De Futebol Arsenal wins their third Europa League match in a row!

Arsenal wins their third straight match in Europa League Group H play a 1-0 win over Red Star Belgrade.

The Guardians Amy Lawrence wrote:” It takes something unusual to create a moment of silence at Red Star Belgrade’s boisterous Marakana. Five minutes from the end of a Europa League encounter that scored higher on atmosphere than intrigue, Arsenal produced the game’s defining moment and for a few seconds the sound cut completely as the home crowd took in the blow.

What a blow it was. The move of the night was carved out by Jack Wilshere, who changed gear to burst into dangerous space and exchanged passes with Theo Walcott, who picked out Olivier Giroud. It had been one of those nights where Arsenal’s hulking frontman looked a bit tortured, nothing going for him, touches astray, movement on the leaden side. But in that moment he adjusted his body to send an overhead kick arcing into the net. Giroud’s status as a great goalscorer has been a source of debate over the years but he sure is capable of scoring a great goal. The finish was glossed with spectacular flourish.

Arsène Wenger chuckled afterwards as he confessed that Giroud had come over to the dugout during the game with a special message. “He came to the touchline and told me: ‘We will score.’ He knew more than I did. That’s Olivier Giroud. He keeps belief when it is tough. That’s why he scores at moments you didn’t expect him to score.”

The Europa League is fast turning into a tonic for Arsenal. While the Premier League slips create fretful anxiety, this competition has been an escape of sorts. Giroud’s matchwinner ensured a maximum nine points out of nine and they hold a five-point lead halfway through the group stage. Next month they play the return game with Red Star. Another win would see them safely qualified with two games to spare.

Resting key players with wholesale rotation can backfire, but so far Arsenal’s B-siders have proved able to enjoy the Europa experience. All in all they handled a tricky night well. Wenger had tried to brush off the atmosphere effect, suggesting his team were used to a similar ambience in the Premier League. But this was no run of the mill vibe.

The Marakana, packed an hour before kick-off, crackled with energy, the colourful choreography and bouncing fans shuddering behind the goal as the teams emerged and the decibels never dropped. If the Emirates is a smart and boring uncle, the Marakana was like a punk cousin turning up the attitude.

t was a night for cojones, to borrow the word of the week. Arsenal’s hotchpotch side, with a handful of kids and experienced fringe players thrown together, settled admirably enough.

The defensive compilation was on the eclectic side. Rob Holding had unfamiliar partners in Mohamed Elneny, a midfielder by trade, and Mathieu Debuchy, a full-back who has been injured for most of the past two and a half years. In the circumstances, reappearing all of a sudden after so long away from first-team football, the Frenchman found an impressive performance that potentially gives Wenger another defensive option.

“I am pleased for him, he survived 90 minutes without any setbacks,” the manager said. “He had only one half with under-23s on Monday night. Overall it’s a positive performance for someone who has been out for such a long time.”

Wenger was also particularly pleased with how the teenagers on show rose to handle the test. “They showed a lot of character. It’s not easy to express that at 18. To play in such a heated atmosphere shows how much resistance to stress they have, which is an important quality at this level.”

Interestingly, the sense of occasion got to Red Star. At times they were almost overenthusiastic and as they bounded into the box they had a tendency to be too breathless to make cool decisions. Turning gallons of desire into the hard currency of shots on target was the challenge, and it was unfortunate for them that they came up against Petr Cech in dominant form.

The Czech goalkeeper made an excellent save to deny Nemanja Radonjic’s slammed shot, and late in the game kept out two more promising Red Star efforts.

Arsenal were wasteful, too, until Giroud’s late intervention. Although the striker took the grandest bow, Wilshere’s enterprise and eye for a killer pass again shone. Wenger said that the midfielder is edging closer and closer to inclusion in the first string.

“He will get a chance in the Premier League, don’t worry for that. At the moment it is going that way. He got a big kick in first half on his ankle but managed to get through the 90 minutes. Games of that intensity will help him a lot.”

Late on Milan Rodic was sent off for a second bookable offence when he caught Francis Coquelin in the face with a stray arm. Vladan Milojevic, the Red Star coach, felt it was a game-changer and reckoned he sees worse in the Premier League without punishment. The 10 men could do nothing to stop Giroud making the most important noise of the night.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/19/crvena-zvezda-europa-league-europa-league-match-report

De Futebol Man U is undefeated in Champions League Group A

Man U is a perfect three wins in three matches in the Champions League Group play. Marcus Rashford scored in the 65th minute to lead the Red Devils to the 1-0 win over Benfica.

Man U is sitting in the catbird seat with nine points in Group A.

The Guardians Jamie Jackson wrote:” This was an uneven Manchester United display lit up by the stellar talent of Marcus Rashford.José Mourinho’s team were heading for a draw or worse until the teenager took hold of this Group A game following the break. Rashford had been terrorising Benfica with his pace when he stepped up to take a free-kick from 40 yards out on the left touchline.

The United striker spotted Mile Svilar, who became the youngest ever goalkeeper to start in the Champions League, out of position, promptly hit the ball over him and though the 18-year-old caught it, he failed to keep it from crossing the line to gift the visitors victory.

Mourinho made four changes from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Liverpool. In came Victor Lindelöf, Juan Mata, Rashford and Daley Blind as out dropped Phil Jones, Anthony Martial, Ashley Young and Matteo Darmian.

United kicked off hoping to achieve a seventh consecutive unbeaten away game in Europe, which would be their best sequence since the 16 between September 2007 and March 2010.

They did so against the Portuguese champions who had Svilar in goal, the Belgian at 18 years and 52 days eclipsing Iker Casillas’s record. United struggled to string passes together in the early exchanges and would so throughout the opening period. An attempted move involving Nemanja Matic, once of Benfica, broke down and Rui Vitória’s side turned United to put them under sustained pressured.

The visitors responded with a corner of their own, from which a Romelu Lukaku header crashed off the bar, but referee Felix Zwayer adjudged him to have impeded Svilar.

United had continued trouble with their first touch, with Ander Herrera, Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Romelu Lukaku among those who carelessly ceded possession.

When Matic hit the ball straight at Raúl Jiménez on halfway and had to scramble to stop the breakaway this crystallised United’s start. In an only partially filled Estádio da Luz their sloppiness suggested a sense of drift that could be perilous. United’s quality, though, means they can strike in an instant: when Blind found Rashford’s head this seemed the moment, but the No19 steered the ball over.

United asserted themselves further when Matic broke in from the left and hit a shot at Svilar that caused the keeper to make his first save.

This was 10 minutes from the break and by the time it arrived Antonio Valencia had conceded a free-kick close to the United penalty area along Benfica’s left. It came to nothing but Mourinho may have been preparing some choice words as he strode off at half-time.

Whatever he said had United flying from the traps as soon as Zwayer blew to start the second half. A brisk sequence involving Blind, Rashford, Mkhitaryan and Herrera ended with the Spaniard firing wide.

Next, Rashford skipped in from the left and fired at Svilar and United already seemed more purposeful. The 19-year-old threatened again when a lightening stepover combo fooled Douglas down the same side.

Rashford then drew a booking for Diogo Gonçalves , who pulled him down as the forward threatened to break at pace. This had become the Rashford show: one pass that was sprayed to the right deserved better than for Mata to cross it aimlessly in.

So, as all game-breakers can, Rashford decided to go it alone, scoring a memorable goal and causing Svilar’s blushes. The free-kick from the left was aimed over the young keeper’s head and though Svilar eventually clutched the ball, his momentum took him over the line to give United the lead.

The sight of Rashford limping away on 76 minutes concerned United while Luisão, the Benfica captain, was sent off in added time after picking up a second booking for scything down substitute Scott McTominay.

But this win means a maximum nine points and United will surely qualify for the knockout stages with ease.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/18/benfica-manchester-united-champions-league-match-report

De Futebol Watford is now in Fourth Place

Arsenal is a dead man walking. Watford drove a stake in the hearts of Gunner Land with a 2-1 win this past Saturday.

The Guardians Paul Doyle wrote:” For Watford this was the thrilling story of another last-gasp triumph thanks to a 92nd-minute goal by Tom Cleverley following an equaliser from the penalty spot by Troy Deeney. For Arsenal it boiled down to a tale of two Germans and one 20-year-old Brazilian.

Per Mertesacker was on course to be the hero after heading Arsène Wenger’s team towards victory with a goal on his first league start for 18 months, but then Mesut Özil’s entrance coincided with the start of the Watford fightback, which was boosted by a spot-kick awarded following a sudden loss of verticality by Richarlison.

Wenger was appalled by that decision, adamant there had been no foul when Héctor Bellerín challenged the Brazilian, but even the visiting manager conceded Arsenal contributed to their own downfall. Mertesacker’s goal in the 39th minute gave Arsenal control of what had been an uneventful match and Özil could practically have confirmed victory by adding a second just after the hour.

Instead he shot feebly at Heurelho Gomes after being put through by Alex Iwobi. Punishment for Arsenal’s lapsed standards was meted out shortly thereafter, albeit starting with the dubious penalty.

Watford were not satisfied with a draw and having scored late goals this season against Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea, they snatched maximum points after an attack that triggered panic in the Arsenal box. After a couple of shots ricocheted around the penalty area, Cleverley kept his cool to fire into the roof of the net from 10 yards. By then Arsenal had been deprived of two key players as their problems piled up, Danny Welbeck and Laurent Koscielny limping off with hamstring and calf problems respectively.

The departure of Welbeck, who had only just returned from injury, led to the introduction of Özil, who had begun on the bench as Wenger opted for Iwobi and the solidity that had yielded a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge last month. Their other away league games this season were the 1-0 loss at Stoke City and the 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in late August.

Alexis Sánchez and Aaron Ramsey, physically and mentally drained after their efforts that ended in World Cup elimination for Chile and Wales respectively, were not even included in the squad.

Wenger watched with a sense of vindication as his team enjoyed the better of a tight first half. Arsenal were energetic and disciplined and their midfield minimised the amount of pressure put on a defence in which Mertesacker was starting because of injury to Skhodran Mustafi.

Arsenal were the first to threaten. Adrian Mariappa made an excellent tackle to halt a run by Welbeck in the ninth minute and intervened again two minutes later to prevent Welbeck turning the ball into the net from close range after a volleyed cross by Sead Kolasinac.

Watford created their first chance in the 18th minute, when Abdoulaye Doucouré ventured into the space behind Bellerín and delivered a dangerous cross. That might have ben rewarded with a goal if Roberto Pereyra had not mistimed a header from seven yards.

Mohamed Elneny tried to bypass the Watford defence on the half-hour by going straight for goal from 25 yards but his shot flew over. Then Alexandre Lacazette teed up Welbeck with a sumptuous dink, but José Holebas was alert and lithe enough to poke the ball off the foot of the striker before he could shoot.

Arsenal were gaining the upper hand. They capitalised by scoring a goal of textbook simplicity. Granit Xhaka floated over a corner from the right and Mertesacker made Mariappa and Cleverley look Lilliputian as he ignored their challenges and headed into the net. By half-time Arsenal were looking comfortable.

Özil, with a fine pass, offered Iwobi a chance to put them even more at ease, but Gomes tipped away the shot from the Nigeria international. Then Iwobi presented Özil with a better chance but the German’s attempted finish lacked power and precision, allowing Gomes to save.

Worse, Arsenal were losing control, no longer able to keep Watford at bay. Richarlison may not have been fouled after bursting into the box but his raid was a sign of how play had changed course and Arsenal were losing their grip. Watford snatched victory after triggering panic in the away defence, Cleverley keeping cool to whack the ball into the net from 10 yards. The result took them up to fourth, overtaking not just the visitors but also Burnley, Liverpool and Chelsea.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/14/watford-arsenal-premier-league-match-report

De Futebol Leicester City West Brom a one all Draw

Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez nailed one in the 80th minute to save the Foxes asses. Leicester City and West Brom tied one all.

EPL Match Report:” Riyad Mahrez rescued a point for Leicester City after a Nacer Chadli wonder goal had put West Bromwich Albion on course for victory at King Power Stadium.

The Algerian scored his first goal of the season on 80 minutes as Leicester earned a draw in a Midlands derby that sparked into life late on.

Nacer Chadli put the Baggies ahead with a stunning free-kick from 30 yards in his first appearance of 2017/18.

But Leicester sensed an equaliser when stand-in West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill, starting in place of the injured Ben Foster, picked up a knock and was unable to properly kick the ball.

And the Foxes were rewarded for piling on the pressure when Ben Chilwell crossed for fellow substitute Islam Slimani, who headed down for Mahrez to slam home. “

https://www.premierleague.com/match/22415

De Futebol Draws were the word of the Day in the EPL

Everton tied with Brighton Hove and Albion one all.

EPL Match Report:” Wayne Rooney’s late penalty gave Everton an important point at Brighton & Hove Albion.

The home side looked to have sealed the win when Anthony Knockaert fired home from a Pascal Gross pass on 82 minutes.

Izzy Brown then forced a great save from Everton’s Jordan Pickford before Bruno caught Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the area and Rooney kept his cool from the spot.

Brighton’s Mat Ryan, who saved well from Idrissa Gueye in the first half, then made a superb double stop to keep Everton at bay in the closing moments.

Brighton remain in 14th place, with eight points from their eight matches, while Everton are in 16th on the same total.”

https://www.premierleague.com/match/22412

Southampton and Newcastle tied two all.

EPL Match Report:” Manolo Gabbiadini’s double helped Southampton come from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Newcastle United at St Mary’s Stadium.

Isaac Hayden wrong-footed Fraser Forster with a strike from the edge of the penalty area to put the Magpies 1-0 up at half time.

And moments after Gabbiadini scored a fine equaliser after Nathan Redmond’s long ball, Ayoze Perez beat Forster at his near post to put Newcastle 2-1 up in a frantic few minutes after the break.

But Gabbiadini moved Saints up to 10th in the table with the second leveller from the penalty spot, after Florian Lejeune tripped Shane Long.

Newcastle are two points and a place above Southampton after Sunday’s match.

https://www.premierleague.com/match/22418

De Futebol- Man U Liverpool Tied. Man Shitty wins big time. Shitty at the top of the table with 22 points. The Red Devils are second with 20

Man U played for the point and the clean sheet. This is what the guys got. A nil-nil draw against Liverpool at the Reds house Anfield.

We will see how this strategy plays out as the season plays out.

Up next for Man U is Huddersfield at the Terriers house.

Man U has 20 points and a plus 19.

The Daily Mail:” Jose did what Jose does. And Jose got what Jose wanted.

Neither spectacle nor occasion will move Mourinho from a preordained strategy. Rumours that he would start with nine forwards and just one defender proved surprisingly unfounded. A point was what he needed and a point was what he took home.

It was Liverpool, with one win in eight game now, who badly needed a victory. Yet football’s oldest law says that it’s easier to contain than create. Mourinho knows it. Perhaps not to the extent that his fiercest critics would contend. Lest we forget – and he certainly won’t allow us to – his Real Madrid team were record goal-scorers in La Liga and his Chelsea side magnificent at times.

But right now, he doesn’t need the show. The flair associated with this club of old can be saved for the goal festivals against the likes of West Ham, Swansea, Everton and Crystal Palace. Liverpool away requires a different plan. And, as Mourinho famously claimed at this ground once before, he’s not about to play the part of the clown at the circus. The hoopla and excitement of the game, you suspect, moved him not a jot. His eye is on a bigger prizes.

It was Jurgen Klopp’s turn, two years into his Liverpool tenure and facing questions as to how much progress has been made, to show us what he’s got. The onus was on him; or rather, that is how Mourinho wanted the game to be defined. And so that is largely how it played out.

Not that it didn’t have all the ingredients of England’s most formidable football clash. Crowds thronged outside from breakfast time in anticipation of something special. When the time came, Anfield roared for Kenny Dalglish, celebrating the stand named after him on Friday and the knot of United fans in the corner shouted defiance. This remodelled stadium is now a fitting stage and at times that din was intoxicating.

Yet, frankly, the game itself, at present struggles to match the atmosphere, which is becoming the star of these ultimately-disappointing encounters.

At times, Liverpool threatened to break the leash with which had subdued them. Principally there was a moment on 36 minutes when Roberto Firmino produced a dummy which left Nemanja Matic bewildered. The Brazilian’s cross found Joel Matip six yards out: he shot and David de Gea saved brilliantly and instinctively while Mohamed Salah fired the rebound wastefully wide.

In those moments you could question Mourinho and wonder whether he placed too much faith in his own ability to contain and control a contest. . With Frimino, Salah and Philippe Coutinho, was always have a chance and as the defensive side, you always run that risk of being undone by a moment of genius. But those moments were few and far between.

Undoubtedly Liverpool were the better side in that they seized the initiative, as you might have expected at Anfield, and attempted to wrest the game from Mourinho’s grasp. And Salah, fresh from his Egyptian heroics, was incisive, cutting inside United’s defence with his pace, though his penalty claim in the 16th was rightly waved away.

But in general, Mourinho looked as though this was all in the plan and that nothing would disturb it. He has faced down more fearsome side that this Liverpool outfit in his time. There is pretty much a formula from getting away a high-profile contest with what he requires.

Starting with Ashley Young at right wing rather than left back was a clear indication of where the game was heading even before kick off. On those occasions when Romelu Lukaku did receive the ball and set off on a customary charge goalwards, neither Young nor Anthony Martial rushed to join him; their defensive duties clearly as much in their mind as their attacking role.

That said, United, with little more than a wayward Nemanja Matic shot to show for their first half, still almost went into the break head. Henrikh Mkhitaryan played in Lukaku and the Belgian forced hit it first time, forcing a fine save from his compatriot in goal, Simon Mignolet, on 44 minutes.

As time wore on, Murinho’s strategy received a more thorough interrogation Firmino’s strike on 49 minutes set both the side netting and Liveroool hearts fluttering; Joe Gomez lifted a ball into the box for Emre Can on 52 minutes which the German directed high over the bar. Still, these were chances and United, though hardly rocking, were at least a little shaky.

Liverpool continued to probe. On 71 minutes Salah was the breadth of stud away from connecting with a Firmino cross. By now Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford had joined the fray but more to reinforce the shape rather than throw caution to the wind. Liverpool introduced Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain on 79 minutes. To no avail. What had been preordained by Mourinho came to pass. It wasn’t pretty but you couldn’t help but admire the predictability.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4980148/Liverpool-0-0-Manchester-United-Stalemate-Anfield.html#ixzz4vUQfdGgo

Man Shitty blows out Stoke City 7-2. Shitty is at the head of class with 22 points and a plus 25.

Tottenham gets by Bournemouth 1-0.

Spurs are third place with 17 points.

Crystal Palace scored their first two goals of the season. The Eagles shocked Chelsea 2-1 for Crystal Palace’s first win of the season.

Burnley and West Ham tied one.

Swansea City doubled up on Huddersfield 2-0.

Man Shitty is in the catbird seat 22 points. Man U is second with 20 points. Spurs are third 17 points.

Arsenal had a chance to jump into fourth place. The guys stunk the joint out in the dying embers of match up when Watford’s Tom Cleverley nailed the match winner in the 90th minute plus two to give the Hornets a 2-1 win over my Gunners.

Arsenal took a 1-0 lead at the break on a rocket header by Per Mertesacker from close range off a corner kick in the 39th minute.

The Hornets didn’t quit in the second half. Watford came back to score two second half goals to send my Gunners home with a ton questions and their third loss of the season.

Watford is now in fourth place with 15 points.

Chelsea is fifth with 13 points and Arsenal is sixth with 13 points.

De Futebol Brasil wins and Chile is out of the 2018 World Cup

Brasil blows out Chile 3-0. The loss killed Chile’s shot a 2018 World Cup spot. The loss drops the Chileans into sixth place with 26 points. Peru has 26 points tambem. Peru is a plus one while Chile is a minus one.

Chile is out and Peru is on to the playoff round of the 2018 World Cup.

The Daily Mail:” Alexis Sanchez and Chile will have to watch the World Cup from home after being dumped out of qualifying on a night of high drama in South America.

With all eyes on Lionel Messi and Argentina, who faced the real prospect of missing out on the tournament but ultimately made it through after coming from behind to beat Ecuador, Paulinho and Gabriel Jesus struck for a Brazil side long assured of their place to ensure Chile were the major casualties as they missed out on a play-off on goal difference as they were pipped by Peru.

Paulinho profited from an error by Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to poke home the first before Manchester City man Jesus found an open net just two minutes later following a stunning piece of skill from Neymar.

Chile could find no answer as they desperately searched for a route to Russia, with Bravo sent up in search of a goal, but as play broke down Brazil cleared to Jesus who beat the Chilean goalkeeper in a foot race to find an empty net.

The back-to-back Copa America winners sunk to their knees and lay flat out on the turf at the final whistle, with the team ranked ninth in the world facing up to the prospect of having to watch next summer’s football festival from home.

The hosts went into the game as the only South American side to have punched their ticket and had the better of the opening exchanges in Sao Paulo and spent the majority of the half on the front foot, but only really tested Claudio Bravo in the Chile goal when Neymar scrambled through and forced the Manchester City goalkeeper to get down well to save at his near post.

Lionel Messi’s first-half rescue act for Argentina, which saw the Barcelona man strike twice to turn things around and give them the lead in Ecuador after conceding early, left Chile in a precarious position as they slipped to fourth, knowing falling behind would see them down to fifth and facing the prospect of a play-off against New Zealand.

But they stood firm heading into half-time and managed some late pressure on the Brazil back-line without ever forcing Ederson into action in the Brazil goal.

Chile, though were in serious trouble as the hour mark approached, with Brazil scoring twice to cast major doubts over their place in Russia. First, Paulinho profited after Claudio Bravo spilled a Dani Alves free-kick into his path, before Gabriel Jesus found an open goal when slotted in by Neymar just minutes later.

As it stood Chile were missing out completely, but the picture changed again when Colombia took the lead against Peru, which saw Sanchez and Co jump back into the play-off place.

That place was again lost with 10 minutes to play as Peru grabbed an equaliser against Colombia and, with Chile desperately looking for a leveler, Jesus slotted the second as he beat Bravo in a foot race after the visiting goalkeeper had been sent forward for a corner.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4968360/Brazil-3-0-Chile-Alexis-Sanchez-dumped-World-Cup.html#ixzz4vAADL0jE

De Futebol Messi’s hat trick leads Argentina to a berth in the 2018 World Cup

Lionel Messi led the way with a hat trick to lead Argentina’s destruction of Ecuador 3-1. Couple this win with Brasil’s shut out 3-0 win over Chile and Peru and Colombia tied one all gave Argentinos third place and a spot in the 2018 World Cup.

Peru earns a playoff spot with their one all tie against Colombia.

Brasil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Colombia have their tickets punched for the World Cup.

The Guardian wrote on the Argentina win:” Argentina conceded after just 37 seconds in their must-win game against Ecuador, but Lionel Messi came to the rescue as his side booked their place at next summer’s World Cup.

The No10 hit a brace in the first half in Quito and capped off a stellar performance as he completed his hat-trick with a stunning chip over keeper Maximo Banguera just after the hour mark.

Romario Ibarra stunned the away fans – and perhaps all of South America – as he nodded on a ball lofted high into the danger area and sloppy defence from Argentina allowed the Ecuadorian space to slot it in past Sergio Romero in the opening minute.

But Messi, who is now the all-time leading goalscorer in South American qualifying, played a deft one-two with Angel di Maria to level things up after 12 minutes and then put his side in front eight minutes later with a strike from just inside the box.

Ecuador continued to press in search of an equaliser as Argentina failed to kill the game off, allowing the home side to attack well into the second half.

It was a moment of brilliance which proved to be the difference. The Argentina talisman took the ball in space about 40 yards out from goal, weaved his way to the edge of the box and was able to lob Banguera – six yards off his line – as he lost his balance and fell to the floor.

Argentina were looking in danger of not making the 2018 World Cup in Russia going into the final group games, following a torrid campaign in which they had only scored 16 goals in 17 games.

Low points were numerous, and a 2-0 loss to Bolivia in March saw the end of Edgardo Bauza’s short stint as boss as Jorge Sampaoli took the reins.

Since then, three draws put Argentina on the brink of not making the World Cup for the first time since 1970. They then travelled to Quito – a place where they have not won since 2001 – but bagged all three points to guarantee a trip to Russia.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/11/lionel-messi-hat-trick-secures-argentinas-passage-to-world-cup

De Futebol Flamengo stinks the joint out.

Flamengo  lost to Ponte Preta 1-0. Globo Esportes :” Após bola esticada por Renê na esquerda, Paquetá chutou em cima do goleiro Aranha. Esse lance, aos 22 do primeiro tempo, marcou a única finalização do Flamengo na direção do gol na derrota por 1 a 0 diante da Ponte Preta. Durante os 90 minutos, a equipe de Reinaldo Rueda pecou sobretudo por não conseguir transformar sua posse de bola (64%) em oportunidades tão claras e perigosas.

Primeiro arruma a defesa… e depois?

Assim que chegou ao Flamengo, Rueda priorizou ajustes em sua defesa. Se preocupou em deixar a equipe mais equilibrada atrás e obteve resultados para a meta: seis gols sofridos em 13 jogos. Em contrapartida, o ataque é que precisa de equilíbrio agora.

Em sua intervenção defensiva, o técnico pediu aos laterais uma postura mais defensiva, cobrindo melhor os espaços atrás. Por outro lado, o Flamengo agora ataca com menos homens no setor, sem laterais apoiando com frequência. Restou, sem sucesso, cruzamentos e lançamentos longos, fáceis para o corte dos defensore.

– Creio que é uma coisa que só se encontra nos momentos em que conseguirmos os resultados, conseguirmos fluidez. Não somente na questão das finalizações, mas de a criação das jogadas serem um pouco mais claras também. Penso que isso só se soluciona com futebol e gols – analisou Rueda.

O Flamengo tem 111 gols marcados em 2017. A média, no entanto, caiu. Em 13 partidas, marcou apenas 14 vezes (1,07 por partida). A média anterior ao colombiano era de 1,87 por partida.

Queda de rendimento e desfalques

Os problemas para se acertar ofensivamente também esbarraram em outros fatores. Em queda de rendimento notável, Diego teve outra atuação apagada e sem criatividade. Já Everton Ribeiro prendia muito a bola, demorando para dar passes rumo ao ataque.

Na derrota diante da Ponte Preta, o Flamengo ainda teve desfalques importantes em seu setor ofensivo. Sem Guerrero (com a seleção peruana), ficou mais difícil segurar a bola no ataque e tirar proveito das bolas longas lançadas. Paquetá, por mais que se esforce, não tem as mesmas características. Além disso, Rueda não contou com Everton (não viajou por conta de desgaste) e Berrío (suspenso).

https://globoesporte.globo.com/futebol/times/flamengo/noticia/fla-tem-dificuldades-para-finalizar-e-perde-o-caminho-do-gol-contra-a-ponte.ghtml

De Futebol Chile is a step closer to making the 2018 World Cup

Chile scored a late goal to beat Ecuador 2-1. Alexis Sanchez nailed the match winner in the 86th minute.

The Daily Mail:” Chile survived a late scare to beat Ecuador 2-1 on Thursday and keep alive their hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia as they moved into third-place in the 10-team South American qualifying group.

The top four teams qualify automatically for Russia with the fifth-placed side facing Oceania champions New Zealand in a two-legged play-off.

With just one game remaining, Brazil are the only South American side to have guaranteed their spot, with Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Peru all dependent on results in Tuesday’s final round of matches.

Copa America champions Chile have perhaps the toughest task in their final match, against Brazil in Sao Paulo.

The five-times world champions have never lost a World Cup qualifier at home.

Chile have failed to sparkle this year, losing three of their last four qualifiers before Thursday.

However, Tigres striker Eduardo Vargas helped them back to their winning ways with a goal after 22 minutes.

Alexis Sanchez stole the ball on the edge of the box and fed midfielder Jorge Valdivia and his pass left Vargas in space 12 yards out to crash the ball past keeper Maximo Banguera.

Romario Ibarra equalised for Ecuador with eight minutes remaining but Sanchez was on hand three minutes later when Banguera could only parry a shot on the edge of the six-yard box.

Sanchez then had the simplest of tasks slipping the ball home for the winner.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4954198/Chile-2-1-Ecuador-Alexis-Sanchez-nets-late-winner.html#ixzz4ugpJJTOQ