Player ratings from Manchester United’s win against Southampton

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Manchester United came away with a 2-0 win over Southampton in the Premier League’s first Friday Night Football match, keeping the Red Devils unbeaten with their revamped squad.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to be the focal point for United, despite Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan making their debuts on Friday. Wayne Rooney played a solid role for the Red Devils in the attack, providing service to Ibrahimovic on the first goal, while Luke Shaw has been another bright spot for Jose Mourinho’s side since returning from a devastating leg injury a season ago.

Here’s a mark out of 10 for each player on the pitch.


Manchester United

David De Gea – 5 – Wasn’t called to do much in the match, but the Spaniard likely won’t be complaining about that.

Antonio Valencia – 6 – Managed to get forward on several occasions but didn’t

Eric Bailly – 7 – Has held up well in his few PL appearances for United. Holds down the backline very well with his commanding presence.

Daley Blind – 5 – Again, not the most challenging night for United’s backline but did well when called upon.

Luke Shaw – 6 – Even though he wasn’t an offseason signing, the left back is going to be a massive addition this season after coming back from injury. The young Englishman is fun to watch getting forward.

Marouane Fellaini – 5 – Had himself a quiet match with the inclusion of Pogba but clogged up the middle well.

Paul Pogba – 6 – A bit shaky at the start, but his abilities on the ball are undeniable. So hard to knock him down when he’s in motion.

Juan Mata – 6 – Played in several dangerous crosses and continues to make a case to keep his place in the starting squad.

Wayne Rooney – 6 – The ever-aging attacker continues to make things happen. See United’s opening goal.

Anthony Martial – 5 – Had several dangerous chances to get forward and muster up shots, but the Frenchman struggled with his finally touches.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 8 – Another casual day at the office for Ibra. A pair of goals and another United win.

Subs: Ander Herrera – NR – Came on late to take off


Southampton

Fraser Forster – 6 – The keeper had a busy afternoon but couldn’t do much on either finish.

Cedric Soares – 4 – Struggled to handle the United attack but limited their chances in front of goal.

Jose Fonte – 5 – Was responsible for Ibrahimovic’s first finish but had a solid outing otherwise.

Virgil Van Dijk – 4 – Was forced to deal with United’s pace down the wing, and had the best view in the house of Jose Mourinho’s quality first touch trap on the sideline.

Matt Targett – 5- Did well getting forward and appears to be a threat out of the left wingback position going forward.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 5 – Very quiet afternoon in the midfield. Likely didn’t make the impact he wanted.

Oriol Romeu– NR – Not an ideal night for the midfielder after being cut short by injury. Replaced after 12 minutes by Jordy Clasie.

Steven Davis – 5 – Gave a solid effort for over an hour, but was withdrawn as Southampton looked for another attacking option.

Shane Long – 4 – Didn’t have many chances, but did manage to hit side netting in the first half to give the Old Trafford crowd a scare.

Dusan Tadic – 6 – Had a few quality chances to score, including his finish which was called back for offsides.

Nathan Redmond – 6 – His speed was dangerous down the right but the winger didn’t have the support on the end of his services.

Subs: Jordy Clasie – 4 – Did well at times replacing the injured Romeu, but the touch on Shaw leading up to United’s second goal was too undisciplined. Charlie Austin – 4 – Was fairly nonexistent up front after entering for Steven Davis. Jay Rodriguez – NR- Came on late to replace Shane Long.

Preview: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final

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There will be plenty of 2005 U-17 World Cup final shades at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

On that clear night in Lima, Peru, the likes of Carlos Vela and Giovani dos Santos wrote history for Mexico, as they powered El Tri to its first-ever World Cup title over a favorite Brazilian side, who was composed of Marcelo, Renato Augusto, and Anderson, in a 3-0 win.

14 years and some change later, both youth powerhouses meet again in the same tournament, for the same silverware, and with the same pressure looming over them from entire nations who expect nothing but excellence from their respective teams.

But of course, to the Brazilians, there is a sense of added pressure given the fact that they’re on home soil.

“We’re familiar with Mexico’s quality,” Brazilian forward, Veron, said ahead of the final. We know they are a great team. But we’re Brazil, and we have five stars on our chest. We intend to play our best match and get the result that makes history.”

As it stands, Mexico is the clear-cut underdog, having barely crept into the knockout stages and being composed of players with far less notoriety to its Brazilian counterpart, who boast three players with three goals or more in the tournament.

That said, Mexico pose as a balanced, reliable, and pragmatic team under coach Marco “Chima” Ruiz. Throughout the six games this tournament, El Tri have found the back of the net 14 times and have conceded a mere three goals (two of which came against Italy). With four goals and two assists in only 344 minutes, Los Angeles Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez has proven to be the team’s most productive player going forward.

Asked who he would rather take between France or Brazil in the final, the Mexican American answered with the same confidence that has made him one of the most exciting players in the tournament.

“It doesn’t matter which of the two it is, we’ll beat them,” he said.

It’s 90 minutes for either team to make history, again. A win for Brazil will raise the number of U-17 stars to four, while Mexico can claim its third with another historic performance. Will Brazil’s high-flying attack crack Mexico’s solid defense? If Alvarez starts, will he rise to the occasion and guide Mexico to another U-17 title?

That has yet to be seen; the second final between two, routine winners awaits the first whistle.

Report: Man City considering Kingsley Coman as Leroy Sane replacement

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Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are considering Bayern Munich’s Kinglsey Coman as a replacement for injured Leroy Sane if he were to leave for the defending German champions over the summer, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sane, who is projected to be out until February or March with an ACL injury, was the subject of a $176 million move to Bayern Munich over the summer, but a move never came to fruition, largely due to the aforementioned injury. If negotiations between Sane’s camp and the defending Bundesliga champions pick up again this summer, City have a replacement in mind: 23-year-old Coman.

Coman, who has played in 10 league games for the Bavarian club this season, was managed by Guardiola during his time with the club and flourished during the title-winning 2015-2016 season. In 2017, the Frenchman revealed that the Spaniard’s departure was tough on him, saying, “I found life easier at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola.”

As expected, Coman is not the only option City are exploring.

Real Sociedad’s Mikel Oyarzabal, who has a reported $82 million release clause, is also on the Premier League giant’s shortlist. Txiki Begiristain, City’s director of football, has strong ties to La Reala that goes back to his first day in the sport.

At the Etihad, the general feeling from Guardiola’s players is that the German winger is one foot out of England, and is instead focused on a move to Bayern and a return back home. With his contract in the final 12 months this summer, it is expected that the release clause for Sane will not be as lucrative as before. 

In 134 appearances for City, Sane has scored 39 goals, while Coman has scored on 28 different occasions in 139 appearances.

Abidal: Barcelona, Messi negotiating a new deal

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Lionel Messi and his representatives are in talks with Barcelona over a new contract, the defending champion’s sporting director Eric Abidal confirmed  to Mundo Deportivo in an exclusive interview.

“They are already talking,” Abidal, the former Barcelona defender, said. “I do not know if we will have news soon because the decision will depend on the player, but for us as a club I hope it is sorted as soon as possible.”

Messi – a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer – joined the club’s well-known academy, La Masia, at the age of 13 and is under contract until 2021 but was recently questioned about his future after Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed that the Argentine can leave Camp Nou on a free transfer due to a clause in his contract.

Asked when he expects an announcement to be made on a new and improved contract, Abidal made it clear he’s unsure but hopes it happens: “It will be known when it is known, but I am positive.”

Throughout seven games in La Liga this season, Messi has scored eight goals and assisted in four occasions. In his latest appearance for the Catalonian side – a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo – the No. 10 scored a first-half hat-trick.

Abidal also confirmed that Barcelona are in talks with breakout teenage starlet Ansu Fati and his camp on a new deal.

“We are also talking to him,” Abidal said. “He is a young player that we have to protect. We have to talk to his family and representatives.”

Earlier this year, the 17-year-old became the youngest player in the league’s history to score and assist in the same game.

EURO qualifying wrap: Germany, Austria, Croatia join Netherlands in qualifying

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Like the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Croatia qualified for EURO 2020 after wins on Saturday.

[ READ: Netherlands qualify to first EURO since 2012 ]


Germany 4-0 Belarus

With goals from Matthias Ginter, Leon Goretska, and a second-half brace from Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos, Germany routed an uncompetitive Belarus side 4-0 at Borussia-Park. The scoreline, however, should have been more lopsided, as the home side easily won the possession battle and outshot the visitor’s with a total of 31 shots (10 on target). Leaders of Group C, Germany is an early favorite for next summer’s tournament. Not hard to believe that, right? 

Austria 2-1 North Macedonia

Qualifying for Europe’s main tournament is becoming a norm for Austria.

Bayern Munich’s David Alaba scored early while Stefan Lainer added his own three minutes into the second half, as Austria edged North Macedonia 2-1 at Ernst Happel Stadion. Das Team, who stand second in Group G with 19 points after nine games, have now clinched a berth for the EURO on back-to-back occasions.

Croatia 3-1 Slovakia

When all was said and done, Croatia was too much for a 10-man Slovakia, who, initially, broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute.

Bayern Munich’s Ivan Perisic scored the home side’s third and final goal of the match, which punched Croatia’s ticket in next summer’s tournament. Nikola Vlasic and Bruno Petkovic also contributed goals in the second half for Croatia.

Elsewhere

Russia 1-4 Belgium

Azerbaijan 0-2 Wales

Cyprus 1-2 Scotland

Israel 1-2 Poland

Armenia 0-1 Greec