Manchester City v Wigan Athletic - Premier League

Carlos Tevez strike leaves Wigan empty-handed at Manchester City

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Both teams played like sides coming off a weekend cup semifinal, but when either Manchester City or Wigan were able to put something together Wednesday at Eastlands, it was usually the Latics that were threatening to go in front. Four days after securing their first FA Cup final in club history, the only thing that kept Wigan from the three points were Joe Hart and an off-the-line clearance from Joleon Lescott. Despite Wigan creating almost all the match’s over the first 80 minutes, the game looked destined to end 0-0.

Then Carlos Tévez, in the 83rd minute, got a ball at the edge of Wigan’s area. He danced around one defender, cut inside another, and was finally able to create the type of chance City had eschewed all night. With a right-footed blast from 14 yards out, Tévez beat Joel Robles high at the left (near) post, giving City three points where they deserved none. Wigan fell, 1-0.

Before kickoff, Roberto Martínez shouldn’t have expected anything from Eastlands, but that’s poor consolation when your team’s left empty-handed, particularly when you’re sitting in 18th place. Coming into today’s match, the embattled Latics could placate themselves knowing the three points that separated them from 17th place Aston Villa could be made up with their two matches in hand. But now, with only one game to make up on their relegation rivals, Wigan’s left the rue what should have been. Soccer’s often a game of undeserved results, but you don’t expect to be reminded of such paradox when you need points the most.

Wigan’s still not in terrible shape, as relegation fights go. They’re still 18th, still three points back, but they’re chasing four teams who’ve volunteered for a scrap. Villa, Stoke City and Sunderland all have 34 points, while Norwich’s 35 comes with a troublesome goal difference (-21). All Martínez needs is for one of those teams to stumble (or in the case of Stoke and Norwich, continue their descent). If Wigan keeps playing like they have over the last five days, the Latics will catch somebody.

For Manchester City, the win leaves them seven points into second, and while it always seemed unlikely they’d let another team pass them, now the had enough room to kick it into neutral and coast across the finish line. After their big win on Sunday, City’s got the FA Cup final and little else.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.