Gabriel Jesus

Jesus scores, assists, sent off as Brazil beats Peru in Copa America final (video)

1 Comment

Gabriel Jesus assisted on the opening goal and scored the winner before being sent off in Brazil’s 3-1 victory over Peru in the final of the 2019 Copa America on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Watch the USWNT lift the World Cup trophy ]

The triumph is Brazil’s ninth as South American champions (sixth of the Copa America era) and their first since 2007. It’s the first time Brazil has lifted the trophy on home soil since 1989.

The scoring began quickly — though, not quite as quickly as when Brazil beat Peru 5-0 during group play — courtesy of Everton, in the 15th minute. Jesus floated a ball to the back post and Everton slotted it home with a powerful finish just inside the near post.

Peru drew level not long before halftime, thanks to a handball by Thiago Silva. Paolo Guerrero stepped up to the spot and converted the penalty kick in the 44th minute.

The 1-1 scoreline didn’t quite last until halftime, though, as Jesus tucked a tidy finish into the back of the net in the third minute of first-half stoppage time. Arthur dribbled past a whole host of Peruvians before slipping a tough pass through to Jesus near the edge of the box.

The red card came midway through the second half. Jesus had been clattered into moments earlier, prompting him to raise his elbow as he went up for an aerial duel. It was a hard foul with clear intent, plenty worthy of a yellow card — his second of the game. Clearly upset at the decision — or, maybe himself — Jesus melted down as he left the field (WATCH HERE) before he was seen crying atop the stairs inside the tunnel at the Maracana.

Richarlison tacked on a penalty kick in the 90th minute, resulting from a highly questionable decision by the referee. It was a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge that seemed to heavily favor the home team.

Preview: Brazil v. Peru, Copa America’s unlikely final

Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images
Leave a comment

To say Brazil will be a heavy favorite when the 2019 Copa American final kicks off on Sunday (4 p.m. ET) would be a massive understatement.

[ MORE: Man United “in the process” of selling Paul Pogba ]

Not only are the eight-time South American champions the host nation, and not only are they yet to concede a goal in this tournament, but they also beat the side they’re set to face in the final, Peru, 5-0 during group play. On paper, it’s a virtual lock that TIte’s side will lift the trophy inside the famed Maracana stadium.

Peru has more than earned its place in the final, though, by surviving a tough group featuring Brazil and Venezuela, outlasting Uruguay over 120 minutes and penalty kicks in the quarterfinals, then running roughshod over the two-time defending champions from Chile in the semifinals.

[ MORE: Barcelona president says Antoine Griezmann talks underway ]

Brazil have managed quite well since Neymar (ankle) was forced out of the team just before the start of the tournament. Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino fired the Selecao past Argentina in the semifinals, scoring a goal each, and appear to be thriving with more being asked of them.

Brazil hasn’t won the Copa America since 2007 — three tournaments — which is quite the barren stretch by their own lofty standards. Peru, on the other hand, last triumphed as the kings of South America in 1975, the first tournament of the Copa America era.

Man City break transfer record to sign Rodri

Getty Images
1 Comment

Manchester City have spent a club-record $79 million to buy Rodri from Atletico Madrid.

The Spanish defensive midfielder, 23, has officially arrived at City after Atleti confirmed on Wednesday that the reigning Premier League champions had paid his release clause.

[ MORE: Lampard arrives at Chelsea

Rodri has signed a five-year contract and is the long-term replacement for City’s midfield lynchpin Fernandinho. The former Villarreal star is seen as one of the top holding midfielders in the world, with his exceptional passing, interceptions and tackling ability key to his game.

Speaking about his arrival at City, Rodri is looking forward to working with Pep Guardiola as they go for a PL three-peat.

“What City have achieved in the last two years has been amazing and I’m looking forward to being part of such a talented squad,” Rodri said. “It’s not just the titles they have won, but the way they have managed it, playing attacking football at all times. I can’t wait to start working with Pep Guardiola and my new team-mates and hopefully we can achieve great things together. It’s a style that excites me, as do the Club’s ambitions.”

Rodri only joined Atletico from Villarreal last summer for $25 million, so the La Liga side have done pretty well out of this deal.

City have gone about their business very quietly this summer, and this was a key area they needed to address.

When Fernandinho was out injured last season they badly missed his presence in midfield as the likes of Fabian Delph, Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva struggled to hold down the defensive midfield role.

Rodri’s passing ability is undoubted and the lanky midfielder is very much the heir apparent to Sergio Busquets as the best defensive midfielder around.

With City signing former left back Angelino after his impressive season at PSV Eindhoven, they have already addressed their top two needs in the transfer market. Right back Joao Cancelo could also join from Juventus, as City’s attacking depth is clear for all to see, although Sergio Aguero can’t go on forever and another option up top aside from Gabriel Jesus may be handy.

If Guardiola’s side can add another center back this summer then they should be pretty much set for the new season as they aim to go one better than winning three trophies and complete the quadruple they wanted to badly last season.

Rodri will be a key piece in Guardiola’s jigsaw for many years to come.

Copa America: Firmino, Jesus lead Brazil past Argentina

AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano
2 Comments

Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino both had a goal and an assist as Brazil advanced to the Copa America Final with a 2-0 defeat of Argentina at the Mineirão on Tuesday.

It means Lionel Messi misses out on his chance to lead Argentina to a trophy for the first time since he helped the U-23 side win gold at the 2008 Olympics.

Brazil moves on Sunday’s final to face the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between Peru and two-time reigning champions Chile.

Argentina and Colombia will co-host the tournament next summer.

[ USWNT: Match recap | 3 things ]

Dani Alves led the charge for the opener, slipping Firmino into the box. The Liverpool man found his Man City compatriot for the 1-0 advantage.

Brazil controlled the first half but was under the knife in the second half as Messi attempted to rally La Albiceleste.

But Jesus led a lightning counter attack and slid a ball across the 18 to Firmino for an easy goal and a two-marker advantage.

Brazil, Argentina mired in pressure for Copa America tie

Photo by Ricardo Botelho/LatinContent via Getty Images
1 Comment

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) Brazil will be under pressure for its future and Argentina for its past when they meet in the Copa America semifinals on Tuesday at Mineirao Stadium.

The hosts need the title to try to calm the waters for coach Tite until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Lionel Messi’s team seeks its first trophy in 26 years, which would also be the first major one for the superstar in the white and blue shirt.

[ MORE: USWNT-England preview ]

In the other semifinal, defending champion Chile and underdog Peru play in Porto Alegre on Wednesday.

In a change from the quarterfinals, teams will play extra time if the first 90 minutes are drawn.

Neither Tite nor Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni have given much suggestion into how their teams will play their superclasico in Belo Horizonte. Sunday’s training sessions were closed to the media.

The Brazilian coach doesn’t like to make changes, meaning his team could stick to the 4-1-3-1 formation it has used for most of the tournament, with sensation Everton, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino closing midfield gaps and helping Gabriel Jesus up front. Tite is under pressure for his conservative approach since he picked a squad filled with veterans, which signaled his desperation to win.

Scaloni has made changes to his inexperienced team for every Copa America match, and is under pressure to be more conservative against Brazil by ending its effective offensive trio of Messi, Lautaro Martinez and Sergio Aguero. The latter two could be replaced by winger Angel di Maria, who has performed well in roles that include defending, or midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.

Brazil’s and Argentina’s Copa America campaigns have been far from impressive.

The hosts have two victories and two draws, advancing to the semifinals only after a penalty shootout win against Paraguay following a goal-less first 90. The team was booed by fans in three of the four matches, and misses the injured Neymar to break stronger defensive lines.

Argentina comfortably beat Venezuela 2-0 in the quarterfinals in its best performance so far, but it started with a defeat by the same score against Colombia, drew Paraguay in a match which almost sent it crashing out of the tournament, and won against Qatar 2-0 to advance to the knockout stage. In none of those matches did Messi deliver a Barcelona-like performance.

[ MORE: Saints sign Adams, Ings ]

Recent history puts Brazil slightly favored for their clash.

The last time they faced off at Mineirao Stadium in November 2016, Brazil won 3-0 in 2018 World Cup qualifying. Since then, Tite has kept his job, and Argentina has had three coaches; Edgardo Bauza, Jorge Sampaoli, and Scaloni, on an interim basis.

The last time Brazil lost to Argentina at home was in April 1998 in a friendly before the World Cup in France. Striker Claudio Lopez scored at Maracana Stadium.

Messi, who admittedly is not playing well at Copa America, has also struggled in most of the superclasicos. In nine matches between the two South American soccer powers, the superstar has lost five and won three, all those in friendlies against below-strength Brazil lineups.

The last great performance by Messi against Brazil was in July 2012, when he scored a hat trick in a 4-3 win on U.S. soil.

Before the tournament, he said Argentina was “not a candidate” for the Copa title. In recent days, he’s changed his mind.

“What matters is that we are in the semifinals, and matches have been very tight at this Copa America,” Messi said after the win against Venezuela.

Brazil will count again on Richarlison as an option on the bench. The striker was isolated for days in Porto Alegre because of mumps, which made him miss the quarterfinal match against Paraguay. He has rejoined his teammates in Belo Horizonte.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports