Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League

Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool: Jovetic brace guides City to win

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Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium strength was back after the Citizens avenged last season’s loss to Liverpool with deadly finishing in a 3-1 win on Monday afternoon.

Stevan Jovetic scored a brace for City, both goals owing plenty to French midfielder Samir Nasri. Sergio Aguero added a goal of his own for the victors.

Rickie Lambert forced Pablo Zabaleta into an own goal late on what would’ve been the Reds forward’s first goal for his boyhood club.

With the win, City is tied for the league lead in points, but dips behind Tottenham on goal differential.

Liverpool stays mid table, their goal difference sinking to minus-1.

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[ RELATED: Balotelli says leaving England ‘a mistake’ now rectified ]

The first shot of the game didn’t come until the clock turned to 7:00, with Edin Dzeko turning a mediocre low shot wide.

There were some solid moments from both defenses, with Vincent Kompany blocking a hard Daniel Sturridge shot at one end and Martin Skrtel sliding to break up a dangerous pass intended for Dzeko from Yaya Toure.

Jovetic, 24, struck before halftime, taking advantage of a less than perfect clearance from Dejan Lovren and a missed mark of Alberto Moreno. His shot clipped Simon Mignolet’s leg on the way into the goal for a 1-0 lead.

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The Montenegrin striker struck again in the 55th minute, flicking a ball forward before collecting a cutback from Nasri and blasting a left-footed shot past Mignolet. It was 2-0 and City looked good.

How big of a team play was the tally? Check in, @OptaJoe:

source: Getty ImagesLiverpool boss Brendan Rodgers brought on Lazar Markovic for Philippe Coutinho in the 60th minute in the hopes of shaking things up.

Substitute Jesus Navas sent a gorgeous pass around the Liverpool defense that Aguero rapped home in the 69th minute, just moments after subbing into the game himself. The rout was absolutely on.

But, wait: Lambert moved past a great first save from Joe Hart to pressure Zabaleta into an own goal in the 84th minute and nearly made it 3-2 on the next Reds’ possession.

It turned out to be a momentary lapse, credit to Arlo White for the adjective/noun combo, as City picked up all three points.

Rodgers’ side faced a load of injuries late in a classic “when it rains it pours” scenario, as Moreno hit the turf late while hurting his ankle without any contact from anything but the ground. Glen Johnson had already left the pitch to make it 10 men, while Skrtel played through an injury.

Lineups

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Kompany, Clichy, Fernando, Nasri, Toure, Silva (Navas, 65′), Jovetic (Fernandinho, 80′), Dzeko (Aguero, 69′)

Goals: Jovetic 2 (42, 55), Aguero (69)

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno, Gerrard, Coutinho (Markovic, 60′), Henderson, Allen (Can, 75′), Sterling (Lambert, 79′), Sturridge

Goal: Zabaleta (OG, 84)

West Ham extend Payet’s contract in “enormous show of faith”

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring while soap bubbles are blown during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Newcastle at Boleyn Ground in London, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.

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Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.

“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”

Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.

VIDEO: Dele Alli’s magnificent juggling goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon

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Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?

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How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.

[ MORE: Top 5 Premier League storylines — Sunday’s top-four battle royal

Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.

Watch Live: Guatemala vs. T&T; Canada vs. Guyana in Olympic qualifying

Canadian players wave to fans after a 2-1 loss to England in a quarterfinal of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament, Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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Group B is set to kick off Thursday night at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, as Canada, third-place finishers at the 2012 Olympics, begin their quest to qualify for this summer’s games in Rio de Janeiro.

Guyana versus Trinidad and Tobago is up first (6 p.m. ET) from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Tex, followed by the Canadians, who will take on Guyana (8:30 p.m. ET) in the nightcap.

[ WATCH LIVE: Guatemala vs. T&T live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

[ WATCH LIVE: Canada vs. Guyana live on line on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The U.S. women’s national began its Olympic qualifying campaign in impressive fashion on Wednesday with a 5-0 victory over Costa Rica, while Mexico jumped to the top of Group A with a 6-0 victory over Puerto Rico.

Sunderland terminate Adam Johnson’s contract after guilty pleas in sex case

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown Court, England, Wednesday Feb. 10, 2016. Johnson has pleaded guilty in court to one count of sexual activity with a child and another of grooming. The 28-year-old Johnson, who has made 12 appearances for England, denies two charges of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE
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SUNDERLAND, England (AP) Sunderland has fired winger Adam Johnson after he pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl at the start of his trial.

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Johnson, who has played 12 times for England, continues to deny two further counts of sexual activity with a child.

Sunderland dismissed Johnson ahead of his trial resuming on Friday at Bradford Crown Court.

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In a statement, Sunderland announced Thursday that “in light of Adam Johnson’s guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect.”

The former Manchester City player joined Sunderland in 2012 for 10 million pounds (now about $14.5 million).