West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Swansea City: Swans secure first points of season (Video)

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The Swansea squad appears to finally have found a rhythem as they deservedly earned a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthornes.

Pablo Hernandez and Ben Davies were the goalscorers but it was a team effort for the Swans as the midfield dominated possession and they pumped the West Brom box with ball after ball.

The start to the match was slow, with West Brom grabbing the only real early chances off a corner around the 15th minute, forcing Michel Vorm into a few quality saves.

The ball went back and forth with little action until Hernandez gave the Swans the opportunity to put the ball goalbound with great work on the edge of the box, and the ball fell to Ben Davies who lashed home a venomous volley into the top corner for the first goal.

The Baggies played on the break following the goal in an attempt to level the score, and Swansea attacked with patience and skill.  However, Nicolas Anelka had a great chance against the run of play on the break in the 31st minute but dragged his shot across the goal and agonizingly wide of the far post by inches.

The Swansea defense was also very disciplined at the back in the first half, forcing West Brom to take frustrating shots from poor angles and crowded areas.

source: Getty ImagesThe second half passing from both teams was poor early on, but Swansea still looked more dangerous than what West Brom had to offer.  Michu received a yellow card for a scuffle with Claudio Yacob.

Bony had a great chance to double the lead off a cross from Hernandez, but he whiffed with the header, and Jose Canas’s shot on the follow up play was blocked.  Later, the 70th minute saw a beautiful ball played through to a breaking Wayne Routledge but his failure to pop off a shot quick enough meant Liam Ridgewell was able to get back and foil the chance.

Swansea continued to search for a second as Pablo Hernandez in the 82nd minute clipped the top of the crossbar with a shot after finding space on the ball at the top of the box.  They found that goal as Hernandez got what he was searching for just two minutes later.  Michu’s shot was saved by Myhill but it fell back to the midfielder, and he laid off the ball to Hernandez in front of goal and it was too easy for him with the keeper on the ground.

Lineups:

West Brom – Boaz Myhill; Jonas Olsson, Liam Ridgewell, Gareth McAuley, Billy Jones; Claudio Yacob (Markus Rosenburg, 75′), James Morrison (Graham Dorrans, 45′), Youssuf Mulumbu; Shane Long, Scott Sinclair (Saido Berahino, 75′); Nicolas Anelka.

Swansea City – Michel Vorm; Chico, Ashley Williams, Angel Rangel, Ben Davies; Jonjo Shelvey, Pablo, Wayne Routledge (Pozuelo, 71′), Jose Canas; Michu; Wilfried Bony (Jonathan De Guzman, 67′).

Highlights:

U-17 World Cup wrap: Ghana tops Niger, Brazil roasts Honduras

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The quarterfinals are set in the U-17 World Cup.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s Champions League wrap ]

With just two games left to decide, Wednesday proved quite decisive. In the early game, Ghana topped Niger 2-0 to advance into the quarterfinals where they will match up against another African nation in Mali, while Brazil had no trouble with Honduras in a comprehensive 3-0 win.


Ghana 2-0 Niger

Ghana struck twice, both in stoppage time of either half, and they move on to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 win over fellow African nation Niger. The Group A champions were always going to be favored, as they had topped the strong group to pick up a matchup with a third-placed team.

Eric Ayiah bagged a simple penalty in first-half stoppage time to put Ghana 1-0 up. The decision came after Ayiah was fouled by Farouk Idrissa in the area. Idrissa conceded a second penalty with four minutes to go in the match, but Ayiah’s effort for a brace was saved.

Ghana dominated the match, with 63% possession and 23 shots, including five on target, while holding Niger to zero shots on target. The favorites grabbed a deserved second goal in second-half stoppage time as Richard Danso struck an absolutely fabulous effort from outside the top of the box that crashed its way into the top-right corner.

Brazil 3-0 Honduras

Sao Paulo forward Brenner scored a brace, while young midfielder Marcos Antonio hit a third as Brazil breezed by Honduras. The Brazilians were clinical in front of net, bagging a 50% score rate with three goals on six shots on target. Honduras, meanwhile, managed just one shot on target in 10 attempts.

The pair of goals for Brenner gives him three, drawing him level with Lincoln for the most in the tournament for the Brazilians, and two off the tournament lead paced by Malian striker Lassana Ndiaye and France’s Amine Gouiri. Brazil will take on Germany in the quarterfinals, a heavyweight matchup for so early in the knockout round.

Follow Live: Chelsea, Manchester United in Champions League action

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Two more Premier League teams, both with high aspirations, steam towards the halfway point of group stage action in the 2017/18 Champions League.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Manchester United hits the road to Portugal to take on Benfica. The Red Devils with a win would move to a perfect nine points out of nine through the midway point of group stage play, almost assuring themselves of a place in the knockout round.

Chelsea could do the same, although their predicament looks slightly more bleak as injuries have ravaged the squad and given Antonio Conte pause as to how he will proceed. The Blues are in poor form after losing the last-placed Crystal Palace in league play over the weekend, and as they host Roma at Stanford Bridge, questions remain as to how Conte can replace the injured N'Golo Kante and Victor Moses.

[ MORE: How will Chelsea lineup after injuries? ]

Elsewhere, Paris Saint-Germain heads to Belgium to take on Anderlecht, while Bayern Munich hosts Brendan Rodgers and Celtic. Atletico Madrid has an early kick on the road at Azerbaijan giants Qarabag.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ] 

All games kick at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise noted.


Wednesday’s UCL games

Group A
Benfica vs. Manchester United
CSKA Moscow vs. FC Basel

Group B
Anderlecht vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Bayern Munich vs. Celtic

Group C
Qarabag vs. Atletico Madrid (12:00 p.m. ET)
Chelsea vs. AS Roma

Claudio Reyna eviscerates US Soccer as “arrogant” and “obnoxious”

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Former USMNT captain Claudio Reyna has come out guns blazing after the Americans failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, repeatedly condemning the mentality of the coaches and players in the wake of the debacle.

Speaking to Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep, the usually hushed NYCFC Sporting Director put the USMNT on blast during his lengthy chat. “You travel to Spain, Argentina, Germany,” Reyna said, “and you run into coaches and sporting directors and there’s a humility about their work that doesn’t exist here, and that’s, for me, seeing it, is to me a big concern.”

“When you have a disappointment like last week, and we’ve had past disappointments as well, and we’ll have disappointments in the future, but what we need to understand that it’s for me behavioral.”

Reyna, who garnered 112 caps during his time with the US National Team as a midfielder, questioned the advancement of the game in the United States, looking to differentiate an increase in popularity from headway on the field. “What I think has happened in the past 10 years is we’re confusing investment, expansion, growth, and all these other things with progress,” Reyna said. “All these things have sort of created a feeling that we’re progressing, but I call it expanding, growth and more fans. From the general growth side it’s happening, but are we really progressing? When I look around at certain levels I don’t see progress happening.”

The 44-year-old eventually let the heads of the federation have it, saying nothing will improve no matter who is in charge unless the mentality of those at the helm changes. “People are sitting together and thinking about strategies and how we’re going to get better,” Reyna said. “We need a little humility and modesty at the table. Unfortunately we have a little too much ‘Mr. I Know Everything’, ‘Mr. Arrogance’, ‘Mr. Obnoxious’, ‘Mr. Loud’, and when those get together nothing happens.”

Before finishing out his chat with Goal, Reyna made sure to point out that the country has quality players at its disposal, and that it’s on the federation to develop them and pull the best out of them, or else the disappointments will continue.

“There’s a lot of positives despite the disappointing result that we had last week,” Reyna said. “I think we’re all embarrassed. I’m embarrassed as a former player that I have to go around and have people make fun of us, and get texts from my friends in Europe who remind me we’ll be on [vacation] next summer. I can laugh, but it hurts. It definitely hurts.”

De Bruyne on Silva spat: “I also get into some arguments with my wife”

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With Manchester City in total control of their Champions League match against Napoli at halftime, leading 2-0 and outshooting the visitors 11-4, it seemed all was right at the Etihad.

But then, as the players went down the tunnel for the break, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva were arguing, with the Belgian furious for some undisclosed reason. A closer inspection shows that de Bruyne actually had gone after the fourth official first, and instead, the captain Silva had stepped in, which angered de Bruyne further. Eventually, the players headed down the tunnel, and City would end up edging out a 2-1 victory.

But what happened at halftime? Is there discontent in the Manchester City locker room?

Afraid not. “I think we had a little discussion,” de Bruyne told reporters in street clothes after the match. “There’s nothing wrong, after one minute that is over. At home I also get into some arguments with my wife, I think it’s normal. I think this is necessary. But now everything is ok, it’s just what happens sometimes.”

It’s most likely that de Bruyne was angry about the penalty called in the 38th minute which Dries Mertens saw saved. The foul was given on Kyle Walker for pulling down Raul Albiol down from behind. With de Bruyne incensed, it was on Silva to keep his stellar attacking midfielder from finding himself in hot water.