Bournemouth 1-3 Stoke City: Potters punish Cherries

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  • Imbula nets 1st Stoke goal
  • Potters secure first win in 5
  • Cherries 4 points off bottom 3

Stoke City beat Bournemouth 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday with the Potters starting strong and pouncing three times within the opening hour to secure their first win in five games.

Giannlli Imbula lashed in a superb volley for his first Stoke goal, then two goals in quick succession at the start of the second half put them 3-0 up with Ibrahim Afellay and Joselu scoring but to their credit Bournemouth kept plugging away with Matt Ritchie pulling one back and the Cherries going close on multiple occasions to making it 3-2.

Stoke held on in the end and the win moves them onto 36 points for the season, while Bournemouth remain on 28 points and are now just four points above the drop zone.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays

A tense start saw both teams cancel each other out and then the game exploded into life in the 9th minute when Imbula volleyed home.

Stoke’s record $26 million signing latched onto a loose ball and volleyed home first time past Artur Boruc and into the far corner. 1-0 to the Potters.

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Bournemouth responded well to going behind as Afobe was found in the box but he completely missed the ball. Stoke had another good chance but Jonathan Walters‘ effort went into the side-netting and Xherdan Shaqiri had another effort which struck Boruc and was cleared.

Stoke continued to push forward and Bournemouth struggled to contain them as Mame Diouf Walter and Shaqiri all went close to doubling the Potters’ lead. But Charlie Daniels did go close for Bournemouth as Jack Butland cleared away his effort which looked destined for the top corner, then Afobe went down on the edged of the box after contact from Marc Muniesa but no foul was given.

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At half time Bournemouth brought on Josh King and Matt Ritchie and came flying out of the traps but soon after Stoke were 2-0 up. Afellay doubled the Potters lead as Walters raced clear down the right and set up the Dutch attacker to stroke home.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Stoke made it 3-0 before the hour mark as Shaqiri danced down the right and clipped in a perfect ball for Joselu to head home. 3-0. Game over.

Or maybe not. King crossed and Ritchie slammed home to make it 3-1. A fine finish and hopes of a comeback were rising among the home fans.

Afobe flashed a volley just wide from close range and Ritchie almost bundled home another at the back post from King’s cross with the Cherries well on top late on. Junior Stanislas then somehow missed the ball at the back post after another superb cross from King as it was all Bournemouth.

Sebastian Berhalter signs Homegrown deal with Columbus Crew

Columbus Crew signs Sebastian Berhalter
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The Columbus Crew have signed Sebastian Berhalter to a Homegrown Player deal.

The 19-year-old midfielder is the son of former Crew and current USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter.

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Sebastian played 17 times for the University of North Carolina as a freshman, starting nine of those games. He went 210 minutes in twin extra time matches to close UNC’s season.

Here’s Crew general manager Tim Bezbatchenko, via a team release:

“As a longtime member of the Crew SC Academy, Sebastian is someone who understands the values and ideology of our Club. We are happy to see him join the professional ranks after a successful year at the college level and look forward to his continued development with the Crew.”

Sebastian praised the role of his parents in his development in a video interview. Gregg was a UNC star in his college days before moving to Europe to play for PEC Zwolle, Crystal Palace, and Energie Cottbus amongst others.

“My parents have been very influential on my career,” said the player. “They’ve helped me so much. They’ve always stayed positive to me, but also pushed me in a good way and I cannot thank them enough.”

Sebastian repped the U.S. at the U-16 level. Could dad and he one day join Bob and Michael Bradley as father-son USMNT combos? That’s a long way off and presumes dad turns around the national team, but would be a remarkable achievement.

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.