Stoke City 1-4 Man City: Aguero, Nolito keep Pep perfect

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  • Aguero with two goals in first half
  • Bojan scored PK to make it 2-1
  • Nolito adds two late on
  • Two PL wins from two for Pep

Manchester City beat Stoke City 4-1 at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday as Pep Guardiola made it two wins from two games in the Premier League.

Sergio Aguero struck twice in the first half, while Nolito added two late clinchers following Bojan Krkic‘s penalty kick which made things interesting in the second half.

In truth City were worthy of their win at a blustery Stoke and Guardiola now has six points from his opening two games in the PL. City are also looking all but certain of a place in the UEFA Champions League group stages following their 5-0 pummeling of Steaua Bucharest in the UCL play-off first leg in midweek.

So far so good for Pep.

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City, as expected, dominated most of the possession early on although Stoke had chances on the break with Marko Arnautovic causing problems down the left and Giannelli Imbula going close twice, once with a long-range effort and then a miskick inside the box.

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In the 26th minute City were gifted an opener as a corner from the right saw Ryan Shawcross clearly haul down Nicolas Otamendi and referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot.

Despite missing two penalty kicks against Steaua in midweek, Aguero took the responsibility and slammed home the penalty kick to put City 1-0 up.

Soon it was 2-0 as Aguero glanced in his and City’s second with a fine header from Kevin De Bruyne‘s magnificent free kick. Moments later Stoke had a shout for a penalty kick as Phil Bardsley blasted an effort on goal which was well saved by Willy Caballero and Joe Allen looked to be fouled by Aleksandar Kolarov in the box but no penalty kick was given.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Less than four minutes into the second half Stoke were back in the game as Raheem Sterling was guilty of grabbing hold of Shawcross in the box and Dean again pointed towards the spot despite minimal but clear contact with Sterling not once looking at the ball. Bojan stepped up and stroked the PK home to make it 2-1. Game on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Stoke pushed hard for an equalizer with Caballero struggling with his distribution in the blustery conditions in the Potteries as Joe Hart looked on from the bench.

Yet Man City continued to have most of the ball and in the end it was two substitutes who combined to seal the win. Kelechi Iheanacho rounded Shay Given and calmly passed across the goal for Nolito to slot home and make it 3-1. Nolito then added another in stoppage time with Sterling unselfishly slotting him in to tap home after Iheanacho’s clever dummy. 4-1. Game over.

VIDEO: Kei Kamara scores superb bicycle kick goal against Sporting KC

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Kei Kamara has scored plenty of goals at Children’s Mercy Park, but none like his bicycle kick goal on Saturday.

The 35-year-old, now in his 16th season, showcased his penchant for scoring right before halftime against his former team. The goal makes 12 for the Colorado Rapids’ forward this season, placing him within the top 10 of the league and two begin his 14-goal season last year.

Overall, Kamara is fifth in the all-time MLS scoring list with 124 goals, second among active players behind San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski.

Enjoy a superb goal from a superb goalscoerer.

La Liga Roundup: Messi, Barcelona stunned by inspired Granada (video)

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Granada’s shocking 2-0 win over Barcelona and subsequent rise to the top of the table headlines Saturday’s La Liga action.

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Granada 2-0 Barcelona

Not even Lionel Messi, who made his season debut on Saturday, was able to save Barcelona against a red-hot Granada.

Granada, who are off to their best start in their 88 years of existence, had a perfect night in front of their supporters, convincingly getting past a Barcelona that dominated possession, but lacked the offensive ingenuity needed to score.

Barcelona’s defense wasn’t noteworthily robust, either.

Two minutes in, the newly promoted side scored through a headed goal from Ramon Azeez, following a defensive turnover from Junior Firpo.

Unable to record a shot on target in the first half and looking to wakeup a dormant attack, Barcelona brought on wonderkid Ansu Fati and Lionel Messi at halftime. Despite the duo connecting on several occasion and generating a shot on target, it wasn’t enough to get past Rui Silva.

In the 66th minute, following video review, substitute Alvaro Badillo converted from the spot, handing Granada their third win of the season.

Atop of La Liga, Granada set their sights on Real Valladolid, while Barcelona, who are off to their worst league start in 25 years, host Villarreal at Camp Nou.

Atletico Madrid  0-0 Celta Vigo

For a second consecutive week, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid dropped points, drawing with Celta Vigo 0-0 at Wanda Metropolitano.

Tied with league leaders Granada and Sevilla with 10 points, the alarm bells are far from going off in Madrid. However, as Saturday’s performance showed, los Colchoneros are having trouble finishing chances this season, despite fielding an attack with the likes of Joao Felix, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata.

In five games, Atletico have managed to score only five goals, six fewer than leaders Granada. Against Celta, Atletico registered 20 shots, five on target, but were unable to crack a stellar Ruben Blanco, who registered five saves.

Leveled with Granada and Sevilla, Atletico Madrid look to get back into winning ways as they take on RCD Mallorca. Elsewhere, Celta Vigo, who have won win after five games, host Espanyol next.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Villarreal 2-0 Real Valladolid

Levante 0-0 Eibar

Almeyda, Wondolowski sent off in Quakes’ fall against Atlanta (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): Melodrama took center stage in Atlanta United’s 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, as Matias Almeyda, Chris Wondolowski and Cristian Espinoza were all sent off on Saturday. Josef Martinez, six games away from tying Lionel Messi’s world record for most consecutive goals, left the field in 79th minute following an injury, ending his MLS-record run at 15 games. Playing with 10 players from the 34th minute onwards, the Quakes held on to the draw up until the 90th minute. Unmarked inside the box, Emerson Hyndman rocketed the ball past Daniel Vega, who recorded nine saves throughout the night. In stoppage time, Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez was rewarded for his stellar performance with a goal of his own. With a game at hand, Eastern Conference leaders, NYCFC, are three points ahead Frank De Boer‘s side. The Quakes, on the other hand, have internal fires to put out as they have lost six of their last eight, and are only a point above the red line with three games to play.

Three moments that mattered

27′ — Great run by Espinoza, greater ball by Vega  — Daniel Vega and Cristian Espinoza were players that San Jose were desperately missing last season. This sequence says it all.

 

90′ — Emerson Hyndman wins it for the Five Stripes   — Hyndman, with no one near him, seals three points for the home side.

 

90′ + 2 — Martinez takes advantage of broken San Jose  — Martinez’s goal was only salt in San Jose’s fresh wound.

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Man of the match: Gonzalo “Pity”  Martinez

Goalscorers: Meram (4′), Guzan (27′ – OG), Hyndman (90′), Martinez (90′ + 2)

FIFA sees no obstacles for women to attend games in Iran

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ZURICH — Soccer’s governing body FIFA says an inspection visit to Iran has shown “no noteworthy operational obstacles” to lifting the country’s 40-year ban and letting women attend a World Cup qualifying game next month.

After meeting government and soccer officials in Tehran this week, FIFA says it will work with Iran’s soccer body to also open domestic league games to female fans.

FIFA wants Iran to end its ban on women entering stadiums which breaches international soccer statutes prohibiting discrimination.

Global attention on the ban followed the death this month of a 29-year-old activist, Sahar Khodayari, who set herself on fire outside a courthouse. She had been detained for dressing as a man to enter a soccer stadium in Tehran and faced six months in prison.

Ahead of Iran hosting Cambodia at the 78,000-capacity Azadi Stadium on Oct. 10, FIFA says the visit on Thursday focused on “international relations, security and ticketing matters.”

Iranian officials were told of FIFA’s “firm and clear position that women need to be allowed to enter football matches freely” with tickets sold to as many who wanted to attend.