Javier Hernandez led the Reds in international action by getting on the scoresheet for Mexico in their 2-0 win against Serbia.
The scoreline flattered the Mexicans and the United striker was given a rough ride by defenders Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksander Kolarov. Chicharito was an inch away from supplying a touch to Carlos Salcido’s cross that found the net anyway for an early opener.
After City’s Kolarov was sent off for another foul on the striker, pushing him inside the box, there was a flare-up involving Hernandez as he was jostled by the bruising opponents. When the fuss died down, the unflappable hitman calmly scored from the spot with two minutes remaining.
In the Euro 2012 play-offs, Republic of Ireland have one foot in the Euro 2012 finals after an emphatic 4-0 triumph away to Estonia. Darron Gibson didn’t make the bench but both he and Under-21 starlet Robbie Brady will hope to be in the squad for next summer’s finals in Ukraine and Poland, providing Giovanni Trapattoni’s men complete the job in Dublin.
Nani won his 50th cap for Portugal in a 0-0 draw away to Bosnia-Herzegovina that keeps things on a knife-edge going into the second leg on Tuesday.
Antonio Valencia earned praise from the local media for his performance but Ecuador slipped to a 2-1 reverse in Paraguay in a World Cup qualifier. The midfielder was reportedly “outstanding” and the “engine” of his team and helped set up the Tri’s late goal.
On the friendly front, Darren Fletcher captained Scotland to a 2-1 success in Cyprus, although he was substituted after 63 minutes in Larnaca.
Anders Lindegaard didn’t see in any action in Denmark’s 2-0 friendly win over Sweden but Mame Biram Diouf scored the fourth goal for Senegal in their 4-1 crushing of Guinea. Fabio came off at half-time in Brazil’s 2-0 victory over Gabon on Friday.