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Leicester City 0-3 Manchester United: Red Devils win behind six-minute flurry

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  • A Mkhitaryan breakaway opened the scoring
  • Ibrahimovic hit two minutes later
  • Mata struck three minutes after halftime

Manchester United moved within a point of fifth as they downed a slumping Leicester City at King Power Stadium 3-0 behind three goals within six game minutes across halftime. Henrikh Mkhitaryan hit the first in the 43rd minute, Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged the second before halftime, and Juan Mata finished it off three minutes out of halftime as United cruised past a Foxes side that appeared to have little fight.

Leicester City had the game’s first half-chance, as Robert Huth nearly got on the end of a cross, but was defended well by Marcus Rojo. Danny Drinkwater was shown a yellow card immediately after, just five minutes in, for fouling Juan Mata on a Manchester United break.

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The game was a scrappy midfield battle early on, with Leicester firing another shot at David De Gea‘s net on 12 minutes but Riyad Mahrez scuffed it wide.

United had its first good chance on 22 minutes as Marcus Rashford poorly blazed over after a good find by Mkhitaryan. This seemed to light up the Red Devils, as they pushed forward with more intent. They would find the opener on the break just before halftime, as Chris Smalling headed a ball forward, and it caught the Leicester back line pressing too high. Mkhitaryan latched onto it and sprung forward through the Foxes’ half, and he finished one-on-one with Kasper Schmeichel who only got a slight touch.

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They’d get a second just two minutes later through Ibrahimovic as Antonio Valencia delivered a cross low through the box, and and Zlatan was there to one-time it into the net through the legs of Wes Morgan and past Schmeichel. The double strike, coming just one minute before halftime, was the big blow United needed.

There were three total changes after the break, with Claudio Ranieri bringing on Andy King and Demarai Grey for Ahmed Musa and Shinji Okazaki, while Jose Mourinho chose Daley Blind off the bench to replace Marcus Rojo.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Red Devils struck just three minutes after halftime, piling on the goals as Mata played a one-two with Mkhitaryan and got free behind Christian Fuchs, blasting the ball in for United’s third. Bracketing halftime, the three goals came just six minutes apart.

That wrapped up the scoring, but Manchester United wasn’t done. Mata was clean through just past the hour mark, but he looked to chip Schmeichel and didn’t get enough air under the ball, collected by the Leicester goalkeeper. Mkhitaryan also came close with seven minutes remaining. The win for the Red Devils doesn’t see them gain position, still in sixth, but pulling within a point of Liverpool.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Leicester City, meanwhile, looked completely devoid of spirit as the game wound down. Ibrahimovic completely undressed Fuchs on the end line before being stopped by another defender, and moments later Morgan tried to pass square to a teammate and was miles off target with a bad giveaway. With the loss, the Foxes now sit just a single point above the relegation zone, with Hull City and Sunderland below them having won this weekend.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.