Southampton 6-1 Aston Villa: Mane’s record hat trick blitzes abysmal Villa

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Southampton beat Aston Villa 6-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday as Sadio Mane stole the show with the quickest hat trick in Premier League history to keep Saints’ Europa League hopes well and truly on course.

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A blistering spell in 13 first half minutes saw Saints score four times as Mane bagged three goals in 2 minutes and 56 seconds to make PL history. Shane Long also scored twice in the first half, the second an absolute peach, with Graziano Pelle grabbing a superb volley late on for Saints’ sixth as Villa’s defense imploded with Tim Sherwood livid on the sidelines. Christian Benteke grabbed Villa’s lone goal at the end of the first half as the FA Cup finalists may go into the final game of the season with the threat of relegation still looming after this demoralizing defeat.

[ VIDEO: Mane scores fast PL hat trick ]

With the win Saints momentarily move up to sixth on 60 points, while Villa stay on 38 points but the Midlands club will be looking anxiously over their shoulder during the final game of the season.

A blistering start got underway at St Mary’s as Pelle had the ball in the back of the net early on but was incorrectly ruled offside by the linesman. The Italian forward was livid and moments later his side could have been behind as Benteke latched onto a ball from Ashely Westwood but fired wide of the post.

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Moments later came 2 minutes and 56 seconds that Mane, and most Saints fans, will never forget as the Senegalese forward recorded the fastest hat trick in PL history.

For his first goal Mane latched onto Pelle’s flick on and at the second time of asking he slotted the ball past Given. 1-0. Then 84 seconds later Mane made it 2-0 as a terrible back pass from Ron Vlaar saw Long latch onto the loose ball and as the ball broke lose following a challenge from Given, Mane was on hand to sweep the ball home. 2-0. Long then raced down the left flank and picked out Mane on the edge of the box as the former Red Bull Salzburg star side-footed home his and Saints’ third as everyone inside St Mary’s and watching on TV couldn’t believe what they were witnessing. 3-0 to Saints after 16 minutes as Mane now has 10 for the season.

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A shocking first half would only get worse for Villa as Long then added a fourth as Mane ran at Villa’s defense and slotted in Pelle who had his effort saved by Given but the ball found Long who slotted home. The best of the bunch came in the 39th minute as Long robbed Westwood on the halfway line and curled home a magnificent shot from 30-yards out to make it 5-0 as hundreds of Villa fans rushed to the exit before half time. Those that did stick around saw Benteke head home on the stroke of half time to make it 5-1 as an incredible 45 minutes ended.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Saints continued to push for more goals as Long went close at the back post and had a few other scrambled efforts which Villa cleaned up. Gabriel Agbonlahor was denied by Paulo Gazzaniga twice late on with the Villans trying to make things respectable. To be fair, the home side stroked the ball around and let Villa come at them as Sherwood’s side pushed to make the scoreline more respectable.

Late on substitute Maya Yoshida saw his header cleared off the line, then Nathaniel Clyne fired over in the box as the home side finished with a flourish and in the 81st minute they made it 6-1. Mane whipped in a perfect cross from the right and Pelle slammed home a volley to seal the emphatic win in the sun on the south coast to give Saints’ fans the perfect sendoff in their final home game of the season.

LINEUPS

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld, Bertrand, Wanyama, S Davis (Yoshida, 72′), Ward-Prowse (Djuricic, 80′), Long, Pelle (Elia, 85′), Mane

Goals: Mane (13′, 14′, 16′), Long (26′, 38′), Pelle (81′)

Aston Villa: Given, Bacuna (Lowton, 67′), Vlaar, Okore, Hutton, Westwood, Delph, Cleverley, N’Zogbia (Agbonlahor, 57′), Grealish (Sinclair, 82′), Benteke

Goal: Benteke (45′)

LIVE, Europa League: Group stage finale arrives

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The group stage finale of the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League campaign is here.

Everything is set up for an epic Thursday of action.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Arsenal need a point away at Standard Liege to reach the Round of 32, while Wolves and Man United are already safely through to the knockout rounds.

Wolves must win to stand a chance of winning Group K, while a point for Man United will be enough for them to win Group L.

Plenty of intrigue remains around Glasgow Rangers as any team from Group G can still reach the knockout round going into the final 90 minutes of action. If Steven Gerrard‘s men beat Young Boys at Ibrox then they will definitely be through as group winners.

Groups B, C and J are all so tough to call heading into the final games with giants such as Roma, Basel and Dynamo Kiev all in danger of being knocked out.

Below is the schedule in full for Thursday’s games, while you can click on the link above to follow all the action as it happens.


Full Europa League schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Vitoria
CFR Cluj v. Celtic
LASK v. Sporting Lisbon
Copenhagen v. Malmo
PSV Eindhoven v. Rosenborg
Qarabag v. Dudelange
Standard Liege v. Arsenal
Basel v. Trabzonspor
Dynamo Kiev v. Lugano
APOEL Nicosia v. Sevilla
Rennes v. Lazio
Getafe v. Krasnodar

3 p.m. ET
Rangers v. Young Boys
Wolves v. Besiktas
Espanyol v. CSKA Moscow
Gent v. Oleksandriya
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Istanbul Basaksehir
Porto v. Feyenoord
Ludogorets Razgrad v. Ferencvaros
Slovan Bratislava v. Braga
Roma v. Wolfsberg
Manchester United v. AZ Alkmaar
Wolfsburg v. Saint-Etienne
Partizan Belgrade v. Astana

Michael Bradley re-signs with Toronto FC

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Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley has re-signed with the Major League Soccer franchise.

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Bradley, 32, saw his previous contract run out at the end of the 2019 season but he has now agreed a new deal with the Canadian side and Toronto have squeezed him into their salary cap by using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).

During his six season stint so far in Toronto, Bradley has led the team to three MLS Cup finals as TFC stunned MLS with a run to the final against Seattle in 2019. They lost on that occasion but beat Seattle in 2017 and Bradley’s displays, along with that of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and now Alejandro Pozuelo have seen Toronto become one of the most consistent teams in MLS.

Explaining his reasons for signing a new deal in Toronto, Bradley revealed that he wants to take them onto bigger and better things.

“I feel so attached to the city of Toronto, the club, the team. I love it here and I am really proud of what we’ve been able to do over the past six years,” Bradley said. “Beyond the success, I am equally as proud of the mentality and identity this club has taken on. The relationship between the club and the city, the club and the fans are both very special and I’m proud to have played a part in that. What we have in Toronto doesn’t exist everywhere. My family and I are so happy to remain in Toronto and we’d like to thank everyone at Toronto FC for ensuring that this process was done quietly and professionally behind the scenes. I’m looking forward to continuing to play in the biggest games and competing for trophies every year.”

Bradley still has plenty left in the tank, as last season showed, and despite rumors that he would link up with his father, Bob Bradley, at LAFC, he is staying in Ontario.

That’s great news for Toronto FC as despite plenty of criticism from USMNT fans over recent years, Bradley has continued to deliver consistency and leadership at BMO Field.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings have landed.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Matchweek 16 followed a similar pattern to recent weeks as players from Liverpool, Leicester City, Spurs and Man United dominated our top 20 with so many games played over the last seven days.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]  

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1.  Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – Even
2. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Up 7
3. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – New entry
4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Up 6
6. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) – New entry
7. Jonny Evans (Leicester) – New entry
8. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Down 4
9. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) – New entry
10. Danny Ings (Southampton) – New entry
11. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United) – New entry
12. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 2
13. Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester) – Even
14. Dele Alli (Tottenham) – Down 11
15. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Down 10
16. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Down 3
17. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – Down 1
18. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
19. Diogo Jota (Wolves) – New entry
20. Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – New entry

Christian Pulisic named USMNT Player of the Year

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Who else could it be? Christian Pulisic has been named the USMNT player of the year for 2019.

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The Chelsea star, 21, excelled for club and country over the past 12 months and after taking a few months to settle into life in England, he’s now taking the Premier League by storm on a weekly basis.

Pulisic has now won this award for a second time after first winning it in 2017 and he becomes the youngest player in U.S. men’s national team history to win the award twice.

His achievements over the last 12 months are numerous, as he dragged a struggling USMNT to the 2019 Gold Cup final and also became the youngest player to reach double figures in goals for the USMNT.