De Futebol

In a wild one Barcelona defeated Real Madrid in a friendly in Miami 3-2.

The Guardian wrote:” Barcelona drew first blood against Real Madrid ahead of the new season with a 3-2 victory in a pulsating Clasico friendly on Saturday in Miami.

The historic rivals will meet again twice in August in the Spanish Super Cup and this International Champions Cup match set the entertainment bar high, with Barcelona maintaining their 100 per cent record in pre-season.

“Physically we are in good shape, the team is winning, we just have to correct our errors,” Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets told Premier Sports.

“We’re happy for the win, it was a lot of fun for the fans because there were a lot of chances, although the players suffered in the heat and humidity.”

While Barcelona beat Juventus and Manchester United, Madrid’s defeat means they end their pre-season tour of the United States without a victory.

“I don’t care much about the defeat, it always hurts but right now it’s not the important thing,” said Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

“It’s pre-season. The results haven’t gone as hoped for but it will not change anything. The important thing is to be ready for 8 August (when Madrid face Manchester United in the European Super Cup).”

Madrid were missing Cristiano Ronaldo, still on holiday, but both teams were close to full strength.

Ernesto Valverde, getting a taste of Clasico drama early in his career as Barcelona manager, selected Neymar despite speculation swirling over the Brazilian’s future at the club.

However, it was stalwart Lionel Messi who opened the scoring after just three minutes, firing home with the help of a deflection, before Ivan Rakitic doubled the lead with a powerful drive from Neymar’s low pass.

The sell-out crowd at the Hard Rock Stadium were in for a thrilling night and Madrid fought their way back into the game with Mateo Kovacic drilling home expertly, before Marco Asensio equalised in the 36th minute after a lightning break.

After a prolonged halftime break with music, lights and fireworks shows more akin to the Super Bowl, the game restarted at the same hectic pace.

Gerard Piqué sent Barcelona ahead again in the 50th minute by flicking home Neymar’s curling free-kick, and it proved to be the match-winning goal.

It was the first time the teams met in a friendly since 1991 and only the second time outside of Spain. Given its success, the spectacle is likely to be repeated.

Barcelona lifted a trophy after the game but Valverde will be focused on ensuring they can impose themselves in the same way when these teams meet in two weeks at Camp Nou, this time with real silverware at stake.

Paris St-Germain are trying to buy Neymar and their former Barcelona defender Dani Alves has advised the forward to be brave. “It’s an important decision for him and it’s the kind of decision men have to make,” Alves was quoted by Marca. “He’s one of my best friends and I’ll always want him by my side, but I cannot interfere.

“I helped him come to Barcelona, I did not make the decision for him, but I told him what Barcelona was like and he decided to move there. Decisions are for the brave and I am the bravest of all. I just want my friend to be happy wherever he is, although obviously if he were here that would be much better. It’s a decision you have to make carefully but you have to be selfish. If I could advise one thing it would be: be brave, the world belongs to the brave.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/30/gerard-pique-winner-lifts-barcelona-over-real-madrid-in-pulsating-friendly

De Futebol

Flamengo lost to Santos 4-2 in the second leg at the Peixe’s house. Mengao advanced on away goals two-nil.

Flamengo defeated Santos two nil at Mengao’s house to advance to the semifinals of the Copa do Brasil.

The guys will take on Botafogo.

Globo Esportes:” Vai ter clássico carioca na semifinal. Em jogo dramático, o Santos venceu o Flamengo de virada por 4 a 2 – gols de Bruno Henrique, Copete (dois) e Victor Ferraz para os santistas e Berrío, que dedicou a Ederson, afastado do futebol com tumor no testículo, e Guerrero para o Rubro-Negro -, mas não tirou a vantagem dos 2 a 0 do primeiro jogo das quartas de final. O resultado levou o Flamengo às semifinais contra o Botafogo – marcadas para os dias 16 e 23 de agosto.

Marcação forte no meio de campo e rapidez para contra-atacar. A receita que adversários vinham usando contra o Flamengo desta vez serviu aos cariocas. Logo aos nove minutos, Diego deu lindo passe para Berrío ganhar na corrida de Jean Mota e fazer bonito gol por cima de Vanderlei.

A vantagem fez o Rubro-Negro se retrair ainda mais. O Santos rondou a área do Flamengo, mas criou pouco. A melhor chance havia sido em cabeçada de Réver, mas… contra, que passou perto do gol. O empate saiu em chutaço de fora da área de Bruno Henrique.

No fim do primeiro tempo, duas polêmicas. Réver marcou de cabeça em cobrança de escanteio, mas o árbitro Leandro Vuaden marcou falta. Em seguida, Réver cortou drible de Bruno Henrique e se chocou com o santista. Vuaden marcou pênalti. Logo depois, consultou o quarto árbitro e voltou atrás na marcação num período de 1 minuto e 12 segundos.

Com menos de um minuto, Everton fez grande jogada para Guerrero e o atacante peruano colocou o Flamengo na frente do placar. Mas o jogo reservava muitas emoções. E Rafael Vaz deu sua contribuição ao ter a bola dominada e tentar driblar quase sem espaço na área rubro-negra. No escanteio, Copete subiu sozinho e marcou. Em outra jogada aérea, Victor Ferraz aproveitou a sobra e chutou no ângulo: 3 a 2. A virada do Santos saiu em um minuto e pôs fogo na partida.

Com jogo completamente aberto, o Santos partiu com tudo para cima do Flamengo. Aos 34 minutos, Rafael Longuine cabeceou bem próximo do gol, mas Alex Muralha defendeu. Nos minutos finais, Vanderlei fez grande defesa em cobrança de falta de Diego. Antes do apito final, Copete aproveitou falha de Muralha na saída de gol e marcou o quarto aos 48 minutos. Não havia tempo para mais nada. Respira aliviado o Rubro-Negro. Aos santistas, resta a disputa do Brasileiro e da Libertadores.”

http://globoesporte.globo.com/sp/santos-e-regiao/futebol/copa-do-brasil/noticia/santos-vence-por-4-a-2-mas-fla-avanca-e-faz-duelo-com-o-botafogo.ghtml

De Futebol

Flamengo defeated Coritiba 2-1. The guys are in fourth place with 28 points.

Globo Esportes:” Parecia ser uma noite tranquila para o Flamengo na Ilha do Governador. Parecia. Após um primeiro tempo eficaz, o rubro-negro voltou a apresentar o conhecido desequilíbrio na defesa e só alcançou a vitória por 2 a 1 sobre o Coritiba graças a um pênalti nos acréscimos ontem, na Ilha do Urubu. Com o resultado, o time foi a 28, e assumiu a terceira posição momentaneamente. Na próxima rodada, o confronto será com o líder Corinthians, em São Paulo.

Com cinco mudanças no time — Éverton foi vetado no aquecimento por causa de uma gripe — para poupar os jogadores, o Flamengo, que estreou o novo uniforme amarelo, inicialmente, se adaptou bem às modificações. Um time com toque de bola mais preciso e sem afobação dominou toda a etapa inicial. Aproveitou-se, logo aos seis minutos, de um contra-ataque encabeçado pelo recém-contratado Geuvânio, que rolou para Éverton Ribeiro na esquerda. O camisa 7 tocou para Berrío no meio da área e o colombiano tocou na saída do goleiro Wilson.

A dupla foi responsável pelas melhores jogadas do rubro-negro, que trabalhou a bola com paciência. O Coritiba, que foi observado das cabinas pelo novo técnico Marcelo Oliveira, sequer chegava ao gol de Thiago. Já Wilson salvou o segundo gol ao desviar o chute cruzado de Éverton Ribeiro, que recebera de três dedos de Geuvânio.

Atento durante todo o primeiro tempo, o Flamengo piscou no primeiro minuto da etapa final. Foi o suficiente para levar o empate. A dupla de zaga formada por Rafael Vaz e Juan, que ocupou o lugar de Réver, não acompanhou Henrique, que recebeu entre os dois e deu um leve toque na saída de Thiago.

Bastou o revés para o time se desequilibrar. A tranquilidade inicial deu lugar a um time afoito, que passou a se lançar ao ataque sem cuidar da defesa. Na frente, quase desempatou após Éverton Ribeiro levantar na área, e Vaz, de bico, desviar. Mas Wilson impediu o gol. No lance seguinte, Guerrero até comemorou o gol, mas não valeu, pois a arbitragem marcou acertadamente impedimento.

Porém, lá atrás, novamente a desorganização apareceu. Thiago quase foi enganado pelo quique da bola, mas conseguiu espalmar. A partir daí, os lances mais consistentes foram do Coritiba. O rubro-negro apostava no contra-ataque e na correria de Berrío, que, aos16, foi substituído por Vinícius Júnior.

Como estava difícil organizar a bola no chão, a tentativa foi nos lances aéreos. Numa dessas, Juan tentou se redimir com uma bela cabeçada que parou no travessão. A sequência lá e cá poderia ter dado a vitória a qualquer time. Rômulo perdeu um gol no fim. Mas Vinícius Júnior deu a última chance ao Flamengo ao sofre pênalti aos 45. Éverton Ribeiro bateu com categoria para fazer o gol da vitória e encerrou o jejum de três jogos sem vencer.

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/com-gol-no-fim-flamengo-derrota-coritiba-na-ilha-do-urubu-21622188#ixzz4nh4Ps9fI

De Futebol

A defensive mistake cost Man U big time against Barcelona. The Red Devils final match on USA soil was a 1-0 loss to Barcelona.

The Guardians Jamie Jackson wrote;” Manchester United closed their pre-season tour of America on a dissonant note by losing this fifth outing in what was a pedestrian showing from José Mourinho’s outfit.

The manager has serially stressed results do not matter and United’s time here is all about fitness and team gelling. Thus he will return home content with the five matches that have certainly kick-started that process.

Mourinho was however unhappy at his rearguard. “It was an open game, we didn’t defend well,” he said. “I’m not happy. But in the second half lots of changes for them and for us, but both teams play for the result we tried to equalise, they tried to keep the ball, possession and defend well so in second half the match was positive.”

United are due back in Manchester early on Thursday morning and will touch down with four victories under their belt as thoughts turn to the Uefa Super Cup meeting with Real Madrid in Macedonia on 8 August. Mourinho’s side face Vålerenga and Sampdoria in their final warm-ups before the trip to Skopje.

As Ernesto Valverde started with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez up top, Ivan Rakitić and Sergio Busquets in midfield, and Javier Mascherano and Marcelo as part of his defence, this was the strongest opposition United faced during their 18 days away.

So after those four previous wins the mission to achieve a clean sweep required what would be United’s most impressive victory of the trip.

The challenge began promisingly. Marcus Rashford, operating on the right of United’s 4-2-3-1, hit Romelu Lukaku with a ball that skidded towards the striker as he raced into the area. Lukaku connected but the ball was skied over Jasper Cillessen’s goal.

From here Barca dominated for most of the half though United had their moments. First up was Neymar who followed a dribble by hitting a shot straight at David De Gea. Next, Neymar fed Messi and he did the same – the No1 spilling this time before recovering.

Suarez now became the latest Barca player to find space between United’s lines. When he broke through the attempt this time tested De Gea and he saved well, conceding a corner. Messi went far closer when given another chance, the No10 beating De Gea but not the goalkeeper’s left post.

United found Barca’s ultra quick pass-and-go difficult to stem. They are not the first and will not be the last to do so. And to their credit when they managed to wrest the ball into their possession and rove forward questions were asked of Valverde’s unit.

Rashford and Paul Pogba, in particular, were keen to take the contest to Barca. The latter made one buccaneering run down the right that stretched the turquoise rearguard and earlier Pogba had turned Carles Alena neatly before blazing at Cillessen, the keeper beating ball away.

Rashford provided United’s best moment of the stanza. From a position on the left he raced toward goal, beat Suárez and Samuel Umtiti, and at close range smacked the ball at Cillessen, who repelled it.

Given Barca’s technical superiority, the last thing United wanted was to cede the ball needlessly. Yet they did so by clumsy passing and deciding, on occasion, to hoof the ball in the air from a goal-kick.

This, as Pep Guardiola argues, often means it comes back at you quickly. So it was that from a De Gea clearance Neymar was almost instantly in on the Spaniard and United were fortunate they did not concede.

Yet this giving away of ball led to Barca’s winner. This time United lost it near the Catalans’ area and defence quickly turned into attack. Daley Blind’s attempted pass went awry, Barca zipped forward, Suárez fed Messi, he threaded the ball into Neymar’s path inside the area, Antonio Valencia hashed a tackle, and the No11 made no mistake.

wing a second before half-time via a similar mix-up. Blind – again – was culpable, this time for a foul that gave away a free-kick when he downed Messi. The Argentinian took this and flipped the ball towards Suárez. Victor Lindelof did well to put his head on the pass but the act confused Chris Smalling and United only just escaped.

Barça deserved the advantage and started the second half holding a lead they would not surrender. For United’s final 45 minutes Stateside, Mourinho switched the same three players in defence as during the break of the 2-0 win over Manchester City in Houston.

Out went Lindelof, Blind and Smalling, and in came Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, and Matteo Darmian. Sergio Romero also replaced De Gea and Marouane Fellaini was on for Michael Carrick.

The good news for United was that the Messi-Suárez-Neymar trident was also completely removed. The bad news was proceedings lacked their previous stardust. If this killed the high-quality that had been on display, Barca still managed to pull United around to put Darmian under pressure, the left-back punting the ball into touch.

Andres Iniesta was on for Barça and a genius of a midfielder will have been dismayed at the manner in which one pinpoint pass rebounded off Arda Turan – another substitute – for momentum to be lost.

To try and pull the match around Mourinho made two more changes on 62 minutes. Andreas Pereira took the anonymous Henrik Mkhitaryan’s place and Anthony Martial did the same regarding the similarly ineffective Jesse Lingard.

As De Gea had been, Romero was the busiest of the two keepers. The Argentinian was called into action when Paco Alcacer could shoot from a few yards and he was able to keep his side only a strike behind. At the other end Pereira twice took aim but could nor beat Cillessen.

At the death, Rashford might have nicked an equaliser but this would not have been deserved.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/27/manchester-united-end-us-tour-with-underwhelming-display-in-loss-to-barcelona

De Futebol

Cristiano Ronaldo has urged Neymar to stay Barcelona unless he can sign with Man U. This is  according to the Daily Mail. “Cristiano Ronaldo is believed to have urged his rival Neymar not to quit Barcelona this summer, and only switch the Spanish giants for Manchester United.

The Real Madrid icon has a close relationship with Neymar due to their shared commitments with sponsorship giants Nike, and the Portuguese star is believed to have sent a message to his counterpart advising him on the situation.

Neymar appears to be on the verge of quitting Barcelona for French side PSG, who are happy to meet the incredible €222m (£196m) buy-out clause.

In a deal which would see Neymar become comfortably the most expensive footballer in the history of the game, PSG are also reported to be willing to pay the Brazilian star £500,000 per week.

PSG are keen to get the deal over the line, and will use Neymar as a marketing tool to promote their brand across the world.

But Ronaldo has chosen to give his rival a little bit of useful counsel, as reported by Spanish media outlet Diariogol.

The title reports that Ronaldo has told Neymar it would be a mistake to leave the Catalan club, particularly to make a downward step to a smaller European side.

Ronaldo is said to have outlined only one possible destination for the Brazilian should he choose to turn his back on Barca… Manchester United.

The Red Devils are one of the few clubs in the world who match Barcelona in terms of stature, global fan base and sheer spending power.

Ronaldo spent a hugely successful six years in Manchester, from 2003 to 2009, developing into one of the finest players in world football.

The Neymar saga looks set to serve up plenty more twists and turns before the transfer window slams shut, but one man who is convinced the mercurial forward will stay is defender Gerard Pique.

The Catalan star took to social media on Sunday night to post an image of himself with Neymar, along with the caption ‘Se queda’ – roughly translating to ‘he stays.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4724490/Cristiano-Ronaldo-urges-Neymar-not-quit-Barcelona.html#ixzz4nlfoJwpp

De Futebol

Flamengo and Palmeiras tied two all. Boo-Mengao dropped to fourth place with 25 points.  Rubo Negro has two straight ties.

Globo Esportes:” m duelo pela 15ª rodada do Campeonato Brasileiro, Flamengo e Palmeiras fizeram um jogo aberto na noite desta quarta-feira e terminaram empatados na Ilha do Urubu: 2 a 2. Foram quatro gols no primeiro tempo – Pará e Guerrero fizeram os rubro-negros; Willian e Róger Guedes, os alviverdes – e uma defesa de pênalti de Jailson (cobrada por Diego), que deixou Fernando Prass no banco de reservas.

Ainda próximos na zona de classificação para a próxima edição da Libertadores, ambos voltam a campo no fim de semana. No sábado, o Flamengo (agora com 25 pontos) recebe o Coritiba. Um dia depois, o Palmeiras (com 23 pontos) enfrenta o Sport, na Arena Pernambuco

O confronto começou equilibrado, mas, ainda aos sete minutos, em uma desatenção de marcação de Dudu, Pará recebeu na entrada da área e finalizou forte para balançar a rede pela primeira vez, dando à equipe da casa não apenas a vantagem no placar, mas também o controle da partida.

Na sequência, emparedado pelo Flamengo, o Palmeiras contou com defesas importantes de Jailson para evitar que a diferença ficasse ainda maior. Everton, Rafael Vaz e Mina (contra a própria meta) obrigaram o goleiro – que ganhou a posição de Fernando Prass – a trabalhar.

Com muita dificuldade para deixar o campo de defesa, os visitantes só foram finalizar aos 31 minutos. E, logo na primeira finalização, depois de ótima assistência de Zé Roberto por trás da defesa, Willian tocou por cima do goleiro Thiago para igualar o placar.

Em lance parecido, mas na ponta direita, e com a bola pelo chão, Mina deixou Róger Guedes cara a cara com o goleiro flamenguista, aos 41 minutos, e o atacante não desperdiçou a oportunidade de fazer o 2 a 1. Mas a alegria palmeirense durou dois minutos: Guerrero, muito bem na partida, aproveitou bobeada de Luan e, dentro da área, chutou forte para empatar.

Na volta do intervalo, as primeiras boas chances foram alviverdes. Chances paradas por Thiago, que fez grandes defesas em um chute de Borja e um cabeceio de Luan.

Aos 26 minutos, porém, um carrinho de Michel Bastos deu ao Flamengo a oportunidade de ficar à frente novamente. Só que a estrela de Jailson brilhou. O goleiro saltou no canto esquerdo e espalmou a cobrança de Diego, garantindo o empate no Rio de Janeiro.

http://globoesporte.globo.com/rj/futebol/brasileirao-serie-a/noticia/flamengo-e-palmeiras-empatam-jogo-com-quatro-gols-e-penalti-defendido-por-jailson.ghtml

De Futebol

This was one of the greatest PK shoot outs in history. It was so great that this display was three steps below stink.

The Guardians Jamie Jackson wrote:” Despite Julia Roberts, an Oscar-winning member of Hollywood royalty, “measuring her excitement” beforehand, there was an under-capacity turnout for this International Champions Cup encounter in Santa Clara, three years after Manchester United and Real Madrid drew 109,318 to Michigan Stadium for a pre-season friendly.

Levi’s Stadium appeared noticeably under its 68,500 capacity on Sunday, despite the official attendance being given as 65,109. Given Real’s, and to a lesser extent United’s, appeal to California’s large Latino population, there may be questions about why this was not sold-out. That 2014 match in Michigan involved Cristiano Ronaldo who, despite only entering towards the end of the match, was still a draw for US football fans. The forward is not here this time, instead he is in China doing promotional work for Real.

After the match, José Mourinho referred to the Santa Clara crowd: “I don’t know what to say [about the attendance] – is Sunday the best day? … The price of tickets? I don’t know, Ronaldo not here? I don’t know what to say.”

On the field United headed into half-time on Sunday 1-0 ahead, courtesy of some dazzling work from Anthony Martial. The wide man careered into Real’s area, left Daniel Carvajal and Luka Modric like statues, and squared the ball to Jesse Lingard, who passed the ball past Keylor Navas in Real’s goal. The goal lit up a half that had flitted between either end, and came moments after a 41st-minute Lingard shot blazed wide of Navas’s left post.

“He is a young player, still time to learn, still time to improve, still time to develop, and it’s also his personality, I can say he is training better than before, he’s working harder than before, it’s a question to bring his talent more in a consistent way,” said Mourinho of the 21-year-old Martial, who is an undoubted talent, but struggled last year.

“Obviously we want more consistency in his talent, I think today was positive for him, that’s why I left him for 90 minutes on the pitch, he was enjoying [the game] and trying things, it’s important to try things in these friendly matches so it’s good for Anthony and his confidence.”

Real are always a menace with the ball and when Lucas Vazquez took on Phil Jones in a foot-race towards Sergio Romero’s goal the centre-back could be pleased with how he killed the danger. After an early Andreas Pereira corner amounted to nothing for United, Real roved forward for the first time. Carvajal cut into the opposition area and the United defence were relieved to scramble the ball away.

This was Real’s opening game of their tour, while United were on their fourth. Mourinho’s men had won all of their previous three, 5-2 against Los Angeles Galaxy2-1 against Real Salt Lake, and 2-0 against Manchester City.

Zinedine Zidane’s outfit looked sharp despite their lack of match practice. Gareth Bale sold Marouane Fellaini a dummy and put Carvajal in along the right. Modric buzzed through midfield and pulled strings. And Karim Benzema, the No9, displayed a deft touch.

For United Lingard forced a sharp save from Navas, the No14 lining up along the right. Inside him was Pereira, the Belgian-born Brazilian given a chance at No10, though in a fluid system he and Lingard often interchanged.

On 18 minutes the Ronaldo-less Real burst into life as Benzema and Bale traded flicks and back-heels and split United open down the left. Later in the half, the two combined in similar fashion. Matteo Darmian may have caught some inspiration from his opponents: the left-back threaded a trequartista-like ball in behind. Lingard was the intended recipient but he failed to capitalise.

For the second half Mourinho made wholesale changes so that only Martial, Darmian and Fellaini remained. The manager’s mood may have soured six minutes in when one replacement, Ander Herrera, limped off with what appeared a hip problem. Mourinho has already lost Juan Mata to an ankle problem on the trip so he will hope there is no serious harm to one of his first-choice midfielders.

The Portuguese said: “At least [it must be] very painful because for him to come out it has to be painful, I want to wait but I say to the players no risk in friendly matches, if you feel something, that something is coming, a muscular injury, get out, the result is not important. But he was [in pain], maybe a muscle, I don’t know.”

Scott McTominay, Herrera’s replacement, was involved in a melee of bodies that led to a Real free-kick near United’s area. When the ball rebounded Henrikh Mkhitaryan broke and United seized the initiative. Play moved on and Daley Blind chipped an inviting ball into Romelu Lukaku but the centre-forward could only manage an air-shot.

That incident was typical of the game. The contest was played at a reasonable tempo but quality was often deficient. So, too, was the ‘challenge’ Victor Lindelöf administered on Theo Hernandez in United’s area after 69 minutes. The centre-back hacked the No15 down and Kevin Stott, the referee, pointed to the spot. Up stepped Casemiro to rifle the ball into the roof of David de Gea’s net.

Next Smalling conceded a foul just outside his area, to the left. Up stepped Luis Miguel Quezada who aimed directly at De Gea, the No1 having to be alert to beat the ball away and keep the score level.

By the close Fellaini could look back on a golden chance that would have given United victory. McTominay swept in a sweet ball from the right. The Belgian’s run was clever; his awkwardly booted wide volley was not.

The International Champions Cup rules forced a penalty shoot-out. This proved a curate’s egg as Martial skied over, Mateo Kovacic missed, McTominay missed, Oscar missed, Mkhitaryan rolled the ball in, Quezada scored, Lindelof missed, Hernandez missed, Blind scored and Casemiro missed.

It meant United won the spot-kick showdown 2-1, though Zidane stated he was “satisfied”. His team next take on Manchester City in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/23/manchester-united-real-madrid-international-champions-cup-match-report

De Futebol

Liverpool defeated Leicester City 2-1 in preseason action.

The Daily Mail:” Liverpool fans do not need a reminder of why the club needs to keep Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho. In Hong Kong they got two, anyway.

On 20 minutes, much to the disappointment of the red-shirted hordes in the stands, Leicester City were leading this pre-season clash thanks to an Islam Slimani header.

Then the Brazilian playmaker, subject of a €80million (£72m) bid from the Catalan giants this week, stepped up.

There appeared to be little danger for the Foxes when Coutinho received a pass on the edge of the box from £36.9m new man Mohamed Salah.

But the Egyptian had continued his run into the area and with one little dink, Coutinho found him all alone, next to the penalty spot to head the equaliser.

On the brink of half-time, provider turned poacher. Picking the ball up 30 yards out, the 25–year-old cut inside right back Daniel Amartey and suddenly was in room.

One flick of Coutinho’s right boot later, Kasper Schmeichel was on the floor and the ball was in his far corner. The Mongolian Kopites with their banner behind the goal loved it. Their emotions will have been shared on the red half of Merseyside.

It is these flashes of brilliance, the ability to unlock a defence, to score from nowhere, which even €80m cannot buy. Jurgen Klopp knows this. That is why his teams practice against bus parking defences in training. It is why, when asked about the bid this week, he declared that the player is not for sale.

If they are to make that next step, to break that 27-year top-flight title drought, Coutinho must stay. Barcelona may well come back with more bids.

History (Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling) tells us that Liverpool’s players have a price. We may soon find out if that remains the case.

Their manager is adamant it is not. Klopp’s men had started well, with every trick and flick drawing a rapturous response from an adoring crowd at the Premier League’s Asia Trophy final. But it was the Foxes who drew first blood.

With a dozen minutes on the clock, after some neat build-up featuring Riyad Mahrez, Christian Fuchs crossed and Slimani outjumped James Milner at the far post to power a header into the back of the net.

Following the Coutinho show and the break a lively Jamie Vardy came close to equalising three times as the Foxes rallied.

This will be an interesting season for Leicester. Their story has been told and it is time to write a chapter. You get the impression that a couple of new faces, and the retention of Mahrez, and it may be an interesting one.

Coutinho, meanwhile, was replaced to rapturous applause on 55 minutes. The crowd here knew it. Everybody of a Liverpool persuasion knows it.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4720612/Liverpool-2-1-Leicester-Mo-Salah-scores-again.html#ixzz4nejynvy3

De Futebol

Chelsea took apart my guys from Arsenal 3-0 in a preseason romp in China.

The Daily Mail:” Michy Batshuayi did his best to convince Antonio Conte that he need not be quite so desperate to sign another striker, with a fine performance on Chelsea’s opening match of their pre-season Asian tour in Beijing.

It may not quite have been intense as the FA Cup final two months ago, nor even as significant as the Community Shield in two weeks time, but Chelsea at least got back on track in terms of dominating Arsenal.

And the Belgian striker did all he could to try to convince Conte, who has just signed Alvaro Morata for £70m and wants to bring Fernando Llorente to the club, that he ought to be part of his plans for the season.

Two superb strikes and an assist marked out Batshuayi as the chief beneficiary on this muggy evening in Beijing on a pitch which looked ragged and hard to play on. Arsenal certainly learned little, other than that they will need to improve considerably for their date at Wembley next month.

With three games already under their belt on tour, the FA Cup holders looked remarkably lackadaisical, compared to Chelsea, who on their tour opener looked well ahead of their Community Shield opponents in terms of conditioning.

The Olympic Stadium pitch was kicking up sods of earth almost as soon as the match started and hardly helped. Indeed, the quality early on was intermittent but that which there was generally came from Chelsea. A sleepy Ainsley Maitland-Niles dawdled on the ball eight minutes in, allowing Willian a chance clean through on goal, which he pulled wide.

And though Aaron Ramsey went close from a Mesut Ozil cross on 25 minutes, it was rare moment of danger as Chelsea imposed themselves on their opponents. David Ospina, in goal for Petr Cech, still feeling the effects of food poisoning, was forced into a fine double save on 35 minutes, first parrying a Willian strike and then tipping over from Victor Moses’ effort directly from the rebound.

Michy Batshuayi had the ball in the net a minute later , though was ruled out for offside, but no matter: it was to prove an evening when the Belgian, whose goal won Chelsea the title at West Brom last season, would shine.

t was him on 42 minutes who set Willian on his way, cutting inside the fragile Arsenal defence to strike the ball around Ospina and into the far corner to open the scoring. Just one minute later it was Batshuayi himself on the score-sheet, with an excellent strike. N’Golo Kante found him in the box and Batshuayi controlled, turned and curled the ball past Ospina into the top corner to double the lead.

Arsenal attempted to inject some energy at half time by bringing on six substitutes – Danny Welbeck, Laurent Koscielny, Mohammed Elneny, Sead Kolasinac, Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud – but to little initial effect. In fact, just three minutes into the half, Cesc Fabregas found Marcos Alonso, who dashed down the left before pulling back to Batshuayi, who, from the edge of the box, connected with an excellent dipping, spinning strike which bamboozled Opsina and made it 3-0.

Even when the game degenerated into a frenzy of substitutions, Chelsea’s reserves still looked better than Arsenal with Fikayo Tomori impressing, going close on 56 minutes. Arsenal chief moment of significance in the second half came when David Luiz looked to have tripped Wellbeck inside the box, but the referee awarded a free kick, which Giroud drove into the wall.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4720584/Arsenal-0-3-Chelsea-Michy-Batshuayi-bags-sublime-brace.html#ixzz4nZPSAeqV

De Futebol

Man U defeated Man Shitty 2-0 in a friendly in Texas. The Guardians Jamie Jackson wrote;” The latest edition of a fixture first played in 1881 was the story of an unimpressive debut from Ederson, the £34.69m-priced goalkeeper, who was culpable for each of Manchester United’s strikes.

Errors are a feature of close season football and Ederson may make more. Yet given Manchester City’s travails with No1s under Pep Guardiola the hope will be the Brazilian settles quickly.

United and City had begun the 175th staging of this famous fixture by walking through billowing smoke into a darkened NRG Stadium lit up by a sea of supporters’ phones. The ballyhoo belied Jose Mourinho’s insistence in the build-up that this would be a glorified training exercise and so a virtual non-event of a Manchester derby.

incent Kompany took the opposing view. The City captain’s pre-game stance was that there can be no friendlies where these two rivals are concerned. To prove the point he took two minutes to clatter into his Belgium team-mate, Romelu Lukaku.

This was City’s opening tour match and United’s third. In wins against LA Galaxy (5-2) and Salt Lake City (2-1), Mourinho’s outfit operated at a relative canter. The upturn in tempo here was noticeable as two Premier League big beasts took turns to attack.

The red wave came first as Ander Herrera forced the opening save of Ederson’s City career and Lukaku’s surge-and-pass to Jesse Lingard was fluffed by the No14. Now came the sky-blue surge as Phil Foden dribbled forward and let fly a left foot shot that David De Gea had to eye carefully.

Like Foden, Kyle Walker was making his debut. While the 17-year-old from Stockport cost City nothing and positioned on the left of City’s 4-3-3, the right-back cost an eye-watering initial £45m and operated in his normal right-back berth.

In a foot-race with Marcus Rashford Walker showed a prime quality he was acquired for – pace – and shepherded the ball out. On display, too, were further feisty challenges; Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan joined Lukaku as United players who might inform Mourinho the showdown was being contested as it should.

Considering this was City’s opening outing since the 5-0 thumping of Watford on 21 May they could be happy with their sharpness. As the stanza wore on Guardiola’s men probed more though they were to end it behind due to Ederson’s mistakes.

Before those, Fernandinho leapt on an errant United pass and fed Patrick Roberts. The wide forward was in on goal and then pulled back by Chris Smalling. The referee, Ismail Elfath, failed to blow his whistle, and when possession came to Sterling, Smalling blocked the attempt.

The next incident involved Lukaku’s second strike in two games and derived from the one thing Guardiola did not want: an Ederson error. The Catalan’s problems at No1 number began with his bombing out of Joe Hart out last summer and moved onto his replacement, Claudio Bravo, enduring an awful 2016-17 campaign.

Ederson, then, is Bravo’s successor. When Paul Pogba flipped a precise pass into Lukaku out rushed the 23-year-old. But he failed to take ball or man, and from a tight angle the No9 swept home a neat finish.

This was on 37 minutes. United’s second came moments later and causes further scrutiny of Ederson. Mkhitaryan roved toward the area and switched play right to Rashford. He took aim and though the effort came hard and true the keeper appeared close enough to ball to stick out a glove. Instead, in it went, and United’s lead was doubled.

This was two goals in two minutes. Two yellow cards were about to arrive in the same time-span. Yaya Toure scythed down Mkhitaryan and saw yellow. Then Daley Blind did the same to Roberts and out came the card again.

For the second half Guardiola made seven changes and Mourinho made three. What did not change was the shaky nature of Ederson’s bow. From a position reminiscent of David Beckham’s halfway line beating of Wimbledon’s Neil Sullivan in 1996, Rashford launched the ball at City’s goal. The Brazilian scooted back anxiously and just managed to tip over.

The next time United attacked Ederson was beaten. But Lukaku’s pile-driver smashed back off the right post and to safety. Further substitutions followed that upset the flow of the match. Of interest here was the sight of Samir Nasri and Eliaquim Mangala in City colours. Each are for sale and as this is proving hard to do, they were being placed in the shop window in the hope to attract suitors.

By the close this 134-year-old encounter had created a small slice of Mancunian football history by being played overseas for the first time, in Houston, a city built on swampland, and which is the U.S.A.’s fourth largest.

United triumphed but, as the cliche goes, this was for bragging rights only. For these two clubs the real stuff starts in mid-August, on the new season’s opening weekend.

After the game Guardiola stated Aleksandar Kolarov is set to leave, and that the Serbian wants to depart. The 45-year-old said: “I don’t like working with people who don’t want to stay. He has a big chance to go to Roma. He has said he wants to leave.”

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea (Romero, ht); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah, 78) , Smalling, Lindelof (Jones, ht), Blind (Darmian, ht); Ander Herrera (Fellaini, 62), Pogba; Lingard (Pereira, 78), Mkhitaryan (Carrick, 62), Rashford (Martial, 62); Lukaku

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Kompany (Stones, ht), Adarabioyo (Otamendi, ht), Fernandinho (Mangala, ht); Toure, De Bruyne (Nasri, ht), Foden (Zinchenko, 76); Roberts (Brahim, ht), Aguero (Jesus, ht), Sterling (Sane, ht)

Yellow: Toure (42), Blind (44), Mangala (55)

Referee: Ismail Elfath

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/21/ederson-makes-inglorious-start-as-manchester-united-account-for-city