Premier League Roundup: Tottenham, Arsenal, Swansea bag wins on crazy opening day

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The Premier League is back!

Rejoice!

On the opening Saturday of the 2014-15 campaign we had it all.  Stunning goals. Red cards. Late drama. Huge upsets. Missed penalties. Comebacks. Yeah, it was a belter.

In case you missed any of the action from the seven Saturday games, we have recaps, reaction and videos below.

Get stuck in!

Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace

Without a manager, nobody gave Palace a chance away at Arsenal. Tony Pulis walked out on the Eagles on the eve of the season but they took a shock lead when new signing Brede Hangeland headed home from a corner in the first half. However right on half time Laurent Koscielny returned the favor for Arsenal as the central defender nodded home Alexis Sanchez’s free kick. Try as they might, Arsenal could not break down a stubborn Palace side who had Jason Puncheon sent off late in the game for two yellow cards. But right at the death Aaron Ramsey tapped in from close range to score the game-winner for the Gunners.

Leicester City 2-2 Everton

A frenetic game at the King Power Stadium as Aiden McGeady curled in a beauty to give Everton the lead, but the Foxes were level inside 90 seconds as Leandro Ulloa equalized on his debut. The game ebbed and flowed as the Toffees pushed hard to get back in front and they did so just before half time as Steven Naismith finished superbly from close range to put Everton 2-1 up. Leicester came back into the game in the second half and substitute Chris Wood equalized five minutes from time to seal a point for the Foxes.

Manchester United 1-2 Swansea City

Louis van Gaal’s debut as Manchester United boss could hardly have gone worse as the Red Devils lost at home on the opening day of the PL season for the first-time in history. Swansea City took a shock lead in the first half as Ki slotted home but newly installed captain Wayne Rooney scored an acrobatic effort to make it 1-1 just after the break. United looked as if they would grab a late winner, but it was Swansea who did just that as Gylfi Sigurdsson popped up to stun Old Trafford. Not the start LVG was hoping for.

Stoke City 0-1 Aston Villa

Both teams battled hard at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday and Aston Villa prevailed in windy conditions. Andreas Weimann got the game’s only goal in the second half as he battled through two challenges and then fired an effort across Asmir Begovic and into the far corner. Stoke huffed and puffed but Villa kept a clean sheet to seal an opening day win.

Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Hull City

QPR dominated large spells of this match but Hull stuck to their task and completed a classic ‘smash and grab’ win at Loftus Road. Faurlin, Barton and Mutch all come close for QPR in the first half but the Tigers took the lead after the break when James Chester lost his marker, Rio Ferdinand, and headed home the game-winner. In the 85th minute QPR were awarded a penalty kick as Chester was adjudged to have handballed but Charlie Austin’s spot kick was saved by Allan McGregor and Hull held on.

West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Sunderland

The visitors went ahead thanks to a howitzer from Lee Catermole. It was just his second goal in 102 games for the Black Cats. But before the break West Brom equalized as Saido Berahino scored a penalty following Victor Anichebe being hauled down by Valentin Roberge. The Baggies then went ahead as Berahino scored again and it looked like new boss Alan Irvine was set to seal a debut win. However, Sebastian Larsson popped up late on to nick a point for the Black Cats in an entertaining and even match at the Hawthorns.

West Ham 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs were up against it from the start at Upton Park but ground out a win during Mauricio Pochettino’s first game in charge. Kyle Naughton was sent off for a rather harsh looking handball decision in the box but from the resulting penalty Mark Noble put the ball wide. In the second half West Ham’s defender James Collins was sent off and in stoppage time Eric Dier slotted him after a mazy run to hand Spurs a win on the opening day.

Lippi leads China over SKorea 1-0 in World Cup qualifier

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Marcello Lippi earned his biggest victory since taking over as coach of China’s national soccer team, leading his squad to a 1-0 victory over South Korea on Thursday in a World Cup qualifier.

[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]

The coach, who led his native Italy to the World Cup title in 2006, was hired by China in October.

Yu Dabao scored the lone goal at Helong Stadium in Changsha with a header in the 34th minute, giving China only its second victory over South Korea in 32 matches.

China spent much of the second half defending with the visitors piling on the pressure. Ki Seung-yeung and Ji Dong-won both went close for South Korea but could not find a way past China goalkeeper Zeng Cheng.

South Korea has 10 points from six matches in Group A and is still on course to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. China, which last qualified for the World Cup in 2002, has five points.

Only the top two teams from the six-nation group qualify automatically. The third-place team will head to the playoffs.

CONMEBOL wrap: Brazil routs Uruguay, Messi guides Argentina past Chile

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A roundup of Thursday’s action from around CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying…

[ MORE: USMNT looks to build momentum against Honduras in WCQ ]

Paulinho‘s hat-trick helped bring Brazil back from an early deficit as the Selecao topped Uruguay, 4-1. Edinson Cavani put the hosts ahead after nine minutes from the penalty spot, but it was Paulinho that answered 10 minutes later for his first of the night. Neymar also tallied for the Brazilians, who continue to lead CONMEBOL qualifying with 30 points.

Lionel Messi scored in the first half to help lift Argentina over Chile, 1-0. The Barcelona attacker scored after 16 minutes when Angel di Maria was taken down inside the Chilean area by José Fuenzalida. Chile was held to just one shot on target throughout, and the loss leaves the reigning Copa America winners on the outside looking in at the top five.

James Rodriguez rescued Colombia on Thursday as the Real Madrid winger capitalized off of his penalty-kick rebound to give Los Cafeteros a 1-0 win over Bolivia. Goalkeeper Carlos Lampe did his best to preserve a draw for the visitors, recording six saves on the afternoon, however, it wasn’t enough to tame Colombia.

Meanwhile, Paraguay knocked off Ecuador, 2-1, behind goals from Bruno Valdez and Junior Alonso. The visitors pulled a goal back in the 70th minute when Felipe Caicedo converted from the penalty spot, but it wasn’t enough for Ecuador.

Peru battled back with two second-half goals to preserve a 2-2 draw against Venezuela on the road. The hosts got out to a 2-0 advantage before halftime when Mikel Villanueva and Romulu Otero scored for Venezuela, however, the Peruvians struck back in the second stanza to knick a point. Andre Carrillo and Paolo Guerrero scored in the 46th and 64th minutes, respectively, for Peru.


Thursday’s results

Colombia 1-0 Bolivia
Paraguay 2-1 Ecuador
Uruguay 1-4 Brazil
Argentina 1-0 Chile
Venezuela 2-2 Peru


Updated CONMEBOL table

  1. Brazil — 9-3-1 — 30 pts.
  2. Uruguay — 7-2-4 — 23 pts.
  3. Argentina — 6-4-3 — 22 pts.
  4. Colombia — 6-3-4 — 21 pts.
  5. Ecuador — 6-2-4 — 20 pts.
  6. Chile — 6-2-5 — 20 pts.
  7. Paraguay — 5-3-5 — 18 pts.
  8. Peru — 4-3-6 — 15 pts.
  9. Bolivia — 2-1-9 — 7 pts.
  10. Venezuela — 1-3-9 — 6 pts.

Ex-Disney CEO Eisner eyes English soccer club Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH, England (AP) Michael Eisner, the former chief executive of The Walt Disney Co., is in talks to buy English soccer club Portsmouth.

The fourth-tier club says it has entered into a 70-day exclusivity agreement with Eisner for takeover talks to take place.

Eisner wrote on Twitter: “Exciting times! Looking forward to coming over and meeting you all. Good luck against Newport County on Saturday!!”

Portsmouth, which is based on the south coast, spent beyond its means in the pursuit of glory. The team endured financial turmoil in the years following its 2008 FA Cup win, sinking from the Premier League to the fourth tier.

After entering bankruptcy protection, Portsmouth was rescued by the fans through a trust in 2013.

CONCACAF: USMNT, Trinidad & Tobago seek first points of Hexagonal

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Through two rounds of play in the Hexagonal, everything has gone according to plan for Mexico and Costa Rica.

Not so much though for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]

While Los Ticos and El Tri currently sit in the top two positions of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, the U.S. is left at the bottom and faces a difficult match against Honduras when play resumes on Friday night.

[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ahead of Honduras match ]

Mexico and Costa Rica will face off at the Estadio Azteca in the second of Friday’s three slated qualifiers, and while both nations surely expect to reach the World Cup in Russia, both CONCACAF heavyweights have the opportunity to put their stamp on the group.

For Costa Rica, a victory could potentially open up a five-point gap over El Tri, while a win for Mexico would bring Juan Carlos Osorio’s side the opportunity leap over their Central American foes.

Friday’s action will kick off at 7 p.m. though when third place Panama travels to Trinidad & Tobago, who seeks its first points of the Hex. Trinidad will be led by captain Kenwyne Jones of Atlanta United as well as Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino, with the duo scoring a combined 39 international goals for the Soca Warriors.

Below is the schedule and current table ahead of Friday’s CONCACAF matches as the region turns its attention to Matchday 3 of the Hexagonal.


Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama — 7 p.m. ET

Mexico vs. Costa Rica — 9:50 p.m. ET

USMNT vs. Honduras — 10:30 p.m. ET (PREVIEW)


1. Costa Rica — 2-0-0 — 6 pts.
2. Mexico — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
3. Panama — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
4. Honduras — 1-0-1 — 3 pts.
5. Trinidad & Tobago — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.
6. USMNT — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.