De Futebol

Liverpool defeated Leicester City 2-1 in preseason action.

The Daily Mail:” Liverpool fans do not need a reminder of why the club needs to keep Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho. In Hong Kong they got two, anyway.

On 20 minutes, much to the disappointment of the red-shirted hordes in the stands, Leicester City were leading this pre-season clash thanks to an Islam Slimani header.

Then the Brazilian playmaker, subject of a €80million (£72m) bid from the Catalan giants this week, stepped up.

There appeared to be little danger for the Foxes when Coutinho received a pass on the edge of the box from £36.9m new man Mohamed Salah.

But the Egyptian had continued his run into the area and with one little dink, Coutinho found him all alone, next to the penalty spot to head the equaliser.

On the brink of half-time, provider turned poacher. Picking the ball up 30 yards out, the 25–year-old cut inside right back Daniel Amartey and suddenly was in room.

One flick of Coutinho’s right boot later, Kasper Schmeichel was on the floor and the ball was in his far corner. The Mongolian Kopites with their banner behind the goal loved it. Their emotions will have been shared on the red half of Merseyside.

It is these flashes of brilliance, the ability to unlock a defence, to score from nowhere, which even €80m cannot buy. Jurgen Klopp knows this. That is why his teams practice against bus parking defences in training. It is why, when asked about the bid this week, he declared that the player is not for sale.

If they are to make that next step, to break that 27-year top-flight title drought, Coutinho must stay. Barcelona may well come back with more bids.

History (Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling) tells us that Liverpool’s players have a price. We may soon find out if that remains the case.

Their manager is adamant it is not. Klopp’s men had started well, with every trick and flick drawing a rapturous response from an adoring crowd at the Premier League’s Asia Trophy final. But it was the Foxes who drew first blood.

With a dozen minutes on the clock, after some neat build-up featuring Riyad Mahrez, Christian Fuchs crossed and Slimani outjumped James Milner at the far post to power a header into the back of the net.

Following the Coutinho show and the break a lively Jamie Vardy came close to equalising three times as the Foxes rallied.

This will be an interesting season for Leicester. Their story has been told and it is time to write a chapter. You get the impression that a couple of new faces, and the retention of Mahrez, and it may be an interesting one.

Coutinho, meanwhile, was replaced to rapturous applause on 55 minutes. The crowd here knew it. Everybody of a Liverpool persuasion knows it.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4720612/Liverpool-2-1-Leicester-Mo-Salah-scores-again.html#ixzz4nejynvy3

De Futebol

Chelsea took apart my guys from Arsenal 3-0 in a preseason romp in China.

The Daily Mail:” Michy Batshuayi did his best to convince Antonio Conte that he need not be quite so desperate to sign another striker, with a fine performance on Chelsea’s opening match of their pre-season Asian tour in Beijing.

It may not quite have been intense as the FA Cup final two months ago, nor even as significant as the Community Shield in two weeks time, but Chelsea at least got back on track in terms of dominating Arsenal.

And the Belgian striker did all he could to try to convince Conte, who has just signed Alvaro Morata for £70m and wants to bring Fernando Llorente to the club, that he ought to be part of his plans for the season.

Two superb strikes and an assist marked out Batshuayi as the chief beneficiary on this muggy evening in Beijing on a pitch which looked ragged and hard to play on. Arsenal certainly learned little, other than that they will need to improve considerably for their date at Wembley next month.

With three games already under their belt on tour, the FA Cup holders looked remarkably lackadaisical, compared to Chelsea, who on their tour opener looked well ahead of their Community Shield opponents in terms of conditioning.

The Olympic Stadium pitch was kicking up sods of earth almost as soon as the match started and hardly helped. Indeed, the quality early on was intermittent but that which there was generally came from Chelsea. A sleepy Ainsley Maitland-Niles dawdled on the ball eight minutes in, allowing Willian a chance clean through on goal, which he pulled wide.

And though Aaron Ramsey went close from a Mesut Ozil cross on 25 minutes, it was rare moment of danger as Chelsea imposed themselves on their opponents. David Ospina, in goal for Petr Cech, still feeling the effects of food poisoning, was forced into a fine double save on 35 minutes, first parrying a Willian strike and then tipping over from Victor Moses’ effort directly from the rebound.

Michy Batshuayi had the ball in the net a minute later , though was ruled out for offside, but no matter: it was to prove an evening when the Belgian, whose goal won Chelsea the title at West Brom last season, would shine.

t was him on 42 minutes who set Willian on his way, cutting inside the fragile Arsenal defence to strike the ball around Ospina and into the far corner to open the scoring. Just one minute later it was Batshuayi himself on the score-sheet, with an excellent strike. N’Golo Kante found him in the box and Batshuayi controlled, turned and curled the ball past Ospina into the top corner to double the lead.

Arsenal attempted to inject some energy at half time by bringing on six substitutes – Danny Welbeck, Laurent Koscielny, Mohammed Elneny, Sead Kolasinac, Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud – but to little initial effect. In fact, just three minutes into the half, Cesc Fabregas found Marcos Alonso, who dashed down the left before pulling back to Batshuayi, who, from the edge of the box, connected with an excellent dipping, spinning strike which bamboozled Opsina and made it 3-0.

Even when the game degenerated into a frenzy of substitutions, Chelsea’s reserves still looked better than Arsenal with Fikayo Tomori impressing, going close on 56 minutes. Arsenal chief moment of significance in the second half came when David Luiz looked to have tripped Wellbeck inside the box, but the referee awarded a free kick, which Giroud drove into the wall.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4720584/Arsenal-0-3-Chelsea-Michy-Batshuayi-bags-sublime-brace.html#ixzz4nZPSAeqV

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Man U defeated Man Shitty 2-0 in a friendly in Texas. The Guardians Jamie Jackson wrote;” The latest edition of a fixture first played in 1881 was the story of an unimpressive debut from Ederson, the £34.69m-priced goalkeeper, who was culpable for each of Manchester United’s strikes.

Errors are a feature of close season football and Ederson may make more. Yet given Manchester City’s travails with No1s under Pep Guardiola the hope will be the Brazilian settles quickly.

United and City had begun the 175th staging of this famous fixture by walking through billowing smoke into a darkened NRG Stadium lit up by a sea of supporters’ phones. The ballyhoo belied Jose Mourinho’s insistence in the build-up that this would be a glorified training exercise and so a virtual non-event of a Manchester derby.

incent Kompany took the opposing view. The City captain’s pre-game stance was that there can be no friendlies where these two rivals are concerned. To prove the point he took two minutes to clatter into his Belgium team-mate, Romelu Lukaku.

This was City’s opening tour match and United’s third. In wins against LA Galaxy (5-2) and Salt Lake City (2-1), Mourinho’s outfit operated at a relative canter. The upturn in tempo here was noticeable as two Premier League big beasts took turns to attack.

The red wave came first as Ander Herrera forced the opening save of Ederson’s City career and Lukaku’s surge-and-pass to Jesse Lingard was fluffed by the No14. Now came the sky-blue surge as Phil Foden dribbled forward and let fly a left foot shot that David De Gea had to eye carefully.

Like Foden, Kyle Walker was making his debut. While the 17-year-old from Stockport cost City nothing and positioned on the left of City’s 4-3-3, the right-back cost an eye-watering initial £45m and operated in his normal right-back berth.

In a foot-race with Marcus Rashford Walker showed a prime quality he was acquired for – pace – and shepherded the ball out. On display, too, were further feisty challenges; Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan joined Lukaku as United players who might inform Mourinho the showdown was being contested as it should.

Considering this was City’s opening outing since the 5-0 thumping of Watford on 21 May they could be happy with their sharpness. As the stanza wore on Guardiola’s men probed more though they were to end it behind due to Ederson’s mistakes.

Before those, Fernandinho leapt on an errant United pass and fed Patrick Roberts. The wide forward was in on goal and then pulled back by Chris Smalling. The referee, Ismail Elfath, failed to blow his whistle, and when possession came to Sterling, Smalling blocked the attempt.

The next incident involved Lukaku’s second strike in two games and derived from the one thing Guardiola did not want: an Ederson error. The Catalan’s problems at No1 number began with his bombing out of Joe Hart out last summer and moved onto his replacement, Claudio Bravo, enduring an awful 2016-17 campaign.

Ederson, then, is Bravo’s successor. When Paul Pogba flipped a precise pass into Lukaku out rushed the 23-year-old. But he failed to take ball or man, and from a tight angle the No9 swept home a neat finish.

This was on 37 minutes. United’s second came moments later and causes further scrutiny of Ederson. Mkhitaryan roved toward the area and switched play right to Rashford. He took aim and though the effort came hard and true the keeper appeared close enough to ball to stick out a glove. Instead, in it went, and United’s lead was doubled.

This was two goals in two minutes. Two yellow cards were about to arrive in the same time-span. Yaya Toure scythed down Mkhitaryan and saw yellow. Then Daley Blind did the same to Roberts and out came the card again.

For the second half Guardiola made seven changes and Mourinho made three. What did not change was the shaky nature of Ederson’s bow. From a position reminiscent of David Beckham’s halfway line beating of Wimbledon’s Neil Sullivan in 1996, Rashford launched the ball at City’s goal. The Brazilian scooted back anxiously and just managed to tip over.

The next time United attacked Ederson was beaten. But Lukaku’s pile-driver smashed back off the right post and to safety. Further substitutions followed that upset the flow of the match. Of interest here was the sight of Samir Nasri and Eliaquim Mangala in City colours. Each are for sale and as this is proving hard to do, they were being placed in the shop window in the hope to attract suitors.

By the close this 134-year-old encounter had created a small slice of Mancunian football history by being played overseas for the first time, in Houston, a city built on swampland, and which is the U.S.A.’s fourth largest.

United triumphed but, as the cliche goes, this was for bragging rights only. For these two clubs the real stuff starts in mid-August, on the new season’s opening weekend.

After the game Guardiola stated Aleksandar Kolarov is set to leave, and that the Serbian wants to depart. The 45-year-old said: “I don’t like working with people who don’t want to stay. He has a big chance to go to Roma. He has said he wants to leave.”

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea (Romero, ht); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah, 78) , Smalling, Lindelof (Jones, ht), Blind (Darmian, ht); Ander Herrera (Fellaini, 62), Pogba; Lingard (Pereira, 78), Mkhitaryan (Carrick, 62), Rashford (Martial, 62); Lukaku

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Kompany (Stones, ht), Adarabioyo (Otamendi, ht), Fernandinho (Mangala, ht); Toure, De Bruyne (Nasri, ht), Foden (Zinchenko, 76); Roberts (Brahim, ht), Aguero (Jesus, ht), Sterling (Sane, ht)

Yellow: Toure (42), Blind (44), Mangala (55)

Referee: Ismail Elfath

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/21/ederson-makes-inglorious-start-as-manchester-united-account-for-city

De Futebol

It looks like Neymar is gone at Barcelona. This is according to the Daily Mail. “It will be the most stunning European football transfer since Real Madrid snatched Luis Figo back in 2000, and once again Barcelona will be the victims.

Neymar, poised to step out of the shadow of Lionel Messi and into the spotlight at the Parc des Princes, was the player the Catalans boasted about beating the rest of Europe to in 2013.

But they are on the brink of losing him after only four years, for a fee that will smash the existing transfer record.

‘I don’t think that will happen,’ said Barcelona’s technical secretary Robert Fernandez on Monday when asked if a club would meet Neymar’s €222million (£196m) buy-out clause.

If that was throwing down the gauntlet to PSG chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi he seems increasingly convinced that accepting the challenge is what it will take to make the French side Champions League winners.

It was Neymar who stopped PSG progressing in last season’s Champions League. He starred in that extraordinary 6-5 aggregate win with a brilliant free-kick, a penalty and the assist for the 95th-minute winning goal all in seven sensational minutes.

It seemed to be the night he moved ahead of Messi as Barcelona’s most important player. But the crown was not passed down the line.

Neymar was sent off for a daft double caution in a 2-0 defeat to Malaga a few weeks later and when he sarcastically clapped the fourth official as he walked off the pitch he incurred a further game’s suspension and missed the Clasico two weeks later.

Barcelona beat Real Madrid without him thanks to a 92nd-minute winner from Messi — yet another reminder of just who was No 1 at the Nou Camp and how difficult it would be for Neymar to overtake him.

As Barcelona’s season faded Neymar also began to feel that the finger of blame was being pointed his way.

He went partying with Lewis Hamilton the night of the 6-1 win over PSG. He had permission but four days after the celebration with the British Formula 1 driver, who he made friends with last summer on holiday in the US, he missed Barcelona’s defeat to Deportivo through injury.

That game also coincided with Neymar’s sister Rafaella’s birthday and it was pointed out that this was the third year running that he had missed the game being played closest to that particular date in his calendar.

As well as the bond with Hamilton he also became friends with the Canadian singer Justin Bieber. There were frequent trips to London on days off.

And at the end of the season during a training-ground row with Barcelona’s then-assistant coach Carles Unzue it was claimed that Unzue warned Neymar not to end up like another Barca Brazilian, Ronaldinho, whose prolific social life ultimately cut short his career.

Unzue is gone but the feeling remains that Neymar is looked upon as the playboy footballer and not the leader of the team. He looks more than happy in the company of Messi and Luis Suarez on the training pitch – the three are as inseparable in training as they are effective during games but there will be no shortage of Brazilian friends waiting for him in Paris.

PSG threw themselves wholeheartedly into a late bid to prise Dani Alves away from Pep Guardiola and Manchester City precisely because they knew it would be something else in their favour as they attempted to lure Neymar.

Cynics in Barcelona will dismiss the talk of Neymar moving for only football reasons. How can playing every week in the French League in front of 48,000 top playing the Clasico in front of 99,000? Will leaving Messi and Suarez’s side really improve his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or? What if PSG’s woes under Unai Emery are repeated this season and the French Cup is all they win again?

Others will not believe his departure until they see him deposit the €222m buy-out clause with the Spanish league to free him from his contract – even if Barca want Marco Veratti they will demand PSG pay in full and then discuss other business afterwards.

Neymar has cried wolf before with last year’s rumblings ending with him signing with the club until 2021.

This week’s stories seemed to be following a similar pattern. Spanish papers got the ball rolling on Monday with reports that the 25-year-old was ‘uncomfortable’ and the same paper had world exclusive pictures of Neymar on a yacht in the Mediterranean 24 hours later.

It suggested more choreographed ‘noise’ and the sports website Goal.com promised an interview with the player declaring his commitment to the club on Wednesday but news that Neymar’s father was on his way to Paris for talks this morning seemed to carry far more weight.

Voices from other Premier League clubs who have kept a careful eye on the situation over the last 12 months also suggest this time the player really is about to leave.

When Barcelona lost Figo in 2000 they wasted the money on the disastrous signings of Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit among others. They will have to get their rebuilding right this time.

Veratti will remain an option and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele or Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe will head up the targets as the Brazilian’s direct replacement.

‘No one is more abracadabra than Neymar,’ former Barca coach Luis Enrique once said. Barcelona will argue that Messi still has more magic in his 30-year-old legs than the younger pretender.

Which is precisely why Neymar is now on the verge of leaving for the City of Light.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4711894/Neymar-PSG-196m-deal-stun-world.html#ixzz4nNEffM3J

De Futebol

Boca Juniors won their 32nd league title. The Daily Mail:” Boca Juniors sealed the 32nd Argentine title of their illustrious history amid a spectacular display of colour and light at La Bombonera on Sunday evening.

Few places in world football carry a reputation for such passionate fans and the Boca faithful did not disappoint as they lit flares and unfurled huge banners to celebrate their team lifting the Primera Division trophy.

Players donned hats, lit their own yellow and blue flares and climbed the fences around the stadium to make sure the spectators got as close as possible. It created the spectacle one has come to expect from South American football.

🎥 El sitio oficial estuvo en el vestuario y registró todos los festejos de los jugadores como nadie te los mostró. #OtraEstrellaBoca pic.twitter.com/TY2ytr9ERp

— 🏆 Boca Jrs. Oficial (@BocaJrsOficial) June 26, 2017

Boca already knew they had won the title going into Sunday’s game against Union Santa Fe after closest challengers Banfield lost 1-0 at San Lorenzo last week to give them an unassailable lead.

That had sparked mass celebrations on the streets of Argentina’s capital but it appears the fans saved the very best for their final fixture.

Boca players did their best to give the fans something else to cheer about, endeavouring to beat the struggling Union despite having already achieved their ultimate goal.

The 2-1 win, sealed by a brace from Dario Benedetto, was a scrappy affair, but few will remember the game itself with the title celebrations very much the main event of the evening.

Boca finished the season seven points clear of their arch-rivals River Plate, who themselves find their record of 36 league titles coming under threat. Indeed, Boca have won two of the last three national titles and are now just four behind on 32.

Head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto was keen to thank their fans for inspiring his players towards the championship in what was his first season in charge.

He told TYC Sport: ‘The fans were always on our side and it is a joy to give them the championship.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4639040/Boca-Juniors-spectacular-celebrations-title-win.html#ixzz4l7nYJf00

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Man U defeated Real Salt Lake 2-1 in preseason action.

The Daily Mail:” Just for a moment, it looked as though Romelu Lukaku had wasted his chance. Henrikh Mkhitaryan played a wonderful cross into the path of Manchester United’s new £75million signing but his first touch let him down. Lukaku recovered, though, and took the ball around the goalkeeper before firing past a defender on the line.

The Belgium striker will score more significant goals on more important occasions than this, a pre-season friendly in Salt Lake City. But this was his first in a United shirt and he will feel all the better for it.

Two days earlier in Los Angeles, Lukaku missed an easy chance as he was upstaged by young Marcus Rashford. His rather untidy effort here at the Rio Tinto Stadium was the difference between United and a surprisingly lively Real side.

They gave Jose Mourinho’s side more of a game than they might have expected. It made its mark on Juan Mata who limped off 14 minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute, and Antonio Valencia was then bizarrely sent off by MLS referee Allen Chapman.

Otherwise, Mourinho will be happy with another decent run-out for his players and another win as United prepare to meet Manchester City in the International Champions Cup in Houston in the early hours of Friday morning.

A storm and 60mph winds an hour before kick-off threatened to disrupt United’s first ever game in Utah, but it had subsided by the time the players came out in humid conditions at just before 8pm local time.

Set against the mountains, the Rio Tinto Stadium is certainly a picturesque venue but there were more than a few empty seats visible in the 20,000-capacity arena, just as there had been in LA at the weekend with high ticket prices once again dampening the enthusiasm of US soccer fans.

If LA Galaxy had offered rather lame opposition, however, Real Salt Lake quickly demonstrated that they would offer more competition for a United side that began sluggishly in contrast to their flying start in the first game. Mourinho’s side were slow to the ball and wasteful in possession as they struggled with Real’s pace and movement.

You can’t blame all that on playing at high altitude, but in fairness the MLS team were able to go full throttle because coach Mike Petke had already decided to play three completely different teams for half an hour each.

Twice in the opening 20 minutes they sliced through the United defence and it needed excellent anticipation from Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Jesse Lingard to stop Jefferson Savarino and Joao Plata with last-ditch tackles in front of goal.

United’s starting goalkeeper Joel Pereira also managed to gather Plata’s low shot at the second attempt after another incisive move, but he was powerless to stop Real taking a deserved lead in the 23rd minute.

It came from another fantastic sweeping move as the lively Savarino raced in between Lingard and Daley Blind, and slipped a pass through for Luis Silva. Phil Jones looked as though he would stop the striker but was muscled off the ball far too easily by Silva who flicked it past Pereira with the outside of his left foot.

Up to that point, United had only put together one attack of note when Mkhitaryan swept the ball to Fosu-Mensah galloping down the right. Lukaku anticipated the defender’s low cross to the edge of the six-yard box but just couldn’t quite connect as he lunged in.

However, United did pull level in the 29th minute and it was their best player Mkhitaryan who finished it off. The Armenian was unmarked when he received the ball from Lingard on the edge of the area despite three white shirts being in close proximity, and he turned to drag a shot inside goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s left-hand post.

Real made their first raft of changes moments later and it seemed to take the edge off their play as Lukaku fired United in front with that landmark first goal seven minutes before half-time.

Mourinho summoned his own replacements at half-time, making 11 changes just as he did in LA at the weekend.

Unfortunately for Mata, he didn’t last long before limping off after picking up a foot injury in a challenge with Sebastian Saucedo, with the United boss anxious not to take any risks with the Spaniard.

There was certainly a little more bite in the game, and Valencia followed Mata down the tunnel in the 68th minute when he was sent off for taking retribution with a scything challenge on Saucedo.

It was a curious decision considering that the officials in both tour games have been reluctant to produce so much as a yellow card. Even more so because referee Chapman waited for more than two minutes while Saucedo received treatment before brandishing a red. The official asked Mourinho to take the Ecuador international off, a request which was refused, before sending him off.

Real briefly threatened an equaliser when Luke Mulholland flashed a shot wide in the 73rd minute, but United should have extended their lead in the latter stages as Chris Smalling and Anthony Martial missed chances.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4705622/Real-Salt-Lake-1-2-Manchester-United-Lukaku-scores.html#ixzz4nBWRmfnT

De Futebol

 

Flamengo and Cruziero tied one all. The guys stay locked into fourth place with 24 points.

Globo Esportes:” Com boas defesas de Thiago e um gol de Éverton no segundo tempo, o rubro-negro vencia o Cruzeiro fora de casa e subia da quarta para a vice colocação do Brasileiro. Mas o gol de empate do Cruzeiro, feito por Sassá, e a virada do Grêmio sobre a Ponte Preta, em Porto Alegre, fizeram com que o Flamengo estacionasse em quarto.

O placar de 1 a 1 em Belo Horizonte mostra um certo equilíbrio em campo, apesar de o Cruzeiro, principalmente no segundo tempo, ter sido mais incisivo e mostrado mais domínio do jogo. Nesse aspecto, teve mais chance de sair vencedor do que o visitante.

Logo quando o Cruzeiro voltou do intervalo com essa disposição mais ofensiva, o Flamengo achou o seu gol em uma boa jogada de Guerrero, que passou para Rodinei cruzar na medida para a cabeçada de Éverton, que fez boa partida.

O resultado alçava o Flamengo para a vice-liderança, mas, logo em seguida, o Grêmio, que acabaria virando em seu estádio (3 a 1), empatou com a Ponte. Quase ao mesmo tempo, Sassá, que saiu do banco, fazia o gol do Cruzeiro no Mineirão, arruinando as pretensões rubro-negras.

A derrota só não veio para o Flamengo em Belo Horizonte porque o goleiro Thiago fez excelentes defesas. E porque o time, que não teve sucesso em raras investidas nos últimos 15 minutos, soube resistir à pressão no fim.

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/flamengo-fica-no-empate-com-cruzeiro-no-mineirao-21597912#ixzz4n2DlAJTl