City

Manchester City 6-0 Tottenham Hotspur: 13-second goal leads to blowout at Etihad (video)

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A surgical Manchester City cut apart a formerly solid Tottenham defense and saw the home side cruise again at the Etihad 6-0.

A crazy early goal in the first minute by Navas foreshadowed five more – including two from Sergio Aguero – in an all-too-easy win for Manchester City as Spurs crumbled.

Despite struggles on the road, Manchester City have been incredible at home, now sitting on 27 goals to just 2 conceded at the Etihad.

Manchester City shocked the visitors and scored just 13 seconds into the match as Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris cleared poorly straight off the opening kick, and Sergio Aguero stole the ball.  Aguero unleashed a shot well saved by Lloris, but the rebound was put home by Navas on a brilliant, tight-angle finish.

Following the goal, viewers were graced with end-to-end play, with Sandro tackling Samir Nasri hard in the 11th minute to prevent a second for the home side.

source: AP
Sergio Aguero went top of the Premier League scoring chart with his brace.

Spurs controlled much of the possession in the first half, but they failed to do much creative and Manchester City were incisive on the counter-attack.

With the Spurs midfield working very hard in possession, Sandro got sick on the pitch midway through the period, but stayed on.

Alvaro Negredo made sure City had their second in the 34th minute as Lloris again failed with a clearance, falling instead to Toure who headed to Nasri on the left wing.

Nasri found Aguero on the edge of the box, and again Lloris saved well from Aguero only to have the rebound fall to Negredo whose scissor kick was blocked by Younes Kaboul then clipped Sandro and went in, officially an own goal.

City weren’t done before the break, as Aguero would finally get one of his own.  Navas made a beautiful run behind Erik Lamela and received a perfect ball from Pablo Zabaleta.  The winger then crossed perfectly, bending along the ground around Dawson to Aguero for an easy tap-in and a 3-0 lead.

Yaya Toure assisted Sergio Aguero’s second just two minutes into the second half, then a brilliant first-touch from Alvaro Negredo eight minutes later allowed him to get past Michael Dawson to make it 5-0.

Aguero came off before he could complete his hat-trick, and Negredo nearly doubled his tally as he put a 71st minute header over the bar. Fernandinho should have had one as well in the 82nd minute when slotted in on the 6-yard box but he whiffed at the kick.

Navas picked up his second, bookending the scoring as he broke free in added time and finished cooly to add insult to injury.

The win launched City up to fourth in the league – at least for the moment – with a league-leading goal differential of +21.

The loss is the worst in the league for Tottenham since a 6-1 loss to Chelsea in 1998. The goose egg for Spurs also marks the first time they’ve been held goalless for three straight matches since January of 2009.

GOALS:

Manchester City – Navas 1′, 90+2′; Aguero 41′, 50′; Negredo, 55′; Sandro (og) 34′

LINEUPS:

Manchester City – Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Nastasic (Lescott, 45′), Clichy; Navas, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Nasri (Milner, 77′); Negredo, Aguero (Garcia, 69′)

Tottenham Hotspur – Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Kaboul, Verthongen; Sandro, Paulinho (Dembele, 61′); Lennon, Holtby (Adebayor, 45′), Lamela; Soldado (Sigurdsson, 61′)

MLS Cup: Toronto FC all about the team

Toronto FC defender Nick Hagglund, center, celebrates his goal against the Montreal Impact with teammates Michael Bradley, right, and Steven Beitashour (33) during the second half of the second leg of MLS Eastern Conference championship series, in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Toronto, Ontario (AP) Team has been the theme for Toronto FC in the buildup to the MLS Cup final.

From boisterous practices to team-first media interviews, the All for One club motto has been plain to see ahead of the championship game Saturday against the visiting Seattle Sounders.

“You don’t get to this point by mistake or by accident. You get here because a group of special guys who have all bought into a philosophy, an identity,” said Toronto midfielder Will Johnson, an MLS Cup winner with Real Salt Lake and Portland.

“I say the same about Seattle. They’re bought into what they’re good at. We’re bought in, very motivated and want to sacrifice and put aside egos to get to a point as a team to compete for the big trophy.”

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

Star striker Jozy Altidore, no fan of chatting with the media, was downright prickly when a reporter asked him if he had taken time to reflect on his personal journey to the championship game.

“No,” he said definitively. “This isn’t personal, this is a team game. We’re here to try to help Toronto to be a winning team. This has nothing to do with individuals. So it has nothing to do with what I’ve been through. This is what the city’s been through, what the fans have been through, what this club has been through. That’s far more important.”

Fullback Justin Morrow, a seven-year MLS veteran, has never played this deep into the season before.

“Each week we build on top of each other and we get closer as the year goes on. It really feels like it’s a culmination this week,” he said.

[ UCL: Who can Arsenal, Man City, Leicester draw? ]

Coach Greg Vanney has made a point of praising the entire squad, including reserves who function as the scout team in practice. While he has done soccer’s equivalent of shortening his bench for the playoffs, the squad has stayed on point. If anyone has beefs, they have been kept to themselves.

That’s no small feat considering the salaries on the squad range from $7.12 million for star striker Sebastian Giovinco to $51,500 for youngsters Mo Babouli and Tsubasa Endoh.

For Morrow, being part of a tight-knit group allows you to forget that it is your job.

“When teams aren’t doing well, players tend to focus on that – their job and not about the other people on the team,” Morrow said. “And I think when teams are doing well, it becomes about the relationships between the players.”

Report: Atlanta United to acquire Parkhurst; Guardado hopes fading

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 12:  Michael Parkhurst #4 of the Columbus Crew SC controls the ball against against the Philadelphia Union on March 12, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Atlanta United is adding MLS experience to its high-flying international acquisitions.

The expansion side is set to acquire Michael Parkhurst from the Columbus Crew, according to a report from The Sporting News.

[ MORE: Mourinho worried about Zorya pitch ]

Parkhurst, 32, has been a fixture for the Crew since returning to MLS after stints with Nordsjælland and FC Augsburg. The 25-times capped American defender would join a relatively loaded expansion unit that reportedly will also add veteran Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, it seems the first-year club’s hopes of landing Mexican star Andres Guardado are fading.

From Ives Galarcep for The Sporting News:

The club has one remaining designated player slot it is expected to fill ahead of its inaugural 2017 season, but transfer target Andres Guardado appears less likely to be the player to fill that slot, sources have told Goal USA.

The Crew was a massive disappointment last season, failing to make the playoffs one season after making a run to the MLS Cup Final. Is Parkhurst a good gamble for Atlanta?

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Men in Blazers podcast: Conte v. Pep, Cherries comeback, Spurs-Swans

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Rog and Davo relive the tactical battle between Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola, marvel at tiny Bournemouth’s comeback win over high-flying Liverpool and duck-and-cover while recapping Spurs 5-0 Swansea.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Mourinho accepts Zorya compliment, but says best coach “doesn’t exist”

Manchester United's coach Jose Mourinho, centre, attends a training session with his team at Chernomorets stadium in Odessa, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, ahead of Thursday's Europa League group A soccer match against FC Zorya Luhansk. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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On the eve of his side playing Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League, Zorya Luhansk boss Yuriy Vernydub called counterpart Jose Mourinho the best manager in the world.

And Mourinho disagreed.

Well, in principle.

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

The Portuguese was flattered by Vernydub’s compliments and isn’t one to turn down praise. Yet at the same time, Mourinho thinks a coach’s success is year-to-year. There’s no clear best in the sport, according to Mou.

From ManUtd.com:

“He was nice by saying that but I don’t think he is right. I don’t think there is a best coach in the world. It doesn’t exist in my opinion. Every season one has to win the FIFA Gold Ball but I don’t think there is the best. You can say the best of the year and that I agree. Every year there is one with the most important result. So he is just being nice, no more than that.”

That’s almost meta, Mou.

Conceptually we understand, and Mourinho would feel he was the best in the world three seasons ago but not last year or this year (yet). Yet it’s difficult to say that the bodies of work from Pep Guardiola, Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Unai Emery, Antonio Conte, Luis Enrique, and Jurgen Klopp couldn’t be measured against each other, right?

[ MORE: United, Saints advancement scenarios ]

Onto the little picture Mourinho is worried about a potentially rock hard pitch at Zorya affecting the game. This, from the BBC:

“The pitch is very hard, the pitch is very icy,” said United boss Mourinho.

“They are putting warmth on the top of it, but the pitch is very difficult and people cannot make miracles. Let’s hope everything goes well.”

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