounedjah’s wild rip after a cut-in from the left bounded into the air and looped into the far corner. Senegal goalkeeper Amigo Gomis made it look more odd with his befuddlement (Scramble, my guy!).

Referee Neant Alioum’s ruling of a penalty to Senegal after Ismaila Sarr’s rip hit the arm of Adlene Guedioura was overturned when review showed the Algeria midfielder’s arm was at his side.

We mean, was this going to be the goal that won Africa’s most important tournament? Yep.

Ajax seals El Tri’s young star Alvarez for $17M

Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
1 Comment

Ajax has developed a ton of youngsters, and now has a pair of CONCACAF starlets in the fold for 2019-20.

A day after selling Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus for a reported $84 million, the Dutch side has delivered on reports that it wanted Edson Alvarez.

That puts the 21-year-old Mexican defender/defensive midfielder in the Eredivisie side with 18-year-old Dutch-American defender Sergino Dest.

While Dest has yet to break into the full USMNT, playing in the U-20 World Cup this summer, Alvarez already has 28 caps and five goals for El Tri.

He’ll bring a relative wealth of experience from Club America, and Ajax could use him to help offset the sale of Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona. While Alvarez has played a lot of center back in Liga MX, he’s been used at defensive midfielder by Tata Martino with the national team.

The reported fee is $17 million, according to Goal.