A-League: Champions City throw two-goal lead away to draw, Sydney lose at home

By Sports Desk November 27, 2021

A-League champions Melbourne City threw a two-goal lead away to draw 2-2 away at Adelaide United in their second game of the season.

City kicked their title defence off with a 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar in their opening match and looked set to make it two wins from two after goals from Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout gave them a 2-0 advantage after 61 minutes.

However, Adelaide struck twice in the closing stages, with Stefan Mauk halving the deficit before Ben Halloran grabbed a dramatic 90th-minute equaliser to stun City.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Sydney, who finished just two points behind City in second last season, slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Macarthur at home after an early Lachlan Rose strike.

Macarthur are now level on points with table-topping City and Wellington Phoenix, who beat Central Coast Mariners 2-1, but are behind the pair on goals scored and sit third.

Gary Hooper scored for the second game running for the Phoenix in their home clash with the Mariners, who pulled one back through Marco Urena before Jaushua Sotirio fired in the winner.

The Nix are now unbeaten in 13 matches stretching back into last season and face Western Sydney Wanderers in their next game.

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    Rodrigo De Paul claims Argentina were subjected to some rough off-field treatment from hosts Chile before their World Cup qualifier.

    The midfielder said the Albiceleste were prevented from using the bathroom on arrival, had no air conditioning or water and were made to suffer the sound of sirens during their stay in Calama. 

    It did not appear to derail the visitors, already safely through to Qatar 2022, as they secured a 2-1 win despite the COVID-enforced absences of Lionel Messi and coach Lionel Scaloni.

    "They didn't even let us go to the bathroom when we got off the plane," De Paul told reporters. "They cut off our air conditioners, we had no water and they made sirens sound throughout the stay.

    "I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but, as an Argentine, every team that comes to my country, we have to make them feel as comfortable as possible and we have to win on the playing field where it belongs."

    Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez netted first-half goals around Ben Brereton-Diaz's looping header as Argentina extended their unbeaten run to 27 games.

    The victory improves second-placed Argentina's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying campaign to 32 points from 14 games, while Chile are battling to reach Qatar 2022.

    After a solid if unspectacular showing, assistant coach Walter Samuel was pleased to see how well the team coped despite being without talisman Messi.

    "Sure there are things to improve, but the team showed character in a difficult environment," he said.

    "Messi is the leader of this team, but we were able to do very well without him. We lacked other guys because of Covid that we wanted to be there, but the team made a great effort and I want to thank them for that.

    "The character of the boys is moving. All the players start from scratch and want to earn a place in the World Cup. There is healthy competition here."

  • Vlahovic arrives for medical as Juve move draws closer Vlahovic arrives for medical as Juve move draws closer

    Dusan Vlahovic is primed to complete his move to Juventus after arriving for his medical on Friday.

    The 21-year-old striker is set to seal a reported €75million switch from Fiorentina, which looks likely to be confirmed before the weekend.

    Juve posted a tweet showing the Serbian arriving to undertake the formalities of his move.

    Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

    He has been linked with a host of top clubs across Europe after his impressive form over the past two seasons.

    Vlahovic will join a Juve team who have often struggled to turn possession into goals this season, with Massimiliano Allegri's men having scored just 34 times across 23 Serie A games.

    That means their attack is the 11th-best in the league, way behind leading scorers Inter (53), while Fiorentina have scored 41 times so far with Vlahovic on board.

    Serbia international Vlahovic, who joined La Viola from Partizan in 2018, has converted 28 big chances since the start of last season, more than any other player in Serie A.

     

    His tally of 21 goals during 2020-21 was the highest recorded by a Fiorentina player in a single campaign since Alberto Gilardino in 2008-09 (25).

    Vlahovic also netted 33 league goals in 2021; matching Cristiano Ronaldo's record for the most scored in the Italian top-flight during a calendar year. 

    Last week, Fiorentina chief executive Joe Barone confirmed the club were open to selling Vlahovic, who subsequently missed Sunday's draw with Cagliari due to a positive COVID-19 test.

    Vlahovic's imminent signing may pave the way for Alvaro Morata to leave Juve, with Barcelona reportedly keen on signing the Spain international, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid.

  • Rumour Has It: Liverpool make approach for Juventus' Dybala, Barcelona in Meunier loan bid Rumour Has It: Liverpool make approach for Juventus' Dybala, Barcelona in Meunier loan bid

    Paulo Dybala is out of contract at Juventus at the end of this season.

    The two parties are expected to resume talks next month.

    In the meantime, some top clubs are monitoring Dybala's availability.

    TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL IN FOR DYBALA MOVE

    Liverpool have reached to Juventus with a move for Argentina international Dybala, claims Tuttomercatoweb.

    The Reds are looking to capitalise on Dybala's contract situation although Manchester City and Inter are also interested in the 28-year-old.

    Dybala has been with the Bianconeri since 2015 but is yet to agree terms on a new contract.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Marca reports that Barcelona have contacted Borussia Dortmund about signing Thomas Meunier on loan until the end of the season with BVB open to the idea.

    - Wolves will not accept bids below £40 million for Ruben Neves amid interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, claims The Sun.

    - Porto have turned down Tottenham's offer of £37m with add-ons for Colombian winger Luis Diaz reports the Evening Standard.

    - Jose Mourinho's Roma remain hopeful of landing Arsenal's Granit Xhaka before the transfer window closes according to the Mail.

    - Goal reports that Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign US international goalkeeper Matt Turner in the off-season from New England Revolution.

    - Aston Villa's Ashley Young has declined an approach from Newcastle United claims The Mirror.

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