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La Liga: Atleti open new stadium with win, thanks to Griezmann

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MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid debuted its new stadium and beat Malaga 1-0 in the Spanish league on Saturday. Antoine Griezmann scored the first goal at the state-of-the-art Wanda Metropolitano.

The nearly 68,000 fans at the inaugural match in the stadium on the outskirts of the Spanish capital erupted when Griezmann converted a low cross by Angel Correa from the right an hour in.

“I’m proud to have written my name in the history of the stadium and in the history of the club,” Griezmann said. “Hopefully there will be many more goals like this in this stadium.”

The victory capped a day of festivities celebrating the stadium’s opening game, attended by King Felipe VI. Afterward, players went around the field greeting the fans in the stands. A show with fireworks and music ensued.

“I’ve never seen anything like this as a player or a coach,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “With all the flags flying at the same time, the fans were really into it, as if they wanted to be playing. It was moving.”

Atletico moved to within four points of Barcelona, which came from behind to defeat Getafe 2-1 and stay perfect after four matches.

Second-place Real Sociedad, the only other team which entered the weekend with a perfect record, hosts defending champion Real Madrid on Sunday. Madrid is in 11th place, seven points behind Barcelona.

Malaga, which has lost all of its matches, dropped to last in the 20-team standings.

Atletico played its first three games away so there was enough time to get everything ready for the inaugural match.

“It had the feeling of a final,” Atletico striker Fernando Torres said. “As we started hearing the fans chanting our songs, we started seeing the stadium as our own. Everything is better when you win. We started with the right foot.”

It moved into its new home after more than 50 years at Vicente Calderon Stadium, which was beloved by its fans and produced one of the greatest atmospheres in soccer.

The crowd was still loud at Wanda Metropolitano, which offered lot more comfort and luxury.

The stadium is named after the team’s old Estadio Metropolitano and the Chinese company which has a stake in the club. It is the club’s fifth stadium in its 114-year history. The $286-million venue is filled with references to the team’s rich history, including its past stadiums and great players.

Paulinho scored his first goal for Barcelona late in the second half to keep alive the side’s perfect record. He fought off a defender inside the area before firing into the far corner in the 84th minute.

“I’m very happy to have scored the winning goal, it was very special,” Paulinho said.

A former Tottenham player who was playing in China last season, Paulinho was one of the few players signed by Barcelona in the offseason. The club paid 40 million euros to attract the Brazil midfielder and was criticized by many for spending so much on him.

Getafe, which has won only one of its four games to start the season, led through Japanese midfielder Gaku Shibasaki just before halftime. Denis Suarez equalized in the second half.

“We had the game under control,” Getafe coach Jose Bordalas said. “The players are disappointed. We put in a great effort and the result was not what we expected. It doesn’t seem like it was a fair result. We were unlucky but we put on a challenge against a great team.”

Barcelona won the match but lost Ousmane Dembele, its biggest offseason signing, midway through the first half because of an apparent muscle injury.

The Valencia derby between Levante and Valencia ended 1-1. The result left both teams also even in the standings.

Midfielder Joaquin Sanchez scored in each half to give Real Betis a 2-1 victory over Deportivo La Coruna, keeping the rival winless. Deportivo has lost all of its matches except for a 2-2 draw at Levante in the second round.

World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia fires coach Edgardo Bauza

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia has fired coach Edgardo Bauza nine days before the draw.

The Saudi Arabia Football Federation announced the Argentine coach’s exit after only five friendlies in charge. The team lost to Portugal and Bulgaria this month.

[ MORE: Big American Soccer Survey results ]

Bauza has been fired twice this year by teams in the World Cup lineup. He lost the Argentina job in April, after eight months in charge, when the two-time World Cup champions risked missing out on qualification.

In September, Bauza was appointed by Saudi Arabia to replace Bert van Marwijk, who was fired despite leading the team to its first World Cup since 2006.

Saudi Arabia joins Australia without a coach for the World Cup draw in Moscow on Dec. 1.

FOLLOW LIVE: Chelsea kicks off Champions League day

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There’s a Premier League side in action to kick off another day of UEFA Champions League action.

Chelsea is in Baku for a Noon ET match-up with Azerbaijan side Qarabag. A win boosts the Blues into the knockout rounds. CSKA Moscow and Benfica kickoff in Russia at the same time.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Here’s Antonio Conte‘s Starting XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger; Zappacosta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro.

Manchester United is in Basel as one of six 2:45 p.m. ET kickoffs

Full schedule
Qarabag vs. Chelsea — Noon ET
CSKA Moscow vs. Benfica — Noon ET
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Celtic — 2:45 p.m. ET
Juventus vs. Barcelona — 2:45 p.m. ET
Atletico Madrid vs. Roma — 2:45 p.m. ET
Sporting Lisbon vs. Olympiacos — 2:45 p.m. ET
Anderlecht vs. Bayern Munich — 2:45 p.m. ET
Basel vs. Manchester United — 2:45 p.m. ET

PST Survey results: Most exciting USMNT prospect

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The results of PST’s Big American Soccer Survey are in, and our staff will be walking through the results of thousands of votes in a series of posts this week.

We didn’t realize you could acronymize it to BASS, or else we would’ve done it sooner. Today’s question: Excluding Christian Pulisic, who’s no longer a prospect despite being just 19, who is the most exciting USMNT prospect.

[ MORE: All Big American Soccer Survey posts ]

Exciting performances in the U-20 and U-17 World Cups have given United States men’s national team fans plenty of hope for the future.

The most-mentioned write-in, collecting across all attempting spellings, was injured Arsenal playmaker Gedion Zelalem.

As for the serious contenders, Jonathan Gonzalez, Andrew Carleton Tyler Adams, and Lynden Gooch lagged behind this pack of four:

Cameron Carter-Vickers — 14 percent — He had a howling back pass in Sheffield United’s 5-4 loss to Fulham on Wednesday, but the on-loan Spurs 19-year-old center back is playing every minute for a club very much in the mix for Premier League promotion.

Weston McKennie — 18 percent — Another 19-year-old, McKennie was one of the Men of the Match as Schalke went second in the Bundesliga this weekend. He’s been a regular starter when healthy, and played advanced, central, and set back in Schalke’s midfield. Next up: a Revierderby meeting with Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund.

Josh Sargent — 21 percent — Off to Werder Bremen when he turns 18 in late February, Sargent has four goals in five matches for the U.S. U-20s, and 14 in 29 for the U-17s. That includes four goals and two assists in his last three outings, against Paraguay, England, and Hungary.

Tim Weah — 24 percent — The son of African legend George Weah, Tim turns 18 two days after Sargent. Unlike his countryman, Weah has been in Europe for some time. The Paris Saint-Germain prospect is slated to get his First Team bow some time soon, having scored four goals and added an assist for PSG in the UEFA Youth League.

Yannick Bolasie finally returns to Everton training (video)

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Among my most quoted coaching lines comes from former University at Buffalo and current Canisius College men’s basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon (and pretty sure it didn’t originate with him).

“It’s more about Jims and Joes than x’s and o’s.”

[ MLS: Seattle wins | Stalemate in Ohio ]

So if Everton rebounds from its rough start to the season to reach its preseason potential, there’s a good chance we’ll credit the return of one of the most electric attackers in the game and not necessarily their new boss.

Yannick Bolasie returned to training on Wednesday, and not a moment too soon following a near one-year layoff due to an ACL tear.

There’s no guarantee the 28-year-old Bolasie will have the same burst, of course, but he has the potential to be a season-changer.

Everton was 5-4-4 when Bolasie went down with his injury last season, and improved on the mark the rest of the way, but are a moribund 3-3-6 this season.