BREAKING NEWS: Barcelona complete signing of Kessie following Milan departure

By Sports Desk July 04, 2022

Barcelona have confirmed the signing of Franck Kessie on a free transfer following the end of his spell with Milan.

The midfielder has agreed a four-year deal with the Blaugrana, which was made official on Monday following months of speculation.

Kessie spent five seasons at San Siro, the first two of those on loan, and helped Milan to their first Scudetto triumph in 11 years in his final campaign with the club.

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  • Gareca unconcerned by Chile's slow start after Peru draw Gareca unconcerned by Chile's slow start after Peru draw

    Ricardo Gareca is not concerned about Chile's chances of making it out of Group A at the Copa America despite their opening draw with Peru.

    Friday's clash in Arlington finished 0-0 as the teams mustered just five shots on target and an accumulative expected goals tally of just 1.76 between them, but there were 37 fouls – Chile committing 19 and Peru 18.

    Gareca pointed to the aggressive nature of the game as a reason for Chile's lack of rhythm against the nation he coached in the last four editions of the Copa America, though he did not look to make excuses.

    "We were not able to create many plays and execute them. We were under a lot of pressure and sometimes we were not accurate in our passes," said Gareca, who is the fourth coach to participate in five consecutive editions of the Copa America, after Guillermo Stabile, Luis Tirado and Oscar Tabarez.

    "I'm not concerned. I think this will be useful for us to analyse our game to improve our game.

    "We of course hoped to win the match. But I think it's very important that we're able to take a point and we still have two matches ahead of us."

    This was the first 0-0 draw in a match between Chile and Peru since 1989, when they faced each other in a friendly, with the teams having met 34 times between the scoreless draws. In fact, it was the first draw between these teams since 2004 (1-1 in a friendly), with 14 Chilean victories and six Peruvian victories since then.

    Chile fielded the oldest starting line-up in the Copa America this century (31 years and 168 days), while Peru's starting eleven was the third oldest in the same period (30 years and 363 days).

    "It was a very strategic and tactical game," said Peru coach Jorge Fossati.

    "We knew that if we gave some leeway to the opponent, if we let them run and made them feel comfortable, it was giving them a tool or a weapon that could really hurt us.

    "We were aggressive but I don't think one team was more aggressive than the other. It was an even and fair game."

    Group A also includes tournament favourites Argentina, who kick-started their campaign with a 2-0 win over Canada.

  • New York Red Bulls v Toronto FC: Herdman says big changes needed for Reds New York Red Bulls v Toronto FC: Herdman says big changes needed for Reds

    John Herdman says Toronto FC need to make big changes amid a five-match winless streak, promising to banish their old ways ahead of Saturday's visit to the New York Red Bulls.

    Wednesday's 2-1 defeat to Nashville SC was the third time in five games that Toronto have dropped a match due to goals in the 90th minute or later. 

    They have slipped to seventh in the Eastern Conference, seven points behind the Red Bulls and only four clear of the Philadelphia Union, who are outside the playoff spots. 

    Reflecting on Toronto's latest disappointing result, Herdman said: "I was proud of about 60 minutes but that last 30 again, it just feels like old TFC is back.

    "We just wobble, we look unsure, we look timid. We look like we can score. But when we look like we can score we look like they're going to score the either way very quickly, and that's a challenge.

    "I can point fingers at the players but the staff have got to take a big responsibility as well. We're making those changes."

    The Red Bulls, meanwhile, are flying high in third place, having fought back from two goals down in a 2-2 draw with CF Montreal in midweek.

    Head coach Sandro Schwarz said after that match: "Especially in the second half it was a great mentality, and there was great energy from the whole team. 

    "I'm not frustrated because I want us to play the way I like, to be dominant. If you want to be successful, you have to learn that you don't lose your energy and stay at the highest level.

    "That is important for us, not to lose our principles."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New York Red Bulls – Dante Vanzeir

    Vanzeir's seven assists are more than any other Red Bulls player has managed in MLS this season, while only Emil Forsberg (29) and John Tolkin (27) have bettered his 19 chances created for the team.

    Toronto FC – Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi has been involved in 12 goals in his last seven MLS matches dating back to late April (seven goals, five assists). 

    Only Sebastian Giovinco (14 between July and August 2016) has recorded more goal contributions in a span of seven matches in Toronto's MLS history.

    MATCH PREDICTION: NEW YORK RED BULLS WIN

    Toronto have only won one of their last 29 regular-season away matches dating back to late 2022, though they have taken a point from their last two road trips.

    The Red Bulls, meanwhile, are unbeaten in 11 home matches in all competitions dating back to the end of last season (seven wins, four draws), their longest home unbeaten streak since a 16-match stretch in 2016.

    They have also won their last six home games against Toronto by an aggregate score of 13-1.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New York Red Bulls – 63.6%

    Toronto FC – 17%

    Draw – 19.4%

  • Euro 2024 social round-up: Yaremchuk's tears of joy, Mbappe's new look Euro 2024 social round-up: Yaremchuk's tears of joy, Mbappe's new look

    We are now a full week into Euro 2024, and the tournament continues to serve up plenty of entertainment – sometimes in the places fans least expect.

    While there was nothing to separate the Netherlands and France in a dour goalless draw on Friday, Austria put on a show in Group D's other match, eliminating Poland with a 3-1 win.

    Earlier on, there were emotional scenes as Ukraine claimed their first major tournament win since Euro 2020, fighting back to beat Slovakia 2-1 in Group C.

    There was also plenty more happening away from the pitch, and we run through the best of the day's content here, in our social media round-up.

    Tears of joy for Ukraine 

    Ukraine's first game at the tournament fell flat as they were thrashed 3-0 by Romania, and they were staring at an early exit when they went 1-0 down to Slovakia on Friday.

    However, second-half goals from Mykola Shaparenko and Roman Yaremchuk turned the game on its head, throwing up the prospect of all four Group E teams entering the final matchday on three points.

    It was an understandably emotional occasion for Ukraine and for winning goalscorer Yaremchuk, who was pictured in tears at the full-time whistle. 

    Heartbreak for Tierney

    From ecstasy to agony. Friday began with the news that Scotland full-back Kieran Tierney would miss the remainder of the tournament with the hamstring injury he sustained against Switzerland earlier this week.

    Taking to Instagram, Tierney said he was "heartbroken" after it was confirmed he would return to Arsenal for tests.

    Scotland will be hoping to give him something to cheer on Sunday, when a victory over Hungary would likely book a last-16 place. 

    Leipzig turns Oranje

    There is nothing quite like the sight of the Netherlands' fans turning a host city orange, and that is precisely what happened ahead of their meeting with France. 

    Bouncing in tandem at the team's fan zone, these supporters certainly brought the party to Leipzig.

    Some might even have regretted leaving for the Red Bull Arena, after sitting through the tournament's first goalless draw.

    The masked crusader

    After he suffered a broken nose during France's opening game against Austria, Kylian Mbappe's condition has been a hot topic of debate.

    On Thursday, he was seen going through his paces in a tricolour protective mask sure to impress French patriots.

    However, with UEFA regulations stipulating that any mask he wears competitively must be all one colour, he unveiled a new, sleek look on Friday.

    He did not get off the bench against the Netherlands, but France's masked crusader will be itching to return to the field against Poland on matchday three.

    Scenes to savour for Austria

    A huge contingent of Austrian fans made the short trip to Berlin to witness another highly impressive display from Ralf Rangnick's team on Friday.

    This one was capped with three points, too, as second-half goals from Christoph Baumgartner and Marko Arnautovic handed them a deserved 3-1 win over Poland.

    Arnautovic appeared overcome with emotion when he was substituted late on, and he was later seen directing the celebrations as Austria underlined their status as potential dark horses. 

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