Tag Archives: ‘match

Scotties match between Northwest Territories, Canada postponed due to illness in bubble

The Saturday afternoon curling game between Northwest Territories and Team Canada has been postponed after a member of Kerry Galusha’s Yellowknife foursome fell ill in the middle of the night Friday with a suspected case of food poisoning.

Galusha, speaking exclusively to CBC Sports, said they found out the game was cancelled Saturday afternoon.

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“We had to report an illness. Curling Canada made the decision to postpone it,” she said from her hotel room in Calgary.

“The team member was feeling ill in the middle of the night.”

WATCH | Collen Jones surprised with Scotties winning montage on That Curling Show:

During the opening episode of That Curling Show, Colleen Jones is surprised with a montage of her Scotties Tournament of Hearts victories. 3:23

All members of Galusha’s rink are now isolating in separate rooms in the hotel as they await a negative test result from the player who is ill.

The game has been moved to Monday morning.

“The doctor came and saw her and took her temperature. She has to do another test and until she is cleared we have to isolate in our rooms,” Galusha said.

Curling Canada released a statement shortly after the match was postponed, with respect to a player for Northwest Territories.

“A member of Team Northwest Territories came down with a suspected case of food poisoning overnight. She has been assessed by the event’s Chief Medical Officer, and it is believed that this will not impact the team’s ability to continue in the event,” the statement read. “The rest of the team is not showing any similar symptoms, and have all tested negative on previous COVID tests, as recently as Friday, and have passed all twice-daily wellness checks, including this morning.

“The player will receive a COVID PCR test today, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to reschedule this afternoon’s Northwest Territories-Canada game to Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. ET, which was to be a bye in the schedule for all teams. The Northwest Territories team will self-isolate until the results of the test are known.”

WATCH | 2-time Scotties champion Chelsea Carey on That Curling Show:

For the premiere episode of That Curling Show, hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux talk with 2-time Scotties champion Chelsea Carey. 44:05

Curlers have had to provide three negative tests before the competition. Saturday marks the first full day of competition at this year’s Scotties.

Galusha’s team lost to Northern Ontario 8-7 on Friday evening.

“We had a tough game last night, we blew it. We were in control of that whole game and we let it slip away,” Galusha said.

While Galusha did express concern over the situation unfolding in the bubble, she was quick to praise Curling Canada for the way they’re handling everything so far.

“They have protocols, Curling Canada was on top of it. They’ve been very informative. It’s safety first. Teams need to report if there’s an illness,” she said.

“I think Curling Canada has done an amazing job. I know things have gone off the rails the first couple days but they’ve handled themselves so well and have been in contact with us.”

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CBC | Sports News

Kathryn Nesbitt, 2020 Assistant Referee of the Year, becomes the first woman to referee a championship match in professional men's sports in North America by officiating the 2020 MLS Cup Final.

Kathryn Nesbitt becomes 1st woman to officiate men’s championship match in North America

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Kathryn Nesbitt becomes 1st woman to officiate men's championship match in North America

Kathryn Nesbitt, 2020 Assistant Referee of the Year, becomes the first woman to referee a championship match in professional men’s sports in North America by officiating the 2020 MLS Cup Final.

CBC | Soccer News

PSG, Basaksehir players kneel in fight against racism prior to match restart

Soccer players have taken a knee, unfurled slogans and demanded tougher action only to find their sport remains infested with racism.

But on Tuesday, at the end of a year of striking gestures against racial injustice and discrimination, elite players of the Champions League took the extraordinary step of refusing to continue playing in Paris after a match official was accused of using a racist slur.

In a show of solidarity, the players from Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir left the field and didn’t return until Wednesday night, when play resumed with a new referee team.

Before the match restarted Wednesday, the players took a knee in unison as the Champions League anthem played, while some — including PSG star Neymar — raised a fist. PSG won the game 5-1, with Neymar scoring three of his team’s goals.

“The walk off by both Basaksehir and PSG together lays down a marker in Europe,” Piara Powar, executive director of the Football Against Racism in Europe anti-discrimination network, told The Associated Press. “Many players are fed up with half measures to tackle racism and are more prepared than ever to exercise their right to stop a match.”

The flashpoint came 14 minutes into Tuesday night’s game when referee Sebastian Coltescu of Romania was accused of using a racial term to identify Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo, who is Black.

An enraged Webo demanded an explanation for the slur, repeating at least six times: “Why you say Negro?”

“You are racist,” Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk declared to Coltescu. “Why when you mention a Black guy, you have to say `This Black guy?”‘ added Basaksehir substitute Demba Ba, who is Black.

WATCH | Players from both sides exit field after alleged racial slur:

The Champions League game between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir was postponed until Wednesday when players walked off the field on Tuesday after alleging that fourth official Sebastian Coltescu of Romania used a racial term when identifying an assistant coach. 9:58

The exchanges were broadcast live around the world from soccer’s biggest club competition at PSG’s Parc des Princes. While racism at soccer games has typically come from the stands, the match Tuesday was played without fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lack of a crowd made the comments clear to hear.

Dismissing any attempts to excuse Coltescu’s language, French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said Wednesday that “pointing at someone by their [skin] colour is unacceptable and inexcusable” and praised the players.

“It’s unprecedented and sends a strong signal also to soccer institutions,” she said.

Powar, of the anti-discrimination FARE network, said there was no question the comment was racist.

“Our colleagues at the Romanian state anti-discrimination organization have confirmed it is racist in Romanian to refer to a player by using his race as an identifier,” said Powar, whose group helps UEFA, the Champions League competition organizer, prosecute discriminatory acts like Tuesday’s incident .

“There is no ambiguity. This incident shows the need for much better training of match officials. Unintentional racism is still racism,” Powar said.

Meanwhile, the persistent racism infesting soccer was on show again Wednesday in England, where two lower-league matches were played with limited crowds.

WATCH | How activism has increased among Black athletes:

From the NBA to the NHL, our sports panellists look at the different responses from pro athletes in the wake of another police shooting of a Black man, in Wisconsin. Plus, the role fans need to play moving forward. 9:39

In the fourth division, Exeter City reported a suspected discriminatory comment by a fan toward a visiting player from Northampton Town. The referee spoke to the players and managers, and the game continued.

Earlier this year in Portugal, Porto striker Moussa Marega tried to walk off the field in February after being the target of racist abuse from fans in a game against Guimarães and demanded to be substituted. But he faced attempts by his own teammates and opposing players to prevent him from leaving the field.

The referee then gave Marega a yellow card for refusing to continue in the game — the type of action that dissuades players from walking off.

Setting a standard

The Romanian referee who was in charge of the game in Paris on Tuesday — Ovidiu Hategan — was in the same role for the 2013 Champions League game when Manchester City player Yaya Toure complained about the lack of action against monkey noises he heard from CSKA Moscow fans.

“If officials cannot set the standards by their own behaviour,” Powar said, “they cannot be relied on to deal with racism on the pitch or in the stands.”

Players might now feel more emboldened to leave the field after seeing the largely positive reaction to what happened Tuesday in Paris.

“What they’ve done was very good from both sides to support those who were in the incident,” said Japhet Tanganga, a defender with Premier League club Tottenham, who is Black.

But the dismissive response from Jorge Jesus, the coach of Portuguese club Benfica, reinforced why activists face ongoing challenges trying to change attitudes.

“This is very fashionable today, this racism thing,” he said. “Anything that can be said about a Black man is always a sign of racism. The same thing can be said about a white man, but then it’s no longer a sign of racism. There is this wave being implanted in the world.”

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CBC | Soccer News

Stephanie Frappart to make Champions League history as 1st female to referee match

France’s Stephanie Frappart will become the first female official to take charge of a men’s Champions League game when Juventus host Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday.

Frappart, who turns 37 next month, was the first female referee to officiate in a major UEFA competition match when Liverpool played Chelsea in the Super Cup in Istanbul last year.

She also officiated the 2019 Women’s World Cup final between the United States and Netherlands and became the first female referee to take charge of a French Ligue 1 match when Amiens played Strasbourg in April last year.

She oversaw her first Europa League game in October when Leicester City hosted Zorya Luhansk.

Switzerland’s Nicole Petignat was the first female referee to officiate in UEFA matches when she was put in charge of three UEFA Cup qualifying round games between 2004 and 2009.

Juventus, who has already qualified for the last 16, are second in Group G with nine points from four games, eight points clear of Dynamo Kyiv and three behind Barcelona, who face Ferencvaros on Wednesday.

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CBC | Sports News

Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning beat Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady in charity match

Tom Brady delivered the shot of the match that made it easy to forget the rest of his swings. Tiger Woods didn’t miss a fairway and earned a small measure of revenge against Phil Mickelson.

The PGA Tour is set to return in just over two weeks, and it has a tough act to follow.

In the second and final charity match that brought live golf to TV, this exhibition was as entertaining as the real thing.

Woods lagged a long birdie putt close enough that his partner, Peyton Manning, didn’t have to putt. That secured a 1-up victory over Mickelson and Brady in “The Match: Champions for Charity.”

WATCH| Best shots from ‘The Match: Champions for Charity’:

Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning edged Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in charity event that raised $ 20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts. 1:21

The goal was to raise $ 10 million or more for COVID-19 relief funds, and online donations sent money climbing toward about twice that much.

This was the second “match” between Woods and Mickelson, following the $ 9 million winner-take-all pay-per-view match in Las Vegas on Thanksgiving weekend in 2018 that Mickelson won in a playoff under lights. That one felt forced, lacked banter and turned out to be free because of technical issues.

Throw in two NFL greats in Brady and Manning, and this allowed viewers to ride along for 18 holes at Medalist Golf Club among four of the biggest stars in sport.

Justin Thomas pitched in as an on-course reporter, bringing a mixture of humour and insight with the right amount of words.

Woods and Manning took the lead on the third hole and never trailed, building a 3-up lead in fourballs on the front nine, with Manning making two birdies (one was a net birdie).

Tom terrific in the end

Brady, whose six Super Bowl titles are more than any NFL quarterback in history, took a beating on social media and in the broadcast booth from Charles Barkley, who twice offered $ 50,000 of his own money toward charity if Brady just hit the green on a par 3. He missed so far right it would be comparable to a pass that landed three rows into the stands.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton weighed in on Twitter, noting Brady signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay by saying he liked the “Florida” Brady much better.

Brooks Koepka offered $ 100,000 if Brady could just make a par.

One shot shut everyone up.

WATCH | Brady holes-out from the fairway for birdie:

6-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady with a remarkable hole-out from the fairway for birdie during the made-for-TV exhibition, “The Match: Champions for Charity”. 0:54

Never mind that Brady had to take a penalty drop before getting back to the fairway on the par-5 seventh. With his fourth shot, with Barkley needling him relentlessly, Brady’s shot landed beyond the pin and spun back into the cup.

“Shut your mouth, Chuck,” said Brady, whose microphone piece dangled off the back of his pants.

Woods still thought he won the hole with a 25-foot eagle putt that instead spun hard off the back of the lip. All that, and they ended up halving the hole.

$ 20 million USD raised for charity

Donations for COVID-19 relief funds kept piling up, and the entertainment didn’t stop even as the rain returned. It caused a 45-minute delay at the start, and as Woods said on the practice range, “I don’t normally play in conditions like this.”

Mickelson brought out his “Tiger Slayer” putter that he used to shoot 64 at Pebble Beach in 2012, the last time they were in the final group on the PGA Tour. Woods shot 75 that day. It didn’t help Lefty with a few critical birdie putts to square the match, though he rolled in a 15-foot par putt to stay 1 down with two to play.

The back nine was modified alternate shot — all players hit tee shots, and it was alternate shot from there. It was key for the quarterbacks to find the fairway for the pros to hit shots into the green, and Brady came through until the 18th.

Woods was playing for the first time since Feb. 16 when he finished last at Riviera in Los Angeles. He chose not to play the next four weeks with his back not feeling just right, and then the pandemic shut down golf and sports worldwide.

Woods looked sharp for the most part, with his game and his words. Mickelson on the fifth hole asked Woods to mark his ball from some 80 yards away.

“You want me to mark with a U.S. Open medal,” said Woods, a three-time champion of the only major Mickelson hasn’t won.

“Do you have one? I have some silver ones,” Mickelson said, referring to his record six runner-up finishes.

Mickelson boasted about taking Woods down on his home course at Medalist, and now their TV matches are tied at 1, even with each getting a little help. Mickelson says he was a little nervous on the front nine until he found his groove, driving the green on the par-4 11th with Brady making a 20-footer for eagle that began their rally.

WATCH | Mickelson wins the original ‘match’:

Mickelson won on the 22nd hole, making a 4-foot birdie putt. 0:22

“Phil said he was nervous. I know Tom and I were comparing notes,” Manning said. “To be behind the ropes in these guys’ worlds, to be in the arena with them, it was really a special experience. I was not comfortable the entire time. Knowing $ 20 million was raised and helping people going through tough times, it was an honour to be invited.

“It’s something I’ll always remember.”

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CBC | Sports News

Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning beat Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady in charity match

Tom Brady delivered the shot of the match that made it easy to forget the rest of his swings. Tiger Woods didn’t miss a fairway and earned a small measure of revenge against Phil Mickelson.

The PGA Tour is set to return in just over two weeks, and it has a tough act to follow.

In the second and final charity match that brought live golf to TV, this exhibition was as entertaining as the real thing.

Woods lagged a long birdie putt close enough that his partner, Peyton Manning, didn’t have to putt. That secured a 1-up victory over Mickelson and Brady in “The Match: Champions for Charity.”

WATCH| Best shots from ‘The Match: Champions for Charity’:

Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning edged Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in charity event that raised $ 20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts. 1:21

The goal was to raise $ 10 million or more for COVID-19 relief funds, and online donations sent money climbing toward about twice that much.

This was the second “match” between Woods and Mickelson, following the $ 9 million winner-take-all pay-per-view match in Las Vegas on Thanksgiving weekend in 2018 that Mickelson won in a playoff under lights. That one felt forced, lacked banter and turned out to be free because of technical issues.

Throw in two NFL greats in Brady and Manning, and this allowed viewers to ride along for 18 holes at Medalist Golf Club among four of the biggest stars in sport.

Justin Thomas pitched in as an on-course reporter, bringing a mixture of humour and insight with the right amount of words.

Woods and Manning took the lead on the third hole and never trailed, building a 3-up lead in fourballs on the front nine, with Manning making two birdies (one was a net par).

Tom terrific in the end

Brady, whose six Super Bowl titles are more than any NFL quarterback in history, took a beating on social media and in the broadcast booth from Charles Barkley, who twice offered $ 50,000 of his own money toward charity if Brady just hit the green on a par 3. He missed so far right it would be comparable to a pass that landed three rows into the stands.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton weighed in on Twitter, noting Brady signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay by saying he liked the “Florida” Brady much better.

Brooks Koepka offered $ 100,000 if Brady could just make a par.

One shot shut everyone up.

WATCH | Brady holes-out from the fairway for birdie:

6-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady with a remarkable hole-out from the fairway for birdie during the made-for-TV exhibition, “The Match: Champions for Charity”. 0:54

Never mind that Brady had to take a penalty drop before getting back to the fairway on the par-5 seventh. With his fourth shot, with Barkley needling him relentlessly, Brady’s shot landed beyond the pin and spun back into the cup.

“Shut your mouth, Chuck,” said Brady, whose microphone piece dangled off the back of his pants.

Woods still thought he won the hole with a 25-foot eagle putt that instead spun hard off the back of the lip. All that, and they ended up halving the hole.

$ 20 million USD raised for charity

Donations for COVID-19 relief funds kept piling up, and the entertainment didn’t stop even as the rain returned. It caused a 45-minute delay at the start, and as Woods said on the practice range, “I don’t normally play in conditions like this.”

Mickelson brought out his “Tiger Slayer” putter that he used to shoot 64 at Pebble Beach in 2012, the last time they were in the final group on the PGA Tour. Woods shot 75 that day. It didn’t help Lefty with a few critical birdie putts to square the match, though he rolled in a 15-foot par putt to stay 1 down with two to play.

The back nine was modified alternate shot — all players hit tee shots, and it was alternate shot from there. It was key for the quarterbacks to find the fairway for the pros to hit shots into the green, and Brady came through until the 18th.

Woods was playing for the first time since Feb. 16 when he finished last at Riviera in Los Angeles. He chose not to play the next four weeks with his back not feeling just right, and then the pandemic shut down golf and sports worldwide.

Woods looked sharp for the most part, with his game and his words. Mickelson on the fifth hole asked Woods to mark his ball from some 80 yards away.

“You want me to mark with a U.S. Open medal,” said Woods, a three-time champion of the only major Mickelson hasn’t won.

“Do you have one? I have some silver ones,” Mickelson said, referring to his record six runner-up finishes.

Mickelson boasted about taking Woods down on his home course at Medalist, and now their TV matches are tied at 1, even with each getting a little help. Mickelson says he was a little nervous on the front nine until he found his groove, driving the green on the par-4 11th with Brady making a 20-footer for eagle that began their rally.

WATCH | Mickelson wins the original ‘match’:

Mickelson won on the 22nd hole, making a 4-foot birdie putt. 0:22

“Phil said he was nervous. I know Tom and I were comparing notes,” Manning said. “To be behind the ropes in these guys’ worlds, to be in the arena with them, it was really a special experience. I was not comfortable the entire time. Knowing $ 20 million was raised and helping people going through tough times, it was an honour to be invited.

“It’s something I’ll always remember.”

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CBC | Sports News

NFL to match at least $5M US raised by fans through draft telethon

Clunky at times, poignant at others, and exceptionally entertaining in spots, the NFL draft entered its third and final day with Cincinnati selecting an Appalachian State linebacker on Saturday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has insisted the sporting world needed the draft to be held on time. Sure, it’s been remote/virtual/digital; make your own choice. But the amount of eyeballs watching has been, well, an eye-opening number. And through Friday’s third round, the accompanying telethon had raised more than $ 5 million US for six organizations battling the coronavirus pandemic.

“That work continues today,” Goodell said, “and the NFL will again match every dollar donated by fans.”

The league even awarded the 2022 draft to Las Vegas after all events on the Strip for this year were cancelled due to the nationwide shutdown on large gatherings.

Concerns about all sorts of technological issues have been unfounded. Sure, there were awkward moments, but those come even when the draft is a mega-event drawing hundreds of thousands of fans to the “Rocky Steps” in Philadelphia or lower Broadway in Nashville.

10 players from NCAA champs LSU selected

There’s been no real change in which schools or conference is dominant in this process. The Southeastern Conference had 40 players chosen through three rounds; 40 previously was the most through four rounds. Not surprisingly, 10 players came from national champion LSU, including top overall pick Joe Burrow, who the Bengals hope will be their franchise quarterback.

Programs as Miami, Michigan State, Nebraska and West Virginia had been blanked.

Meanwhile, App State had its second player chosen, linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, the Sun Belt’s defensive player of the year who was a standout at the Senior Bowl — a game the Bengals coaching staff worked.

The Redskins dealt their unhappy veteran offensive tackle Trent Williams to San Francisco on Saturday morning, and then chose yet another LSU Tiger: tackle Saahdiq Charles, who has been plagued by off-field issues and served a six-game suspension.

The Niners will send a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and a 2021 third-rounder to acquire Williams. The deal reunites him with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was the offensive co-ordinator in Washington when Williams was drafted fourth overall in 2010.

The first quarterback chosen on Day 3 was Washington’s Jacob Eason, who went to Indianapolis. The Colts, of course, signed Philip Rivers as a free agent and still have incumbent Jacoby Brissett. Both have contracts only through 2020, though.

Eason, whose father Tony was a wide receiver at Notre Dame, lost out to Jake Fromm at Georgia, then transferred to Washington. Fromm still remained on the board after 122 picks.

Three spots later, the Jets took Florida International QB James Morgan.

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CBC | Sports News

History on Canada’s side ahead of crucial match vs. Mexico at women’s Olympic soccer qualifier

History and the numbers are on Canada’s side Tuesday when it faces Mexico to decide first place in Group B at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.

Eighth-ranked Canada is 21-1-2 all-time against No. 26 Mexico and undefeated in their last 13 meetings (11-0-2). The Canadian women have outscored the Mexicans 26-7 over that 13-game stretch.

The one loss was costly, however. Mexico’s 2-1 win in 2004 prevented Canada from going to the Athens Games.

Both teams are 2-0-0 going into the match at H-E-B Park. With a goal difference of plus-20 compared to plus-seven for Mexico, Canada will finish atop the group with a win or tie.

The top-ranked U.S. beat No. 37 Costa Rica 6-0 on Monday in Houston to win Group A.

Topping Group B is desirable given it means likely avoiding the U.S. in the semifinals.

The top two in each pool advance to the cross-over semifinals, A1 versus B2 and B1 versus A2. The semifinal winners will represent CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Canada has finished runner-up to the U.S. at the last three CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers.

The Canadians opened play here with an 11-0 shellacking of No. 127 St. Kitts and Nevis before thumping No. 51 Jamaica 9-0. Mexico defeated Jamaica 1-0 and St. Kitts 6-0.

WATCH | Canada puts 9 goals past Jamaica:

Jordyn Huitema tallied five goals and Janine Beckie added a hat trick of her own in Canada’s 9-0 victory over Jamaica in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualification tournament. 1:47

“Mexico have players that can play well all over the pitch and they have a deep roster,” Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller said in a statement. “They’ve played the U.S. a few times in the past months, they’ve played Tier-1 teams, so they know what we are able to do and that we can put on that kind of pressure as well.

“Every match has its own story, and hopefully we can write a good one early in these 90 minutes.”

WATCH | Sinclair becomes international soccer’s top scorer:

Canadian Christine Sinclair scores the 185th goal of her career, passing American Abby Wambach on the all-time goals list. 1:10

Eight different players have scored for Canada. Going into Monday’s play, Jordyn Huitema led the tournament with six goals followed by Adriana Leon (tied for second with four). Other Canada goal-scorers are Janine Beckie (three), Ashley Lawrence and captain Christine Sinclair (two each) and Jessie Fleming, Jayde Riviere and Deanne Rose (one each).

Sinclair’s strikes were Nos. 184 and 185 of her career, moving her past retired American Abby Wambach to become the world’s all-time leading goal-scorer.

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CBC | Soccer News

U.S. thumps Haiti in 1st CONCACAF women’s Olympic qualifier group match

Christen Press scored the opening goal off a shoeless assist from Lynn Williams and the United States beat Haiti 4-0 on Tuesday in its opening match of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament.

The U.S., which won the Women’s World Cup last summer, extended its unbeaten streak to 24 straight games dating back to a loss to France a year ago.

Press’ goal came in the second minute on a cross from Williams, who had lost her cleat in her run up the field. It was the 52nd international goal for Press.

Williams added a goal in the 67th minute on a header off a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe. Lindsey Horan came off the bench and scored on her first touch in the 73rd minute and Carli Lloyd capped it off with a stoppage-time goal.

It was the first competitive match for U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski, who took over when Jill Ellis stepped down last year.

Lloyd made her 15th start in Olympic qualifying, passing Abby Wambach for most in team history. Rapinoe, the reigning Ballon d’Or winner and FIFA World Player of the Year, played off the bench in the second half.

An announced crowd of 4,363 attended the game, which was hit in the first half by a sudden downpour at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The United States looked rusty at the start and Haiti appeared to tie the game with a goal in the 18th minute, but it was called back. Then the top-ranked Americans simply wore down their opponents in the second half.

Eight teams are playing in the tournament, with the title match set for Feb. 9 in Carson, Calif. The top two finishers will earn berths to the Tokyo Games this summer.

The United States and Haiti are in the same group with Costa Rica and Panama, who played in the early match Tuesday.

The U.S. has qualified for every Olympics since women’s soccer was introduced in 1996. The team has five consecutive titles in the qualifying tournament.

Six teams have already made the field for Tokyo: Japan, Brazil, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand.

Haiti advanced to the tournament by winning its qualifying group in the Caribbean region.

Costa Rica downs Panama

Melissa Herrera and Priscilla Chinchilla each scored two goals and Costa Rica beat Panama 6-1 on Tuesday to open the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament.

Herrera caught Panama goalkeeper Yenith Bailey out of her net for the opening goal in the ninth minute. Raquel Rodriguez, who plays for the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, converted a penalty kick in the 15th.

Katherine Castillo’s goal for Panama in the 45th minute closed the gap to 2-1, but Shirley Cruz’s volley off a corner kick in the 67th minute extended Costa Rica’s lead.

Moments later, Chinchilla scored on a header and Herrera added her second goal of the match to put Costa Rica up 5-1. Chinchilla had the final goal in the 83rd minute.

The five goal margin of victory gives Costa Rica a narrow one-goal edge over the United States for first place in Group A after one round.

Panama is making its first appearance in the qualifying tournament since 2004. Both teams won their groups in the Central America qualifiers.

Canada to kick-off Wednesday

The eigth-ranked Canadian women’s squad begins its Olympic qualification conquest with a showdown against No. 127 ranked St. Kitts and Nevis at 5:30 ET on Wednesday.

Canada’s captain Christine Sinclair, who currently sits at 183 goals, is one strike away from tying American Abby Wambach for the women’s world record.

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CBC | Soccer News

Police clash with protesters outside Barcelona-Real Madrid soccer match

Riot police clashed with protesters in the streets Wednesday night outside a soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, as authorities sought to keep Catalonia’s separatist movement from disrupting the game viewed by 650 million people worldwide.

The match in Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium began without incident and was halted only briefly when some fans threw balls onto the field bearing a message for the Spanish government to open a dialogue with the separatists.

The game, which drew nearly 100,000 spectators, ended in a scoreless draw.

Thousands of police and private security guards were deployed in and around stadium.

In the street clashes, riot police used batons to force the crowd back, some threw objects at officers lined up behind shields and other protesters fought among themselves. Authorities said nine people had been arrested, and Spain’s national news agency Efe reported that 12 were injured.

At least four plastic trash cans were set on fire, and a smell of smoke wafted into the Camp Nou.


Police officers block protesters from entering Camp Nou stadium. (Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images)

When the game ended, fans were directed to leave on the stadium’s south side to avoid the clashes outside.

The separatists sought to promote their independence bid by using the media coverage of the game between Barcelona, the Spanish league leader, and its fierce rival Real Madrid. Known as El Clasico, the game was postponed from Oct. 26 amid violent protests by the separatists.

As crowds entered Europe’s largest soccer stadium Wednesday night, security guards confiscated masks of Barcelona’s Argentine star Lionel Messi from supporters, apparently to ensure they could be identified on closed-circuit cameras if they broke the law.

As the game began, some fans held up blue signs saying ‘Spain, Sit and Talk” and “Freedom.” Others chanted, in Catalan, “Freedom for the Political Prisoners.” Those messages referred to the Spanish government’s refusal to discuss the wealthy northeastern region’s independence, as well as the recent imprisonment of nine of the movement’s leaders convicted for their roles in a failed 2017 secession bid.

A shadowy online group called Tsunami Democratic, which was behind the protest, had posted a message on social media saying: “Hello, world! Tonight Tsunami has a message for you.”

Protest organizers said over 25,000 people signed up to demonstrate near the stadium in Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, although it was hard to distinguish between protesters and fans.

There was a festive atmosphere before the game, though some protesters briefly blocked main roads to the stadium.

The Barcelona team asked its fans to behave with civility and not to affect the match.


Barcelona’s supporters wave banners reading ‘Spain, Sit and Talk.’ (Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images)

Francisco Sanchez, a 60-year-old mechanic, was outside Camp Nou hours before the match. He did not have a ticket, but was one of several protesters who distributed small blue banners with the message urging Spain to begin a dialogue.

“I hope this movement will make our leaders realize that they have to lay off the law and start taking,” he said. “This can’t be solved with violence, but through words.”

Miguel Angel Gimenez, a 42-year-old policeman in a Barcelona shirt and scarf, drove with a friend over 700 kilometres from the southern region of Murcia to attend the match.

“Our friends back home told us we were crazy to cross half of Spain to go to a game that might not be played,” he said, adding that “everything is quite calm. There is lots of security.”

The U.S. Consulate in Barcelona advised people to avoid the area or use caution if near it.

Henrik Noerrelund, a 55-year-old electrician from Denmark, flew in with his wife to attend his first Barcelona match after a lifetime supporting the club.

“In my parts, they used to say politics and football don´t mix, but today you have to accept it,” Noerrelund said. “It’s there, you cannot separate it, you have seen it for many years, and I don’t think they can manage to separate it and just play football.”

Rivalry with political undercurrent

Separatist sentiment grew sharply in Catalonia during the global recession that hit Spain hard. The 7.5 million residents of Catalonia are about equally divided by the secession question, according to polls and election results.

Separatists have used the Camp Nou stadium as a protest platform for years. They shout “Independence!” at a set time during matches and sometimes unfurl banners.


Officers clash with protesters during a demonstration called by Catalan separatist movement Democratic Tsunami. Twelve people were injured as police charged hundreds of masked protesters who set garbage bins on fire. (Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images)

The Barcelona team has walked a fine line between supporting its fans’ right to free expression and aligning itself with the greater interests of Catalonia. Many feel it does not fully support secession so as not to anger its Catalan fans who are not separatists or its millions of supporters across Spain.

With its slogan “More than a club,” it presents itself as a Catalan institution, aligned with the region’s proud cultural traditions and language, which is spoken along with Spanish in the semi-autonomous region.

Its rivalry with Real Madrid has a decades-old political undercurrent, with many Catalans seeing the capital’s team as a symbol of domineering, central power and a hallmark of Spanish unity and authority.

Madrid supporters, in turn, see Barcelona as representing a traitorous region that wants to break up Spain. For many years, some Barcelona fans held up a massive banner at games that read “Catalonia is not Spain.”

Players from both teams usually get along. The Spanish national team that won the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships was packed with players from both sides.


A protester waves an Estelada flag next to a burning garbage container. (Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images)

Security is always high whenever they play — just like at many soccer matches between fierce rivals — but there is no history of violence at the games.

Tsunami Democratic carried out its first major action in October when it organized a large protest after several of the secession movement’s leaders were sentenced to jail for their role in a failed secession bid in 2017.

A call by Tsunami Democratic led to thousands of angry protesters gathering at Barcelona’s airport. A street battle broke out between the most radical protesters and police inside and outside the terminal, and about 150 flights were cancelled as ground transport was halted for hours. Protests by separatists left more than 500 people injured, half of them police.

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