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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.

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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.

Report: Villarreal defender Semedo arrested on charges of alleged assault, kidnapping

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For the third time in the past four months, Ruben Semedo has found himself in trouble with the law.

According to a report from Spain, the Villarreal centerback was arrested Tuesday morning at his home on charges of assault, kidnapping and robbery. A complaint filed to the police by a victim alleges that Semedo and two others tied the victim up and locked the victim in a room in Semedo’s home.

Semedo and the others then allegedly took the victim’s keys and went to the victim’s house, where they allegedly stole money and/or other valuable items.

[READ: Wigan shock Man City in FA Cup]

Villarreal has yet to respond to the latest incident off the field, which has marred Semedo’s season and the club’s reputation. Semedo has only played four times this year as he’s currently recovering from a right leg injury, and he’s been sidelined with a variety of injuries since joining from Sporting Lisbon for around $17.3 million last summer.

This is Semedo’s third time in trouble with the law. Last October, after a long night of partying, Semedo allegedly smashed a bottle over someone’s head. In November, in the early hours of the morning following an all-night session at a night club, Semedo pointed a gun at a member of the night club’s security staff after an argument earlier in the evening forced Semedo to leave.

For the latter crime, the local prosecutor is pushing for two years in prison. If the current allegations can be proven true, Semedo could face even more time behind bars.

As of right now, it seems incredibly unlikely that Semedo could feature for Portugal in the World Cup, as he’ll have more important matters to deal with.

Russian authorities fine hotels for World Cup price-gouging

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MOSCOW (AP) Russian authorities in two cities say they have issued hundreds of fines after finding many hotels were illegally hiking prices for the World Cup.

The Rospotrebnadzor consumer regulator says one Moscow hotel raised prices up to 570 percent above what is allowed by a government decree designed to prevent excessive profiteering during the tournament.

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The regulator’s Moscow branch says it issued fines totaling 5.95 million rubles ($105,000) to 198 legal entities and 181 people.

In the Ural mountain city of Yekaterinburg, where Mexico and France will each play a group game, the regulator said it fined seven hotels, some of which were charging almost three times the allowed rate for rooms.

Russian authorities have taken a hands-on approach to regulating hotel and travel costs during the tournament to prevent the negative publicity of visiting fans being charged large sums.

Spanish police dismantle match-fixing scheme in 3rd, 4th tiers

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MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.

Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.

The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.

The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.

The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.

UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas

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  • Chelsea vs. Barcelona, at Stamford Bridge
  • Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas, at Allianz Arena
  • Champions League round of 16 resumes on Tuesday

[ UCL: Spurs fight back to draw Juventus | Liverpool thrash Porto in leg 1 ]

Chelsea, mired in some of their worst form since the disastrous 2015-16 season, welcome a Barcelona side enjoying one of the best six-month runs of results in the famed club’s entire history. The Blues have won just four of their last 12 games across all competitions, while the Blaugrana have lost once in 38 games.

On the plus side, Chelsea enter Tuesday’s colossal clash as winners of their last two games — back-to-back wins for the first time in 2018 — having outscored the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Hull City by a combined 7-0. Star striker Alvaro Morata returned to action against Hull after five weeks out with a back injury, thus Antonio Conte has something of a selection dilemma on his hands with the Spaniard perhaps only partially fit, and Olivier Giroud racking up a goal and three assists in the last two games, his first starts for the club.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded just two goals in their last nine games (all competitions) and even managed to overturn their lone defeat, to Espanyol, and advance to the Copa del Rey semifinals (and eventually final). Despite losing Neymar in the summer, Barca mostly cruised through their Champions League group, only dropping points in draws away to Juventus and Olympiacos. Lionel Messi has, strangely, never scored a goal in his eight career appearances against Chelsea, a record which has been spoken about at length in the build-up to Tuesday — similarly to the goal-less record which plagued him against Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom he finally bested back in September.

[ MORE: Man City win big away to Basel | Real Madrid 3-1 PSG ]

In the other round-of-16 first-leg matchup on Tuesday, five-time (soon-to-be six) defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich host surprise winners of Group G, Besiktas, ahead of the likes of Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto.

Since taking over on an interim basis (through the end of the season), Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has won 21 of 22 games of which he’s been in charge, including four of six games during the group stage en route to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain, while also racing out to a 19-point lead back home in Germany.