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Swansea City 0-0 Middlesbrough: Draw helps neither relegation candidate

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In these desperate times, a single point does neither side much good at the moment, and both Middlesbrough and Swansea City will feel disappointed to have finished goalless at the Liberty Stadium.

The home side was more consistently incisive as Gylfi Sigurdsson was dangerous on a number of occasions, but they failed to put significant distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Middlesbrough had a moment to win the game in the final seconds, but Rudy Gestede missed an open header, and they still has a significant gap to close for safety.

Both teams early on looked to pump crosses into the box for their strikers. Swansea had the better possession in the opening 10 minutes, with Martin Olsson and Jordan Ayew having attempts on net, the latter of which tested goalkeeper Victor Valdes for an awkward save.

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Middlesbrough had a spell of great play minutes later, as they ripped off a host of shots, many of which forced brave blocks from the Swansea defenders. After good work from Adama Traore, one shot struck the forearm of defender Alfie Mawson, but his block was legal with his arm in a natural position.

New Boro manager Steve Agnew was forced into a change when Gaston Ramirez went down with an ankle problem in the 38th minute and could not continue, as the visitors brought on Rudy Gestede as an attacking presence. The game devolved as it crept towards halftime, with hardly a chance on net for either team after the opening few minutes, and it reached the break without a goal.

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Out of halftime, Swansea was the better team going forward. Martin Olsson thrashed a ball across the face of goal in the 56th minute but nobody was there to meet it. Sigurdsson forced a big save from Victor Valdez in the 64th minute with a brilliant bit of technical ability to work a wonderful curling effort on net.

Middlesbrough was forced into a second change when Fabio appeared to lose conciousness after an attempt to head the ball under pressure. The Boro medical staff was shown clearly restraining Fabio from coming back on the field against the player’s wishes, instead requiring a substitution.

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Sigurdsson went close again with five minutes remaining on a free-kick from just outside the box as the Swans continued to push men forward. Boro clung on for dear life, and were lucky on numerous occasions not to be reduced to 10 men as referee Bobby Madley let a high number of dangerous challenges go unpunished. The worst of which came with three minutes left after Gestede, already on a yellow, went in studs up on Tom Carroll, but he stayed on the field after a long chat with the referee, he was let off the hook likely because Carroll was able to avoid the otherwise ugly challenge.

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Swansea came so close as Luciano Narsingh seemed in on goal with a minute in regulation, but he was forced wide by Valdez who came off his line and couldn’t get a shot off. Middlesbrough had one last chance to nick a win against the run of play as a brilliant ball from Negredo that met the head of Gestede, but he put it agonizingly wide.

The point for the Swans moves them one above the rest of the relegation zone, with Hull City having moved level on Saturday with a win. For Middlesbrough, they still have four points between themselves and Hull, mired in the midst of a relegation scrap.

Man City skates by West Ham in Premier League Asia Trophy

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Manchester City’s youth squad did the first-half job, which meant the heavy artillery coming off the bench was that much scarier. Man City came from behind to lead at halftime, and Raheem Sterling scored twice in the second half and the defending Premier League champions were no match for West Ham in a 4-1 victory in the semifinals of the Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing.

Pep Guardiola started a mostly second-choice lineup from the opening whistle, with David Silva and Aymeric Laporte the only true first-teamers in the squad. Claudio Bravo manned the net to begin, with new arrival Rodri also among the starters. West Ham’s lineup, meanwhile, was a strong one with Felipe Anderson, Mark Noble, Angelo Ogbonna, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio, and Manuel Lanzini all among a first-choice starting lineup.

West Ham took the lead 25 minutes in through Noble who delivered from the penalty spot, but not without help from Felipe who was the star of the first half for the Hammers and won the penalty after sending Manchester City defender Angelino to the ground.

The lead didn’t last long as David Silva leveled things up in the 33rd minute, a wonderful start to his final season at Manchester City. He received a fabulous delivery from 18-year-old Spanish youth international Adrian Bernabe who rifled one to the far post where Silva was waiting, and the 33-year-old chested it down before unpacking a low finish from a tight angle.

City would go in front three minutes later as 20-year-old Man City youth product Lukas Nmecha won a soft penalty on a foul by Ogbonna, and the youngster took it himself and buried the spot-kick for the lead.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane all came on at halftime for the defending Premier League champions, while West Ham brought on the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez, and Andriy Yarmolenko.

The changes for Manchester City overwhelmed West Ham, with Sane picking up a loose ball near the halfway line and feeding a beautiful pass through the back line to Sterling clean on goal who put City 3-1 up on the hour mark. That saw John Stones, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko all come in off the bench for Pep Guardiola and into the fray.

The big three did it again in the 72nd minute as de Bruyne picked Carlos Sanchez’s pocket in the attacking third and fed Sane on the left. He sent it back to de Bruyne who layed it off for Sterling’s second goal of the match.

In squad notes, a pair of England youth internationals went the distance for Man City as Ian Poveda-Ocampo and Taylor Harwood-Bellis were the only two to complete the full 90 minutes. Notable for West Ham, Winston Reid came off the bench for the final 19 minutes, his first game action in over 16 months.

Rashford, James, Pogba star as Manchester United hammers Leeds in Perth

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Manchester United topped Leeds 4-0 in a comprehensive victory in Perth that saw Marcus Rashford and new signing Daniel James run rampant down the flanks.

Rashford scored in the 27th minute with a beautiful move down the left that threw two Leeds defenders into each other, while James struck the post just before halftime on an overlap down the right in his Red Devils debut.

Also on the scoresheet was 17-year-old Mason Greenwood who received a hard, low cross from fellow debutant Aaron Wan-Bissaka and beat two Leeds defenders in a footrace to the ball on the doorstep for a sliding finish. The move was started by Paul Pogba who found the new Manchester United defender down the right with a wonderful through-ball, leading to the delivery into the box. Greenwood has had quite the last 12 months, scoring for the Manchester United U-17, U-18, U-23, and now senior side all in that span.

After the break, Phil Jones found the back of the net by powering home a corner with his head, while Anthony Martial finished off the scoreline with a penalty after Tahith Chong was fouled in the area by Liam Cooper. Chong impressed throughout the second half, linking well with fellow Manchester United youth product Angel Gomes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found playing time for just about every first-teamer, completely changing the side at halftime. Nemanja Matic was one of the halftime introductions, but was curiously withdrawn with 12 minutes to go, unclear if due to injury. The only Red Devil in the squad to not see the field was 21-year-old Axel Tuanzebe.

Wolves rocks Newcastle in Premier League Asia Trophy

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A rough summer continued for Newcastle as the Magpies were hammered in Nanjing by a first-choice Wolves lineup 4-0 in Premier League Asia Trophy action.

Diogo Jota scored a pair, and England youth international Morgan Gibbs-White added a third as Wolves took a commanding 3-0 lead into the break. As both sides rung changes in the second half, an Allan Thomas own-goal with five minutes remaining finished the scoreline and doomed Newcastle to yet another summer misstep.

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For Wolves, it was a promising start to preseason play as the lineup featured a host of regulars, with only Mexican international Raul Jimenez, still resting after a successful Gold Cup campaign, missing from the starting eleven. Jota was particularly spectacular, with a brilliant touch in the buildup to his first goal rewarded with the finish, plus his second – Wolves third – where he snatched the ball straight off the feet of Newcastle defender Isaac Hayden in the penalty area.

Gibbs-White also scored off a Newcastle turnover in its own defensive third, with Jonny picking the pocket of Jamie Sterry on the left flank and finding the 19-year-old alone in the middle for a powerful finish from outside the top of the box.

Newcastle has had a rough summer, with the club losing manager Rafa Benitez, selling leading scorer Ayoze Perez, and failing to secure second-leading scorer Salomon Rondon on a permanent basis. The club has yet to sign a single player and was forced to overpay for Steve Bruce, who was in charge for the match against Wolves.

Watch Live: PL Asia Trophy – Newcastle v. Wolves, Man City v. West Ham

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The 2019-20 Premier League Asia Trophy kicks off in China on Wednesday, as four Premier League teams go head-to-head in one of the premier offseason competitions.

WATCH PL ASIA TROPHY

Reigning PL champions Manchester City are involved, while Wolves, West Ham and Newcastle are also out in the Far East. This is the second time the tournament has been held in mainland China, with the two semifinals on Wednesday held in Nanjing, while the final and third-place match will be held in Shanghai on Saturday.

Below is the full schedule for Wednesday’s games in Nanjing’s Olympic Sports Centre.

Newcastle United v. Wolves – 6 a.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Man City v. West Ham – 8:30 a.m. ET – STREAM LIVE