David Ospina

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Colombia downs Argentina 2-0 after big Messi miss

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A miserable opening 45 minutes gave way to a more exciting second half, and Roger Martinez came off the bench to win the day with a 71st minute stunner to give Colombia all three points in Bahia, supported by a late cherry on top from Duvan Zapata.

The goal came just minutes after Lionel Messi missed a golden opportunity to give Argentina the lead during a spell of serious possessional domination midway through the second half. Once again, the Argentinian collection of star forwards came up empty, a drought that continues to plague the side in big matches.

The first half, largely, was a physical mess with very few real chances on net. The possession was nearly even between the two sides, neither team registered a shot on target, and there were just five shots overall in the first half, including just one for Argentina.

Early on, Lionel Messi was at the heart of Argentina’s best chance as he delivered a stunning long ball forward for Sergio Aguero, but with David Ospina coming acres out of his net to challenge with a flying karate kick, the offside flag went up to end the chance. Colombia was dealt an early blow as Luis Muriel was forced off with an early thigh injury, replaced by Martinez in a move that would eventually prove critical.

Argentina suffered a near-disaster when Nicolas Otamendi delivered a dangerous back-pass to goalkeeper Franco Armani who sent it right back to his defender with both under heavy pressure, but they escaped just conceding a corner and it came to nothing for Colombia.

After the break, the game opened up a bit but there were still few chances on net. Messi nearly weaved his way through the entire Colombian defense, nutmegging Davinson Sanchez before Wilmar Barrios came in to cut the ball off, but the referee made a controversial decision not to award an illegal back-pass as Barrios then touched back to Ospina who collected in his arms. Instead, he showed a yellow card to Leandro Paredes for dissent after the action arguing his case.

The two teams burst into a scuffle when Messi was hacked down by Juan Cuadrado past the hour mark as Argentina began to grab hold of the game. Cuadrado received a yellow of his own and was withdrawn shortly thereafter. On the hour mark, Messi had a golden opportunity to give Argentina the lead, but as Paredes saw his effort saved, the rebound came to Messi but he headed wide right from point-blank range despite the goal gaping.

Minutes later Colombia took the lead through a simple yet stunning move as Martinez burst down the left and cut inside just outside the top of the penalty area, unleashing a fabulous strike that left a diving Armani with no chance as it buried into the side netting inside the far post.

Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni somehow decided that 31-year-old Matias Suarez was the choice for a last throw of the dice off the bench, choosing the man with two prior international caps over the likes of Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martinez. Instead, Colombia went down the other end and eviscerated the Argentina defense with a vicious counter down the left as Roger Martinez combined with Jefferson Lerma. The latter crossed to the doorstep and Zapata – who came on just five minutes earlier for Radamel Falcao – somehow beat the napping center-back pairing of German Pezzella and Otamendi.

The win for Colombia gives them an early advantage in Group B, while Argentina can still rescue its situation with matches remaining against Paraguay and Qatar. The loss marks the third in Argentina’s last four competitive matches, with losses to France and Croatia in World Cup play prior to this defeat.

Ospina left in game after early head injury, collapses before halftime

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Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina was taken to the hospital with some urgency after collapsing on the pitch just before halftime at San Paolo Stadium on Sunday.

In the fifth minute of Napoli’s match against Udinese, Ospina was involved in a collision with Ignacio Pussetto, with the Udinese striker chasing a Kevin Lasagna cross, his boot meeting the ball at the same time as Ospina arrived to collect or contest. Ospina immediately clutched his head and received treatment, but was allowed to continue.

In the 41st minute, during a stoppage in play with the ball near the center of the pitch, Ospina collapsed onto his back seemingly either unconscious or barely conscious, and the players around him immediately motioned for medical assistance. The training staff arrived and checked his airways as they began treatment.

Eventually, Ospina was carted off and brought to a local hospital for tests. Napoli later confirmed that a CAT scan cleared Ospina of any immediate danger but that he would stay at the medical center overnight.

If Ospina suffered a concussion at the time of the early collision, Napoli’s decision to leave him in the game could have had dangerous consequences. There has been a heightened sensitivity to head injuries in the sport in recent years thanks to awareness of second-impact syndrome which leaves those suffering from a concussion at deadly risk should they receive another brain trauma. If he comes out of the incident otherwise unscathed, Ospina’s collapse could be seen as a blessing in disguise as it removed him from danger on the pitch and forced him to receive medical treatment.

Ospina joined Napoli this season on a loan deal from Arsenal and has made 14 Serie A appearances, sharing time between the sticks with Orestis Karnezis almost dead evenly. Napoli would go on to win 4-2 despite Udinese having leveled the score at 2-2 just before Ospina’s collapse.

Serie A: Napoli scraps to draw, Inter tops SPAL

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Napoli failed to restore its eight-point lead over AC Milan in the Serie A table as Carlo Ancelotti’s squad required an 86th minute goal to earn a 1-1 road draw at Sassuolo.

Domenico Berardi put the home side up 52 minutes in as a cross from the right flank was blocked by a sliding Allan at the near post but the ball stayed in play and pinged around to Berardi who popped it into the back of the net from close range off the fingertips of a scrambling David Ospina. Gianluca Pegolo stopped Amadou Diawara’s long-range effort on 74 minutes, but Napoli managed to draw level in the 86th minute as Lorenzo Insigne collected a deflected cross and rifled it into the far corner.

Inter, meanwhile, popped off 15 shots on the SPAL defense, and while they only put two on target, they buried both those attempts in a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Matteo Politano and Roberto Gagliardini.

The hosts had the opener on the half-hour mark, but VAR ruled the goal out for a handball as Lautaro Martinez controlled a cross at the top of the box before rifling into the back of the net. After the break, Politano’s opener came on the 66th minute, collecting the ball thanks to a fortunate deflection off Pasquale Schiattarella before delivering a wonderful finish tucked inside the far corner. Gagliardini killed off the game with a sloppy volleyed effort from the penalty spot in the 77th minute and Inter moved six points in the final Champions League spot ahead of three teams level on points behind them.

Torino and Atalanta both kept pace with victories, moving up to 44 points to pull level with Roma and sit six back of Inter in fourth. Roma plays tomorrow, visiting Empoli.

Andrea Belotti bagged a winning brace as Torino went to Frosinone and came from behind to win 2-1, condemning the hosts to another week of relegation talk. Frosinone went ahead as Luca Paganini expertly headed home a corner into the far corner, giving the 19th-placed side hope. After the break, Belotti brought Torino level as he responded with a header of his own, meeting Iago Falque’s free-kick at the far post. His second featured an acrobatic finish, a low overhead kick that met Ola Aina’s headed cross in the 77th minute.

Lazio, meanwhile, fell behind the pace, slumping to a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina as Luis Muriel’s second-half goal cancelled out a Ciro Immobile opener. Lazio weathered 13 shots from the hosts, and while Fiorentina put just one on target, they scored with it as Kevin Mirallas did excellent work on the right flank and rifled in a cross to the middle where Murial simply redirected it into the far corner.

Robin Gosens was the one to send Atalanta through with a road win of its own, scoring the winner with a stunning 77th minute touch from an unbelievably tight angle nearly on the byline. Mario Pasalic’s cross was tipped by a diving Emil Audero, and with the goal open, Gosens redirected the ball over the goal line. His goal broke a 1-1 scoreline after Duvan Zapata and Fabio Quagliarella had cancelled each other out each with second-half goals.

Finally, Bologna pummeled Cagliari to earn a 2-0 win at home. The hosts ripped off a whopping 21 shots, putting nine on target that led to goals by Erick Pulgar and Roberto Soriano. The former scored from the spot in the 34th minute to open the scoring while Soriano finished it off with 13 minutes to go after great individual work on the ball at the doorstep.

Klopp thrilled as Liverpool wins with ‘Anfield live and in color’

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Jurgen Klopp is extremely pleased with his Liverpool side following a 1-0 defeat of Napoli which sent them into the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League.

“Wow, what a game,” he said. “I am not sure a manager could be prouder of a team than I am.”

[ RECAP: Liverpool 1-0 Napoli ]

The Reds had chance after chance to add to their Mohamed Salah (and David Ospina) inspired lead, but failed to find a second goal and survived a frantic Napoli charge through stout defending and an outstanding Alisson Becker save (watch at bottom) on Arkadiusz Milik in stoppage time.

From the BBC:

“I have no idea how Alisson made a save like this, it was amazing,” Klopp said. “It was wild and there were lots of counter attacks but we were ready for that. That is Anfield live and in color. … UEFA probably thought they could continue the competition without Liverpool, but not yet.”

Now Liverpool prepares for a Premier League visit from Manchester United on Sunday as it begins its first weekend as table leaders.

Salah, Alisson lead Liverpool into knockout rounds

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A Mohamed Salah goal was all Liverpool needed, as the Reds worked their way to a professional 1-0 defeat of Napoli on Wednesday at Anfield to seal their place in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds.

The win sends Liverpool past Napoli thanks to total goals scored in the group stage.

The Reds left the match open through a mix of missed chances and David Ospina saves, but ultimately finished the day behind only Paris Saint-Germain in Group C.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Reds had most of the early chances aside from a Marek Hamsik close call, and went ahead when Salah went low to beat a head-scratching slide from David Ospina.

Liverpool also had a bit of good fortune when Virgil Van Dijk‘s studs-up slide into Dries Mertens’ ankle was merely deemed worthy of a yellow card.

Salah struck the outside of the post with a left-footed drive in the 50th minute, as the Reds began the second half much like the first.

A rare foray into the Liverpool end saw Raul Albiol bound a header into the hands of Alisson Becker, and the Reds responded with Roberto Firmino giving the same to Ospina.

Milner just missed with a cross-box bid to hammer a shot inside the far post, and it remained 1-0 in the 63rd.

Ospina twice played a role in stopping a Salah break in the 75th, though a penalty could’ve been called in between the chances.

And Ospina made another fine save on Sadio Mane moments later.

Napoli finally found form in stoppage time, with Alisson making an amazing thigh save on Arkadiusz Milik.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]