Moussa Dembele

Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham: Spirited fightback seals win for Spurs (video)

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Tottenham beat Sunderland to take all three points from their trip to the Stadium of Light on Saturday, as Spurs fought back from 1-0 down to win in convincing fashion.

A goal either side of half time sealed the win as Paulinho cancelled out Adam Johnson’s opener for Sunderland just before the break, and just after the interval Mousa Dembele’s strong run and cross was knocked into his own net by Black Cats defender John O’Shea. Tottenham pushed for a third to add gloss to the scoreline but they had to settle for the narrow victory, despite dominating the match.

With the victory Spurs move up to sixth in the league and sit just three points behind Liverpool and Chelsea in second, while Sunderland remain rock bottom and five points from safety.

Sunderland were lively early on and pushed forward down the flanks to create a few problems for Spurs, however it was the away side who came closest early on when Brazilian international Paulinho sent a rasping effort just over the cross bar after 12 minutes.

The Black Cats were buoyed by Tottenham’s forward advances, which also saw Lewis Holtby also put a good effort in on goal, as  Jozy Altidore played in Jack Colback but the latter blasted over on 18 minutes.

Spurs were getting plenty of the ball but Sunderland weren’t letting them get in behind as the North London side were reduced to speculative efforts from distance.

Sunderland were content to play on the break and Tottenham failed to create any real openings in the first half. But then came Johnson’s opener.

A ball up to Altidore saw the U.S. international play a pass wide to Ondrej Celustka who whipped in a routine cross that should’ve been easily collected by Tottenham ‘keeper Hugo Lloris. Instead the French international went to punch the ball, didn’t get anywhere near enough contact on it and the ball fell to Johnson who hammered home a blistering strike into the top corner to put the Mackems 1-0 up.

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Spurs sprung into life after they went behind and just before the interval they drew level thanks to an opportunistic finish from Paulinho. Kyle Walker’s free kick from the right in the 43rd minute was nodded back into the danger zone by Nacer Chadli and Tottenham’s Brazilian midfielder reacted first to score his third PL goal of the season to make it 1-1 at half time.

In the second half Spurs carried on their domination and Mousa Dembele’s surging run off the left flank saw his cross strike Sunderland defender John O’Shea and deflect into his own net to give Tottenham a 2-1 lead. It was a hugely fortunate goal but AVB’s men were ahead and looked to build on the lead handed to them by a huge slice of luck.

source:
AVB saw his side put in a quality performance away at Sunderland, as Spurs climb the table.

Spurs looked to have grabbed a second in the 53rd minute but Johnson tracked back over 60 yards to put in a great last-ditch tackle as Holtby was about to tap Tottenham into a 3-1 lead. In the 54th minute Jermain Defoe hit the post after great work from Aaron Lennon to pick him out, as Spurs pushed on in search of their third goal.

Defoe again went close soon after as he dragged an effort wide of Mannone’s far post when clean through on goal. The England international really should have done better as Spurs couldn’t get a third goal to seal the win. Sunderland rallied and threw the kitchen sink at Spurs and Sandro looked to have given away a penalty for handball in the box after he raised his arm. However referee Lee Mason waved play on, much to the annoyance of the home fans.

Defoe’s sublime movement was on show once again as he reacted first to a good cross from the left but struck the post for a second time in the game as the Black Cats were hanging on by the skin of their teeth.

Substitute Fabio Borini had a glorious chance late on but when the ball dropped to him in the penalty box, the Liverpool loanee struck his effort tamely at Lloris as Spurs held on for their second-straight 2-1 win away from White Hart Lane.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, Celustka (Giaccherini, 76), O’Shea, Brown, Ki, Colback (Cattermole, 66), Larsson, Johnson (Borini, 66), Fletcher, Altidore

Goal: Johnson (37)

Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Capoue, Dawson, Naughton; Dembele (Sandro, 73), Paulinho; Lennon, Holtby (Townsend, 78), Chadli (Sigurddson, 84); Defoe

Goals: Paulinho (43), O’Shea – own goal (49)

New St. Louis stadium plan calls for state land contribution

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ST. LOUIS (AP) Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has made it clear he’s opposed to state funding for stadiums, yet a revised proposal for a $200 million soccer stadium in St. Louis calls for the state to contribute land that’s potentially worth millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, a city aldermanic committee delayed a vote Thursday to advance a measure putting the proposal, which also requires city voters to approve $60 million in funding, on the April ballot.

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The investor group SC STL’s proposal calls for a 22,000-seat stadium near Interstate 64 and Union Station, a key component in the group’s effort to lure a Major League Soccer expansion team. MLS officials have expressed strong interest in St. Louis, but only if a stadium is built.

Time is of the essence: The league is expected to award two new expansion teams in the fall, with play starting in 2020.

St. Louis’ project was on life support after Greitens, a Republican who took office this month, said repeatedly that he opposed taxpayer funding for stadiums, calling it “welfare for millionaires.” SC STL had been seeking $40 million in state tax credits.

But a provision of SC STL’s revised financing plan, presented at Thursday’s meeting at City Hall, says the state would contribute the majority of the 24-acre project site, which is currently owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation, and perform some site clearing and infrastructure work.

The value is still being appraised, but given its location and the amount of land, it likely is worth several million dollars.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden told The Associated Press in a statement that the governor “remains opposed to state funding to build the soccer stadium.” He did not immediately respond to a question about how the potential donation of land doesn’t conflict with Greitens’ hard-line stance.

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The first hint of compromise with the governor came in an email from SC STL spokesman Jim Woodcock late Wednesday, when he wrote that a “path forward” had been reached after two weeks of meetings.

“Gov. Greitens has made it clear to us that he is very supportive of adding a new professional sports franchise to the State of Missouri, and that’s a sentiment we wholeheartedly share,” the statement said.

The stadium project also requires taxpayer help from the city. The city Ways and Means Committee heard from SC STL officials Thursday, but no vote was taken on whether to ask the full Board of Aldermen to place the issue on the April ballot. The committee is expected to reconsider the measure Monday.

SC STL would be responsible for at least $95 million of the project cost, the entire $150 million expansion fee and all maintenance costs going forward.

Bundesliga returns: Will Bayern hold off competition again?

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Germany’s top flight returns to action Friday when Bayern Munich travels to Freiburg in an attempt to keep the pressure on new boys RB Leipzig.

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For those who haven’t paid a ton of attention to the Bundesliga this season or need a bit of a refresher after several weeks away, here’s what to monitor over the next several months.

Really Big surprise Leipzig looks to keep title race going

Formed in 2009, RB Leipzig is a lot of German fans’ least favorite club after cash infusions caused a rapid rise into the top flight.

The new club is looking down at most of the haters, however. League leaders for much of the first half, Leipzig is three points shy of league leading Bayern Munich.

Bayern waxed Leipzig 3-0 before the holiday break, and the two sides won’t meet again until May 13. How long can the new boys keep up the show?

Historic relegation candidates

What does USMNT strikers Bobby Wood and Aron Johannsson share besides a national team? Both are on sides that have been in Germany’s top tier longer than the players have been alive.

Wood’s Hamburg has six national titles and hasn’t seen the second tier in 54 years. That’s the longest stretch in the league, two more seasons than Bayern Munich. Hamburg is a currently third-bottom, which would force them into a relegation-promotion playoff against the third-placed team in 2.Bundesliga.

As for Johannsson, his Werder Bremen side is just three points ahead of Hamburg. Bremen has been in the top flight for 36 seasons.

Chasing the Golden Boot

Robert Lewandowski has scored the most goals in two of the past three seasons, with Alexander Meier of Eintracht Frankfurt seizing the honor in 2014-15.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is leading the pack by three goals, but is with Gabon at the Africa Cup of Nations to help open the door for the rest of the bunch.

Koln’s Anthony Modeste is second with 13, while Lewandowski has 12. Two players, Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) and Sandro Wagner (Hoffenheim), have nine.

Can surprise Europe-chasers hold up?

Hertha Berlin was in 2.Bundesliga a few seasons ago, while Eintracht Frankfurt was there a season prior to that. RB Leipzig, as mentioned earlier, wasn’t even a club until 2009.

Eintracht made a Europa League run one year later, but neither was expected to be competing for a spot in Europe this season. As it stands, all three are in the mix.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 16 12 3 1 38 9 29 7-2-0 5-1-1 39
 RB Leipzig 16 11 3 2 31 15 16 6-1-0 5-2-2 36
 Hertha BSC Berlin 16 9 3 4 24 16 8 7-0-1 2-3-3 30
 Eintracht Frankfurt 16 8 5 3 22 12 10 5-3-0 3-2-3 29
 1899 Hoffenheim 16 6 10 0 28 17 11 4-5-0 2-5-0 28
 Borussia Dortmund 16 7 6 3 35 19 16 5-3-0 2-3-3 27
 1. FC Köln 16 6 7 3 21 15 6 4-4-0 2-3-3 25

Report: El Tri’s Chicharito to LAFC in 2018

Bayer Leverkusen's Javier Hernandez, left, and Atletico Mineiro's Mattheus Rolden fight for possession of the ball during the first half of a Florida Cup soccer match, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
AP Photo/John Raoux
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It makes a lot of sense, you know?

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will turn 30 in 2018, not a spring chicken for a striker but still plenty productive if healthy.

His national team, Mexico, will likely be revving its engines for the World Cup, and won’t be upset to have the forward playing a bit less soccer and a lot closer to home.

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And Los Angeles FC will want to make a massive mark as it seeks to butt its head into a market dominated by the LA Galaxy (and, perhaps still then, Mexico national teamer Giovani Dos Santos).

So, tell us more, Steve Brisendine of MLSSoccer.com:

“[LAFC] are going to do everything possible to sign the current Bayer Leverkusen player, whose contract ends in 2018 and could therefore leave for a reduced fee. That’s what AS.com has confirmed with sources close to the project. LAFC hope to announce their new manager this spring and dream, a little later, to do the same with Javier Hernandez, aka Chicharito.”

Make it happen. Make. It. Happen. We’re already reserving his spot on our MLS fantasy teams.

Transfer rumor roundup: Jagielka, Begovic, Berahino, Zarate

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 13: Saido Berahino of West Brom challenges for the ball with Phil Jagielka of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Everton at The Hawthorns on September 13, 2014 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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There’s action all over England, from those defending the goal mouth to others striving to conquer it.

[ MORE: More transfer gossip ]

— Bournemouth wants an upgrade on Artur Boruc, according to The Telegraph, and that could come in the form of Chelsea backstop Asmir Begovic.

The Cherries reportedly had a $12.5 million bid turned down by Antonio Conte, who has Thibaut Courtois in the No. 1 seat and Portugal national team backup Eduardo in the ranks (along with three keepers on loan and young goalie Mitchell Beanie).

— Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger shut the door on acquiring West Ham wantaway Dimitri Payet according to Sky Sports’ Transfer Centre:

“We have many players offensively who can play in this position. You are interested by the quality of the player but there needs to be a need as well, and we have no need in this domain.”

— Clubs in need of experienced Premier League backs need look no further than Everton, where manager Ronald Koeman has admitted that England international Phil Jagielka could leave Goodison Park. The 34-year-old center back has 40 caps for England and has made 337 appearances for Everton. He could be a massive upgrade for Sunderland if David Moyes is up for a reunion.

— Stoke City chairman Peter Coates says a purchase of Saido Berahino from West Brom is not contingent on a sale of Bojan Krkic. The latter has been linked to Middlesbrough.

— Mauro Zarate may be returning the Premier League. Watford boss Walter Mazzarri has been largely let down by his strike corps as Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney have taken steps back this season. Could $4 be enough to bring the ex-West Ham and QPR man from Fiorentina to Vicarage Road? Zarate has four goals in nine matches for La Viola, and has nine goals in 40 Premier League matches.