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Sevilla hold Real Madrid while Atletico cruise past 10-man Celta in LaLiga

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MADRID, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) — Sevilla held Real Madrid to a 1-1 home draw on Saturday in a highly entertaining La Liga game.

37-year-old defender Sergio Ramos played against his former team Madrid for the first time since he joined them from Sevilla as a 19-year-old in 2005.

Ramos, moving from Paris Saint-Germain to Sevilla in September, produced a typically full-blooded display and was unlucky not to score the winning goal as Madrid keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga produced a flying save to tip his injury time header onto the woodwork.

Despite chances at both ends, the first goal didn’t arrive until the 73rd minute, when Youssef En-Nesyri’s header hit David Alaba to end up in the Madrid net.

The equalizer came moments later when Daniel Carvajal nodded home from Toni Kroos’ near-post free kick.

Antoine Griezmann scored a hat-trick as Atletico Madrid won 3-0 away to Celta Vigo to pile the pressure on home coach Rafael Benitez.

Celta’s faced an uphill struggle from the 24th minute when keeper Ivan Villar was shown a direct red card for bringing down Alvaro Morata after spilling a cross, and Griezmann put Atletico ahead from the penalty spot.

Atletico controlled the game against a rival down to 10 men, and Griezmann added to account with a cross-shot that fooled Villar’s replacement, Vicente Guaita in the 64th minute.

The French international completed his hat-trick six minutes later when he tapped home a pull-back from Nahuel Molina.

Real Sociedad moved into fifth place after a 1-0 win at home to Mallorca, thanks to Brais Mendez’s glancing header from Takefusa Kubo’s 64th minute cross.

Mallorca had more chances during the game and will probably still be wondering how the ball didn’t end up in the Real Sociedad net after a frantic goalmouth scramble with just a minute left to play.

Getafe and Betis drew 1-1 in an open game with two goals in the first 16 minutes. Marc Roca produced a smart finish to put Betis ahead in the first minute, but Borja Mayoral’s 16th minute header earned the home side a point in a game where a draw was a fair result.

Ante Budimir scored a goal in each half on Friday as Osasuna claimed their first home win of the season, with a 2-0 victory over struggling Granada.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Chile, Peru rue missed chances in Copa America stalemate

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WASHINGTON, June 21 (Xinhua) — Chile manager Ricardo Gareca said his team remains hopeful of reaching the Copa America knockout stage after a goalless draw with Peru in their tournament opener on Friday.

Chile controlled 65 percent of possession but had only one shot on target against a Peru side that forced four saves from Roja goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

“It was an evenly fought contest,” Gareca, who served as Peru’s manager from 2015 to 2022 before taking charge of Chile in January, told reporters after the duel.

“Beyond the fact that we wanted to win the game, the most important thing of all is to stay in contention. We are now where we started, with possibilities [of advancing].”

Gareca insisted he had felt no added pressure against his former team and said the result allowed Chile to “improve, see and analyze” for the rest of the tournament.

His Peru counterpart, Jorge Fossati, expressed satisfaction at the Blanquirroja’s performance.

“We had a great attitude and started well,” Fossati said. “But we became anxious and lacked confidence at key moments.”

Source(s): Xinhua

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Argentina outlast spirited Canada in Copa America opener

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ATLANTA, June 20 (Xinhua) — Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez scored second-half goals as defending champions Argentina began their Copa America defense with 2-0 victory over Canada here on Thursday.

Alvarez sent an angled finish into the far corner before Martinez put the result beyond doubt by slotting home after Lionel Messi’s pass.

The final scoreline barely did justice to a spirited Canada outfit, who troubled the reigning World Cup winners for long periods of the first half and early in the second.

“It was a tough game against a team that is physically very strong,” Albiceleste captain Messi said after the match at Mercedes-Benz stadium.

“They gave us very little space, particularly in the first half. But we moved the ball more quickly after halftime and knew that if we were patient and took control of the game we would get over the line.”

Canada unsettled Argentina early with a high defensive line that often made it difficult for Messi and company to advance beyond the halfway line.

Les Rouges also looked dangerous in attack and Jonathan David should have done better as he scuffed a shot wide after Alphonso Davies’ overlapping run and cross.

Argentina almost broke the deadlock through Alexis Mac Allister but the Liverpool midfielder could only manage a tame header straight at goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau following Rodrigo de Paul’s lofted pass.

Canada’s best chance of the first half came when Cyle Larin delivered a sumptuous cross into the path of Stephen Eustaquio, whose header was kept out by Emiliano Martinez. The rebound fell to Davies, who had time and space but only succeeded in blasting his first-time effort over the bar.

Argentina emerged from the interval with renewed verve and they took the lead in the 49th minute in a move that started with Messi.

The Inter Miami forward’s perfectly weighted through ball found Mac Allister, whose deft touch in traffic released Alvarez. The Manchester City forward showed his scoring instinct by pouncing and lashing a first-time effort into the far corner.

Canada continued to press and Davies had a chance to equalize minutes later with a header that sailed over.

By now Argentina were also attacking with intent but were wasteful in the final third as Messi and Martinez both missed chances when they had only the goalkeeper to beat.

Martinez, who was a 76th minute substitute for Alvarez, made amends two minutes from time by running onto Messi’s pass and threading a shot between the legs of Crepeau.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Denmark draws with England, Spain edges Italy in Euro 2024

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BERLIN, June 20 (Xinhua) — Harry Kane’s goal wasn’t enough for the Three Lions as Morten Hjulmand’s hammer secured Denmark a 1-1 draw while Spain won in Group B after beating Italy on the own goal from Riccardo Calafiori in the second round of the Euro 2024 group stage on Thursday.

England dictated the pace and pressed Denmark onto the back foot from the kick-off at a sold out Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt.

The Three Lions created their first half chance when Kyle Walker teed up Phil Foden, who pulled wide from central position with 13 minutes gone.

Walker kept Denmark’s defence busy and assisted Harry Kane with the opener after providing a deflected cross into the box, five minutes later.

Denmark remained unimpressed and pushed forward whereas England put all their men behind the ball.

The Danes got rewarded for their efforts at the half hour mark when Morten Hjulmand drilled the equalizer from 25 meters past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

After the restart England came out with their guns blazing as Foden rattled the woodwork with a low drive in the 56th minute before Denmark goalie Kasper Schmeichel denied Ollie Watkins a goal following a one-on-one in the 71st minute.

Denmark almost clinched a late win, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s curl missed the target narrowly wide in the closings stages.

“We struggled to have control in the game, and it led to an anxious performance. That must be better if we want to go further in the tournament,” said England head coach Gareth Southgate.

In the other Group C clash, Serbia snatched an injury time leveller through Luka Jovic, who cancelled out Benjamin Sesko’s opener for Slovenia, to maintain their chances to advance into the next round.

With the results, England (4 points) stays atop the standings followed by Denmark, Slovenia (both 2 points) and Serbia (1 point).

In Group B, Spain booked their berth for the last 16 after securing the second straight win.

Spain dominated the one-sided affair but needed help by Calafiori to break the deadlock in the second half. Italy lacked in ideas to threaten Spain’s defence and goalkeeper Gianlugi Donnarumma made several saves to prevent a higher loss.

“It wasn’t easy, but we know Italy is always a tough opponent. The happier we are to have secured all three points as we want to win the title,” said player of the match Nico Williams.

Spain tops the group with six points while Italy remains on the second with three points followed by Albania and Croatia, both with one point.

Source(s): Xinhua

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