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Relieved Pellegrini praises Manchester City’s patience after difficult week

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It took nearly 70 minutes for Manchester City to break down Stoke on Saturday, but when they did the sense of relief around the Etihad Stadium was evident.

Yaya Toure crashed into the penalty box and finished expertly with 20 minutes to go as City’s pressure, and most importantly their patience, paid off.

Stoke set up to defend and weren’t bothered about winning the game and after a draining 2-0 defeat to FC Barcelona in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, City looked to have run out of ideas and steam for most of the second half.

(RECAP: Man City 1-0 Stoke – Toure to the rescue as City stay in the hunt)

But the Citizens kept chugging away and eventually sealed a vital three points to keep them within touching distance of Chelsea in top spot. City manager Pellegrini was pleased his side stuck to the task.

“Three points, three very important points. We had the application to continue attacking and we had the concentration. They [Stoke] were defending with 10 players in their box,” Pellegrini said. “It was very important to be concentrated for counter-attacks and set pieces. Both things were important, to keep a clean sheet and to be patient. I thought we controlled the game and it was a matter of time before we scored.”

I’m not sure if every Man City fan inside the stadium shared Pellegrini’s optimism, as City looked labored with Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic all leading the line but they all looked out of ideas as Stoke’s two banks of five shut down every avenue. Almost.

Add in the fact that City have failed to score in the past two PL games, a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea and a 0-0 draw with Norwich, the pressure was on late in the game for Pellegrini’s men. The last time City had failed to score in three-straight PL games came six years ago, and stats like those were swirling around before this game as City’s prolific offense has suddenly dried up. But then big Yaya turned up to grab the points.

Patience will play a big part in their Premier League title race. City proved they’re up to the challenge as they ground out a win,  kept their cool and seem to have navigated a sticky patch.

Can they keep it up?

USA 4-0 Panama: United States top Group A

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 01:  Jordan Morris #9 of the USA celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the 1st minute of the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying match against Canada at Sporting Park on October 1, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The United States U-23 team exploded for four goals in the second half to down Panama 4-0, as the U.S. finish atop Group A in Olympic qualifying with a perfect three wins from three matches.

They advance to the semifinals, where they will face either Mexico or Honduras.

Thanks to a 2-2 draw between Canada and Cuba earlier in the evening, the U.S. had already clinched the top spot in Group A before this match began. With the United States’ win, Canada also advances into the semifinals as the second-place team.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

The U.S. had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 11th minute, but Panama goalkeeper Elieser Powell made a higlight-reel save on Gedion Zelalem. Maki Tall moved in and fired a low shot on goal, forcing Powell to dive down and make a stop. The rebound rolled right out to Zelalem, who had the whole goal in front of him, but somehow Powell reached to get a hand on it, deflecting the shot over the bar.

Tied 0-0 at halftime, Andreas Herzog made some adjustments to his lineup, bringing in Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter for Tall and Zelalem. The substitutions paid immediate dividends, as the United States jumped out to a three-goal lead within minutes.

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In the 51st minute, Gboly Ariyibi’s cross took a deflection off Fidel Escobar and into the net, ruled an own goal on the Panamanian defender.

Two minutes later, substitute Jerome Kiesewetter took a pass from Luis Gil and fired a right-footed shot from a tight angle to the far post, doubling the United States’ lead. It was a very clean finish from the German-born Stuttgart product.

Three minutes after scoring a goal, Kiesewetter grabbed an assist as he combined with fellow substitute Jordan Morris to make it 3-0. Kiesewetter ran down the right wing and played a low cross in, where Morris tapped home his third goal of the tournament.

Kiesewetter continued his stellar half, blowing by a defender before doing well to draw a foul in the box. Luis Gil stepped up to the spot and buried the penalty, as the U.S. went 4-0 up in the 71st minute.

With the result, the United States heads into the semifinals with a +11 goal differential, outscoring their opponents 13-2 in the group stage. A win in the semis would guarantee the U.S. a spot in the 2016 Olympics.

Bayern, Germany legend Gerd Muller suffering from Alzheimer’s

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY  01:  Gerd Muller during a media event discussing the Golden Boot comptetition in the FIFA 2010 World Cup held at the adidas Jo'bulani Central in Sandton Convention Centre on July 1, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Dominic Barnardt/Getty Images for adidas)
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Bayern Munich has confirmed that legendary goalscorer Gerd Muller is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Muller’s 70th birthday is in November, and the club published a statement that no celebrations would be held due to his ongoing treatment.

One of the greatest strikers to ever play the game, Muller scored 525 goals during his 15-years with Bayern, the most in club history. Karl Heinze-Rummenigge is Bayern’s second leading goalscorer with 218 goals.

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Rummenigge currently serves as the club’s director, and spoke about Muller’s legacy.

Gerd Müller is one of the all-time greats of world football. Without his goals, Bayern Munich and German football would not be what it is today.

There will probably never be another goalscorer like Gerd, yet despite all his successes, he was always very humble and reserved, which particularly impressed me.

He was a fantastic team-mate and is a friend. Gerd will always enjoy a place in the Bayern family.

After he ended his playing career, he brought his experience as a coach of youngsters to the club, helping define the likes of world champions Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller, and we are also grateful to him for this.

Muller won the Golden Boot at the 1970 World Cup with ten goals, helping West Germany to a third-place finish. That same year he won the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, and helped the West German team capture the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974.

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He is one of the top scorers in German national team history with 68 goals, second only to Miroslav Klose’s 71. However, Muller reached 68 goals in just 62 caps, while it took Klose 137 appearances to reach his mark. His 14 World Cup goals are third all-time to Klose (16) and Ronaldo (14).