Monthly Archives: September 2017

Diego Costa to return to Chelsea in bid to ease transfer to Atletico

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Diego Costa could end his self-imposed exile from Chelsea with suggestions that he is increasingly inclined to return to London in a bid to speed a transfer to Atletico Madrid.

The forward has been in Brazil all summer after receiving a text message from the Chelsea head coach, Antonio Conte, informing him that he is no longer in the club’s plans.

The London club then secured Alvaro Morata for a club record fee in the transfer window as a replacement while allowing Costa to be absent from their preseason tours in Asia, believing that they would be able to strike a deal with Atletico for the disaffected player to move back to Madrid, whom he left for £32m in July 2014.

However, with the situation complicated by the Spanish club’s transfer ban and a compromise over a fee proving elusive, the 28-year-old refused his employer’s demands to return to Cobham and began training on his own in his Brazil hometown of Lagarto.

Costa is understood to be incurring fortnightly fines while he continues to remain absent without leave, and both clubs failed to agree a deal before the closure of the Spanish transfer window on Friday.

For their part, Chelsea had hoped to recoup as much as £49m for the forward’s signature, but can still negotiate the player’s sale over the next few months ahead of the expiration of Atletico’s transfer ban in January.

Still, both Atletico and Chelsea had informed player regarding the need for him to return to London and reintegrate himself into professional football, with Atletico — rivals in Chelsea’s Champions League group — keen to ensure he is fit enough to make an impact with them over the second half of the campaign.

Argentina held by Venezuela with two games left in CONMEBOL

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Argentina had been dealt a blow in their efforts to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after being held to a 1-1 draw by Venezuela.

Despite hosting the Venezuelan team in Buenos Aires and putting on a dominant performance, Argentina remarkably fell behind when Jhon Murillo struck a goal against the run of play.

Still, to the relief of Argentina national coach Jorge Sampaoli and the home crowd, a Rolf Feltscher own goal quickly equalized the game for Argentina.

However, Venezuela, who were at the dead bottom of the CONMEBOL qualifying table and the second best throughout the game, were able to keep Lionel Messi and the rest of the Argentinian offensive out thanks to good saves made by the Venezuela goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez throughout the first half.

Starting from midway through the first half, Farinez brilliantly denied Mauro Icardi twice — with one of those coming from a one-on-one encounter — and also pushed away a long-range effort from Messi.

And even as Messi attempted to make an of the game, Argentina were also significantly disadvantaged after a hamstring injury forced winger Angel Di Maria off the pitch.

After the interval, a blistering counter-attack led to Murillo being put through by Sergio Cordova, and the 21-year-old made no mistake with a fine finish to give his side a shock lead.

Getting moved into action, Argentina quickly responded through the substitute Acuna, who earlier came in for Di Maria and brilliantly ran down the left before his cross was turned into his own net by Feltscher.

But Sampaoli would also revel in his luck after Uruguay were also held by Colombia, and both draws were enough to at least lift Argentina into fifth — the play-off spot — heading into the final two matches in October.