Player ratings: Tottenham vs. Manchester City

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LONDON — Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-0 at White Hart Lane on Sunday to lay down a marker.

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Spurs dominated large spells of the game as their high-pressing blew City away.

Mauricio Pochettino won the tactical battle against Pep Guardiola, but who shone on the pitch?

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Here’s a mark out of 10 for each player who took part at WHL.


Tottenham

Hugo Lloris – 7 – Smart tops from Aguero in the second half and a cool head.

Kyle Walker – 7 – Hardly put a foot wrong in a solid back four.

Toby Alderweireld – 7 – See above. Ushered Aguero away from danger masterfully.

Jan Vertonghen – 7 – Again, see above. Vertonghen and Alderweireld are probably the best central defensive partnership in Europe right now.

Danny Rose – 7 – All-action display from Rose as he got forward and supported the attack.

Victor Wanyama – 7 – Superb display from the Kenyan destroyer who is fast becoming a fans favorite. Swept up in front of defense.

Erik Lamela – 6 – Wrestled with Son for the penalty kick, which he missed, and he gave the ball away on multiple occasions.

Christian Eriksen – 6 – Got a little lost in the pace and power of the game in a deeper role and his shooting from distance was off.

Moussa Sissoko – 7 – Powerful display on the right. Won a thunderous challenge in first half. Tireless effort.

Dele Alli – 8 – Took his goal well and won a penalty kick. Continues to mature and along with Son, makes Tottenham tick.

Heung-Min Son – 9 – Set up Alli’s goal wonderfully and was a constant thorn in Man City’s side. Quite clearly the man of the match.

Subs:
Eric Dier (on for Sissoko, 73′) – 6 – Steady enough in midfield to help Spurs see out the win
Georges Kevin Nkoudou (on for Alli, 86′) – 6 – Showed  brief glimpses of pace and promise
Vincent Janssen (on for Son, 90′) – 6 – Worked hard late on, just failed to get on the end of a few chances.


Manchester City

Claudio Bravo – 5 – Saved a penalty kick from Lamela but again looked nervous with the ball at his feet.

Pablo Zabaleta – 6 – Solid enough from Zabaleta. What you see is what you get.

John Stones – 5 – Not a great afternoon for Stones. Son ran him ragged and Spurs gave him no space to play out from the back.

Nicolas Otamendi – 5 – Like Stones, struggled with Son. Lost Alli on his goal completely when caught ball watching.

Aleksandar Kolarov – 4 – Oh dear. Shanked into his own net early on and generally had a ‘mare. Bad week for him after display at Celtic.

Fernandinho – 5 – Looked better in a deeper role but gave a PK away.

Fernando – 4- Subbed out in second half. Added little to no protection for City’s defense.

David Silva – 5- Largely anonymous and lunged into some silly challenges.

Jesus Navas – 5 – Whipped in a good cross in the first half and showed flashes of pace but no end product.

Raheem Sterling – 5 – Like Navas, brief glimpses of pace and trickery but not enough.

Sergio Aguero – 6 – Lively in attack, had several efforts saved by Lloris. No service for most of the game.

Subs
Ilkay Gundogan (on for Fernando, 53′) – 6 – Helped City control midfield a little better
Kelechi Iheanacho (on for Navas, 65′) – 6 – Had one good chance but was denied by Lloris
Leroy Sane (on for Sterling, 87′) – 5 – Didn’t get much time to make an impact

U-20 World Cup Rewind: Italy tops Mexico, host Poland falls on Day 1 (video)

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Italy opened the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with a bang, knocking off fellow Group B favorite Mexico, 2-1, in Gdynia, Poland.

It only took Italy three minutes to get on the board, as Davide Frattesi found a pocket of space in front of the El Tri backline and dribbled in on goal. The Sassuolo midfielder then decided to fire on goal from distance, hitting a rocket into the corner to give Italy a 1-0 lead.

Later in the first half Gianluca Scamacca also took a rip from outside the box, but his strike sailed just wide.

A defensive error on a corner kick gave Diego Lainez and Mexico life. In the 37th minute, AC Milan product Alessandro Plizzari committed a howler, coming out to punch away the curled corner kick. Plizzari missed the ball and it went right to the head of Roberto De La Rosa, who calmly made it 1-1.

El Tri however suffered a blow late in the match as Italy took back the lead. In the 67th minute, Luca Ranieri collected the ball on the edge of the six yard box and from a tight angle, he scored past Mexico goalkeeper Carlos Higuera.

For Mexico, it’s a rough way to start the World Cup, having to go against a perennial power in Italy and playing on European soil. Not all is lost for Mexico, but it has to rebound with a win in its next game against Japan.

Elsewhere, Colombia defeated host Poland, 2-0, Japan tied Ecuador 1-1, and Senegal beat Tahiti, 3-0.

Saudis, Bahrain, UAE join to bid for FIFA’s U-20 World Cup

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GENEVA (AP) Middle East neighbors Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are jointly bidding to host the Under-20 World Cup in 2021.

FIFA says the Gulf plan is among five to express interest in bidding, including Brazil.

Indonesia, Peru and a Myanmar-Thailand joint bid are the others.

FIFA announced the contenders Thursday, one day after dropping a proposal for Qatar to share hosting duties for the 2022 World Cup with regional neighbors.

The 2021 U20 contenders must submit a formal bid by Aug. 30. FIFA’s ruling Council will pick the winner, likely in October.

The 2019 edition kicks off Thursday in Poland.

Putin awards medal to FIFA president Infantino

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MOSCOW (AP) Vladimir Putin has given FIFA president Gianni Infantino a medal.

The Russian president awarded Infantino the Order of Friendship at the Kremlin on Thursday.

Infantino has often said last year’s World Cup in Russia, where the host nation surprisingly reached the quarterfinals, was the best of the 21 editions of the tournament.

Putin thanked the FIFA leader for “your glowing assessment of our efforts.”

Infantino says of Russia’s “bonds of friendship” with soccer “is not the end, it is only the beginning of our fruitful cooperation and interaction.”

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

Why Derby deserve Premier League promotion

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With the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on May 27, the richest game in soccer will see one of Aston Villa or Derby County promoted to the Premier League.

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Which club deserves a spot in the English top-flight, and the estimated minimum $120 million it will generate, more?

You can use metrics such as fanbase, stadiums, players, historical success and quality of coaches to try and sort this out, but the fact of the matter is, the playoffs are always a complete, and utterly brilliant, lottery.

The path Villa and Derby took to get to the final this season proves that.

We’ve already focused on why Villa deserve to return to the PL after a three-year absence, so now it is time to see why Derby should return after an 11-year absence…


The Rams are on a roll and Frank Lampard, in his first season as a manager, has led Derby to Wembley to play Aston Villa with the latter the favorites to win.

Like Villa, we are talking about a team which has some magical moments in its history. Derby were Champions of England under Brian Clough twice in the 1970s but since then success has been hard to come by. A five-season spell in the Premier League from 1996-2002 was followed by a miserable season in 2007-08 (the worst in PL history) and the Rams haven’t been back to the top-flight since.

Owner Mel Morris, a local businessman who is behind gaming apps such as Candy Crush, has led their crusade back towards the PL in recent seasons but Derby have come up short in the playoffs time and time again, with the Rams failing in the playoffs in three of their previous five campaigns.

Heading into the final weeks of this season Derby were in the chasing pack after a poor second half of the campaign. For most of the season it seemed like Frank Lampard’s youngsters were nailed on for a top six finish, but then they wobbled and it seemed like they may miss out on the playoffs altogether.

But a run of four wins in their last six to finish the season gave them extra momentum heading into the playoffs.

Then came that incredible night at Leeds.

1-0 down from the first leg, then 1-0 down on the night in the second leg, Derby had a mountain to climb with a 2-0 aggregate deficit at Elland Road as Leeds’ fans started the party… Then Derby scored three unanswered goals in a wild 13-minute spell to turn the game on its head before Jack Marriott added his second and Derby’s fourth of the game late on to stun Leeds and send them to Wembley.

With the backdrop of the spygate scandal — which saw Leeds and Bielsa punished earlier in the season for spying on Derby’s training sessions — and the fact Leeds were heavy favorites to get past Derby, this was a sweet moment for Lampard and his adoring squad and fans.

Derby don’t have a lot of cash to work with. They have relied this season on Lampard’s contacts as some of the best young talents at the Premier League level (Mason Mount and Harry Wilson) wanted to learn from him and that is why they arrived at Pride Park on loan. Lampard has translated his knowledge as a player who had an amazing career to several of his Derby players, and it is exciting to think what he can go on to do.

This Derby squad is made up of youngsters from the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool and veterans like Richard Keogh, Ashley Cole and Bradley Johnson who are desperate for one last chance to play in the Premier League.

Lampard has galvanized the entire club and the Chelsea legend regularly bounces in celebration with the Derby fans after games. Runs in both the FA Cup and League Cup saw them beat Manchester United and Southampton on penalty kicks, while they also pushed Chelsea close to show they are capable of competing with PL clubs regularly.

Derby are full of guts and their young stars Wilson and Mount have the ability to win games with one swipe of their foot.

Lampard is a loveable character and if Derby do beat Villa to clinch promotion, he can work his magic to secure some big names signings and they will be an intriguing squad who, like Villa, will play open, expansive soccer. If Derby don’t get promoted then Lampard is already being lined up for Premier League jobs, even at the club where he became a legend, Chelsea. If the Rams do go up we will get to see Lampard and this exciting attacking side put on a show.

That is why Derby deserve promotion to the Premier League.