Thursday Kickoff: Jamaica ties Mexico, Blanc linked to Roma job, and more

Thursday Kickoff: Jamaica ties Mexico, Blanc linked to Roma job, and more

South American Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Jamaica ties Mexico, Blanc linked to Roma job, and more

BY DAN KARELL

While American soccer fans may be feeling doom and gloom, the situation isn’t much better south of the border, following Mexico’s goalless draw against Jamaica on Wednesday at the Estadio Azteca.

The Reggae Boys ended Mexico’s 18-match winning streak at home in competitive matches, as the visitors frustrated El Tri all evening, and never tired late in the match, despite the altitude of Mexico City.

Both goalkeepers, Donovan Ricketts of Jamaica and Jose de Jesus Corona of Mexico, were kept busy, with an early double save by Corona keeping Jamaica off the board, and Ricketts doing likewise in the second half, robbing Javier Hernandez from close range.

El Tri manager Jose Manuel de la Torre and his side were booed off the field by the 45,000 strong at the Azteca, and will now have to look forward to a visit to the Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula on March 22, where they’ll face the momentum laden Honduras.

Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:

PANAMA TIES COSTA RICA

Costa Rica rallied from two goals down, courtesy of an Alvaro Saborio goal and dramatic Bryan Ruiz bicycle kick, to earn a point after a 2-2 draw against Panama in Panama City on Wednesday.

The ‘Canaleros’ jumped all over the visitors early, courtesy of goals from Luis Henriquez and Roman Torres in the first 27 minutes, but Saborio gave the ‘Ticos’ a lifeline with a goal just before halftime.

Ruiz saved Costa Rica yet again, converting a spectacular goal in the 86th minute to help Costa Rica earn a point on the road in their Hexagonal Round World Cup qualifying opener.

DEFOE SET TO MISS THREE WEEKS

Tottenham have been dealt a blow to the squad, as starting forward Jermaine Defoe has been ruled out of contention for at least three weeks, after a scan showed ankle ligament damage.

The England international was hurt during Spurs’ 1-0 victory on Sunday against West Bromwich Albion, being substituted after just 39 minutes on the pitch. He was unable to join up with the England side this week due to the injury.

In the meantime, Tottenham must hope that Emmanuel Adebayor can get back from South Africa in time for their next match, on Saturday against Newcastle at White Hart Lane. Defoe has been held scoreless the last five matches, but still has 10 goals and three assists in Premier League action this season.

LAURENT BLANC LINKED WITH ROMA JOB

Since Zdenek Zeman’s sacking last Saturday, AS Roma has been quiet on potential replacements, whether they will be signed now or in the summer. But according to reports today, the Italian club is interested in bring in former France manager Laurent Blanc to take the role.

Blanc has been out of work since the end of EURO 2012, where his France side struggled in group play and were unceremoniously knocked out of the tournament by eventual champions, Spain, but it seems that if he were to take charge of Roma, it would not be until this summer.

Blanc is a former World Cup winner as a footballer, and he played in Italy for Inter Milan and Napoli during his 21-year playing career.

CARRAGHER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT DATE

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher announced on Thursday afternoon that he would retire at the end of the current season, ending a run of 16 seasons at the Merseyside club.

The 35-year-old joined Liverpool’s academy in 1990, and has stayed with the club ever since, amassing over 700 appearances in all competitions. Carragher has also amassed an impressive trophy collection, which includes two FA Cups, three League Cups, the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, and two UEFA Super Cups.

The former England international’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, but the news of his retirement ends any speculation of him playing his football elsewhere.

QUICK KICKS

Holland and FC Schalke forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar missed his country’s friendly match against Italy, after a blood vessel in his left eye ruptured. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber has signed a new deal with the club through 2017. (REPORT)

In addition to Ashley Cole picking up his 100th cap on Wednesday, Carles Pujol of Spain achieved the same honor, in their 3-1 win over Uruguay. (REPORT)

Former AC Milan forward Pato made his first start for Corinthians on Wednesday, though he admits he is still not close to 100 percent fitness. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports?

Do you believe that Mexico were unlucky to win? Do you think Tottenham can get by without Defoe up top? Where do you rank Carragher among the Liverpool greats?

Share your thoughts below.

 

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