Getty Images

Tadic misses penalty as Serbia draws Romania, Russia tops Turkey

Leave a comment

Dusan Tadic‘s awful penalty was the only real highlight of an otherwise drab 0-0 draw between Serbia and Romania at Arena Nationala in Bucuresti.

Serbia was awarded the spot-kick after Gabriel Tamas was sent off for a high boot in the box right to the face of Mijat Gacinovic. Tadic stepped up to take the penalty and after a slow, awkward run-up, he blasted his penalty well over the top-left corner, not even close to hitting the target.

Many after the match criticized Serbia for not having in-form Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic take the penalty instead of Tadic. Mitrovic scored a penalty just three days ago in a 2-0 win over Montenegro. There were just six total shots on target throughout the entire match split three and three between the two teams. Serbia dominated the majority of play, holding 70% of possession and winning the corner count 11-3.

Elsewhere, Denis Cheryshev continued his hot streak for Russia as they stole a 2-0 win over Turkey in Sochi. Cheryshev has scored six goals in his last nine international appearances dating back to the World Cup. Cheryshev didn’t start the match, but came on with 19 minutes to go and Russia already a goal up on a Roman Neustädter 20th minute strike.

Turkey, featuring a lineup that included Everton striker Cenk Tosun and Roma youngster Cengiz Ünder, held 60% possession and out-passed a Russia team that only completed 67% of its passes. Still, they struggled up front as 30-year-old Fenerbahce CB Neustadter partnered well alongside Georgi Dzhikiya. Neither defender was part of the Russian World Cup squad this past summer.

Also in Nations League play, Faroe Islands drew 1-1 with Kosovo, while Malta and Azerbaijan also finished level at 1-1 in Baku.

Champions League wrap: Tadic keeps Ajax rolling

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Three more playoff round first legs took focus in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, and it was another good day for two of three road teams.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s UCL wrap ]

Ajax 3-1 Dynamo Kiev

The Dutch hosts built a 3-1 halftime lead on goals by Donny van de Beek, Hakim Ziyech, and red-hot ex-Southampton attacker Dusan Tadic.

Tadic now has four goals and three assists in seven appearances this season.

Dynamo will find some comfort in the 16th minute away goal from Tomasz Kedziora.

MOL Vidi 1-2 AEK Athens

A 23rd minute red card had the Hungarian hosts down to 10-men, and both Viktor Klonaridis and Tasos Bakasetos scored before the latter took a red of his own in the 53rd.

The artists formerly known as Videoton pulled one back through Danko Lazovic in the 68th minute.

Young Boys 1-1 Dinamo Zagreb

Ex-Newcastle and Watford man Kevin Mbabu scored a second minute goal for the Swiss side, though Mislav Orsic answered for the visitors just before halftime.

UEFA Champions League: Ajax blows 2-0 lead; American debuts

Andreas Hillergren/TT News Agency via AP)
Leave a comment

The UEFA Champions League moved one more step toward the playoff round with Tuesday’s first legs of the third qualifying round.

[ MORE: Pogba wants Barcelona move ]

Malmo 1-1 MOL Vidi

Uwe Rosler’s hosts held the lead for a whopping nine minutes, through Anders Christiansen, before the Hungarian club formerly known as Videoton answered through Loic Nego.

USMNT midfield prospect Romain Gall made his UEFA Champions League debut, playing the final 10 minutes of the draw. Gall managed a shot during his appearance.

Standard Liege 2-2 Ajax

Dusan Tadic struck again, scoring another UCL goal for the visitors as they built a 2-0 away lead (Klaas Jan Huntelaar bagged the other). But Medhi Carcela scored in the 67th minute and Renaud Emond converted a penalty deep into stoppage time to send the tie back to Holland level at two.

Benfica 1-0 Fenerbahce

USMNT midfielder Keaton Parks was not in the 18, but goal scorer Franco Cervi very much was and saw his deflected shot put the Portuguese hosts ahead after one leg.

Elsewhere
Slavia Prague 1-1 Dynamo Kiev
Astana 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Qarabag 0-1 BATE Borisov
Red Star Belgrade 1-1 Spartak Trnava

Wednesday
Celtic vs. AEK Athens
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Shkendija
PAOK vs. Spartak Moscow

UEFA Champions League wrap: Ajax, Celtic, Malmo go through

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Third qualifying round match-ups are set for next week following nine UCL second legs on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Kouyate to Palace? ]

Malmo 1-1 (2-1 agg.) CFR Cluj

A 77th minute red card for the visitors short-circuited any hopes for a comeback after Malmo’s Arnor Ingvi Traustason equalized Damjan Dokovic’s opener. USMNT prospect Romain Gall was an unused substitute for Malmo.

Rosenborg 0-0 (1-3 agg.) Celtic

No goals in Norway, but that won’t bother Brendan Rodgers too much as Celtic books two legs with AEK Athens.

SK Sturm Graz 1-3 (1-5 agg.) Ajax

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s brace was sandwiched around Dusan Tadic‘s first goal in an Ajax strip, as the ex-Southampton man helped his new side to a next round date with Standard Liege.

Elsewhere
MOL Vidi 1-0 (1-0 agg.) Ludogorets Razgrad
FC Basel 0-3 (1-5 agg.) PAOK Salonika
Suduva 0-2 (0-5 agg.) Red Star Belgrade
Qarabag 3-0 (3-0 agg.) Kukesi
Midyjylland 0-0 (1-2 agg) Astana
HJK Helsinki 1-2 (1-2 agg.) BATE Borisov

Next week’s third qualifying round
Celtic vs. AEK Athens
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Shkendija
Red Star Belgrade vs. Spartak Trnava
Qarabag vs. BATE Borisov
Astana vs. Dinamo Zagreb
Malmo vs. MOL Vidi
Standard Liege vs. Ajax
Benfica vs. Fenerbahce
Slavia Prague vs. Dynamo Kyiv
PAOK vs. Spartak Moscow

Ajax excited to land $16m “first class winner” Tadic

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dusan Tadic really has left Southampton.

The 29-year-old Serbian star is leaving St. Mary’s for the Amsterdam Arena, just as Southampton appears ready to replace him with Mohamed Elyounoussi.

Ajax could end up paying as much as $16 million for his services

[ MORE: Rodwell to MLS? ]

Tadic told his incredible life story to Joe Prince-Wright earlier this season, and is a big reason Saints remain the Premier League.

A star in Eredivisie stints with Groningen and Twente, Tadic leaves the Premier League with 24 goals and 35 assists in 162 league appearances.

Here’s Ajax director Marc Overmars, via english.ajax.nl:

“Dusan Tadic’s arrival gives our selection a big shot of quality.  He can play in several positions, at midfield and offense.  Moreover, his experience is important for many young talents from our selection. He’s a ‘first class winner’, and those are the players we like to have with us.”

Ajax sold star youngster Justin Kluivert to Roma, and lost Amin Younes to Napoli, but has brought in Tadic as well as Zakaria Labyad from Utrecht and Hassane Bande from Mechelen.

Tadic is clearly the cream of that crop, and the veteran will be tasked with leading the Amsterdam unit from three successive second place Eredivisie finishes back into first.