Rais M’Bohli

African Footballer of the Year shortlist: Yaya Toure goes for four in a row, MLS player makes it

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Yaya Toure is looking to become the first player to win four-straight African Footballer of the Year awards, as the Manchester City star has been named as one of 25 players on the CAF shortlist.

The Ivory Coast leader held off John Obi Mikel, Didier Drogba and Seydou Keita from 2011-13, and will have to beat a host of players from big name clubs if he wants to join Samuel Eto’o as the only players to have won the award four times.

FIFA reports that South Africa’s Senzo Meyiwa, murdered last month, is on the list of players who can win the award given to those who play solely on the continent.

Crystal Palace has the list, as it announced its Democratic Republic of Congo winger, Yannick Bolasie, is on the list along with AS Roma’s Gervinho, Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony and Tottenham Hotspur’s Emmanuel Adebayor.

[ RELATED: Both sides of Manchester in injury trouble ]

There’s an MLS player in the mix as well, as Philadelphia Union goalkeeper and Algerian World Cup hero Rais M’Bohli made the list.

Toure is the clear favorite to win the award, though Algeria’s strong World Cup could give a boost to one of its four members on the list: Islam Slimani (Sporting Lisbon), Yacine Brahimi (Porto), Keita (AS Roma) and M’Bohli.

The winner will be announced on Jan. 8, 2015. Here’s the list in full:

2014 African Footballer of the Year shortlist
Ahmed Musa – (Nigeria, CSKA Moscow)
Asamoah Gyan – (Ghana, Al Ain)
Dame N’doye – (Senegal, Lokomotiv Moscow)
Emmanuel Adebayor – (Togo, Tottenham)
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting – (Cameroon, Schalke 04)
Fakhreddine Ben Youssef – (Tunisia, CS Sfaxien)
Ferdjani Sassi – (Tunisia, CS Sfaxien)
Gervinho – (Cote d’Ivoire, AS Roma)
Islam Slimani – (Algeria, Sporting Lisbon)
Kwadwo Asamoah – (Ghana, Juventus)
source: Getty Images
M’Bohli

Mehdi Benatia – (Morocco, Bayern Munich)

Mohamed El Neny – (Egypt, Basel)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – (Gabon, Borussia Dortmund)
Raïs M’Bolhi – (Algeria, Philadelphia Union)
Sadio Mané – (Senegal, Southampton)
Seydou Kieta –  (Mali, As Roma)
Sofiane Feghouli – (Algeria, Valencia)
Stephane Mbia – (Cameroon,  Sevilla)
Thulani Serero – (South Africa, Ajax)
Vincent Aboubakar – (Cameroon, Porto)
Vincent Enyeama – (Nigeria, Lille)
Wilfried Bony –  (Cote d’Ivoire, Swansea)
Yacine Brahimi – (Algeria, Porto)

Yannick Bolasie – (DR Congo, Crystal Palace)
Yaya Toure – (Cote d’Ivoire, Man City)

MLS Snapshot: History! Fire set ties record, Union playoff hopes fade

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Amobi Okugo’s 88th minute goal looked to boost the Union’s playoff hopes, but the fabulous tying Fire provided home heartbreak for Philadelphia at PPL Park on Thursday night.

Draws are pretty much losses for the Union right now, and they ran into a Chicago team that has now tied more games in a single season than any team in MLS history after Thursday’s 1-1 tie.

[ RELATED: Latest MLS standings ]

Four minutes after Okugo’s heroics had the stadium rocking, Robert Earnshaw brough the boobirds out when he took advantage of a poor clearance from Union keeper Rais M’Bohli in the second minute of stoppage time to see the game out at 1-1.

The tie leaves the Union in seventh place and will make it highly-improbable they rise back into the top five. Meanwhile, Chicago remains in ninth place.

[ MORE: MLS weekend previewRed Bull exec says Henry done in NY ]

Andrew Wenger provided the game’s best chance in the early stages of the second half when he streaked down the right flank, but his pass to the middle of the field was hammered wide, point-blank, by Cristian Maidana.

The Union were forced to deal with a few tricky chances, but Amobi Okugo and Maurice Edu made them look fairly easy in defense. Jim Curtin’s decision to ask Edu to man the middle of the back line is a clear victory for Philadelphia (and sports bravery).

Sixty-first minute sub Brian Brown took a touch too many when Wenger set him up just outside the 18, curling a low shot well wide of Sean Johnson’s goal.

And then Okugo took advantage of a deflected cross off Brown, sending a ball into the center of the goal past Johnson.

But it wasn’t over, Philly goalkeeper M’Bohli clearance was picked off by Earnshaw. He raced in to chip the keeper with class, providing a bit of history to MLS.

Brave Algeria beaten in extra time by Schurrle, Ozil; Germany through

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It was going to take a heroic feat for Germany to score on Algeria goalkeeper Rais M’Bohli, and Andre Schurrle did just that.

Thomas Muller found Schurrle 90 seconds into extra time, and the first goal of the game was equal parts beautiful and decisive. Schurrle used his back foot to flick the ball behind his body and past M’Bohli for the game’s first lead in what would finish 2-1 in Porto Alegre.

Germany’s second came in the 119th minute, and it took even more work to beat M’Bohli and an exhausted Algeria. Mesut Ozil and Schurrle each had shots before Ozil sent a rebound home.

Algeria added a Abdelmoumene Djabou goal in the 121st minute, but it’ll be Germany and France in the quarterfinals on Friday at Noon ET.

Germany outshot Algeria 28-10 and held 58 percent possession.

Algeria’s first half was something to watch, as the Desert Foxes continually provided counterattacks and probing balls past Germany’s defense. The Germans looked slow, white trees in a storm of green flashes.

Here’s what we were saying at halftime.

Germany held sway in the second half, but needed to find that final ball. Algeria goalkeeper Rais M’Bohli, a back-up in club soccer but likely not for long, made save after save against the heavy favorites.

The 81st minute saw Germany restore a bit of order, as Andre Schurrle’s brilliant cross was strongly headed by Thomas Muller, but M’Bohli was there to punch it away.

A minute later, Muller juggled around Belkalem put his shot with the outside of his foot went wide of the goal. The drama was being dished out in heaping doses, but still no goals.

M’Bohli, who is a No. 2 to Tomas Cerny as Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia, was an absolute all-star. So, to be fair, was Germany’s high-profile backstop Manuel Neuer, who was forced to come flying out of his 18 on multiple occasions to save his team.

And so we went to extra time. Would Algeria have the horses to find a goal, or even carry this to penalty kicks?

We didn’t have to wait long to find out:

The second period of extra time featured a foul on Brahimi that tore his shorts and allowed Algeria a free kick from 28 yards out. A brilliant kick from Algeria bounced once in front of Neuer before he collected it, as the Desert Foxes couldn’t get there.

The questions will be whether Germany had too much taken out of them by this grueling match, as well as if they truly are favorites against a France team that has looked at ease for much of the tournament.

Lineups

Germany: Neuer; Mustafi (Khedira, 69′), Mertesacker, Boateng, Höwedes; Lahm (C), Schweinsteiger (Kramer, 109′), Özil, Kroos, Götze (Schurrle, 46′), Müller

Goals: Schurrle (91′), Ozil (119′)

Algeria: M’Bolhi, Mandi, Belkalem, Halliche (Bougherra, 97′), Ghoulam, Feghouli, Lacen, Taider (Brahimi, 78′), Mahrez, Soudani (Djabou, 100′), Slimani

Goal: Djabou (120’+1)