Pedro

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World champs! Ronaldo goal gives Madrid a 3rd CWC title

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo scored from a free-kick to help Real Madrid claim its third Club World Cup title after beating Brazilian team Gremio 1-0 Saturday.

The Ballon d’Or winner fired his right-footed shot between two players in Gremio’s defensive wall, leaving goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe no hope of reaching the ball before it bounced inside the post in the 53rd minute.

Madrid defended the title it won last season as it collected its fifth trophy of 2017, along with the Champions League, Spanish league, European Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup.

Ronaldo celebrated the goal by rushing to Madrid’s dugout where he was embraced by his teammates. The goal increased Ronaldo’s record to seven goals in the competition. He also scored in Madrid’s 2-1 comeback win over Al Jazira in the semifinals.

“What am I going to say? The numbers speak for themselves. I am very happy. The team played fantastically well and it has won another title,” Ronaldo said. “We played a very good game and deserved the victory.”

Madrid equaled Barcelona’s record of three titles for the short knockout tournament between the champions of FIFA’s six continental confederations and the host nation’s league winner.

European clubs have won 10 of the last 11 Club World Cups, with only Brazil’s Corinthians interrupting that streak in 2012 when it defeated Chelsea.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane played the same starting 11 from last season’s Champions League final in June, when Madrid crushed Juventus 4-1 – led by Ronaldo’s double.

The European champions outclassed Gremio throughout the match, but the closest it got to scoring in the first half was Dani Carvajal’s goal-bound volley in the 20th that was cleared by Pedro Geromel.

While Gremio had to scramble on several occasions to stop Madrid inside its own area, the closest the South American champions came at the other end was a free-kick by Edilson that swerved onto the top netting near the half-hour mark.

Geromel had tried to set the tone early on with a hard tackle that left Ronaldo writhing in pain, and hoping for a booking that never came.

Ronaldo had a poor first half. He twice erred in short passes with his back heel that failed to reach his teammates, and he squandered a good opportunity when he took too long to shoot when a loose ball fell to him close to the net.

All that changed after the interval. Ronaldo baited Jailson into fouling him outside the area with some fancy dribbling, setting up his winner.

Ronaldo thought he had another goal moments later, but Karim Benzema was ruled offside before he passed the ball back to Ronaldo.

Marcelo Grohe kept his side in the game by pushing Luka Modric’s shot onto his post and denied Ronaldo a second goal, but Gremio never mounted a serious response to get the equalizer.

Chelsea 1-0 Southampton: Blues edge Saints

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  • Alonso’s free kick on half time seals win
  • Southampton with 1 win in 9
  • Chelsea in third place

Chelsea edged by Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday with Marcos Alonso‘s free kick the difference between the two teams.

Antonio Conte‘s side dominated for large periods and missed several good chances, yet Saints had opportunities on the break but failed to take them.

With the win Chelsea solidify third-place in the table, while Saints remain on 18 points and continue their slide down the table to 12th place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Saints had a decent chance early on as Ryan Bertrand whipped in a delightful cross but Gary Cahill cleared under pressure from James Ward-Prowse.

Cedric was then forced off with injury for Saints after a heavy challenge from Cahill and Mario Lemina came on with a defensive reshuffle.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Willian went close but curled an effort wide and on the break Manolo Gabbiadini threatened but Fraser Foster was busy and Bertrand made a great last-ditch tackle to deny Willian.

Pedro‘s deflected effort hit the post just before the break but Saints couldn’t hold on until the break. Alonso caught Forster napping and snuck in a fine free kick at the near post to put Chelsea 1-0 up.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Willian danced free of Saints’ defense in the second half but fired well over and the visitors had their first big chance of the game as Charlie Austin came off the bench and his first act was to race free but Thibaut Courtois saved well.

Another substitute, Cesc Fabregas, went close as he almost made the most of quick free kick from Willian but his audacious effort went just wide.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Late on Saints pushed hard for an equalizer but Chelsea held on comfortably for their eighth win in their last 10 games.

Hardly champagne football from Chelsea, but Conte’s boys got the job done.

Huddersfield 1-3 Chelsea: Blues bounce back on the road

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Chelsea picked up a convincing road victory on Tuesday as the Blues topped Huddersfield Town, 3-1, at the Kirklees Stadium.

[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final ]

The Blues came out hungry following Sunday’s defeat at West Ham, and an unlikely goalscorer gave  Conte’s group the lead.

Sloppy passing at the back saw Willian with the ball at the top of the Huddersfield area, before the Brazilian brilliantly played Tiemoué Bakayoko in on goal for his second finish of the season.

Willian — who played a key role throughout the match — extended the Chelsea advantage three minutes prior to halftime when his header snuck past Terriers goalkeeper Jonas Lössl.

Chelsea was clicking on all cylinders after halftime, when Willian helped set up Pedro for his third goal of the Premier League season.

Meanwhile, Laurent Depoitre pulled a goal back late for the hosts, but it was too late to rescue a result for Huddersfield.

Chelsea blame “tiredness” for West Ham loss; title hopes over?

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Chelsea simply didn’t show up against West Ham United on Saturday.

The reigning Premier League champs lost 1-0 at West Ham as Antonio Conte‘s men looked lackluster from the start and never truly recovered from Marko Arnautovic‘s early goal.

Speaking after the game, Conte revealed his disappointment at the defeat and revealed that fatigue played a big part in his team not performing.

“Our start was bad but today we played a bit tired. To face one game every two games always with the same players is very difficult,” Conte said. “And we have just started this period. You have to move the ball quickly. But I repeat, we saw today a bit of tiredness in my players, especially in the last pass, we did a lot of mistakes. We must be disappointed.”

Conte also seemed to suggest that his focus will no be on Chelsea finishing in the top four with Man City able to go 14 points clear of Chelsea with a win on Sunday.

“I repeat, we create many chances but were not able to score. We have to go and to play game by game, to be focused. Don’t forget in this league it is very difficult. There are six top teams and four go to Champions League. We have to fight and do our best,” Conte said.

Chelsea’s captain Gary Cahill echoed Conte’s sentiments and he didn’t want to blame having too many games for their poor display.

“We were well off it, we allowed them to get the early goal, we have been tight at the back recently and that was a poor one to concede. We just didn’t play our stuff. It’s frustrating,” Cahill told Sky Sports. “We were just not at the races – for whatever reason that is. It’s disappointing to come off and feel like that… This was a huge game for us. We needed to win this game. We have to reflect and try and freshen up.”

You could certainly point the finger at Conte for his team selection on Saturday.

Chelsea made just one change from their midweek draw with Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday and had the likes of Michy Batshuayi, Pedro and Willian all on the bench.

With a midweek trip to Huddersfield coming up on Tuesday, you’d have to think Conte will switch things up to try and get a reaction from his players.

Chelsea’s title hopes seem all but over and now it’s all about going far in the Champions League and finishing in the top four of the PL.

Having a small squad and being unable to cope with the rigors of European action and the PL was always likely to bite Chelsea this season. It has. And hard.

West Ham 1-0 Chelsea: Moyes delivers huge win

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  • Arnautovic’s early goal seals West Ham’s first win in 9
  • Chelsea’s first defeat in eight games
  • Blues could fall 14 points behind PL leaders Man City

West Ham beat Chelsea 1-0 on Saturday at the London Stadium as David Moyes secured his first win as Hammers boss in impressive fashion.

Marko Arnautovic scored a fine goal early on as West Ham started brightly and Chelsea never got going against their bitter London rivals.

The win sees West Ham move up to 18th place on 13 points, while Chelsea stay in third but lost more ground on the two Manchester clubs above them in the table.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Ham came flying out of the traps and were rewarded with an early goal.

Arnautovic played a fine one-two with Manuel Lanzini and the Austrian curled home calmly to put the Hammers 1-0 up with his first PL goal for the Hammers. Cue pandemonium at the London Stadium as Arnautovic was shown a yellow card for jumping in with the fans to celebrate his strike.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Chelsea improved as Alvaro Morata went down in the box but no penalty was give, while Hazard flashed an effort across goal and wide of the far post and Marcos Alonso was booked after clattering into Adrian.

Adrian then saved well from N'Golo Kante and Davide Zappacosta in quick succession with West Ham pinned back for most of the first half and Alvaro Morata prodded over.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Pedro came on at half time for the disappointing Tiemoue Bakayoko with Conte adding an extra attacking impetus to try and get back into the game.

Arnautovic then tried to skip by Andreas Christensen who looked to handle the ball in the box but referee Anthony Taylor waved away penalty calls.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Zappacosta whipped in a shot to far post which Cesc Fabregas almost got on the end of as Chelsea pushed late on for an equalizer.

The Hammers held on valiantly as Morata drilled an effort wide and Hazard sent another shot over the bar late on, but Moyes celebrated at the final whistle as West Ham’s new manager is off and running with yet another win against a reigning PL champion.