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Preseason Roundup: Chelsea falls, Arsenal storms, Liverpool impresses

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The preseason is soon coming to a close, and clubs are taking one final swing at getting ready for the upcoming Premier League season that begins on August 11th.

All over the world, clubs are completing tours of countries in all different time zones. First up was Chelsea, who took on Inter Milan in Singapore as part of the International Champions Cup. The Italian side handed Chelsea its second defeat of the preseason with a 2-1 win thanks to a converted penalty by former Manchester City winger Stevan Jovetic and a second-half winner from Manchester United target Ivan Perisic.

[ MORE: Saturday Transfer Rumor Roundup ]

However, the spotlight in the match was stolen by a dazzling own-goal by Inter midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, who chipped his own goalkeeper from a good 40 yards out with 16 minutes remaining. Walled off by a high Chelsea press near the mid-line, Kondogbia took a pass from Cristian Ansaldi and, facing his own net, lofted a pass meant for goalkeeper Daniele Padelli. Instead, the pass sailed, and with Padelli well out of net, he was helpless as the ball fluttered into the top-left corner.

New Blues signing Alvaro Morata started up front next to Michy Batshuyai, while fellow newcomer Antonio Rudiger came on in the second half for his Chelsea debut.


Elsewhere, Arsenal topped Benfica 5-2 thanks to a pair of goals from Theo Walcott. The Gunners took on their Portuguese opponents in London on their home turf, and saw out a topsy-turvey game. Benfica winger Franco Cervi got a brace himself, although both goals came off deflections.

Olivier Giroud also got a 63rd minute goal, with the assist coming from 17-year-old Arsenal youth product Reiss Nelson, who had a fantastic game. Alex Iwobi joined the scoring in the 70th minute The fifth Gunners score came on an own-goal by Lisandro Lopez.

New signing Sead Kolasinac was in the starting lineup and also played quite well down the left, playing a significant role in Walcott’s second. Meanwhile, the big-money buy Alexandre Lacazette began the game on the bench but came on with 15 minutes to go.


Late replacement Dominic Solanke came on the field and scored just a few minutes in as Liverpool topped Hertha Berlin 3-0 in Germany. Philippe Coutinho, despite rumors linking him to Barcelona, started the match. Divock Origi was also slated to start, but picked up an injury in warmups and was yanked for Solanke before kickoff.

The Reds new boy, who moved from Chelsea on a free transfer, looped a header over Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein in the 15th minute. Giorginio Wijnaldum doubled the Reds lead with a calm, easy finish past the half-hour mark.

Mass substitutions at halftime included new signing Mohamed Salah, who continued his stellar preseason with the game’s best goal, coming in the 61st minute. Coutinho delivered a stunning long-ball from Liverpool’s own half over the top of the defense, and Salah latched on, finishing expertly with a wonderful chip.


Leicester City was downed by Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 on a goal by former Benfica and Monaco attacker Ivan Cavaleiro just a tick before the hour mark. The Foxes trotted out a strong side that featured all the regulars, including Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, Kasper Schmeichel, and Danny Drinkwater, but were nonetheless held scoreless.


Bournemouth topped Championship side Queens Park Rangers 1-0 thanks to a goal from Jordon Ibe in the 41st minute. The former Liverpool man struggled mightily last season, but has clearly begun his preparations for the new campaign in style.

Neither new Bourmemouth signings Nathan Ake or Asmir Begovic were in the squad for the friendly.


Newcastle lost to FC Mainz 2-1 thanks to a late goal from Viktor Fisher just six minutes before the final whistle. Newcastle’s 65th minute oddity had cancelled out a 5th minute opener by Levin Oztunali. The Magpies’ goal was a weird one that came after a failed Mainz clearance and a massive deflection after Jesus Gamez’s 20-yard shot.


Later tonight, Manchester City will take on Tottenham in the International Champions Cup in Nashville, Tennessee.

UCL AT HALF: Spurs level at Real; Liverpool, Man City lead (video)

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Premier League sides are mostly enjoying their football this Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Liverpool is clobbering hosts Maribor, Man City needed little time to take lead against critical darlings Napoli, and Spurs have forced Real Madrid into an own goal at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Raphael Varane’s plans to mark Harry Kane were subverted by the French defender’s unwitting legs, but Serge Aurier chopped down Toni Kroos in the 42nd minute for a yellow card and penalty that Cristiano Ronaldo sent beyond the reach of Spurs backstop Hugo Lloris.

Manchester City 2-0 Napoli

Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scored in the ninth and 13th minutes as City has been an unwelcoming host for the Neapolitan side. Ederson stopped a Dries Mertens penalty, adding insult to Napoli’s twin concessions.

Monaco 1-1 Besiktas

Radamel Falcao with the lone goal of the contest, but reported Newcastle target Cenk Tosun has answered for the Turkish powers.

Feyenoord 1-1 Shakhtar Donetsk

Ex-Watford man Steven Berghuis and Bernard have traded goals at De Kuip.

Maribor 0-4 Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds are sending their finishing demons off a cliff, with goals from Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah finding the scoreboard before the match was 20 minutes old. Salah added another before the break.

Elsewhere
APOEL Nicosia 0-0 Borussia Dortmund
Spartak Moscow 1-1 Sevilla
RB Leipzig 3-2 Porto

Columbus Crew owner may move soccer team to Austin, Texas

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) The owner of the Crew SC says the team is no longer sustainable and will move to Austin, Texas, unless a new, privately-financed stadium is built in downtown Columbus.

Anthony Precourt, whose Precourt Sports Ventures has owned the Major League Soccer club since 2013, said Tuesday the Crew need more fan and financial support to compete in the growing league, and a new stadium in the urban center is the only way to make it work. The Crew currently play in 17-year-old Mapfre Stadium, about 4 miles north of downtown Columbus.

[ MORE: Leicester sacks Shakespeare ]

The team will be back in Ohio’s capital city for 2018, Precourt said, but its future beyond that depends on which city steps up first.

“Despite all the efforts to move the needle beyond on-the-field success, our business is struggling to keep pace with the rising standards of major league soccer,” Precourt said in a conference call with reporters. “The club historically and presently has challenges with match-day attendance, with growing our season-ticket base, with demand for corporate sponsorship and with relevance. The stadium and site are challenges in Columbus.”

The Crew is 20th in attendance this season out of 22 MLS teams with an average of 15,439, despite making the playoffs. The capacity is 19,968.

Austin is the largest market in North America without a major league sports franchise, and the city is receptive. Precourt declined to comment about any talks that could result in a new downtown soccer-specific stadium there. He dispelled rumors that the team has an agreement to play temporarily at the University of Texas stadium in 2019 while a new stadium is built.

Precourt called Austin “the most attractive untapped market in the United States for MLS soccer.” The city already has submitted a bid for an MLS expansion team.

[ VIDEO: Top 25 moments in PL history ]

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said he had met with team ownership about solutions to keep the team in the city but complained that he didn’t get “full engagement.” City officials didn’t know about a potential move until the public announcement Tuesday, he said.

“We were surprised to learn of their decision in this way,” Ginther said in a statement. “Losing the Crew to another city would be a huge disappointment to their loyal and growing fan base in Columbus.”

Alex Fischer of the Columbus Partnership, a consortium of CEOs and business leaders, told The Columbus Dispatch that a group of business leaders approached Precourt with offers to buy Crew SC outright and to go into a 50-50 partnership, both of which were rejected. But Precourt said Tuesday that his discussions with potential investors in the team were all attached to a plan for a new stadium.

Precourt said he approached Columbus business leaders last year and was clear about the problems.

“We have engaged the community privately since the beginning of 2016 about our business issues, and made it clear that we would potentially start to explore strategic alternatives if the business didn’t improve,” he said.

He said three potential stadium sites have been identified in Columbus, but he declined to comment on them.

“We are not asking for public tax dollars, and we are not asking either city to build a stadium for us,” he said.

UCL, LIVE: Tottenham vs. Real Madrid; Man City, Liverpool in action

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Three Premier League teams are in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday and they are involved in some huge matches across Europe.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Tottenham Hotspur head to reigning European champions Real Madrid in Group H with both teams winning their opening two group games. Can Harry Kane and Co. stun the Santiago Bernabeu?

Manchester City host Napoli in Group F in what looks like a very tasty game in Group F and Liverpool head to Maribr in a must-win game in Group E after they drew their opening two matches.

Elsewhere, FC Porto’s trip to RB Leipzig looks set to be an intriguing clash in Group G.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which all kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET and you can follow all the action live by clicking on the link above.

[ MORE: Champions League standings


Tuesday’s UCL games

Group E
Spartak Moscow vs. Sevilla
Maribor vs. Liverpool

Group F
Man City vs. Napoli
Feyenoord vs. Shakthar Donetsk

Group G
RB Leipzig vs. FC Porto
Monaco vs. Besiktas

Group H
APOEL vs. Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Top 25 moments in Premier League history: 6-4

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To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Premier League we thought it would be great to count down our top 25 moments from a quarter of a century of action.

[ VIDEO: Top 25 moments in PL history ]

Each week we will release our best moments and you can keep track of the full list here.

Below are numbers 6-4 as we enter the top five moments in PL history.


6 – Wayne Rooney‘s score a stunning first PL goal for Everton vs. Arsenal in 2002

5 – Man United fight back from 3-0 down v Tottenham in 2001

4 – Liverpool vs. Newcastle United battles in the mid 1990s