Aleksandar Kolarov

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Kolarov blast guides Serbia past Costa Rica

1 Comment

Group E opened up on Sunday with a thrilling match in Samara, where Serbia topped Costa Rica, 1-0.

It looked as if Keylor Navas wouldn’t be beat on the day, however, Aleksandar Kolarov had other ideas with his sublime free kick 11 minutes into the second half.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

It took the Serbia goal to really spark life out of the Costa Rica attack, however, the Europeans held strong and remained compact defensively to keep the Ticos off the scoreboard.

Aleksandar Mitrovic nearly gave Serbia a second finish in the final moments of the match, after Sergej Malinkovic-Savic picked out an ideal through ball to his teammate, who couldn’t find a shot on target.

Both sides struggled to find a rhythm in the opening half, despite Serbia’s dictation of pace with their strong midfield.

Mitrovic boasted the lone shot on target for the European nation, when he tested Keylor Navas in the 13th minute, while Los Ticos had a quality chance of their own a minute prior through a Giancarlo Gonzalez header from close range.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

Mitrovic was stopped again by Navas in the 50th minute after the Fulham striker found himself one-on-one with the Real Madrid keeper.

The Ticos will return to group action on June 22 against favorites Brazil, while Serbia will meet fellow European side Switzerland the same day.

Video: Kolarov hands Serbia lead with brilliant free kick

Stu Forster/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Serbia had managed to control the match for much of the opening hour of play, but didn’t have a goal to show for it.

That was, at least, until Aleksandar Kolarov had his say in the matter.

The AS Roma man gave Serbia a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute after a stunning free kick that gave Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas no chance as he sprawled to his left.

Fred’s vicious free kick leads Shakhtar over Roma

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Leave a comment

Facundo Ferreyra and Fred scored second half goals to lead Shakhtar Donetsk past AS Roma 2-1 at the Donbass Arena in Wednesday’s first leg of the clubs’ UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

Cendig Under scored his fifth goal in four matches as AS Roma did manage an away goal before the March 13 second leg in Rome.

Fred has been linked with a summer move to Man City, and the banger of a free kick showed part of the reason the Brazilian is in demand.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Roma is bidding to make its first UEFA Champions League quarterfinal since 2007-08 when they went out at the hands of Manchester United, while Shakhtar last made the quarters only to be dismissed by Barcelona in 2010-11.

Ukrainian backstop Andriy Pyatov had an early save on Edin Dzeko off a cross from Aleksandar Kolarov, two minutes after Kolarov mailed a free kick over the bar.

Kolarov and Dzeko remained big parts of the story line, though Pyatov and the Shakhtar defense stood tall.

Dzeko would wind up assisting the opener, and it was the in form Under who’d bury his chance.

Not soon after the break, though, Yaroslav Rakitskiy cued up Ferreyra for the equalizer.

And Fred but the hosts ahead with this outstanding free kick, what they’d call a “bar down bingo” in hockey.

Chelsea 3-3 Roma – Thrills at the Bridge

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment
  • Luiz, Hazard put Chelsea up 2-0
  • Kolarov, Dzeko brace flip lead
  • Hazard nabs equalizer
  • U.S. U-20 mid Scott on bench for Chelsea

Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea overcame the sacrifice of a 2-0 lead and the Blues drew AS Roma 3-3 at Stamford Bridge in UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday.

David Luiz also scored for Chelsea. Ex-Man City men Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov starred for Roma, with Dzeko scoring twice and Kolarov adding a goal and an assist.

Chelsea has seven points to lead Group C, two more than Roma and five ahead of third-placed Atletico Madrid. The sides will meet again in Rome on Halloween.

[ MORE: Landon Donovan, USSF prez? ]

Luiz started the scoring with a delightful strike. Call it a second bite at the proverbial apple if you must, but then admit he sunk his teeth into it.

Eden Hazard made a darting run to double Chelsea’s lead, but Kolarov pulled Roma within one with a deflected strike past Thibaut Courtois.

Diego Perotti curled a shot that hardly troubled Courtois in the 63rd minute, the Chelsea keeper just leaving his feet collect it.

Dzeko and Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Then the former Man City striker struck again, seeing a long diagonal ball over his shoulder and whizzing a perfect left-footed volley through the flailing arms of Courtois.

Dzeko then made a late move before a Kolarov free kick to lose his mark and nod home a go-ahead goal.

It wasn’t over, as Hazard found his way to space and a cross from Pedro.

The Belgian headed his chance beyond a diving Alisson, and it was 3-3 with 15 minutes to play.

American-English midfielder Kyle Scott did not make his Chelsea bow. The 19-year-old has represented England at the U-16 level and the U.S. at the U-18 and U-20 levels.

UEFA World Cup qualifying: Gylfi stars for Iceland; Kolarov leads Serbia (video)

Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Spain and Serbia moved to almost assure places in the 2018 World Cup, while Group I remains as tight as ever.

[ WATCH: Honduras vs. USMNT on Telemundo ]

Here’s where three European groups stand after the final day of qualifying for this international break.

Liechtenstein 0-8 Spain

Spain finishes the break three points ahead of second-place Italy, with a mere 17 goals of differential advantage thanks to braces from Iago Aspas and Alvaro Morata. Sergio Ramos, Isco, David Silva, and an own goal completed the scoring in Vaduz.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Serbia

Aleksandar Kolarov‘s 55th minute goal means Serbia will finish no lower than the playoffs, and Orlovi would need to really fall apart to miss out on Russia.

 

Iceland 2-0 Ukraine

The darlings of the EURO have joined Croatia on the most points in Group I following a brace from Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Turkey 1-0 Croatia

Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun has Group I quite congested after scoring the lone goal in this one. Turkey and Ukraine have 14 points, two points behind Croatia and Iceland.

Opponents remaining:
Croatia – vs. Finland, at Ukraine
Iceland – at Turkey, vs. Kosovo
Turkey – vs. Iceland, at Finland
Ukraine – at Kosovo, vs. Croatia

Elsewhere
Austria 1-1 Georgia
Moldova 0-2 Wales
Italy 1-0 Israel
Macedonia 1-1 Albania
Kosovo 0-1 Finland