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FA Cup: Leicester City the final piece of the Round of 16 puzzle

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The Foxes needed something, anything to cling to with the club spiraling towards obscurity. Substitute Wilfred Ndidi provided that something.

The 20-year-old Nigerian ripped off a sensational strike in the first-half of extra time to give Leicester City a 3-1 win over Derby County on their fourth round replay to put Leicester through as the final team into the Round of 16. Demarai Gray finished it off in the second half of extra time to put Claudio Ranieri through for sure.

Leicester had a big chance just after the half-hour mark as Gray sent in a perfect cross for Ahmed Musa who had broken free in front of net, but the striker only managed an ugly whiff as the ball trickled harmlessly across the face of goal.

The Foxes had the breakthrough just ticks after the halftime break, as a brilliant looping cross by Gray reached the far post, and with Derby goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell out to challenge for the ball, Marc Albrighton headed it back to Andy King sitting in front of goal, and he poked homeĀ the simplest headed goal of his career.

Derby would hit back though, to equalize just beforeĀ the hour mark. A free-kick from just outside the top of the box by Abdoul Camara took a massive deflection off the knee of Ben Chilwell and slid past a wrong-footed Ron-Robert Zieler into the back of the net.

The visitors looked to have unlocked the Leicester defense in search of the lead in the 69th minute, but Cyrus Christie’s dangerous cross was just behind Matej Vydra, andĀ the Czech striker’s scorpion kick attempt missed the ball and insteadĀ struck Yohan Benaloune in the face.

Leicester would feel aggrieved as they appeared to have a winning moment in the 83rd minute after a long ball caught an indecisive Mitchell in no-man’s land, and outside his box, the ball popped up and hit his hand, but referee Mike Jones was unmoved, refusing to send Mitchell off, instead yellow carding Musa for his protests. Derby was again lucky five minutes later as left-back Max Lowe looked to turn a cross behind for a corner and clanged it off his own post.

In extra time, the winning moment came in the 95th minute as Ndidi collected a pass, burst down the middle through the Derby third, and ripped off a shot from 30 yards out that clanged the right post and deflected in, a perfectly placed strike that left Mitchell with no chance. Leicester’s third came on a blistering run from Gray, beating both Richard Keough and Nick Blackman on the dribble and smashing it home.

Leicester City will take on Millwall on Saturday, February 18 in the FA Cup Round of 16.

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.

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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 toldĀ IBTimes.Ā ā€œRepresenting Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

ā€œThose 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.ā€

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.