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Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal: Ramsey double puts Gunners top (video)

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SUNDERLAND — Arsenal eventually eased to a 3-1 victory over Sunderland after dominating for large spells of the game at the Stadium of Light.

The Gunners took an early lead through Olivier Giroud but squandered several other chances to extend their advantage. They were made to pay for that as Sunderland equalized just after half time when Craig Gardner scored a penalty. But soon after Ramsey scored twice in quick succession to seal Arsenal’s win.

A lively home crowd made the game a spirited affair as Arsenal began to get their passing game going, with the Black Cats looking to hit Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher early.

However it was the away team who took the lead in the 10th minute as Mesut Ozil showed everyone why Arsenal spent $60million to sign him from Real Madrid. The German international beautifully teed up Giroud to sweep home from close range and put Arsenal 1-0 up.

Sunderland almost equalized straight away but Modibo Diakite’s 12th minute header cannoned off the bar.

Arsenal came close to adding a second goal twice, as Theo Walcott got in behind Jack Colback but fired his effort straight at Kieren Westwood on both occasions.

And Walcott could have had at least a hat trick as just before the half Wilshere chipped in a perfect cross to the back post but the England winger headed wide. Then shortly after Walcott was thwarted again by Westwood as the ball broke to him in the box.

Sunderland tried to rally as half time approached but the Gunners looked comfortable going in 1-0 up at half time.

source: Getty Images
Di Canio is sent away from the dugouts following a spat with the referee.

After the break the home side looked much better and Adam Johnson picked up a loose ball in the box and was taken down by Laurent Koscielny as Sunderland won a penalty. Gardner smashed the spot kick home to make it 1-1 after coming on barely minutes before at half time for James Vaughan.

Sunderland were buoyed by the goal and really took the game to Arsenal with Steven Fletcher scoring, but was ruled offside in the 58th minute and then Gardner’s curling free kick somehow missed everyone before bouncing off the inside of the post and away to safety.

But then Arsenal came roaring back into the game in swashbuckling fashion in the 67th minute when Carl Jenkinson broke down the right and pulled back a ball to Aaron Ramsey, who hit home a spectacular volley on the turn.

Shortly after it looked as if U.S. international Altidore had grabbed another equalizer for Sunderland as he broke free of Bacary Sagna’s challenge before slotting home and the USMNT forward ran off celebrating. However referee Atkinson had pulled the play back for a foul by Sagna on Altidore, even though the Sunderland man clearly had an advantage. The Stadium of Light was incensed with the decision.

Then in the 75th minute Arsenal sealed the win as a lovely flowing move saw Ramsey play a one-two with Giroud and Ozil before slotting the ball home to make it 3-1. The final few minutes  played out with the home side trying to get back into the game but Arsenal managed to hold on to a hard-fought 3-1 win away from home. Their seventh league away win in a row.

Victory sees the Gunners top the league momentarily while Sunderland are still searching for their first win this season, and sit bottom.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Westwood, Celustka, Colback, Roberge, Diakite, Vaughan (Gardner 46), Mavrias (Borini 71), Ki, Johnson (c), Fletcher (Wickham 77), Altidore. Subs not used: Mannone, Brown, Larsson, Cuellar.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Sagna, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil (Vermaelen 80), Walcott (Monreal 89), Giroud (Akpom 90). Subs not used: Fabianski, Frimpong, Ryo, Gnabry,

Gotze’s Bayern future remains uncertain; Sadio Mane still Liverpool’s Plan B?

MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 14: Mario Goetze of Muenchen celebrates after the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Hannover 96 at Allianz Arena on May 14, 2016 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Daniel Kopatsch/Getty Images For MAN)
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Sadio Mane has been an extremely in-demand commodity since last summer, when Manchester United and a handful of other Premier League and foreign clubs failed to pry the Southampton winger away from the South Coast in either one of the summer or January transfer windows.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Great players will always be in demand, though, which means another summer full of transfer rumors linking the ever-dangerous 24-year-old to clubs across England and Europe.

Enter stage left: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who’s eager to undertake his first summer transfer window since taking the Anfield job last October.

[ MORE: Man United confirm Mourinho as new manager ]

Mario Gotze is said to remain Klopp’s no. 1 target this summer — the 23-year-old has said he intends to remain at Bayern Munich and fight for his place under new manager Carlo Ancelotti, but the Bayern hierarchy (Ancelotti included) perhaps see it differently — with Mane a not-so-terrible Plan B should Gotze remain at the Allianz Arena or land elsewhere. Gotze has scored just 22 Bundesliga goals in three seasons at Bayern (36 in all competitions) since making a big-money move from Borussia Dortmund three years ago.

[ MORE: VIDEO — Marcus Rashford scores a debut England goal

After a promising debut in England saw Mane score 10 goals in 30 PL games two seasons ago, the Senegalese dynamo followed up with an 11-goal haul in the PL season just completed (15 goals in all competitions), much of which was shrouded in transfer rumors and clear discontent at St. Mary’s Stadium. Mane will cost anyone a great deal more — think 10 to $15 million more — than the $30 million Bayern hope to recoup in their sale of Gotze (they paid roughly $40 million for him in the summer of 2013).

Pre-EURO int’l friendly roundup: Rooney, Rashford score as England win again

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 27:  Wayne Rooney of England scores his team's second goal of the game during the International Friendly match between England and Australia at Stadium of Light on May 27, 2016 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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A roundup of international friendlies as 24 European nations prepare for EURO 2016…

[ MORE: Man United confirm Mourinho as new manager ]

England 2-1 Australia

Roy Hodgson seems to have one of those good dilemmas on his hands: with Danny Welbeck already out for EURO 2016, and Daniel Sturridge injured yet again, does he take 18-year-old Marcus Rashford to France next month? The Manchester United striker is certainly making his case after a breakout finish to the 2015-16 Premier League campaign, which he followed up on Friday with a goal all of three minutes into his England debut (WATCH HERE).

Wayne Rooney doubled England’s lead 10 minutes after he entered the game as a halftime substitute (WATCH HERE), extending the England and Man United captain’s record goal haul to 52 in his international career. Eric Dier scored an embarrassing header to pull one back for the Australians in the 75th minute (WATCH HERE).

England will host Portugal at Wembley Stadium next Thursday in either side’s final pre-EURO friendly.

[ MORE: VIDEO — Marcus Rashford scores another debut goal

Ireland 1-1 Netherlands

The Dutch aren’t headed to EURO 2016 themselves, but the Irish certainly are, and Martin O’Neill’s side picked up a bit of positive momentum in the form of a 1-1 draw with the 2014 World Cup semifinalists.

Southampton’s Shane Long put the Irish ahead when he cleaned up a goal-line scramble on the half-hour mark, but former Newcastle United striker Luuk De Jong turned home a free kick to equalize for the visitors with five minutes remaining in regular time.

[ MORE: Mourinho — “I prefer to forget the last three years at United” ]

Elsewhere in international friendlies

Northern Ireland 3-0 Belarus
Croatia 1-0 Moldova
Czech Republic 6-0 Malta
Slovakia 3-1 Georgia

Former NBA exec named CONCACAF’s new secretary general

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MIAMI (AP) CONCACAF has appointed former NBA executive Philippe Moggio as its general secretary.

[ COPA AMERICA PREVIEWS: Group A | BC | D ]

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football said Moggio will take his position June 13.

Moggio previously served as senior vice president and managing director of Latin America and the Caribbean for the NBA.

[ MORE: Preview — USMNT faces Bolivia in final Copa America tune-up ]

As CONCACAF general secretary, Moggio will be in charge of the organization’s daily business and operations. He succeeds Ted Howard, who has served in the role since last May.

CONCACAF has undergone changes in its governing structure since the sport’s global corruption scandal hit.

VIDEO: Man United’s Marcus Rashford scores 3 minutes into his England debut

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MAY 26:  Marcus Rashford of England arrives at the team hotel on the eve of their international friendly against Australia at the Hilton Gateshead on May 26, 2016 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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12 months ago Nine months ago Six months ago Three months ago, if anyone asked you, “who is Marcus Rashford?” you, just like me, probably would have responded as such: “I haven’t a clue. Should I know who he is?”

[ MORE: Man United confirm Mourinho as new manager ]

Stars are, of course, born overnight in the sports world, and the 18-year-old Manchester United striker, who spent 12 years with the club’s youth academy, is just the latest example. On Feb. 25, he made his first-team debut and scored twice in the Europa League. Three days later, he made his Premier League debut, again scoring twice.

[ MORE: Mourinho — “I prefer to forget the last three years at United” ]

Fast forward to Friday, and Rashford is a fully-fledged England international. In keeping up with the theme of his other debuts this season, he marked his international debut with a goal against Australia after just three minutes of play at the Stadium of Light.

It remains to be seen whether Rashford completes his hat trick of debut braces this year. We’ll update this post if he does so.