West Ham 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Dier’s heroics give Pochettino first W (video)

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Dueling red cards couldn’t open up a dreary affair between London rivals until new boy Eric Dier gave Tottenham a 1-0 stoppage time win over West Ham on Opening Day at Upton Park.

Dier latched onto a Harry Kane through ball deep into stoppage time to give Spurs all three points.

Carlton Cole’s curling effort wide of the goal was the match’s first true chance in the 5th minute. And, for what it’s worth, the Hammers controlled a mostly uneventful first 15 minutes.

As it turned out, the half would feature a great deal of the Hammers parading through the Spurs box to no avail. Corner kicks, free kicks, low passes through the 18… nothing finished but plenty of chances. Kouyate headed just wide in the 26th minute.

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Then controversy struck, as Kyle Naughton earned a red card for raising his hand to block a chance. The PK attempt, however, was missed by Mark Noble. It remained scoreless, but Spurs were down to 10 men.

Here’s the miss:

Spurs, remarkably, held possession for much of the half and even more so after the red card. Yet the teams marched off for half with the score line 0-0.

Tottenham surged forward in the second half, and really had the better of the chances as West Ham boss Sam Allardyce looked for answers.

Yet Pochettino flicked a switch first, bringing on Lewis Holtby for Erik Lamela and Andros Townsend for Aaron Lennon (both in the 61st minute).

And the game was evened up with a second red card, as James Collins was given his second yellow for getting in the way of Emmanuel Adebayor. The Spurs striker seemed to leap into Collins once he pushed the ball too far ahead of his pace.

Townsend came close to sending Spurs ahead, but his 23-yard stinger was pushed over the bar by Adrian.

Then Dier capped the game with a match-winner at the death:

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Adrian, O’Brien (Demel, 62′), Reid, Collins, Cresswell, Nolan, Noble, Kouyate, Downing, Cole (Valencia, 81′), Vaz Te (Diame, 69′)

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Rose, Kaboul, Lennon (Townsend, 61′), Adebayor (Kane, 83′), Lamela (Holtby, 61′), Dier, Naughton, Eriksen, Capoue, Bentaleb

Goals: Dier (90+3′)

SKC, Crew SC play to 0-0 draw; VAR steals the show (again)

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): Nothing ruins a good game of soccer more than controversies involving the referee — and now that VAR is active within MLS, yet another failure of the video-review system to correct the most “clear and obvious” of wrong decisions. There is no longer any rhyme or reason in deciding whether or not to utilize what could be a very helpful tool. Check the third video further down this page to comprehend the absurdity of VAR in Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. As for the actual soccer which was played, Tim Melia made one save to deny Gyasi Zardes with a point-blank header early in the first half, and a second to deny Zardes rom the penalty spot just before halftime. Despite being a back-and-forth affair between the league’s second- and third-place teams with a chance to take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, there were just six shots on target in total and genuine scoring chances were few and far between.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

Three moments that mattered

43′ — Zardes wins a PK, but Melia makes the save — Melia was responsible for giving away the penalty kick, and he more than made up for it by denying Zardes moments later.

45+6′ — Higuain puts studs into Espinoza, sees red — Originally not called a foul, changed to a red card following video review. On the softer side of red cards (just an opinion).

59′ — Martinez takes a swing at Sinovic, but no video review — At this point, it’s just time to disband the entire VAR experiment. It’s turned MLS into a clown show and an embarrassment. Signed, someone who was initially in favor of VAR, assuming MLS would utilize it properly.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: None

Rayo Vallecano win promotion back to La Liga

Photo credit: Rayo Vallecano / @RayoVallecano
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MADRID (AP) Rayo Vallecano earned promotion to Spain’s top division after beating Lugo 1-0 in a second-tier league game on Sunday.

Alex Moreno’s goal for the hosts in the 40th minute sealed Rayo’s return to La Liga after two seasons away.

Huesca had already secured promotion last weekend with a 2-0 victory at Lugo.

The third team to move up will be the winner of a two-round playoff between the four teams that finish the season from third to sixth.

Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna were all relegated from the top flight this season.

FOLLOW LIVE: West leaders SKC host East’s 2nd-best Crew SC

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City host Columbus Crew SC, the Eastern Conference’s second-place side, at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday with both sides capable of overtaking Atlanta United for top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race.

[ FOLLOW: SKC vs. Crew SC in top-of-the-table clash ]

Sporting KC, who are unbeaten in three straight and have lost just once since opening day (11 games), lead expansion side Los Angeles FC in the West. Meanwhile, Crew SC enter Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash unbeaten in their last six games (four wins) and trail the league leaders from Atlanta by a single point.

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the afternoon, and check back with PST for coverage after the final whistle.

Ronaldo staying at Real Madrid: ‘See you next year’

by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
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MADRID (AP) — For a third straight year, Real Madrid are celebrating a European title with their fans.

Madrid brought the Champions League trophy home on Sunday and paraded it through the streets of the Spanish capital as thousands of fans saluted the newly crowned champions.

[ MORE: Ronaldo hints at Real Madrid exit | Bale does the same ]

Madrid was back in Spain after winning its 13th European title with a 3-1 win over Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday.

Players and team members participated in a ceremony at a local cathedral. After this they met with the city mayor and community president before addressing fans from a terrace at the Puerta del Sol square, one of Madrid’s main locations.

“It has become a routine to be here,” captain Sergio Ramos said. “Hopefully it will continue for many years.”

Cristiano Ronaldo, who after the final hinted he could be leaving Madrid, heard fans asking him to stay at the club.

“Thank you for all of your support,” Ronaldo told the crowd. “We made history, it’s time to be happy.”

The team then got on an open bus and paraded with the trophy until reaching the club’s traditional celebration spot, the Plaza de Cibeles, where fans had been waiting for the champions for hours.

[ UCL FINAL: Player ratings | Three things we learned ]

The players chanted “Campeones, Campeones” and “We Are Kings of Europe” along with the fans. Ramos and Marcelo carried the trophy across the walkway set up over the plaza’s fountain and draped the statue of the goddess Cibele with a Spain flag that carried Madrid’s name on it. Ramos also put a team scarf around the goddess’ head to huge cheers from the crowd as the song “We Are The Champions” was played.

The next stop was due to be the team’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where nearly 80,000 fans were expected to attend a ceremony honoring the European champions.

The stadium was packed on Saturday with fans watching the match on eight big screens set up at midfield. Confetti blasted from a stage behind the screens when the players lifted the trophy in Ukraine.

Thousands had already made it to the Plaza de Cibeles right after the game in celebrations that lasted into the early hours of Sunday.

Madrid has won the Champions League in four of the last five years. It had beaten Juventus last season, and city rival Atletico Madrid in finals in 2014 and 2016.