Newcastle United 0-1 Everton: Cleverley steals win at the absolute death

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Tom Cleverley‘s final-second header put Newcastle United back in the drop zone, as Everton defied its second-half performance with a 1-0 win at St. James Park on Saturday.

The scoreline didn’t tell the tale of a hard-nosed match with plenty of chances on Boxing Day at St. James Park.

The Toffees sit 9th with 26 points, while Newcastle drops into 18th. They are two goals behind Norwich on goal differential despite beating the Canaries 6-2.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The game was a trading of saves from Rob Elliot and Tim Howard, though only the former would be beaten by the final whistle.

Leighton Baines skied an early free kick over the bar as the visitors started on the front foot. Then Magpies keeper Rob Elliot was well-positioned to stop a Kevin Mirallas chance.

Despite Everton’s control of the match, Newcastle almost broke through a trademark Daryl Janmaat‘s cross was headed wide by Aleksandar Mitrovic in the 25th minute.

As the half wore on, the home side began to assert itself, and Mitrovic was a major thorn in Everton’s side. Ayoze Perez and Giorginio Wijnaldum were among the Magpies who could’ve made it 1-0, but Tim Howard and poor aim took their toll.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The Magpies turned it up for the start of the second half, too, winning corner kicks and taking chances. Howard had command of his 18, though.

Elliot made a key save when Ross Barkley put Romelu Lukaku through 1v1, flashing his right leg to deflect the ball away. Then Aaron Lennon belted a low shot through the Newcastle defense that Elliot saved well.

Newcastle faced some heady moments in their own end before Perez came close at the other, cutting to the middle of the pitch before hitting a low worm-burner wide of the near post.

Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko‘s link-up nearly led to a powerful headed goal for Mitrovic, but the ex-Anderlecht man nodded it past the post.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Howard made an incredible save on a far-post header from Wijnaldum, and the Magpies looked ready to find something at home.

during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton at St James' Park on December 26, 2015 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
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But the Toffees’ counter led to a corner, and Funes Mori got free of Sissoko to head a powerful ball at Elliot, who saved it. Lukaku popped the rebound over the bar.

Seamus Coleman then earned a great chance, but ripped a left-footer wide of the goal.

The physical affair took its toll on referee Lee Mason, who may’ve been unpredictable with his discipline but handed out plenty of yellows to go with oft-whistled fouls.

Though the Magpies looked the danger to win it late, Everton sprung a frightening counter that looked set to see Lukaku keep his goal-scoring streak alive, but Chancel Mbemba made the right tackle at the right time.

With Newcastle piling on late pressure, though, Elliot mistimed his punch over Mitrovic, and Cleverely lofted the rebound into the yawning Magpies’ goal. 1-0. Game over.

Report: Chelsea would let Juventus hire Sarri for $7m fee

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Maurizio Sarri looks set for a second-straight offseason of “Will Chelsea or won’t they?”

One year after needing the Blues to sort out the removal of Antonio Conte and compensation with Napoli, Sarri could now be moving back to Italy.

[ MORE: Man Utd nears $20m signing ]

But Chelsea won’t make any decisions on his future until after the Europa League Final in Baku next week, and reportedly would let him leave for Juventus if the Serie A side pays a $7 million fee.

Sarri also criticized the Blues’ preseason trip to America, and Matt Law’s report says the manager is fine to stay in England but may want to return to Italy. Roma is also searching for a manager.

Chelsea’s playing style under Sarri drew criticism from supporters but the Blues are in the Europa League Final, finished third in the Premier League, and came within penalty kicks of beating Manchester City to the League Cup title.

Maybe the cigarette-chomping Sarri isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but his success on the table and tournaments with a transfer ban looming was pretty solid. Chelsea could do much worse.

Man Utd set to add $20m Swans winger James

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Manchester United’s first signing of the summer will be a Welsh international forward, but not that one, presuming the clubs sort out the transfer fee.

Swansea City winger Daniel James has agreed to terms with United, according to Sky Sports.

The 21-year-old is expected to cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men about $20 million.

[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]

James scored five times with 10 assists for Graham Potter in all competitions this season, totaling 2800 minutes for Swans.

Only Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish was fouled more per game than James, who was taken to the turf 2.7 times per match. He mostly played on the left wing this season.

Twice-capped by Wales, James turns 22 in November. How long will it take him to make the jump from Championship star to Premier League contributor?

Martinez names Kompany in Belgium squad

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Roberto Martinez is going to suit up a manager as Belgium fights to qualify for EURO 2020.

Okay, okay, that manager is Anderlecht player-manager Vincent Kompany, mere days removed from sealing a domestic treble for Manchester City.

[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]

Kompany, 33, has been called up by Belgium for the first time since November. He has 87 caps with four goals for the Red Devils, and perhaps the nickname will be a little less awkward now that he’s not a member of the Premier League’s “noisy neighbors.”

Here’s what Martinez had to say about Kompany’s inclusion.

“In modern football it is not easy to combine the job of player and coach,” Martinez added. “In England they have a tradition of that but less and less because the job of coach has become enormously demanding. We must give him time. We will support him in everything he does.”

Belgium is in a qualifying group with Russia, Cyprus, Scotland, Kazakhstan, and San Marino, and should waltz into the tournament.

USMNT dates to host Cuba, Canada revealed

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MIAMI (AP) The United States will host Cuba on Oct. 11 and Canada on Nov. 15 in the first CONCACAF Nations League.

CONCACAF said Tuesday that the Americans, seeded in Group A, will play at Canada on Oct. 15 and at Cuba on Nov. 19.

Sites have not been determined.

Other Nations League groups are:

B – Bermuda, Mexico, Panama

C – Martinique, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago

D – Costa Rica, Curacao, Haiti

The top team in each League A group advances to the semifinals in March, and the last-place team is relegated to League B.

The U.S. intends to play exhibitions on the September FIFA dates for national teams.

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