Tottenham 1-0 Middlesbrough: Spurs strengthen standing

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  • Kane buries penalty
  • Spurs keep pace with Chelsea
  • Boro one point clear of drop
  • De Roon misses stoppage equalizer

Heung-Min Son was an 80-minute menace and Harry Kane converted a penalty kick as Tottenham Hotspur beat Middlesbrough 1-0 at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

The win keeps Spurs second in the Premier League table, nine points back of Chelsea, and they’ll finish the weekend there.

Middlesbrough has 21 points, the same as Leicester City and Swansea City. Boro is one point ahead of 18th place Hull City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Alvaro Negredo slashed a chance over the net for Middlesbrough’s only chance of the first 10 minutes, and Dele Alli‘s in-tight miss was more emblematic of the early goings.

Spurs had control, and maybe should’ve been up a man after Dele was shoved in the face and back of the neck by Boro backstop Victor Valdes.

Harry Kane’s flying header flew over the net off Heung-Min Son’s strong left-footed cross in the 35th minute.

Kane thumped a Son cross home six minutes later, but the English striker was offside.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Son ended up setting up Kane in a different way for the match’s opener, winning a penalty kick off Bernardo.

Christian Eriksen came close to making it 2-0 moments later, but Valdes parried the hard shot away from the goal.

Son received a loud ovation from the WHL faithful when he departed for Moussa Sissoko in the 81st minute.

Alvaro Negredo nearly beat Hugo Lloris with an overhead kick off Fabio service, but it bounded wide of the far post. And Negredo turned provider for a would-be stoppage time equalizer than Maarten de Roon missed off the side of the netting.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

UEFA: Wales in trouble; Spain dominates; Buffon hits 1000

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Friday’s matches mark the midway point of the main round of qualifying in UEFA, and the tables remain tight near the top of Groups D and G.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Group I, however, is seeing some distance between first and second thanks to Croatia’s result versus Ukraine.

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Wales

Neil Taylor was sent off in the 69th minute for Wales, whose World Cup hopes are in trouble.

Seamus Coleman was stretchered off after the tackle, with a scary-looking injury that will leave Everton fans sick in more ways than one. Coleman’s leg was broken, and left dangling by the challenge.

Ireland couldn’t take advantage of the sending off, and failed in a bid to overtake Serbia for first in Group D. The Irish trail on goal differential, and will host Serbia on Sept. 5.

But Wales will rue the result more, remaining four points back of second-place Ireland. Chris Coleman’s side drops a point behind Austria as well, and will not have Taylor or Gareth Bale (card accumulation) in its next match. That comes against leaders Serbia.

Italy 2-0 Albania

Daniele De Rossi scored a 12th minute penalty kick won by Andrea Belotti, and Ciro Immobile scored late to provided the goals in Gianluigi Buffon’s 1000th appearance for club and country. Fittingly, it ended in a clean sheet. The match was briefly delayed after flares were thrown onto the field.

Spain 4-1 Israel

David Silva, Vitolo, and Diego Costa stakes the Spaniards to a three-goal lead, with Lior Refaelov ruining David De Gea‘s clean sheet with 11 minutes to play. Isco scored the match’s final goal.

Spain remains atop Group G on goal differential, eight better than second place Italy. Israel is four points behind both.

Croatia 1-0 Ukraine

Fiorentina’s Nikola Kalinic’s 38th minute goal was enough for the hosts, and Croatia is now five points clear at the top midway through qualifying.

Austria 2-0 Moldova — RB Leipzig’s Sabitzer nabs winner
Liechtenstein 0-3 Macedonia — Ilija Nestorovski bags brace
Kosovo 1-2 Iceland — Sigurdsson PK the match winner
Georgia 1-3 Serbia — Mitrovic, Tadic lead the way
Turkey 2-0 Finland — Brace for Cenk Tosun

Boro’s Gibson called to England after injury to Man Utd’s Smalling

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Scoring goals has been the biggest problem for Middlesbrough in its return to the Premier League, and that overshadows how well the Northeast club has defended its own goal.

Ben Gibson has been a huge part of that, and now he’ll earn the chance to represent his nation thanks to an injury to Chris Smalling. Gibson will join England ahead of Sunday’s home World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

[ MORE: Podolski leads Germany past England ]

Gibson has far and away been Boro’s best player, leading the side in blocked shots and clearances. The blocked shots total is tied for ninth in the Premier League, 11 behind current leader and new England teammate Michael Keane.

Smalling’s undisclosed injury is a bigger problem for Manchester United, which had already lost center back depth on England duty when Phil Jones was hurt.

Dele Alli to miss next three European matches, UCL or UEL

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Tottenham Hotspur is primed to qualify for a second-straight UEFA Champions League campaign this year, and will have to start that sophomore run without Dele Alli.

The 20-year-old playmaker has banned for his next three matches. If Spurs finish fourth, that would mean both qualifying matches and an additional match.

[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ]

If they finish higher, Dele will miss the first three group stage matches.

Dele was shown red for a tackle on Brecht Dejaegere in Spurs’ 2-2 draw with Gent in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, as Tottenham left the tournament.

Men in Blazers podcast: Man City-Liverpool review, USMNT preview

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Rog and Davo recap the Top Four battle between Manchester City and Liverpool, ask (again) whether it’s time for Arsene to go, and break down two of the most important USMNT games in modern history.

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