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Aleksandar Kolarov

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Chelsea 3-3 Roma – Thrills at the Bridge

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  • Luiz, Hazard put Chelsea up 2-0
  • Kolarov, Dzeko brace flip lead
  • Hazard nabs equalizer
  • U.S. U-20 mid Scott on bench for Chelsea

Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea overcame the sacrifice of a 2-0 lead and the Blues drew AS Roma 3-3 at Stamford Bridge in UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday.

David Luiz also scored for Chelsea. Ex-Man City men Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov starred for Roma, with Dzeko scoring twice and Kolarov adding a goal and an assist.

Chelsea has seven points to lead Group C, two more than Roma and five ahead of third-placed Atletico Madrid. The sides will meet again in Rome on Halloween.

[ MORE: Landon Donovan, USSF prez? ]

Luiz started the scoring with a delightful strike. Call it a second bite at the proverbial apple if you must, but then admit he sunk his teeth into it.

Eden Hazard made a darting run to double Chelsea’s lead, but Kolarov pulled Roma within one with a deflected strike past Thibaut Courtois.

Diego Perotti curled a shot that hardly troubled Courtois in the 63rd minute, the Chelsea keeper just leaving his feet collect it.

Dzeko and Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Then the former Man City striker struck again, seeing a long diagonal ball over his shoulder and whizzing a perfect left-footed volley through the flailing arms of Courtois.

Dzeko then made a late move before a Kolarov free kick to lose his mark and nod home a go-ahead goal.

It wasn’t over, as Hazard found his way to space and a cross from Pedro.

The Belgian headed his chance beyond a diving Alisson, and it was 3-3 with 15 minutes to play.

American-English midfielder Kyle Scott did not make his Chelsea bow. The 19-year-old has represented England at the U-16 level and the U.S. at the U-18 and U-20 levels.

UEFA World Cup qualifying: Gylfi stars for Iceland; Kolarov leads Serbia (video)

Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images
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Spain and Serbia moved to almost assure places in the 2018 World Cup, while Group I remains as tight as ever.

[ WATCH: Honduras vs. USMNT on Telemundo ]

Here’s where three European groups stand after the final day of qualifying for this international break.

Liechtenstein 0-8 Spain

Spain finishes the break three points ahead of second-place Italy, with a mere 17 goals of differential advantage thanks to braces from Iago Aspas and Alvaro Morata. Sergio Ramos, Isco, David Silva, and an own goal completed the scoring in Vaduz.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Serbia

Aleksandar Kolarov‘s 55th minute goal means Serbia will finish no lower than the playoffs, and¬†Orlovi would need to really fall apart to miss out on Russia.

 

Iceland 2-0 Ukraine

The darlings of the EURO have joined Croatia on the most points in Group I following a brace from Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Turkey 1-0 Croatia

Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun has Group I quite congested after scoring the lone goal in this one. Turkey and Ukraine have 14 points, two points behind Croatia and Iceland.

Opponents remaining:
Croatia – vs. Finland, at Ukraine
Iceland – at Turkey, vs. Kosovo
Turkey – vs. Iceland, at Finland
Ukraine – at Kosovo, vs. Croatia

Elsewhere
Austria 1-1 Georgia
Moldova 0-2 Wales
Italy 1-0 Israel
Macedonia 1-1 Albania
Kosovo 0-1 Finland

Leicester City 4-2 Manchester City: Vardy deconstructs Pep’s men

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  • Foxes up 2-0 by 5′
  • Vardy¬†hat trick
  • Kolarov scores free kick
  • WATCH: First three goals

Jamie Vardy‘s hat trick led Leicester City to a surprising 4-2 win over visiting Manchester City on Saturday at the King Power Stadium.

Andy King scored in the first half, where Vardy scooped his first two of the day before adding a third in the 78th minute. Aleksandar Kolarov‘s 81st minute free kick¬†dirtied the clean sheet, and Nolito redirected one home in the 90th minute.

Man City will finish the weekend at least four points back of the top, and currently sit in fourth with 30 points. Leicester rises rises to 14th on 16 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Manchester City was in a horrible spot in two blinks, as Vardy and Islam Slimani took advantage of John Stones and Aleksandar Kolarov before the latter beat Claudio Bravo to make it 1-0 in the third minute.

Less than two minutes later, it was time for another. Andy King let loose with a shot from outside the 18 that a flying Bravo could only touch into his goal. 2-0 at the King Power. Scenes.

And Leicester saved its best for the third goal, as Riyad Mahrez made an otherworldly first touch assist on a diagonal ball over Stones’ head, and Vardy touched around Bravo to score¬†it. Wow.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Guardiola doubled down on risk-taking tactics as the second half wore on. And why not? He was down 3-0.

On came Yaya Toure and Raheem Sterling. Out went Kelechi Iheanacho and Jesus Navas. Yes, Yaya Toure as striker.

Yet it was Vardy who scored next, taking advantage of an out-to-lunch Stones to inch a tight-angled shot off the post and just over the line via Goal Decision System.

Kolarov made it 4-1 with a terrific free kick that curled to nestle inside the post behind the wall, then found Nolito for a goal in the final minute of scheduled time.

Matty James came into the match during stoppage time for his 100th Leicester experience, which came 570 days after an ACL tear ended his 99th.

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Guardiola: “Kolarov had one of the best performances” at center back

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Although he’s typically been employed as a wing back throughout his career, Aleksandar Kolarov put in one of the best performances out of a center back; at least according to new manager Pep Guardiola.

[ MORE: Alexis targeted by Inter, Chelsea in for Maksimovic ]

Manchester City came away with a 2-1 win over Sunderland in Guardiola’s debut match on Saturday, while Kolarov strung together a strong effort in the center of the City backline while paired with newcomer John Stones.

“I think Kolarov had one of the best performances I have seen in a central defender,” said Guardiola.¬†“He won all the long balls, he was quality with passes and he was strong. Kolarov not just today but in the last few games played really well.”

With captain Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala all sidelined for the opener, Guardiola had limited options in the heart of the City defense, which prompted the move for Kolarov.

Despite his strong effort though, Guardiola says he would like to play Otamendi against Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Cech’s day ruined following Liverpool loss; and his front fender ]

“Hopefully he can play. Steaua Bucharest play with long balls and of course Nico is so important,” he added.¬†“He had a little problem with his tendon and I could not risk two games in just three days, so that’s why I decided to play with John Stones and Kolarov.”

Guardiola cleaning house at City: Toure, Kompany, Bony, Mangala to be sold

AP Photo/Tim Ireland
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Pep Guardiola has instructed the Manchester City hierarchy to begin cleaning house ahead of his arrival in the Premier League this summer.

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Among others that will surely be sold as well, Man City stars Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala, Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri are all up for sale and to be sold at Guardiola’s behest, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

Toure and Kompany are without a doubt¬†the most the most surprising of the six¬†listed above ‚ÄĒ their 14 years of combined service to the club make them far and away two of City’s longest¬†tenured and most central¬†figures ‚ÄĒ but the former’s rocky history with Guardiola from their days at Barcelona, and the latter’s chronic and debilitating injury history, have long left their City futures well and truly in doubt, even before Guardiola’s arrival was announced¬†last month.

[ MORE: Kane, Vardy spark England to comeback victory over Germany ]

Bony, the big, strong, powerful center forward, seems simply a poor fit for Guardiola’s possession-based system, which often bypasses a center forward altogether in favor of another attacking midfielder in the shape of a false-nine ‚ÄĒ Sergio Aguero will certainly give him something to think about there. Few City fans will be up in arms if/when any of the other three are moved along this summer.

$176 million: the combined fees paid for the six players Guardiola has reported instructed his soon-to-be employers¬†to sell. A number of top players have already¬†been linked with moves to the Etihad Stadium since Guardiola’s appointment was confirmed, so for every player that heads for¬†the exit door this summer, there will be one (or two) new ones walking through the entrance.

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