Tottenham 4-0 QPR: Spurs onslaught ruins Redknapp’s return to White Hart Lane

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Despite the opponent being just a newly-promoted side, Tottenham fans will be buzzing after a thorough performance by their side in the season’s home-opener.

Mauricio Pochettino’s debut at White Hart Lane was a powerful one, as Spurs comprehensively overwhelmed Queens Park Rangers with a 4-0 win.

Belgian winter Nacer Chadli picked up a brace, and defender Eric Dier bagged his second goal in two games as Spurs collected three points in much more attractive fashion than last weekend.

It started from the get-go, and the home side put on a number of incisive counter-attacks.

Naleb Bentaleb was at the heart of a few, and paired with Erik Lamela to get Emmanuel Adebayor a free header in the opening 10 minutes.

[MORE: Watch full replay, here]

The first goal came just minutes later, when Bentaleb sprung Adebayor down the left flank, and the striker lofted a beautiful ball over the center backs for Chadli on a tight angle. Chadli took on QPR goalkeeper Robert Green by himself, and found the back of the net one-on-one.

QPR had an opportunity to draw level, as a long ball from deep in their own half found Matt Phillips bursting forward behind the Spurs defense. Phillips cut back well but he scooped the shot over the bar. It would be the last time QPR would have a sniff at goal all half, as Spurs poured it on.

source: AP
Erik Lamela didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he was the creative force in the Spurs midfield at White Hart Lane.

The onslaught began in the 24th minute, as set-piece threat Christian Eriksen cannoned a spectacular free-kick off the underside of the bar, but it rocketed off the woodwork and did not cross the line, and the chance disappeared with no follow-up.

Spurs got a second quite surprisingly after , as defender Eric Dier picked up his second goal of the season with a powerful header off a corner on the half-hour mark. He charged up front an unsuspecting position and thundered his head against the ball.

The goal means Dier is the first defender to score in two games to open a season in Premier League history.

Chadli got his second and his team’s third thanks to fantastic build-up play from Lamela, who zig-zagged down the left flank before floating the ball across the box to Chadli lurking at the far post. Already with a goal to his name, the Belgian crashed his header into the back of the net.

Spurs kept pushing, hardly allowing QPR a touch all the way to the halftime break.  The second 45 saw much more possession for the visitors with Spurs sitting back, but it still led to few chances.

Spurs chose to play on the counter with Lamela the main man, and again looked much more incisive against an undisciplined high line.

The home side added to their flood when Emmanuel Adebayor cooly finished a one-time feed from Danny Rose after the hour mark, and QPR will have plenty of man-marking work to do in training this week.

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

There was little else in the match, as Spurs decided they were happy with their haul.  The points send Spurs home still with the maximum total after two matches, and their margin of victory sends them top of the table on goal difference.

Meanwhile, Redknapp and QPR still have nothing to show for their time in the Premier League so far, and haven’t looked very good doing so.

LINEUPS:

Tottenham: Lloris; Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Bentaleb (Dembele 59′), Capoue; Chadli (Kane 69′), Eriksen, Lamela; Adebayor (Soldado 80′).

Goals: Chadli 12, 37; Dier 30, Adebayor 65′

QPR: Green; Caulker, Ferdinand, Dunne (Onuoha 46′); Traore, Mutch, Isla, Barton, Fer (Faurlin 68′); Phillips (Zamora 74′), Remy.

Barcelona plan Cruyff tribute at club’s training center

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) One year after his death, Barcelona says it will name the future stadium at its training center after Dutch great Johan Cruyff.

The new stadium at Barcelona’s training center just outside the Catalan city will be called “Johan Cruyff Stadium” in honor of the club’s former player and coach.

Barcelona says in a statement that “the most emblematic building in the facility where future Barca players are coached is to be named after somebody who played such a central role in fostering youth talent at the club.”

Barcelona also says it will commission a “commemorative sculpture” of Cruyff, who died of lung cancer on March 24 last year at age 68. The statue will be placed at Barcelona’s main Camp Nou stadium.

Cruyff is largely credited with launching Barcelona’s era of trophy success, both as a player and a coach.

As a player, Cruyff joined Barcelona midseason in 1973 and led the middle-of-the-table team to its first national title in a decade.

He later returned as a coach and guided Barcelona to four consecutive Spanish leagues from 1991-94 and the club’s first European Cup in 1992.

“I think the tributes are very warming,” said Cruyff’s son, Jordi Cruyff. “It sort of changes the sadness that we might feel as family to lose a father, a husband and a grandfather. It changes to a certain kind of pride to understand that he left something behind.”

MLS Snapshot: Defense optional — Crew SC outlast Timbers, 3-2

AP Photo/Bryan Woolston
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The game in 100 words (or less): As far as teams who get out in the open field and score the lion’s share of their goals on the counter-attacking, there aren’t many MLS teams better than Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers. The two sides met Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium, site of their MLS Cup 2015 clash, and lived up to their reputations. Of the five goals scored, two were notched on flat-out counters and two more came to pass through quick transitional movements. Portland (9 points) dropped their first points of the season, falling 3-2 to goals scored by Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and Niko Hansen, while Crew SC have back-to-back wins and find themselves level on points (7) with the New York Red Bulls with each side having played four games.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

4′ — Asprilla opens the scoring early on — 2017 Crew SC defending, same as 2016 Crew SC defending.

11′ — Meram fires home the rebound for 1-1 — One of Portland’s biggest weaknesses last season was their set-piece defending. Looks like not much has changed.

19′ — Higuain feeds Kamara for a 2-1 lead — The question mark that Portland will eventually have to answer is this: How much, if at all, have they improved defensively in the open field? Based on this Crew SC counter-attack, the answer might be “not much.”

45+3′ — Adi recovers to make it 2-2 — Everything Adi does these days (even the bad things, like this first touch) ends up being good.

84′ — Hansen cleans up at the back post for 3-2 — Jake Gleeson made a spectacular reaction save to deny Kamara his second goal of the game, but the rookie, making his MLS debut, was in the right place at the right time.

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

Men of the match: Wil Trapp

Goalscorers: Asprilla (4′), Meram (11′), Kamara (19′), Adi (45+3′), Hansen (84′)

Andorra’s 11-year, 58-game losing streak is over

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rarely has a scoreless stalemate in front of the home fans tasted so sweet.

But 11 years of nothing but losing will do that to a team.

Andorra’s 0-0 draw with fellow minnow Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Saturday ended its run of 58 competitive defeats.

It was the first point in qualifying for the Pyrenees mountain principality, population 80,000, since a scoreless draw with Finland in 2005.

Faroe Islands finished with 10 men after Joan Edmundsson was booked a second time with 15 minutes to play.

World Cup qualifiers: Dutch disaster persists; Greece hold Belgium

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying fixtures, as Groups A, B and H hit the halfway point in Europe…

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Bulgaria 2-0 Netherlands

Spas Delev scored both Bulgarian goals (5th and 20th minutes) to secure all three points and send Danny Blind’s Netherlands side (7 points) into fourth place in Group A, six points back of leaders France and three back of second-place (qualifying playoffs) Sweden.

17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was handed his international debut for the Dutch; he was ultimately at fault for both of Delev’s goals; he was subbed off at halftime (as was Georginio Wijnaldum).

Luxembourg 1-3 France

Olivier Giroud scored twice (28th and 77th minutes) for France, and Antoine Griezmann added the other (37th minute – penalty kick), as Les Bleus maintained their three-point lead in Group A. Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old rising star, made his international debut in the 78th minute, when he replaced Dimitri Payet.

Portugal 3-0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the 69th and 70th goals of his international career (36th and 65th minutes), as Portugal (12 points) kept pace with an unbeaten Switzerland side (15 points) which managed a 1-0 victory over Latvia to keep their 100-percent record intact. Andre Silva scored the opener (32nd minute) for Portugal, the 21-year-old Porto striker’s fifth goal in six international appearances.

Belgium 1-1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku‘s 89th-minute rescued a point for Group H leaders Belgium (13 points), but it did little to mask an otherwise uninspiring performance from Roberto Martinez’s side. Kostas Mitroglu put Greece ahead in the first minute of the second half, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute, and that was the start of Greece’s unraveling. The draw was just enough to keep Greece (11 points) in second, ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose 5-0 thrashing of Gibraltar moved them to 10 points with a superior goal differential.

Elsewhere in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying

Group A

Sweden 4-0 Belarus

Group B

Switzerland 1-0 Latvia
Andorra 0-0 Faroe Islands

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar
Cyprus 0-0 Estonia