Manchester United 1-1 Southampton: Late equalizer hands Saints deserved draw (video)

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In the 89th minute Saints captain Adam Lallana deflected in Dejan Lovren’s scrappy shot to send the South Coast club wild and condemn United to more misery at the start of the Premier League campaign.

The Red Devils looked shaky throughout and couldn’t really argue with the result at Old Trafford.

They’d taken a first half lead through Robin van Persie, but United looked disjointed and jaded after several of their players had traveled around the globe in midweek internationals.

The draw leaves Southampton in fourth on 15 points, while Manchester United are in eighth spot on eleven points.

source: AP
RVP gave United the lead, but yet another collapse sees the Red Devils struggling.

It was a bright start from the visitors, who should have gone ahead in the 23rd minute when Victor Wanyama dispossessed Wayne Rooney and found Lallana who slotted Daniel Osvaldo in, but the Italian international struck a weak effort at David de Gea.

And then moments later the Saints were made to pay for that miss, as van Persie put United 1-0 up.

Wayne Rooney was set clean through after a terrific defense splitting pass from Adnan Januzaj, and Rooney forced Artur Boruc into a tremendous save. However, the ball ricocheted back into RVP’s path and the Dutchman tucked the ball home for his fourth PL goal of the season.

Slightly harsh on the Saints after a bright start to the game.

Soon after, Rooney was found in the box by Nani and the England international swiveled before striking his shot against the crossbar as the Red Devils piled on the pressure.

For most of the first half Southampton had the ball and looked composed and patient, however on the break United looked dangerous with Januzaj proving a threat on the left-hand side.

The Saints had a few other chances with Osvaldo, Lallana and Jay Rodriguez looking lively going forward, however the Red Devils went in ahead at the interval despite not impressing.

After the break Southampton again started on the front foot, as Luke Shaw made a great run down the left and Lallana’s shot was cleared away by Johnny Evens for a corner. From the resulting set piece, Dejan Lovren’s header was cleared away by RVP on the post, as the Saints kept their assault on United’s goal going.

But as the second half wore on United ramped up their attack as van Persie and Nani both went close, then Boruc saved superbly from Januzaj in the 62nd minute.

Southampton kept going throughout the second half and pushed forward, leaving themselves exposed on many occasions. But some last-ditch tackles left the Saints in with a chance to grab an equalizer… and that’s exactly what they did.

In the 89th minute an inswinging corner found Dejan Lovren at the back post and the Croatian international bundled the ball towards goals, as they final touch went in off Lallana to send Southampton’s players into raptures in front of their fans in the far right hand corner. It was the third goal Southampton have scored after the 88th minute this season, the most in the PL.

United threatened to try and snatch a late win, but the Saints held on for a point to keep their good start to the season going.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Evans, Evra; Nani (Giggs, 69). Carrick, Fellaini (Welbeck, 76), Januzaj; Rooney (Smalling, 87), van Persie.

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Wanyama (Guly, 83), Schneiderlin, S. Davis (Ward-Prowse, 67), Lallana (c), Rodriguez (Lambert, 55), Osvaldo.

Albanian federation denounces “extremist acts” of their fans in Italy

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TIRANA, Albania (AP) Albania’s soccer federation has strongly denounced the incident that halted the World Cup Group G qualifier with Italy for nearly nine minutes on Friday.

During the match, which was won by Italy, 2-0, a group calling itself Illyrian Elite threw flares onto the pitch.

“Such totally extremist actions from the grouping Illyrian Elite have nothing to do with the excellent Albanian fans” who were distinguished in the EURO 2016 finals in France for their friendship and camaraderie in their festivities, the statement added.

The federation said an coach Gianni De Biasi also was “upset by the flares,” adding that during five years he has been in charge “I’ve seen something that’s never happened before.”

USMNT: 4 players, including Brooks, Lletget, released; Arriola added

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Hours after his side’s 6-0 thrashing of Honduras to resuscitate dreams of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, Bruce Arena announced on Saturday five changes to the U.S. national team roster ahead of Tuesday’s qualifier against Panama.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage | MLS ]

John Brooks (sinus infection), Sebastian Lletget (foot), Jordan Morris (knee) and Michael Orozco (knee) were all released back to their club teams, while Club Tijuana midfielder Paul Arriola was added to the squad.

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Brooks dealt with the sinus infection throughout USMNT camp this past week, as Morris did his knee injury which he picked up last weekend. Lletget left Friday’s win over Honduras in the 18th minute and will undergo further tests to determine the severity of his injury; he was seen leaving the stadium on crutches and wearing a walking boot.

The USMNT’s roster for Tuesday’s qualifier in Panama City, Panama, now stands at 23 players, and reads as follows:

Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Rapinoe won’t back down on social issues despite U.S. Soccer policy

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Megan Rapinoe recently earned her spot back in the U.S. Women’s National Team squad ahead of next month’s friendlies against Russia, but the veteran won’t remain silent when it comes to her stance on the social climate of America.

[ MORE: Looking back on USMNT’s big win over Honduras ]

The 31-year-old was scrutinized for joining NFL player Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when they knelt during their respective sporting events, along with dozens of other athletes across the United States.

While Rapinoe admits that the form of protest is up for discussion, she also states that social inequality issues in the U.S. go far beyond that.

“What has surprised me the most, especially post-election, is that people are still sort of arguing against it. It’s really obvious that we have very serious inequality in this country across many different spectrums,” Rapinoe told the Guardian. “Yes, we can talk about the form of protest, or the way it’s done, or this or that. But it’s still not really the conversation that I think we desperately need to have more of in this country.”

A few weeks back, U.S. Soccer announced that it now requires all players that represent the Stars and Stripes to stand when the national anthem is played, and Rapinoe has agreed to do such.

While her days of kneeling on the pitch are in the past, Rapinoe believes she wouldn’t do anything different because she was simply trying to spark discussion amongst the American people.

“I don’t think there’s any perfect way to protest. I think if there was something else being done, something else would have been said about it. I can’t look back and say that I would have done this different, this different or this different.

“I can sleep at night knowing that I genuinely tried to have a really important conversation, or at least tried to open it up. I think I came to it with an open mind, an open heart and tried to get as many people to talk about it as I could.”

Report: Chelsea planning Hazard, Courtois pay raises

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Eden Hazard has returned to his old self under Antonio Conte this season, and now Chelsea is hoping to lock down their star attacker.

[ MORE: Lukaku says decision has been made on Everton future ]

According to the Mirror, the Premier League leaders are planning on offering up a pay raise to Hazard, who has 11 league goals this season for the Blues.

Hazard signed a nearly $250,000 per week deal two seasons ago, but the Belgium international will likely rake in significantly more under the reported deal as Chelsea hopes to keep the 26-year-old away from Spanish giants Real Madrid and others.

The Mirror is also reporting that goalkeeper and Hazard’s Belgian teammate Thibaut Courtois is likely to be handed a raise is salary as well.

The shot-stopper is set be handed a deal roughly in the range of what Hazard is currently making after allowing just 21 goals in 28 PL matches this season.