Most of the players are back from duties with their respective national teams, but Alexis Sanchez once again made the news, for all kinds of reasons!
Sanchez endured a mixed night on the international stage as he missed a penalty in Chile’s 4-1 friendly win over Honduras. The United forward missed a penalty on Saturday against Costa Rica, when his attempted ‘Panenka’ was saved by goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado via his legs, although he still went on to score in a game that Chile lost 3-2.
Spot-kick duties were handed to Arturo Vidal initially against Honduras, and he made no mistake from 12 yards out in the first half. But three minutes after he was replaced, Chile won another penalty which Sanchez took. This time, the attacker went to his left, only for Luis Lopez to still save it, but the former Arsenal man was on hand to convert the follow-up. Chile were then awarded a third penalty six minutes from time, and although Sanchez was still on the pitch, Nicolas Castillo took this one and scored. Sanchez’s two strikes during the international break have taken his total to 42 for Chile, extending his record as the country’s all-time marksman.
Sergio Romero was left on the bench as Argentina beat Mexico 2-0 in a friendly in Mendoza, while Antonio Valencia did not have any involvement in Ecuador’s 2-1 win in Panama, despite scoring against Peru on Friday night. Scott McTominay was a late call-up to the Scotland squad but still won his fourth and fifth caps over the international break. After playing for 30 minutes in Albania on Saturday, he came on three minutes from time in Scotland’s 3-2 win over Israel at Hampden Park on Tuesday, which secured top spot in their Nations League group.
Nemanja Matic was also absent for Serbia on Tuesday night, with the midfielder not named in their squad for the 4-1 Nations League win over Lithuania. The defensive enforcer had played 90 minutes against Montenegro on Saturday. Victor Lindelof notched his second international goal with the opener in Sweden’s 2-0 victory over Russia in Stockholm on Tuesday, a result that saw them gain promotion to League A of the Nations League for 2020. The defender was used for just 45 minutes against Turkey on Saturday due to illness.
Eric Bailly did not make Ivory Coast’s draw with Guinea on Saturday in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, while David De Gea played in Spain’s 3-2 defeat to Croatia last Thursday, but was then an unused substitute in the friendly against Bosnia on Sunday night, while Jesse Lingard scored a goal each for England against USA and Croatia. Marcus Rashford also featured in both games, but Luke Shaw did not feature. Dean Henderson also played for England Under-21s on Tuesday night. The United goalkeeper, on loan at Sheffield United, played the full 90 minutes in the Young Lions’ 5-1 success in Denmark.
Most of the United players have had a good workout during the international break, and despite Sanchez missing two penalties, the goals should give him confidence ahead of a busy festive schedule for United where all hands will be needed on deck, and the Chilean could be one of the most important players in that respect!