Daily Archives: October 12, 2016

Paraguay stuns Argentina with Derlis Gonzalez goal

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Argentina’s poor World Cup qualifying campaign streak continued as they were defeated by Paraguay by 1-0 at home.

Edgardo Bauza’s men had already drawn their last two games on the road to Russia. Even on home ground, they lost to Derlis Gonzalez’s single first-half goal as Paraguay stunned the natives in Cordoba.

The hosts did more than enough to win, but it was just not their night as Angel Di Maria hit the post and Sergio Aguero missed a penalty.

But even without the injured Lionel Messi, Argentina had started brightly, and it came as a shock they were hit right on the 18th-minute instead as Paraguay carried out a successful and lightning-quick counter-attack, which later proved to be the decisive moment of the game.

Oscar Romero found space in the middle and fed Gonzalez, who raced clear and sent his low shot squirming under Sergio Romero at the near post.

The hosts’ response was strong and they came close to equalising seven minutes later but Di Maria’s effort hit the base of the post with Marcos Rojo blazing over shortly after. Their best chance then came within a minute after half time as they were awarded a penalty when Paulo Da Silva handled Gonzalo Higuain’s flick.

However, Sergio Aguero, playing through injury, was only able to produce a weak shot which was saved easily by Justo Villar down to his left.

As Paraguay dug deep to defend their advantage and allowed Argentina to control possession, they still managed further breaks saw Sergio Romero tested by long-range efforts from Oscar Romero and Angel Romero.

After the final whistle sounded amidst the loud jeers from the home crowd, the result slumps Argentina out of the automatic qualification spots with eight games to go as they next travel to Brazil in November.

Joe Hart saves England from embarassment against Slovenia

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England goalkeeper Joe Hart played a vital role as the Three Lions barely managed to rescue a point against Slovenia in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Hart, 29, prevented interim manager Gareth Southgate from having to endure an embarrassing defeat to a team ranked 67th in the world with a succession of outstanding saves.

He twice denied Josip Ilicic when he was played in by poor backpasses from Eric Dier and team captain Jordan Henderson.

Seconds after half-time, he even produced a world-class reflex save when he turned Jasmin Kurtic’s header on to the crossbar, and clawed the rebound away to a defender.

It was known that Hart has suffered the most traumatic period of his career after two high-profile errors against Wales and Iceland in England’s Euro 2016 debacle, and being pointed to the exit at Manchester City by new manager Pep Guardiola.

But he was the clear man of the match as England was held to a goalless draw in Ljubljana.

“They had chances, we dominated the game,” Hart said after the game. “They have dug in and Jan Oblak had a fantastic game for them.”

“It’ my best game for a while, but it was down to a few errors from us. My body is in pieces, I’ll struggle to get up tomorrow. I landed on the frame of the goal.”

But in the match, England’s three-year run of wins in qualifiers came to an end, and even the introduction of Wayne Rooney after half-time made no difference.

The Manchester United forward shot wide as Jesse Lingard forced a fine save from Oblak late on, but an England win would have been a harsh result on the hosts, given that the English team struggled to match the pace and vigor of the home side.

Real Madrid’s Casemiro ‘could never play for Barcelona’

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Real Madrid’s Casemiro had insisted that he would never contemplate swapping the Santiago Bernabeu for Camp Nou.

The Brazilian midfielder, who struggled to make appearances in Real under Rafael Benitez, had gradually become a vital part of the team under Zinedine Zidane.

However, he recently sustained a fractured leg in Real’s 2-0 win over Espanyol on September 18. In addition to halting his progress, four consecutive draws for Madrid since then have highlighted his importance to the team.

But Casemiro insists that he would never consider a change to Real’s closest La Liga rivals.

“I’ll never play in Barcelona, because in Spain I am a Real Madrid supporter,” he said. “Real Madrid is much more than I expected. I love waking up in the morning and going to Valdebebas.”

“I love being with the players, joking, working, learning. I try to live football every day. Real Madrid is my life today.”

Casemiro, who also plays for Brazil alongside Barca’s Neymar, believes that his compatriot has what it takes to become the best player on the planet. However, he asserts that it will be his club-mate Cristiano Ronaldo who will win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award.

“Neymar’s career, there is still more to come,” Casemiro explained.

“But all the football that Cristiano Ronaldo has done over the last 10 years is to remember for a lifetime. Neymar has everything to get it, [But] Cristiano is going to win the [Ballon d’Or].”