Mauricio Isla

FOLLOW LIVE — 2015 Copa America: Hosts Chile vs. Peru in semifinal no. 1

Leave a comment

If you can believe it, there’s just four games still to be played at the 2015 Copa America. On Monday night, the host nation, Chile, and Peru are set to do battle in semifinal no. 1 for a place in Saturday’s final, where they’ll face either Argentina or Paraguay for four years’ worth of South American bragging rights.

[ PREVIEW: Chile vs. Peru in SF no. 1 ]

Chile advanced to the semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Uruguay, though you’ll probably remember that quarterfinal matchup for this moment of madness between Gonzalo Jara and Edinson Cavani. Jara has been suspended for three games, which means his tournament is done, though the same can’t be said of Arturo Vidal (three goals scored) who was arrested for DUI less than two weeks ago but returned to the starting lineup without missing a game. Mauricio Isla scored the winner against Uruguay, putting him level on goals scored with Gary Medel and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez (one goal each).

Chile vs. Peru — 7:30 pm ET — FOLLOW LIVE

For Peru, it’s been the Paolo Guerrero Show throughout their unlikely run to the semifinals. The 31-year-old, who scored five goals in the 2011 Copa, bagged his second international hat trick in a 3-1 quarterfinal victory over Bolivia last week. Christian Cueva and 36-year-old Bayern Munich striker Claudio Pizarro have scored Peru’s two group stage goals as Los Incas advanced as runners-up in Group C.

Click the above link to follow along with Monday’s first semifinal, and check back on PST following the game for a full recap and important highlights.

Jara banned from Copa America after below the belt incident causes Cavani red card? (video)

20 Comments

There’s no polite way to put this, other than to say Chile’s Gonzalo Jara got away with putting his hands where the sun doesn’t shine, leading to a red card for Uruguay and a 1-0 win for his side.

The unsavory act by Jara caused Edinson Cavani to slap his unwelcome intruder, putting Uruguay down to 10 men. Chile’s Mauricio Isla scored about 10 minutes later to send Chile into the semifinals, where they’ll play the winner of Bolivia vs. Peru.

[ MORE: Chile 1-0 Uruguay ]

Cavani was on a yellow card when Jara slapped him moments earlier. As the play continued, the referee kept his eyes trained on Cavani, and saw the PSG man slap Mainz’s Jara after the below the belt incident.

So Cavani tried to explain Jara’s antics to referee Sandro Ricci (above), to no avail. To be fair to Ricci, he wouldn’t have seen the act either.

And now reporter Juan Arango says Jara has been banned the rest of the Copa America on his native soil. Deservedly so, might we add. Coincidentally, the incident happened one year after Luis Suarez’s World Cup bite of Giorgio Chiellini.

Isla’s late strike leads Chile to 1-0 win in nasty, card-filled match with Uruguay

Leave a comment

A predictably slap-filled chippy match between Chile and Uruguay spent the first 45 minutes deciding who would play the second 45 with a yellow card.

A late first-half injury saw Arturo Vidal’s knee bend the wrong way in a moment that had to scare fans of both the Copa America host nation and UEFA Champions League finalist Juventus.

The Chileans frittered away a number of good-looking chances, while Uruguay was left seeking out a goal-scoring opportunity for most of the first frame.

[ VIDEO: How good was Messi at 14? ]

Edinson Cavani received a second yellow after slapping Gonzalo Jara in the face in the 63rd minute — retaliating to an uncalled slap and rear-end intrusion from Jara — and had to be restrained before departing the match. Uruguay would have to find a winner down a man, or defend for a half hour to get to kicks.

And Chile did not let it get to kicks. Playing with the man advantage, Jorge Valdivia collected a parried cross just outside the 18, laying it off to Isla. The Juventus man ripped a shot from a standing position past Fernando Muslera to give Chile an 82nd minute advantage that would last.

The equivalent of a bench-clearing argument occurred in the 88th minute, and it would not end. There was plenty of contact between Uruguayan players and the referees, and Jorge Fucile saw red to bring them down to nine.

Chile will face the winner of Bolivia and Peru on Monday in Santiago.

Aston Villa 3-3 Queens Park Rangers: Benteke hat-trick keeps Villa above the drop (video)

Leave a comment

Six goals were scored in a wild 90 minutes of play at Villa Park as Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers drew 3-3.

QPR came back from 2-1 down to take a 3-2 lead, but Christian Benteke completed his hat-trick in the final ten minutes to dash the R’s hopes of back-to-back wins.

With the draw, Aston Villa sit 16th on the table, three points above relegation. Queens Park Rangers remain in the drop zone, two points behind Hull City with one more match played.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

The goals came quickly, as both sides traded tallies within the opening ten minutes. QPR got on the board first as Matty Phillips put the visitors ahead. Leandro Bacuna failed to clear the box for Villa, as Bobby Zamora gained control and cut to his left. Zamora threw in a cross to Phillips who found himself wide open at the back post, easily heading past Brad Guzan.

But just three minutes later Villa drew even as Christian Benteke’s deflected shot dropped in over a helpless Robert Green. The Belgian striker took the ball down the left wing before cutting inside to his right foot and firing a shot on goal. The strike deflected off Mauricio Isla, leaving Green no chance to make a save.

[ RELATED: JPW’s Premier League Playback ]

In the 32nd minute it was Benteke again for Villa, adding to his tally and giving Tim Sherwood’s side the lead. Gabriel Agbonlahor sent Benteke through, as the striker had no pressure and moved in one-on-one with Robert Green. Benteke cooly slotted home for his second of the half giving Villa the lead heading into the dressing room.

source: AP
Christian Benteke now has seven goals in his past five Premier League appearances.

Aston Villa came out after the break and controlled the early play, but it was Queens Park Rangers who found an equalizer in the 55th minute. Matty Phillips whipped in a corner kick that found the head of Clint Hill, as the 36-year-old scored the first Premier League goal of his career. An outstretched Brad Guzan couldn’t reach the header, as there was no defender on the far post to help the goalkeeper off the corner.

It looked like the “great escape” was in full effect for QPR when Charlie Austin put the R’s ahead in the 78th minute. Phillips was involved again, beating his defender before finding Austin in the box. QPR’s leading goal scorer made no mistake with the cross to fire Chris Ramsey’s men into the lead.

But the night belonged to Christian Benteke, who completed his hat-trick just five minutes after Villa went behind. With a free kick just outside the box, Benteke curled a beautiful strike over the wall and off the near post, saving a point for Aston Villa and keeping the club above the drop zone.

LINEUPS

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna (Lowton 75′), Vlaar, Clark, Richardson, Cleverley (N’Zogbia 81′), Delph, Sanchez, Grealish (Cole 71′), Agbonlahor, Benteke

Goals: Benteke (10′, 33′, 83′)

Queens Park Rangers: Green, Isla (Henry 52′), Onuoha, Caulker, Hill, Phillips, Sandro (Doughty 70′), Barton, Kranjcar (Traore 52′), Austin, Zamora

Goals: Phillips (7′), Hill (55′), Austin (78′)

Premier League Preview: QPR vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Leave a comment

• Spurs scored four goals from just five shots on target when they beat QPR 4-0 in the reverse fixture in August.

• QPR and Everton are the only clubs yet to record a Premier League win at home in 2015. Rangers are winless in their last five league matches at Loftus Road, losing the last three.

• Tottenham have picked up 16 points from losing positions this season, more than any other Premier League side. (BBC Sport)

Two Premier League sides with different league aspirations, Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur, will meet again this season.

The last match between these squads in August 2014 showed the Spurs convincingly win in a 4-0 route.

Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers were supposed to face each other on the first day of March, but after Spurs made the Capital One Cup final, the fixture was moved to this Saturday.

NBCSN will have the game ready for viewing, while it will also be accessible on NBC Sports Live Extra, beginning at 10 a.m. ET.

Both teams are coming off midweek competitions with opposite results. QPR played Arsenal in a 2-1 defeat, as the Gunners notched a two-goal lead in the second half that made a comeback very difficult.

[RELATED: Ramsey “genuinly sick” after Arsenal loss]

Conversely, Tottenham Hotspur beat Swansea City, 3-2, with goals from Nacer Chadli, Ryan Mason and Andros Townsend.

Mauricio Pochettino’s outfit has recovered from fluctuating performances in the season’s first half and established more desirable outcomes under 21-year-old forward Harry Kane, who scored nine goals in the past two months and has netted the fourth most goals in the PL.

Spurs are located at seventh place, in front of Stoke City and Swansea, but behind Southampton and Liverpool. Grabbing a fifth-place finish and recapturing Europa League group-stage qualification is Pochettino’s goal after Tottenham missed the spot a season ago.

[RELATED: Tottenham hopes to hold Harry Kane out of Euro U-21 championship

QPR has found England’s top tier treacherous, as one would expect out of the recently promoted team. The Hoops, though, have watched the star power of Charlie Austin persist throughout the year, with the Englishman tallying 15 league goals, more than half of his side’s total.

Stuck in relegation at 18th place, QPR will fight to the end for survival against Burnley and Leicester City, teams that had better standing in the Championship last year than Chris Ramsey’s crew.

What they’re saying 

Tottenham winger Andros Townsend on his loan to QPR in 2013 (Tottenham official website):  “I had a great time at QPR and it will be great to see the players and the fans again and of course Chris Ramsey, who I worked with in the development squad here…At the time of my loan, people were looking to see if I could handle myself in the Premier League, I showed I could, and I feel I’ve gone from strength to strength.”

QPR boss Chris Ramsey on avoiding relegation (ClubCall.com): “There’s maybe six [teams battling relegation]…I’ve said it before, if you get between 37 and 40 points you’ll stay up, but time is running out for us. We have to start winning. Three points is important. The players know the situation we’re in, whether it’s the top or bottom the pressure is always there especially in a league like the Premier League, it’s hard to keep their anxieties down.”

Match injuries/absences

Tottenham have no fresh injury concerns, but due to a short recovery from the Swansea match, we may see a few new starters in this one.

For QPR, 19-year-old defender Darnell Furlong is a doubt with a calf problem, while Mauricio Isla, loaned from Juventus, will likely stay off the pitch as well. Joey Barton, QPR’s captain, must serve the rest of his three game suspension. Nedum Onuoha suffered a considerable cheek cut this week and may not perform.

Prediction

If everything plays out as assumed, Tottenham shouldn’t falter much against the Hoops, having lost six of their past seven league matches. Final: QPR 0-2 Tottenham