Everton 2-2 Arsenal: Late goals seal dramatic comeback for Gunners (video)

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Everton threw away a 2-0 lead in the final seven minutes against Arsenal at Goodison Park on Saturday, as the Gunners rallied to score twice late on and snatch a point from the jaws of defeat.

Agony for Everton. Ecstasy for Arsenal.

[MORE: Watch full replay, here]

The Toffees struck twice in the first half through Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith, as Arsenal were punished for sloppy defending. Roberto Martinez’s looked at ease for large swathes of the match but half time substitute Olivier Giroud went close on three occasions for the Gunners in the second half and that was a warning of what was to come late on.

[RELATED: Martinez bemoans late collapse]

Arsene Wenger’s men finally got on the board with seven minutes left as Santi Cazorla’s ball to the back post was tapped home by Aaron Ramsey to make it 2-1. then Giroud popped up in the 90th minute to equalize and stun the home crowd on Merseyside.

Roberto Martinez’s side now have two points from their opening two games, both 2-2 draws where they’ve squander leads late on, while Arsenal have one win and one draw after dramatic late goals in both of their opening PL games of 2014-15. Did they deserve a point against Everton on Saturday? Probably not, but they got it.

Arsenal now go into their crucial UEFA Champions League play-off second leg against Besiktas at the Emirates on Wednesday with a spring in their step.

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

An early injury to Steven Pienaar caused a reshuffle for the home side as Leon Osman replaced the South African international in midfield. In the 16th minute Arsenal were handed a glorious chance to take the lead as Coleman played a poor clearance straight to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but the Arsenal man pushed his side-footed effort just wide. A real let off for the Toffees.

Soon after Coleman popped up at the other end of the pitch and gave Everton the lead. A short free kick from Leighton Baines found Gareth Barry and the midfielder clipped a delicate ball towards the back post which Coleman headed in unmarked. Mesut Ozil didn’t track Coleman and Calum Chambers dropped deep to keep Coleman and Romelu Lukaku onside as the Gunners defended sloppily at Goodison.

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The Gunners trailed 2-0 early on as Everton came flying out of the traps.

Arsenal looked disjointed going forward as long balls up to Alexis Sanchez weren’t sticking and the North Londoners were being frustrated by a stubborn Everton defense. Then right on half time Lukaku surged past Per Meresacker down the right flank and played in Naismith, who seemed to be in an offside position, but the Scotsman slotted home to make it 2-0 to give Everton a commanding lead.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

Predictably Arsenal changed things up at half time as Olivier Giroud replaced Sanchez in attack and the Frenchman almost scored with his first touch. Chamberlain dinked a delightful ball towards the back post and Giroud smashed a volley across Tim Howard but the ball flew over the bar as a glorious chance went begging.

The Gunners were much better int he second half as the pressed to get back into the game. Giroud smashed an effort wide just after the hour mark and the Frenchman was thwarted by Howard soon after as the U.S. international saved well from a snapshot in the box.

Lukaku continued to be a threat on the break for Everton as bookings to Jack Wilshere, Mertesacker, Mathieu Flamini and Chambers signified Arsenal’s frustration with how things were playing out. Referee Kevin Friend kept a lid on things and Arsenal had the lions share of possession in the second half and that finally told as Ramsey tapped home Cazorla’s delicious set-up to the back post.

The Gunners then snatched a point in the final minute of normal time as Giroud scored to break the hearts of Everton’s fans in dramatic fashion. What a finish and what an incredible comeback from the Gunners.

LINEUPS 

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Mirallas (Atsu, 85′), Naismith, Pienaar (Osman, 10′), Lukaku (McGeady, 76′)

Goals: Coleman (19′), Naismith (44′)

Arsenal: Szczesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Chambers, Monreal, Flamini, Chamberlain (Campbell, 74′), Wilshere (Cazorla, 74′), Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis (Giroud, 45′)

Goals: Ramsey (83′), Giroud (90′)

Dempsey, Sounders steal a point on wild night in Portland

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The game in 100 words (or less): An entire game can change in the blink of an eye. For the Seattle Sounders, that blink came in the 44th minute of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers. Up 1-0 by way of Joevin Jones’ opener in the 27th minute, the defending MLS Cup champs were poised to head into halftime with a one-goal advantage and every belief imaginable that they’d been the better team for the entire first half. Blink. Brad Evans wrapped his legs around Darlington Nagbe, giving away a penalty and earning himself a red card, just like that, in the blink of an eye. Fanendo Adi stepped up to convert from the spot, but it still was to be a hard-fought 1-1 scoreline from Seattle’s perspective. Then, Dairon Asprilla got loose, completely unmarked atop the six-yard box, on a corner kick, and it was 2-1 after four minutes of first-half stoppage time. 45 more minutes pass, and the Timbers… blink. Clint Dempsey, 34 years old but fresh off the bench 40 minutes earlier, out-leaps everyone in the box and heads past Jake Gleeson to steal a point for Seattle.

[ MORE: San Jose fire Kinnear after 2.5 seasons ]

Three Four moments that mattered

27′ — Jones gets two chances, puts the second away — It’s a classic case of “I dropped my controller” from Alvas Powell, who just stops as Jones cuts across the penalty area. There’s no reason Jones should get a second look on this one.

44′ — Evans brings down Nagbe in the box, sees red — Goodbye, lead. Goodbye 11 versus 11. Things would unravel very quickly for Seattle.

45+4′ — Asprilla rises above to make it 2-1 — Seattle’s marking of Asprilla was nonexistent, and the Colombian showed off some serious hops to get his head to David Guzman’s corner kick.

90+4′ — Dempsey heads home deep in stoppage time — A costly turnover by Asprilla, a hit-it-and-pray cross by Roman Torres, and Dempsey snatches a point at the death.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Cristian Roldan

Goalscorers: Jones (27′), Adi (45′ – PK), Asprilla (45+4′), Dempsey (90+4′)

Russia has reasons for optimism despite Confed Cup exit

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MOSCOW (AP) When the anger subsides after another group stage exit and another goalkeeping blunder, Russian fans might find they can be proud of their team at the Confederations Cup.

Russia failed to reach the knockout rounds of a fourth major tournament in a row, but there’s no shame in losing by one goal to European champion Portugal and North American champion Mexico.

“We will move on,” coach Stanislav Cherchesov said after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Mexico. “We have won (the fans’) hearts and minds to a certain extent in this month that we have been together … I think that we have given some reasons to feel optimistic about us.”

If Russia’s fans agreed with Cherchesov that Russia had done well to limit Portugal to a single Cristiano Ronaldo goal, there was frustration that Russia hadn’t done better against a poor Mexican side.

Russia wasted chances to exploit Mexico’s ragged defending and add to Alexander Samedov’s opener, while goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev performed an inexplicable lunge which allowed Hirving Lozano to head in the winner. Akinfeev was lucky not to be red-carded, too, after his foot caught Lozano in the chest.

Akinfeev was the immediate scapegoat for Russia’s exit, with fans and newspapers calling for his removal.

The most-capped player in the squad – the Mexico game was his 101st international appearance – Akinfeev’s bulletproof consistency in the Russian Premier League has kept him the undisputed national-team No. 1 for years.

When the world is watching, though, he gets flustered and makes mistakes.

Against South Korea at the 2014 World Cup, an innocuous long shot slipped from his grasp and went in, paving the way for another early Russian exit from the tournament. There have been more than a few blunders in the 43 games since Akinfeev last kept a clean sheet for CSKA in the Champions League, too.

But it’s hard to see who could replace him. The naturalized Brazilian reserve keeper Guilheme is agile but injury prone, while Vladimir Gabulov is a solid but unspectacular veteran. Zenit St. Petersburg’s Yuri Lodygin challenged Akinfeev for a while, but was brought low by his own tendency for embarrassing errors.

On the positive side for Russia, defender Georgy Dzhikiya was solid in all three group games after having only made his debut on June 5, and Cherchesov’s three-man back line was mostly reliable.

Less successful was Cherchesov’s attempt to bolster the midfield by starting Roman Shishkin – usually a defender – in a defensive midfield role against Portugal and Mexico, while 33-year-old ex-Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov did his World Cup hopes no favors with a red card Saturday.

Russia’s run of injuries before the tournament weakened the midfield in particular, with Alan Dzagoev and the promising Roman Zobnin both missing out. Forward Artyom Dzyuba’s absence left Cherchesov relying heavily on Fyodor Smolov, who showed touches of class but missed a good chance against Portugal.

Perhaps the biggest damage from Russia’s Confederations Cup exit will be to Russian pride.

Officials have often bragged that the home advantage for next year’s World Cup could drive Russia to new heights, perhaps a repeat of South Korea’s charge to the semifinals in 2002. Those expectations are now being reviewed.

Just one World Cup host in history – South Africa in 2010 – has failed to get out of the group stage. Avoiding a repeat may be the most Russia can hope for.

FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers host Sounders in PNW showdown

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They don’t get much bigger, or more heated, than this one in MLS — it’s Portland versus Seattle, the Timbers versus the Sounders, tonight at Providence Park (10 p.m. ET).

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers vs. Sounders ]

To keep up-to-the-second informed on proceedings in Portland this evening, hit the above link, or click right here.

Seattle won the first meeting between these sides, 1-0 back on May 27, on their home turf at CenturyLink Field. Cristian Roldan, who’ll depart for U.S. national team camp following Sunday’s game, scored the only goal that afternoon in Seattle, a 4th-minute header from three yards out.

Mustafi: Arsenal players powerless, hope “brilliant” Sanchez will stay

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Shkodran Mustafi admits that he, along with his Arsenal teammates, feels helpless with over the ongoing transfer saga of Alexis Sanchez.

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

The Chilean superstar is linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer, as the Gunners fell out of the Premier League’s top-four and the 28-year-old’s contract is set to expire next summer. Perhaps most importantly, Sanchez hasn’t so much as publicly stated a desire to remain at the club, which, from the outside, appears to have left his future in even greater doubt.

Mustafi admits he hasn’t a clue how things will shake out in the coming weeks, but he’s quick with a pleading sales pitch for Sanchez to stay — quotes from Goal.com:

“I have no idea. Obviously the other players cannot make that decision, he has to make that decision.

“I’m not too much involved. I hope he stays because he is a really brilliant football player but there’s nothing in my hands that I can do.”

[ MORE: De Boer set to be named new Crystal Palace boss ]

Arsenal would likely have to double (if not more) Sanchez’s current $180,000 weekly wages in order to convince him to forego a season in the UEFA Champions League and commit his long-term future to a club presently trending in the wrong direction.