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.

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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.

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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.

LAFC’s Adama Diomande voluntarily enters MLS’s health program

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Los Angeles FC forward Adama Diomande has entered Major League Soccer’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.

[ Premier League Previews: Leicester City v. Tottenham | Man City v. Watford ]

MLS announced Diomande’s voluntary decision Friday.

Diomande won’t play for LAFC at least until the program’s doctors complete their evaluation and he is cleared by program officials.

The 29-year-old Norwegian scorer has eight goals and seven assists in 25 appearances this season, including 15 starts. He has played a valuable complementary offensive role alongside MLS scoring leader Carlos Vela.

[ MORE: Report: Netherlands FA to meet with Sergiño Dest ]

Diomande is in his second MLS season after joining LAFC from Hull City. He also previously played under LAFC coach Bob Bradley in Norway.

LAFC (19-4-7) has clinched the Western Conference title, and it leads the overall MLS table by seven points despite a four-game winless streak.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle v. Brighton

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  • Early-season relegation battlers meet on Saturday
  • 18th-place Newcastle to host 16th-place Brighton
  • Brighton won at Newcastle, drew at home last season

Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion, a pair of Premier League sides with just two wins from the first five weeks of the season between them, will meet at St. James’ Park on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) for what could prove to be a retrospective relegation six-pointer when May rolls around.

Each side replaced its manager — Steve Bruce for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle; Graham Potter for Chris Hughton at Bright — in the summer and neither of the new bosses has had a particularly enjoyable start to the 2019-20 campaign. Brighton won on the opening day of the season, but have taken just two points from the following four games. Newcastle lost their first two games, won their third, and have drawn and lost again since. It’s the kind of form that’ll see both sides stuck in the high-teens of the PL table if they don’t find their footing in the coming weeks.

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Things are particularly worrying for Newcastle, who didn’t they’d be without Benitez until the end of June and didn’t appoint Bruce until mid-July. Key players had already left the club and reinforcements for few and far between. Forward Joelinton joined for $50 million and is one of four players with a single goal scored thus far.

Last week was nearly fruitful for the Seagulls, until the conceded a stoppage-time equalizer and settle for a point at home against Burnley. Summer signing Neal Maupay bagged his second goal for Brighton earlier in the game, giving Potter a potential trump card over a handful of other relegation-threatened sides without a consistent goalscorer.

Injuries/suspensions

Newcastle: OUT – Matt Ritchie (ankle), Florian Lejeune (knee), Dwight Gayle (calf); QUESTIONABLE – DeAndre Yedlin (groin)

Brighton: OUT – Leandro Trossard (groin), Jose Izquierdo (knee), Ezequiel Schelotto (knee)


Projected lineups

Newcastle: Dubravka – Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems – Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu – Joelinton

Brighton: Ryan – Duffy, Dunk, Webster – March, Stephens, Propper, Burn – Gross, Maupay, Murray


What they’re saying

Joelinton, on Andy Carroll: “It’s always great to have experienced players in the group, and he’s one of them. He can help the club, he can help the young players. Andy Carroll has scored a lot of goals in the Premier League, and it’s great to be playing alongside him. He’s a calm guy. I still haven’t spoken to him a lot because my English isn’t great! But every day he’s trying to help. He’ll help me before the games, he’ll give me positional advice and suggest what I’ve done both good and bad.”

Graham Potter, on the trip to Newcastle: “Newcastle away is a tough game just like all the others. We don’t target particular matches — it’s about what we need to do to get a positive result. They have an experienced manager who I came across last year and he’s someone I have a lot of respect for. They have good quality players and we know it can be a hostile environment, it’s a big club and we know we have to play well to get something.  Steve has a lot of games under his belt – he’s had a lot of success and he’ll understand the challenge that lies ahead.


Prediction

Newcastle haven’t scored multiple goals in a game yet this season, and they’ve conceded twice as many as they’ve scored (four). It’s hard to trust them to be anything resembling consistent from game to game. It wouldn’t be surprising if they battled to a boring 0-0 draw, or conceding three times before halftime. It’ll probably be closer to the former, a 1-1 stalemate.

AC Milan announces internal anti-racism task force

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MILAN (AP) AC Milan has announced it will establish an internal task force to address racism in Italian football.

[ Premier League Previews: Leicester City v. Tottenham | Man City v. Watford ]

The club says the task force will be supported by “an external consultancy” and “develop a program of activities to increase awareness, monitor and address racist behavior on social media and in the stadium, and drive the adoption of global best practices on diversity and inclusion.”

The move comes after reports of racist chants directed at Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who is black, during a match at Hellas Verona last weekend.

Milan says the anti-racism initiative will be launched during Saturday’s derby against Inter Milan.

[ MORE: Premier League TV, streaming schedule ]

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was subjected to racist chants in a match at Cagliari this month.

Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis, who is South African, says: “Italian football needs to wake up and take a strong stance against racist behaviors. AC Milan will take a leadership position on this issue. . We believe that we have a moral obligation to do everything we can to address this issue.”

Slow start dooms Southampton again: ‘We lost the game in first half’

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Slow starts are, ironically, quickly becoming the story of Southampton’s Premier League season. It happened again on Friday, resulting in a 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth in the Premier League‘s budding south coast rivalry

[ Premier League Previews: Leicester City v. Tottenham | Man City v. Watford ]

Through six games, Saints have conceded the first goal four times. In those four games, they have taken just one point. When scoring the game’s first goal, they have two wins and two clean sheets.

It would appear that Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side is set up to play one way, and one way only. Speaking after Friday’s defeat, Hasenhuttl lamented his side’s slow start, conceding that the game was all but lost when they fell 2-0 behind in the 35 minutes — quotes from the BBC:

“The finish was not important anymore. If you lose 2-1 or 3-1 it does not make too much difference. We lost the game in the first half.

“In the second half, we were sharp. Had about 26 shots to six from Bournemouth but the most important stat is the goals. They scored three, we scored once.

“We weren’t aggressive enough and too easy in the first half. It is not easy to be 1-0 down after 10 minutes. We had a lot of blocked shots and misses near the post. It was a good performance in the second half but without a result.

“For the second goal was had a lot of players in our attacking box so it was not easy to defend.

“We showed a good reaction because we knew we needed to be brave. We changed our shape and were aggressive for the second ball. It gave us 64% possession and we had a lot of shots. Maybe we didn’t deserve to take something because of our first half.”

Southampton’s next chance to start a game quickly will come in an away bout with Tottenham Hotspur next Saturday.