Guardiola on Gabriel’s injury; Arter reveals wonderful gesture

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Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City won a third-straight Premier League game on Monday.

It came at a cost.

[ MORE: Reaction to City’s win ]

In the 2-0 win at Bournemouth Brazilian teenager Gabriel Jesus came off injured in the first half with a right foot injury. City will have to wait until later on Tuesday to find out the extent of his injury and Guardioa is hoping it isn’t as bad as they fear.

Speaking after the win, which closes the gap to leaders Chelsea to eight points, Pep will “pray” for Jesus but is confident Sergio Aguero (who replaced Jesus and made an impact as Tyrone Mings bundled home after City’s second goal under pressure from the Argentine) can step in seamlessly.

“We will know exactly what is wrong in the morning,” Guardiola said. “Hopefully, and I will pray tonight, it will not be a big issue. But I’m so happy for Sergio, for how he played, how he tried, and I thought he had scored. He hadn’t played the last few games because these three guys – Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling – were amazing but Sergio was important for us before this game and he is still important for us now.”

All of the talk around City has been about Jesus taking Aguero’s place in the starting lineup in recent weeks and Guardiola admitted over the weekend that Aguero could leave in the summer.

However, with the extent of Jesus’ injury unknown, now Aguero has the chance to step in and show his undoubted quality as surging City have big games coming up in the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup and of course the Premier League as they now seem the most likely in the chasing pack to hunt down leaders Chelsea.


After City beat Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Monday, Guardiola made a point of embracing Cherries midfielder Harry Arter on the pitch at the end of the game.

Arter, 27, has received support from all across the soccer community after his daughter Renee tragically died at birth in December 2015. Arter and his partner Rachel announced in October 2016 that they are expecting a child which is due to be born later this week. The Republic of Ireland international revealed exactly what Pep said to him on the pitch.

“He offered his best wishes for me and my partner this week, which was an unbelievable touch,” Arter told the Daily Echo. “He is someone I have a massive amount of respect for. I watched his Barcelona teams, and look at his Manchester City side. For me, he is the best manager in the world. I don’t think there’s anybody close to him and what he has achieved. For him to offer that to me, I respected it and accepted it with a smile on my face.”

Guardiola was asked about his gesture after the game.

“He will be a father soon so I said big congratulations to him and his partner because I know what happened in the past, and, hopefully, the baby will be well.”

A lovely gesture from Guardiola.

The tides have turned significantly for Toronto FC

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2017 gave Toronto FC its first MLS Cup, as well as significant notoriety for the club’s historic season, but Greg Vanney and his side are in a world of trouble in 2018 for reasons that are still unfathomable.

[ MORE: NYCFC tops TFC in come-from-behind victory ]

A deep run in the CONCACAF Champions League (which ended in heartbeat at the hands of Chivas) and a number of injuries have plagued Toronto this season, and for that, the defending champions find themselves in unchartered MLS waters.

Over the course of Major League Soccer’s 22 previous seasons, only three defending champions have gone on to miss the playoffs the next year (D.C. United in 2000, LA Galaxy in 2006 & Portland Timbers in 2016).

So, how poor has TFC been through nearly half the season?

The Canadian side has acquired 15 points in as many matches, which puts the club on pace to finish with 34 points in 2018.

That total would leave TFC well below the average points needed for a club to get into the playoffs. It varies on a year-to-year basis, but teams typically need somewhere in the range of 45 to 50 points to finish above the red line in their respective conferences.

Last season, three teams in MLS finished with less than 34 points (D.C. United, LA Galaxy & Colorado Rapids), and none of the clubs finished within striking distance of the postseason.

While Toronto wouldn’t be the first team to show signs of struggles in the first half of the season and then proceed to turn things around over the second portion, there are definite concerns for Vanney and Co.

In 2018, the Reds haven’t earned back-to-back victories in MLS play, leaving the club in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.

The talent within the squad remains there, and if TFC gets the rest of its squad healthy there could be a run made by the team, but as things stand, the club’s historic run a season ago looks to be crumbling in 2018.

Gressel ties it in Atlanta United’s 1-1 draw with Timbers

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ATLANTA (AP) Julian Gressel tied it in the 56th minute and Atlanta United held on for a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers on Sunday.

A loose ball deflection off defender Larrys Mabiala bounced into Gressel’s path and he pounced on it with a right-footed volley. Atlanta (10-3-4) stayed atop the MLS standings and extended its unbeaten streak to five games.

Mabiala opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. Samuel Armenteros was the first to get a touch with a left-footed stab on Diego Valeri’s free kick. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan blocked it out, but Mabiala headed home the rebound and Portland took the early lead.

The Timbers (6-3-5) extended their unbeaten run to nine.

MLS: NYCFC beat TFC in new coach Torrent’s debut

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jo Inge Berget scored twice and coach Domenec Torrent celebrated his New York City FC debut with a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC on Sunday.

Berget made it 2-1 in the 68th minute, following Maximiliano Moralez’s direct pass up the right channel and slotting it home.

NYCFC (9-3-4) tied it at 1 in the 51st minute on Berget’s back heel from the top of the 6-yard box.

Víctor Vazquez opened the scoring for Toronto (4-8-3) in the 37th minute. Vasquez outran his defender on Auro’s long ball up the right side and sent a chip shot over the onrushing goalkeeper.

NYCFC’s David Villa left the game in the 28th minute with a non-contact injury.

Torrent replaced Patrick Vieira in New York shortly after Vieira’s departure for OGC Nice was officially confirmed. Torrent had been the right-hand man to Pep Guardiola for the last 11 years, most recently at Manchester City.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 12 — Time to settle Groups A & B

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Day 12 of the 2018 World Cup is up next, on Monday, and with it begins the final round of group games to decide the 16 teams headed to the knockout rounds. For the next four days, we’ll be treated to four games each day.

Also, the end of 8 a.m. ET kickoffs. Hooray for sleeping in.

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

First up, the conclusion of Group A, where both the hosts, Russia, and Uruguay have already advanced with wins in their first two games. Now, the two meet in the southwestern city of Samara to determine who’ll go through to the round of 16 as the group winners, and who’ll be the runners-up. Most likely awaiting either of them will be Spain and Portugal, pending the order in which they finish in Group B.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Speaking of Group B, Spain will finish group play against fourth-place and points-less Morocco, while Portugal have a tricky meeting with third-place Iran, who sit just a point behind the reigning European champions. The winner of Group B will face the runners-up of Group A, and vice versa.

Below is Monday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Monday, June 25

Group A
Uruguay vs. Russia: Samara, 10 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt: Volgograd, 10 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group B
Spain vs. Morocco: Kaliningrad, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Iran vs. Portugal: Saransk, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE