Fagundez

Revs look to make it three straight today against the Galaxy

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The New England Revolution look to extend their two match winning streak today when they welcome the LA Galaxy to Gillette Stadium.

The Revs (4-4-4, 16 points) come into the match winners of their last two in the league and their last three overall. The two league wins came by virtue of a pair of 2-0 victories against Houston and Toronto, with Diego Fagundez (pictured) and Juan Agudelo each scoring in both contests. The victories put New England 7th in the Eastern Conference table, just one point behind Columbus and three points adrift of Philadelphia.

Jay Heaps’ men continued their fine form this past Wednesday when they smashed the Rochester Rhino’s 5-1 in US Open Cup action. Kelyn Rowe scored twice and Andy Dorman, Jerry Bengtson and Chad Barrett also added goals.

The Galaxy (6-4-2, 20 points) enter the match on a one game winning streak after putting four past Seattle Sounders in a shutout victory at The Home Depot Center. Robbie Keane led Los Angeles with a hat-trick and an assist on Sean Franklin’s goal, which opened the scoring after only 12 minutes. The victory provided Los Angeles with some reassurances following their 1-0 loss to New York Red Bulls on May 19th, moving Bruce Arena’s men to fourth in the Western Conference, on 20 points from 12 matches.

Just as things looked to be improving, however, the Galaxy were blanked 2-0 by the Carolina Railhawks in US Open Cup action at WakeMed Soccer Park on Wednesday night. The NASL side’s goals came just after the hour mark through Brian Shriver and Austin da Luz.

It will be all to play for today as this is the only meeting of the season between the two clubs. They’ve done battle 36 times in the past, with the Revolution claiming 14 victories and the Galaxy 16 while six have ended up as draws. Nine of those 14 victories for the Revs have come in Foxborough, where the Galaxy have only claimed all three points on six occasions.

Last year when these two sides met in Los Angeles it was New England coming away with the 3-1 victory, putting an end to three straight winless meetings with the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. If Arena’s side is to come up with the win today they’ll have to do it without hat-trick hero Keane, who is away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, as well as Omar Gonzalez, who is away with the U.S. Men’s National Team, and Oscar Sorto, who is on duty with the U.S. Under 20’s. Jack McBean is also out with a fractured clavical.

For the Revs, international duty won’t be claiming any of the players but Kevin Alston (illness), Dimitry Imbongo (groin), Clyde Simms (knee), and Donnie Smith (hamstring) are all out while Ryan Guy (calf) is questionable to feature.

The match kicks off at 4:30pm on the NBC Sports Network, directly following ESPN’s coverage of the friendly match between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Germany.

OTHER NOTES

  • Fagundez, New England first-ever Home Grown Player, has been on fire of late, scoring in each of the last three consecutive games, the first Revs player to accomplish the feat since Saer Sene in May 2012.
  • Chris Tierney has come into his own as a wing back of late, recording two assists in the last three matches.
  • Saer Sene earned his first assist last match as he came off the bench for the seventh time in eight matches.
  • The Galaxy have scored four goals three times this season – last week against Seattle, the week prior against Philadelphia and on opening day against Chicago.
  • Robbie Rogers made his Galaxy debut against Seattle, entering the match in the 77th minute. Rogers was acquired from Chicago on a swap deal for Mike Magee.
  • Galaxy Home Grown player Gyasi Zardes made his first MLS start against Seattle and was dangerous the entire match, earning his side a penalty.

Watch: Scott Sinclair nets stunning curler in Celtic victory

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Celtic is enjoying another fine campaign in Scotland, and much of the team’s success can be attributed to the play of Scott Sinclair.

[ MORE: Burkina Faso, Cameroon progress at AFCON 2017 ]

The Englishman was at it again on Sunday during Celtic’s 3-0 Scottish Cup win over Albion Rovers when the 27-year-old curled an absolutely sublime effort into the top corner for the game’s opening goal.

The finish, Sinclair’s 13th of the season in all competitions, came after the winger picked up the ball on the left side of the Albion penalty area. Sinclair then proceeded to slot his dipping shot just under the bar and into the far post.

Celtic now moves on to the fifth round of this season’s tournament, joining the likes of Rangers and Aberdeen. In addition to the team’s success in the competition, the Bhoys have yet to lose a match in the Scottish Premier League this campaign (19 W, 1 D).

La Liga & Serie A: Sevilla avoids Osasuna upset, Barcelona cruises

EIBAR, SPAIN - JANUARY 22:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona competes for the ball with Ander Capa (L) and Dani Garcia of SD Eibar during the La Liga match between SD Eibar and FC Barcelona at Ipurua stadium on January 22, 2017 in Eibar, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Eibar 0-4 Barcelona 

Four different goalscorers and three points has put Barcelona inches closer to Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, and it certainly was a complete effort for the Blaugrana. Denis Suarez gave Barca the lead ahead of halftime before Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar each netted in the second stanza to give Luis Enrique’s side a strangle hold on the match. Barca now sits just two points behind Real as the season nears its halfway point.

Meanwhile, Barca suffered a major loss during the match when Sergio Busquets was carted off the pitch after sustaining an ankle injury. Busquets left the game after receiving the brunt of a Gonzalo Escalante tackle in the eighth minute.

Osasuna 3-4 Sevilla

There were goals galore at the Estadio El Sadar, however, Osasuna remains at the bottom of La Liga despite their best efforts. The last place side led on two occasions against Sevilla, but a strong second half from the visitors allowed Los Rojiblancos to remain within a point of league leaders Real Madrid. Vicente Iborra recorded a brace for Sevilla, with goals on both sides of halftime, while Franco Vázquez and Pablo Sarabia also inked their names on the score sheet.

Athletic Bilbao 2-2 Atletico Madrid

Atleti went ahead early on against Bilbao, but Diego Simeone’s men needed a late Antoine Griezmann finish to earn a point on Sunday. Koke struck inside of three minutes to give Madrid the early advantage before goals from Íñigo Lekue and Oscar de Marcos gave Bilbao the lead. Atletico has now fallen eight points behind Real Madrid, while Bilbao sits seventh on 29 points.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 0-0 Sporting Gijon
Real Sociedad 1-0 Celta Vigo


Juventus 2-0 Lazio

Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain each found the back of the net early on for Juventus and Massimiliano Allegri’s side never looked back from there. After scoring in the fifth and 16th minutes, respectively, the Bianconeri remain atop of Serie A after picking up the team’s 16th win on the season. Lazio remains fourth following the defeat, now sitting eight points behind the league leaders.

Roma 1-0 Cagliari

Edin Dzeko netted his 14th league goal of season for Roma on Sunday en route to the team’s fifth consecutive victory in all competitions. The win sees Roma move to within a point of Juventus at the top of Italy’s top flight, however, the Bianconeri currently hold a game in hand. Meanwhile, Cagliari sits 11th in Serie A on 26 points.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Bologna 2-0 Torino
Empoli 1-0 Udinese
Genoa 2-2 Crotone
Palermo 0-1 Inter Milan
Pescara 1-3 Sassuolo
Atalanta 1-0 Sampdoria

AFCON wrap: Burkina Faso tops Group A, Cameroon also through

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 29:  Bertrand Traore of Ajax is chalenged by Darwin Andrade of Standard Liege during the UEFA Europa League group G match between AFC Ajax and  R. Standard de Liege at the Amsterdam Arena on September 29, 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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One down, three to go.

Two nations advanced out of Group A on Sunday, and neither of the spots were held by the tournament’s hosts.

[ MORE: All AFCON 2017 coverage ]

Cameroon 0-0 Gabon

Hosts Gabon needed a victory to reach the final eight, however, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and co. struggled mightily to break down the Cameroonian backline.

The Panthers failed to manage a shot on target on Sunday, while Cameroon — who finishes second in Group A — recorded a shot goalward just once.

Cameroon will likely face Senegal in the knockout phase after the Lions of Teranga locked up a spot in the next round.

Guinea-Bissau 0-2 Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso topped the group based on goal differential after an early own goal and Bertrand Traore added a second after halftime.

Rudinilson Silva was caught in an uncomfortable position after 11 minutes when the Guinea-Bissau defender put the ball into his own net. From there, Traore doubled the advantage for Burkina Faso after finishing off a Prejuce Nakoulma pass.

The Stallions will face the runner up of Group B, currently Tunisia, in the quarterfinals.

Group A table (* indicates teams that advanced)

*Burkina Faso (5 points, +2 GD)
*Cameroon (5 pts., +1 GD)
Gabon (3 pts., 0 GD)
Guinea-Bissau (1 pt., -3 GD)

Monday’s AFCON schedule

Senegal vs. Algeria — 11 a.m. ET
Zimbabwe vs. Tunisia — 2 p.m. ET

Henry bashes Arsenal’s Xhaka after second red card of season

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22:  Granit Xhaka (2nd R) of Arsenal talks to Steven Defour (1st R) of Burnley before shown a red card during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Burnley at the Emirates Stadium on January 22, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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It’s become a trend, albeit one that the Gunners certainly aren’t too fond of. Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka was sent off for the second time this season and while his side did manage to hold on to three points, the Swiss international has quickly made a name for himself in England for all the wrong reasons.

[ MORE: Arsene Wenger apologizes for sending off ]

Xhaka, 24, was dismissed in the second half of Sunday’s 2-1 win over Burnley after making a rash challenge on Clarets midfielder Steven Defour in the 65th minute.

[ MORE: Gunners up to second place after handling Burnley ]

Former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry sounded off on Xhaka’s latest dismissal following the match, calling out the midfielder for his lack of discipline.

“It’s not the first time. He did the same thing against Swansea,” Henry told Sky Sports. “This one I just don’t get it. Against Swansea it was a counter. Here, he gives the ball cheaply away.

“Why are you doing that 60 yards away from your goal, 25 minutes to go, you’re in control of the game? You misplace a pass. So what? Stay on your feet.

“As soon as you do that, the rules say it’s a red. Is it worse than [Marcos] Rojo who didn’t get a red? No. But the rule says both feet off the ground, it’s a red.”

Since the beginning of 2015, Xhaka has been shown red cards on six occasions dating back to the midfielder’s time with German club Borussia Monchengladbach, and including appearances for both club and country.

Xhaka’s suspension will keep him out of Arsenal’s next three matches, including home fixtures with Watford and Hull and a difficult road visit to Chelsea.