Wednesday 13 July 2016, 07:46

Celebration, commiseration and an inextinguishable fire

The ecstasy of getting married in Ibiza and bagging a historic goal in Paris feature in’slatest review, along with the agony of a player losing two major finals in 40-odd days and a team setting an unwanted record away from their Windy City base.


away games: that is the MLS record Chicago Fire have gone without victory following a 1-0 loss at Toronto FC on Sunday. Since beating New England Revolution in Foxborough two years ago, the Men in Red have lost 24 – including their last six – and drawn nine on the road. The Fire prop up the overall standings below second-bottom Columbus Crew, who lost their third successive game despite Ola Kamara making it eight goals in seven starts against New England. Another player on song is Frank Lampard, who, after a shaky start to life in the MLS, has now scored in four of his last five appearances to inspire New York City to the Eastern Conference summit.


games unbeaten in the Libertadores – that is what Boca Juniors have never reached after attempt four failed on Friday. They were leading, with Pablo Perez scoring from one of only two touches Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side had in Independiente del Valle’s box during the first half of their semi-final. Goals from Bryan Cabezas and Jose Angulo nevertheless ensured Los Negriazules became just the fifth team to record a comeback victory over Boca in the competition. In the other semi-final, ten Atletico Nacional players were involved in the goal that sealed a stunning 2-0 win at Sao Paulo. The move was started by goalkeeper Franco Armani and, after a delightful back-heel from 19-year-old Colombia international Marlos Moreno, Miguel Borja dispatched his second goal of the game on his debut for the club. Nacional have now kept 11 clean sheets in their last 15 Libertadores matches, and have conceded just one goal in their last six away outings in the competition.


straight losses to France is the run Portugal unexpectedly extinguished to win their first major trophy on Sunday. They had last avoided defeat in the fixture fully 41 years ago, also in Paris, with a 2-0 friendly victory. The first goalless UEFA EURO final was little over ten minutes away when Eder became the first player born outside Europe to score in it. The man from Guinea-Bissau also became the second non-French Ligue 1 player to score in a major international decider after Jorge Burruchaga at the 1986 FIFA World Cup™. Portugal conquered the EURO having been ahead in only 73 of the 720 minutes they played in France.


players have now lost in the UEFA Champions League and EURO finals in the same year. Michael Ballack was the first, scoring the first penalty for Chelsea in their shoot-out loss to Manchester United in Moscow and captaining Germany to a 1-0 defeat by Spain in Vienna in 2008. Antoine Griezmann, who also converted the first spot-kick for Atletico Madrid in this year’s Champions League shoot-out loss to Real Madrid, became the second. The 25-year-old could at least take consolation from becoming the first player to win both the EURO’s top scorer and best player awards.


player was curiously missing from Wales’ open-top bus parade following their EURO 2016 exploits. Joe Ledley had booked his wedding assuming the Dragons had no chance of reaching the final, and he almost had to cancel the Ibiza nuptials. After their semi-final loss to Portugal, however, the midfielder was, while his team-mates were flying from Lyon to Cardiff, able to charter a private plane to take him to the stunning Balearic Island, where he married Ruby May Ridgeway the following day. First, though, Ledley was able to watch euphoric scenes as Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Co were paraded through Cardiff – thanks to the magic of FaceTime and the thoughtfulness of goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Quick hits 11 matches unbeaten is what Kawasaki Frontale became the first J.League team to reach courtesy of a 3-0 win at Nagoya Grampus on Saturday.

9 minutes is all it took Hulk to start repaying the huge fee Shanghai SIPG spent for him with a goal on his debut.