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Bayern extends Bundesliga lead; Leipzig, Dortmund both lose

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BERLIN (AP) Robert Lewandowski scored twice for Bayern Munich to extend its Bundesliga lead on Saturday with a 3-0 win over an Eintracht Frankfurt side hit by injuries and illness.

Bayern, which stretched its unbeaten run to 18 games across all competitions, capitalized on second-placed Leipzig’s 1-0 defeat at home to Wolfsburg to stretch its lead to 10 points with 10 games remaining.

Frankfurt made the better start and Bayern needed defender Mats Hummels to make a goal-saving tackle to deny Branimir Hrgota early on.

Good work from Thomas Mueller on the right allowed Lewandowski to score a tap-in with Bayern’s first big chance in the 38th.

Mueller, who scored 32 goals in all competitions for Bayern last season, has only one league goal so far but this was his 10th assist.

Playing on the other side of the pitch, David Alaba sprinted clear to set up Douglas Costa for Bayern’s second minutes later.

Frankfurt had three big chances in the first half but couldn’t make them count.

Arjen Robben then crossed for Lewandowski’s second goal 10 minutes after the break, taking the Poland striker’s league tally to 21 goals this season.

Frankfurt’s troubles were compounded when captain Makoto Hasebe, the league’s most capped Japanese player with 236 appearances, was taken to hospital for stitches to a cut on his shin. Marco Russ came on in his place for his second appearance since returning from treatment for testicular cancer.

Bayern defender Jerome Boateng came on for the final 25 minutes to make his return from nearly four months out due to injury.

LEIPZIG 0, WOLFSBURG 1

Mario Gomez’ remarkable run of scoring in every game under coach Andries Jonker continued at Leipzig, where the Germany striker scored in the ninth minute.

Gomez, who played under Jonker in his five games as interim coach at Bayern, has 11 goals in seven games with the Dutchman in charge.

Daniel Didavi should have made it 2-0 in the second half only to hit the post, then the Leipzig keeper at the second attempt, before Gomez hit the post again from the rebound.

HERTHA BERLIN 2, BORUSSIA DORTMUND 1

Hertha held on to halt third-placed Dortmund’s four-game winning run in all competitions and consolidated fifth place with a typically gritty performance.

Captain Vedad Ibisevic crossed for Salomon Kalou to score early, and Dortmund was grateful to Raphael Guerreiro for clearing off the line from Kalou afterward as the home side maintained its good start. Kalou missed another good chance before the break.

Seconds after Lewandowski matched his 21-goal tally in Munich, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalized, first playing the ball to Guerreiro with his heel, then running to accept Shinji Kagawa‘s through ball to score his league-leading 22nd of the season. It was his eighth goal in four games in all competitions.

But Marvin Plattenhardt scored what proved to be the winner with a brilliant free kick inside the top corner with 20 minutes remaining.

DARMSTADT 2, MAINZ 1

The hosts played in special shirts with the logo, “You must fight, now more than ever,” in honor of Darmstadt fan Jonathan Heimes, who died of cancer in March last year.

Darmstadt raced into an early lead through captain Aytac Sulu’s header from a corner and Sidney Sam’s cooly taken penalty.

Heimes, who founded a charity for children with cancer, was a motivating factor in Darmstadt’s promotion in 2015.

Swedish midfielder Robin Quaison pulled one back and Darmstadt suffered a further blow on the hour when Mario Vrancic was sent off with his second yellow.

But Stefan Bell was sent off late for Mainz and the league’s bottom side held on for just its fourth win of the season.

FREIBURG 1, HOFFENHEIM 1

Three minutes after Maximilian Philipp put Freiburg ahead with a penalty, Andrej Kramaric equalized on the hour-mark.

Hoffenheim stayed fourth in the last qualification place for the Champions League, two points ahead of Hertha.

Ingolstadt was hosting Cologne for the late game.

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.