AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani

Ligue 1: Cavani scores 2, sets up 1 as PSG continue chasing Monaco

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PARIS (AP) Edinson Cavani set up Angel Di Maria for the opening goal and then scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain shrugged off a sluggish first-half performance to beat Guingamp 4-0 in the French league on Sunday.

Cavani’s goals have largely carried PSG and the Uruguay striker has an outstanding record of 42 in 41 games this season, including 29 in the league. Midfielder Blaise Matuidi added the fourth goal in injury time.

Defending champion PSG remains three points behind league leader Monaco with seven games left, although the lead is effectively four points because Monaco’s goal difference is +19 better.

Nice is four points behind Monaco, having played one game more than the top two clubs. Nice beat Lille 2-1 on Friday and Monaco won 1-0 at Angers on Saturday, thanks to Radamel Falcao‘s 25th goal of the season.

“We’re holding on to Monaco and Nice aren’t far behind,” Matuidi said. “It’s a great league this season.”

Guingamp was the last team to beat PSG in the league, shortly before Christmas, and was gaining in confidence before carelessly losing possession near the halfway line in the 56th minute.

The ball was pinged quickly to Cavani rampaging down the left, and his fizzing pass across the penalty area rolled into the path of Di Maria, who advanced before lofting the ball over Swedish goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson.

Four minutes later, Guingamp was caught out again near the halfway line and two quick passes sent Cavani into the penalty area. He was tackled but won the loose ball and curled it into the bottom right corner.

His second of the night was even better, as he latched onto a superb cross-field pass from Di Maria and cushioned the ball into his path before driving a low shot into the bottom left corner in the 71st minute.

Although Cavani hit the crossbar with a glancing header in the 18th, and Johnsson saved a shot from Matuidi, mid-table Guingamp looked sharp breaking forward during the first half.

PSG seemed nervous and center half Presnel Kimpembe’s risky pass out from the back landed straight at the feet of forward Jimmy Briand, whose shot flew just over the bar, moments before the break.

Shortly after halftime, Guingamp forward Alexandre Mendy hit the side netting after bursting into the area.

“We weren’t very good in the first half, but we did much better in the second,” Matuidi said on Canal Plus television.

Ultimately, two errors let PSG back in the game, and the individual class of two players costing more than 60 million euros ($64 million) each made the difference.

Marseille lost ground in the chase for a place in next season’s Europa League.

After Toulouse dominated the first half, playmaker Dimitri Payet twice went close to winning the game for Marseille.

With 20 minutes left, Payet’s powerful strike from just inside the penalty area drew a spectacular save from goalkeeper Alban Lafont.

Then, five minutes from time, his free kick from the edge of the area went just over.

Marseille remains in sixth place after a third straight league draw, one point behind fifth-place Bordeaux with six games remaining.

Striker Martin Braithwaite hit the crossbar in the first half for Toulouse, which is in ninth place.

“It’s a fair result,” said Marseille coach Rudi Garcia, whose side has scored once in the last three games. “I’m not worried, but we must start finishing better and improve our attacking play.”

Substitute Benjamin Corgnet rescued a point for Saint-Etienne with a powerful header 20 minutes from time.

Burkina Faso striker Prejuce Nakoulma gave Nantes the lead in the 15th minute, making it five goals in six games since joining in January.

Saint-Etienne is in seventh place, three points behind Marseille and three ahead of eighth-place Nantes.

MLS Snapshots: Manneh inspires Crew SC; Philly, Atlanta win at home

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete
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Columbus Crew SC 4-1 Montreal Impact

Three moments that mattered

17′ — Higuain’s free kick beats Bush — Aided by a slight deflection off the top of the wall, Higuain put a free kick past Evan Bush to give the home side an early lead.

70′ — Manneh makes an immediate impact — The initial ball from Higuain is what you came here for, but the elementary defending by three Montreal defenders is what’ll keep you glued until the very end.

72′ — Manneh sets up Kamara for 3-1 — Kekuta Manneh had been on the field for all of three minutes, and he put a goal and an assist to his name. Most importantly, three points to that of Crew SC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Federico Higuain

Goalscorers: Higuain (17′, 88′), Jackson-Hamel (19′), Manneh (70′), Kamara (72′)


 

Philadelphia Union 1-0 D.C. United

Three moments that mattered

28′ — Blake gets down to deny Harkes from distance — Ian Harkes had picked out a spot just inside the far post, but Andre Blake was well up to the task of denying DCU’s homegrown rookie.

31′ — Picault slams Bedoya’s cross — Alejandro Bedoya’s cross has some serious loft on it, which it makes it so tough to keep the ensuing shot low and to hit it with such power. Fantastic finish from Picault.

70′ — Blake stone-walls Neagle from the spot — It’s a pretty poor penalty from Lamar Neagle, but it’s a massive moment so badly needed by Andre Blake who’s been well off his own standard this season. Don’t be surprised if it’s a season-turning save for the talented Jamaican.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Andre Blake

Goalscorers: Picault (31′)


 

Atlanta United 1-0 Colorado Rapids

Three One moment that mattered

67′ — Martinez turns and beats Howard for the game’s only goal — You can’t give Josef Martinez this kind of space, and this kind of time, around the six-yard box. He’s shown us seven times already this season (in just seven games) how deadly he is from there.

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Man of the match: Josef Martinez

Goalscorers: Martinez (67′)

VIDEO: Accam’s slick backheel puts Chicago ahead

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For the last two years, David Accam has been, in my estimation, the best player in MLS that no one talked about.

[ MORE: NYCFC run rampant on Red Bulls, win NY derby 2-0 ]

Understandably so, of course, given the 26-year-old Ghanaian international and the Chicago Fire been rooted to the bottom of the league table for two years running. All of that has changed in 2017, though, as Accam finally has a forward (Nemanja Nikolic) who can not only put chances away, but create space and chances for his teammates, and a solid midfield base which allows him to cherry-pick counter-attacks just that little bit more.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Entering Saturday’s game against Orlando City SC, Chicago sat second in the Eastern Conference, just four points back of Toronto FC, and Accam’s 9 goals and 5 assists (in 15 games) were a huge part of the why and the how. It didn’t take Accam long — two minutes, in fact, to put Chicago ahead of Orlando with a ridiculous backheel finish to Matt Polster’s cross.

 

Bravo fit again, but will he start Chile’s Confed Cup group finale?

Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images
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MOSCOW (AP) Claudio Bravo is fit again and could start in goal against Australia at the Confederations Cup on Sunday, Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said Saturday.

Bravo – who is Chile’s joint most-capped player with Alexis Sanchez – hasn’t played since April 27, when he injured his calf for Manchester City in a derby game with Manchester United.

“Claudio is fit, he’s managed to train the last couple of days just like his other teammates,” Pizzi said. “He’s ready and available to play.”

Pizzi brushed off concerns about a lack of match fitness, saying that “quite obviously we take into account that factor” but players like Bravo are “are of such good quality that it isn’t that important they haven’t played in the last couple of months.”

Stand-in Johnny Herrera played in Chile’s 2-0 group stage win over Cameroon and Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Germany.

Gary Medel was substituted with a minor injury while playing in defense for Chile against Germany. Teammate Francisco Silva said Saturday that Medel had complained of “a very small muscle contraction issue” but was now fit.

Pizzi said he will aim to tire out Australia with Chile’s trademark all-action style, even though his team struggled for energy in the latter stages against Germany.

“This energy drop we had in the second half didn’t damage us too much because the opposing team couldn’t maintain a high pace because of the demands we’d imposed on them,” Pizzi said of the Germany game.

“We’re going to try to get (the Australians) tired as well and use this to beat our opponent, and we hope this is going to translate into goals.”

USMNT’s Wood extends Hamburg contract through 2021

Photo credit: Hamburg / Twitter: @HSV
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HAMBURG, Germany (AP) American forward Bobby Wood extended his contract with Bundesliga side Hamburger SV on Saturday to 2021.

Wood, who joined Hamburg from second-tier Union Berlin, scored five goals and set up two more in 28 Bundesliga games. He had 17 goals in 31 second-division games for Union the season before.

“Not only his goals count for us, but his readiness to run and challenge,” Hamburg sporting director Jens Todt said. “Bobby is a key player for our offense and a real team player.”

Wood has eight goals in 32 appearances for the United States.