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.

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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.

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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.

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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′)

Who is Kenny Saief, and other USMNT Gold Cup personnel questions

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Kenny Saief is an 23-year-old American left-sided player with UEFA Champions League experience.

So why do we know so little about the Miami-born man?

The answer is pretty straight-forward: Saief’s entire career has been under-the-radar. After coming up through a series of Israeli teams, he moved to KAA Gent in Belgium. None of those matches, even adding in his representing the full Israel national team twice, got a ton of play on American soil.

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So when Saief filed his one-time switch to represent the United States, paving the way for a USMNT call-up for this summer’s Gold Cup, even those of us who’d followed his career from afar had put a limited amount of actual observation on match footage.

So here’s the long-and-short:

  • Saief turns 24 in December.
  • He moved to Gent from Israeli second tier side Ramat haSharon in 2014.
  • Played a total of 35 minutes in friendlies versus Serbia and Croatia.
  • Saief has 20 total appearances between the Europa and Champions Leagues.
  • Posted a UCL assist versus Wolfsburg in the 2015-16 Round of 16.
  • Had goal, 2 assists in UEL this season, played 180 mins vs. Spurs.
  • Has 15 goals, 9 assists in 107 apps for Gent.

Saief should get an opportunity to make an impact for Bruce Arena’s USMNT, perhaps as soon as Saturday’s friendly against Ghana in East Hartford.

Who else stands a chance to gain the most from this tournament?

Joe Corona — The 26-year-old made his thirst-inducing name in American soccer circles by scoring a pair of goals in the 2013 Gold Cup, but has just 17 caps to his name. His call-up over veterans like Benny Feilhaber and Sacha Kljestan either shows how high he’s risen or how far those veterans have fallen.

Cristian Roldan — Seattle’s hard-nosed midfielder was playing college ball at Washington just three years ago, and it’s not crazy to think strong performances could boost him onto the radar of bigger clubs abroad (let alone make him a mainstay along Kellyn Acosta with the USMNT).

Dom Dwyer — If Roldan’s rise is surprising, Dwyer’s really is astounding. It’s easy to forget that the Sporting KC star forward was playing junior college soccer in 2010 before spending one season of Division I soccer with South Florida. Now he has 57 MLS goals and a look at becoming the clinical finisher the American side has wanted for some time.

Justin Morrow and Eric Lichaj — The 29- and 28-year-old fullbacks would love to prove their mettle is as good if not better than Jorge Villafana, the current front-runner to start at left back should the Yanks complete their revitalized run to the World Cup. Lichaj, a Nottingham Forest veteran, is also adept at right back.

This isn’t to say that Juan Agudelo and Kelyn Rowe won’t benefit from strong tournaments, but the names above have either been rescued from soccer’s scrap heap or at least Jurgen Klinsmann’s prison.

PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

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Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

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Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check out the podcast here:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

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Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

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Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.