Jose Gimenez

AP Photo / Manu Fernandez

Atleti takes 2-0 lead over Juve in Champions League (video)

Leave a comment
  • Morata sees goal disallowed via VAR
  • Gimenez, Godin score early
  • Atleti takes two goals away for 2nd leg

The defenders got it done, with a little help from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin scored second half goals, the latter putting his home after a Ronaldo deflection, as Atletico Madrid beat Juventus 2-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match on Wednesday at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Atleti had an opening goal ruled out before Gimenez pushed home.

The second leg is March 12 in Turin.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

If you were betting on two defenses to conspire against the score line, this was it; Juve and Atleti allowed a combined 10 goals in 12 group stage matches.

Most of the prime chances resulted in user error, as typified by Diego Costa early in the second half. That said, Wojciech Szczesny made a finger tip save on Antonie Griezmann which was quite superb.

And when Atleti looked to have collected its lead through Alvaro Morata, the former Juve player saw his goal overturned through VAR.

Morata headed home, but the camera caught his shove on Giorgio Chiellini, initially unspotted by the referees.

Gimenez then made one count.

Morata won a header that hit Mario Mandzukic and fell into the path of Gimenez for a deserved goal.

Federico Bernardeschi had a solid bid to restore the deadlock, but Jan Oblak made a pretty save to keep it 1-0.

And Godin mopped up a shot that deflected off Ronaldo to double the hosts advantage after one leg.

2018 World Cup Best XI (so far)

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
1 Comment

With 48 of 64 games played at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a look at the brightest stars of the group stage…

[ MORE: Predicting the round of 16 ]

GK — Cho Hyun-woo — Only Guillermo Ochoa (17) made more saves than Cho (12), who made six in South Korea’s 2-0 victory over Germany — the majority in spectacular fashion — and three each in disappointing defeats to Mexico and Sweden. The Taegeuk Warriors weren’t knocked out due to any shortcomings in goal.

DF — Andreas Granqvist — Sweden conceded just two goals in three games against Germany, Mexico and South Korea, and their 33-year-old captain has been a massive part of the why and the how.

DF — Yerry Mina — Mina’s been solid in defense for Colombia, but he’s done the majority of his damage at the other end of the field. Two goals in two games played, and they were both game-winners.

DF — Jose Gimenez — No one has more interceptions (11) and only seven players have won more tackles (6) than the 23-year-old Uruguayan, who just edges out his steady-as-ever partner — for club and country — Diego Godin.

[ MORE: 10 best goals of the group stage ]

MF — Viktor Claesson — Two assists and six key passes in 254 minutes of work. For all the talk about the tough-nosed, dogged defense — and rightly so — Claesson has been at the center of everything going forward.

MF — Luka Modric — He’s been one of the three best midfielders in the world for a half-decade now, and he’s finally getting due credit after playing a massive part in Real Madrid winning three straight Champions League titles, while Croatia are a rare instance of a national team’s personnel fitting together in every way imaginable.

MF — Philippe Coutinho — With Neymar still working back toward his absolute best — and returning to his diving ways — Coutinho picked up the slack in the goal-scoring and -creating (2 goals, 1 assist) and playmaking departments (10 key passes in three games) during group play.

MF — Kevin De Bruyne — While it felt like De Bruyne didn’t quite put his stamp on Belgium’s dominant victories over Panama and Tunisia — the only games in which he played — the Manchester City man still racked up nine key passes in 180 minutes. His outside-of-the-foot ball to Romelu Lukaku is a strong contender for the pass of the tournament.

[ MORE: The five knockout round games we most want to see ]

FW — Harry Kane — Five goals in 153 minutes — even if two of them were from the penalty spot — is a pretty impressive haul for a 24-year-old making his World Cup debut. England will go as far as Kane’s goals can take them.

FW — Romelu Lukaku — Pretty clearly the most destructive and dominant performer we’ve seen thus far, Lukaku racked up four goals (in just 149 minutes) before suffering a minor ankle injury and sitting out the final group game against England.

FW — Cristiano Ronaldo — Portugal’s leading man opened the tournament with a hat trick in the 3-3 draw with Spain, then followed it up with the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Morocco.His free kick — the 88th-minute equalizer in the game against Spain — was, and still is, pure art.

2018 World Cup team preview: Uruguay

AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan
1 Comment

Getting to know Uruguay: It won its first two World Cups, and has thrice been semifinalists, but may be on the precipice of wasting two golden chances to make deep runs.

 [ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

Uruguay was a chic choice to make a run in 2014, buoyed by the success of one Luis Suarez, but his biting incident hampered their chances of making a run through the knockout rounds. It was a 2-0 loss to Colombia, a side it had beaten in qualifying the previous Fall, that sent Uruguay packing from Brazil.

Oscar Tabarez’s side is younger now, but still boasts two of the best strikers in the world and terrific center backs who also play together for club in Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez. With those in the arsenal, it’s got a chance to make a run.

For more history on Uruguay, click here.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 


What group are they in? Group A


Game schedule – Group A – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here

Friday, June 15: Egypt vs. Uruguay, Yekaterinburg 8 a.m. ET
Weds., June 20: Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia, Rostov-on-Don 11 a.m. ET
Monday, June 25: Uruguay vs. Russia, Samara 10 a.m. ET


Projected lineup (4-4-2) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full

Muslera

Varela — Godin — Gimenez — Laxalt

Nandez — Betancur — Vecina — Rodriguez

Suarez — Cavani


Star player: Luis Suarez — He’s scored 30 or more club goals in five of six seasons, and likely would’ve made it a perfect six had he not been suspended for biting Giorgio Chiellini. Along with fellow 31-year-old striker and 2011 Copa America winner Edinson Cavani, this is a huge tournament for his international legacy.


Manager: Óscar Tabárez – The argument for consistency, Tabarez has led Uruguay since 2006. That includes a fourth-place run at the 2010 World Cup, and who knows how far Luis Suarez and Co. could have gone in 2014 had the star striker not gone 28 Days Later on Giorgio Chiellini. He knows his side well.


Secret weapon: Rodrigo Betancur — The 20-year-old Juventus midfielder is going to get his chance to lay claim to a major and long-term midfield role with Uruguay.


Prediction: With all due respect to the magnificence of Mohamed Salah as well as the power of a host nation in Russia, it would be a monumental disappointment if Uruguay failed to make it out of group play. The group winners and runners-up face Group B, which will likely be Spain or Portugal so… pick your poison.

Uruguay 1-1 Paraguay: Draw sees both sides through to Copa America quarterfinals

Leave a comment

The 2015 Copa America quarterfinal round will include both Paraguay and Uruguay as second- (likely) and third-place finishers in Group B, respectively, when it kicks off this Wednesday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s Copa America coverage ]

Thanks to the two sides’ 1-1 draw in their final game of the group stage, Paraguay can finish no lower than second in the group (Argentina face last-place Jamaica later on Saturday and a win would secure top spot in the group), while Uruguay can finish no lower than second among the three third-place finishers during the group stage.

Jose Gimenez put Uruguay into the lead with just under half an hour on the clock, when the 20-year-old Atletico Madrid center back rose above the crowd and headed home Carlos Sanchez’s corner kick in the 29th minute.

Set pieces giveth, and set pieces taketh away — that’s what Uruguay learned less than 15 minutes later, when Lucas Barrios equalized for Paraguay through a powerful header of his own, sending Edgar Benitez’s corner kick into the back of the net.

[ MORE: Brazil to appeal Neymar’s 4-game suspension | Chile 5-0 Bolivia | Mexico 1-2 Ecuador ]

If Paraguay finish second in Group B, a quarterfinal date with the winners of Group C (perhaps Colombia or Brazil?) looms on the horizon, while Uruguay would face Chile if Argentina finish atop Group B, no matter whether they finish first or second among third-place finishers.

Uruguay 1-0 Jamaica: Reggae Boyz prove a tough test in Copa America opener

Leave a comment

Official notice has been given to the rest of the 2015 Copa America field: Jamaica will not be pushed around or embarrassed this summer by any of the powers that be in South America. On Saturday, the Reggae Boyz kicked off their Group B campaign and gave the defending CONMEBOL (plus special invitees) tournament champions, Uruguay, all they could handle — and more.

[ GROUP PREVIEWS: A | B | C ]

Despite splitting possession nearly even (52 to 48 in favor of Uruguay) and matching La Celeste shot for shot (12 to 11 in favor of Jamaica), the Caribbean island’s national side couldn’t find the ever-elusive goal and fell, narrowly, to the likes of Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin and Maxi Pereira, 1-0.

Shortly before halftime, Darren Mattocks had the Reggae Boyz’ best chance of the game, as the Vancouver Whitecaps striker found himself behind the Uruguay defense and running onto a bouncing through ball. Mattocks reeled in the ball near the top of Uruguay’s penalty area with only the goalkeeper to beat, but his first-time shot was badly scuffed and blocked by the recovering defender.

Uruguay broke through not long after, cracking the code of Jamaica’s very organized defense, shortly after halftime, in the 52nd minute. Nicolas Lodeiro sent a free kick into the box from the left wing and Jose Gimenez headed the ball down toward the penalty sport, where his Atletico Madrid teammate Cristian Rodriguez was waiting. Rodriguez finished calmly with his left foot, beating Duwayne Kerr for the game’s only goal.

[ RELATED: Ranking the top 20 superstars on show at the 2015 Copa America ]

Uruguay currently sit atop Group B, with one of the tournament’s favorites, Argentina, still to play their opening group game later on Saturday. Jamaica, despite their more than respectable showing, have their tournament lives to play for in their next group game, versus Paraguay, on Tuesday.