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EFL Cup wrap: Swansea, Palace fall; 18-year-old plays Arsenal hero

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A pair of Premier League teams fell in Carabao Cup action, while another barely survived as the quarterfinals of the competition are nearly set.

[ MORE: Madrid not interested in signing Kane, they say ]

Swansea City was thoroughly beaten by Manchester United on a pair of Jesse Lingard goals, while struggling Crystal Palace was beaten heavily by Championship side Bristol City despite an early 1-0 lead. Meanwhile, Arsenal just squeaked by Norwich City with the help of a young hero, scoring a late goal to force extra time before winning things early in the added period.

Manchester City failed to score, but would advance on penalties thanks to the help of their veterans.


Swansea City 0-2 Manchester United

Jesse Lingard came into the squad and got back on the scoresheet with a simple finish 21 minutes in to complete the play started by a skillful flick from Marcus Rashford. That goal sent the Red Devils through, but Lingard would complete his brace after halftime on a spectacular header, connecting with Matteo Darmian‘s cross just inside the top of the box for a long-range strike.

Arsenal 2-1 Norwich City (AET)

Arsenal started a mostly second-choice lineup in their home Cup match, and it almost backfired massively. Josh Murphy struck for Norwich just past the half-hour mark, getting loose through the central defenders on a fast-break and chipping goalkeeper Matt Macey to stun the Emirates.

Needing a hero, 18-year-old striker Eddie Nketiah – an Arsenal academy product – came off the bench for his second pro appearance in the 85th minute and struck an astonishing 15 seconds later, poking home after Francis Coquelin had flicked the ball in front of net with his head from a corner.

Nketiah wasn’t done, bagging the winner on a header six minutes into extra time, powering the ball into the top corner off a set-piece a la Olivier Giroud. Fun fact: Nketiah is the first player born after Arsene Wenger took charge at Arsenal to score a goal for the Gunners. Yay for everyone feeling old!

Bournemouth 3-1 Middlesbrough

Callum Wilson hit from the penalty spot in the 75th minute to give Bournemouth a spot in the quarterfinals. The referee had pointed to the spot after Dael Fry fouled Jack Simpson on a corner, and Wilson buried the chance to put Bournemouth through. Benik Afobe added the Cherries’ third with seven minutes to go.

Wilson’s winner came after Simpson and Marcus Tavernier had cancelled each other out following a scoreless first half.

Bristol City 4-1 Crystal Palace

Former Wolves winger Bakary Sako put Crystal Palace in front early, but the Championship side Bristol City cancelled out the Eagles’ lead before halftime through Matty Taylor. Five minutes later, Palace would find themselves walking into halftime down a goal as substitute Milan Djuric would poke the ball home on a scrum in the box following a long throw.

Joe Bryan gave Bristol City a third after halftime to ensure Palace’s misery on the hour mark, and Callum O’Dowda added on a fourth.

Leicester City 2-1 Leeds United

Islam Slimani was the hero as the Foxes prevailed over Championship side Leeds United in a come-from-behind win at the King Power Stadium. He touched home on a cross from Kelechi Iheanacho following a through-ball from Vicente Ibarro.

Pablo Hernandez put Leeds in front 26 minutes in, but the lead only lasted till the half-hour mark when Iheanacho struck to bring Leeds back level, catching Leeds goalkeeper Felix Weidwald out of position.

Manchester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers (City wins 4-2 on penalties)

Championship leaders Wolves frustrated a decently strong Manchester City side all night, and with the game scoreless all the way through extra time despite 25 Manchester City shots – but just six on target – we went to penalties.

Claudio Bravo saved efforts from Alfred N'Diaye and Conor Coady, while Kevin De Bruyne, Yaya Toure, Leroy Sane, and Sergio Aguero were all successful from the spot to send Manchester City through

MLS conference semifinal preview and predictions

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We’re not sure we should be allowed to make Major League Soccer playoff predictions after getting two upset bids wrong in the first round, but we go again anyway.

No, DC United did not outlast Toronto FC at BMO Field nor were the Portland Timbers able to get a win over Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto but… we got the other four right?

[ MORE: Dest choosing side this week ]

It gets trickier at midweek for the conference semifinals, as two of those six victors from the weekend face well-rested one seeds (We suppose they could be rusty, not just well-rested).

NYCFC v. Toronto FC — 7 p.m. ET Wednesday

Regular season:
TFC 4-0 NYCFC (April 29)
NYCFC 1-1 TFC (Sept. 11)

Toronto hasn’t lost since Aug. 3 (5W-6D) and is well-equipped to deal NYCFC’s possession system on a postage stamp pitch. NYC’s only loss in its last 11 was a throwaway loss to a desperate Revolution side in New England. TFC has a lot of experience in spots like this, but Dome Torrent’s done an incredible job with City. It’s a coin toss, but ultimately it feels like that coin lands TFC side up. 2-1 aet.

Seattle v. Real Salt Lake  — 10 p.m. ET Wednesday

Regular season:
Seattle 1-0 RSL (April 6)
RSL 3-0 Seattle (Aug. 14)

This one’s also close, as RSL has a number of players who won’t be bothered by the pressure but man is this home field advantage a real one. The Sounders only lost two home matches this season, and haven’t lost a home playoff match under Brian Schmetzer. Call it 2-0 for Seattle.

Atlanta United v. Philadelphia Union — 8 p.m. ET Thursday

Regular season:
ATL 1-1 Philly (March 17)
Philly 3-1 ATL (Aug. 31)

The Union are resilient, and Jim Curtin seeing success is an absolute joy. So deserved, but Frank De Boer is showing his mettle in making the tough decisions and Ezequiel Barco looks a terror. A side that is able to bring Tito Villalba and Pity Martinez off the bench is unfair. Atlanta, 3-1.

LAFC v. LA Galaxy — 10:30 p.m. ET Thursday

Regular season:
Galaxy 3-2 LAFC (July 19)
LAFC 3-3 Galaxy (Aug. 25)

Can hardly wait for this one. Bob Bradley and Carlos Vela look to send Zlatan Ibrahimovic packing after a riotous summer competition. LAFC is so, so good, and the lack of rest for the Galaxy is a problem. Still, betting against Zlatan seems borderline insane, and Jonathan dos Santos has big game mettle of his own. We’ll call it 2-2 and a place in penalty kicks, where David Bingham’s the difference for the Galaxy in a history-writing upset that takes El Trafico to the next level. Yes, we are predicting for storylines now.

Champions League preview: Chelsea, Liverpool hit the road

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Frank Lampard has a selection headache amongst his wingers as he tries to figure out Chelsea’s best avenue to break down Ajax on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.

Youngsters Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic starred in the Blues’ weekend win, and Lampard also has Pedro and Willian available at Johan Cruyff Arena before a weekend visit to Burnley.

[ MORE: Dest choosing side this week ]

From ChelseaFC.com:

“Callum gave me that in his display from the start and Christian gave me that in his display coming on, and in terms of the wingers I have, Willian gave me that, Pedro gives me that so I have good selection problems when people come on and make a difference. That is what we are all about.

“The extra level that is the Champions League, the detail, the focus, concentration for 90 minutes, making the most of tiny moments, will be a test for all the young players, not just Callum.”

The good news for Pulisic in his bid to match wits with fellow USMNT (for now) player Sergino Dest is that he’s had experience on the UCL stage with Borussia Dortmund.

The other PL side in action is Liverpool, and the Reds will be expecting to get all three points in Belgium against Genk.

But Genk drew Napoli 0-0 at home on the second match day and the Reds will be wary of a slip-up.

“It’s a really good football-playing team,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. “They are organized and brave in their positioning. They don’t play with the pressing line too much but go for second balls, have speed and good midfielders and very active full-backs.”

Klopp will not have Trent Alexander-Arnold (illness) and Joel Matip (knee).

Other highlights…

— American manager Jesse Marsch hopes to lead Red Bull Salzburg to a home win over Napoli when he matches wits with Carlo Ancelotti.

Antonio Conte‘s Inter Milan could really use a result against tricky Borussia Dortmund in Italy.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Ajax v. Chelsea
RB Leipzig v. Zenit Saint-Petersburg

3 p.m. ET
Slavia Prague v. Barcelona
Red Bull Salzburg v. Napoli
Genk v. Liverpool
Inter Milan v. Borussia Dortmund
Lille v. Valencia
Benfica v. Lyon

Man City’s Guardiola issues Rodri update; Zinchenko also injured

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Man City boss Pep Guardiola expects to be without Rodri for at least a couple of matches after his heavily relied-on midfielder hurt his hamstring on Tuesday.

Rodri was removed from the match after 40 minutes, having partnered with Fernandinho at center back for the second-straight match.

[ MORE: Man City 5-1 Atalanta ]

A center mid and a fine one by trade, Rodri’s absence coupled with the still-hurt Aymeric Laporte leaves City significantly weaker in its heart.

“I think tomorrow we will know and hopefully it will be between 10 days if it is not broken,” Guardiola said. “If it is broken, it will be three weeks or one month.”

The club also announced before the match that Oleksandr Zinchenko had suffered a knee injury and will undergo tests.

City visits Aston Villa this weekend and then hosts Southampton in the League Cup and the Premier League before a visit to Atalanta in the Champions League.

That’s when Liverpool at Anfield arrives on the schedule, and the absence of Rodri would take some of the luster off of it for sure.

Report: Dest will announce international decision this week

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Ajax defender Sergino Dest is expected to make a decision on his international future this week, according to a report in Holland.

Dest turns 19 on Nov. 3 and has two caps for the United States men’s national team after a sensational career with the program’s youth club.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap ]

But he’s also eligible to represent his birth nation of the Netherlands, and is the starting right back for its most celebrated club.

The back turned down a call-up from Gregg Berhalter last month as a cap in the CONCACAF Nations League would’ve tied him to the USMNT for the rest of his life.

It’s natural to feel that Dest would be inclined to choose the Netherlands, as Ronald Koeman‘s team is firing on all cylinders and Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT has been mostly miserable against significant competition. Berhalter also played Dest at left back in both of his caps versus Mexico and Uruguay, playing Reggie Cannon at Dest’s preferred right back.

But Dest has more history with the USMNT set-up, and the Yanks could still use him at the Olympics this summer (The Netherlands have not qualified for Tokyo). They have a puncher’s chance, but the timing of the announcement seems to lean toward Koeman.

The Dutch can qualify for EURO 2020 with a draw or better against Northern Ireland, meaning Koeman could blood a number of youngsters against minnows Estonia at Ajax’s home Johan Cruyff Arena four days later.

Not to mention the report is coming out of Holland. You’d feel a whole lot better if an American outlet was reporting it, but maybe that’s just negativity following the USMNT’s recent play. The Dutch set-up has a much better history than the USMNT. There’s a lure there, and we can hope that Dest feels tied into the USMNT.