Leicester 3-2 Aston Villa: Foxes complete stunning comeback to stay unbeaten

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  •  Aston Villa went 2-0 up with goals bookending halftime
  •  Leicester struck twice in 10 minutes to pull level with 8 minutes to go
  •  Nathan Dyer scored a debut goal in the 89th minute to win it

Leicester City found themselves down 2-0 just after the hour mark, but the Foxes simply wouldn’t allow that to happen.

Instead, Claudio Raneiri’s bunch completed a stunning comeback to win 3-2 to remain unbeaten on the season and move up to second in the Premier League table with 11 points.

Being a local derby, the game had a palpable atmosphere to it early on, and it reflected on the field with bright yet cautious attacking play and physical attitudes. Leicester had a pair of chances go just over the bar in the opening 10 minutes.

Things settled down a few minutes later, and the chances dried up, but the atmosphere in King Power Stadium did not. Despite a lack of cutting edge as the game progressed, the tension continued to build and came to a head six minutes before halftime. A frantic spell in front of the Leicester goal ended with the ball squirting out to Jack Grealish in acres of space above the box, and he delivered a curling effort that left Kasper Schmeichel with no chance to stop Aston Villa from taking the lead.

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Just moments after the halftime break, Jamie Vardy nearly pulled Leicester level with a stunning back-heel flick that went just wide of the post. The Foxes came out of the interval with real zest but didn’t immediately profit from it, and that would be a problem later.

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Aston Villa scored their second, a beautiful swerving effort from Carles Gil who received the ball at the top of the box after lots of hard work by Gabriel Abgonlahor down the left flank.

The second goal forced the home side to bring on striker Leonardo Ulloa, sacrificing new signing Gokhan Inler who was less impactful than manager Claudio Raneiri would have hoped for his debut. Tim Sherwood responded by immediately pulling goalscorer Gil in favor of Jordan Ayew.

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Leicester, though, weren’t phased and continued to push. A corner in the 70th minute finally bore fruit as Ritchie De Laet redirected at the near post, and while the ball was cleared off the line by Ashley Westwood, goal-line technology correctly ruled the ball in over the line. The goal is De Laet’s

The goal galvanized the hosts, and the Foxes pushed for another, which would come soon. Danny Drinkwater crossed into the box for Jamie Vardy, and the Leicester frontman beat a pair of Villa defenders to the ball to poke home an equalizer.

But Leicester wasn’t finished. A third – the winner – would be delivered in thumping fashion by debutant Nathan Dyer, who came on at halftime. A ball over the top from the electric Riyad Mahrez came down in the center of the box, and Dyer became the second Fox attacker to perfectly split the Villa defenders. Dyer stuck out a leg and poked the ball home just before being pummeled by Guzan.

That was it for Villa, who had nothing left to offer. They were unable to capitalize on the chance to move into the top half of the table, and instead remain languished in the bottom quarter.

Manchester United triggers Bailly contract extension

Manchester United triggers Bailly contract extension
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Manchester United has picked up a two-year option on Eric Bailly‘s contract, according to Sky Sports.

The Red Devils now have the giant 25-year-old center back under wraps through the 2021/22 season.

Bailly is nearing full fitness after his latest injury setback, knee and ankle injuries costing him dozens of matches since arriving from Villarreal in 2016. He underwent knee surgery in late July.

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There’s little reason for United not to pick up the option, as Bailly could’ve left for free in the summer and the extension allows for a possible transfer fee.

That said, Bailly has been very good with healthy and in-form, especially in an exceptional debut season at Old Trafford. He has 34 caps for the Ivory Coast, and is nearing the prime age for a center back.

United visits Liverpool at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday, and Bailly is not expected to play.

The center back may get a chance to get to know Bruno Fernandes, who is being tipped for a $77 million transfer. He likely won’t see Ashley Young, who’s arrived in Milan ahead of a transfer to Inter.

Report: Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United after Lisbon Derby

Manchester United lands Bruno Fernandes
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Bruno Fernandes may get his move.

The 25-year-old Sporting Lisbon midfielder wants a move to Manchester United, and Sky Sports is reporting that the two clubs are close to agreeing on a fee.

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The move will cost $56 million and could escalate to $77 million with incentives, and that it could happen as soon as the end of Friday’s derby between Sporting and Benfica.

From Sky Sports:

Part of the negotiations over a deal for Fernandes included Manchester United not wanting him to play in Friday’s game but the player and Sporting insist that he was going to play in order to say a proper goodbye to the club and the supporters.

United will be crossing its fingers over Fernandes’ health during the 4:15 p.m. ET kickoff is Lisbon.

Sporting is already 12 points off the Champions League places, and 16 off Benfica’s title pace.

Fernandes has been red hot for Sporting, notching 15 goals and 13 assists in 25 appearances, including five and three in five Europa League outings.

He scored 32 times with 18 assists in 2018/19, and could take United’s Top Four push to a whole new level.

Liverpool’s Klopp rips AFCON move, says FIFA needs to step in but won’t

Liverpool's Klopp rips AFCON move
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Jurgen Klopp is furious about Cameroon moving the Africa Cup of Nations to January 2021, something that would hinder the Reds’ likely title defense.

(No, Klopp is not counting his title chickens before they hatch, even if it’s a foregone conclusion).

Cameroon moved the tournament from summer to winter due to its climate, which seems like a decision that could’ve been made ages ago. The nation had hosting rights stripped away for the 2019 tournament, but will host in 2021.

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The Reds could be without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita for the better part of a month should Senegal, Guinea, and Egypt all qualify for the tournament. Joel Matip could be there with hosts Cameroon if the federation is successful in convincing him to return to the international fold.

Klopp went on a lengthy and mostly understandable diatribe against the move. We write mostly because there’s something lost in translation regarding the import of the tournament.

He’s upset at how it will tax his squad and how he keeps the players happy if he needs to add players just to deal with one month of the schedule.

“Do we really want to open this book? I couldn’t respect Africa Cup of Nations more than I do, I like it, I’ve watched it a lot. Difficult circumstances a lot of times,” Klopp said, via The Liverpool Echo. “It is another tournament, there are too many of them. Other thing is it doesn’t help African players. We won’t sell Naby, Mo or Sadio because of it but if we bring someone in, it affects the decision. Normal process. We have to think about that. Players aren’t asked. … FIFA, who should [step in] doesn’t look like being involved. It’s a strange situation. If we want lesser games they will say take less money. I will say, I am ready to do so. Yes.”

He continued.

“For us it’s a catastrophe, If we say (a player) can’t go, he’s suspended. How can the club who pay his salary not decide. If he’s injured and we say he cannot play for us, we have to send him to Africa so they can have a look. We don’t have any say. We just plan the route. These are all things that should not be like this. I speak about it now and no one will listen. The moaner from Liverpool again. It’s a complete waste of time. As long as nothing changes, I will keep saying it. It’s about the players, not me.”

Manchester City (Riyad Mahrez), Arsenal (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang), and Leicester City (Wilfried Ndidi) are among the many clubs who could lose stars for a month.

Premier League tells referees to view replays for red cards

Premier League tells referees to view replays for red cards
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LONDON (AP) The Premier League has advised its referees to use sideline monitors to make a final ruling on red card decisions.

Through 22 rounds of the first Premier League season with video review, referees have not gone over to the screens at any point to watch replays after being told to use them sparingly. Instead, referees have been relying on feedback from the video assistant referee in a London control room.

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But officials were reminded at a meeting of Premier League referees this week that they should go over to what is known as the “referee review area” when VAR suggests upgrading a yellow card to a red or downgrading a red to a yellow.

It has been a more familiar sight at games in other European competitions, like the Champions League, to see referees watching replays in the stadium.

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