Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool: ten-man Newcastle hold on for a point (video)

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Liverpool were desperate to take all three points and move to the top of the table, at least until Arsenal face Norwich later on Saturday. Yet it was Newcastle that took the lead, before the half-hour was up. Yohan Cabaye took the ball in midfield and flew up the right, getting his shot off from more than 30 yards out. Simon Mignolet stood rooted to the spot, waiting too long to prevent the ball from flying into the back of the net. But there was little the goalkeeper could’ve done to prevent Cabaye’s shot, as it swerved and twisted, moving to the inside and back out again, before landing in goal.

Newcastle looked like they just might manage to keep their lead; despite a shaky centerback pairing in the absence of captain Fabricio Coloccini, the defense was holding strong. Until the 40th minute, that is. A ball from Daniel Sturridge sent Luis Suarez free up the right, causing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to panic and bring the Uruguayan down inside the area. That earned the French defender a straight red for denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity, and brought Steven Gerrard to the spot. His low shot to Tim Krul’s right brought Liverpool level, and gave the Reds captain his 100th Premier League goal.

With Newcastle down to ten men with 50 minutes left to play, it looked as though Liverpool would be able to pull off a comeback win and retake the number one spot in the table. But again, the hosts surprised, retaking the lead through a set piece goal. The free kick floated into the Liverpool area, and Kolo Toure got a piece of it. But his headed flick fell right to Paul Dummett, who’d come around the edge of the Liverpool defenders and was able to side foot the ball into the back of the net. What a great show for the defender, whose yet to make his Premier League debut.

Of course, the tale would’ve been far more dramatic if Daniel Sturridge hadn’t come along to erase Newcastle’s lead. Liverpool’s second equalizer of the afternoon came through another great interplay between Sturridge and Suarez, with the latter flicking the ball over an onrushing Tim Krul for Sturridge to tap in with his head.

The visitors were determined to leave with all three points, with Sturridge very nearly putting in another just a minute later. Two minutes after that, Suarez hit the bar. Liverpool very nearly had their fairy tale ending when, five minutes into the four added on, Andre Marriner gave a free kick when Suarez went down under a foul by Mathieu Debuchy. Krul managed to save the shot, however, and Newcastle escaped with a point.

Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy,Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Santon; Cabaye (Anita 78), Tiote, Sissoko (Dummett 45); Gouffran, Ben Arfa (Sammy Ameobi 78), Remy

Subs not used: Elliot, Obertan, Shola Ameobi, Cisse

Goals: Cabaye 23′; Dummett 56′

Red Card: Yanga-Mbiwa 40′

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson (Sterling 83), Cissokho, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho (Alberto 63), Henderson, Gerrard, Moses, Suarez, Sturridge

Subs not used: Jones, Agger, Kelly, Flanagan, Allen

Goals: Gerrard 42′; Sturridge 72′

Dempsey, Sounders steal a point on wild night in Portland

Pete Christopher/The Oregonian via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): An entire game can change in the blink of an eye. For the Seattle Sounders, that blink came in the 44th minute of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers. Up 1-0 by way of Joevin Jones’ opener in the 27th minute, the defending MLS Cup champs were poised to head into halftime with a one-goal advantage and every belief imaginable that they’d been the better team for the entire first half. Blink. Brad Evans wrapped his legs around Darlington Nagbe, giving away a penalty and earning himself a red card, just like that, in the blink of an eye. Fanendo Adi stepped up to convert from the spot, but it still was to be a hard-fought 1-1 scoreline from Seattle’s perspective. Then, Dairon Asprilla got loose, completely unmarked atop the six-yard box, on a corner kick, and it was 2-1 after four minutes of first-half stoppage time. 45 more minutes pass, and the Timbers… blink. Clint Dempsey, 34 years old but fresh off the bench 40 minutes earlier, out-leaps everyone in the box and heads past Jake Gleeson to steal a point for Seattle.

[ MORE: San Jose fire Kinnear after 2.5 seasons ]

Three Four moments that mattered

27′ — Jones gets two chances, puts the second away — It’s a classic case of “I dropped my controller” from Alvas Powell, who just stops as Jones cuts across the penalty area. There’s no reason Jones should get a second look on this one.

44′ — Evans brings down Nagbe in the box, sees red — Goodbye, lead. Goodbye 11 versus 11. Things would unravel very quickly for Seattle.

45+4′ — Asprilla rises above to make it 2-1 — Seattle’s marking of Asprilla was nonexistent, and the Colombian showed off some serious hops to get his head to David Guzman’s corner kick.

90+4′ — Dempsey heads home deep in stoppage time — A costly turnover by Asprilla, a hit-it-and-pray cross by Roman Torres, and Dempsey snatches a point at the death.

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Man of the match: Cristian Roldan

Goalscorers: Jones (27′), Adi (45′ – PK), Asprilla (45+4′), Dempsey (90+4′)

Russia has reasons for optimism despite Confed Cup exit

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MOSCOW (AP) When the anger subsides after another group stage exit and another goalkeeping blunder, Russian fans might find they can be proud of their team at the Confederations Cup.

Russia failed to reach the knockout rounds of a fourth major tournament in a row, but there’s no shame in losing by one goal to European champion Portugal and North American champion Mexico.

“We will move on,” coach Stanislav Cherchesov said after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Mexico. “We have won (the fans’) hearts and minds to a certain extent in this month that we have been together … I think that we have given some reasons to feel optimistic about us.”

If Russia’s fans agreed with Cherchesov that Russia had done well to limit Portugal to a single Cristiano Ronaldo goal, there was frustration that Russia hadn’t done better against a poor Mexican side.

Russia wasted chances to exploit Mexico’s ragged defending and add to Alexander Samedov’s opener, while goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev performed an inexplicable lunge which allowed Hirving Lozano to head in the winner. Akinfeev was lucky not to be red-carded, too, after his foot caught Lozano in the chest.

Akinfeev was the immediate scapegoat for Russia’s exit, with fans and newspapers calling for his removal.

The most-capped player in the squad – the Mexico game was his 101st international appearance – Akinfeev’s bulletproof consistency in the Russian Premier League has kept him the undisputed national-team No. 1 for years.

When the world is watching, though, he gets flustered and makes mistakes.

Against South Korea at the 2014 World Cup, an innocuous long shot slipped from his grasp and went in, paving the way for another early Russian exit from the tournament. There have been more than a few blunders in the 43 games since Akinfeev last kept a clean sheet for CSKA in the Champions League, too.

But it’s hard to see who could replace him. The naturalized Brazilian reserve keeper Guilheme is agile but injury prone, while Vladimir Gabulov is a solid but unspectacular veteran. Zenit St. Petersburg’s Yuri Lodygin challenged Akinfeev for a while, but was brought low by his own tendency for embarrassing errors.

On the positive side for Russia, defender Georgy Dzhikiya was solid in all three group games after having only made his debut on June 5, and Cherchesov’s three-man back line was mostly reliable.

Less successful was Cherchesov’s attempt to bolster the midfield by starting Roman Shishkin – usually a defender – in a defensive midfield role against Portugal and Mexico, while 33-year-old ex-Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov did his World Cup hopes no favors with a red card Saturday.

Russia’s run of injuries before the tournament weakened the midfield in particular, with Alan Dzagoev and the promising Roman Zobnin both missing out. Forward Artyom Dzyuba’s absence left Cherchesov relying heavily on Fyodor Smolov, who showed touches of class but missed a good chance against Portugal.

Perhaps the biggest damage from Russia’s Confederations Cup exit will be to Russian pride.

Officials have often bragged that the home advantage for next year’s World Cup could drive Russia to new heights, perhaps a repeat of South Korea’s charge to the semifinals in 2002. Those expectations are now being reviewed.

Just one World Cup host in history – South Africa in 2010 – has failed to get out of the group stage. Avoiding a repeat may be the most Russia can hope for.

FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers host Sounders in PNW showdown

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They don’t get much bigger, or more heated, than this one in MLS — it’s Portland versus Seattle, the Timbers versus the Sounders, tonight at Providence Park (10 p.m. ET).

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To keep up-to-the-second informed on proceedings in Portland this evening, hit the above link, or click right here.

Seattle won the first meeting between these sides, 1-0 back on May 27, on their home turf at CenturyLink Field. Cristian Roldan, who’ll depart for U.S. national team camp following Sunday’s game, scored the only goal that afternoon in Seattle, a 4th-minute header from three yards out.

Mustafi: Arsenal players powerless, hope “brilliant” Sanchez will stay

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Shkodran Mustafi admits that he, along with his Arsenal teammates, feels helpless with over the ongoing transfer saga of Alexis Sanchez.

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The Chilean superstar is linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer, as the Gunners fell out of the Premier League’s top-four and the 28-year-old’s contract is set to expire next summer. Perhaps most importantly, Sanchez hasn’t so much as publicly stated a desire to remain at the club, which, from the outside, appears to have left his future in even greater doubt.

Mustafi admits he hasn’t a clue how things will shake out in the coming weeks, but he’s quick with a pleading sales pitch for Sanchez to stay — quotes from Goal.com:

“I have no idea. Obviously the other players cannot make that decision, he has to make that decision.

“I’m not too much involved. I hope he stays because he is a really brilliant football player but there’s nothing in my hands that I can do.”

[ MORE: De Boer set to be named new Crystal Palace boss ]

Arsenal would likely have to double (if not more) Sanchez’s current $180,000 weekly wages in order to convince him to forego a season in the UEFA Champions League and commit his long-term future to a club presently trending in the wrong direction.