Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 28th 2017 Contents A60 sports
guardian.co.tt Friday, July 28, 2017
Barcelona beats Man U in Champions Cup
Manchester United closedtheirpre-sea-
son tour of America on a dissonant note
by losing this fifth outing in what was a
pedestrian showing from José Mourin-
The manager has serially stressed results do
not matter and United's time here is all about
fitness and team gelling and so, he will return
home content with the five matches that have
certainly kick-started that process.
As Ernesto Valverde started with Lionel
Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez up top, Ivan
Rakiti and Sergio Busquets in midfield, and
Javier Mascherano and Marcelo as part of his
defence, this was the strongest opposition Unit-
ed faced during their 18 days away. So after 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 pos-
session 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 superi-
ority, 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.
Yet this giving away of ball led to Barca's win-
ner. 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 thread-
ed the ball into Neymar's path inside the area,
Antonio Valencia hashed a tackle, and the No11
made no mistake.
United came close to allowing a second be-
fore 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.
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.
'Boyz' beaten again
in Gold Cup final
SANTA CLARA, California---It was another
case of so near but yet so far as Jamaica
suffered a 1-2 loss to the United States of
America (USA) in the CONCACAF Gold
Cup tournament final inside Levi's Sta-
dium Wednesday night.
This was their second defeat in the final
in consecutive editions of the continental
tournament after suffering 3-1 loss to Mexico
in the 2015 tournament.
Jozy Altidore scored a superb free-kick
on the stroke of half-time to give the hosts
the lead, but Je-Vaughn Watson replied for
Jamaica five minutes after the restart, and
just when the game appeared headed for ex-
tra-time, Jordan Morris popped up in the
penalty box to slam home for the Ameri-
cans with just one minute of normal time
Victory gave the Americans their sixth
hold of the title, one behind Mexico, with
Canada---the only other winner of the com-
petition which completed its 14th edition.
The Americans, who had refreshed their
squad with six players at the end of the pre-
liminary stage, looked the stronger team
throughout and dominated possession. And
in their first serious attempt on goal in the
19th, Jamaican Captain Andre Blake proved
his status as the outstanding goalkeeper of
the tournament when he pulled off a brilliant
double save, but it cost Jamaica and robbed
the 63,032 spectators inside the venue of
his talent as the inspirational skipper was
forced off the field with what appeared a
finger injury. Blake palmed away a scream-
ing drive from Altidore, who had been given
time and space to shoot. Then the goalkeeper
put his body on the line to smother the fol-
low-up effort from Darlington Nagbe, which
is when he got hurt. He later won the Golden
The hosts took the lead in the 45th minute
when striker Altidore curled home a peach of
a free kick from 28 yards centre of goal after
Romario Williams had fouled US Captain
Jamaica got back into the game when Wat-
son slammed home at the back post from
a Kemar Lawrence right-sided corner. But
as the game progressed the Americans got
stronger and started to get in behind the Ja-
maican back line with more frequency, and
their territorial dominance finally paid rich
dividends when Morris booted home.
The Americans receive US$1 million, the
gold trophy and gold medals, while the Reg-
gae Boyz, for the second consecutive tour-
nament, walked away with US$500,000 and
Jamaica -- Andre Blake (Dwayne Miller 23rd),
Damion Lowe, Ladale Richie (Kevon Lam-
bert 87th), Alvas Powell, Oniel Fisher, Darren
Mattocks (Cory Burke 90th+), Je-Vaughn
Watson, Owayne Gordon, Kemar Lawrence,
Jermaine Taylor, Romario Williams.
Subs not used: Rosario Harriott, Sergio
Campbell, Shaun Francis, Ewan Grandison,
Michael Binns, Shamar Nicholson, Jermaine
Johnson, Ricardo Morris, Damion Hyatt
USA -- Tim Howard, Jorge Villafana, Omar
Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Jordan Morris, Gra-
ham Zusi, Paul Arriola (Gyasi Zardes 76th),
Kellyn Acosta (Clint Dempsey 55th), Darling-
ton Nagbe (Dax McCarty 90th+), Michael
Bradley, Jozy Altidore.
Subs not used: Matt Miazga, Chris Pontius,
Joe Corona, Bill Hamid, Eric Lichaj, Justin
Morrow, Juan Agudelo, Matt Hedges, Jesse
Ledecky back on top;
emerges for US men
BUDAPEST, Hungary---On a night when Katie
Ledecky returned to a more familiar spot ---
the top rung of the medal podium---the US
men's team began passing the torch to a new
generation at the world championships.
Chase Kalisz and Caeleb Dressel could well
become the Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte
of their time following their emergence at the
Kalisz extended American rule of the 200 IM
with his first major international championship
on Thursday night.
The Americans have won the event at eight
straight world championships, not to mention
at the last four Olympics---with Phelps or Lochte
winning every time. But this time there was void
left by Phelps' retirement and Lochte's absence
in Budapest, ably filled by Kalisz.
"Big congrats to my little bro!!!" Phelps wrote
on Instagram to his former training partner at the
North Baltimore Aquatic Club. "Love ya dude!!!"
The 20-year-old Dressel put the United States
back on top in swimming's glamour event, pull-
ing away to a dominating win in the 100 freestyle
while Adrian gladly settled for the silver. "He
crushed it," said Nathan Adrian, the 100 gold
medalist at the 2012 London Olympics. "He's
going to be incredible for years to come."
Ledecky earned her fourth gold of the cham-
pionships by anchoring the US victory in the
4x200 free relay, taking over with a slight lead
before powering away to win by a full body
About 24 hours after settling for silver in the
200 free, when she was passed on the final lap by
Italy's Federica Pellegrini , Ledecky returned to
form on a team that also included Leah Smith,
Mallory Comerford and Melanie Margalis.
"I knew I would have a big race," said Ledecky,
who now has 13 golds in the world championship
career, along with that lone silver. "I had an off
day yesterday. It happens. You just try to bounce
back as best you can from it and move forward."
The U.S. was just 0.13 seconds ahead when
Ledecky took over for Margalis. The Americans
finished in 7 minutes, 43.39 seconds with a com-
fortable 1.57 margin over China. Australia took
"Diving in when our anchor is a multi-time
world-record holder just gives you the most con-
fidence you can have," said Smith, who led off.
Also Thursday, Olympic champion Mireia
Belmonte of Spain stayed on top in the women's
200 butterfly, finishing strong to deny Katinka
Hosszu another gold before the home crowd.
Hungary's "Iron Lady" was leading at the mid-
way point, sending the packed house at Duna
Arena into a frenzy, but Belmonte blazed past
her to win in 2:05.26.
Germany's Franziska Hentke grabbed the sil-
ver, leaving Hosszu to settle for bronze.
Also, Brazil's Etiene Medeiros took gold in the
women's 50 backstroke, which isn't an Olympic
event. The silver went to China's Fu Yuanhui,
while Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus earned
Jamaica's Darren Mattocks, bottom, puts in a tackle against the USA's Omar Gonzalez
during the CONCACAF Gold Cup final in Santa Clara, California on Wednesday.
PHOTO: MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ
Katie Ledecky AP PHOTO
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