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.

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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.

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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.

La Liga releases schedule: First El Clasico coming in December

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It’s Christmas in July for fans of La Liga Friday as the Spanish league published its schedule for the upcoming season.

Defending champions Real Madrid travel to Deportivo La Caruña on August 20, the opening match of the season while its rival Barcelona hosts Real Betis.

As it’s La Liga, the first date most fans searched for was the first El Clasico of the season, and the biennial battles between Real Madrid and Barcelona will take place on December 20 and May 6, with Real Madrid hosting the first match.

The first match comes just ahead of the Spanish winter break, while the second match comes at a busy period at the end of the season, where both teams will be hoping to still be competing in the UEFA Champions League.

Other interesting matches to keep an eye on in the first few weeks of the season include Real Madrid hosting Valencia in week two, the Barcelona derby between Barca and Espanyol in week three and Atletico Madrid taking on Sevilla in week six.

Here’s a look at this year’s La Liga schedule.

Conte: Costa “situation was very clear” in January

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At this point, there is no doubt Diego Costa‘s future lies away from London and Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte broke his silence on the Brazilian-born Spain international striker, saying he’s been ready to move on from Costa since January, when Costa and Conte had a disagreement following a big-money offer from Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian during the winter transfer window.

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“I don’t like to talk about players who are not here but the only thing I can tell you [is that] in January, the Costa situation was very clear, for the club for him and his agent,” Conte told reporters Friday. “For me the situation is closed.”

It’s an amazing turn of events after Costa scored 20 Premier League goals in Chelsea’s title-winning 2016-2017 season, including 14 goals through the end of December. But after falling out with Jose Mourinho a year earlier, the same issue happened again under Conte, with Costa proving much less effective down the stretch.

But Conte and Costa were able to put their differences aside on the field, photographed multiple times hugging after wins, as well as after winning the title.

Costa is reportedly now agitating for a move back to his former club Atletico Madrid, but the Spanish club’s transfer ban until the next window complicates matters. In a World Cup year, would Costa be willing to sit out half a season just to leave Chelsea?

If Costa’s time in the Premier League is up, he’ll go down as one of the league’s best pound-for-pound goalscorers. He scored 52 goals in 89 Premier League appearances, with seven more cup goals in his three-year spell at Chelsea.

And if he is gone, defenders across the Premier League will sure be happy to wave goodbye.

Sparta Prague signs France midfielder Rio Mavuba

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PRAGUE (AP) Sparta Prague says it has signed France midfielder Rio Mavuba to a three-year contract.

The 33-year-old Mavuba comes from French club Lille, which he joined in 2008. Before that, he played for Bordeaux and Spanish club Villarreal.

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Mavuba was on the France team at the 2014 World Cup.

He is the 10th player signed by Sparta after Italian coach Andrea Stramaccioni took charge in May.

Mexico 1-0 Honduras: Pizarro strikes early to put El Tri in Gold Cup semifinals

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Mexico had little trouble dispatching Honduras as El Tri won 1-0 in Glendale, AZ and eased into the Gold Cup semifinals.

Just four minutes into the game, Mexico took the lead as they got Honduras on its heels, with Rodolfo Pizarro sticking the ball in at the far post at the end of a scramble. Jesus Duenas carved a ball through the defense, and while Elias Hernandez whiffed on the tap-in, Pizarro was right behind him to finish the chance.

Mexico settled in after scoring, while Honduras tried to out-muscle El Tri, with the latter receiving a pair of yellow cards in the first 45 minutes. There were precious few other chances throughout the first half, with Honduras completely incapable of creating anything in the attacking half.

Mexico continued to dominate out of the halftime break, but they lost Monterrey midfielder Jesus Molina in the 65th minute with discomfort, replaced by Chaka Rodriguez. The best moment for Honduras as they chased the game late came in the 78th minute as Jose Corona made a spectacular save when substitute Alexander Lopez nearly scored directly from a corner. They came close again in stoppage time after a set-piece as Alfredo Mejia scuffed a shot agonizingly wide.

Honduras ended their Gold Cup without a single goal scored. They technically defeated French Guyana 3-0 in the group stage, but that came on the typical forfeit scoreline, whereas the actual game played ended in a 0-0 draw.

Meanwhile, Mexico will take on Jamaica in the semifinal in a rematch of last tournament’s final.