Football News Real Madrid hold Barcelona in Copa del Rey semi-final

first_img Madrid: Real Madrid gained a measure of redemption at the Camp Nou by holding Barcelona to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday and taking the upper-hand in the semi-final of Copa del Rey. Neither Lionel Messi nor Gareth Bale were named in the starting line-ups for this first leg but their replacements filled the void as Malcom’s curling shot cancelled out an early opener from Lucas Vazquez. After an impressive opening 20 minutes, Madrid were largely second best in a compelling, if unspectacular, Clasico but the result leaves them well-placed heading into the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on February 27. For Santiago Solari’s side, a resilient, gutsy display will also help erase the memory of their humiliation here in October, when they were thrashed 5-1, a result that caused Julen Lopetegui to be sacked the following day.    “Comparisons are unhelpful,” said Solari. “But this result shows how hard the team is working.” Messi, who had been struggling with a thigh problem, and Bale, who faces a fight for place after recovering from a calf injury, both came on after the hour but neither could inspire a winner. Instead, it was Vazquez, and two youthful Brazilians that took centre stage. Vazquez scored but Vinicius Junior, the youngest Real Madrid player to feature in a Clasico this century, was his team’s greatest threat until the 18-year-old departed in the second half. Real Madrid were thrashed 5-1 in the previous Copa del Rey by Barcelona.Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale were missing in the first leg.Real Madrid will be looking to win at least one domestic competition in the 2018/19 season. highlights “I’m not surprised by how he plays because I’ve known him since he arrived,” said Solari. “But an 18-year-old boy playing and developing in this way, that is a surprise.” Malcom was just as unpredictable and in the end, it was the 21-year-old’s intervention that keeps Barca on level terms.    “The tie is in the balance,” coach Ernesto Valverde said. “A draw is a fair reflection,” said Sergio Busquets. Barely 10 seconds had passed before Toni Kroos snapped into Ivan Rakitic, setting the tone for what was a dominant opening spell from Madrid. Vinicius led the way. He was fearless, full of imperfections and erratic decisions but delivering moments of clarity too when Madrid were at their most threatening.           Benzema sets up Vazquez          He jinked inside Nelson Semedo and teed up Kroos before producing the cross that created the goal, an arching ball over the head of Jordi Alba, which Karim Benzema tucked back for Vazquez to poke in. Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho were both careless in possession but Vinicius lacked precision to capitalise, first scuttling into Benzema and then misreading the Frenchman’s run.            Barca had been just as frantic, with Luis Suarez even tripping over his own feet. But they improved and after half an hour, were in the ascendancy. Malcom missed a one-on-one and then became their best player for a period, crossing for Rakitic to head against the bar and teeing up Suarez to sting the hands of Keylor Navas.             The home fans called Messi’s name at the start of the second half and when he jogged up the touchline shortly before the hour, they roared as if for a goal. They did that soon after too, after an equaliser of chaos and quality in equal measure. Navas rushed out to block Alba before Suarez curled a brilliant shot that beat the diving Sergio Ramos but not the post. It spilled to Malcom and he still had work to do, 20 yards out with white shirts in front. He found a gap. Messi came on, along with Arturo Vidal, Bale and Casemiro. Vinicius was among those to make way, his bright start fading with fatigue.Neither side seemed sure how much to commit for a winner. Messi twice weaved through but the best chance fell to Bale, who received from Benzema after Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s skewed clearance. The goal was open but Bale’s touch was heavy and Semedo made a crucial block. For all the Latest Sports News News, Football News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Women of Troy searching for elusive road sweep

first_imgThis weekend the No. 16 USC women’s volleyball team will try to do what every team has struggled to do in the Pac-10 this season: win on the road.In what might be the toughest women’s volleyball conference of all time — eight teams in the Pac-10 are ranked in the Coaches Top 25 Poll — the Women of Troy will try to reverse a conference trend and record two victories this weekend away from their home court.Led by sophomore outside hitter Alex Jupiter and senior outside hitter Jessica Gysin, USC (15-6, 4-5) will travel to Northern California to face No. 4 Stanford (14-5, 7-2) tonight and No. 14 Cal (12-7, 5-4) Saturday in two road matches that the Women of Troy must win in order to keep their conference title hopes alive.Although USC dropped four straight matches heading into last weekend, the Women of Troy swept both Oregon and Oregon State at the Galen Center. USC coach Mick Haley hopes that his team’s recent success has given his players the poise to play successfully on the road.“I think we’ve got our confidence back,” Haley said. “We have a clear vision of what we’re trying to do and where we can go with this.”The Cardinal, however, is sure to put USC’s confidence to test. Stanford is arguably the conference’s best team and swept USC (25-23, 35-33, 25-18) at the Galen Center in three tight matches earlier this season. Still, USC feels it can fix the small errors that cost it the match on Oct. 3 and pull out a big road victory.“We don’t feel like this is an insurmountable task,” Haley said. “We feel confident that we are right on the same level with Stanford, and we know that if we can win two this weekend, we’re back in the hunt for the conference championship.”Stanford, the highest ranked team in the conference, averages 13.92 kills per set and 2.58 blocks per set. Senior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa leads the team with 199 kills (2.76 kps) for a .373 hitting percentage and is second in the Pac-10 in blocking (1.33 bps). Junior outside hitter Alix Klineman has a team-leading 273 kills (3.96 kps) with 154 digs (2.23 dps) and 39 blocks (0.57 bps).While Stanford focuses more on moving the ball around to set up their attack, Cal relies on its aggressiveness to score, which can also pose a challenge to the Women of Troy as well.USC beat Cal in a five-set thriller (22-25, 29-27, 25-19, 16-25, 22-20) earlier this season at the Galen Center and will look to post another victory over its cross-state rival Saturday. USC-Cal battles are always tight and tend to go the distance before either team posts a win.“We always felt we played pretty well at Cal,” Haley said. “We have a lot to prove in ourselves going back up there.”The Golden Bears average 13.96 kills per set and 2.63 blocks per set and are third among Pac-10 teams with a .274 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura has 360 kills (5.07 kps) and 396.0 points (5.58 pps) and leads all Pac-10 players in kills and points. Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley is third among Pac-10 players in hitting percentage (.378) and has 74 blocks (1.04 bps) with 180 kills (2.54 kps).With two tough opponents ahead, Haley is looking for his team to make a statement on the road and start moving up the conference ladder.“All the Pac-10 teams have been winning at home and losing on the road,” he said. “We need to go into somebody else’s house and start winning, and we need to do it two times this weekend.”last_img read more

Syracuse football recruiting: 2017 OL Dakota Davis commits to Orange

first_imgClass of 2017 offensive lineman Dakota Davis committed to Syracuse on Friday, he announced in a tweet. first reported the news. Related Stories Syracuse football recruiting: Track the Class of 2017Tommy DeVito, Syracuse football QB commit, named to Elite 11 Final GroupClass of 2017 3-star wide receiver Joshua Palmer commits to SyracuseSyracuse football recruiting: Class of 2017 wide receiver Nykeim Johnson commits to the OrangeClass of 2017 linebacker Tyrell Richards commits to Syracuse Facebook Twitter Google+ The Glenelg (Maryland) High School product is ranked with two stars by Scout and unranked by He picked Syracuse over offers from Connecticut, Ohio and Old Dominion, amongst others.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAccording to his profile, Davis — 6 feet 5 inches, 310 pounds — runs a 5.50 40-yard dash. He also bench presses 300 pounds and squats 435.Davis is the seventh commit to the Syracuse’s 2017 recruiting class, and the fourth commit in the past week. He’s also the first offensive lineman in Syracuse’s class.You can track the entire Class of 2017 here.Here is Davis’s junior year Hudl highlight tape.center_img Comments Published on June 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm Contact Tomer: | @tomer_langerlast_img read more