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UEFA Europa League wrap: Everton, Marseille, AC Milan move on

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Gylfi Sigurdsson marked the first start of his Everton career with a bang, hammering a goal over the keeper from just past half as the Toffees advanced to the UEFA Europa League’s Round of 16.

[ MORE: UCL congestion hammers Spurs ]

Elsewhere, Marseille and AC Milan moved on, Ajax was sent home, and USMNT prospect Ethan Horvath had a busy and rough night between the sticks in Greece.

Hajduk Split 1-1 (1-3 agg.) Everton

Josip Radosevic hit a rocket just before halftime to pull to within one of Everton, but new Toffees midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson sank the drama with a 46th minute marker.

The goal came from more than 40 yards out and meant Hajduk would need a three-goal win. The hosts got a prime chance to get one back when Ashley Williams felled his mark inside the 18, but Jordan Pickford robbed Said Ahmed Said with a quality diving stop of his penalty attempt.

AEK Athens 3-0 (3-0 agg.) Club Brugge

American goalkeeper Ethan Horvath was under siege, with the Greek hosts outshooting Brugge 14-4. Lazaros Christodoulopolous scored in the 27th minute and Andre Simoes nabbed two goals in the win.

Shkendija 0-1 (0-7 agg.) AC Milan

No six-spot this time, just Patrick Cutrone’s 13th minute finish to book Milan’s place in the group stage.

Marseille 3-0 (4-1 agg.) Domzale

Valere Germain scored twice and ex-Newcastle United attacker Florian Thauvin nabbed an 85th minute finish to ease the heavily favored Ligue 1 side into the next stage.

Elsewhere
AEK Larnaca 0-0 (1-3 agg.) Viktoria Plzen
Dynamo Kiev 3-1 (3-1 agg.) Maritimo
Oleksandria 1-2 (2-3 agg.) BATE Borisov
Red Bull Salzburg 4-0 (7-1 agg.) Viitorul Constanta
Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2-2 (3-2 agg.) Rheindorf Altach
Ostersunds 2-0 (3-3 agg.) PAOK Salonika
Sheriff Tiraspol 0-0 (1-1 agg.) Legia Warsaw
Zenit Saint Petersburg 2-0 (2-1 agg.) Utrecht
Austria Wien
0-1 (2-2 agg.) NK Osijek
Crvena Zvedzda 2-1 (4-4 agg.) Krasnodar
Braga 3-2 (5-3 agg.) FH Hafnarfjordur
Rosenborg 3-2 (4-2 agg.) Ajax
Athletic Bilbao 1-0 (4-2 agg.) Panathinaikos
Videoton 0-4 (0-4 agg.) Partizan Belgrade
Skenderbeu 0-0 (1-1 agg.) Dinamo Zagreb
Midtjylland 1-1 (3-4 agg.) Apollon Limassol
Suduva 0-0 (0-2 agg.) Ludogorets Razgrad
Fenerbahce 1-2 (1-4 agg.) Vardar

Mesut Ozil discusses critique of Turkish background

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Germany’s dismissal from the World Cup came as a shock to many, but one of its players received heavier scrutiny for off-the-field actions.

[ MORE: Whitecaps teen Alphonso Davies nearing move to Bayern ]

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil appeared in two of the three group stage matches for the Germans in Russia, however, his play was overshadowed by his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prior to the start of the tournament.

The meeting between the two caused several German media outlets to criticize Ozil due to the heated relations between the two European nations.

Additionally, Ozil says his brand was affected as well, with various sponsors pulling their support due to the meeting with Erdogan.

The 29-year-old is of Turkish and German descent, which would have made him eligible to represent either country.

Ozil took to Twitter on Sunday to discuss how the ordeal has affected how the media and sponsorship has affected him over the last month.

Barcelona, Sevilla to play Spanish Super Cup in Morocco

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La Liga champions Barcelona will meet Sevilla in the 2018 Spanish Super Cup in Tangier, Morocco on August 12.

[ MORE: Klopp talks Pulisic, Liverpool spending ]

The Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF) announced the decision on Sunday, as Barca looks to kick off the 2018 season against last year’s Copa Del Rey runners’ up.

Lionel Messi and Co. defeated Sevilla, 5-0, in the 2017/18 Copa Del Rey final, giving the Blaugrana a domestic double for the first time since the 2015/16 campaign.

La Liga play opens up in Spain on August 19, however, the full fixture list will be revealed on Tuesday.

Ibrahimovic: MLS is “lucky I didn’t come 10 years ago”

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been a major bright spot, as expected, in his debut season in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: Whitecaps teen Alphonso Davies nearing Bayern Munich transfer ]

The LA Galaxy striker recorded a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union, raising his goal tally to 12 on the year — which ranks fourth-best in the league.

At the age of 36, Ibrahimovic has shown he’s more than capable of producing as a veteran, but it raises the question: how amazing would he have been in MLS had he joined sooner?

Following the Galaxy’s win over the Union, Ibrahimovic joked with media, suggesting he could have had the entire country in his hand if he had arrived in the United States sooner.

“They’re lucky I didn’t come 10 years ago,” Ibrahimovic said, “because I would be the president today.”

Puel insists Chelsea hasn’t inquired about goalkeeper Schmeichel

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Chelsea could very be in the market for a goalkeeper over the summer, but Leicester City’s manager insists that their number one isn’t being targeted by the Blues; or at least not yet.

[ MORE: Klopp discusses Christian Pulisic, Liverpool’s spending ]

With the Blues likely set to lose Belgium international Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid, new manager Maurizio Sarri would have to look elsewhere to solidify the team’s goalkeeping situation.

One player that has drawn significant interest after a strong World Cup performance for Denmark is Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel, who played a big role in the Foxes’ 2015/16 Premier League title.

Although Schmeichel would be a viable replacement for Courtois at Stamford Bridge, Leicester boss Claude Puel says Chelsea hasn’t expressed its interest to this point.

“No, there is no problem with this,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports. “There is a lot of speculation at this moment, it is normal.

“I think he [Ward] can bring more competition to the squad and more possibilities. It is a good thing to have competition between players in the squad to develop desire.

“It gives good focus and concentration.”

The Foxes recently brought in young Liverpool keeper Danny Ward, which raised further questions about the future of Schmeichel at Leicester.