Championship Sunday roundup: Chelsea crowned, Liverpool secures UCL spot

Leave a comment

Antonio Conte‘s successful first season at Stamford Bridge concluded in style on Championship Sunday as Chelsea — the 2016/17 Premier League winners — ended their title-winning campaign with a convincing win in front of their home supporters.

With everything else to play for essentially locked up heading into the final day, the most attention was on Anfield and the Emirates Stadium as both Liverpool and Arsenal fought in their respective matches to capture the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Meanwhile, finishes were aplenty on the day as 37 goals came in on Sunday, including Tottenham’s seven-goal outburst at Hull City.

Here’s a final look back at Championship Sunday and a brief recap of the results that came in from all 10 matches:

[ MORE: All of PST’s Championship Sunday coverage ]

Chelsea 5-1 SunderlandRECAP

It’s only fitting that the Blues went out in style on Sunday after already capturing the league. The win over already-relegated Sunderland brought Chelsea’s victory tally up to 30 on the season, a new Premier League record. Conte’s men fell behind after three minutes, but from there, it was smooth sailing as Willian, Eden Hazard, Pedro and Michy Batshuayi‘s brace gave the home side a thrilling send off to the PL campaign.

Chelsea’s next step will be to clinch the double next weekend when the champions take on fellow Londoners, Arsenal, in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

Hull City 1-7 Tottenham HotspurRECAP

In many other seasons Tottenham’s performance would have won them a title, but Spurs still ended the season in fantastic style away from home. Harry Kane cemented his place as Golden Boot winner for the second straight season after recording a hat-trick at the KCOM Stadium on Sunday.

Meanwhile, goals also came in from Dele Alli, Ben Davies, Toby Alderweireld, and Victor Wanyama as Spurs destroyed the hosts, who will fall to the Championship next season following relegation.

Watford 0-5 Manchester CityRECAP

The Citizens needed just a point on Sunday to ensure a top four finish, and Pep Guardiola‘s side took no risks against the Hornets with a dominating performance on the road. Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho found the back of the net at Vicarage Road, as Manchester City finishes third in Guardiola’s first PL season.

Liverpool 3-0 MiddlesbroughRECAP

It was the only major battle of the day but Liverpool needed a victory to keep Arsenal out of the UCL, and the Reds did just that with a strong performance at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp‘s side captured fourth place and a spot in next season’s UCL behind goals from Georginio WijnaldumPhilippe Coutinho, and Adam Lallana, while Middlesbrough’s PL run officially came to an end on Sunday as they go back down to the Championship in 2017/18.

Arsenal 3-1 EvertonRECAP

The Gunners took care of business at the Emirates, despite playing with 10 men most of the day, but Liverpool’s victory guaranteed that Arsenal would miss out on the UCL for the first time in Arsene Wenger‘s tenure. Goals from Hector Bellerin, Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey paced the hosts, even after Laurent Koscielny was sent off in the 14th minute. Romelu Lukaku‘s second-half penalty brought the scoreline to 2-1 with over half an hour remaining, but Everton couldn’t crack the Arsenal back line for a second time.

Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Manchester United 2-0 Crystal PalaceRECAP

It was the youngsters that starred for Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, and although there wasn’t much to play for from either side’s perspective, Josh Harrop certainly made an impression on the Red Devils supporters. The 21-year-old recorded his first Manchester United goal on Sunday (becoming United’s 100th different PL goalscorer), while Paul Pogba doubled the lead for the hosts prior to halftime.

A win for United in Wednesday’s UEFA Europa League final would give Mourinho’s men a lift into next season’s UCL, despite finishing outside the PL top four.

Southampton 0-1 Stoke CityRECAP

Peter Crouch tallied his 50th headed goal of his PL career on Sunday to give Stoke a narrow victory at St. Mary’s. Southampton finishes inside the top 10 (8th place) despite the loss, while the Potters end up in 13th with their 11th win of the season.

Leicester City 1-1 BournemouthRECAP

It was a tumultuous campaign for the Foxes, but a draw on Sunday pretty much summed up their overall season. Average. It certainly wasn’t anything like their Cinderella feat from a season ago but Leicester will be back in the PL next year, and that’s all that really matters. Junior Stanislas scored in his third consecutive match for the Cherries, but Jamie Vardy‘s 13th finish of the season registered a point for Leicester, who finish the second in 12th position.

Burnley 1-2 West Ham UnitedRECAP

Sofiane Feghouli and Andre Ayew gave the Hammers something to cheer about on the final day, however, the London side fell just shy of a top-half finish. West Ham ends the 2016/17 season in 11th while Burnley survives to reach another PL season after finishing in 16th position.

Swansea City 2-1 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

Paul Clement has to be proud of the way his Swans performed to close out the season, and they’ll have a PL stay as proof of it next season. The hosts went down thanks to a Jonny Evans finish, but goals from Jordan Ayew and Fernando Llorente gave Swansea its 12th victory of the season and a 15th place finish in the PL. Meanwhile, West Brom closes their campaign with a finish in the top 10.

Rapinoe, Morgan, Ertz lift US past South Korea, 3-1

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Alex Morgan scored in a fourth straight game, Julie Ertz scored for the fourth time in five games, and the United States women beat South Korea 3-1 on Thursday night.

Megan Rapinoe added her 34th international goal and her 42nd assist.

Having assisted on Ertz’s diving header in the first half, Rapinoe scored on a penalty kick she drew in the 49th minute when pounced on a loose ball about 12 yards in front of the goal and was tripped by Ji Sohyun.

[ MORE: MLS schedule ]

Han Chaerin scored her first international goal in her South Korea debut to make it 2-1 just before the end of the first half.

U.S. forward Mallory Pugh had to leave the game late in the first half with a right hamstring injury. There was no immediate word on the severity of her injury after she was helped off the field by trainers.

Meanwhile, Carli Lloyd returned from a nine-week absence because of ankle injury, entering the game as a substitute in the 77th minute.

Midfielder Andi Sullivan started for the U.S. about 11 months after having reconstructive knee surgery. Her third minute shot narrowly missed the far post from about 18 yards. She was substituted out, as planned, at halftime.

South Korea began the game in a defensive posture and the U.S. maintained a decisive edge in possession, forcing Kang Gaae to make several sprawling saves before breaking though on Ertz goal in the 24th minute

Ertz dove in front of two defenders to redirect Rapinoe’s hard, low corner kick between the legs of Kang as the goal keeper tried to respond at the near post.

Morgan scored in the 40th minute, using her right foot to settle Kelley O’Hara’s bouncing pass from the end line, then pivoting and whipping her left foot through the ball from point-blank range. The goal was the 28-year-old Morgan’s 78th for the national squad.

Han scored against the run of play with a hard shot from about 25 yards that sailed beyond U.S. goal keeper Alyssa Naher’s reach before dipping under the cross bar.

Lloyd’s introduction drew an enthusiastic response from nearly 10,000 spectators in the Superdome. The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year missed a pair of U.S. exhibition wins over New Zealand last month because of an Aug. 13 ankle sprain in a National Women’s Soccer League match.

Forward Tobin Heath, who has an ankle injury, and defender Taylor Smith, who has an injured shoulder, were not in the lineup and are not expected to play in a second friendly scheduled between South Korea and the U.S. on Sunday in Cary, North Carolina.

Both women were hurt in the NWSL championship match.

UEFA charge Roma after racist chanting witnessed

Getty Images
Leave a comment

AS Roma and its fans could face severe penalties after alleged racist chants were hurled in the direction of Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger.

It appears via broadcast footage from Chelsea’s 3-3 UEFA Champions League draw with Roma at Stamford Bridge this week that after shepherding a ball out of play, Rudiger was subjected to monkey noises and other racist abuse from the away end where the AS Roma fans were congregated.

[ LIVE: Stream every Premier League game ]

In the past, UEFA has ordered either partial or full closures of stadiums and announced fines to the clubs, though it doesn’t seem to have stamped out the problem of racist chanting in Europe.

Hopefully, UEFA will investigate this fully and ban the individuals who allegedly committed the chants.

Rudiger signed for Chelsea this past summer for a reported $44.8 million.

FIFA says deal close to resolve transfer system complaint

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
Leave a comment

ZURICH (AP) A complaint to the European Commission challenging soccer’s transfer market is set to be withdrawn by the global group of players’ unions, according to FIFA.

A formal complaint that the trading system is “anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal” was filed in Brussels two years ago by FIFPro.

[ MORE: Dusan Tadic tells the story of how he arrived at Southampton ]

After a meeting Thursday of the FIFA stakeholders committee, soccer’s world governing body said a tentative agreement relating to unpaid player wages and transfer fees reached with FIFPro, European clubs and a global leagues’ group can help end the dispute next year.

“It was an issue that was stewing for a long, long, long time,” FIFA vice president Victor Montagliani told reporters after chairing the meeting. “Because of our impetus they came to an agreement.”

FIFPro, which has campaigned to let players terminate contracts after going unpaid for several weeks, cautiously welcomed its “constructive talks with FIFA.”

“(It’s) premature to discuss what might happen next regarding our legal complaint against the transfer system, or any prospective deal until we are satisfied with the proposals put forth,” the Netherlands-based union said.

FIFA has been open to reviewing a transfer system which has seemed weighted in favor of wealthy clubs and was widely criticized in the European summer trading window. Salary caps, limits on squad sizes and restricting loan deals have been suggested.

Representing 65,000 players, FIFPro had suggested its September 2015 filing threatened the biggest upheaval in transfer rules since the Bosman case in 1995.

Then, a European Court of Justice ruling gave players more freedom to move within the European Union and drove up salaries by letting clubs sign out-of-contract players without paying a transfer fee.

The tentative accord FIFA announced Thursday seeks to amend complex transfer regulations and better protect players and clubs from unpaid salaries and transfer fees.

Another shared goal is enforcing cases more efficiently with a clearer path to applying sanctions. Players can wait many months – and even years – pursuing claims for unpaid wages in FIFA judicial bodies.

FIFA’s ruling council must approve the accord next week at a meeting in India. A new draft of transfer regulations could then be put to the Council next March in Zurich, clearing FIFPro to drop its complaint case.

[ MORE: Northern Ireland boss O’Neill banned over DUI plea ]

Delegates at FIFA headquarters Thursday included English Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore and two-time Champions League winner Edwin van der Sar, now CEO at Ajax.

The session also discussed changing rules that govern players’ eligibility for national teams and switching allegiance, FIFA said.

However, talking points such as club salary caps, allowing an extra Copa America tournament in 2020 on the international match calendar, and issues around the 2022 World Cup in Qatar were not raised.

Report: USMNT interim manager to be named this weekend

Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images
2 Comments

What’s next for the U.S. Men’s National Team?

[ MORE: Landon Donovan considering running for U.S. Soccer presidency ]

The first of many dominos may fall this weekend, according to ESPN FC.

The report states that the USMNT is likely to name its interim manager “some time this weekend,” however, U.S. Under-20 manager Tab Ramos likely won’t be the one named.

Ramos is reportedly seeking a full-time position as the USMNT boss, and the interim tag could be a turn off for the 51-year-old former national team midfielder.

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati had stated following former U.S. manager Bruce Arena’s departure that he expected to make a decision in “seven to 10 days.” A decision this weekend would stick with Gulati’s original intentions.

The Americans will reconvene next month when they take on Portugal on Nov. 14 in an international friendly in Leiria.

[ MORE: PST speaks with Atlanta United’s Julian Gressel ]

The match was originally scheduled to be played in Faro, but due to recent devastation in the are the fixture will be played in Leiria and all proceeds will go to the victims of wildfire damage. Portugal will also play a friendly four days prior to taking on the U.S. against Saudi Arabia at the same stadium.