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La Liga: Ronaldo’s late winner saves Real Madrid; Atleti cruise 5-0

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo rescued Real Madrid from another stumble at home when he scored after his penalty kick was saved to secure a 3-2 win over Malaga in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Ronaldo got the 75th-minute winner by knocking in the ball following Malaga goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez’s save. Jimenez denied him on two clear chances in the first half before Ronaldo finally got his second league goal in 13 rounds.

The win put Madrid seven points behind leader Barcelona, which faces an important trip to second-place Valencia on Sunday.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane blamed his team’s passing mistakes on why the defending Liga champions twice lost the lead to a team in the relegation zone, before finally taking control.

“We knew that possession of the ball is a weapon that we have, and we lost the ball several times,” Zidane said. “In the end … we have to focus on the result since we know that we did some things well and that there were some other things that didn’t go as we would have liked.”

Karim Benzema also netted just his second league goal to put Madrid ahead in the ninth when he nodded in a rebound of Ronaldo’s header that came off the crossbar.

Malaga hadn’t scored a goal in all six of its previous league games away from home, but it leveled through Diego Rolan in the 18th by capitalizing on an error by Madrid’s Toni Kroos. The Germany midfielder blundered with a back pass near his own area, and Sergio “Keko” Gontan pounced to send in a cross for unmarked Rolan to control with his chest and fire home.

Casemiro headed Madrid ahead again and Malaga forward Gonzalo “Chory” Castro made it 2-2 with a long-range strike.

Madrid was heading to another costly slip at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – where it failed to win the first three league matches – until substitute Luka Modric was tripped by Luis Hernandez in the area. That allowed Ronaldo to step up and take what turned out to be the winner.

Malaga lost defender Juan Carlos Perez to a left knee injury early.

“I believe we deserved much more (from the match),” said Malaga coach Michel Gonzalez, a former Madrid player.

“We are all worried about Juan Carlos’ knee because he is in a lot of pain, and that hurts us more than the loss.”

Kevin Gameiro scored twice and played a direct part in three more goals to lead Atletico Madrid’s 5-0 rout at Levante.

Atletico’s biggest win of the season allowed it to move ahead of Real Madrid and into third place on goal difference.

Antoine Griezmann also scored twice.

Real Betis salvaged a 2-2 draw at home with Girona after a wild finish that included goals from both teams in the dying moments.

Girona appeared set to get the win after Cristian “Portu” Portugues netted his second goal four minutes into stoppage time.

But just after the restart, Betis substitute Cristian Tello controlled a long ball with his chest, dribbled past a defender and slotted in a strike on the last kick of the match.

Ten-man Eibar dealt Alaves its 11th loss of the season after winning 2-1 on the road in a derby of small Basque Country clubs.

Charles scored Eibar’s second goal then received a direct red card for shoving the head of an Alaves player in the 83rd.

Mourinho bemoans ‘very bad’ preseason for Man United

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MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has described the team’s preseason as “very bad” because of the disruption caused by the World Cup and the absence of Alexis Sanchez for the tour of the United States.

Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jones will not return to training with United until close to the start of the new season because their countries got to the semifinals of the World Cup in Russia.

Sanchez wasn’t among the United squad heading across the Atlantic because there was an issue with his visa after the Chile forward accepted a 16-month suspended sentence in Spain over a tax issue.

Mourinho said “preseason is very bad, I have to say that,” adding that “I am worried because I am not training with all my players.”

On Sanchez, Mourinho said “he’s very sad, it’s not good for him or me, not good for anyone. There is no one to blame — the club is making an effort. I have to respect the U.S. authorities in their process of selection of visas. I hope he will come to join us.”

Mourinho said he is set to start the season with Sanchez, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial as his strike force.

United flew to Los Angeles on Sunday and will play five games, including three International Champions Cup matches against Real Madrid, AC Milan and Liverpool, during its stay.

United plays its first English Premier League game of the season on Aug. 10 against Leicester at Old Trafford.

WATCH LIVE: U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals Wed. night

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The 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open is back, with all four quarterfinal matchups set for Wednesday night.

[ MORE: USWNT names veteran team for Tournament of Nations ]

It’s a mixed bag of haves and have-nots from the 2018 MLS regular season still alive in the competition. Current holders Sporting Kansas City are still alive and have been drawn away to the Houston Dynamo (8:30 p.m. ET), in something of a grudge match for Houston after coughing up a 2-0 lead and losing to Sporting KC 3-2 last month.

Los Angeles FC host Portland Timbers (10:30 p.m. ET) in a rematch of Sunday’s league clash at Banc of California Stadium (a 0-0 draw). Philadelphia Union and Orlando City SC open the night’s action at Talen Energy Stadium (7 p.m. ET), followed by Chicago Fire taking on the only remaining lower-division team still in the competition, Louisville City (7:30 p.m. ET).

All games will be streamed live on ussoccer.com, direct links below.

STREAMS

Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC — WATCH
Chicago Fire vs. Louisville City — WATCH
Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City — WATCH
Los Angeles FC vs. Portland Timbers — WATCH

Miami City Commission sends Beckham stadium to Nov. ballot

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David Beckham and his business partners, the Mas brothers, are one top closer to securing the stadium deal required to bring an MLS expansion franchise to the city of Miami — maybe, but also maybe not.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup: Pogba wants Juve move, Grealish to Spurs? ]

The Miami City Commission voted on Wednesday to place a referendum on the November ballot, paving the way for Beckham and Co.’s privately-funded complex on city land currently occupied by a golf course. The final vote tally was 3-2 in favor of sending the issue to ballot. A previous Commission session was conducted, and ended, last week without a final vote taking place as the fifth and final member had yet to make up his mind.

Beckham and partners used the last week, between Commission meetings, to put a full-court press on Miami’s general public, local media and the last remaining member of the Commission.

[ MORE: PHOTOS: 2018-19 Premier League jerseys ]

The key, and most contentious, part of the proposal is (at least) $35 million worth of toxic waste which must be removed from the site. That number could very easily double or triple once clean-up begins, and Beckham’s group would be on the hook for the total cost.

The proposed stadium would seat roughly 25,000 fans and would be just one part of the 58-acre park which will also include retail, restaurants and hotels.

Sarri hopes to convince Hazard, Courtois in face-to-face meeting

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The coming days and weeks will be immensely tense times for players, coaches, directors and fans of Chelsea alike — but, for no one more so than new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, who faces the very real prospect of losing arguably his two best players before managing his first game at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup: Pogba wants Juve move, Grealish to Spurs? ]

Forward Eden Hazard has made it pretty clear he’d prefer a move to his yet-unnamed “preferred destination,” and goalkeeper Thibut Courtois has said he’d like to continue playing with Hazard, either in west London or elsewhere. Sarri hopes he’ll have a chance to persuade the Belgian duo to stay another year, or longer, but he doesn’t plan on doing so until they return from their offseason breaks, at which point he can meet with them face to face — quotes from the Guardian:

“Clearly the players you are referring to are very high-level players and I would like to keep them. But a telephone call without looking them in the eye will not give me any certainty.

“I would like to meet these players face to face and talk to them and understand what the best thing is for everyone to do. Before that I would also like a player to come on the pitch for four or five days with me to have a clear idea of what the plan is.”

Given that the Premier League’s transfer window will close before the upcoming season’s opening weekend (Aug. 9), the period of time during which Hazard and Courtois will be available to meet with Sarri, and the amount of time to reinvest and replenish the squad should they leave, will be an extremely narrow window. After finishing third-place at the 2018 World Cup, they could very easily be away until the final 48 or 72 hours of the window.