Americans Abroad Review: Bedoya buries one, Boyd bags brace

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How many Americans could find themselves in the UEFA Champions League or the Europa League next season?

Quite a few, and Everton’s Tim Howard is doing his best to get his name on the list. The Toffees blanked Manchester United 2-0 on Sunday, moving themselves within a point of No. 4 Arsenal for the last slot in the UCL. A Saturday date at St. Mary’s against Southampton is the next step for Everton.

Jozy Altidore won a penalty for Sunderland that, once converted by Fabio Borini, won the Black Cats crucial points in a 2-1 decision over Chelsea. Altidore slipped and fell down while running alongside Cesar Azpilicueta in the Chelsea box, and a penalty was awarded. The American forward will take them where he can get them these days.

Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan kept his first clean sheet in a month when the Villans drew Southampton 0-0. Guzan’s club is now five points ahead of the drop, while Geoff Cameron and Stoke City are making a late charge for ninth place. Even eighth isn’t out of the question for the Potters, who saw 90 minutes from Cameron in a 1-1 draw against Cardiff City.

Birmingham is still in relegation danger down in the Championship after failing to find a point against Nottingham Forest. Jonathan Spector again went 90 minutes in a 1-0 loss, while Will Packwood failed to appear off the bench.

Danny Williams was off after 55 minutes for Reading, but he did pick up a yellow card and was on the pitch for all three of Wigan’s goals in a 3-0 loss. Tim Ream went 90 for Bolton as the Wanderers drew 0-0 at Charlton, and Duane Holmes made the bench but didn’t play in Huddersfield Town’s 1-1 draw against Brighton.

Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday let 1-0 and 2-1 leads go before scoring twice between minutes 86 and 90 to top Bournemouth 4-2. Both goals came with Onyewu and the Owls down to 10-men for the game’s final half-hour.

Aron Johannsson, Juan Agudelo and Sacha Kljestan all had weekends free of soccer (but don’t fear: so did their clubs).

Terrence Boyd buried a brace before halftime in Rapid Wien’s 2-2 draw against SV Scholz Grodig. Video hasn’t arrived of one of his goals, but here’s a stadium end look at his penalty conversion that keeps Rapid point ahead of Austria Wien for the top flight’s Europa League bid:

Ale Bedoya was part of a Nantes goal parade, as the Canaries stomped Valenciennes 6-2. His goal in the 41st minute (VIDEO) made it five on the Ligue 1 season and two in his last three appearances.

A pregame injury to Fabian Lustenberger forced John Anthony Brooks into the starting XI for Hertha Berlin’s 0-0 draw at FC Augsburg. Fabian Johnson went 90 minutes for Hoffenheim in its 3-1 loss to Werder Bremen.

Spanish police dismantle match-fixing scheme in 3rd, 4th tiers

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MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.

Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.

The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.

The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.

The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.

UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas

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  • Chelsea vs. Barcelona, at Stamford Bridge
  • Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas, at Allianz Arena
  • Champions League round of 16 resumes on Tuesday

[ UCL: Spurs fight back to draw Juventus | Liverpool thrash Porto in leg 1 ]

Chelsea, mired in some of their worst form since the disastrous 2015-16 season, welcome a Barcelona side enjoying one of the best six-month runs of results in the famed club’s entire history. The Blues have won just four of their last 12 games across all competitions, while the Blaugrana have lost once in 38 games.

On the plus side, Chelsea enter Tuesday’s colossal clash as winners of their last two games — back-to-back wins for the first time in 2018 — having outscored the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Hull City by a combined 7-0. Star striker Alvaro Morata returned to action against Hull after five weeks out with a back injury, thus Antonio Conte has something of a selection dilemma on his hands with the Spaniard perhaps only partially fit, and Olivier Giroud racking up a goal and three assists in the last two games, his first starts for the club.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded just two goals in their last nine games (all competitions) and even managed to overturn their lone defeat, to Espanyol, and advance to the Copa del Rey semifinals (and eventually final). Despite losing Neymar in the summer, Barca mostly cruised through their Champions League group, only dropping points in draws away to Juventus and Olympiacos. Lionel Messi has, strangely, never scored a goal in his eight career appearances against Chelsea, a record which has been spoken about at length in the build-up to Tuesday — similarly to the goal-less record which plagued him against Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom he finally bested back in September.

[ MORE: Man City win big away to Basel | Real Madrid 3-1 PSG ]

In the other round-of-16 first-leg matchup on Tuesday, five-time (soon-to-be six) defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich host surprise winners of Group G, Besiktas, ahead of the likes of Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto.

Since taking over on an interim basis (through the end of the season), Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has won 21 of 22 games of which he’s been in charge, including four of six games during the group stage en route to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain, while also racing out to a 19-point lead back home in Germany.

Aguero involved in clash with Wigan fan after FA Cupset

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Sergio Aguero was involved in a confrontation with a Wigan fan as ugly scenes marred the end of the third-division side’s shock FA Cup win over Manchester City on Monday.

[ MORE: Wigan shock Man City, the world and themselves ]

Fans spilled on to the pitch at DW Stadium as the host celebrated its 1-0 fifth-round win against the runaway English Premier League leader.

Supporters from both clubs were involved in disturbances, while television pictures appeared to show a home supporter and striker Aguero involved in a physical exchange.

Aguero appeared to hit the supporter after the fan said something to the player, and Aguero had to be held back by his City teammates.

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Advertising hoardings were also ripped out and thrown as a pitch invasion by Wigan fans got out of hand while the defeated City players were being escorted off the pitch.

Footage also appeared to show objects, including an advertising board, being thrown at police officers by fans in the City end.

Wigan shock themselves: “Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet”

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Wigan Athletic didn’t just shock Manchester City with their FA Cup fifth-round slaying of the runaway Premier League leaders; nor did they merely shock the rest of the footballing world; they also shocked themselves into disbelief, according to defender Dan Burn.

[ MORE: Goodbye, quadruple! Wigan bounce 10-man City from FA Cup ]

Speaking following Monday’s triumph over Pep Guardiola‘s quadruple-chasing side at the DW Stadium, Burn admitted he himself didn’t know what to make of the night that would undoubtedly highlight and change his own professional career — quotes from the BBC:

“Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet. It was a really tough game. The belief was always there. We’ve got Will Grigg, who does what he keeps doing.

“We pride ourselves on our clean sheets. We had a couple bad results before, so we wanted to prove ourselves, so a clean sheet against the best team in England is great.

“Once we scored, the fans really got behind us, just knew we needed to hang on. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.”

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Manager Paul Cook was able to articulate his happiness and pride only slightly better — “It feels great” — but offered the highest of praises to his players, whom “had to ride [their] luck at times” during the game, and gave everything they had to the cause, because that’s the only way you beat a team like Man City:

“It feels great. It’s such a severe test. They’re such a strong side and move the ball so well. We had to ride our luck at times and the sending off is always a big incident.

“Our lads deserve credit for their work and some of the blocks they made were outstanding, and to beat Man City you have to do that.”