South America wrap: Barca’s Messi goaded with chants of ‘Cristiano’
Lionel Messi was goaded with chants of "Cristiano, Cristiano" when Argentina faced Peru, reports Charlie Reynolds
Argentina’s Messi goaded with chants of ‘Cristiano, Cristiano’
Argentina did not have the most relaxing of trips to Peru for their World Cup qualification game last week as their bus was pelted with rocks, and their captain and star man, Lionel Messi, was goaded with chants of ‘Cristiano, Cristiano’ as he arrived at the team hotel. Peruvian fans reportedly attacked the team coach as the players left training at Lima’s Estádio Nacional on the eve of the 2014 World Cup qualifier between the two countries. According to Argentine sports daily Ole, no players or coaching staff were hurt in the incident but some windows on the bus were broken. “They threw bricks at us,” said Juan Carlos Crespi, an Argentine Football Association official and the Boca Juniors director who attempted to lure Carlos Tevez back to the club last year. The Peruvian national football team have since apologised for the violence. “As hosts, we offer our most sincere apologies to each and every one of the members of the Argentine delegation,” they wrote on Twitter. In the end, Argentina were lucky to come away from the match with a draw, as a stubborn Peru side managed to subdue Messi and prove themselves more than a match for most of what the visitors threw at them.
Argentina lead the way in World Cup qualification
With seven out of their 16 qualification games played, it is Argentina who top the notoriously tricky South American group with a total of 14 points. The two-time World Cup winners are a point ahead of Colombia and Ecuador, with Copa America holders Uruguay and Chile only two points behind them. The Albiceleste battled to a 1-1 draw against Peru in their latest qualification game this week, while Colombia followed up last week’s demolition of Uruguay with another impressive win, this time 3-1 over Chile. Ecuador meanwhile were unlucky to draw with Uruguay who were awarded a fortuitous and controversial late penalty. With only three points separating first and sixth place at the moment, the scrap for places at the 2016 World Cup is only going to intensify.
Scolari leaves Palmeiras by mutual consent
Former Brazil and Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has left Palmeiras by mutual consent only two months after he guided the club to the Copa do Brasil. The World Cup winning manager left the Sao Paulo club on Thursday following a run of defeats which had left his side in the relegation zone. Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat by Vasco da Gama left Palmeiras in 19th place, seven points from safety, having picked up a paltry 24 points this season. Following the exit of ‘Big Phil’, the club released the following statement: “Palmeiras thank the coach for his services; he is one of the greatest leaders the club has had in all of its history.” It was the 63-year-old’s second spell at the club following the hugely successful three years he spent there from 1997-2000 when he won the championship, Copa Libertadores as well as the Copa do Brazil.
Riquelme ends his Boca Juniors career
Juan Román Riquelme’s Boca Juniors career has now completely come to an end. The 34-year-old announced his happiness this Friday at having his contract voluntarily suspended by Boca Juniors. He was also quick to say that he is not interested in what Diego Maradona has to say after the former great questioned his motivation. Riquelme has not played for Boca since he announced he wanted to leave the club following their Copa Libertadores defeat at the hands of Corinthians earlier in the year. Club president, Daniel Angelici, has confirmed that the club favourite has been allowed to have his contract suspended, which means he is now free to sign for any team outside of Argentina. Where Riquelme goes next is yet to be established, with some speculating that he may in fact retire from the game.
Goal of the Week: Neymar’s strike for Santos against Flamengo
This week’s goal of the week was scored by Neymar who finished a great solo run into the box on the counter-attack with a deft chip from a difficult angle which nestled perfectly in the far side of the net.