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Norwich City 0-3 Sunderland: Black Cats win huge relegation battle

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  • Borini, Defoe, Watmore score
  • PK controversy for first
  • Black Cats 1-point from safety
  • Big Sam’s men have a game in hand

Sunderland beat Norwich City 3-0 at Carrow Road on Saturday in a massive result against their relegation rivals.

Sam Allardyce‘s side went ahead through Fabio Borini’s penalty kick, then Jermain Defoe and Duncan Watmore scored in the second half to move them just one point behind Norwich and, crucially, they also have a game in hand.

Norwich remains in 17th place, just one spot above the drop on 31 points, while Sunderland stays in the third and final relegation spot, 18th place, but now moves on to 30 points and their goal difference is seven better. The relegation race just got real.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A nervous first half saw Norwich begin to have the better chances as first Younes Kaboul deflected a cross towards his own goal which Vito Mannone saved smartly and moments later Jonas Olsson hit a howitzer towards the corner from 35-yards out but Mannone saved again.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Sunderland looked increasingly dangerous on the break and that’s how they went ahead. Defoe was set free down the right and his cross found Borini at the back post.

The Italian jinxed inside Andre Wisdom and the Norwich defender made a studs up tackle which saw a penalty kick awarded — despite huge complaints from the home fans and the home bench — to Sunderland. Borini stepped up and emphatically slammed home the spot kick. 1-0 to the Black Cats.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

At half time Nathan Redmond came on for Norwich and and Duncan Watmore for Sunderland and the former came inches away from equalizing. Redmond stuck the foot of the post form distance with a superb effort as the Canaries pushed hard to find an equalizer.

Defoe then pounced to make it 2-0 before the hour mark as he and Borini again linked up and the predatory forward slide home at the back post following Borini’s super cross. 2-0.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Norwich kept pouring forward and Dieumerci Mbokani went down under Kaboul’s challenge but no penalty kick was given, then Lee Cattermole twice cleared off the line from Mbokani after a goalmouth scramble following Mannone’s punched clearance.

Sunderland could have extended their lead with plenty of chances on the break but Redmond was once again denied by Mannone.

Substitute Watmore then scored on his comeback form injury in stoppage time to seal the win. Big Sam was delighted and the Black Cats have breathed new life into their fight against relegation.

Red Bulls handle Atlético Pantoja to start CCL campaign (video)

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The New York Red Bulls didn’t need to leave it late (like DaMarcus Beasley and Houston), nor did the MLS side forget how to play (like Toronto FC).

[ MORE: Nashville gets its MLS logo ]

RBNY scooped up a 2-0 first leg defeat of Dominican Republic side Atlético Pantoja in CONCACAF Champions League play in Santo Domingo on Wednesday.

Daniel Royer inspired a first half Pantoja own goal, but it was Kaku’s looping assist to Royer that stole the show with an insurance marker in the 67th minute.

Academy product and former Wake Forest midfielder Omir Fernandez, 20, made his senior debut off the bench in the 75th minute.

Nashville SC to keep its name, unveils logo for MLS 2020

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Nashville SC will remain Nashville SC when it moves into Major League Soccer next season, the USL club announced on Wednesday.

Nashville SC’s logo is an N wearing headphones — I apologize if I’m wrong here, but that’s what I see — as the Music City becomes a welcome addition to the United States’ top flight.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Stunningly The fans wanted to keep the name of the club they’ve been supporting for a few years, and former Liverpool executive Ian Ayre announced that the club will keep a color from its crest as well.

“Gold is our primary club color, and we need to own that color in the sport. As we grow as a team we want to be recognizable by our color, our name and our values as a club.”

What do you think? It certainly could’ve been worse! We look forward to the building up of a regional rivalry with FC Cincinnati, Atlanta United, Sporting KC, and maybe one day Saint Louis FC.

Sarri, Emery face 2nd leg challenges at home

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Sevilla clinched the first Round of 16 spot with a Europa League win over Lazio on Wednesday, and the other 15 berths will be settled by late Thursday.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings ]

That includes home second legs with varying degrees of difficult for a pair of London sides from the Premier League.

Maurizio Sarri looks like he’ll need to win the Europa League in order to get Chelsea back into the Champions League, and Chelsea needs to bounce back from another poor showing while also preparing for a hardware tilt; The FA Cup loss to Manchester United was three days before Thursday’s match with Malmo, which is three days before the League Cup final against Man City.

Chelsea holds a 2-1 lead after one leg. From ChelseaFC.com:

“We have to solve a big problem because we stayed in the other half for 75 minutes out of 90, and we were not able to score. They played only 15 or 16 balls into our box and they scored two goals. We have to solve this problem. It is probably a problem of aggression, determination in both boxes.”

Arsenal has an even bigger fish to fry than recent form, down 1-0 after one leg in Belarus.

Unai Emery is hoping the North London faithful can be the difference.

“It is also very important to play in our stadium with our supporters, and we need their support for this match and I hope there is a big atmosphere for us. Together, with their support, I know our players can play and give their all. The supporters want to watch our team play with the best performance possible.

“For this reason, I think we need good feedback between the supporters and us. … We need to listen to them supporting us and the players must give them the best performance in our stadium.”

The full schedule is below.

Thursday’s Europa League second legs
All times ET

12:55 p.m. ET
Arsenal v. BATE Borisov (BATE leads 1-0)
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Shakhtar Donetsk (2-2)
Villarreal v. Sporting Lisbon (Villareal leads 1-0)
Dinamo Zagreb v. Viktoria Plzen (Plzen leads 2-1)
Zenit Saint-Petersburg v. Fenerbahce (Fener leads 1-0)
Red Bull Salzburg v. Club Brugge (Brugge leads 2-1)
Valencia v. Celtic (Valencia leads 2-0)
Napoli v. FC Zurich (Napoli leads 3-1)

3 p.m. ET
Chelsea v. Malmo (Chelsea leads 2-1)
Benfica v. Galatasaray (Benfica leads 2-1)
Rennes v. Real Betis (3-3)
Inter Milan v. Rapid Vienna (Inter leads 1-0)
Dynamo Kiev v. Olympiakos (2-2)
Bayer Leverkusen v. Krasnodar (0-0)
Racing Genk v. Prague (0-0)

Juve: ‘No use crying over spilt milk’ after ‘ugly’ first leg loss

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Max Allegri and Juventus look set to fall short of a UEFA Champions League title again, and this time are staring down an exit before the quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

The club has two things going for it after a 2-0 first leg loss to Atletico Madrid in Spain: The 90 minutes or more of the second leg, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The player has already made his feelings known by setting the second leg stage with a very Patrick Roy (for you hockey fans out there) title rip.

Allegri is a bit more diplomatic, ripping Juve’s “ugly” second half at the Wanda Metropolitano but also demanding the club move past it immediately. From Football-Italia.net:

“Now we have the chance to turn this around, we must have faith, we’ll have some players back and there’s no point crying over spilt milk. We knew it was going to be tough, that Atletico Madrid force you to play badly, with a slow tempo. We moved the ball quicker in the first half, but not in the second.

“We got the approach wrong in the second half. It’s that simple. These things can happen, there will be great disappointment after this 2-0, but we can turn it around. It won’t be easy, we need a great second leg, but it can be done and we must have faith.”

And there’s Ronaldo, Dybala, and a number of world class players on his side. An inspired, spiteful Ronaldo is one thing, but take into account the man clearly carries his legacy on his hip pocket and the Portuguese hero is going to be flying come March 12 in Turin.