Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester United can’t break down Valencia

Leave a comment
  • United second in Group H
  • Valencia given six yellow cards
  • Two with Juventus next
  • Alexis gets start

Manchester United couldn’t find a way past Valencia in a scoreless draw at Old Trafford on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League.

The Red Devils are three points ahead of Valencia and two behind Juventus ahead of back-to-back match-ups with old friend Cristiano Ronaldo.

United had four of the match’s five shots on target, and out-attempted Valencia 17-8.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

United were clearly the superior side over the first 45 minutes, but what good is that without danger? Aside from a pair of Romelu Lukaku hopeful crosses and two even more hopeful penalty shouts, the Red Devils couldn’t find a way through.

Goncalo Guedes had the first chance of the second half for either side, hitting a shot from the chalk of the 18 that sailed wide of the frame.

United wasted a corner kick won by Paul Pogba in the 53rd as the Old Trafford crowd implored its men to attack.

Valencia goalkeeper Neto popped a laser free kick from Pogba over the bar in the 62nd minute, and an inspired tackle from Luke Shaw nearly set Pogba up for a penalty kick on the ensuing corner kick.

Alexis Sanchez left the match with 15 minutes to play after an uninspiring return to the lineup. Anthony Martial took his place, and drew a free kick from the right edge of the 18. Marcus Rashford ripped his effort off the crossbar.

Luke Shaw sent an 88th minute corner kick toward the near post, and Romelu Lukaku headed over the goal.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Valencia reaches deal to sign Guedes from PSG

Twitter/@gguedesoficial
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Valencia says it has reached a deal to sign Portugal winger Goncalo Guedes from Paris Saint-Germain.

[ MORE: The latest Premier League player power rankings ]

Guedes played for Valencia last season on loan from the French club.

Valencia did not give details on the transfer fee and contract length on Monday, though Spanish media said the deal was worth 40 million euros ($46.7 million).

The 21-year-old Guedes was part of Portugal’s squad at the World Cup in Russia.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

La Liga players may strike over games in USA

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Last week La Liga announced a 15-year partnership with Relevent Sports which planned to bring regular-season games to the U.S. and Canada over the coming years.

Since then, the backlash against those plans has been fierce, particularly among the players.

Captains and leaders from La Liga teams assembled on Wednesday in a meeting to discuss the matter, with the likes of Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets and Koke all present.

The Spanish players’ union, AFE, were with the players at the meeting and their president, David Aganzo, sent out a clear message.

“The problem is the lack of common sense, a schedule where only the export of soccer benefits – nobody counts on the fans. We need to fix it with the bosses. The captains are outraged, they’re against it, they are unanimous,” Aganzo said. “It does not make sense. We are talking about an agreement that has a validity of 15 years without consulting the players.”

When asked about the possibility of a strike by the players, Aganzo added: “We will try not to reach that extreme but we are willing to go to the end if necessary.”

The union will meet again in September, while La Liga said it will meet with them “in the appropriate forum to discuss the plans to play a match outside of Spain.”

La Liga is clearly trying to grow its global brand and to do that you have to try different things. But the uproar from players and the union suggests they were never consulted on the matter and that is their biggest gripe.

The fact of the matter is, if La Liga clubs not named Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid were to travel to the U.S. for a regular-season game then it is unlikely they’d sell plenty of tickets for the game. So, one of the big boys would have to be involved in the games played in the U.S. or Canada and that would mean denying their fans the chance to see them at home.

We’ve seen the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB hosting regular-season games overseas for many years with varying degrees of success. It can work but it has to be done properly and it seems like talks between La Liga and AFE will continue to try and iron out any issues the players have.

Atletico Madrid and Valencia draw in Spanish league debut

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid and Valencia couldn’t manage more than a 1-1 draw in the opening match of the season for potential contenders for the Spanish league title on Monday.

Both teams debuted new signings and came boosted by great seasons a year ago, but it was an even match from the start at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium, with neither finding an edge to earn the victory.

[ RECAP: Palace 0-2 Liverpool ]

The hosts came closer to winning and squandered a few great chances in the final minutes.

Angel Correa gave Atletico the lead in the 25th minute with a shot from close range after a great set up by Antoine Griezmann, who cleared a few defenders before sending a perfect ball to the forward behind the defense. Correa had only goalkeeper Neto to beat and easily found the corner.

Atletico held on for the rest of the first half but Valencia equalized shortly after halftime with a great goal by striker Rodrigo, who controlled the ball with his chest after a cross into the area and fired a left-footed shot into the top of the net.

“We can’t say it was unfair, but if we had won the match it wouldn’t be a crazy result,” Rodrigo said. “We faced a great rival and showed that we are playing on a high level. That’s what we want to keep doing the whole season.”

Gabriel Paulista nearly scored again for Valencia less than 10 minutes after Rodrigo’s goal, but his header off a corner struck the post. Daniel Wass had a chance on a breakaway with a few minutes left, but his shot was saved by Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Kevin Gameiro also missed a clear opportunity just before the final whistle.

“We lacked organization in the end and I didn’t like that,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “But I’ll stick to what we did well. These teams are very similar and we had our chances to win the match.”

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Atletico finished runner-up to Barcelona in the league last season, while Valencia was fourth and secured a Champions League berth. Atletico was coming off a victory over city rival Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.

Simeone started Monday’s match with one of the team’s top signings in the offseason, France forward Thomas Lemar, playing up front with Griezmann and Diego Costa. Other recently arrived players began on the bench, including Gelson Martins, Nikola Kalinic and Rodri. Martins came in as a substitute in the second half, replacing Griezmann.

Wass, one of Valencia’s new signings, was in the starting lineup, while Gameiro, Denis Cheryshev and Michy Batshuayi began on the bench. Gameiro and Batshuayi entered in the second half.

Defending champion Barcelona made its league debut on Saturday with a 3-0 win against Alaves with a pair of goals by Lionel Messi at Camp Nou Stadium.

Real Madrid opened with a 2-0 win over Getafe with Gareth Bale scoring and setting up Dani Carvajal’s goal at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Athletic Bilbao hosts Leganes later Monday to close out the first round.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

Valencia to sign Russia forward Denis Cheryshev on loan

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Valencia says it has reached an agreement with Villarreal to get Russia forward Denis Cheryshev on loan.

The club says the loan is “pending” and will be valid until the end of the season.

Cheryshev scored four goals at the World Cup, helping Russia reach the quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Ramos takes shots at Klopp ]

The 27-year-old player had already been with Valencia on a loan in 2016. He was previously with Real Madrid but had few opportunities with the team’s main squad.

Valencia also added forward Kevin Gameiro from Atletico Madrid and striker Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea.

Valencia finished fourth in the Spanish league last season.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga