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Everton 3-6 Chelsea: Blues prevail in sensational nine-goal thriller (video)

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Chelsea went to the top of the Premier League table after beating Everton 6-3 in a stunning advert for the Premier League at Goodison Park on Saturday.

This match will go down as a classic.

Jose Mourinho’s side raced into a 2-0 lead after less than three minutes of the match as Diego Costa and Branislav Ivanovic stunned the home fans. Just before half time Everton were back in it as Kevin Mirallas headed home to make it 2-1. Then the game exploded into life in the second half, as a crazy nine minute spell saw five more goals arrive.

[RELATED: Watch the full match replay]

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First, Chelsea went 3-1 up as Seamus Coleman turned into his own net, then Everton made it 3-2 thanks to Steven Naismith’s cool finish. Two minutes later Nemanja Matic made it 4-2 with a superb drilled effort, but the Toffees weren’t going down without a fight as debutant Samuel Eto’o headed home to make it 4-3 against his former club.

Chelsea sealed the win as Ramires strolled through and slotted home in the 77th minute, then Costa grabbed his second and the Blues’ sixth of the game in the 90th minute. One of the most incredible matches in the Premier League era finished 6-3 to Chelsea, as the Blues made it three wins from three in the most dramatic fashion possible.

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

The game got off to a flying start as after 2 minutes and 49 seconds, Chelsea were 2-0 up. Most fans weren’t even in their seats as the Toffees imploded in the most dramatic fashion.In a blistering start to the match, Chelsea went ahead after 34 seconds when Cesc Fabregas played in Costa who slotted home his third Premier League in just his third game for Chelsea. The Spanish striker broke the offside trap and slotted home past Tim Howard and Costa made it three goals from just three shots in the PL. Goodison Park was stunned. Chelsea were then 2-0 up after less than three minutes as Ramires played in Ivanovic who beat the offside trap again and slotted home coolly.

Everton’s defense was in shambles, Chelsea were in dreamland after a phenomenal opening.

U.S. international Howard was then involved in a moment of real controversy, as he looked to have handled a through ball outside the box with Eden Hazard bearing down on the Everton goal but the officials missed his misdemeanor and play carried on. Everton nearly pulled one back after 15 minutes when former Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku rose high but hammered a header against the crossbar and Sylvain Distin tapped home the rebound… but the French defender was offside.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

Chelsea bossed the rest of the first half as Fabregas almost made it 3-0 with 30 minutes on the clock, however Everton began to grow into the game and hit back right on the stroke of half time to make the game interesting. A great ball from Aiden McGeady found Coleman on the right and his pin-point cross was headed home by Mirallas to make it 2-1 at half time and give the Goodison faithful hope.

source: AP
Costa scored twice, as USA’s Howard let in six on Saturday.

After the break a rejuvenated Everton pinned Chelsea back but the away side weathered the storm and then sprung a few attacks of their own. Costa broke the offside trap once again and was clean through on goal but Howard saved superbly with his feet to keep the Brazilian striker at bay. The match ebbed and flowed at Goodison as the gripping encounter entered the final 30 minutes.

Chelsea took a 3-1 lead in the 67th minute as Hazard went on a marauding run then his cross was put into his own net by Coleman. In the celebrations Costa had a few things to say to Coleman, which Howard heard and the American goalkeeper was booked for confronting the Chelsea forward. The game was getting increasingly chippy but as soon as Everton went two goals behind, Naismith reduced the deficit as he finished with aplomb following McGeady’s excellent through ball. Goodison Park was rocking.

No sooner had Everton made it 3-2, Chelsea restored their two-goal lead as Matic drilled a left-footed effort in from the edge of the box in the 74th minute. Then Everton went straight up the other end as debutant, and former Chelsea forward, Eto’o, headed home in style to make it 4-3. Remarkable.

Then, of course, Chelsea went straight back up the other end and Ramires slotted home in the 77th minute to make it 5-3 to Chelsea after some shocking Everton defending. Courtois then kept Chelsea 5-3 up as he tipped Mirallas’ shot onto the post after some more sloppy defending from the visitors.

Chelsea wrapped up the win as Costa latched onto a loose ball from Everton substitute Mohamed Besic, rounded Howard and finished clinically to make it 6-3. The Brazilian now has four goals in his first three PL games for Chelsea, and is turning out to be one of the signings of the summer. Costa’s goal capped off what was truly an amazing game, as the West Londoners go top of the PL standings with three wins from their first three games.

Everton played their part in this classic, which will be etched into the history books as one of the most entertaining matches the PL has ever seen.

LINEUPS 

Everton: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman, Barry, McCarthy, McGeady (Eto’o, 70′), Naismith, Mirallas, Lukaku (Besic, 89′)

Goals: Mirallas (45′), Naismith (69′), Eto’o (76′)

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Matic, Fabregas (Drogba, 89′), Ramires, Willian (Mikel, 75′), Hazard (Filipe Luis, 83′), Costa

Goals: Costa (1 & 90”), Ivanovic (3′), Coleman (OG – 67′), Matic (74′), Ramires (77′)

Ranieri returns to Leicester to say final goodbyes

SWANSEA, WALES - FEBRUARY 12:  Claudio Ranieri manager of Leicester City looks on prior to the Premier League match between Swansea City and Leicester City at Liberty Stadium on February 12, 2017 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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Claudio Ranieri was at Leicester City’s training ground one final time on Saturday morning as he said goodbye to members of his former staff and his former players.

Let that sink in.

[ MORE: Ranieri – “My dream died”

Ranieri, 65, was sacked by Leicester on Thursday, just nine months after delivering the Premier League title (the first top-flight title in their 132-year history) for the Foxes.

Leicester are currently languishing just two points off the bottom of the PL table, one point and one place above the relegation zone, and have lost five-straight PL games as well as failing to score in six-straight games.

[ MORE: Latest news on Ranieri

It has been widely reported that the players met with the owners to state they were unhappy with Ranieri following the 2-1 defeat in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg at Sevilla on Wednesday. Less than 24 hours he was fired by Leicester’s owners.

Speaking briefly to the media as he left the training ground on Saturday, Ranieri remained classy until the very end.

“I feel good now, because of what we achieved at Leicester,” Ranieri said. “I hope it happens again but it will be very difficult.”

He was then asked by reporters outside the training ground if it was emotional saying goodbye to his former players.

“No it was normal,” Ranieri said, before driving off.

Shortly after he departed the training ground Leicester’s Thai owners then arrived in a helicopter as they flew in for talks with the players and caretaker boss Craig Shakespeare.

His firing has sparked outrage across the soccer world as the beloved Italian manager who led the 5000-1 shots from relegation fodder to title glory last season was ruthlessly cast aside. Yes, Ranieri’s Leicester are in a relegation scrap, but surely he deserved a chance to turn it around in the final 13 games of the season?

Now, the Leicester job is a poisoned chalice with Roberto Mancini, Alan Pardew and even former boss Nigel Pearson being touted as Ranieri’s successor. Nobody seems to want to take the job.

With the players under heavy scrutiny for their role in Ranieri’s sacking they’ll be under more pressure to perform against Liverpool on Monday at the King Power Stadium (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Ranieri’s name is sure to be sung loud and proud by the Leicester fans as they make their feelings known to the players and the owners about what has happened over the past few days.

US advances in qualifying for Under-20 World Cup

LEIGH, GREATER MANCHESTER - OCTOBER 05: Tab Ramos, Head Coach of USA looks on prior to the Under 20s Four Nations Tournament match between Germany and the United States at Leigh Sports Village Stadium on October 5, 2016 in Leigh, Greater Manchester.  (Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images)
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The United States advanced to the second round of qualifying for the Under-20 World Cup as Sebastian Saucedo scored twice Friday in a 4-1 win over St. Kitts and Nevis at Tibas, Costa Rica.

Brooks Lennon and Jonathan Lewis also scored for the U.S., which plays Mexico on Monday and El Salvador on March 3 in the second round. The top two teams in each second-round group of the North and Central American and Caribbean region qualify for the Under-20 World Cup, to be played in South Korea from May 20 to June 11.

Lennon, loaned this month from Liverpool to Real Salt Lake, put the Americans ahead in the 16th minute with his fourth goal of the tournament, poking in Jeremy Ebobisse’s cross from 7 yards. Lewis, who is with New York City FC, doubled the lead four minutes later after Lennon’s corner kick to the top of the penalty area was volleyed toward goal by Eryk Williamson. Justen Glad missed an attempted shot from near the penalty spot, and the ball rolled to an unmarked Lewis.

Salt Lake’s Saucedo added goals in the 35th and 41st minute on a 25-yard shot and a 27-yard free kick.

Romario Martin beat U.S. goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski in the 77th after a poor American backpass. Jonathan Klinsmann, the son of former U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, started the first two games for the U.S.

The U.S. (2-1) and Group B winner Panama (3-0), which beat the Americans 1-0 last weekend, both advanced.

Bremen beats Wolfsburg to leave Bundesliga relegation zone

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - AUGUST 10:  Serge Gnabry of Germany reacts during the Men's First Round Football Group C match between Germany and Fiji at Mineirao Stadium on August 10, 2016 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)
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WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) — Midfielder Serge Gnabry scored twice as Werder Bremen moved away from the Bundesliga’s relegation zone with a 2-1 win at fellow struggler Wolfsburg on Friday.

Bremen and Wolfsburg are level on points and two above Hamburger SV, which is in 18th place and in the relegation zone.

It was a fifth defeat in six games for Wolfsburg coach Valerien Ismael, who won the league and cup double as a player with Bremen in 2004.

Gnabry fired the visitors ahead with a deflected shot in the 10th minute and made it 2-0 eight minutes later, controlling the ball with his chest before prodding home on the volley.

Striker Borja Mayoral, who is on loan from Real Madrid, scored with his chest following a Wolfsburg corner as Wolfsburg hit back moments later.

Midfielder Daniel Didavi struck the post with a free kick as Wolfsburg kept pushing for an equalizer.

Mancini reportedly not interested in Leicester City, De Boer says no

GENOA, ITALY - APRIL 20:  Head Coach of FC Internazionale Roberto Mancini looks during the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on April 20, 2016 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
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Two top candidates to replace Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City have reportedly turned down any interest in the job.

Roberto Mancini, the heavy favorite out of the gates after Ranieri’s dismissal, tweeted his support for Ranieri after the news broke. “I am sorry for my friend Ranieri,” Mancini said. “He will be in the history of LCFC, in the hearts of Leicester fans and all football lovers.”

However, the fellow Italian has rebuffed Leicester’s informal advances towards his services. According to Sky Sports, Leicester sent “intermediaries” to “sound out” Mancini’s feelings towards the position, but came back empty-handed. The report states Mancini was turned off to the club after a short and unsuccessful spell there as a player in 2001.

That leaves a host of other names who have been linked to the job, with no clear favorite. One person mentioned was Dutch legend Frank de Boer, who is unemployed after an unusually short stint in charge of Inter Milan. However, De Boer’s agent went public to say he was not ever in the running.

“There is zero possibility that Frank could go to Leicester,” agent Guido Albers told Italian publication Tuttomercatoweb. “I too heard these rumors, but that’s all they are – rumors. I can affirm without doubt that Frank will not become the Leicester City manager. This will 100 per cent not happen.”

Albers explained that De Boer is only interested in joining a club in the offseason, preferring to enter a project with a blank slate rather than joining midseason with particular goals already clearly laid out. With Leicester, it seems De Boer is turned off by the notion of a relegation battle.