Cardiff 3-6 Liverpool: Stunning comeback for Reds, as Suarez bags another hat trick (video)

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Liverpool fought back twice against Cardiff City to beat the Bluebirds 6-3 at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday, with a hat trick from that man Luis Suarez stealing the headlines.

Cardiff twice took the lead in the first half through Jordon Mutch and Fraizer Campbell, but goals from Suarez and Martin Skrtel made it 2-2 at half time. Then a sluggish Liverpool side woke up after the break, with Suarez, and Skrtel both adding another goal and Daniel Sturridge scoring a fifth in the emphatic comeback win. Late on Mutch scored his second to make it 5-3, but then Suarez sealed his hat trick in stoppage time as Liverpool hit Cardiff for six.

The result was a little harsh on Cardiff, who had bossed the first 45 minutes and Liverpool were second best, but Brendan Rodgers’ men were at their clinical best when it mattered, as they’ve now scored 81 goals this season.

With the victory Liverpool sit in second spot, four points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand. Cardiff remain entrenched in the relegation zone, three points from safety.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Cardiff took a deserved lead early on as Mutch finished well with his left-foot after good work from Campbell to set him up. Cardiff pushed for a second and started very well against an out of sorts Liverpool side. However for all their earlier misgivings, Liverpool were level after 15 minutes as Suarez scored his 26th goal of the season with a delightful finish after Glen Johnson set him up.

Despite that equalizer, Cardiff continued to push on and they took the lead in the 25th minute when Mutch played in Campbell, and the Englishman cut inside and caught Daniel Agger out of position before firing a low shot into the net.

The game ebbed and flowed, but just before the break Liverpool equalized as Philippe Coutinho whipped in a great cross that Skrtel stabbed home, as Cardiff’s slack defending left the Slovakian defender unmarked. Before the break Liverpool pushed to go ahead, as the away side finally got going and Suarez was thwarted by David Marshall who saved brilliantly.

After the break Liverpool finally turned up, as the Reds went 3-2 ahead thanks to Skrtel’s header for his second of the game to give the title-contenders the lead for the first time. That goal knocked the stuffing out of Cardiff, as Liverpool pushed forward with wave after wave of attack that the Bluebirds just couldn’t deal with.

In the 66th minute it was 4-2 to Liverpool, as Johnson’s marauding run down the right saw his cross find Sturridge who then back heeled the ball towards the penalty spot, Suarez arrived to bag his second and Liverpool’s 80th goal of the campaign. Sturridge himself then got on the scoresheet, as Steve Caulker headed the ball straight to Suarez, who slotted in Sturridge to score his 22nd goal of the season and turn the comeback into a rout.

The rest of the match played out with Cardiff struggling to get the ball, and Liverpool looking dangerous every time they surged forward. However the Bluebirds did bag a consolation after a snazzy move which saw Mutch score his second of the match to make it 5-3, but the scoring wasn’t over as Suarez scored in stoppage time to bag his 28th goal of the season.

LINEUPS

Cardiff: Marshall; Fabio, Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Cala, John (Daehli, 65′); Medel, Kim (Zaha, 65′), Mutch; Bellamy (Jones, 70′), Campbell

Goals: Mutch (9′, 85′), Campbell (25′)

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan (Cissokho, 73′), Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho (Sterling, 68′), Suarez, Sturridge (Sakho, 92′)

Goals: Suarez (16′, 60′, 90′), Skrtel (41′, 54′), Sturridge (75′)

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.

Conte praises Hazard’s style, wouldn’t want him to be “more selfish”

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Antonio Conte made two bold decisions on Saturday afternoon as his Chelsea side prepared to take on Tottenham in their FA Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu shines with Saints as he prepares for Chelsea return ]

The Italian manager has been known for his innovation and risk-taking in the past, but many were critical of the 47-year-old when his team sheet came out ahead of the match.

Conte left key attacking duo Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench, allowing out-of-favor striker Michy Batshuayi and Pedro to get the starting nod.

Although Hazard nor Costa saw the field for the opening hour, the former made his presence known when he was summoned by Conte in the second half.

Often times Hazard has been known as a facilitator, someone that can pick apart defenses with his tremendous foot skills and clever passing. But the Belgian international has also shown his capabilities of scoring on a regular basis as well, which has prompted great interest from other giant clubs around Europe.

When Conte was asked about Hazard and if his attacker should be more selfish, the Italian gave an emphatic “NO” as his response.

“No, no, no, absolutely not,” Conte said. “I don’t think that a player like Messi is a selfish player. The first target for every great champion is to play for the team and to put your talent into the team. If you do this, the team [increases] your talent.

“The best players in the world don’t exist without a team. For me, it’s sad to listen to this, that a player must ‘be more selfish’ to reach the top level. That’s very sad. It’s not my idea of football and I will never understand this. Never, never. In my team, I don’t want selfish players.

“I prefer to lose a game than to have a selfish player. For me, I don’t want this and I can’t accept this. I don’t want my club to buy me a selfish player one day. Never. No.”

Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League

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Two sides have now booked their trips to England’s top flight after Newcastle United rattled off its 27th win of the season.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu — The perfectly poised destroyer ]

The Magpies earned a decisive 4-1 victory over Preston North End on Monday afternoon at St. James’ Park as the second-place side ensured its finish inside the top two in the English Championship.

Newcastle joins already-promoted club Brighton & Hove Albion, who currently sit atop the Championship on 92 points.

Ayoze Perez paced the hosts with goals on both sides of halftime, while Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie also converted for Newcastle.

U.S. Men’s National Team defender DeAndre Yedlin was on the bench for the Magpies but didn’t feature in Monday’s match.

The third and final team to be promoted from the Championship will be decided by the league’s annual promotion playoff, which is held at the end of the season and contested by four sides that finish third through sixth position.

As it stands, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Fulham occupy the four playoff positions.