US downs Nicaragua to top Gold Cup Group B

Chris Pontius of the US, front, shoots as Nicaragua players defend during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 16 July 2017
0

US downs Nicaragua to top Gold Cup Group B

LOS ANGELES: The US survived two missed penalties to beat Nicaragua 3-0 in Cleveland on Saturday and reach the Gold Cup quarterfinals as winners of Group B.
Goals from Joe Corona, Kelyn Rowe and Matt Miazga lifted the Americans against a lively Nicaragua side.
Bruce Arena’s men went into the contest needing a three-goal win to top the group after Panama’s 3-0 win over Martinique in the opening match of the day’s doubleheader.
For a time it looked as if they would not get there, but Chelsea defender Miazga’s 88th minute header spared the Americans from a quarterfinal date with dangerous Costa Rica.
“I would think that you could say we wasted some opportunities, and made it pretty difficult on ourselves,” said Arena, who changed all 11 starters from the side that beat minnows Martinique on Wednesday.
“However, in the end I’m pretty proud of our team that they kept battling, and they knew that they needed three goals in the game today and they managed to do it in the end.”
The US threatened early as Rowe fired straight at Nicaragua keeper Justo Lorente in the seventh minute.
Dom Dwyer and Zusi also went close, the latter surging into the box but firing straight at Lorente.
It was Corona who grabbed the opener in the 36th minute.
Alejandro Bedoya’s cross from the right found Corona, whose shot from the top of the area was deflected inside the near post.
They doubled the advantage in the 56th, when Rowe, played through by Bedoya, beat Lorente for his first international goal.
But two second-half chances from the spot went begging.
Dwyer’s penalty attempt, after the English-born striker was brought down in the box, was easily saved by Lorente.
After Rowe’s goal, a Daniel Cadena handball gave the American’s another chance, but Corona’s effort was also saved.
The Americans gained a man advantage in the 85th after Luis Copete picked up a second yellow card, and Miazga’s goal soon followed.
“Give the goalkeeper for Nicaragua credit, two penalty kick saves isn’t bad in a game,” Arena said. “Give them credit there, we didn’t do well with our kicks. At the end of the day we still came out on top, and I’m pleased with that.”
The US and Panama both finished group play on seven points, but the US took the group with seven goals-for to Panama’s six.
The Panamanians struck late in the first half and added two goals in the second in their victory over Martinique, who finished third in the group on three points.
Panama’s New York Red Bulls defender Michael Murillo opened the scoring in the 44th minute, nodding in a cross from New York City FC’s Miguel Camargo.
Goals in the 60th by Abdiel Arroyo and the 67th by Gabriel Torres sealed the points for Panama.
The top two teams in each of the three groups advance to the quarters, along with the two best third-place teams.


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
0

Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.