MLS

MLS: Joveljic's Galaxy salvage late point in six-goal El Trafico thriller against LAFC

By Sports Desk August 28, 2021

Dejan Joveljic scored twice and Kevin Cabral netted a last-gasp equaliser as LA Galaxy salvaged a dramatic 3-3 draw against rivals Los Angeles FC in El Trafico.

LAFC led 2-1 and then 3-2 heading into the 86th minute but Cabral's late heroics earned a share of the points for the Galaxy in an MLS thriller on Saturday.

Signed from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt this month, Serbia international Joveljic – experiencing his first El Trafico derby – broke the deadlock in the 20th minute.

LAFC – who had lost a club record four consecutive matches as part of their record seven-match winless run heading into the fixture – were back on level terms courtesy of Cristian Arango's penalty on the stroke of half-time.

A moment of brilliance from Brian Rodriguez in the 58th minute gave LAFC a 2-1 lead, his stunning individual run evaded several Galaxy defenders before lashing home.

LAFC and the Galaxy traded goals as Jovejlic struck again in the 64th minute before Rodriguez restored the former's lead just two minutes later.

However, there was to be late drama – Cabral pounced on Araujo's cross and scored in front of a stunned home crowd.

The Galaxy are fourth in the Western Conference, six points behind leaders Seattle Sounders and 12 points clear of ninth-placed LAFC.

Elsewhere, Eastern Conference leaders New England Revolution were beaten 2-0 by New York City, who were fuelled by Valentin Castellanos' brace.

New York City equalled the longest home winning streak in club history, having also enjoyed a seven-game run from November 2017 to June 2018.

Nashville celebrated their first away victory of the season after taking down Atlanta United 2-0, DC United came from behind to defeat Philadelphia Union 3-1, Chicago Fire edged New York Red Bulls 1-0, Minnesota United topped Houston Dynamo 2-1 and Sporting Kansas City drew 1-1 with Colorado Rapids.

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    Maximilian Wittek's second-half strike was enough to see Thomas Letsch's dominant outfit past a sorry Spurs, who have won just two of their last eight away games in Europe.

    The midfielder's left-footed half-volley also ended Tottenham's five-game unbeaten run in the Netherlands in the 21st century, while they remain winless in 2021-22 on the road across three games in European competition.

    Head coach Nuno, who opted to rest Son Heung-min and Harry Kane for the trip to Arnhem, refused to lament his side's performance as he pointed towards a busy schedule requiring rotation of his squad.

    "It was a tough match. I think we competed well. In terms of attack, I think we should finish the actions better. Some combinations were missing," the Spurs boss said.

    "I knew that the game was going to be tough. I am not here to judge the players, I am here to try and improve them. The analysis and the judgement we do it behind closed doors, like you can understand."

    Rennes sit top of Group G, five points clear of Spurs at the halfway point, while Vitesse sit in second on six points.

    However, Nuno appeared calm as he suggested his team can bounce back with their next three games in the competition as they look to make the knockout stages.

    "I think we have two games at home against Vitesse and Rennes, and then we have to play Mura. We can solve the situation of the group," Nuno said, before defending teenage forward Dane Scarlett who struggled against a three-man defence.

    "Dane is 17 years old. It is tough for him, but many of our players who are under 17 are not involved in first-team football," Nuno said. "Experience comes when he competes against top professionals like he did against Vitesse today."

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    Spurs had won just two of their last seven away games in European competition before Thursday and their struggles on the road showed in a timid opening 45-minute showing.

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    Nuno Espirito Santo's side, who rested Harry Kane entirely for the trip to Holland, were eventually made to pay for their lacklustre performance when Wittek drilled in from the edge of the area to end Spurs' unbeaten start in the competition and leave them third in Group G.

    Pierluigi Gollini smothered the first chance of the game as he raced out to deny Nikolai Baden Frederiksen before Jacob Rasmussen flicked narrowly wide following Wittek's corner.

    Nuno's side could not manage a shot on target in the first half but went in level at the break after Thomas Letsch's team failed to make the most of their control of proceedings.

    Spurs duly returned after the interval with greater attacking impetus, Bryan rattling the crossbar with a left-footed curler just two minutes into the second half.

    Eli Dasa then drove narrowly wide of the right-hand post before forcing another save from Gollini as Vitesse piled on the pressure just past the hour mark in a contest of limited opportunities.

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    Brazilian full-back Belletti spent three seasons at Camp Nou between 2004 and 2007, winning two LaLiga titles and scoring the winner in the 2006 Champions League final against Arsenal.

    He featured in four games against Los Blancos for the Blaugrana, winning one, losing one and drawing two.

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    "Most of the best players in the world are [at Barcelona and Real Madrid]," Belletti told Stats Perform. "So, just being involved is already special. Barca and [Real] Madrid have fans all over the world. We are aware of it as football players. And when we are not involved in El Clasico, whether we are from the football world or not, we are watching this game.

    "There is top quality football, there is big rivalry. There is so much history and it is something global. It is not only about LaLiga. That's why I believe the impact of the result of this game, winning or losing, is incredible. That's all what makes this Clasico special.

    "My first Barca v Madrid was at Camp Nou in 2004. We faced 'Los Galacticos' of Real Madrid. It was very special for me to be there at that time.

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    David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Brazilian striker Ronaldo were all in the Madrid team in that November 2004 game, with Samuel Eto'o, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Ronaldinho scoring for Barcelona.

    Belletti says those that feature in this weekend's game will already feel, with some justification, that they have made it in the game.

    "This sport is very competitive," Belletti said. "Reaching Barca or Real [Madrid] is a very high level, so demanding, a very hard-working culture. So, being there, you think: 'Oh my god, I did well. Now it is time to enjoy it.'"

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