Britain Soccer Premier League

Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle United: Magical Mesut mauls miserable Magpies

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Goals from Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud led Arsenal to a 3-0 trouncing of visiting Newcastle as the hosts look to boost their UEFA Champions League standing at the expense of the moribund Magpies.

Arsenal’s UCL fortunes are good as its fourth-place lead over Everton is up to four points.

Newcastle has lost six-straight matches for the first time in its Premier League existence. The Magpies remain in 9th place, two points ahead of Stoke and three ahead of Crystal Palace.

In other words, Alan Pardew’s return to the touchline upon completion of his suspension for headbutting David Meyler meant very little. They may be the worst team in the Premier League right now.

Unsurprisingly, the Gunners were often the better side, led by Ozil. The German was denied by a sliding Fabricio Coloccini about a quarter-hour into the match.

Newcastle’s best chance came about 20 minutes in, but Moussa Sissoko was quickly surrounded by red jerseys and his room to shoot was hampered as he pushed one high and wide.

Arsenal struck first, with a set piece goal punctuated by Koscielny punting the ball into the stands. Tim Krul would’ve been all over the stop earlier this year, and it’s never felt more like he’s already on a “bigger” club.

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In this image, Pardew may or may not be blaming the Emirates Stadium oxygen for his team’s loss.

The Gunners had five corners by the 30th minute, and Krul was fantastic to parry a firm-headed shot. It’s like he was reading this before it was posted.

There was hope for Newcastle, as Loic Remy forced Wojciech Szczesny into a save on a free kick and Cheick Tiote doubled down with a long-ranger curler in the 33rd minute.

The keeper was wise, and the score remained 1-0 to the home side.

Maybe the goal woke the home side, as Mathieu Debuchy lashed a shot that troubled the Szczesny before failing to arrive on goal.

Embarrassing Newcastle defending allowed Arsenal to double its advantage as the clock turned to 41. Krul stopped Giroud twice point-blank on a breakaway before Ozil tapped home a rebound while the Magpies defenders watched.

Arsenal possessed the ball well for the first 12 minutes of the second half, but Newcastle found a chance when Yoan Gouffran was sprung on goal. Szczesny made the save, though, as Gouffran popped the ball at the keeper’s chest.

Giroud made it 3-0 in the 66th minute, as Ozil continued his wizardy with a whipped-in cross from the left that the Frenchman had no problem heading home (to Arsene Wenger’s delight).

LINEUPS

Arsenal: Szczesny; Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna; Arteta, Ramsey (Rosicky, 74′); Podolski, Ozil (Flamini, 74′), Cazorla; Giroud (Sanogo, 84′)

Goals: Koscielny (26), Ozil (42), Giroud (66)

Newcastle: Krul; Dummett, Coloccini, Williamson, Debuchy (Yanga-Mbiwa, 84′); Gouffran (Armstrong, 89′), Tiote, Gosling (Shola Ameobi, 70′), Anita; Sissoko; Remy

USC wins NCAA women’s soccer national championship

Southern California's Morgan Andrews celebrates after scoring a goal against West Virginia during the first half in the NCAA Women's College Cup soccer final, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
AP Photo/Tony Avelar
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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Katie Johnson broke a tie in the 75th minute and Southern California won the NCAA women’s soccer title Sunday, beating top-ranked West Virginia 3-1 at Avaya Stadium on Sunday.

The second-seeded Trojans (19-4-2) also won the College Cup in 2007.

The Mountaineers (23-2-2) lost for the first time since a 1-0 setback to Georgetown on Sept. 18. West Virginia had a 17-game unbeaten streak snapped, and allowed three goals for the first all season.

Johnson, who also had the winning goal in USC’s 1-0 semifinal victory over Georgetown on Friday, was wide open in front of the net when Leah Pruitt took a pass up the left sideline, beat defender Easther Mayi Kith, and delivered a perfect cross. Johnson simply rolled the ball into the goal to the right of goalkeeper Rylee Foster.

Johnson scored again off an assist from Nicole Molen in the 87th minute.

The Trojans got on the board just 1:22 into play after Julia Bingham directed a corner kick to the top of the penalty box, where Savannah Levin headed the ball forward to Morgan Andrews, whose header from 5 yards eluded Foster.

West Virginia’s Ashley Lawrence, a member of the 2016 Canadian Olympic team, tied it in the 66th minute when she ripped a shot from the top left corner of the penalty box just inside the near post.

After USC took the 2-1 lead, the Mountaineers nearly drew even in the 81st minute on a shot by Heather Kaleiohi that was stopped on a diving save by goalkeeper Sammy Prudhomme.

The Mountaineers outshot USC 21-8 and held a 9-1 edge in corner kicks.

The Trojans joined North Carolina (21 titles), Notre Dame (3) and Portland (3) as the only multiple winners of the College Cup.

USC won its 126th national team title on the same day its men’s water polo team lost 10-8 to Cal in the NCAA final just 45 miles away in Berkeley.

West Virginia, in its first College Cup final, was hoping to claim its first NCAA title in any sport besides its co-ed rifle team, which has won 18 national titles.

VIDEO: 70-yard volley from Chile is nearly impossible to believe

Alejandro Camargo, Universidad de Concepcion
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His name is Alejandro Camargo, and he scored what might just go down as the best goal of 2016 on Sunday: an impossibly perfect volley from well beyond the halfway line.

[ MORE: PL roundup — Chelsea top Man City; Arsenal, Spurs win big ]

Miguel Pinto is the opposing goalkeeper whose long-range clearance, which covered about 50 yards during the final seconds of Universidad de Concepcion’s clash with O’Higgins in the Chilean first division, was taken off the fly, first-time, by the Argentine midfielder to seal a 3-1 victory for the home side.

[ MORE: Serie A roundup — Roma, AC Milan win, still tied for 2nd ]

“The coach told us Pinto was always playing in advance of his goal, so I closed my eyes and hit it,” Camargo said after the game.

“Hit it and hope” has never looked so good.

Roma fans stay away from derby to protest new security barriers

A view of a huge section of empty seats as Roma fans desert derby in protest over security barriers, during a Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Roma, at the Rome Olympic stadium Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
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ROME (AP) Roma’s most ardent supporters stayed away from the derby match against Lazio in protest at barriers introduced at the start of last season in their area.

Normally filled with supporters waving huge banners, lighting flares and singing, half of the “curva sud” — southern end — of the Stadio Olimpico was left empty for Sunday’s match.

[ MORE: Serie A roundup — Roma, AC Milan win, still tied for 2nd ]

Three of Roma’s locally born standouts held a meeting with the “ultra” fans during the week. Captain Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi asked the supporters to return, and the club itself has also tried to resolve the matter.

But the appeals had no effect.

In contrast, Lazio fans filled the northern end of the stadium as usual.

The plexiglass barriers were put in place by city officials for security reasons.

VIDEO: “Behind The Badge: Watford FC” — Episode 2

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In Episode 2 of Behind the Badge: Watford FC, watch the players’ recovery after a win against Leicester, a look at the club’s one-of-a-kind internship program and a flashback to a memorable moment in Watford’s history.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

To watch past episodes of Behind The Badge, including last season’s edition featuring a look inside Crystal Palace, head over to the full archive by clicking here.

[ MORE: PL roundup — Chelsea top Man City; Arsenal, Spurs win big ]

First episode: Watch full episode, here
Second episode: Above video
Third episode: Sunday, Dec. 11, 2 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Fourth episode: Sunday, Dec. 18, 2 p.m. ET – NBCSN