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July 22, 2009 > Club America nips Inter Milan in PKs

Club America nips Inter Milan in PKs

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By William Mancebo

In the inaugural World Football Challenge, Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto played host to the first game of the seven-day tour, featuring Serie A (Italy's premier club league) powerhouse Internazionale versus Club America of the Mexican soccer league on Sunday, July 19.

Ninety minutes was not enough to decide a winner in this contest, sending the game into a penalty shootout.

In the shootout, Club America was able to put in all five of their attempts by Inter keeper Vid Belec. Inter was not denied by Club America's keeper Armando Navarrette during the shoot out, but Patrick Vieira missed high on Inter's fourth kick in the shootout.

Daniel Marquez missed his kick on Club America's fourth shot just after Vieira's had missed. However, the referee hadn't blown the whistle for Marquez to kick, giving him a second opportunity, which he buried in the top right corner; and after Nicholas Burdisso scored on Inter's fifth try, Oscar Rojas put in his club's fifth shot, and secured the win.

"I'm very happy with the win. It's very important for the preparation, looking forward to the season (Primera Division)," said Club America Head Coach Jesus Ramirez through a translator. "My guys played very smart, especially against a very tough team such as Inter."

In the opening half, both sides came out looking to maintain possession and feel each other out, playing to a stalemate. While Inter controlled the majority of the play, Club America had the best two opportunities -- which both went awry.

First, in the 27th minute, Salvador Cabanas and Enrique Esqueda combined to weave through the Inter defense, with Esquesda tapping a shot wide of the net from just inside the 18-yard box; and in the 38th minute, Pavel Pardo drilled a free kick off the crossbar from 30 yards out.

Set pieces would determine both goals in regulation time -- one for each side, 10 minutes between the two.

Club America got on the board first, with halftime substitute Juan Carlos Silva volleying a corner from about 15-yards out into the right corner, behind Belec in the 51st minute.

"I was very impressed with the goal," said Ramirez. "Silva made a great shot."

Inter, in the 61st minute, earned themselves a corner, to which Mario Balotelli found Ivan Ramiro Cordoba, who calmly headed the ball into the side netting, tying the match at 1, where it would stay to the end of regulation.

Creative Artists Agency created this tournament, a six-city round-robin format, which runs from July 19-26 starting at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, and finishing up in the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Each team -- Chelsea FC (English Premier League), Club America, Inter and AC Milan (also of Serie A in Italy) -- earns three points for a victory in regulation. Should teams be tied at the end of regulation, there will be a penalty shootout to determine a winner. Two points are awarded to a penalty-shootout winner; one for the loser. Losing in regulation is zero points.

As a twist, each team will earn a point for each goal scored (up to three) in regulation play. All clubs will play each other one time; most accumulated points at the end of each team's third game is determined the champion.

Inter Milan will next take on Chelsea on Tuesday, July 21, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., at 8 p.m. local time; Club America will travel to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta where AC Milan awaits them for their Wednesday, July 22, match at 7 p.m. local time.

"It's been a busy week of training, we're very happy with how the game went and that no one was injured," said Inter Head Coach Jose Mourinho. "We've got two days to recover from this game, and we hope for a good game versus Chelsea."

For more information, visit the tournament's Web site at www.worldfootballchallenge.com.

Game notes: Yellow cards: Angel Reyna (Club America, 22nd); Aquivaldo Mosquera (Club America, 35th); Cristian Chivu (Inter Milan, 37th).Joaquin Martinez (Club America, 52nd); Patrick Vieira (Inter Milan, 75th); Mario Balotelli (Inter Milan, 79th); Enrique Esqueda (Club America, 80th). Red cards: Esqueda (Club America, 85th); Obi (Inter Milan, 87th).Substitutions: Mario Balotelli in for Sulley Muntari (Inter, 29th). Attendance, 31,026. Referees for the match: Baldomero Toledo, referee; Fabio Tovar and Frank Anderson, assistant referees; and Maurizio Laudani, fourth official.

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