Copa America Roundup: Lionel Messi Rescues Point for Argentina as Albiceleste Continue to Disappoint

Lionel Messi’s second half penalty salvaged a 1-1 draw against Paraguay, as Argentina remain at the bottom of Group B in the Copa America. 

The Barcelona forward’s 57th minute equaliser negated a first-half opener from Richard Sanchez in Belo Horizonte. However, Argentina find themselves in a perilous position, as they must defeat Asian Cup winners Qatar to stand a chance of qualifying to the knockout round. 

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Having lost 2-0 to Colombia in their opening match, Argentina have just one point from two games. The two best third-place teams from the three groups qualify for the quarter-finals, however, giving Argentina an opportunity to redeem themselves, as they look to make a comeback from the brink of relegation. 

Elsewhere, Colombia defeated Qatar 1-0 courtesy of a late Duvan Zapata winner. The victory takes Colombia to six points and automatic qualification to the next stage of the competition. 


Argentina 1-1 Paraguay?

Miguel Almiron


Paraguay’s opener came courtesy of an accurate finish from Richard Sanchez after 37 minutes, following the good work of ?Newcastle attacker Miguel Almiron down the left flank. 

Argentina keeper Franco Armani was fortunate not to see red after bringing down Derlis Gonzalez just a few minutes later. The River Plate shot-stopper made the foul outside of his area, denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. 

Argentina’s most promising attack resulted in Lautaro Martinez hitting the crossbar on the volley, following excellent work from substitute ?Sergio Aguero, who chested the ball down and laid it off to the ?Inter striker. The ball fell to ?Messi, whose shot was tipped away for a corner by Paraguay keeper Gatito Fernandez. 

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While ?Messi was preparing to take the corner, however, VAR awarded a penalty to Argentina, deeming that Martinez’s shot had hit the arm of Ivan Piris. Messi then coolly dispatched the penalty, which had not been appealed for by anybody prior to the VAR decision.

Shortly after, Nicolas Otamendi brought down Gonzalez in the penalty area in a badly-timed tackle which threatened to undo Argentina’s good fortune. Luckily for him, Armani saved the resulting spot kick from Gonzalez, ensuring that Argentina did not have to endure an embarrassing early exit. 


Colombia 1-0 Qatar

Duvan Zapata

Colombia started the game brightly, with a goal for Roger Martinez disallowed for offside after only five minutes, followed by ?James Rodriguez directing a free header wide only eight minutes later.

Despite Qatar improving as the match continued, it was Colombia who were closest to scoring. In the early stages of the second half Colombia were awarded a penalty, only to be reversed by VAR. 

The deadlock was broken in the 86th minute, as Zapata rose highest to head home Rodriguez’s floated cross. Rodriguez was the standout player all game, providing a creative spark to what was otherwise a scrappy encounter. 

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The final games in the group take place on Sunday, when Argentina face Qatar and Colombia play Paraguay. 

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Massimiliano Allegri: The Masterful Tactician Who Won Serie A Five Times in a Row

Massimiliano Allegri is number 42 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next nine weeks.


?Having presided over nearly a decade of dominance in Serie A, there was more than a tinge of sadness when Massimiliano Allegri left Juventus at the end of the 2018/19 season.

There isn’t much more you can ask of a manager than to secure five league titles in a row, and Allegri’s calming influence and tactical astuteness helped La Vecchia Signora do exactly that.

Sure, he could never quite secure the Champions League triumph the Italian giants have been craving since their last victory in 1996, but Allegri has left Juve in such a strong position that success in that competition seems inevitable, perhaps sooner rather than later.

Allegri’s best years so far came in Turin, but he had to earn his stripes in the lower leagues of Italian football before that success.

Massimiliano Allegri

After retiring as a player, Allegri became manager of Serie C2 side Aglianese, the final team he played for, before spells at SPAL, Grosseto and Sassuolo.

He became properly established as one of Serie A’s managers to watch when he took over at Cagliari.

He was hailed for leading I Rossoblu to a ninth-placed finish in the 2008/09 campaign, with many pointing out the limited funds on offer and their quality of attacking football as indicators of Allegri’s blossoming ability as a manager.

If his success at Cagliari was a sign of things to come, his first season at Milan was the materialisation of that promise turning into something concrete. And impressively so.

Bear in mind there’s obviously a lot of pressure when you take over as manager at a massive club like Milan.


Career Honours

?Serie C1 (2007/08)
?Serie A (2010/11, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19)
?Coppa Italia (2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18)
?Supercoppa Italiana (2011, 2015, 2018)
?Champions League Runner Up (2014/15, 2016/17)
?Panchina d’Ora (2008/09, 2014/15, 2016/17, 2017/18)
?Serie A Coach of the Year (2011, 2015, 2016, 2018)

Allegri won Serie A in his first season with I Rossoneri in 2011/12, finishing six points ahead of runners up Inter for the club’s 18th and most recent title win.

The team was packed with generational talent. Thiago Silva, Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf formed its spine, while Robinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexandre Pato sprinkled the gold dust on the attacking line.


Andrea Pirlo, Ronaldinho and Mark van Bommel were also knocking about, so it’s easy to see why Allegri had some initial joy during his time at San Siro.

However, that success couldn’t be replicated over the next few seasons, with Allegri only picking up a Supercoppa Italiana before being relieved of his duties in January 2014.

It’s safe to say Milan have dropped off a fair bit since Allegri’s departure.

Massimiliano Allegri

Despite a disappointing end to his career with Il Diavolo, Allegri secured a pretty good follow up gig in the summer, replacing the outgoing Antonio Conte at Juventus. Met with initial scepticism and doubt by fans, it was clear to see Allegri had a lot of work to do in convincing the Juve faithful of his credentials, especially after leaving rivals Milan.

Juventus had a pretty perfect manager in Conte: the Italian was beloved by the club’s fans after spending 13 years in Turin as a player and won all three Serie A titles available to him as their coach. Undeniably, it was a tough act to follow.

But perhaps what is most impressive about Allegri’s spell at Juventus was his ability to build on Conte’s foundations and build a dynasty packed with league titles.


Teams Managed

?Aglianese (2003-04)
?SPAL (2004-05)
?Grosseto (2005-06)
?Sassuolo (2007-08)
?Cagliari (2008-10)
?Milan (2010-14)
?Juventus (2014-19)

His style is less intense than Conte’s, shown by the switch in style following the latter’s departure. Emphasis on ball retention and possession became evident, ahead of the dogged off the ball pressing that had been previously drummed into the squad.

A Serie A title in his first season in Turin came with little challenge from the rest of Italy’s top sides, Roma ending up a massive 17 points behind I Bianconeri in second. Success in the Coppa Italia was also secured, while they showed their European pedigree by reaching the Champions League final, beating Borussia Dortmund, Monaco and Real Madrid in the knockout stages before falling at the final hurdle against Barcelona.

It was the first in a catalogue of disappointments in the Champions League under Allegri, but don’t get it twisted; Juve have only won that tournament twice in their history, so it’s evidently not a walk in the park.

The following summer saw Allegri effectively replace the outgoing Carlos Tevez, Arturo Vidal and Pirlo with Paulo Dybala, Sami Khedira and Mario Mandzukic, strengthening the team in his own image before a successful title defence. Juve picked up 91 points during the 2015/16 season, four more than the previous campaign, losing just two of their final 32 games after an inauspicious start filled with three defeats in their opening six.

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The Champions League? A 6-4 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in the round of 16 after extra time in Germany.

Perhaps more pressingly, however, was the emergence of both Roma and Napoli as legitimate Serie A title contenders the following season. Juve had proven their battling qualities under Allegri already during the 2015/16 campaign after an abysmal start, but the margin of victory in the 2016/17 term would be a lot finer than in previous years.

?A brilliant transfer window saw Juve sell Paul Pogba but sign Miralem Pjanic, Dani Alves, Medhi Benatia, Gonzalo Higuain and Juan Cuadrado. Again, they recorded 91 points, four ahead of Roma and five in front of Napoli, occasionally switching from their trademark 3-5-2 for a 4-2-3-1 to get the best out of Higuain and Dybala.

The defensive strength of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, dubbed the ‘BBC’, saw Juve concede just three goals on the way to another Champions League final, but they fell again at the final hurdle.

Massimiliano Allegri

Unfortunately, there’s little you can do to stop a legendary Real Madrid team doing what Real Madrid do: win the Champions League.

Napoli followed up their 2016/17 bid with a firmer challenge the following season, Allegri effectively seeing off future Juve manager Maurizio Sarri, but Allegri’s battling qualities were there for all to see again when the club won Italy’s top flight again in 2017/18. Trailing I Partenopei for most part, Juve ruthlessly took advantage when Napoli dropped points against Roma, Inter, Sassuolo, Milan, Fiorentina and Torino to finish four points ahead of their rivals.

The mentality Allegri grew at the club was one of resilience and ruthlessness, perhaps displayed most prominently by the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, and Allegri’s role in growing Juve into the European powerhouse it is today cannot be understated.

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That Champions League triumph eluded him, as it has many other Juventus managers in the past, but Allegri established Juventus as the dominant force in Italy by winning five Serie A titles on the trot as well as four consecutive league and cup doubles.

A new dawn is upon Juve following the appointment of Maurizio Sarri, and he has some pretty large boots to fill.


Number 50: Marcelo Bielsa – El Loco’s Journey From Argentina to Footballing Immortality in Europe

Number 49: Vic Buckingham – How an Englishman Discovered Johan Cruyff & Pioneered Total Football

Number 48: Claudio Ranieri: A Ridiculed Tinkerman Who Masterminded One of Football’s Greatest Ever Achievements

Number 47: Bill Nicholson: Mr Tottenham Hotspur, the First Double Winning Manager of the 20th Century

Number 46: Sven-Goran Eriksson: The Scudetto Winning Shagger Who Never Solved the Lampard-Gerrard Conundrum

Number 45: Sir Alf Ramsey: The Man Behind the ‘Wingless Wonders’ & England’s Sole World Cup Triumph

Number 44: Antonio Conte: An Astute Tactician Whose Perfectionist Philosophy Reinvented the 3-5-2 Wheel

Number 43: ?Kenny Dalglish: The Beacon of Light in Liverpool’s Darkest Hour

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Oleksandr Zinchenko Pens New 3-Year Manchester City Extension After Breakthrough Season

?Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko has signed a new three-year extension with the club, keeping him at the Premier League champions until the summer of 2024.

Originally signed as an attacking midfielder, Zinchenko was utilised at left back for much of the 2018/19 season, acting as more than adequate cover for the injured Benjamin Mendy, making 29 appearances in all competitions and scoring one goal.


Pep Guardiola has been impressed with the Ukrainian after a proposed move to Real Betis fell through last summer, the 22-year-old opting to stay and fight for his place in the side. City had been pursuing left back options this summer, with Leicester’s Ben Chilwell linked with a move to the Etihad, but Zinchenko’s new deal may put an end the that chase.

“It’s difficult to express how happy I am to sign this deal,” Zinchenko told the club’s ?official website.

“This club offers players everything they need to improve and develop, so being here for five more years is an honour. This season shows we are built for success. It’s been amazing to be involved in such a historic campaign and it’s one I’ll never forget.”

Zinchenko’s joy was echoed by director of football Txiki Begiristain, who added: “Zinchenko has shown over the past two seasons what a superb talent he is.

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“Not only does he have a wonderful first touch and left-foot, he is a player completely focused on becoming the best footballer he can be. Young, hungry and already an established international, he fits perfectly into our long-term strategy. We are delighted he wants to stay here.”

The former FC Ufa player becomes the second City player to commit his future to the ?Premier League side in a matter of days, after ???Kyle Walker put pen to paper? on his own two-year extension on Wednesday.

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John Terry Signs Extension to Remain Aston Villa Assistant Head Coach Until 2021

?Aston Villa assistant head coach John Terry has signed an extension to keep himself at the club until 2021, and put to bed any rumours linking the former Chelsea man with a move back to Stamford Bridge.

With all the talk surrounding Chelsea preparing an offer for Frank Lampard to take the reins in London, Terry had been heavily linked to be his number two, or even his replacement at Derby County.


??The 38-year-old played a vital part in ?Villa’s promotion back to the Premier League this year, after helping manager Dean Smith guide the Villans to ten consecutive wins in the Championship and a fifth-place finish. They then went on to beat Lampard’s Derby 2-1 in the play-off final.

Manager Smith told Aston Villa’s ?official website: “I am really pleased that JT has extended his current deal as he is a pleasure to work with. We have had a successful start to our Villa coaching careers and JT has been instrumental in joining myself, Richard O’Kelly and Neil Cutler.

“He has complimented the team that we have and I have no doubts he will go on to be a top manager in the years to come.”

Terry enjoyed a stunning career at Chelsea, winning the Premier League, Champions League and Europa League, as well as the FA Cup and League Cup, so a rumoured move back to the Blues was inevitable. 

However, after pledging his loyalty to Villa for the time being, Terry wrote on his Instagram page: “I’m delighted to have extended my contract at Villa. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed assisting, working and learning from the gaffer, Richard and Cutts, and look forward to doing so for the season ahead.

“Now tougher challenges are ahead as we focus on making our mark on the most competitive league in the world.”

Aston Villa’s first match back in the Premier League since the 2015/16 season is a tricky away fixture at Tottenham on August 10.

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The 3 Players Man Utd Are Still Chasing That Jose Mourinho Wanted

?Manchester United want every player under the sun. We’ve already established that.

But three of their transfer targets for this summer, out of a grand total of 1,042 at last count, were also wanted by Jose Mourinho while he was in charge of the club. The club are still chasing them based on his recommendation – apparently.

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho was sacked in December following a defeat at Liverpool, and while a big part of the reason why he melted down at ?United was that he couldn’t sign the players he wanted, it seems as though the profile of some he was targeting were actually along the lines of what United now consider good business.

So who are the players? Well, it’s not Daniel James – he’s probably too short and too low profile for the Special One (right?) and even while ?United close in on Aaron Wan-Bissaka, he doesn’t feature on the list either.

The ?Sun reports that ?Harry Maguire – we all know too well that United were chasing the Leicester man last summer – is the primary name on the list. Maguire has been the subject of interest from both United and City, but neither side so far has been able to reach an agreement with his current club Leicester.

Harry Maguire

Maguire was one of 54 centre halves United tried to sign last summer, and even while Mourinho has left the club, their interest remains. Again, this is according to the Sun’s report.

As for the other two? Have a look over at West Ham. Issa Diop – believed to be an alternative central defensive target to Maguire – is one of the names, but the Hammers aren’t too keen on selling him. Declan Rice is the other player, but the London club’s stance is similar.

On Diop, the report says that Mourinho was kicking himself that he didn’t spot the abilities of the Frenchman before ?West Ham signed him for £22m last summer. Weird, really, as you don’t ever hear about Jose Mourinho admitting he was wrong about something…amirite?

Declan Rice,Issa Diop

Mourinho was so impressed with Diop that ?he even called him a “monster” (in a positive way). He criticised the club’s scouting department (fair, probably) and it resulted in the club closely monitoring Diop for the remaining months of last season before making an approach for him.

They initially tried offering Phil Jones in exchange, plus cash. Best of luck with that.

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