Daily Archives: January 16, 2017

Ibrahimovic to the rescue as Man United draws Liverpool

Published by:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to the rescue for Manchester United with an equalizing header as the Red Devils drew 1-1 against bitter-rivals Liverpool in their Premier League encounter at Old Trafford.

Paul Pogba inexplicably handed Liverpool the lead after conceding a penalty. The French international, who was marking Dejan Lovren, resorted to handling the ball in a clearance effort.

James Milner converted the ensuing penalty, while his teammate and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet protected Liverpool’s with outstanding saves, including a brilliant reflex save from a powerful Ibrahimovic free-kick and coming out from his line to make a one-handed block from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

But with seven minutes left to play, Marouane Fellaini’s header against the Liverpool posts prompted a scramble for the ball, which culminated in Ibrahimovic giving United the equalizer they deserved as he heads home off the bar.

The Swede, however was hardly pleased with the result.

“We did simple mistakes. We were not feeling comfortable under the pressure of the opponent and I think we played the wrong way.” he said after the match. “If we would have played like we did in the second half in the first half it would have been a different game.”

The draw would keep United’s unbeaten streak in the Premier League running up to 12 games, but halts their nine-game winning streak in all competitions.

Still, the result is even more damaging for Liverpool – as the Merseyside team continued their winless run in the beginning of a calendar year to four matches – for the first time since 1993.

It also denied them the chance to rise above Tottenham, who overtook them to second place in the Premier League table with a strong 4-0 victory against West Brom, while league leaders Chelsea widened the gap on top of the table to seven points.

Serie A: Roma gives chase as Fiorentina trumps Juventus

Published by:

Roma shortened the gap on top of the Serie A table, as Fiorentina defeated Juventus in an ill-tempered match.

Roma, who defeated Udinese by 1-0 a few hours before the Italian Champions started their match at Stadio Artemio Franchi, shortened the gap on top of the league table to a single point.

Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan scored the only goal in the match with a half-volley, scoring on the turn after being fed by Kevin Strootman.

Roma’s striker and top scorer Edin Dzeko then fired a penalty over the crossbar, and was spared the embarrassment by his teammate Wojciech Szczesny. The keeper produced two vital saves to keep out Felipe dal Belo’s close range header and turn away Rodrigo de Paul’s shot, ensuring Roma’s victory and three points in the Italian top flight.

Another notable moment in Roma’s match was the introduction of Francesco Totti as a substitute, meaning that he has now played in 25 calendar years for Roma since his debut for the club in 1993.

On the other hand, Juventus suffered a small setback in their bid to retain the Serie A trophy after losing to Fiorentina by 2-1 on the road.

Juventus had been typically clinical this season, and had produced performances that often threatened to elevate them to a runaway victory for the Scudetto – a sixth consecutive Serie A title.

But Fiorentina, troubled by inconsistent performances this season, took a surprise lead at the 37th minute when forward Nikola Kalinic found the far corner of the net after being set-up by Federico Bernardeschi – who won possession off Alex Sandro.

Milan Badelj added to Fiorentina’s lead in the 54th minute with a cross that found the net, as the Juve defence were caught distracted by Federico Chiesa’s lunge at the ball.

Juventus’s top signing, Gonzalo Higuain managed to pull one back with a typically opportunistic strike four minutes later. His goal lead to tense final thirty minutes – play was repeatedly interrupted by late tackles and at the final whistle, the match finished with 38 fouls and eight yellow cards.

Regardless, Juve, looking to rally from their defeat could face a stern test ahead of them as they host fourth-placed Lazio next week – who are also just five points behind the champions. Roma, meanwhile, hosts mid-table club Caligari.

Stevan Jovetic’s late strike ends Real Madrid unbeaten run

Published by:

A late strike from Stevan Jovetic for Sevilla saw Real Madrid’s unbeaten run in all competitions ended, with the goal sealing a late 2-1 comeback in La Liga for the Europa League winners.

Time was almost out when Jovetic clinched victory for the home team with a curling shot from outside the area. Madrid keeper Keylor Navas got a hand to the ball but failed to keep it out, and the goal would go on to mark Real’s first defeat after 40 games.

Real looked to be on a clear course for their 13th domestic league win of the season after Cristiano Ronaldo scored a joint-record 56th La Liga penalty in the 67th-minute.

But later on with minutes left in the game, a lifeline was inadvertently handed to Sevilla after their former player Sergio Ramos headed in to his own net, levelling the scores.

Afterwards, Jovetic’s fine strike after Real had lost the ball from a throw-in was celebrated wildly by the home fans in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Sevilla’s manager, Jorge Sampaoli, praised his players’ determination after the match.

“After the [Real] penalty the team continued playing with conviction and courage,” he said. “The players won a very important game for the club.”

“We were able to beat an undefeated team. I feel a lot of emotion, every game is important here at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.”

Sampaoli himself proved to be a revelation since taking over at Sevilla last summer, since guiding Chile to Copa America success in 2015. His team has been notably imbued with traits of dedication and determination, as they gathered 12 wins from a total of 18 league matches.

It was also the first defeat for Zinedine Zidane and his team since 6 April. Their lead at the top of La Liga is down to just one point (also against Sevilla), although the Galacticos still possess a game in hand.