Cardiff 0-3 Southampton: Clincal finishes hand Saints first win in seven (video)

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Southampton easily dispatched Cardiff 3-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday, as the Saints raced ahead early on.

A quick-fire double from Jay Rodriguez and a Rickie Lambert strike did the damage during 13 first half minutes, as Cardiff were stunned by the clinical finishing from the South Coast club.

Malky Mackay’s men tried to get back into the game, but Saints recorded a shutout and were unlucky not to extend their lead with several second half chances.

With the win Southampton move onto 27 points and stay ninth, while Cardiff are now just one point above the drop zone in 16th place.

After protests against Cardiff’s controversial owner Vincent Tan before the game, the Bluebirds struggled early on as Southampton took the game to the them and Rodriguez got in down the left but his touch failed him.

The Saints controlled possession but Cardiff should have gone ahead as Craig Noone found Peter Whittingham found completely unmarked in the box with a great right-wing cross, but the Englishman somehow volleyed over from close range.

That miss proved to be costly as Southampton went ahead in the 13th minute when Rodriguez grabbed his first. The England winger ghosted in at the back post to finish coolly after Adam Lallana had set him up perfectly with a sublime through ball.

Six minutes later it was 2-0 to the Saints, and that man Rodriguez bagged another after Lambert’s pinpoint ball again found Rodriguez at the back post and he finished calmly to send the South Coast club into dreamland.

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A few minutes later it was 3-0 to the Saints as Lambert pounced in the box to volley home his 99th league goal for Southampton to net Saints’ third goal in 13 minutes.

(MORE: Latest Premier League Standings)

After that Lambert had a chance to make it 4-0 but skewed his effort wide after a delightful ball, then Paolo Gazaaniga made a good stop from Jordon Mutch’s effort as Cardiff tried to get back into the game.

In the second half Cardiff bombarded Gazzaniga’s goal and put plenty of pressure on the Saints from set pieces as the Argentine ‘keeper somehow managed to claw the ball away from under his own bar. Despite the Bluebirds best efforts, Southampton looked incredibly dangerous on the break and could’ve gone further ahead with strikes from Steven Davis, Rodriguez and Luke Shaw all going close.

Saints saw out the win with ease as the traveling supporters were treated to about as comfortable an away win win as they’ll ever see.

LINEUPS

Cardiff City: Marshall, Taylor (John, 61), Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Whittingham, Gunnarsson (Kim, 81), Mutch, Noone; Odemwingie (Cornelius, 45), Campbell

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Chambers, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Cork, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Lallana (Ward-Prowse, 80), Rodriguez (Ramirez, 86), Lambert (Gallagher, 93)

Goals: Rodriguez (14 &20), Lambert (27)

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.