Ibe

Rocco Commisso
Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Fiorentina raising money for hospitals; Ribery gives $55K

Leave a comment

Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso says his club has “8-10 positive cases” and that he’s focused on helping Italy’s embattled medical community fight the coronavirus.

The Italian American, 70, bought the Serie A club in June. He also owns the American club New York Cosmos of the National Independent Soccer Association.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Players Dusan Vlahovic, Patrick Cutrone, and German Pezzella previously tested positive for COVID-19.

Commisso is stuck in the United States, but has tried to raise funds to battle back home. He says the club has already brought in around $470,000 including about $55,000 from star Franck Ribery.

From Football-Italia.com:

“We both feel so at home in Florence, as we were given such a warm welcome by the people here,” said Commisso of Ribery and himself. “The situation in America isn’t as serious as in Italy, but I’ve been closed in my home for the last five days with my wife and daughter. (Fiorentina director) Joe Barone and my son Giuseppe are holed up in their hotel.”

La Viola sits 13th in Serie A with 30 points, five points clear of the bottom three and nine back of the final European qualification spot.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

Liga MX roundup: Jesus Corona hands Cruz Azul untraditional win with last-second penalty save (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Liga MX’s last set of games for the foreseeable future took place on Sunday, with Atlas, Santos and Cruz Azul taking home three points. There’s no timeline on Mexico’s top-flight’s suspension due to the coronavirus, but its last impression was one worth witnessing. Here’s a closer look into some of Sunday’s closed-door action.

Club America 0-1 Cruz Azul

It’s nearly impossible to think of a time in which Cruz Azul didn’t get the short end of the stick against America, specifically with Jesus Corona in goal. There’s a reason why there’s a verb based around La Maquina’s miseries (most of which have come at inopportune times with Corona between the sticks): cruzazulear. For a second, it seemed like history was going to repeat itself on Sunday in front of an uninhabited Estadio Azteca.

Then, Corona delivered this:

In a night in which Guillermo Ochoa made case after case that he was the better goalkeeper between the two, 39-year-old Corona delivered one of his best acts against the rivals, blocking Emanuel Aguilera’s shot from the spot seconds before time expired.
The first half was all blue, as La Maquina heavily emphasized going forward, resulting in a handful of chances at goal that were denied by Ochoa. Santiago Gimenez, less than a minute into the game, saw his driving cross travel inches from America’s goal.
America, inspired by Ochoa’s heroics, recouped their shape in the second half, dominating possession and the tempo of the game. Even so, the league’s leading scorer, Jonathan Rodriguez, was able to find room inside the box and deliver a trademark strike past America’s No. 6, increasing his goal count to nine.
Cruz Azul were the superior team, and the scoreboard was finally showing it.
But in a way, Corona’s save gave Roberto Siboldi’s side – once again leaders of the league with 22 points – perhaps their biggest win of the season, and proved that things don’t always go bad for Cruz Azul.
Elsewhere in Liga MX
Toluca 2-3 Atlas
Santos Laguna 2-1 Necaxa

Gremio players protest, walk onto the field with face masks amid coronavirus crisis

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Gremio players took the field on Sunday with face masks on as a sign of protest for having to play during the coronavirus pandemic.

No fans were allowed into Gremio Arena for Gremio’s Gaucho state championship match against Sao Luiz, but Renato Portaluppi’s men did wear white face masks as they walked through the tunnel and onto the field.

“This protest by the players makes implicit our support for the championship to be halted – life must take precedence,” Gremio’s director of football, Paulo Luz, said about the situation.

With goals a first-half goal from Pualo Miranda and second-half goals from Thiago Neves and Diego Souza, the hosts edges Sao Luiz 3-2. Gremio players did not wear the white masks during the game.

“The whole world has stopped – shouldn’t Brazilian football stop as well? That’s our message and I hope they listen. We hope that good sense will prevail,” Gremio coach Portaluppi said following the game.

Gremio’s protest comes after various South American clubs are starting to complain about having to play, mostly behind closed doors. On Saturday, River Plate refused to play their Superliga cup bout against Atletico Tucuman, closing the doors to their stadium, leaving league officials and Atletico Tucuman outside without access.

On Thursday, South America’s soccer governing body, CONMEBOL, suspended 2020 Copa Libertadores games through March 21.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

Vertonghen’s family robbed at knifepoint in London

Jan Vertonghen
Photo by Rich Linley - CameraSport via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Masked burglars held Jan Vertonghen‘s family at knifepoint during a Tuesday robbery in London.

Fortunately no one was injured, according to police. A number of items were stolen from Vertonghen’s home in a terrifying evening for his wife and children.

Vertoghen was in Germany on UEFA Champions League duty, where Spurs were eliminated from the competition.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Spurs and police are encouraging anyone with information to contact them, as the criminals left before authorities arrived at the scene.

“We have been supporting Jan and his family through this terribly traumatic time,” a Spurs spokesperson told the BBC. “We encourage anyone who has any information to come forward to help the police with their investigation.”

There are few words to describe the heinousness of the act and harrowing nature for anyone let alone children.

The 32-year-old defender with 118 Belgian caps has appeared 311 for Spurs after making 220 for boyhood club Ajax from 2006-2012.

Liga MX roundup: Puebla, Tigres, León walk out winners

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Liga MX action continued this weekend with a handful of entertaining games, which were played behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic. There was plenty of movement made, with León shooting to the top of the table following a convincing win against Pumas. Here’s a closer look into some of Saturday’s action.

Atlético San Luis 0-1 Puebla

Juan Reynoso’s Puebla continue on a path that is headed towards liguilla (playoffs), earning a crucial three points against San Luis on the back of goalkeeper’s Nicolas Vikonis’ penalty save. 

The win is Puebla’s third in their last four league games, placing them only a goal away from eighth-place Monarcas Morelia, who played on Friday with fans at Estadio Morelos. It’s still too early to assume that Puebla will clinch a liguilla spot, especially with six of their next seven opponents currently above the red line. But with a strong backline and semi-effective attack, they’re managing to squeeze out wins. That formula can, potentially, keep them on the path to the big party. 

Tigres 3-2 Juárez

After an unusual slow start under Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti, all things point to Tigres being back in its natural habitat. With goals from Luis Quiñones, Andre Pierre-Gignac and Eduardo Vargas, Tigres edged a valiant Juárez 3-2 in an empty Estadio Universitario.

A bout with plenty of goals, Gignac’s sequence with the head official a handful of minutes into the second half stole the show. The Frenchman was shown a straight red card for a foul on a Juarez player. Shortly after, the official – with the assistance of VAR – decided to void the red card and showed Gignac a yellow. Less than two minutes later, Tigres’ all-time leading scorer gave his team the lead.

Chile international Eduardo Vargas added a third in 76th minute, giving Tigres a game-winning goal.

León 3-1 Pumas

For now, with 21 points after 10 games, León are leaders of Liga MX. La Fiera are bouncing back in strong fashion following a low-blow Concacaf Champions League exit in the hands of LAFC and league loss to Chivas with back-to-back wins.

Staple and key players Fernando Navarro, Angel Mena and Ismael Sosa all scored in a high-tempo win against Pumas, who after starting off the season as the league’s best, are winless in their last four.

Towards the final 10 minutes of the game, former Real Salt Lake winger Sebastian Saucedo was handed his first red card as a Pumas player – a perfect illustration of the type of night it was for Míchel’s men.