Southampton 4-1 Hull City: Saints are flying high – video

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The Saints are marching in, indeed. And on. And up. Southampton’s all-too-easy victory over Hull City, combined with Chelsea’s draw with West Brom, puts the Saints in third place. Sure, Everton could cancel that out with a late victory over Crystal Palace, but it’s still certain: this start is not a fluke from Southampton.

The first half could hardly have gone better for Southampton, who saw themselves into fourth by the time the whistle blew for the break. The hosts had their first goal after a quarter of an hour had passed. Rickie Lambert wiggled his way in between two Hull defenders, heading across the face of goal. An inrushing Morgan Schneiderlin got his head on the end of the pass, knocking it past Steve Harper.

Hull very nearly had an instant reply, taking advantage of a slight slip in the Saints’ defense as the visitors sent in a corner. However, Paul McShane’s header went high, and that was about the last time the Tigers showed signs of life in the first half.

Instead it was Southampton who found a second. Harper came rushing out of goal and slid into Lallana, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Lambert stepped up to take, smashing the shot into the roof of the net.

But the Saints weren’t done just yet. Less than ten minutes later, Lallana put in the third, all before 40 minutes were up. The Englishman’s individual goal must’ve impressed Roy Hodgson, there to keep an eye on his three England callups. About 30 yards out, Lallana received the ball from Lambert then took it up the left, weaving and dancing around two Hull defenders. He easily slipped around Ahmed Elmohamady to send the ball across Harper and into the top corner.

(MORE: Premier League Roundup: Big wins for Liverpool, Saints, Norwich, Villa, Chelsea fight back – video)

For those just glancing at the scoreline, it seemed like Bruce’s halftime talk may have actually had some effect — after all, Hull managed to grab a goal 10 minutes after the restart. But in fact it was a bit of a mix up from Artur Boruc that started it all. The Southampton goalkeeper elected to pass the ball to Victor Wanyama, who was being closed down by Yannick Sabo. Sabo snatched away the ball to put it in the back of the net.

Although Bruce did his best to ring the changes, Southampton were more than up to the challenge. In fact, there was little challenge, what with Jake Livermore placing his shot high, and Robert Koren heading the ball wide.

The Saints took advantage instead, grabbing yet another in the 88th minute. Nathaniel Clyne put in the cross and substitute Steven Davis, on for Wanyama, easily slid the ball past Harper and into the bottom corner. Job well done for Southampton.

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Wanyama (S. Davis 63), Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Cork 84), Rodriguez, Lambert (Osvaldo 76)

Subs not used: K. Davis, Chambers, Hooiveld, Gallagher

Goals: Schneiderlin 16′; Lambert 30′; Lallana 37′; Davis 88′

Hull City: Harper, Rosenior, Figueroa, Davies, McShane, Elmohamady (Koren 45), Boyd (Quinn 80), Meyler (Graham 73), Huddlestone, Livermore, Sagbo

Subs not used: Jakupovic, Bruce, Gedo, Proschwitz

Goals: Sagbo 55′

Spartak and Zenit fined in latest Russia fan racism cases

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MOSCOW (AP) Spartak Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg have both been fined for racist chants by their fans, the latest such incident in World Cup host nation Russia.

Spartak’s fans were accused of aiming monkey chants at FC Tosno player Nuno Rocha, who is black, while some Zenit supporters allegedly chanted a Nazi slogan during a league game.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

The clubs must each pay a 100,000-ruble ($1,600) fine, and Spartak has been hit with a partial stadium closure for its next cup game, state news agency RIA Novosti quotes Russian Football Union disciplinary committee head Artur Grigoryants as saying.

The verdict comes after FIFA charged Russia with racist abuse of France players during last month’s friendly.

Zenit has also faced two racism charges from UEFA this season.

Europa League: Arsenal, Marseille host semifinal 1st legs

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Arsenal’s Champions League dreams could be in for a rude awakening against tournament-tested Atletico Madrid.

The Premier League vs. La Liga match-up is one of two Europa League semifinal first legs set to be served up Sunday, with Marseille and Red Bull Salzburg meeting in the other.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

There’s something romantic about Arsene Wenger closing out his time at Arsenal against French opposition in Lyon, but Atleti and Salzburg won’t step aside for poetics.

Both matches kickoff ay 3:05 p.m. ET

Arsenal vs. Atletico Madrid

It’s a bit stunning that this tie has no history considering both club’s statures in their leagues and Europe, but that’s what we’ll se when Arsenal welcomes Atleti for the first leg.

Arsenal boasts two of the top 10 performers in the UEL this season — it would be three had the Gunners not sold Theo Walcott — and are paced by Aaron Ramsey, who has four goals and an assist. Mesut Ozil, who’s ready to return to the pitch, has the reverse with a goal and four helpers.

The Gunners have outscored UEL opposition 29-10 this season.

It’s no surprise that Antoine Griezmann has been Atleti’s best attacker since the Madrid side dropped out of the UCL to run rampant through the UEL knockout rounds. Atleti beat Copenhagen 5-1, Lokomotiv Moscow 8-1, and Sporting Lisbon 2-1 for an aggregate score line of 15-3.

Marseille vs. Red Bull Salzburg

Don’t expect this to be a simple case of Ligue 1 bossing inferior opposition: This pair met in the group stage, with the Austrian side winning at home and drawing 0-0 in France.

Salzburg has shown its mettle in various ways during the UEL. After allowing just one goal in an unbeaten group stage, they’ve won 4-3 over Real Sociedad, 2-1 against Borussia Dortmund, and 6-5 versus Lazio. That’s no easy road, and Marseille represents another big challenge.

Marseille is bidding to make its first European final since 2004, and has been led by Dimitri Payet‘s three goals and four assists, and Lucas Ocampos’ four goals and one assist. Marseille has knocked off RB Leipzig, Athletic Bilbao, and Braga after the group stage.

Names you’ll need to know from Salzburg: defenders Stefan Lainer and Paulo Miranda have been spectacular, and Munas Dabbur and Valon Berisha have each scored five times in the tournament.

Mourinho on longtime nemesis Wenger: ‘We can be friends in future’

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Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have had a poor relationship, but the former thinks he’s soon to get along with the latter.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

Manchester United boss Mourinho, 55, heaped praise on the departing Arsenal manager ahead of the two sides’ Sunday meeting at Old Trafford (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), saying the Frenchman has earned much respect.

Branding Wenger “iconic,” Mourinho says his fiery rivalry with Wenger stemmed from Arsenal’s stature in the Premier League when the Portuguese took over Chelsea.

“If he respects me even 50 percent of what I respect him we can even be friends in the future,” Mourinho told Sky Sports News. “I have lots of respect for him. But the reality is that he was at Arsenal, he was the champion and I came to the country in 2004 and wanted to steal his title. That’s football.”

Mourinho said he’s tried to show his respect for Wenger, 68, over the past few seasons. It may become a passable relationship, but we find it hard to believe the pair will be dining together on a regular basis as the sun sets on their managerial careers (Mou has a while to go, we think).

Real’s Modric on Bayern feeling unlucky: “That’s their problem”

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Bayern Munich produced far more chances than visiting Real Madrid in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg in Germany, but lost 2-1 at the Allianz Arena.

Franck Ribery butchered an open shot at goal, Robert Lewandowski beat Keylor Navas but didn’t score late, and Thomas Mueller missed getting contact on a shot inside the six.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

It was that kind of day, and Mueller is baffled that his team did not finish more than Joshua Kimmich’s opener.

“Everybody is wondering why this game is 1-2 for Madrid,” Mueller reportedly said. “We still cannot believe it.”

The quote comes from BeIN Sport’s Tancredi Palmeri, who has a stinging rebuke from Real Madrid maestro Luka Modric.

Real wasn’t great on Wednesday, but also limited their big mistakes to one: Marcelo’s lapse of judgment which helped Kimmich to open the scoring for Bayern Munich.

The hosts had a huge giveaway from Rafinha on the match-winner, and backup backstop Sven Ulreich didn’t have a phenomenal day on either goal. Throw in Arjen Robben’s injury requiring an 8th minute substitution, and Bayern did not have much good fortune on the day.

This one, though, doesn’t seem over, even with the tie moving to the Bernabeu.