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EFL Cup semis: Manchester United 2-0 Hull City

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  • Mata, Fellaini score
  • Chances few for Hull
  • Second leg on Jan. 26

Juan Mata was the star of the show and capped a terrific team goal as Manchester United took the first leg of its EFL Cup semifinal with a 2-0 win over Hull City at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Marouane Fellaini scored the second goal off a feed from Matteo Darmian.

The other semifinal begins Wednesday with Liverpool at Southampton.

[ MORE: Schneiderlin off to Everton ]

Old Trafford had no problems getting amped for the Cup tie, and its Red Devils were almost as lively.

Early chances were squandered, though, most notably Henrik Mkhitaryan flashing wide of the near post from 10 yards.

[ MORE: Hull nabs Niasse on loan ]

Hull found some happiness in the late goings of the first half, but Mata put an end to that. Paul Pogba found Antonio Valencia deep in the right of Hull’s half, and Mkhitaryan nodded the ensuing cross back across goal for Mata to finish. Well-played. 1-0.

Pogba had a free kick from inside 25 yards and rattled it off the post with under 20 minutes to play.

The passes were an inch-off in the final third for United, on the whole, as the Red Devils looked the only team likely to score in the final part of the first leg.

Fellaini supplied the finish with a leaping nod over Eldin Jakupovic. After a hard-nosed bit of play from Anthony Martial on the left wing, Darmian crossed over the Tigers backs for the big man to finish.

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Mexico star Marquez back at Atlas after US drug sanctions

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MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez is back with his club more than a month after the U.S. Treasury Department named him on a sanctions list for alleged drug trafficking ties.

Atlas said Monday that the 38-year-old defender is practicing with the team again.

In August, Marquez was among 22 people sanctioned by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He was accused of acting as a frontman for the Raul Flores Hernandez drug trafficking organization.

Marquez has denied any wrongdoing and said he will work to clear his name. He is not known to face any criminal charges in the United States or Mexico.

Atlas says Marquez will continue his legal fight while at the team.

Marquez has played internationally with AS Monaco, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls.

Wolfsburg hires Martin Schmidt after firing Andries Jonker

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WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) Wolfsburg has hired Martin Schmidt to coach the Bundesliga side as a swift replacement for Andries Jonker.

[ MORE: PL Playback — Koeman, Everton facing significant pressure ]

Jonker was fired on Monday after less than seven months in charge, with Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Stuttgart leaving Wolfsburg with four points from its opening four league games of the new campaign.

The 50-year-old Schmidt has signed a contract through 2019 and he will take charge of Tuesday’s game against Werder Bremen.

The Swiss coach left Mainz by mutual consent in May after almost three years in charge. Mainz finished last season in 15th place in the Bundesliga, above Wolfsburg on goal difference. Wolfsburg only survived in the Bundesliga last season by a winning a playoff.

More AP German soccer coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/Bundesliga

Swapping cleats for gloves: Rio Ferdinand to become a boxer

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It wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete has tried his hand at another sport, but this one is a bit surprising.

[ MORE: Leicester-Liverpool highlights Tuesday’s Carabao Cup action ]

The Telegraph is reporting that ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is poised to become a professional boxer and is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old has been a pundit for BBC and BT Sport since retiring from soccer 2015, but the six-time Premier League winner appears ready to tackle a new venture.

Ferdinand will attempt to follow in the footsteps of former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse — who went on to become British light-welterweight champion.

Below is a video Ferdinand posted to his Instagram account on Monday which appears to show him practice dodging with a personal trainer.

Dodging Rain Drops…. Reaction Drill… Keep Moving!! 💧🎾 @chrisvarnavas

A post shared by Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) on

Cavani, Neymar feud presents questions about PSG chemistry

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Paris Saint-Germain picked up its sixth consecutive win to start the Ligue 1 season on Sunday, but something else happened during the team’s 2-0 victory over Lyon that should be a show for concern.

[ MORE: Bayern keeper Neuer injuries foot, could miss months ]

In fact, two notable sequences occurred during the match that proved money cannot buy chemistry — or how the saying goes.

The issues on both occasions were between summer signing Neymar and Edinson Cavani — who has been with PSG since 2013.

First, a free kick situation arose where Cavani had appeared that he was going to take the set piece, until Brazilian defender Dani Alves stepped in and took the ball and proceeded to give it to his national and club teammate, Neymar.

The second occurence was even more embarrassing though, as Neymar and Cavani argued over who would take a penalty kick, which Cavani ultimately got his way before having his shot saved by goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Below is a video containing a piece of both instances.