Gameiro fires goal-shy Atletico into third
Gameiro fires goal-shy Atletico into third
Atletico’s attacking options while they wait for Diego Costa’s return in January have been much criticized in recent weeks, particularly after a 0-0 draw at Azerbaijani champions Qarabag on Wednesday left their chances of reaching the Champions League last 16 in peril.
However, on his first league start of the season, Gameiro fired home a loose ball from a corner from close range on 28 minutes.
“I’ve come through a difficult time,” Gameiro, who missed the start of the season through injury, was quoted as saying.
“Now that I am able to play, I can help the team and score goals.”
It was only the second away game in Atletico’s last six in which Los Rojiblancos have found the net and they set about to defend their lead.
“It wasn’t our best game of the season, but we won and that was the objective,” added Gameiro.
Despite the sparse crowd at Balaidos caused by the closure of a stand on security grounds, Celta swarmed forward after the break.
Jan Oblak produced fine saves to deny Iago Aspas and in stoppage time from John Guidetti, while Aspas also clipped the bar with a free-kick.
And Celta were also left furious at the referee after Atletico captain Gabi appeared to handle inside the area on the hour mark.
However, Atletico held on to maintain their unbeaten start to La Liga and move back to within six points of leaders Barcelona.
Real can move back above their city rivals and to within five points of Barca with victory at home to Eibar later on Sunday.
Earlier, Villarreal’s revival under new coach Javier Calleja continued with a 4-0 thrashing of Las Palmas.
Second-half strikes from Cedric Bakambu, Mario Gaspar and Nicola Sansone added to Ximo Navarro’s own goal helped move the Yellow Submarine up to fifth.
Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot
ST. PETERSBURG: Russia scored three goals in a 15-minute span early in the second half to set up a 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday, moving the host nation to the brink of the World Cup’s knockout stage.
Mohamed Salah won and converted a penalty for a consolation goal on his return from injury but Egypt’s first World Cup in 28 years could be over in barely five days following a second straight loss.
Ahmed Fathi poked the ball into his own net — the fifth own-goal of the tournament — to put Russia ahead in the 47th minute. Then Denis Cheryshev and Artyom Dzyuba scored in quick succession to leave Russia on course for a victory that followed up a 5-0 opening-night win over Saudi Arabia.
It was Cheryshev’s third goal of the World Cup, putting him tied with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring chart.
Russia’s place in the round of 16 will be assured if Uruguay wins or draws against the Saudis on Wednesday. Those two scenarios would also eliminate Egypt, which started with a 1-0 loss to Uruguay.
The hopes of 100 million Egyptians were raised when Salah was selected in the starting lineup, the Liverpool forward making his comeback after 3 1/2 weeks out with damaged ligaments in his left shoulder after a tangle with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final.
Salah trotted out for his pre-match warmup to roars from Egypt fans, who at times appeared to outnumber their Russian counterparts. They shouted every time Salah’s face flashed up on the big screen and when his name was announced before kickoff.
Yet from the start, it was clear that Salah was staying out of anything too physical and there was no concerted effort from his Egypt teammates to pick him out each time. He didn’t touch the ball until the seventh minute.
He did win the penalty — confirmed by the video assistant referee after Salah was pulled down by Roman Zobnin. He converted it in the 73rd minute, but it wasn’t enough. Egypt is still without a victory in six World Cup matches.
Russia is nearly assured of advancing from the group stage for the first time since the Soviet era.
Cheryshev, who entered the World Cup as a fringe player, is proving lethal in front of goal, with his latest a side-footed effort from close range from Mario Fernandes’ cross in the 59th. Dzyuba’s goal was more direct, the striker chesting down a long ball from defender Ilya Kutepov, beating his marker and curling home a low finish.