Argentina bounced back from a defeat and a draw in their first two games to avoid what would have been an indefensible disaster — failing to advance from the group — by beating Qatar 2-0 in the two sides’ Group B finale.
Lautaro Martinez scored what turned out to be the game-winner after just four minutes. Qatar attempted to play the ball out of the back, but a pass from a Qatari defender was badly mishit and went straight to Martinez, who was quick to corral the ball and run it down for a one-time finish from just inside the box.
Sergio Aguero put the game to bed with a brilliant individual goal in the 82nd minute. After receiving the ball 40 yards from goal, Aguero bust forward and went past two defenders in a flash before picking out a small window to hit with his left-footed finish from 12 yards out.
Up next for Lionel Messi and Co., is a quarterfinal tangle with Venezuela.
Colombia 1-0 Paraguay
Having already secured a place in the quarters, Colombia finished group play with a perfect nine-point record and locked up first place in the group edging past Paraguay.
Gustavo Cuellar bagged the game’s only goal in the 31st minute, when he snuck the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs from an impossibly tight angle.
Colombia finished Group B with three victories, by way of four goals scored and zero goals conceded.
Monday’s Copa America schedule
Chile v. Ecuador — 7 p.m. ET
Ecuador v. Japan — 7 p.m. ET
Lo Celso stamped on Azpilicueta’s leg as the Chelsea skipper slid in to get the ball and even though the Spanish defender was on the floor, Spurs’ Argentine playmaker had enough time to pull out of the challenge.
Injuries are piling up for both sides but Chelsea’s lack of clinical finishing has hurt them for several months as they’ve won just four of their last 14 Premier League games. Mourinho knows this is a good time for him to take his team to Stamford Bridge, even with his own injury crisis to deal with.
Not only does the Mourinho storyline carry significant weight ahead of Saturday’s showdown at the Bridge, so too does the two sides’ increasingly tight battle for a top-four finish. As recently as Jan. 17, Chelsea enjoyed a nine-point lead on Tottenham, but the Blues’ current run of just one win from their last six PL games has seen that advantage shrink to a single point with the very real possibility of flipping two points in the opposite direction once the full-time whistle blows.
On the other hand, Spurs would already be miles clear if not for dropping a combined seven points from three games against the current 12th-, 19th- and 20th-place sides in recent weeks.
Following a period of turmoil and instability which saw them drop dangerously close to the relegation zone prior to his arrival in 2017, Hodgson has steadied the ship and guided the Eagles to 11th- and 12th-place finishes in his first two seasons and has them sitting just a point out of 12th with a dozen games to go this season. At no point in his tenure has Palace flirted with relegation, and that’s apparently enough to earn a new deal to remain in charge — quotes from Sky Sports:
“The club have presented me with a contract and although the chairman has been away this week I’ve had a cursory glance through it. It all looks fine to me so I am pretty certain that at some point soon we’ll sit down and get it signed.
“If I am going to stay, it will be because I believe funds will be made available because we’ve had the intention to improve the squad and the team for a while now.
“We all realize you can’t make improvements to the actual team without spending some money. But I would never make those type of demands, because you can’t make any guarantees in the transfer market.
“All you can do is have good intention and if I signed for another year, I would sign because I believed the intentions are true and that something will happen going into the next season.”
As for the transfer situation, that’s something that’ll need to be sorted out in very short order if Palace plan to maintain their current place in the PL’s hierarchy, otherwise they’ll learn a harsh — and quick — lesson about standing still while everyone else is moving forward.