Thursday Kickoff: Lampard signs one-year extension; Monterrey and America play to thrilling draw; and more

LampardEuropaLeague (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Even at 34 years of age, Frank Lampard has proven this season that he’s still got what it takes to compete at the highest level.

It seems that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has finally taken notice.

The London club announced on Thursday that Lampard had signed a contract extension, one that would keep the England international in Chelsea blue through the end of next season. The deal comes just a day after the club won their second European title in successive seasons, taking the Europa League trophy with a dramatic 2-1 victory.

Lampard played the entire match and nearly scored twice, and has this season passed Chelsea legend Bobby Tambling as the club’s all-time highest goalscorer, sitting at 203 career finishes. Lampard has had a renaissance season, bagging 15 Premier League goals in 28 appearances, his highest total since 2009/2010 when he scored 22.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:

MONTERREY AND AMERICA PLAY TO THRILLING DRAW

Top-scorer in Liga MX Christian Benitez scored twice for America but his side weren’t able to hold onto the lead, drawing with Monterrey, 2-2, at the Estadio Technologio in the Liga MX playoffs.

Monterrey forward Humberto Suazo scored the opener in the 29th minute on a terrific curling free kick past America goalkeeper Moises Muñoz, bending the ball around the wall and just inside the post.

The scoreline stayed at 1-0 until the 51st minute, as Benitez collected a chip into the box, rounded Monterrey goalkeeper Juan Ibarra and finished into the empty net to tie the score. Just under 20 minutes later, in the 70th minute, Benitez again pounced on a ball into the box, scoring from inside the six to give Las Aguilas a stunning lead on the road.

The lead wouldn’t last long, as Rayados forward Aldo de Nigris finished calmly with his left foot into the side netting, past the diving Muñoz to the tie game once more in the 73rd minute. The series moves to the Azteca Saturday, with the advantage in America’s hands due to away goals.

BOCA JUNIORS ADVANCE ON AGGREGATE TO QUARTERFINALS

The honeymoon for the defending Copa Libertadores champions is over.

Brazilian side Corinthians lost to Argentine power Boca Juniors by an aggregate score of 2-1 after drawing with Carlos Bianchi’s side, 1-1, on Wednesday night in Sao Paulo.

Boca legend Juan Roman Riquelme scored what would be the deciding goal in the 25th minute, bending a ball from the right wing that curled into the far corner of the net over the head of the Corinthians goalkeeper Cassio. Needing to score three goals, the Brazilian club began to pepper the net, but were only able to score one goal, coming from the head of Paulinho off a cross in the box.

The aggregate victory means that Boca gets revenge for last year’s Copa Libertadores final, where they lost on aggregate, 3-1, and had to watch as Corinthians went on to win the Club World Cup as well.

Also in action on Wednesday night in the Copa Libertadores, Newell’s Old Boys defeated fellow Argentine club Velez Sarsfield, 2-1, putting Lionel Messi’s former club into the quarterfinals on away goals.

QUICK KICKS

England manager Roy Hodgson has announced his squad for upcoming friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil. (REPORT)

AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli has threatened to walk off the pitch next time he hears racist abuse. (REPORT)

Manchester City are closing in on Malaga starlet Isco, in a reported £17 million move to bring him to the Etihad Stadium along with his manager Manuel Pellegrini. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jakub “Kuba” Blaszczykowski is set to sign a contract extension with the club through 2018. (REPORT)

Arsenal have announced that FC Porto, Napoli, and Galatasaray will take part in this summer’s Emirates Cup. (REPORT)

Juventus manager Antonio Conte has asked the club chairman for a guarantee that they will bring in two quality goal-scorers this summer. (REPORT)

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15 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Lampard signs one-year extension; Monterrey and America play to thrilling draw; and more

  1. Sly says:

    17 Million pounds for ISCO is sheer madness. Isnt his buyout claus like 45 million euros? If 17 million pounds is all he took every team in the EPL could afford him.

  2. fischy says:

    Man — Just spitballing, but how cool would it be if MLS could attract Chucho Benitez?

    • ed - houston says:

      That is one Ecuadorian that is not coming over any time soon. Europe, perhaps, or staying in Mexico.

  3. The Imperative Voice says:

    That, to me, pretty much means Mourinho is coming.

  4. Scott e Dio93 says:

    The hell with Lampard!

  5. Gnarls says:

    Wondering if LA will even fill its third DP slot this season.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Their back pocket idea may be giving Omar the money to stay put.

      • CentralScrutinizer says:

        I was really hoping for Lampard, but paying Omar is likely the best way to ensure the Galaxy’s success over the next 1/2 dozen years.

  6. AcidBurn says:

    What, no Red Bulls for the Emirates Cup this year? They don’t get a chance to defend their title? hahahahaha

  7. ed - houston says:

    No story on Beck’s retirement ??

  8. Michael says:

    I didn’t think that the Liga MX liguilla had the away goals rule. Don’t they just allow the higher-seeded team to advance if the two legs result in an aggregate draw?

    • ed - houston says:

      That is my understanding too. Good system, MLS should adopt that. Gives the higher seed best chance to advance. Although it did not work out for Tigres (the top seed) as Monterrey beat them outright in aggregate.

    • ... says:

      That was the rule, they changed it last season. If the aggregate score is tied now, the first tiebreaker is away goals; if they’re tied on away goals as well, then the higher seed advances. No extra time/penalty scenarios are possible until the final.

  9. Sean says:

    I hope this means LA will NOT pursue Lampard next season. I am not saying I don’t understand but he turned his nose up at MLS and he’ll be another year older. No thank you. I don’t care how good he is, I want players in MLS who sacrifice for the opportunity to play here.

    I don’t want a Lampard who is pushing 36 when he arrives after we begged and pleaded for two years to get him.