“David Trezeguet is hands down the best finisher I’ve ever seen, and you know how much I love Dennis Bergkamp. That goal to win the Euros, people don’t understand how tough that was to finish.” -Thierry Henry
It’s not uncommon to come across stories of players taking a swig of beer in the supporters’ section after scoring a late goal or after a victory, but it’s extremely rare to see it casually done in the 29th minute of a Europa League playoff with the scores level at 0-0.
Perhaps Vereya defender Ivan Bandalovski needed a little hair of the dog following last night’s session or maybe it just irked him to see his favorite brew go to waste like that, but the Bulgarian used the barley pop like it was a Cool Blue Gatorade, a move usually reserved for intramural games in college.
Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande, the side that spent a fortune on Colombian striker Jackson Martinez and Brazilian midfielder Paulinho, are through to the AFC Champions League quarterfinals after defeating Japan’s Kashima Antlers on away goals.
Tuesday’s second leg round of 16 match was a decidedly Brazilian-heavy affair, with Guangzhou being managed by Luiz Felipe Scolari and featuring Paulinho, Ricardo Goulart and Alan Carvalho. Kashima featured two Brazilians of their own: Leandro and Pedro Junior.
The result wasn’t what Clint Dempsey and the defending MLS Cup champions wanted, a 2-1 defeat to Houston Dynamo to start their 2017 season, but the USMNT player and his club will be delighted that he was able to play 90 minutes and score a goal after six months out with an irregular heartbeat.
Dempsey was sidelined last August after the issue was diagnosed, making him a spectator for Seattle’s improbable MLS Cup triumph, but he was cleared to return to play this preseason. Dempsey picked up right where he left off for Seattle, scoring their lone goal in a 2-1 defeat to Houston.