Leicester 2-2 Man United: Foxes rob Red Devils late

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  • Mahrez-to-Vardy flashbacks to 2015-16
  • Mata brings United level before HT
  • Mata’s free kick makes it 2-1
  • Maguire steals a point in 94′

Manchester United fell a goal behind early, came back to within seconds beat Leicester City courtesy of two goals scored by Juan Mata, but were punished for not putting the game beyond reach and ultimately dropped two points on Saturday at the King Power Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The result sees Jose Mourinho’s second-place side fall to 13 points off the pace of runaway league leaders Manchester City, who won in convincing fashion (again) on Saturday.

The game’s opening goal, scored by the Foxes in the 27th minutes, was as on-brand as any goal in PL history. Demarai Gray sent Riyad Mahrez through into acres of open field with a long diagonal ball over the top. Mahrez ran onto it, raced to the top of the 18-yard box, held up play very briefly and slotted the perfect through ball for Jamie Vardy to slide past David De Gea first-time.

Thus, Vardy’s 50th PL goal adds to his sublime scoring record against the league’s top-six sides.

Leicester’s lead wouldn’t quite survive until halftime, though, as Juan Mata drew the Red Devils level in the 40th minute. He needed a bit of good fortune — and perhaps the slightest of deflections — to squeeze his left-footed effort between two Leicester defenders and tuck it just inside Kasper Schmeichel‘s left-hand post, and he got it.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The second half’s opening 10 minutes began in frantic fashion, as each side failed to convert a golden opportunity on opposite ends of the field within 30 seconds of one another.

Christian Fuchs had a nearly open-net chance before Victor Lindelof scrambled across the face of goal to get in the way and make the block. United immediately raced down the other end of the field, where Romelu Lukaku picked out Anthony Martial with a perfectly-placed ball toward the penalty spot, but the Frenchman blazed his shot over the crossbar, and both sides came up empty.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

United wouldn’t wait long for another scoring chance, though the degree of difficulty would be far greater than Martial’s miss moments earlier. Mata delicately lifted his free kick over the leaping wall from the edge of the box. Schmeichel didn’t react until three-quarters of the way through the ball’s flight, at which point he had no chance of making the save.

Lukaku turned playmaker once again int he 72nd minute, when he slotted another through ball into a dangerous area, this time for Jesse Lingard. The hard part had been done already — Lingard rounded Schmeichel with ease — but the post denied what appeared a surefire goal to hand United a two-goal lead.

Daniel Amartey earned himself a pair of yellow cards just 17 minutes apart after coming on just before the hour mark, reducing Leicester to 10 men. Marcus Rashford let another open-net chance get away from United, as he stumbled over his own feet and hit the ground after rounding Schmeichel himself, and United were made to pay for not putting the game to bed.

Marc Albrighton lofted a hopeful ball into a dangerous spot inside the six-yard box, and Harry Maguire slid in at the back post to poke it past De Gea in the 94th minute, with what appeared to be fewer than 20 seconds of stoppage time remaining.

Man City’s attempt to block UEFA investigation denied in court

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MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) Manchester City lost its attempt Friday to block an investigation into allegations it deceived UEFA while violating rules that monitor soccer club finances.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that City’s appeal against UEFA’s handling of the investigation was inadmissible. The two-time defending Premier League champions tried to stop UEFA’s club finance panel from handling a referral by investigators to impose a punishment.

“At CAS we can only hear appeals against final decisions,” said Matthieu Reeb, the court’s secretary general.

UEFA investigators had called for a severe penalty — that City be excluded from the Champions League for one season.

The file will now proceed to UEFA’s club finance judges. Any sanction they impose can also be challenged at CAS.

The latest UEFA investigation started after leaks of City’s internal correspondence and documents to German news outlet Der Spiegel last year.

The leaks implied City deceived UEFA for several years, including by hiding information that revenue from potentially overvalued commercial deals came from the club’s owners in Abu Dhabi to curb losses.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

City has never disputed the authenticity of the documents.

“There was absolutely no examination of the merits,” Reeb said of the three-judge panel’s ruling. “We cannot say whether the decision of the alleged breach of financial fair play rules are real or not.”

Friday’s ruling extends a long-standing conflict between City and UEFA in the era of “Financial Fair Play” rules which began in 2009 after consultation with clubs. The project was intended to protect clubs from reckless overspending.

UEFA rules limit cash injections from wealthy owners, which critics say penalize emerging clubs with big ambitions. Commercial deals such as shirt sponsorships that are suspected of being inflated are also assessed for the fair market rate.

City was deducted $22 million of Champions League prize money by UEFA in 2014 in the first round of FFP judgments.

Report: Bruce hopes to bring Xhaka to Newcastle in January

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Steve Bruce has prioritized a loan move to bring Granit Xhaka to Newcastle United in January, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

Xhaka, now the former captain of Arsenal after his recent confrontation with the club’s fans, is expected to leave Arsenal in January and Bruce hopes that Fabian Schar, a longtime teammate of Xhaka with the Swiss international team, will be able to persuade the 27-year-old midfielder to choose the Magpies over what will surely be a long list of clubs desperate to acquire his services.

According to the report, a number of clubs in Italy have already expressed an interest in signing Xhaka — whether or loan or permanently — therefore Bruce and Co., are likely to face plenty of competition. However, the chance to remain in the Premier League and prove his detractors — many of them Arsenal fans — wrong could be appealing to Xhaka.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

Xhaka, who is not currently injured, hasn’t made an appearance for Arsenal since the incident occurred late last month. Schar recently said that he “can’t wait to give [Xhaka] a hug” next time the two players see each other.

VIDEO: Each PL team’s best and worst player of October

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PST’s Joe Prince-Wright looks at the best (and worst) player of October for each Premier League team as the league enters its final international break of 2019.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

With Liverpool and Leicester City flying high, picking the Reds’ or Foxes’ best player presented plenty of worthy candidates. As for terribly underperforming sides like Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Southampton, it was a challenge for the opposite reason, though JPW wasn’t short on options when it came to worst performers.

Hit Play on the above video to see who graded out well — and not so well — for your club, and feel free to agree or disagree all you want in the comments below.

Unhappy in Madrid, Bale ‘more excited’ to play for Wales

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Thanks to the ongoing FIFA-mandated international break, life is currently pretty good for Gareth Bale, who says he “definitely have a bit more excitement playing for Wales” compared to when he’s playing — or not playing — for his club, Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Sterling backs Gomez after boos were heard at Wembley ]

Bale confirmed on Friday what the entire world has known for a couple of years now: that he’s thoroughly unhappy at not being allowed to leave Madrid this summer; that he never truly adapted to his home since the summer of 2013; and that his on-field performance has suffered for those reasons, as well as his extensive injury history — quotes from the BBC:

“With Wales, I’m speaking my own language and feeling more comfortable. I definitely have a bit more excitement playing for Wales.

“I’ve been with most of the players, especially the older ones, since we were in the Under-17s. It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday.

“But it still doesn’t change what I give on the pitch. I always give 100 percent wherever I am, and that’s what I always strive to do.”

As for how Bale has been painted by the Spanish media, he says he only pays attention to the negative coverage when his friends since him “funny pictures or whatever they write,” but it’s clear he feels like an outsider and that’s a key reason he was so keen to leave the club and country when a(n even more) mega-money offer came from China this summer.

“I’ve heard some stories but I don’t really take notice. My friends tend to send me some funny pictures or whatever they write.

“I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me. On one, it said ‘triple bogey’ and I’ve never had a triple bogey. At least give me an albatross! It’s funny.”

Unfortunately for Bale, he’ll have to continue playing nice with manager Zinedine Zidane, until January at least.