By DAN KARELL
Colombia’s World Cup hopes hang in the balance as of Wednesday night.
AS Monaco’s record signing, Radamel Falcao, suffered what’s been reported as a “serious knee injury” during Monaco’s 3-0 Coupe de France victory against fourth division club Monts Or Azergues, with rumors abounding that the star forward could have suffered torn ligaments in the knee. Falcao was tackled from behind inside the box in the 40th minute by Monts Or Azergues’ Sonner Ertak and had to be stretchered off. Referee Philippe Kalt waived play on instead of awarding a penalty or a card to Ertak.
Following the match, players from both teams pledged their support for Falcao, though Ranieri said that the incident was the referee’s fault.
“If Falcao has a serious injury, it is the fault of the referee,” Ranieri told L’Equipe following the game. “It is not possible to let them play like that. When there are fouls, they must whistle. In case of hard fault, you must leave a yellow card and in case of second hard foul, a red. Tonight, I saw neither one nor the other.”
AS Monaco released a statement after the game saying that Falcao took a knock to the left knee and will undergo further tests in the coming days to determine the “exact nature of the injury.”
Here are some more stories from around the world of soccer:
SUNDERLAND KNOCK OUT MAN UNITED IN LEAGUE CUP PLAY
Like a Hollywood script, it was only right for a match played at a stadium nicknamed the “Theatre of Dreams” to go down to the final kick of the ball.
Following 120 minutes of soccer and nine penalty kicks, Manchester United right back Rafael stepped up and saw his final penalty kick saved by Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Manonne, sending the Black Cats to Wembley Stadium where they’ll face Manchester City in the League Cup final. The penalty kick shootout was only the final stage of drama after Man United’s Javier Hernandez scored in the final moments of the second half of extra time to level the aggregate at 3-3.
Man United tied the aggregate at 2-2 when Jonny Evans headed home from close range in the 37th minute, but try as they might, they weren’t able to avoid sending the game to extra time. In a game packed with end-to-end action, Sunderland were given a huge boost when Phil Bardsley hit a low-liner from outside the box that was misplayed by Man United goalkeeper David De Gea and in the net.
Chicharito Hernandez responded two minutes later to send the match into penalty kicks. Both teams struggled to deal with the pressure as seven out of a total 10 penalty kicks were either saved or fired over the bar. Darren Fletcher was the only Man United player to score, while Marcus Alonso and Ki Sung-Yung scored for Sunderland.
CHELSEA ACCEPT MAN UNITED BID FOR MATA
Manchester United fans can take solace that despite falling to Sunderland they’re closing in on the signing of Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata.
According to multiple reports in England, Chelsea have accepted a £37 million ($61.3 million) bid from Man United for the Spanish international. Mata has found himself consistently on the bench this season under Jose Mourinho and it’s reported that he’s hoping a regular place in the Man United lineup could help him once the World Cup comes around for him to make the Spain squad.
Mata is expected to undergo a medical either on Thursday or Friday and sign a four-year deal with Man United.
MESSI NOTCHES THREE ASSISTS ON MILESTONE DAY
Lionel Messi produced a fantastic display for FC Barcelona on a memorable night.
Making his 400th appearance in a Barcelona shirt, Messi started and assisted on all three of teammate Cristian Tello’s goals as Barcelona defeated Levante, 4-1, in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey quarterfinals. The next game that Messi plays will move him into the top-10 all time in Barcelona appearances.
Since returning to action for Barcelona on Jan. 8, Messi has been in world class form, scoring four goals in addition to the three assists on Wednesday.
A weakened Paris Saint-Germain were dumped out of the Coupe de France by Montpellier at home, despite a goal from Edinson Cavani. (REPORT)
Clarence Seedorf’s AC Milan also suffered a shock defeat in the San Siro, getting knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Udinese. (REPORT)
Carlos Vela scored once and assisted on another as Real Sociedad took a 3-1 aggregate lead in the Copa Del Rey over Racing Santander. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Worried for Falcao’s World Cup chances? How big of a defeat is Man United’s? Can Juan Mata change their fortunes in the league?
Share your thoughts below.