Christian Stuani

La Liga wrap: Sevilla, Valencia join Barca at top as Blaugrana draw

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Matchday Five of the La Liga season saw plenty of goals, excepting the big-name club at the top of the table.

Now, after failing to strike against Malaga, Barcelona is joined by a pair of unbeaten clubs in first place.

[ MORE: Uruguay tabs Suarez for October friendlies | Scores twice in Barca friendly ]

On to the matches…

Malaga 0-0 Barcelona
It wasn’t Barca’s day, and Malaga made it very difficult on the table-toppers by managing six shots to the visitors’ 10. None of the Blaugranas shots found the frame despite having Neymar, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta in the XI. The match marks the first time Luis Enrique did not walk away from a La Liga match with three points as Barcelona manager.

Barca’s clean sheet streak, however, remains intact.

Sevilla 1-0 Real Sociedad
Perhaps fitting that Barca loanee Gerard Deulofeu (pictured) continues to perform well at any location that isn’t Barcelona. After his loan spell with Everton last year gave Toffees fans hopes a permanent stay, Deulofeu is delighting fans of his parent club’s title rivals. His first goal of the season was enough to lift Sevilla into a tie for first.

Valencia 3-0 Cordoba
Algerian World Cup hero Sofiane Feghouli scored in the 73rd minute to cap off a three-goal day for hosts Valencia, which now has 11 points after beating Cordoba 3-0. Their 13 goals scored and two allowed have them first in the table on goals scored, as their goal differential of plus-11 matches Barcelona.

Real Madrid 5-1 Elche
Reports of Cristiano Ronaldo’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, as the Portuguese superstar doubled-down on his three-goal performance against Deportivo… and then some. Ronaldo scored four goals, two from penalties, and Gareth Bale added a fifth as Real poured forth on another opponent, moving into a tie for fifth with Celta Vigo.

[ RELATED: ‘Come Home Ronaldo’ banner to fly over Bernabeu ]

Almeria 0-1 Atletico Madrid
In just his fifth game after playing 32 last year, Miranda has surpassed his goal total of a year ago by supplying the match-winner in the 59th minute. Atleti won the shot battle 19-6 and the corner fight 10-2 and ran out deserving winners.

Elsewhere
Espanyol 2-0 Getafe:  Christian Stuani’s 82nd minute goal allows Barcelona’s “other” club to roll.
Rayo Vallecano 2-1 Athletic Bilbao: The visitors are in Europe, and in the relegation zone with four losses.
Eibar 1-1 Villarreal: Hosts continue to surprise by scoring early, holding on for point.
Granada 0-1 Levante: Ruben’s 46th minute goal sealed the points for the visitors.
Celta Vigo 2-1 Deportivo: Nolito struck first and Joaquin Larrivey netted late as Celta’s tied for fifth

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Valencia 5 4 1 0 13 2 11 3-0-0 1-1-0 13
Barcelona 5 4 1 0 11 0 11 2-0-0 2-1-0 13
Sevilla 5 4 1 0 9 3 6 2-1-0 2-0-0 13
Atlético Madrid 5 3 2 0 7 4 3 1-1-0 2-1-0 11
Real Madrid 5 3 0 2 18 9 9 2-0-1 1-0-1 9
Celta Vigo 5 2 3 0 10 7 3 2-1-0 0-2-0 9
Villarreal 5 2 2 1 7 4 3 1-0-1 1-2-0 8
Granada 5 2 2 1 4 3 1 1-1-1 1-1-0 8
Eibar 5 2 1 2 5 4 1 1-1-1 1-0-1 7
Málaga 5 1 3 1 3 5 -2 1-2-0 0-1-1 6
Espanyol 5 1 2 2 7 8 -1 1-1-1 0-1-1 5
Almería 5 1 2 2 4 5 -1 0-2-1 1-0-1 5
Rayo Vallecano 5 1 2 2 8 10 -2 1-1-1 0-1-1 5
Real Sociedad 5 1 1 3 7 8 -1 1-0-1 0-1-2 4
Deportivo 5 1 1 3 7 14 -7 0-1-1 1-0-2 4
Elche 5 1 1 3 5 13 -8 0-1-1 1-0-2 4
Levante 5 1 1 3 1 10 -9 0-0-2 1-1-1 4
Athletic 5 1 0 4 4 6 -2 1-0-1 0-0-3 3
Getafe 5 1 0 4 2 10 -8 1-0-1 0-0-3 3
Córdoba 5 0 2 3 3 10 -7 0-1-1 0-1-2 2

 

Uruguay tabs Luis Suarez for October friendlies; Will he play?

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Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has selected Luis Suarez for next month’s friendlies, but will the manager use the controversial striker?

Suarez is eligible to play in friendlies because his eight-match international ban only covers competitive matches. He’ll have to sit out the Copa America Centernario in addition some 2018 World Cup qualifying matches, but is eligible for selection in Uruguay’s October matches against Saudi Arabia and Oman.

[ MORE: Suarez scores in Barca friendly | Faces fine with next bite ]

The 27-year-old striker cannot play for Barcelona in a competitive match until Oct. 24, so it would make sense for both the player and his club to get some reps against two sides who would love to knock off Uruguay.

But will Tabarez select the striker? Uruguay won both its September friendlies against Japan and South Korea without Suarez, and the October opponents are far less threatening than the pair of World Cup squads.

With Abel Hernandez (Hull City), Christian Stuani and Edinson Cavani, Tabarez has players with experience to call on if needed, while youngsters Diego Rolan and Jonathan Rodriguez could certainly use time on the international pitch.

Ultimately, it’d be foolish to call up Suarez and not use him. There will be the “distraction” of his attendance, so he might as well have him add to his tally of 40 goals in 78 caps. Plus, it’s not like his team — let alone his country’s governmentfailed to support him after his biting of Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup started this disciplinary mess.

Colombia make first-ever World Cup quarterfinal, dump Uruguay out

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Colombia have reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first-time in their history after comfortably beating Uruguay 2-0 at the Maracana Stadium on Saturday.

The team of the tournament so far set up a mouth-watering tie with hosts Brazil in Fortaleza on Friday July 4 at 4 p.m. ET, after James Rodriguez stole the headlines once again for Jose Peckerman’s men.

[ VIDEO: Rodriguez scores wondergoal ]

Rodriguez, 22, scored a stunning volley just before the half mark to give Los Cafeteros the lead, then the AS Monaco striker bagged another just after the break to seal the win. Rodriguez is now the top scorer at the 2014 World Cup, with five goals in four games. He is also the leading World Cup scorer in Colombian history, as Rodriguez’s excellence dispatched a lackluster Uruguayan side who badly missed Luis Suarez.

La Celeste struggled to create chances throughout and with their star man banned for the rest of the tournament, Oscar Tabarez’s side looked disjointed and unable to break down a confident Colombia.

Cheered on by thousands of fans in Rio de Janeiro, Colombia now face the partisan home crowd in an all-South America tie vs. Brazil for a spot in the semifinals.

Plenty of tough tackles flew in early on as these two nations aimed to stamp their mark on proceedings. A long-range free kick from Cuadrado was deflected over the bar by his own player as Colombia began to get on the ball and pin Uruguay back.

source: AP
Rodroguez’s stunner opened the scoring, as Colombia’s tremendous tournament continues.

Juan Zuniga made several pacey surges forward at the center of Uruguay’s defense and in the 11th minute he smashed a shot at goal which Muslera gathered at the second attempt. As the first half wore on, Colombia looked the more likely to go ahead as Uruguay sat back, soaked up the pressure and tried to play it into Edinson Cavani with hopeful long balls.

All of that early pressure finally paid off in the 28th minute as Abel Aguilar nodded the ball toward Rodriguez 25-yards out and the Colombian hot-shot chested the ball before volleying an unstoppable effort onto the underside of the crossbar and into the net. It was one of , if not the best, goals of the World Cup so far, as Colombia went into the break ahead.

Less than five minutes into the second half it was 2-0 to Los Cafeteros, and Rodriguez bagged his second of the game and fifth of the tournament after a wonderful team move. A cross from the left by Pablo Armero found Juan Cuadrado at the back post and he nodded the ball down for Rodriguez to sweep home and put Colombia firmly in the driving seat.

Uruguay then brought on attacker Christian Stuani and Gaston Ramirez to try and get back into the game, but Colombia looked comfortable in possession and eager to score more on the counter. Cristian Rodriguez did have a good effort for La Celeste as his well-struck effort from 20-yards out was palmed away by David Ospina as Uruguay piled forward. In the 70th minute Cavani whipped in a delicious ball to the back stick and substitute Stuani just missed the ball as he crashed towards the goal. Cavani then had an effort tipped wide in the 84th minute

To their credit Uruguay kept plugging away, but failed to break down a stubborn Colombian defense as Los Cafeteros made it to the last eight of the World Cup for the first-time in their nations history.

LINEUPS

Colombia: Ospina; Armero, Yepes, Zapata, Zúñiga; Aguilar, Sánchez, Cuadrado (Guarin, 81′), Rodriguez (Ramos, 85′); Jackson, Gutierrez (Mejia, 68′)

Goals: Rodriguez (28′, 50′)

Uruguay: Muslera, Godin, Pereira (Ramirez, 53′), Rodriguez, Forlan (Stuani, 53′), Gimenez, Pereira, Arevalo, Gonzalez (Hernandez, 67′), Cavani, Caceres

World Cup today: Saturday brings the first games of the knockout round

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WORLD CUP TODAY: SATURDAY, JUNE 28

How is everyone today? Did you enjoy a bit of time off yesterday, perhaps by lying in a darkened room with your eyes closed, trying to recover from over two weeks of glorious madness? Or did you suffer soccer withdrawals, and need to resort to watching World Cup highlights on a loop?

Well, good news. The World Cup is back in action today, with the first games of the knockout stage. The bad news is, by the end of the afternoon, there will be two fewer teams left in the tournament.

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MATCH 49: BRAZIL VS. CHILE
Location: Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte
Time: Noon ET
SOCCERLY PREVIEW | SOCCERLY MATCHCENTER

Cheater’s Guide

Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 and Cameroon 4-1, but in between could only manage a 0-0 draw with Mexico. In other words, they’re not quite invincible, but it was enough to take them top of the group.

Chile were overcome by Netherlands in their final group stage game, losing 2-0 to take second in the group. But they’d previously beat Australia 3-1 and Spain 2-0, and their attacking prowess is not to be underestimated.

What they’re saying

Arturo Vidal is quite confident about Chile’s chances: “This is the best generation in the history of Chilean football. Beating Brazil? That’s our dream. Chile can create a surprise. We’ve beaten the champions, so we can beat Brazil. We’re good enough to win the World Cup.”

History
Chile and Brazil have faced off numerous times, as they’re both part of CONMEBOL, which rather requires them to see a lot of one another. Of the 68 matches played, Brazil have won an astonishing 48; Chile, just 7. The good news is that 217 goals were scored in those matches, giving us an average of 3.19 per game. This should be fun!

When it comes to the World Cup, Chile have experienced heavy defeat each of the three times the two sides have met. When Chile and Brazil met in this stage in 2010, Brazil won 3-0.

Premier League Players
Brazil: Oscar, Ramires, Willian (Chelsea); Fernandinho (Manchester City); Paulinho (Tottenham)

MLS Players
Brazil: Júlio César of Toronto FC

RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly

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MATCH 50: COLOMBIA VS. URUGUAY

Location: Estádio Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
Time: 4pm ET
SOCCERLY PREVIEW | SOCCERLY MATCHCENTER

Cheater’s guide
Colombia are perfect through three, the only side in today’s games that can boast such a feat. They beat Greece 3-0 and Ivory Coast 2-1, then finished up with a 4-1 thrashing of Japan.

Uruguay, well, they haven’t been quite as lucky. Their first game was a 3-1 loss to Costa Rica, which they followed by beating England 2-1 thanks to a brace from Luis Suárez. Suárez, of course, struck again in Uruguay’s final match, biting Giorgio Chiellini just before Diego Godín scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory.

What they’re saying

Uruguay forward Christian Stuani on his side’s historical edge: “Statistics are just numbers. The game has to be played. World Cups are very complicated tournaments and matches are settled by small details.”

History
Uruguay have the edge, with 18 wins from 38 games played, while Colombia have won 11 times. But, as Stuani said…

Premier League players
Uruguay: Luis Suárez, Sebastián Coates (Liverpool); Gastón Ramírez (Southampton)
In general, if you’re looking to watch players from either Uruguay or Colombia, your best bet is to pay attention to Italian football: Uruguay have five players in Serie A, Colombia have seven.