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Swansea City 2-0 Leicester City: Foxes continue plunge as Swans clear drop

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  • Alfie Mawson hit a belter to put Swansea up 1-0
  • Martin Olsson doubled the lead before halftime
  • Leicester has gone 610 minutes without scoring

Swansea City has pulled much further off the relegation zone at Leicester City’s expense as the Swans picked up a 2-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium behind first-half goals from defenders Alfie Mawson and Martin Olsson.

While Swansea continues its climb free of the drop, Leicester City is moving in the other direction, now without a Premier League goal in a whopping 610 minutes and losing for the fifth straight match. It’s the first time since 1956 that the defending champions lost five straight league games at any point during the season.

There was a penalty shout straight away in the third minute, with Swansea feeling they should get a spot-kick after a shot by Gylfi Sigurdsson struck the arm of Wes Morgan while sliding to block the shot. The Foxes were forced to do plenty of defending early, with the in-form Sigurdsson looking dangerous.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The game eventually progressed into a back and forth midfield battle, with Swansea looking to hold possession and Leicester playing a physical foil to the hosts’ intent. Past the half-hour mark, there was another big decision for referee Jon Moss who only showed yellow to Robert Huth who clumsily went into a two-footed challenge that clobbered Tom Carroll, a decision that was met with plenty of boos around the Liberty Stadium.

The Swans would finally find a deserved breakthrough on 36 minutes. A free-kick from Sigurdsson just beyond the center circle was lobbed into the box, and it came first to the head of Fernando Llorente then Federico Fernandez, and before it could touch the ground, Mawson cannoned the ball into the back of the net with a vicious volley.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The margin would widen just ticks before halftime as a beautiful bit of passing between Llorente, Sigurdsson, and Olsson sprung the latter down the left, cutting inside and hitting for Swansea’s second in 1st half injury time.

Leicester City nearly found a way back into the game just past the hour mark with a pair of chances for halftime substitute Islam Slimani back from injury. He was threaded in by Riyad Mahrez, but Slimani was stoned by goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. Slimani got a cross his way seconds later, but it was just out of his reach.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Following that big chance, Swansea effectively slowed the game to a crawl as they looked to ease the game through. Leicester held much of the possession, but could do little with it. The win for Swansea pushes them all the way up past Middlesbrough into 15th, four points above relegation. Leicester, meanwhile, drops to 17th, still just a single point above the drop.

New York Red Bulls introduce space at RBA for autistic families

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HARRISON, N.J. (AP) The Red Bulls have announced plans for a permanent sensory-friendly space at their stadium for families impacted by autism.

Formerly executive offices, the space overlooking midfield is a calm area that is free from the crowds and the noise of Red Bull Arena during matches. Families can use it for free.

The team announced the new space on Saturday before the Red Bulls were set to host the Chicago Fire. It was Autism Awareness Night at the stadium.

“Families deserve to feel welcome and comfortable each time they step foot into Red Bull Arena, not just one night a year,” Red Bulls GM Marc de Grandpre said in a statement released by the club. “We hope all sports teams and entertainment venues are inspired to take similar action to provide comfort for families with loved ones on the autism spectrum.”

League Two game restarted in empty stadium after fans storm field

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LONDON (AP) An English soccer game restarted in an empty stadium after a pitch invasion led to the crowd being told the fixture had been abandoned.

There were five minutes remaining in Leyton Orient’s fourth-tier game against Colchester on Saturday when a sit-down protest was staged on the pitch by Orient fans against Italian owner Francesco Becchetti.

It forced the referee to take the players off the field. The protests lasted for more than an hour before the crowd was told the game had been abandoned and the stadium eventually cleared. The teams came out and finished the game.

Leyton Orient lost 3-1 a week after its relegation from the English Football League was confirmed after 112 years.

“A decision was taken with the police to announce that the game had been abandoned as it was felt this would help clear the pitch, which proved correct,” the EFL said in a statement. “However, it was deemed appropriate that the game needed to be played to a conclusion in order to maintain the integrity of the competition.”

La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid hold serve in tight title race

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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Super-duper Sunday preview — North London derby, plus 6 of top 7 ]

Espanyol 0-3 Barcelona

Barcelona are doing all they can do — win — in their bid to usurp Real Madrid in the race for the title. While they entered the weekend — and still are — ahead of their El Clasico rivals based on head-to-head results this season, Los Blancos still have a game in hand which will surely decide whether Madrid claim their 33rd top-division title, or a 25th for Barca.

On Saturday, Luis Enrique’s side had more than just the title at stake — also at stake: the Derbi Barceloni, against fellow Catalan side Espanyol.

For 45 minutes, the home side held firm and refused to break, but once Luis Suarez put the Blaugrana ahead in the 50th minute, that was all she wrote. Ivan Rakitic doubled the advantage in the 76th minute, and Suarez completed the scoring 11 minutes later.

Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia

By the time the derby kicked off, Madrid had already applied the pressure and gone three points clear with a 2-1 victory that was a whole lot closer than the final score indicates.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark, and Zinedine Zidane’s side was well on its way to victory. Ronaldo followed up his opening goal with a missed penalty kick 10 minutes into the second half, and Daniel Parejo pulled the visitors level with a sensational free kick just eight minutes before the end of regular time. Points looked sure to be dropped, and the door opened wider for Barca, but Marcelo was prepared to play the part of hero on the day, and the Brazilian left back bagged one of the season’s more improbable goals, a right-footed strike from the top of the box, in the 86th minute.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Las Palmas 0-5 Atletico Madrid
Real Sociedad 2-1 Granada

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Osasuna vs. Deportivo La Coruña — 6 a.m. ET
Real Betis vs. Alaves — 10:15 a.m. ET
Eibar vs. Leganes — 12:30 p.m. ET
Celta Vigo vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:45 p.m. ET

Monday’s La Liga schedule

Malaga vs. Sevilla — 3 p.m. ET

Championship Focus: It’s all about the playoff places now

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With Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United having already clinched the Championship’s two automatic promotion places, all eyes turn to the four teams behind them still jockeying for playoff positioning…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s coverage of the Championship ]

3rd — Reading — 82 points, +2 GD
4th — Sheffield Wednesday — 81 points, +16 GD
5th — Huddersfield Town — 81 points, +1 GD
6th — Fulham — 77 points, +27 GD

First of all, the Championship remains the least sensible league in the world. Disagree? Just try to explain the above wildly varying points totals and the corresponding goal differentials. Go ahead, I’ll wait

As for the weekend’s results, Reading and Wednesday did themselves major favors in the race for third with victories over Wigan Athletic (1-0) and Ipswich Town (1-0), respectively, while Huddersfield, who entered the weekend in that top playoff place, played 67 minutes with a man advantage against Birmingham City, and lost 2-0. All three of Reading, Wednesday and Huddersfield have clinched their place in the promotion playoffs, which begin two weeks from Saturday, on May 13.

[ MORE: PL Sunday preview — North London derby, plus 6 of the top 7 play ]

Given Leeds United’s 3-3 draw with Norwich City, a win would have clinched the fourth and final playoff place for Fulham, but the Cottagers dropped a pair of points themselves in a 1-1 draw with Brentford at Craven Cottage. Still, Fulham are all but into the playoffs with a three-point lead on Leeds, and a goal differential that’s 13 goals better.