Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland: Champion Blues come back to finish what they started at home

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With the Championship already sealed, Chelsea made sure their home fans got one more day to remember as a pair of goals from substitute Loic Remy helped complete a comeback against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge.

Didier Drogba had the game’s first chance in the third minute as Chelsea pressed hard early, but his shot from the right post skidded across the line without going over. The Blues had another chance 15 minutes in when Branislav Ivanovic went down in the area under a challenge from Seb Larsson but the referee waved away the penalty shouts.

The Blues were the better team until the 20-minute mark before Sunderland began to build into the game. They’d get the opener on 27 minutes as Steven Fletcher headed home a corner at the far post after sneaking away from John Terry.

[ RELATED: Final Premier League standings ]

The Blues gave Didier Drogba a sendoff as he was substituted after a half-hour, replaced by Diego Costa as the Chelsea team carried the Ivorian triumphantly off. The home side was level soon after, as Juan Cuadrado won a penalty as he touched past John O’Shea and was hauled down, with Costa netting the equalizer on 37 minutes, his 20th goal of the season.

Loic Remy, on for an injured Cuadrado just before halftime, nearly marked the beginning of the second half with a stunning individual goal, but he couldn’t complete his blistering 54th minute run with a finish on target.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The comeback would be complete with 20 minutes to go as a brilliant touch from Eden Hazard got him past Jack Rodwell and Sebastian Coastes, and he poked to Remy in acres of space in front of the 18-yard box. The Frenchman stroked the ball past Vito Mannone who got a very late break on the low shot.

[ RELATED: Premier League stats ]

Remy got his second and Chelsea’s third to seal things as Matic sent a cross through the box, and Remy finished it easily with confetti covering the ground. The game finished with another three points for Chelsea, giving them 87 to finish the season with a final eight-point lead. Sunderland finishes 16th with 38 points.

LINEUPS:

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel (Christensen 78′), Matic; Cuadrado (Remy 44′), Willian, Hazard; Drogba (Costa 30′).
Bench: Courtois, Filipe Luis, Christensen, Boga, Remy, D Costa, Solanke.

Goals: Costa 37′ (pen), Remy 70′, 88′

Sunderland: Mannone, Jones, van Aanholt, O’Shea, Coates, Larsson, Rodwell, Johnson (Giaccherini 75′), Fletcher, Wickham, Defoe.
Bench: Cattermole, Reveillere, Graham, Giaccherini, Vergini, Buckley, Pickford.

Goals: Fletcher 27′

Red Bulls handle Atlético Pantoja to start CCL campaign (video)

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The New York Red Bulls didn’t need to leave it late (like DaMarcus Beasley and Houston), nor did the MLS side forget how to play (like Toronto FC).

[ MORE: Nashville gets its MLS logo ]

RBNY scooped up a 2-0 first leg defeat of Dominican Republic side Atlético Pantoja in CONCACAF Champions League play in Santo Domingo on Wednesday.

Daniel Royer inspired a first half Pantoja own goal, but it was Kaku’s looping assist to Royer that stole the show with an insurance marker in the 67th minute.

Academy product and former Wake Forest midfielder Omir Fernandez, 20, made his senior debut off the bench in the 75th minute.

Nashville SC to keep its name, unveils logo for MLS 2020

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Nashville SC will remain Nashville SC when it moves into Major League Soccer next season, the USL club announced on Wednesday.

Nashville SC’s logo is an N wearing headphones — I apologize if I’m wrong here, but that’s what I see — as the Music City becomes a welcome addition to the United States’ top flight.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Stunningly The fans wanted to keep the name of the club they’ve been supporting for a few years, and former Liverpool executive Ian Ayre announced that the club will keep a color from its crest as well.

“Gold is our primary club color, and we need to own that color in the sport. As we grow as a team we want to be recognizable by our color, our name and our values as a club.”

What do you think? It certainly could’ve been worse! We look forward to the building up of a regional rivalry with FC Cincinnati, Atlanta United, Sporting KC, and maybe one day Saint Louis FC.

Sarri, Emery face 2nd leg challenges at home

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Sevilla clinched the first Round of 16 spot with a Europa League win over Lazio on Wednesday, and the other 15 berths will be settled by late Thursday.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings ]

That includes home second legs with varying degrees of difficult for a pair of London sides from the Premier League.

Maurizio Sarri looks like he’ll need to win the Europa League in order to get Chelsea back into the Champions League, and Chelsea needs to bounce back from another poor showing while also preparing for a hardware tilt; The FA Cup loss to Manchester United was three days before Thursday’s match with Malmo, which is three days before the League Cup final against Man City.

Chelsea holds a 2-1 lead after one leg. From ChelseaFC.com:

“We have to solve a big problem because we stayed in the other half for 75 minutes out of 90, and we were not able to score. They played only 15 or 16 balls into our box and they scored two goals. We have to solve this problem. It is probably a problem of aggression, determination in both boxes.”

Arsenal has an even bigger fish to fry than recent form, down 1-0 after one leg in Belarus.

Unai Emery is hoping the North London faithful can be the difference.

“It is also very important to play in our stadium with our supporters, and we need their support for this match and I hope there is a big atmosphere for us. Together, with their support, I know our players can play and give their all. The supporters want to watch our team play with the best performance possible.

“For this reason, I think we need good feedback between the supporters and us. … We need to listen to them supporting us and the players must give them the best performance in our stadium.”

The full schedule is below.

Thursday’s Europa League second legs
All times ET

12:55 p.m. ET
Arsenal v. BATE Borisov (BATE leads 1-0)
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Shakhtar Donetsk (2-2)
Villarreal v. Sporting Lisbon (Villareal leads 1-0)
Dinamo Zagreb v. Viktoria Plzen (Plzen leads 2-1)
Zenit Saint-Petersburg v. Fenerbahce (Fener leads 1-0)
Red Bull Salzburg v. Club Brugge (Brugge leads 2-1)
Valencia v. Celtic (Valencia leads 2-0)
Napoli v. FC Zurich (Napoli leads 3-1)

3 p.m. ET
Chelsea v. Malmo (Chelsea leads 2-1)
Benfica v. Galatasaray (Benfica leads 2-1)
Rennes v. Real Betis (3-3)
Inter Milan v. Rapid Vienna (Inter leads 1-0)
Dynamo Kiev v. Olympiakos (2-2)
Bayer Leverkusen v. Krasnodar (0-0)
Racing Genk v. Prague (0-0)

Juve: ‘No use crying over spilt milk’ after ‘ugly’ first leg loss

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Max Allegri and Juventus look set to fall short of a UEFA Champions League title again, and this time are staring down an exit before the quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

The club has two things going for it after a 2-0 first leg loss to Atletico Madrid in Spain: The 90 minutes or more of the second leg, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The player has already made his feelings known by setting the second leg stage with a very Patrick Roy (for you hockey fans out there) title rip.

Allegri is a bit more diplomatic, ripping Juve’s “ugly” second half at the Wanda Metropolitano but also demanding the club move past it immediately. From Football-Italia.net:

“Now we have the chance to turn this around, we must have faith, we’ll have some players back and there’s no point crying over spilt milk. We knew it was going to be tough, that Atletico Madrid force you to play badly, with a slow tempo. We moved the ball quicker in the first half, but not in the second.

“We got the approach wrong in the second half. It’s that simple. These things can happen, there will be great disappointment after this 2-0, but we can turn it around. It won’t be easy, we need a great second leg, but it can be done and we must have faith.”

And there’s Ronaldo, Dybala, and a number of world class players on his side. An inspired, spiteful Ronaldo is one thing, but take into account the man clearly carries his legacy on his hip pocket and the Portuguese hero is going to be flying come March 12 in Turin.