BY DAN KARELL
Mexico opened up their 2013 calender season with a 1-1 draw against Denmark in Glendale, Arizona on Wednesday night.
Both teams scored via the penalty kick. Mexico opened up the scoring in the 68th minute, when midfielder Javier Aquino was pulled down in the box, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot. The spot-kick was finished by teammate Marco Fabian, striking a laser into the left side netting.
Denmark kept their heads up, and were rewarded in the 86th minute, when 19-year-old forward Andreas Cornelius was pulled down as he was clear on goal in the box, earning his side a penalty. The young Dane stepped up, and expertly dispatched the ball into the back of the net.
Mexico kicks off their campaign in the Hexagonal stage of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying with a home match against Jamaica on February 6.
Here are some other stories to get your Thursday started:
AMERICAN INVESTMENT FIRM BUYS STOCK IN MAN UNITED
BlackRock, an investment firm based out of New York City, has purchased 3.3 million shares of Manchester United PLC, according to reports from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares amount to an 8.21 percent stake in the club.
The Glazer family, who owns a controlling stake in Manchester United, decided to go public last August, in a bid to pay off the massive debt that the club has been accumulating.
The club’s shares have risen 35% in the last three months, and as of Thursday morning, it was trading at $16.78 in the New York Stock Exchange.
HERNANES DECLARES HIMSELF FIT
Just hours after leaving the hospital, Lazio midfielder Hernanes has announced that he’d like to play in this weekend’s Serie A matchup against Genoa.
The Brazilian midfielder suffered a horrifying clash of heads with Juventus’ Luca Marronne on Tuesday night in Lazio’s 3-2 aggregate Coppa Italia win, which led to Hernanes being rushed to the hospital for an MRI. The results came out negative, but according to the Lazio player himself, Hernanes was in and out of consciousness all the way too the hospital.
Lazio manager Vladimir Petković has yet to make a decision on the 27-year-old’s status.
DANI ALVES SUFFERS MORE RACIST ABUSE
Speaking to reporters after training this morning in Barcelona, Dani Alves admitted that the measures taken to end racism in Spain have failed. Alves was subjected to racist chants from the Real Madrid fans at Wednesday night’s Copa Del Rey match against Barcelona.
This isn’t the first time that Alves has been the subject of racial abuse from the stands, as Alves himself stated in 2011 that the racism was “uncontrollable” at Spanish grounds.
The 29-year-old Brazilian full back has called for action taken to end racism at the grounds, and decried the current status of the football culture in Spain.
GIBBS SET TO MISS THREE WEEKS
Arsenal’s defensive depth took another hit Wednesday evening, as starting left back Kieran Gibbs limped off in 37th minute of the 2-2 draw against Liverpool. After the match, manager Arsene Wenger confirmed to the press that Gibbs had been diagnosed with a thigh strain, and would miss at least three weeks.
This leaves Arsenal with just Andre Santos, an converted defender, and Thomas Vermaelen, a center back, as options to cover for Gibbs until he is healthy.
Gibbs, who recently signed a new contract extension with Arsenal through the 2018 season, had a streak of 12 starts in a row in all competitions broken when he was named to the substitutes bench for Arsenal’s 3-2 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion last Saturday in the FA Cup.
BRAZILIAN CLUBS GREMIO, SAO PAULO, PROGRESS IN COPA LIBERTADORES
The offensive potential of Sao Paulo was on display once more on Wednesday, as the Soberano defeated Bolivar 8-4 on aggregate, despite a 4-3 defeat in La Paz.
Sao Paulo dominated last week’s match, winning 5-0, and Wednesday evening’s match started similarly, with the Brazilian side scoring the game’s first three goals to take a commanding 8-0 aggregate lead. The Bolivian side kept it interesting, as they struck back with two more goals in the first half, and another two in the second half, though they were well short of defeating Sao Paulo on aggregate.
Luis Fabiano, Jadson, and Osvaldo each scored again for Sao Paulo, who now progress to the second stage of the Copa Libertadores, where they’ll face Atletico Mineiro of Brazil, The Strongest of Bolivia, and Arsenal de Sarandi of Argentina in Group 3.
In Wednesday evening’s other match, Gremio of Brazil defeated LDU Quito of Ecuador on penalty kicks, after a 62nd minute goal by former Manchester City striker Elano tied the teams on aggregate. After the scoreless periods of extra time, the match went into penalties, where the Porto Alegre side won by a score of 5-4.
Gremio now will join Group 8, where they’ll see Fluminense of Brazil, Huachipato of Chile, and Caracas of Venezuela.
ECUADOR ELIMINATED, CHILE AND URUGUAY IN POLE POSITION TO QUALIFY
The 2013 South American Youth Championship is winding down, and Wednesday evening another piece of the puzzle was finished, as Ecuador were eliminated from the competition, following a 3-2 loss to Peru. Through four matches of the final stage Ecuador has failed to record a win.
The two other matches on Wednesday saw Chile defeat Colombia 1-0, on a Nicolas Castillo penalty kick goal, and Paraguay defeat Uruguay 1-0, which sees the Paraguayans jump to the top of the final stage leader board with 10 points.
The outcomes have set up an intriguing final day of matches on Sunday, February 3. Chile will take on Peru, with the latter needing a win to advance to the U-20 World Cup, while the former just needs a draw or a win. A loss could potentially knock Chile out of contention, which places real importance on the match.
Paraguay will take on Colombia in the second match of the day, though both have already qualified, while Uruguay and Ecuador will finish out the tournament, with Uruguay in the same situation as Chile, needing at least a draw to earn a berth into the international competition this summer.
Dennis Bergkamp has been rumored to be the man to take over the Arsenal Academy once Liam Brady leaves his post at the end of next season. (REPORT)
Ashley Cole has a chance to win his 100th cap, after being called into Roy Hodgson’s England squad to face Brazil in a friendly at Wembley Stadium. (REPORT)
Raphael Varane’s heroics for Real Madrid in their 1-1 draw against Barcelona have earned him a France National Team call up for their friendly match against Germany. (REPORT)
Everton have cancelled a proposed deal for FC Twente midfielder Leroy Fer because of a knee problem caught in the footballers medical. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you think Mexico deserved the result? Do you see BlackRock investing more money in the club? Are you surprised that Hernanes wants to play this weekend?
Share your thoughts below.