Daily Archives: April 2, 2018

Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes dream debut at LA Galaxy with brace and winner

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his LA Galaxy debut with a match-winning cameo as the Swede helped his side recover from 3-0 down to beat new boys Los Angeles FC by 4-3.

LAFC’s Carlos Vela scored twice in the first 30 minutes — with a sublime curling shot for his first, and Galaxy were 3-0 just after half-time when Daniel Steres deflected the ball past his own keeper.

Things looked bleak for LA Galaxy; even with Sebastian Lletget pulled one back for Galaxy in the 61st minute it appeared it would be little more than a consolation goal.

However, Ibrahimovic, 36, who just flown in on from Europe on Thursday night ahead of his debut, got the last say as he stole the show after he came on with 20 minutes left and scored a remarkable equaliser from 35 yards before heading in a stoppage-time winner.

He first contributed by helping in the build-up to his team’s second as his cross was deflected and eventually fell to Emmanuel Boateng, who set-up Chris Pontius’s powerful header.

The former Manchester United man then preserved his record of scoring on debuts in the 77th-minute, with the ball dropping to him around 40 yards out he ripped a dipping shot over Tyler Miller in the LAFC goal, although his ensuing celebration was slightly marred when he was booked for tearing off his shirt.

His winner then came in injury time when Ashley Cole crossed a perfect ball into the six-yard area for Ibrahimovic to head home.

“I heard the crowd saying ‘We want Zlatan, we want Zlatan,’” Ibrahimovic said cheerfully after the game. “So I gave them Zlatan. They were pushing me, and I was giving back.”

“My history when I come to a new team, I always score in the first game — I didn’t want to let it down this time.”

Quickfire Barca double helps Catalans maintain unbeaten run

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Lionel Messi’s cameo appearance was enough for FC Barcelona to secure two dramatic late equalisers in a 2-2 draw at Sevilla.

Earlier in the first half, Franco Vazquez had opened the scoring for Sevilla from close range in and the Colombia international Luis Muriel doubled the home side’s lead by smashing in on the rebound five minutes into the second half.

Messi had began the game on the bench due to continued muscle discomfort which caused him to miss Argentina’s friendlies against Italy and Spain; but the league’s top scorer was called into action in the 58th minute, replacing Ousmane Dembele.

However, Ernesto Valverde saw his men being instantly lifted by the Argentine’s arrival and Luis Suarez rattled the near post but Sevilla continued to pour forward with Vazquez and Muriel missed clear chances to put the game to bed.

The team then paid dearly for their wastefulness as Suarez pulled one back for Barca with an acrobatic finish in the 88th minute following a corner and Messi whipped in the equaliser in the 89th with a fierce left-foot strike from the edge of the box.

The goal stretched the Catalans’ unbeaten league run to 37 games; if they avoid defeat next week at home to Leganés they will equal Real Sociedad’s Liga record of 38 games without defeat, which has stood since 1980.

Barca kept their impervious lead at the top the standings on 76 points, although second-placed Atletico Madrid defeated Deportivo La Coruna with a Kevin Gameiro penalty on Sunday their advantage at the top at nine points.

Dele Alli brace secures first Spurs win at Stamford Bridge in 28 years

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Dele Alli scored a braced for Tottenham Hotspurs to helped his team rally from a goal down and win at Chelsea for the first time in 28 years.

While Alvaro Morata headed in Victor Moses’ cross to give the hosts the lead, Christian Eriksen hit a stunning equaliser on the stroke of half-time as his dipping effort from 25 yards caught out Blues keeper Willy Caballero and dropped just under the bar.

Alli then putt Tottenham ahead just after the hour mark when he produced a sublime first touch to bring Eric Dier’s long ball under control before slotting beyond Caballero.

The England midfielder was well-placed four minutes later to stab in following a goalmouth scramble to wrap up a win that moves fourth-placed Tottenham eight points clear of Chelsea, who are fifth.

Before the game, Spurs held a horrible record at Stamford Bridge in the league, losing 18 of their 27 games since a late Gary Lineker header secured a 2-1 win in February 1990.

Initially, it looked as if their miserable run would continue as, despite dominating possession, they fell behind to Alvaro Morata’s goal.

But Eriksen’s goal was all they needed to rally, and it was also the perfect response by Alli after a disappointing couple of weeks with England on international duty — after failing to make an impact in a 22-minute substitute appearance in the 1-0 win against the Netherlands and was then left on the bench for the 1-1 draw with Italy.

“I’m very, very pleased,” said Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino of his key midfielder. “It’s been a tough period for him, but for no doubt about his talent, his character. He’s a fighter; very competitive.”

“If he doesn’t play for the international team he needs to fight and win trust and confidence again. (But) In the end, he’s a great talent, only 21 years old, and sometimes we lose the focus on that.”