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′

Jurgen Klopp has some hot takes on the UEFA Nations League

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Jurgen Klopp loves tepid friendlies.

Of course, we’re kidding, but the Liverpool manager is not happy with the new UEFA Nations League, which has amped up matches during international breaks previously reserved for experimental XIs and low-key affairs.

[ MORE: MLS State of Play ]

With Liverpool losing several players to injury — albeit two during Africa Cup of Nations qualifying — Klopp was asked for his opinion on Friday.

The vociferous German did not disappoint. From The Liverpool Echo:

“They say ‘now we have proper games, real opponents and it’s better than having friendlies’, stuff like that. … Maybe people want to see (boxer Anthony) Joshua fighting every second night but it’s not possible. Nobody asks for it in other sports.

“Do we really want opera every night or every two months? That’s the question. We have to be careful. That’s all I said. I like competition of course but at one point someone has to step back and say ‘wait, they are players, I want to watch it, but if they don’t perform then I am angry’. How can we make sure they perform? That’s all I wanted to say.”

Now I’m all for more personalities like Klopp in sports, but I have to say this is about as poor a take as it gets. Do I want any event I watch, let alone pay to see, to be less intense? Nope. Not at all.

Do I like preseason matches, or dead rubber games late in the season? Only in-as-much as they are examples of sports I like. Sorry that your guys are hurt, Jurgen, but no one short of Liverpool fans and other club managers are giving thumbs up to your talk.

I mean, seriously, have you ever watched a game and thought, “I’m glad these guys or girls aren’t trying as hard as they can!” Doesn’t being less tuned into a game provide more chances for someone to get hurt.

I don’t buy it one bit. Anyone in Jurgen’s camp? I’m happy to argue in the comments section.

Reports: Atlanta seals deal for Pity Martinez, will head to club Jan. 1

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Atlanta United is still sorting out its Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup runs, but 2019 is also coming into focus.

[ MORE: MLS State of Play ]

Reports say that Argentine winger Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez will indeed be the star Atlanta signs to offset to presumed sale of Miguel Almiron, who may be moving to Arsenal amongst several rumored European clubs.

Multiple reports say the Five Stripes’ pursuit of Martinez has paid off, with the River Plate man ready to bring his flashy game to Georgia.

Martinez has 25 goals and 23 assists in 136 matches, and will reportedly cost Atlanta around $17.2 million. TNT Los Angeles says the move will happen January 1.

Martinez debuted for Argentina’s senior national team last month, and scored on debut against Guatemala. He ticks all the boxes for technical director Carlos Bocanegra and president Darren Eales.

MLS State of Play: The final playoff spots

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Major League Soccer’s playoff races still carry intrigue heading into the final two weekends of the season, but the midweek matches which threatened to either amp up the excitement or take it down a few notches fell decidedly in the latter category.

[ PL PREVIEW: Chelsea vs. Manchester United ]

DC, Seattle, and Real Salt Lake all won their matches, as only eliminated New England and Real have played more than 32 matches.

Here’s what still at play at the bottom of the East and West playoff pictures, with the latter going first:

Real Salt Lake puts its on Rio Tinto, then has to wait

Mike Petke’s men play their final match of the regular season on Sunday, nursing a four-point lead over the LA Galaxy. RSL’s opponents are equally desperate Portland, which has fallen behind Seattle in the race for one of two first round home matches.

Should Real win, it can not be caught by the Galaxy regardless of what Zlatan Ibrahimovic might have up his sleeve. It would put Portland in danger of missing the playoffs by losing out and seeing the Galaxy win both of their matches, as the second tiebreaker would decide it and LA would make amends on its current three goal disadvantage in differential on the virtue of simple math.

Oh, and Vancouver! The ‘Caps need to win out, have the Galaxy gain no more than two points, and have Real lose in Portland on Sunday.

Sunday
LA Galaxy at Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers
Vancouver Whitecaps at LAFC

Oct. 28
Houston Dynamo at LA Galaxy
Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps

Western
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – FC Dallas 32 16 9 7 51 39 12 10-5-1 6-4-6 57
x – Sporting KC 32 16 8 8 60 39 21 9-5-2 7-3-6 56
x – Los Angeles FC 32 16 8 8 65 48 17 9-6-1 7-2-7 56
x – Seattle 32 16 5 11 47 34 13 9-2-5 7-3-6 53
Portland 32 14 9 9 50 46 4 10-4-2 4-5-7 51
Real Salt Lake 33 14 7 12 55 55 0 11-4-2 3-3-10 49
Los Angeles 32 12 9 11 61 60 1 8-4-4 4-5-7 45
Vancouver 32 12 7 13 50 64 -14 6-5-5 6-2-8 43
Minnesota 32 11 3 18 46 65 -19 10-1-5 1-2-13 36
Houston 32 9 8 15 53 53 0 8-3-5 1-5-10 35
Colorado 32 7 6 19 34 62 -28 5-3-8 2-3-11 27
San Jose 32 4 8 20 48 69 -21 2-5-9 2-3-11 20

Let’s be honest: For seventh place Montreal to make the playoffs, the Impact need either DC United or Columbus to get a really bad team-wide flu.

The Impact are four points back of DC and five behind Columbus with two matches to go.

Columbus plays at Orlando City and home to Minnesota United. Orlando has a single win since May 16, while Minnesota has a win and two draws in 16 away matches this year.

DC is home to New York City and away to Chicago, so this is clearly the club Montreal will be seeing as its target. For as bad as the Fire have been, they’ve beat some decent teams at home (This is MLS, after all, where home teams run free).

So the Impact will want to win out, but at least get four points and hope DC loses out. The Impact is home to struggling Toronto in a derby match and away to New England. It’s not improbable it gets the points it needs, but will it get help.

Eastern
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – Atlanta 32 20 6 6 67 39 28 10-4-2 10-2-4 66
x – New York 32 20 5 7 60 33 27 13-1-2 7-4-5 65
x – New York City FC 32 15 8 9 55 41 14 11-4-1 4-4-8 53
x – Philadelphia 32 15 5 12 48 46 2 9-2-5 6-3-7 50
Columbus 32 13 9 10 39 41 -2 10-4-2 3-5-8 48
D.C. 32 13 8 11 57 49 8 12-2-2 1-6-9 47
Montreal 32 13 4 15 45 52 -7 10-2-4 3-2-11 43
New England 33 9 11 13 48 55 -7 7-5-4 2-6-9 38
Toronto FC 32 9 6 17 55 61 -6 7-2-7 2-4-10 33
Chicago 32 8 7 17 47 59 -12 6-3-7 2-4-10 31
Orlando City SC 32 7 4 21 41 72 -31 5-4-7 2-0-14 25

Unstoppable Jovic nets 5 as Frankfurt routs Dusseldorf 7-1

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BERLIN (AP) Luka Jovic was in unstoppable form, scoring five goals as Eintracht Frankfurt crushed promoted Fortuna Dusseldorf 7-1 in the Bundesliga on Friday.

The 20-year-old Serbian is the first Frankfurt player to score five goals in a league game.

After grabbing two goals and two assists in his past two matches, he continued his rich vein of form. Jovic scored twice in quick succession during the first half after Sebastian Haller opened the scoring with a penalty.

[ PL PREVIEW: Huddersfield vs. Liverpool ]

Haller scored his second goal of the game shortly after the break, and he also set up Jovic’s fifth goal with a deft chip over the defense which the forward headed home in the 72nd minute.

Frankfurt coach Adi Hutter took Jovic off a few minutes from the end, but only so he could get a standing ovation from the home fans.

Frankfurt climbed to sixth place on goal difference ahead of Bayern Munich – which has not won its past three league games and is at Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Dusseldorf dropped to last place ahead of the rest of the eighth round.

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