Category Archives: Soccer

Premier League Week 33 Recap

by Evan Sobol

This week’s action featured league-leading Chelsea falling to defeat, while Tottenham Hotspur continued their hot streak.
The Red Devils of Manchester United continue to improve their offense. Following their 2-0 home victory against Chelsea, they have scored five goals in their past two matches. The result is also thanks to great defense; they shut down the league-leaders to zero shots on goal.
Marcus Rashford struck a goal first for United in minute seven. The 19-year-old forward met a through pass by Ander Herrera that cut through Chelsea’s defense, and scored with a low shot that snuck past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

It was Rashford’s fifth goal of the season. The goal came as a surprise to many, as the youngster started in front of Zlatan Ibrahimović, who currently leads United with 17 goals on the season.

Controversy surrounds the play as well. Herrera’s hand touched the ball just before he gained position, but referee Robert Madley did not call a handball, allowing the play to continue. Herrera was responsible for United’s second goal in minute 49.

The Spain international took advantage of sloppy defense and gained possession inside the box. He then scored with a shot that deflected off a Chelsea defender and went into the center of the net. It was the midfielder’s first goal of the season.
Chelsea faced offensive woes the entire match. This is largely due to the Blues’ biggest play makers, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, being unable to create opportunities. The offense recorded just five shots total.

Costa’s struggles continued throughout the match. After a scoring streak at the beginning of the season, he has failed to strike goal in his last five matches.

With this drought, he still has 17 goals on the season and is tied with Ibrahimović and Sergio Aguero for fourth-most in the league. Hazard has not had as tough a time in recent matches, but he was practically invisible against United’s defense.

The Belgium international currently has 15 goals on the season.
Following the victory, United stays put at fifth in the table. They sit just three points ahead of Everton and four points behind Manchester City.

If they continue playing good offense, they will have a chance to make it into the top four in the following weeks. A resurgence in Paul Pogba’s game would help make that happen. He has not recorded a goal since December, and has lost possession to opponents quite frequently, even with his size.

Manchester United’s next match is against Burnley on Sunday. The club fell to 14 in the table, following a 1-3 defeat to Everton on Saturday.
The loss was Chelsea’s second in their last five matches. The loss gives Tottenham a chance at the title, as they sit just four points behind in second place.

The Blues look to find their groove again as they face Southampton next Tuesday. The Saints sit at ninth in the table, and were shut out 0-3 by Manchester City on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur have been the hottest club in the Premier League over the past couple months, winning seven straight matches including their dominant 4-0 victory against Bournemouth on Saturday. The Spurs’ offense has been firing on all cylinders, as they have scored 11 goals in their past three matches.
Midfielder Mousa Dembele scored the first goal for Tottenham in minute 16. The Belgium international found open space in the box following a corner, and fired a shot into the center of the net. It was his first goal of the season.

Son Heung-Min scored for the Spurs three minutes later with a short-range strike into the back corner of the net. It was his 12th goal of the season and fifth in the last four matches.

Forward Harry Kane scored his 20th goal of the season, with a short-range goal from the center of the box. The England international gained possession, following a cross by midfielder Dele Alli.

Substitute Vincent Janssen scored his second goal of the season in stoppage time. He capitalized from short-range, after his first shot was blocked by Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
Bournemouth managed to record just one shot on goal against the Spurs’ defense. Their best goal opportunity came in minute 24 when defender Steve Cook’s header went just over the net. They held just 31 percent of possession for the match.
Tottenham hopes for a chance at the title following the victory and Chelsea’s defeat. They currently sit just four points behind the Blues, and face bottom-half club Crystal Palace next Wednesday.

If their offense continues to get everyone involved, they will be the scariest team to face in the coming weeks. Harry Kane has a chance at the Golden Boot, as his 20 goals are second-most in the league behind Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. It would be his second straight season earning the award after he recorded the league-best 25 goals last season.
Bournemouth falls to 16 in the table with the defeat. It was their second straight loss. They sit just two spots away from relegation, but could stand their ground with a home victory against 19th place Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Premier League Match-ups

by Evan Sobol

The biggest matchup of the weekend was Tottenham Hotspur visiting Liverpool at Anfield. The Reds scored early goals and used great defense to win 2-0, following their defeat last week at Hull.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane had an excellent first half, scoring both of the Reds’ goals. The first came in the minute 16. Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum provided an excellent through pass for Mane from midfield. The Senegal international then ran past the Spurs’ defense and shot into the left side of the net. He scored again just two minutes later, off a deflection by Tottenham’s goalkeeper. Hugo Lloris made two excellent saves, but was unlucky after his second bounced into the possession of Mane who fired it into the net from short range. It was Mane’s 11th Premier League goal of the season. The forward had two more opportunities just a few minutes later, that were both saved by Lloris.

The Spurs’ recorded just two shots on goal, while also recorded just three corners compared to Liverpool’s ten. In minute 26, midfielder Son Heung-Min met a pass by Ben Davies in the box, but the attempt was saved by Simon Mignolet. Christian Eriksen missed a free kick in the second half that went right over Liverpool’s goal.

With the victory, Liverpool sits just one point behind Arsenal and Tottenham with 49. It was their first since Dec. 31. They have stayed in the title race, thanks to draws against Manchester United and Chelsea.

Mane is currently the leading scorer for the club, and has played well with Firmino and Coutinho at striker position. The three have scored a combined 24 goals this season. Manager Jurgen Klopp should continue using this formation if they hope to push for the top of the table. With 54 goals, Liverpool is tied with Arsenal for the most in the league. The Reds’ next match is at defending champions Leicester City on February 27. The Foxes have lost five straight.

The Spurs still sit at second with 50 points following the loss. They have been tested in each of their last four matches; they escaped with a win at home last week with a penalty kick by Harry Kane. Kane is still one of the best forwards in the league, racking up a total of 14 goals. The player to look out for down the stretch is Son. He got off to a great start with the club, scoring four goals in September. He has scored just three since. If he can get back on track, Kane and Dele Alli will get more goal opportunities. Tottenham’s next fixture is Feb. 26 against ninth-place Stoke City.

Manchester United continued their impressive unbeaten streak with a 2-0 win against Watford.

The Red Devils got on the board in minute 32, with a short-range goal by midfielder Juan Mata. Anthony Martial set up the score with a low cross into the box. It was Mata’s sixth goal of the season. Martial added to the goal tally with a short-range goal at the hour mark. The France international shot into the left side of the net. Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, had his vision blocked by midfielder Craig Cathcart. This left the goal open for Martial. It was the forward’s third league goal of the season.

Watford recorded just nine shots total. Midfielder Jose Holebas missed an attempt from the left side of the box in the minute 18. The shot went far-right of the goal. The visitor’s closest opportunity came in at minute 53 on a free kick from just outside the box. Mauro Zarate fired a shot into the upper left corner of the net. United goalkeeper De Gea blocked attempt.

United stayed at sixth in the table with the victory. They currently have 48 points and sit just two points behind second-place Tottenham. They have not lost a match since October 23. They can still push Chelsea for the top spot and look to get secure a spot in the Champions League next season with a top-four finish. It would be their first appearance in the competition since 2015. If De Gea continues his great goalkeeping and the midfield has good chemistry with the forwards, they will be a team to watch out for. Zlatan Ibrahimović sits at tied for third in the league with 15 goals. United’s next match will be against Manchester City.

Watford fell to 13th in the league table with the loss. They have 30 points along with Burnley and Southampton. The Hornets need to give their Forwards more opportunities if they hope to gain spots. The forwards have accounted for just 11 goals this season in 25 matches. Captain Troy Deeney currently has seven and three assists. They host tenth-place West Ham February 25.

Champions League Week One Recap

 

by Evan Sobol

Match-day one of the 2016/2017 UEFA Champions League is already behind us. Let’s see how Europe’s best, played in the first week of group stage action.

Defending champions Real Madrid opened their season in Group F at home with a nail-biter against Portuguese side Sporting Clube De Portugal (CP). Sporting midfielder Bruno Cesar scored the first goal of the match just after half time in the 48th minute.

The Brazilian international team took advantage of poor defense by Ramos and Modric and capitalized with a short-range goal leaving Madrid fans stunned.

Cristiano Ronaldo started Los Blanco’s rally in the 89th minute with a free kick. The ball curled around Sporting’s wall and into the upper-right corner of the goal. Spanish forward Alvaro Morata sealed the 2-1 win for Madrid with a header in stoppage time. Midfielder James Rodriguez assisted the goal with a long range cross.

Real Madrid is currently tied with German side Borussia Dortmund at the top of Group F with three points. Sporting is tied with Polish side Legia Warszawa at the bottom of the table.

Premier League Champions Leicester City played to a convincing 0-3 win at Belgian side Club Brugge. It was Leicester’s Champions League debut and first European campaign since the 2000 UEFA Cup. Midfielder Marc Brighton opened the scoring for the Foxes in the fifth minute with a short-range goal.

Riyad Mahrez scored in the 29th minute with a free kick into the upper left corner of the net. The Algerian midfielder added to the scorecard again with a penalty kick in the 61st minute. Brugge finished the match with only two on target scoring attempts. They are alone at the bottom of Group G after the loss. Leicester leads the group after the draw between Portuguese side FC Porto and FC Kobenhavn of Denmark. If the Foxes keep this form, they will be the clear favorites to win the group.

Tottenham Hotspur was the only English team to lose their opening match after falling to French side Monaco at home 1-2. Monaco scored early in the 15th minute with a short-range goal by Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva. Substitute Thomas Lemar added to the scoring with a goal off a cross and over the goalkeeper’s head in the 31st minute. The Spurs reduced the deficit to one with Toby Alderweireld’s header right before halftime. Monaco held Tottenham scoreless in the second half to get the win. With the loss the Spurs sit at the bottom of Group E. If they hope to make a push for winning the group they need playmaker Harry Kane to step up. Monaco sits alone at the top of the group with the victory.

French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain opened their Champions League season with a 1-1 draw at home against Arsenal. Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani scored PSG’s lone goal on their very first possession in the first minute. He took advantage of a great cross by defender Serge Aurier and headed the ball into the right side of the net. Cavani had a goal opportunity in the 34th minute with the net wide open, but did not capitalize with a shot wide right.

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez scored Arsenal’s lone goal with a screamer from the edge of the box in the 78th minute. Following the draw all teams in Group A are tied with one point apiece. Cavani needs to take better advantage of his scoring opportunities if Paris hopes to win the group. The departure of Zlatan Ibrahimović to Manchester United has hurt their usual scoring tally.

Usual Champions League contenders Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City each earned blowout victories at home. Lionel Messi scored three goals and had one assist against Celtic. He is currently tied with fellow Argentinian Sergio Aguero for most goals so far this season.

The Champions League returns next week, Sept. 27th and 28th, with match-day two of the group stage. Borussia Dortmund look to lead Group F as they host Real Madrid Tuesday and Bayern Munich visit defensive power Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Women’s Soccer Streak Ends at Two

 

by Kimberly Pena

Central Connecticut State University’s Women’s Soccer team’s two-game winning streak came to an end on Thursday against Providence College with a 3-1 loss at the CCSU Soccer Field. The Blue Devils dropped to 2-7 for the season, while the Friars improved their record to 5-3-1.

Game action mostly took place in the first half, as all the goals were scored in the opening frame. Providence scored the first goal in the 17th minute when forward Rachel Ugolik assisted midfielder Kathryn Hiller with the first scoring shot, giving PC a 1-0 lead.

It didn’t take long for the Blue Devils to respond as they scored their first and only goal two minutes later. Freshmen Anya Bornstein scored after a long kick with an assist from Shauny Alterisio. This was Bornstein’s first career goal with Central.

However, the Blue Devils weren’t able to hold off the Friars’ offense, as they regained the lead with 15 minutes left in the half by a goal from senior Jill Clapp, assisted by sophomore Casey Estey. Estey scored Providence’s final goal with two minutes left in the opening frame. She overcame CCSU’s defense to get a shot in the 18-yard box, hitting the ball towards the right side of the net and giving PC a 3-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Despite the lost, Coach Mick D’Arcy was proud of how the team responded in the second half by keeping a very good Providence team off the board and giving the Blue Devils at least a chance to get back into the game.

“On the second half we were just a little bit tighter defensively,” said D’Arcy. “We didn’t give them, you know, too many opportunities from there. I don’t think our goal keeper really had to make any good saves, it was a couple of easy saves for her.”

PC only had a 12-11 advantage in shots against Central. Goalkeeper Nicki Turley made five saves for CCSU after having back-to-back shutouts entering Thursday’s game.

Coach D’Arcy felt that the game allowed the Blue Devils to prove that they can compete against good teams, and that they can use this game to help move forward later in the season.

“I think we just played against a team that was in the Big East Final last year, that have a very good fight,” said D’Arcy. “We can prove to ourselves tonight that we can play with very good teams, be competitive and with better luck, I think maybe we could have got a result today. In all fairness, it was against a very good team and I think we can take some little bit of satisfaction that we were able to not only hold them, but generate chances against them as well.”

The Blue Devils faced a scare in the second half when sophomore Danielle Pearse was hit in the face by the ball and seemed fazed while lying on the field for about two minutes. She left the game soon thereafter; it is unknown if she suffered any serious injury.

Thursday’s game was their second game at home in the middle of their six-game home stretch. The team will play their next game on Sunday against Cornell at the CCSU Soccer Field.

Women’s Soccer Kicks Off Home Stand Strong

 

by Nicholas Leahey

The Central Connecticut Women’s soccer team (2-6-0) started off a six-game home streak strong on Sunday, hanging on to beat Colgate University (2-2-3) 1-0 in an overtime thriller to earn their second win of the season.

The only goal of the game came after a competitive 90 minutes of play, during sudden death overtime in the 102nd minute. Junior forward Laura Casanovas Diaz crossed the ball from the right side of goal, through traffic, towards sophomore forward Danielle Pearse on the far side, who headed the ball in. Pearse was credited with the goal, while Diaz was given the assist.

“We stayed in the game,” said women’s soccer Head Coach Mick D’Arcy in an interview after the match. “I thought they were the better side in the first half. They had some good opportunities. But we stayed in it and we didn’t concede. As the game wore on, I thought we became stronger.”

Despite the win, Colgate outshot Central Connecticut 17-9 during the game, with Colgate controlling the ball movement for most of the first half. Momentum changed in the second half, however, as CCSU began to create more chances for shots on goal. Due to a series of offside calls, however, not all chances came to fruition.

“I think it was easier to play against the wind than it was with the wind,” said Coach D’Arcy. “It’s easier sometimes when it’s not at your back. A lot of balls we were playing went out of play and during the second half we got better with that.”

Both Central Connecticut goal keeper Nicki Turley and Colgate goal keeper Kelly Chiavaro made several key saves during the game, as the ball rang off the post a handful of times on either end throughout the game. Specifically, Colgate forward Sarah Coy hit the post twice in the first half, while a shot from CCSU forward and midfielder Emily Hogan also hit the post in the 39th minute.

A yellow card was also issued to Colgate forward Abby Sotomayor in the 61st minute after she made an illegal slide tackle, knocking down CCSU midfielder Kelly Halligan. It was the only yellow card of the game and one of a handful of fouls on both sides.

“Colgate is a good side,” said D’Arcy. “They like to work and build as they play, and that’s what we like to do, too.”

The game on Sunday is the first in a series of six home games for the Blue Devils, after a long road streak. They have yet to play in the Northeast Conference. Their next game is Thursday, September 15 as they take on Providence College at 7 p.m.