Stunning goals from Edinson Cavani and Nicolas Lodeiro helped Uruguay dismantle Ecuador, while Copa America invitees Qatar bagged a last-gasp equaliser to salvage a valuable point against Paraguay.
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Lodeiro’s Copa cracker
URUGUAY 4-0 ECUADOR
Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani were on target as Uruguay thumped 10-man Ecuador 4-0 in their opening Group C match at the Copa America.
Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring after just six minutes before Ecuador full-back Jose Quintero was dismissed for a flailing arm.
With a numerical advantage, Uruguay ran riot at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte as Cavani and Suarez netted before the break.
The rout was completed 12 minutes from time with an Arturo Mina own goal.
Cavani’s brilliant bicycle
Uruguay were off to a dream start when Suarez crossed from the right and Lodeiro proved the coolest customer in the Mineirao stadium as he beat one defender with his chest control, flicked the ball over another and then hit a crisp, low volley into the bottom far corner.
It was third time lucky for Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani on 33 minutes as Diego Godin headed the ball into the danger area and Cavani acrobatically rasped a bicycle kick from seven yards past a helpless keeper.
Boualem Khoukhi scored 13 minutes from time as Asian champions Qatar hit back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw with Paraguay at the Copa America on Sunday.
An Oscar Cardozo penalty and a stunning Denis Gonzalez strike gave the South Americans a 2-0 lead in Rio de Janeiro but goals from Almoez Ali and Khoukhi in the final quarter snatched a share of the Group B spoils for the tournament debutants.
It left the sides two points behind Group B leaders Colombia, who opened their account with a 2-0 win over Lionel Messi’s Argentina on Saturday.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll be well aware that Manchester United’s Paul Pogba is looking to leave. If you have been living under a rock, then consider yourself all caught up.
Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is the man in question, with the 24 year-old valued at A$178m. Milinkovic-Savic has impressed for Lazio since moving from Belgian side Genk in 2015, but is he ready to step up to the plate at United?
Obviously this is a non-starter if Pogba goes nowhere, but Milinkovic-Savic would certainly be a terrific replacement.
MOVING ON FROM MAGUIRE?
If we had a dollar for every time Harry Maguire to Manchester United has been mentioned, we’d have enough to buy Maguire ourselves.
But could all these rumours end up being for absolutely nothing?
The Daily Star seem to think so, as they report that United chief Ed Woodward is struggling to get a deal done for Maguire and is prepared to move on to other centre-backs.
One alternative for United is Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, a man who appears to be linked to at least two of the top six teams in the Premier League each transfer window.
United appear to be hellbent on signing Maguire, but it’s never a bad idea to have a contingency plan in place.
Another rumour that’s been dragging on for a while is Tottenham’s pursuit of Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon.
With virtually all of Danny Rose’s body hanging out the exit door, Mauricio Pochettino is looking for a new left back and Sessegnon is the man that Poch wants.
According to the Sun, Fulham are looking to receive around A$71m for the England U21 international, but Spurs reckon they can cheekily get a deal done for A$44.5m.
Sessegnon endured a difficult season with Fulham as they were relegated, and only has one year left on his contract. Fulham might want to cash in before their prized asset walks out the door for free.
INTER MOVE ON?
Inter have had Romelu Lukaku’s name at the top of their transfer shopping list, but it appears that they too are going to give up on their prime target.
Negotiations with United have proved to be rather difficult, and despite offering a number of proposals that almost but didn’t quite meet United’s financial expectations, Antonio Conte is going to revisit his list of potential strikers.
The Metro report that one of these short-listed strikers is Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian is currently at fellow Serie A side AS Roma, but spent some time with Manchester City.
The Metro go on to say that Conte wanted to bring Dzeko to Stamford Bridge when he was in charge of Chelsea, but opted for Olivier Giroud instead.
It would be a bitter blow for Inter to miss out on their main target, but Dzeko is still a proven striker and can certainly do a job for the Nerazzurri.
RODRIGUEZ TO RIVALS
There seems to be a theme of teams moving on from their top targets today, as Atletico Madrid have seemingly moved on from Christian Eriksen for none other than one of Real Madrid’s stars.
Premier League champions City begin their new season when they face Liverpool in the Community Shield on August 4.
“Some of them will come on July 29 or 30, others come back August 3 or 4. They decide whether to come back after three or four weeks off,” City boss Guardiola said.
“I don’t want them to come back if they are not fit, or if they are tired and have still not recovered from a tough season.
“We cannot forget we are starting the season and Mahrez hasn’t finished the previous one.
“It’s a crazy schedule and we’ll kill our players sooner or later, we cannot sustain it for a long time.
“They have to rest, but if the people want to come back a little bit earlier, they are more than welcome.”
Phil Foden, who was involved with England Under-21s, missed last week’s Premier League Asia Trophy in China but has joined the squad in Hong Kong this week.
‘DISRESPECT’ ALLEGATION DENIED
Meanwhile, Guardiola has blasted a report in Chinese state media as “false” after the Premier League champions were accused of showing “utter disrespect” during their tour of China.
Guardiola hit out at the lengthy commentary posted on the English-language website of Xinhua, the state news agency, which said Manchester City snubbed fans and only visited China for commercial reasons.
“I don’t agree but I should say too that it’s false. To make a statement like this they have to know exactly what’s happening in our club,” Guardiola told media in Hong Kong.
“I don’t understand how people can say that. Maybe one journalist is a little bit upset, I don’t know why. But it’s far away from what is reality,” he added.
Pep slams false criticism
The opinion piece, which accused City of an “attitude of arrogance” and lashed out at arrangements for Chinese media, brought a sour end to a difficult tour of mainland China.
A frazzled City — minority-owned by a Chinese state investment company — arrived two days late and played two games in four days, before heading off for further friendlies in Hong Kong and Japan.
“So we came here, 23 hours. One day later we travelled two hours by train to play in another city, then came back to Shanghai and now here, and then we’re going to Tokyo,” Guardiola said.
“And always with the biggest smile. We don’t sleep that well during the night but we had good training sessions. I’m impressed with all my players, what they have done so far.”