Negredo

Manchester City 3-0 Swansea: Incisive City attack slices up Swansea defense (video)

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Tried to push forward they did, but the visitors were powerless to stop a Manchester City attack led by Samir Nasri’s double to give the home side a 3-0 win at the Etihad.

Swansea’s Jonathan De Guzman missed a sitter to pull level at 1-1 at the end of the first half, and City were in the clear from there.

Manchester City asked the early questions, with Swansea struggling to get out of their own half within the first five minutes.

They broke through early, as Jose Canas brought down Alvaro Negredo in the 8th minute, and the Spanish winger came through with the ensuing free kick.

Manchester City posted up men at the end of the Swansea wall to box the players in, and Negredo bent the ball around the pinned down wall and past a rooted Gerhard Tremmel for a 1-0 lead.

With Swansea opening the game up soon after, 4-time Joe Hart understudy Costel Pantilimon was forced into an impressive diving save by Jonjo Shelvey in the 14th minute.

Shelvey was bright in the Swansea attack, and he made a run in the 23rd minute through the City midfield and cut out Alvaro Vasquez with space between the defense, but the Spaniard dragged his shot wide.  Unfortunately, chances were few and far between for the Swans who were without both Michu and Wilfried Bony due to injury.

Negredo and Samir Nasri cut through the Swansea defense again in the 29th minute and Negredo’s shot was palmed out by Gerhard Tremmel.  The ensuing corner was a good one, and Martin Demichelis’s header clattered the crossbar before being cleared.

source: Getty Images
A double from Samir Nasri (right), one assisted by Yaya Toure (left), sank the Swans.

Demichelis got away with a bit of a shirt tug on Pozuelo in his own penalty box a few minutes later, which sprung Aguero on the other end to have a go but a fantastic tackle by Jose Canas stopped Aguero on the other end in his tracks.

Just on the stroke of halftime Swansea had a beautiful chance to equalize as Jonathan De Guzman beat Demichelis one-on-one with a nutmeg, sending the defender embarassingly to the turf. It sent De Guzman through on goal, but with Jolean Lescott and Costel Pantilimon bearing down on the midfielder he panicked and blasted well over, a shocking miss.

Samir Nasri, filling in brilliantly in David Silva’s absence, put City up 2-0 after the break and on the home side went.  Yaya Toure, ever present in that midfield, won the ball and ran easily through to the box, where he cut back for Nasri.  The Frenchman reached out with his foot, stuck the ball at his feet, weaved through and shot past Tremmel.

City were clearly the better side the entire second half, and after they searched for a third, Nasri finally had it in the 77th minute. Pablo Zabaleta latched onto the ball on the right of the box on the overlap, and he cut back for a wide open Nasri bang in the middle of the box for a powerful close-range finish.

Nasri came inches from his hat-trick when he got a pass from Dzeko on a break in the dying minutes, cut back to his right foot and fired for the top corner but it went just wide.

With Chelsea also winning, the victory sends Manchester City up to third place and takes advantage of Liverpool’s loss earlier today.  Swansea remain in 12th, with an attractive brand of soccer this season but fewer points to show for it than many would have expected.

City now have scored 29 goals at home and conceded only two, and are the only club in the Premier League with a perfect home record.

GOALS:

Manchester City – Negredo 8′; Nasri 58′, 77′

LINEUPS:

Manchester City – Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Demichelis, Clichy; Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Navas (Kolarov, 76′), Nasri; Negredo (Milner, 63′), Aguero (Dzeko, 79′).

Swansea City – Tremmel; Tiendalli, Chico Flores, Williams, Davies; Canas (Routledge, 62′), de Guzman, Shelvey, Pozuelo (Dyer, 67′), Hernandez; Vazquez.

UEFA Europa League group stage: Man United, Saints handed tough draws

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United celebrates scoring the opening goal with Paul Pogba during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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Premier League clubs Manchester United and Southampton were both handed tough, but exciting, draws in the 2016-17 group stage of the UEFA Europa League.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule

The draw, which took place in Monaco on Friday, saw Jose Mourinho’s United placed in Group A as they face Turkish giants Fenerbache, Dutch powerhouse Feyenoord and Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk with some big games coming up at Old Trafford.

Saints, who have reached the group stage of the Europa League for the first-time in club history, face mouth-watering clashes against Inter Milan, while they also have tough games against Czech giants Sparta Prague and the champions of Israel Hapoel Beer-Sheva.

48 teams who had qualified for the Europa League group stage were split up into 12 groups of four teams with some other big ties cropping up as Group G looks particularly strong as it contains Ajax, Standard Liege, Celta Vigo and Panathinaikos.

The Europa League final will take place in Stockholm, Sweden at the Friends Arena on May 24, 2017.

Below is the draw in full, with the opening group games taking place on Thursday Sept. 15. There are six group games in total for each team and you can see the full schedule by clicking on the link above.


GROUP A
Manchester United
Fenerbache
Feyenoord
Zorya Luhansk

GROUP B
Olympiakos
APOEL FC
Young Boys
FC Astana

GROUP C
Anderlecht
St Etienne
FSV Mainz 05
Gabala

GROUP D
Zenit St Petersburg
AZ Alkmaar
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Dundalk

GROUP E
Viktoria Plzen
AS Roma
Austria Wien
Astra Giurgiu

GROUP F
Athletic Bilbao
Genk
Rapid Wien
Sassuolo

GROUP G
Ajax
Standard Liege
Celta Vigo
Panathinaikos

GROUP H
Shakhtar Donetsk
SC Braga
Gent
Konyaspor

GROUP I
FC Schalke 04
FC Salzburg
Krasnodar
Nice

GROUP J
Fiorentina
PAOK FC
Slovan Liberec
Qarabag

GROUP K
Inter Milan
Sparta Prague
Southampton
Hapoel Beer-Sheva

GROUP L
Villarreal
Steaua Bucharest
FC Zurich
Osmanlispor

UEFA: Top four leagues guaranteed four teams in UCL from 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27:  UEFA  Champions League trophy is seen ahead of the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The UEFA Champions League will see a big change for three seasons from the 2018-19 campaign.

[ MORE: UCL group stage draw ]

On Friday it was announced by UEFA that several changes, most notably the way teams qualify for the UCL, had been approved and will take place in the next competition cycle.

The biggest change and the one everyone is talking about is that from 2018 the teams who finish in the top four of the four highest ranked UEFA nations will automatically qualify for the UCL group stage.

[ MORE: Analyzing UCL draw for PL teams ]

That means no more UCL play-off for teams who finish fourth in the Premier League.

In a statement on their website, UEFA’s General Secretary ad interim Theodore Theodoridis revealed everyone is happy with the changes.

“The amendments made will continue to ensure qualification based on sporting merit, and the right of all associations and their clubs to compete in Europe’s elite club competitions. We are happy that European football remains united behind the concepts of solidarity, fair competition, fair distribution and good governance.”

Some argue that having 16 places guaranteed to teams from the top four nations in Europe — currently Spain, Germany, England and Italy — is a monopoly and limits the chances of smaller clubs from smaller nations from qualifying.

UEFA also revealed a new coefficient system with clubs no longer having a country share tacked on to their coefficient under most circumstances, plus historical success will be weighted in the coefficient rankings to take into account past UCL and Europa League titles won.

For example, Liverpool’s coefficient will likely increase despite not playing in Europe this season as instead of the coefficient being solely made up of how they and other English teams have performed in Europe over the past few years, now their five previous UCL titles will be weighted and their coefficient will improve due to past success.

Blatter says he will accept verdict as CAS appeal begins

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 25:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter speaks during the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at The Konstantin Palace on July 25, 2015 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter arrived for his appeal hearing against a six-year ban from football on Thursday, pledging to accept the verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sport

“I do hope it will be positive for me,” Blatter, sporting a light gray beard, told reporters at around 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) ahead of a hearing expected to last several hours.

The court’s verdict is expected within several weeks, and could be challenged in a further appeal to Switzerland’s supreme court.

The 80-year-old Blatter denies wrongdoing in authorizing a $2 million payment to former FIFA vice president Michel Platini in 2011. They claimed it was for backdated and uncontracted salary for work Platini did in advising Blatter from 1999 to 2002.

[ MORE: Ranking Champions League groups ]

The so-called “disloyal payment” led Blatter to be put under investigation for criminal mismanagement by Swiss federal prosecutors last September. That investigation is ongoing.

FIFA’s ethics committee judged the $2 million deal was a conflict of interest and initially banned Blatter and Platini for eight years last December. FIFA’s appeal committee cut both bans to six years.

Platini’s appeal to CAS was already judged in May, when Blatter appeared in person as a witness. Platini promised a further appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal after his ban was only cut from six to four years.

Platini arrived at the hearing around midday local time to be a witness. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.

Blatter’s comments Thursday suggest he would not pursue a federal case. Federal judges can intervene only if legal process is abused.

“We are football players, we learned to win but also we learned to lose and it will not be the end of the world,” Blatter said outside CAS.

The three-member panel for Blatter’s case is expected to respect the verdict of a separate panel which judged Platini.

A failure to overturn the ban for Blatter would likely end his hope to one day be named FIFA honorary president by its 211 member federations.

[ MORE: Ranking Champions League groups ]

The case already ended Platini’s chance to replace Blatter as FIFA president, and also forced him out of European governing body UEFA.

On Sept. 14, UEFA members will elect a successor to replace Platini who had a mandate through March 2019. By imposing a four-year ban, the CAS panel ensured UEFA had to replace Platini, rather than wait for him to return.

The “disloyal payment” emerged last year when Platini was strongly favored to win the election to replace Blatter, who had announced his departure plans after 17 years as president amid pressure from American and Swiss federal investigations of corruption implicating senior FIFA officials.

[ MORE: Bundesliga season primer ]

Both men were questioned at FIFA headquarters last September by Swiss investigators who were waiting for them outside an executive committee meeting.

During the turmoil in world football, Platini’s right-hand man at UEFA, Gianni Infantino, submitted an election candidacy on the entry deadline day and won the vote in February.

Arriving at the hearing with his Zurich-based lawyer Lorenz Erni, Blatter said he hoped the CAS panel “will understand that the payment made to Platini was really a debt that we had against him.”

“This is a principle, if you have debts you pay them,” Blatter said.

NASL weekend preview: Miami, Minnesota meet playoff fortunes head on

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There are still two full months of soccer to go in the NASL’s Fall Season, but this weekend could be a major day for the title fortunes of one squad in particular.

Miami FC and Minnesota United are level on points with 15 heading into Saturday’s match at FIU Stadium.

[ MORE: MLS Weekend Preview ]

If you’re unfamiliar, the NASL Playoffs involve four teams: the Spring champion (Indy Eleven), the Fall champion, and two other teams with the best combined record between seasons.

Miami’s played one fewer game, and both it and Minnesota — fresh off the news it’s headed to MLS in 2017 — are seven points shy of first-place FC Edmonton.

But Minnesota is on pace to make the playoffs through combined schedule, while Miami had a poor first half and would be better served to win the Fall Season if it wants a shot at the NASL Soccer Bowl Trophy.

Saturday
Carolina Railhawks at New York Cosmos
Rayo OKC at Tampa Bay Rowdies
Minnesota United at Miami FC

Sunday
Indy Eleven at Ottawa Fury
Puerto Rico at FC Edmonton