Luis Díaz lifted his Liverpool jersey to reveal a T-shirt with the words “Libertad Para Papa” (“Freedom for Papa”) after scoring a late equalizer Sunday in his first appearance for the team since his parents were kidnapped in his native Colombia.
Díaz bundled home a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to earn Liverpool a 1-1 draw at Luton in the Premier League and immediately sent a message for his father, who is still missing after the kidnapping by a guerrilla group, National Liberation Army, known as ELN.
Both of Díaz’s parents were taken by gunmen on motorbikes in the small Colombian town of Barrancas last weekend, though his mother was rescued within hours by police.
Díaz returned to training on Thursday after missing two Liverpool games and said he was ready to play against Luton, with manager Jürgen Klopp selecting him on the bench. He came on in the 83rd and spared Liverpool from the embarrassment of losing to one of the Premier League’s weakest teams, with his goal off Harvey Elliott’s cross appearing to come off his shoulder.
“It’s a wonderful moment,” Klopp said, “but it doesn’t change the situation. The most important thing is that his father gets released.”
Díaz was embraced by Luton’s players and his own teammates on the field after the game.
Tahith Chong looked like being the match-winner for Luton, converting a finish at the end of an 80th-minute counterattack that came after a Liverpool corner.
It would have been a statement win for Luton in its first ever season in the Premier League, the kind of result its fans can only have dreamed of 10 years ago when the team was playing in English soccer’s non-leagues and facing financial ruin.
“Immensely proud of the whole club tonight,” Luton manager Rob Edwards said. “We pushed a top, top team all the way and we can take a lot of confidence from that.
It could have been a spectacular save by Emi Martínez. In the end, the Argentina goalkeeper made a big error. Aston Villa was already trailing 1-0 to Nottingham Forest when Martínez attempted to save midfielder Orel Mangala’s long-range shot with his outstretched left hand. He only succeeded in palming the ball back toward goal and over the line in the 47th minute. That added to the fifth-minute opener by fullback Ola Aina from outside the area as Forest won 2-0 to extend its unbeaten record at the City Ground to eight league matches. Villa’s six-match unbeaten run came to an end. A win could have lifted Unai Emery’s team into the top four.
Bristol bags first WSL win
Arsenal’s Stina Blackstenius came off the bench to score a late winner as her side beat Manchester City 2-1 in the Women’s Super League on Sunday, while Bristol City notched up its first win of the season with a thrilling 3-2 victory over West Ham United. Manchester City, which slipped to second place in the standings after Chelsea’s 6-0 thrashing of Aston Villa on Saturday, came into the game on a fine run of form but they fell behind when Steph Catley put the Gunners ahead in the 14th minute. Everton’s Aurora Galli scored from the spot in the 85th minute to give her side a 1-1 draw away to Tottenham Hotspur, while Liverpool’s excellent start to the season continued with a 2-1 win over Leicester City. There was drama in the late kickoff as Guro Bergsvand scored her first goal for Brighton & Hove Albion to give it a late lead over Manchester United but Rachel Williams struck deep into second-half stoppage time to snatch a 2-2 draw for the Red Devils.
With a report from Reuters