Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City - Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Swansea City: Another Soldado conversion, another three points for Spurs (Video)

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For the second straight week, Tottenham drew a penalty near the hour mark. And for the second straight week, Roberto Soldado’s conversion was all Spurs needed to secure three points, their 1-0 victory over Swansea City leaving them 2-0-0 after today’s result at White Hart Lane.

Spurs won by the same score last week at Selhurt Park, getting another Soldado conversion to open the season with a 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace. Although André Villas-Boas’s team looked more convincing today, particularly in a first half where they were able to generate numerous chances through Kyle Walker, Spurs still failed to score from open play, their perfect record through two rounds belying their dependence on the referee’s whistle.

Today that whistle broke both ways. Andros Townsend appeared to exaggerate contact between himself and Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey ahead of Neil Swarbrick’s 56th minute whistle, while late in the first half, Spurs seemed to be denied a penalty when Swarbrick kindly spotted a Shelvey foul on Townsend outside the penalty area, though the contact appeared to take place in the box.

That controversy followed a first half where Spurs were the decidedly better side, with Walker creating chances for Paulinho and Moussa Dembele that could have resulted in goals. Each time, however, Michel Vorm (left) was in the right place, enveloping the Brazilian’s blast from the right of goal and tipping Dembele’s shot over from the left.

source: ReutersIn that way, today’s performance represented progress for Spurs, even if the result looks similar. For Swans, however, the team is without a point through two games, an while they played Spurs close on the road, it’d be a stretch to say they were hard done by the result.

Lineups

Tottenham: Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose; Etienne Capoue, Moussa Dembele (Gylfi Sigurdsson 64′), Paulinho; Andros Townsend (Sandro 88′), Roberto Soldado (Jermain Defoe 81′), Nacir Chadli. Unused substitutes: Brad Friedel, Kyle Naughton, Thomas Carrol, Younes Kaboul

Swansea: Michael Vorm; Angel Rangel, Chico Flores, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies; José Cañas; Jonathan de Guzman; Wayne Routledge (Álex Pozuelo 59′), Jonjo Shelvey (Wilfried Bony 69′); Pablo Hernandez; Michu. Unused substitutes: Ashley RIchards, Gerhard Tremmel, Jordi Amat, Leon Britton, Roland Lamah

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

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In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.

[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]

Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.

Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.

Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.