Tim Howard the hero as Everton beat Juventus in San Francisco

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It’s only preseason. But anytime you beat reigning Italian champions Juventus, it must feel pretty good.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez will be pleased as his side sealed a 6-5 win on penalties against Juve following a 1-1 tie in regulation.

Martinez continues his overhaul of the Toffees during their preseason tour of the US, as they compete in the International Champions Cup.

US national team goalkeeper Tim Howard read the script and played the hero at AT&T Park, diving to his left to save Federico Peluso’s penalty kick and hand Everton a match against LA Galaxy or Real Madrid who play in Phoenix this evening.

Back to Everton vs. Juventus, and youngster John Stones was a cheeky chap in the penalty shootout as he coolly completed a ‘Panenka’ penalty made famous by Juventus captain Andrea Pirlo… just after Pirlo had missed his spot kick.

But chipped penalties and Howard’s heroics aside, this was the first real opportunity to see how Martinez could set up Everton this season. And it looks as though a new formation will reign supreme at Goodison Park.

Ladies and gentleman, please welcome, the 3-4-3.

Everton’s new identity and attacking philosophy under Martinez should be in stark contrast to the rigid formations used by David Moyes for much of his time in charge. Martinez often prefers having three at the back and mixes up variations of the 3-5-2 and 3-4-3.

(MORE: Chelsea, Everton, Juventus, Real Madrid and other bring ICC Stateside)

Last night, Everton lined up with Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and youngster John Stones as the three central defenders. Leighton Baines played on the left of midfield, while Seamus Coleman played on the right. In midfield Darron Gibson and Marouane Fellaini were the central duo with Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar out wide to support Victor Anichebe as the lone front man.

This system is flexible and allows plenty of Everton’s best players to interchange and adopt different roles. For example if Fellaini wants to shift forward and support Anichebe, then either Baines or Coleman can slot into the middle and Pienaar or Mirallas can slot back into a midfield position.

Wigan played creative, exciting and open soccer under Martinez and it seems as though he will continue that mantra in his new job at Everton.

Okay, last night was only a friendly. But we gained plenty of knowledge on how Everton will set up to play in the Premier League this season.

Exciting times and exciting soccer are on the horizon for the Everton faithful.

“Proud” hat trick hero Kane raves at shorthanded Spurs win

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This could’ve gone much worse for Spurs.

Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen were suspended, and Christian Eriksen was sick.

[ RECAP: APOEL 0-3 Spurs ]

Never mind all that: Harry Kane was healthy, and scored three goals as Spurs kept pace with group mates Real Madrid in filing a 3-0 win at APOEL Nicosia in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Kane said he was very proud of the side’s performance, as youngster Anthony Georgiou and seldom-used Georges-Kevin N’Koudou put in shifts in the win. From the BBC:

“We weren’t pleased with the first-half and a couple of chances could have gone the other way. We were more clinical and in the Champions League that is what you have got to be.

“We are missing a few players but the lads who stepped in were fantastic. We have a solid squad and you have to be ready. 3-0 away in the Champions League no matter who you play is a good result.”

Kane has 11 goals in September between club and country, and has six hat tricks in 2017. There may not be a finer big striker firing in Europe right now, and both England and Spurs will hope to ride him well into 2018.

Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool: Frustrated Reds come back for point

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A point from far from home is not the end of the world, but Liverpool will rue its missed chances in a 1-1 draw at Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Goalkeeper Artyom Rebrov had a stellar day for Spartak before being injured and then replaced by Aleksandr Selikhov, who was also strong for the Russians.

Fernando (not that one) scored a free kick for Spartak, while Philippe Coutinho bagged the equalizer that keeps the Reds ahead of Spartak on goal difference. Both sides are three points behind Sevilla.

Liverpool visits Maribor on Oct. 17, while Spartak will host Sevilla.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]  

Roberto Firmino saw a promising header saved, and Brazilian attack partner Philippe Coutinho cleared a launch pad for countryman Fernando with a needless foul minutes later.

The 25-year-old ex-Sampdoria man that curled a free kick over the wall, and not too near to a post. Loris Karius was too slow to move, and the ball found its way to the back of the net. 1-0.

Sadio Mane was lively as usual, and let fly with a low drive for Spartak backstop Rebrov to collect inside the six.

Coutinho made amends with a solidly struck equalizer just after the half-hour mark, working a 1-2 with Mane and lacing a shot beyond the hopes of Rebrov.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Spartak wasn’t sleeping to start the second half, and both Karius and his Russian counterpart Rebrov had work to do early.

Rebrov needed to be substituted following a collision with Mohamed Salah and long delay. A Man of the Match candidate, would the goalkeeper swap tilt the scales?

Manchester City 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk: KDB pulls the strings

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A Man of the Match performance from Kevin De Bruyne was just enough to send Man City past plucky Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

David Silva assisted De Bruyne’s second half goal, and Bernardo Silva set up Raheem Sterling for the second just before time.

Alone in first, City will host Napoli on Oct. 17 while Shakhtar is off to Feyenoord.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]  

Kevin De Bruyne set Sergio Aguero up for a chance that was well-covered by Shakhtar backstop Andriy Pyatov.

De Bruyne had the best chance of the first half, working himself into a “Surely” position only to miss his mark with a shot and leave the match scoreless.

At the other end, Ederson made an excellent save on Marlos.

Fittingly, De Bruyne helped set himself up for the opener, winning the ball and working a 1-2 with David Silva to finish with style.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Leroy Sane won a penalty for City, but Sergio Aguero’s tame effort was saved. At the other end, John Stones was directing traffic when a ball hit his arm. No call from the officials.

APOEL Nicosia 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur: Kane nets hat trick

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Cyprus has been kind to Harry Kane.

The English striker scored thrice for Spurs, who join group mates Real Madrid on six points after a 3-0 win at APOEL Nicosia in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

The Bernabeu is next for Spurs, an Oct. 17 date with 2-0 Real Madrid, while APOEL will host Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]  

Hugo Lloris flubbed an early clearance and was fortunate to see the back-bounding ball dribble wide of his left post.

Carlao could’ve given APOEL a surprise lead close to halftime but headed wide of the net from within 10 yards.

Kane nearly added an assist to his ledger at the start of the second half, but Son Heung-min just missed his effort wide of the frame.

He scored another goal anyway, and another one. Moussa Sissoko set Kane up for the second of the night, a relatively simple finish for the striker, and Kane completed his trio of goals when he headed Kieran Trippier‘s cross home.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]