Swansea 3-0 Sunderland: Llorente’s double wins relegation battle

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  • Llorente scores twice
  • Sigurdsson nets PK
  • Swans off the bottom, now on 12 points
  • Sunderland slip back to bottom

Swansea City sealed a massive victory against relegation rivals Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday with Bob Bradley‘s men winning 3-0 to seal his second win in the Premier League.

Three second half goals did the damage for the Swans as Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a penalty kick, then two goals from Spanish forward Fernando Llorente put the Welsh side out of sight.

With the win Bradley’s men climb out of the relegation zone and now have 12 points, while Sunderland slip to the foot of the table on 11 points.

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In the pouring rain in south Wales both teams started nervously with plenty on the line. Sunderland went close to taking the lead as Jermain Defoe worked himself into the box after linking up with Victor Anichebe but flashed his left-footed shot just over the bar.

The Swans then went close as Sigurdsson’s free kick from the left found Alfie Mawson but the center back headed over and should’ve done better.

As half time came closer, the Swans kept pushing forward and Lamine Kone was forced to hook the ball out for a corner under pressure following a dangerous cross from the right.

Jordi Amat then sent a header over from Sigurdsson’s right-wing cross as the home side looked more dangerous but Kone then headed over.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

In the second half Sunderland looked dangerous on the break as Patrick Van Aanholt played in Defoe and he raced clear but sent his effort off target.

Then came a huge moment in the game as Wayne Routledge tried to cross the ball in the box but the ball hit Jason Denayer‘s raised arm and a penalty kick was awarded. Sigurdsson put the spot kick straight down the middle to put Swansea 1-0 up.

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Four minutes later the Swans went 2-0 up. Modou Barrow went close as his shot was saved superbly down now by Jordan Pickford and from the resulting corner a well-worked set piece saw Sigurdsson find Llorente who steered it home.

2-0, as Bradley and his coaching staff piled in and celebrated together on the sidelines.

Llorente then spurned a glorious chance as he couldn’t connect from six yards out and then Pickford saved superbly from Amat’s header with the Swans piling on the pressure.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

At the other end Defoe snatched at a half chance as Sunderland tried to force the issue but Swansea held firm and added to their tally with Jefferson Montero‘s cross headed home by Llorente. 3-0.

Late on Sunderland came close to pulling one back as Defoe’s acrobatic effort was deflected wide and then they hit the crossbar from a set piece situation but in truth it was an easy win for the south Wales side as Bradley secured his second win, and second clean sheet, in the Premier League.

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

MLS (afternoon) roundup: Historically awful MNUFC spanked again

Photo credit: New England Revolution / Twitter: @NERevolution
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The fourth (partial — playing during international breaks should be banned) MLS Saturday of 2017 is two-thirds of the way complete. A quick roundup of the day’s early games…

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New England Revolution 5-2 Minnesota United

What else needs to be said about Minnesota at this point? What else can be said? The number of goals they’ve conceded in their first four MLS games: 5, 6, 2, and 5. While (we think) a bit of luck will eventually go their way, and they’ll curtail the goals they’re conceding (we can’t be sure anymore), Adrian Heath’s side is on pace to conceded 153 goals this season.

Anyway, New England picked up their first win of the season. The quality (and ease) of goals scored will tell you everything you need to know about Minnesota’s defending.

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

New York Red Bulls 0-0 Real Salt Lake

Five days after firing head coach Jeff Cassar, RSL returned to their inept, toothless ways in a scoreless draw away to New York. Through four games, the Claret and Cobalt have scored all of one goal, and genuinely look the league’s most lifeless side; Minnesota have at least shown signs of quality in the attacking half.

On Saturday, New York created the majority of the game’s best chances — a pair of shots from distance, masterfully saved by deputy goalkeeper Matt VanOekel — but the chance that will live in the memories of RSL fans for a lifetime came and went in agonizing fashion.

Albanian federation denounces “extremist acts” of their fans in Italy

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TIRANA, Albania (AP) Albania’s soccer federation has strongly denounced the incident that halted the World Cup Group G qualifier with Italy for nearly nine minutes on Friday.

During the match, which was won by Italy, 2-0, a group calling itself Illyrian Elite threw flares onto the pitch.

“Such totally extremist actions from the grouping Illyrian Elite have nothing to do with the excellent Albanian fans” who were distinguished in the EURO 2016 finals in France for their friendship and camaraderie in their festivities, the statement added.

The federation said an coach Gianni De Biasi also was “upset by the flares,” adding that during five years he has been in charge “I’ve seen something that’s never happened before.”