Luis Suarez

Liverpool 4-1 West Bromwich Albion: Suarez hat trick sinks Baggies (video)

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The Luis Suarez show took center stage at Anfield on Saturday, as the Uruguayan international scored a hat trick in Liverpool’s 4-1 win against West Brom.

Suarez’ treble, which was his fourth for Liverpool and first at Anfield, was a masterclass of clinical finishing as he headed home twice and scored a brilliant individual effort for the first goal. Daniel Strurridge added a sublime chip for the final goal, after West Brom briefly threatened a comeback following James Morrison’s goal from the penalty spot.

The resounding win sees Liverpool back to second in the Premier League on 20 points, just two points behind Arsenal, while West Brom drop to 13th.

Suarez gave Liverpool an early lead after 10 minutes, with a superb solo strike as he took the ball past one defender, nutmegged another and drilled the ball home. Majestic strike from the deadly Uruguayan.

Then in the 16th minute, Suarez headed home a great cross from Aly Cissokho with a bullet finish that really was a fantastic goal. How Suarez got that much power in his header was astonishing, as he rose highest from just outside the box and arrowed his effort into the top corner.

Liverpool continued to pile on the pressure for the rest of the first half, as the Anfield crowd sensed a hiding was in the cards.

Martin Skrtel was guilty of a horror miss, as Steven Gerrard cut the ball back to him six-yards out, but the Slovakian international got it all wrong and hit a complete air shot with the goal beckoning.

West Brom rarely threatened, despite Steve Clarke starting with three strikers in Stephane Sessegnon, Nicolas Anelka and Victor Anichebe. Jordan Henderson almost added a third in the 39th minute, as Gerrard laid the ball back and Henderson curled his effort just over the far post.

source: Reuters
Suarez was in fine form against the Baggies, as he scored his fourth hat trick for Liverpool.

Liverpool went in 2-0 ahead at the break, after a scintillating first half display.

Following the interval, Liverpool’s onslaught continued as Daniel Sturridge curled a powerful free kick just wide of the far post. However the Baggies did put some pressure on the Liverpool goal at the start of the second half, as three corners and a flurry of activity in the Reds’ penalty box gave the traveling fans hope of a comeback.

But Suarez soon dashed that, as the Liverpool forward completed his hat trick in the 54th minute. Unmarked at the near post, Suarez flicked home a header from Gerrard’s inviting cross to seal his first treble in front of the Anfield crowd.

Sturridge almost added a fourth soon after as his shot hammered off the cross bar and away to safety in the 58th minute. Liverpool were on a roll.

Then in the 64th minute, West Brom got back into the game as Lucas Leiva was adjudged to have fouled Billy Jones by referee Jon Moss and his assistant referee, Jame Morrison rifled home the penalty kick to make it 3-1.

That goal buoyed the Baggies as they poured forward in search of a second goal with the final 20 minutes fast approaching. It was certainly an impressive response in the second half, but Suarez had done all the damage early on.

Sturridge then put the cap on the display with a wonder goal. The England striker ran forward and chipped the ball over Boaz Myhill to make it 4-1.

Suarez almost scored his fourth, as the Uruguayan international swiveled and struck a bicycle kick against the crossbar. But three was enough, as Suarez walked away with the match ball after tearing the Baggies apart.


Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson (Kelly, 62), Cissokho, Toure, Sakho, Skrtel, Lucas, Gerrard (Allen, 86), Henderson, Sturridge (Luis Alberto, 89), Suarez

West Bromwich Albion: Myhill; Jones, McAuley, Olsson (c), Ridgewell; Yacob (Brunt, 69), Mulumbu; Amalfitano (Morrison, 46), Anelka (Long, 68), Sessegnon; Anichebe

MLS Cup Playoffs: Seattle Sounders 1-0 Sporting KC (video)

Seattle Sounders defender Brad Evans celebrates after Sounders' Nelson Haedo Valdez scored a goal against Sporting Kansas City in the second half of an MLS soccer playoff match, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Seattle. The Sounders beat Sporting Kansas City 1-0. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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The game in 100 words (or less): There’s a ton to unpack here, so we’ll dive right in. The Seattle Sounders topped Sporting Kansas City in the final knockout-round game of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs. Nelson Valdez scored the game’s only goal, an 88th-minute header, but not without supreme controversy. For starters, Valdez was offside as Joevin Jones played the ball into the box, just as Matt Besler was on a free kick for Sporting earlier in the second half. Besler’s goal was ruled out for offside, Valdez’s was allowed to stand. Benny Feilhaber, perhaps in his final game for Sporting, played like a man possessed and so nearly singlehandedly won the game for Sporting at multiple points on the night. Stefan Frei stood on his head and refused to allow such an occurrence. Osvaldo Alonso could have been sent off twice on the night — once on a straight red; once on a second yellow — but finished the game with just a single caution. Up next, the Sounders will take on Supporters’ Shield-winning FC Dallas in the Western Conference semifinals.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three Four moments that mattered

10′ — Zusi hits the post with a strike through traffic — Benny Feilhaber’s through ball to set up this double-chance for Sporting in sumptuous, and fully deserving of a proper finish.

53′ — Besler heads home, but he’s offside — This is about as close an onside/offside decisions get.

79′ — Frei denies Feilhaber after a spectacular run — Feilhaber’s run was mesmerizing, but Stefan Frei’s save was the tiniest bit better.

88′ — Valdez heads home the late winner — If Besler was offside, Valdez was offside. An unfitting end to a thrilling game.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Benny Feilhaber

Goalscorers: Valdez (88′)

MLS Cup Playoffs: D.C. United 2-4 Montreal Impact (video)

CORRECTS DATE - Montreal Impact forward Matteo Mancosu, back, celebrates his goal with Ignacio Piatti (10) during the first half of an MLS playoff soccer match against D.C. United, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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The game in 100 words (or less): There are epic playoff collapses, and there is the MLS Cup Playoffs abomination put forth by D.C. United on Thursday. Playing host to a Montreal Impact side that won just two of its last eight regular-season games and crawled over the finish line, United — winners of four of their last five and one of the hottest teams in the league down the stretch — no-showed Thursday’s knockout-round tie, and their season is deservingly finished. Laurent Ciman put the Impact ahead inside the first five minutes, and United never recovered or seemed the least bit urgent with their season on the line. Matteo Mancosu bagged a brace either side of halftime to make it 3-0, and Ignacio Piatti, who was his usual brilliant self — so good, in fact, he made you forget Didier Drogba was unavailable due to injury/dispute over his role as a substitute — added a fourth not long before full-time. Lamar Neagle grabbed a late consolation goal for United, bringing them back to 4-1 before Taylor Kemp fired a laser past Evan Bush for 4-2 late in stoppage time, but that’s as close as they’d get. Up next for the Impact, it’s the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals, beginning Sunday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three moments that mattered

4′ — Ciman slots home from a corner for 1-0 — An absolute dream start for Montreal, as Ciman gets front side of his marker and benefits from a fortunate bounce after he scuffs the shot.

43′ — Mancosu slams home Piatti’s cross for 2-0 — Someone tell DCU that the knockout round is most definitely win-or-go-home. Horrific defending. Ball-watching all over the place. This is not the same team that won four of their last five in order to host this game.

58′ — Mancosu heads home at the near post for 3-0 — Steve Birnbaum has not had the greatest end to the 2016 season. Stay healthy, John Brooks and Geoff Cameron.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Matteo Mancosu

Goalscorers: Ciman (4′), Mancosu (43′, 58′), Piatti (83′), Neagle (90′), Kemp (90+4′)

FOLLOW LIVE: 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round

Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer, center, is congratulated by teammates, including midfielder Roger Espinoza (27), following his goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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The knockout round of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs concludes on Thursday, as four teams vie for the final two places — one in the Eastern Conference, one in the Western Conference — in the conference semifinals, which begin on Sunday.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round ]

Up first, the East’s fourth-seeded D.C. United welcome the five-seed Montreal Impact to RFK Stadium for the two sides’ third meeting of the 2016 season. Each of the year’s first two clashes finished a 1-1 draw, in July and August. Didier Drogba is expected to be unavailable for the win-or-go-home tie. United finished the regular season with four wins in the last five games, while the Impact won just two of their last eight.

[ MORE: Preivewing Thursday night’s knockout-round games ]

In the nightcap, the West’s fourth-seeded Seattle Sounders will take on the five-side, Sporting Kansas City, at CenturyLink Field. Sporting were victorious in both regular-season meetings this year — 1-0 on opening day, and 3-0 in late-July, the day the Sounders essentially quit on Sigi Schmid. Since that blistering hot day in KC, the Soudners have lost just twice in 14 games (eight wins, four draws).

Thursday’s MLS Cup Playoffs schedule

D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC — 10 p.m. ET

Cristiano Ronaldo says Ashley Cole is the toughest player he faced

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Cristiano Ronaldo has faced the best defenders in the world during his time with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team.

He has also caused fits for most of those defenders with goal after goal for club and country. But, there have been some players who have at least made it difficult for the all-time leading goal scorer in Real Madrid and Champions League history.

According to Ronaldo, former Chelsea and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole was the toughest player he has faced in his career.

[ MORE: VIDEO: Incredible Pelle goal in China ]

“Over the years I had some great battles with Ashley Cole, he does not give you a second to breathe,” Ronaldo told Coach Mag. “He was such a tenacious player when he was at his peak, quick, tough in the tackle. You knew it would never be an easy game.”

During his time with Manchester United, Ronaldo faced Cole on numerous occasions while Cole was with Arsenal and Chelsea. The two have also faced off in international competition between Ronaldo’s Portugal and Cole’s England.

It’s certainly high praise for Cole, who now plays in MLS for the LA Galaxy. At the age of 35, Cole has started 25 matches for the Galaxy this season, scoring one goal.