Watch Live: Manchester City vs. Sunderland (Lineups and Discuss)

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Manchester City begins the process of converting games in hand into points today at Etihad Stadium, with the team hoping a visit from last place Sunderland will begin its climb back into the title race. Available via NBC Sports Live Extra, the match gives the Citizens a chance to cut the gap between itself and first place Liverpool to four points, with one of the team’s two matches in hand going away today in Manchester.

Both teams come into today’s game having suffered weekend losses at the hands of Merseyside clubs. City, visiting Anfield, saw a late Philippe Coutinho goal send it to a 3-2 loss, while Sunderland fell at home to Everton, 1-0.

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The loss keeps the Black Cats mired at the bottom of the Premier League table, with 25 points in 32 games leaving a seven-point gap between the club and safety. As important: Sunderland will have to out-play three teams between now and the end of the season, something that will require Gus Poyet’s side to take advantage of its own matches in hand.

City, while having the best goal difference in the league, sit third, though a late April meeting between the league’s two top teams gives the 2011-12 title-winners reason to hope. With two wins in their games in hand, the Citizens will be in position to take advantage of a potential Liverpool slip against Chelsea a week-and-a-half from now.

The first step in the Sky Blues’ charge will be prolonging Sunderland’s agony at the Etihad, where the Black Cats have never won. With neither Yaya Touré nor David Silva in the team, however, Sunderland may be able to get a shock result.

Lineups

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Dimechelis, Kolarov, Milner, Garcia, Fernandinho, Nasri, Aguero, Negredo

Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Richards, Clichy, Rodwell, Dzeko, Jovetic

Sunderland: Mannone, Vergini, Alonso, Brown, O’Shea, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Johnson, Morini, Wickham

Subs: Altidore, Ba, Giaccherini, Scocco, Mavrias, Agnew, Ustari

STREAM LIVE: West Brom-Palace, Liverpool-Leicester in PL Asia Trophy

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It’s a incredibly early kickoff for the third place game of the Premier League Asia Trophy tournament, at least here in the States, where West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace duke it out at 6 a.m. ET. in Hong Kong.

West Brom lost to Leicester City in its semifinal when youngster Sam Field missed the side’s seventh attempt in penalty kicks. Jay Rodriguez scored the Baggies goal in regulation of a 1-1 draw.

[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]  

Palace fell 2-0 to Liverpool in its semifinal.

The final will be staged at 8:30 a.m. ET, when Liverpool will hope to build on a win paced by Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke goals.

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)