Cyprus car bomb puts USMNT friendly with Ukraine in doubt again

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The USMNT only three days ago moved their March 5 friendly against Ukraine away from the country suffering from political unrest (which now appears to be even better of a move).

However, the match is once again under a black cloud of doubt, with no word yet on its fate.

A car bomb targeting a top Cyprus official detonated today, and while nobody was injured in the blast, all first-division matches in the Cypriot First Division were postponed this weekend as a result.

Cypriot police confirmed that an explosive device was found on the hood of referee Leontios Trattos’s car, and it detonated early Friday morning.

No word has been given as to why the official was targeted.  He most recently was in charge of a 1-0 derby win last Saturday for Apollon Limassol over AEL Limassol.  Eight yellow cards were handed out in that match.

The Ukraine match is scheduled for the final day in FIFA’s international window, meaning that postponement of the match is out of the question.  This is the last FIFA international window before the 2014 World Cup, and is therefore a last opportunity for Jurgen Klinsmann to call up European-based players.

His last opportunity to look at domestic players will be on April 2 in a friendly with Mexico scheduled to be played in Phoenix, AZ.

The USMNT friendly match, originally scheduled to be played in Kharkiv, Ukraine, was moved to Larnaca, Cyprus due to political unrest in the former Soviet state.

The US Soccer Federation has not yet commented on the situation.

In the Cypriot First Division, the club with the most name recognition is APOEL (pictured), who won the league title last season and were eliminated in this year’s Europa League group stage, finishing third behind Eintracht Frankfurt and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

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Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

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Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.

Sydney FC clinches first place in A-League

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SYDNEY (AP) After clinching first place in Australia’s A-League without taking the field, Sydney FC enhanced its record achievement with a 3-0 win over the Perth Glory on Sunday.

Sydney FC won the Premiers Plate as regular-season champions after the second-place Melbourne Victory lost 1-0 to Brisbane on Saturday, when Sydney had a night off.

The Brisbane win left Sydney with an unassailable 11-point lead in first place with three rounds to play.

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The Sydney side also created some history: it became the only team to have remained in outright first position in the standings for an entire season.

In the other match Sunday, the Wellington Phoenix beat Newcastle 5-0 to remain within five points of sixth-place Western Sydney for the final playoff spot.

Walking Dead? Star fittingly sees Exeter’s implausible comeback (video)

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As Rick Grimes, actor Andrew Lincoln regularly battles the undead on his show “The Walking Dead”.

As a friend of Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale, Lincoln was probably pretty happy to watch a team that would not die.

Exeter went down 3-0 when Yeovil Town broke a scoreless drought with a trio of tallies between the 62nd and 78th minutes.

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But Exeter’s David Wheeler scored in the 88th minute, and Troy Brown and Reuben Reid scored a minute apart at the beginning of stoppage time to earn a point for the League Two playoff hopeful.

Couple things on this video, too:

— Check out the shove on the goalkeeper when trying to collect the ball after the first goal of the fight back.

— Watch the man with his baby behind the net after the third goal. Did Mom know how safe her little one was?