Tottenham 4-1 West Ham: Spurs run Payet-less West Ham ragged

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  • Harry Kane scored his 11th goal in 14 London derbys
  • West Ham failed to win for the third straight match

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said they lost their best player when Dimitri Payet suffered an ankle injury two weeks ago. His comments surprised many, but not because they’re untrue.

That sentiment appeared evident as West Ham was thoroughly trounced 4-1 by Spurs at White Hart Lane as Harry Kane bagged a brace and the visitors both struggled in possession and proved porous at the back.

The opening 15 minutes saw both teams look to feel out the other side, but Spurs eventually worked themselves on top of possession. The home side was patient, electing not to send in speculative crosses on a number of occasions, instead choosing to play the ball in possession and work for an opening on the ground.

West Ham were forced back by Spurs’ high press, and Adrian was called into action with a diving stop to keep out a deflected shot from Christian Eriksen on 22 minutes.

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That was a foreshadow to the moment a minute later where Spurs would take the lead. Spurs found Dele Alli with space at the top of the shot, but a poor touch allowed the Hammers defense to arrive and block his shot. Unfortunately for the defense, the rebound fell right to Harry Kane with his back to goal, and he turned strongly around Carl Jenkinson and buried the 23rd minute chance.

West Ham was immediately galvanized by the deficit, and moments later a deflected shot from Mark Noble looped up to Cheikhou Kouyate who produced an acrobatic overhead kick from close range that clattered the crossbar.

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Spurs would push themselves back on the ball after the initial reaction from the visitors, and they’d push for another. It would come on 34 minutes as a corner swung in and Toby Alderweireld picked off Winston Reid on a teammate, rose above Andy Carroll, and powered home a header for a 2-0 lead.

The home side began to truly take over, as Alli nearly scored a third for Spurs as his header moments later smacked the bar. Kane pounced on a lucky bounce in the 39th minute and was clean through on goal, but scuffed his chance horribly, sending the ball wide.

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The game got chippy after halftime. Kyle Walker was lucky to get away with no punishment for kicking Winston Reid, and on the other end Reid fouled Kane after losing the ball just outside the box. West Ham cleared the chance, but a terrible giveaway by Tomkins in his own half sent Kane through via Eriksen, and the England international buried a third for Spurs.

Walker added a cherry on top with a stunning effort in the 84th minute off the outside of his foot, and Spurs were well and truly on top. The Hammers would get a late consolation as a long-ball counter saw Nikita Jelavic work hard to find Manuel Lanzini who rocketed home from a tight angle.

That was all for West Ham, as the game boiled over and the anger flowed from both sides on a derby day. Dele Alli and Mark Noble both were given yellow cards to earn suspensions in their next match, while Walker and Diafra Sakho both were cautioned for a later scuffle. Spurs with the three points move just two back of rivals Arsenal in the battle for the Champions League, with the Gunners losing Saturday. West Ham remain on 21 points, still a solid position but with plenty of work to do after this eye-opening performance.

Red-hot Rebić scores again as AC Milan tops Torino

AC Milan
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MILAN (AP) Ante Rebić kept up his scoring form to lead AC Milan to a 1-0 win over struggling Torino in Serie A on Monday.

The Croatia international beat his marker to redirect a cross from the center of the area midway through the first half at the San Siro.

The score raised Rebić’s tally to six goals and an assist in eight matches since he earned his starting spot – a move that coincided with Zlatan Ibrahimović’s return to the Rossoneri.

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Bouncing back from a derby loss, Milan moved up to eighth and just beyond the Europa League places. The seven-time European champion is hoping to return to continental competition after voluntary withdrawing from this season’s Europa League to pay for UEFA financial fair play breaches.

Torino, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight, with new coach Moreno Longo still unable to turn things around in his second match in charge.

Ibrahimović narrowly missed a curling shot shortly after the break.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Simeone: Liverpool intensity “makes me admire it as a rival”

UEFA Champions League
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The UEFA Champions League returns at long last on Tuesday, and two of the greatest managers in the game will match wits for the first time.

No we’re not talking about Lucien Favre and Thomas Tuchel, the meeting of the minds in Tuesday’s other kickoff between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in Germany.

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Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp will go head-to-head with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone in Spain, and the fiery German thinks it will be “absolutely interesting.”

From The Liverpool Echo:

“People say I emotional on the sideline,” Klopp said. “I am only on level 4, Diego is level 12. Really I am the kindergarten cop against him. He is so impressive after all these years, after so many years at the club – eight years. That is really long and having still this emotional level, still, wow. So impressive. I say, his teams are always organized world class.”

The admiration is mutual.

Simeone expects a huge challenge from a Liverpool team he regards on a historic plane.

“We are facing a magnificent team, really well-trained by a coach who is different and has different alternatives in his team,” he said, via The Independent. “We have always spoken about great teams throughout time and I have no doubt this Liverpool is going to go down in history as a great team because it is different to teams that we have admired. This team is much more intense, more adaptable, and it makes me admire it as a rival.”

The bettors say Liverpool is the heavy favorite in the first leg despite the match’s location at the Wanda Metropolitano. With football geniuses like Klopp and Simeone, however, either could have a plan to throw the other for a loop.

CONCACAF Champions League preview: Five MLS sides eye history

CONCACAF Champions League preview
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Once the Premier League and La Liga had taken their final bows of the day on Saturday, there felt was a particular absence, one soon-to-be filled by domestic soccer.

Yes, MLS is coming soon, and the CONCACAF Champions League is even closer.

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Five MLS sides begin their Round of 16 ties over the next three evenings, some with easier paths than others to elusive CCL glory.

The competition may not have burned itself onto the mainstream, lagging behind continental competitions in Europe and South America, but those who’ve embraced it (hint: this guy) love the thing.

For all the progress Major League Soccer has made in its quarter-century, it’s yet to find much success in dealing with Liga MX powers in the fight to qualify for the Club World Cup.

MLS sides have not won the competition since it was rebranded the CCL. Only three MLS sides have made the CCL final this decade, with Real Salt Lake (2011), Montreal Impact (2015), and Toronto FC (2017) all coming up short at the last step.

The CCL provides everything you love and hate about World Cup qualifying, and those dicey pitches with sometimes worse lighting mean the favorites aren’t guaranteed much.

The top half of the bracket sees three MLS teams — Montreal, Seattle, and NYCFC — and just one Liga MX side, while the bottom half gives us a Liga MX v. MLS match-up straight away.

That’s Leon v. LAFC, and it begins Tuesday night in Mexico. That tie carries the added intrigue of MLS superstar Carlos Vela bringing his act back to his home country for the first time… ever.

Bracket

Saprissa (Costa Rica) v. Montreal — 8 p.m. ET Weds.
Olimpia (Honduras) v. Seattle — 10 p.m. ET Thurs.

San Carlos (Costa Rica) v. NYCFC — 8 p.m. ET Thurs.
Alianza (El Salvador) v. UANL Tigres — 8 p.m. ET Weds.

Leon v. LAFC — 10 p.m. ET Tues.
Portmore United (Jamaica) v. Cruz Azul — 8 p.m. ET Tues.

Comunicaciones (Guatemala) v. Club America — 10 p.m. ET Weds.
Montagua (Honduras) v. Atlanta United — 10 p.m. ET Tues.

The 2 Robbies podcast: VAR carnage at Stamford Bridge

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect a crazy game at Stamford Bridge that saw Chelsea on the wrong side of several VAR decisions (00:45).

The gents also recap the big moments from the weekend; Liverpool beat Norwich (18:30), Son’s late winner against Aston Villa (24:45) and Arteta‘s attackers thrash Newcastle United (30:15).

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To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]