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August 13, 2020 | |Post a Comment

first_img– Raucous atmosphere –Both clubs were allocated 25,000 tickets, with 5,000 of those reserved for residents of Argentina. The fear had been most of those buying would be tourists and neutrals, but the atmosphere suggested different.Both teams had initially refused to play in Spain’s capital but as the losers, Boca’s sense of grievance will now become more entrenched.They felt River were responsible for the chaos two weeks ago and should have forfeited the trophy. They took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the appeal was rejected on Saturday.When the players shuffled out two hours before kick-off to inspect the pitch, they held up their phones to capture the thousands already inside and the view of a stadium most of them had never played in before.The cheers grew louder when they came out for kick-off. Then there were whistles as the teams swapped ends and each were greeted by their opponent’s fans behind the goal.Jonatan Maidana was playing for Boca when they last won the Copa Libertadores 11 years ago and, now in the red and white of River, he almost gave his former club an early lead, slicing just over his own crossbar.The game lacked quality but came alive one minute before half-time. Nahitan Nandez’s superb pass split two River defenders and Benedetto kept a cool head, guiding into the corner, before taunting the beaten Gonzalo Montiel.River had been inferior but improved. Their first real attacking move was also a brilliant one as Leonardo Ponzio and Quintero exchanged passes before the latter pulled back for Pratto to sweep home.The game meandered towards full-time and seemed destined for penalties until Quintero intervened. It was a goal worthy of winning the tournament, as he collected 25 yards out, glanced up and whipped the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.Leonardo Jara almost snatched a late Boca goal but his shot nicked the outside of the post. Then, with goalkeeper Esteban Andrada up for a corner, River added the final touch.Share on: WhatsApp Madrid, Spain | AFP | River Plate won the Copa Libertadores by beating their fiercest rivals Boca Juniors 3-1 after extra time on Sunday, bringing an end to a final tainted by violence and moved more than six thousand miles away from Argentina.Boca took the lead through Dario Benedetto but Lucas Pratto equalised before Juan Quintero and Gonzalo Martinez both scored in extra time to win a fittingly dramatic contest for River.It means River prevailed 5-3 on aggregate after the first leg finished 2-2 and the club reclaim the trophy they had last won in 2015, lifting it for the fourth time in their history.Postponed on three occasions and then relocated from Buenos Aires to Madrid, the supporters of these two great clubs showed in the Santiago Bernabeu why this fixture had been billed as one of football’s greatest ever.Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin were among the 62,200 in attendance.But, despite the bouncing huddles in the streets, the plumes of blue and red smoke, the swinging scarves, fluttering flags and fans that were chanting in their seats three hours before kick-off, there was nothing to extinguish the lingering sense of regret.There was no repeat of the scenes that cast a shadow over Argentinian football and saw the original game at River’s El Monumental on November 24 postponed, when around 50 fans attacked Boca’s team bus and left some of their players injured.Madrid, which will also host the Champions League final in June, was chosen in part because of its record of hosting major events and the security, which included around 2,500 police officers, did its job before kick-off.Fans were separated into zones either side of the stadium and had to go through checks even to enter the area immediately surrounding it.The shame was only that the operation was not as thorough 15 days ago and that a minority decided to take advantage.last_img read more

August 12, 2020 | |Post a Comment

first_imgPittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) yells at an official from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)PITTSBURGH (AP) – James Harrison expected his body to be sore while working his way back into football shape following a nine-month break.Turns out, the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker’s in better shape than he thought. He played 29 snaps in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ stunning 27-24 loss to Tampa Bay last Sunday, far more than he anticipated when the Steelers signed him off the couch a week ago.The harder transition proved to be mental. He failed to register a single tackle and was a non-factor in the pass rush in part to being out of position at times.“I had a few MEs (mental errors) out there,” Harrison said.The 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year isn’t alone. Despite revamping a defense in the offseason to focus on speed and youth, the Steelers are still struggling to create the splash plays that came with such ease during their three Super Bowl appearances between the 2005 and 2010 seasons.A fitful September mercifully in the rearview mirror, Pittsburgh (2-2) heads to Jacksonville (0-4) on Sunday searching for consistency and more than a little bit of snarl. The Steelers have produced seven sacks through four games – 18th in the league – and forced only three turnovers, one on a fumbled punt.Pittsburgh expected growing pains while working in a handful of new faces. Four uneven games into the season, those pains show no sign of going away.And it’s not just the kids making the miscues. Outside linebacker Jason Worilds, in a contract year that will likely determine the course of the rest of his career, has one sack. Arthur Moats – thrust into a starting role when Jarvis Jones was lost for at least eight weeks with a wrist injury – couldn’t find his way to Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon on Sunday. Neither could Harrison, who could only watch as Glennon stepped up in the pocket time after time during a fourth quarter rally.For Pittsburgh’s plan to reach the NFL elite again to work, opposing quarterbacks need to get uncomfortable.“I’d like more from that (linebacker) group and I think that group is definitely capable of giving us more,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “But also I think some game circumstances will help us in that regard.”Playing with a sizable lead would help. Pittsburgh showed flashes in the second half of a 37-19 win over Carolina on Sept. 21. The Steelers held Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in check and didn’t give him time to get set, the byproduct of knowing Carolina had to throw the ball to get back in the game.Jones changed the momentum for good with a third quarter strip sack that forced Newton to fumble. Pittsburgh recovered deep in Panthers’ territory and scored to build a double-digit lead it would never relinquish. The Steelers couldn’t quite get to their comfort zone against the Buccaneers, and Tampa Bay took advantage to rally for the franchise’s first-ever win in Pittsburgh.The 13 penalties the Steelers rolled up didn’t help. Neither did the offense’s inability to run out the clock after the defense made a fourth-down stand with less than 2 minutes to go. Still, the game was there to be won and the defense failed. Glennon had just enough time to hit Louis Murphy for a 41-yard gain that set up Vincent Jackson’s five-yard touchdown grab with 7 seconds left.Pittsburgh only got to Glennon once on a Cam Heyward sack early in the second quarter. While cornerback came up with his team’s first interception of the season by picking off Glennon in the third quarter, it comes with an asterisk. Tampa Bay rookie wide receiver Mike Evans pulled up during the middle of the play with a groin injury and there wasn’t a Buccaneer player within 20 yards of Allen when he came down with the ball.It was a momentary victory, one that was of little solace when Jackson stretched out his 6-foot-5 frame to win it.“We fell short in our responsibilities,” Allen said. “That’s why we didn’t come out with a win. It’s something we’ve got to fix.”___AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFLlast_img read more