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West Ham, Barnsley red cards contest for stupider sending off

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There must be something in the air over England this Saturday morning, because a pair of players have put their teams in disadvantageous positions thanks to nothing other than sheer stupidity.

First, in FA Cup action, Premier League side West Ham was already trailing League One leaders Wigan 1-0 at DW Stadium when Arthur Masuaku lost his head. Nick Powell and Masuaku come together, but there was hardly anything in it until the 24-year-old left-back decided to spit on the Wigan midfielder.

It was a completely mindless act, and one well spotted by the officials, who immediately produced a red card, sending Masuaku off and leaving the Premier League side with an even bigger mountain to climb in order to avoid the upset.

Wigan would eventually go 2-0 up on a penalty given for a handball on Reece Burke, a poor call but also deserved by Wigan who bossed the match after going a man up.

Elsewhere, in Championship play, promotion hopefuls Fulham were down 1-0 on the road at struggling Barnsley after an incredibly poor first half. Just before the break, Barnsley right-back Dimitri Cavare was fouled by Stefan Johansen. The referee tried to play advantage, but with Cavare’s eventual pass dragging wayward, he blew his whistle and pulled back the foul. Johansen got up and had some words with another Barnsley player, and Cavare came up from behind him and shoved Johansen hard in the back, straight into the other player, and more importantly, directly in front of the referee.

Fulham had been awful the entire first half, and after going a man up, they came out of the intermission energized and grabbed the equalizer just four minutes after the break through young Ryan Sessegnon.

What’s gotten into these players? Nothing makes a manager seethe more than a player doing something needless to put the team at a serious disadvantage the rest of the match. Which act was dumber?

US investors take over Spanish 2nd-division club Reus

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MADRID (AP) American investors are taking over Spanish second-division club Reus, keeping it from being dissolved and dropped from the league.

The club says real estate investment bankers Russell Platt and Clifton Onolfo have purchased 99.7 percent of Reus’ shares.

[ MORE: Barca signs Prince-Boateng ]

Financial details were not immediately released, but local media say the club’s debt has reached 5 million euros ($5.7 million).

The statement by Reus on Monday says the new group plans to build an 18,000-capacity stadium and an entertainment complex.

The club says Platt was a founder of Morgan Stanley Real Estate, while Onolfo was a former owner of the Connecticut Wolves, a team which used to play in the United Soccer League.

The takeover will allow Reus to keep playing in the second division and avoid the immediate risk of extinction. Last month, players demanded out of their contracts because they hadn’t been paid in months.

The new owners will have to show the club from near Barcelona is in compliance with rules by the Spanish league and other stakeholders.

Reus’ match against Las Palmas on Saturday was suspended because of the team’s situation.

The Catalan club is 20th in the 22-team second-division standings.

Among the players affected by Reus’ situation was young United States defender Shaq Moore, who was playing on a loan from Levante. He returned to Levante this month.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Juve wins again, AC Milan cruises while waiting on Higuain replacement

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Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty, but that didn’t stop Juventus from taking another step toward another scudetto.

Paulo Dybala assisted two goals as Juve kept its unbeaten Serie A season in tact with a 3-0 win over Chievo Verona on Monday.

[ MORE: Barca signs Prince-Boateng ]

Douglas Costa, Emre Can, and Daniele Rugani scored as Juventus stayed nine points clear of second place Napoli.

It was one of two Serie A matches on Monday, with AC Milan winning the other to pull back ahead of AS Roma and into fourth place.

Suso and Fabio Borini netted as Milan won 2-0 at Genoa with Gonzalo Higuain out of the 18 ahead of a reported move to Chelsea. Higuain is reportedly waiting for Milan to find his replacement, and the club hopes it’ll be Krzysztof Piatek.

Genoa’s general director Giorgio Perinetti has told Italian radio a meeting over Poland international Piatek, 23, will take place after today’s game and a conclusion is expected one way or another within 48 hours.

Both Juve and Milan face tests next weekend, with the leaders off to Lazio and Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan tangling with Napoli at the San Siro.

Bojan Krkic again linked with move to Major League Soccer

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Bojan Krkic‘s disappointing 2018-19 season may be switching venues.

Stoke City’s Spanish 28-year-old has started just three matches in the Championship this season, scoring one goal amongst his 13 appearances.

[ MORE: Barca signs Prince-Boateng ]

Multiple reports say that the New England Revolution is actively pursuing a big money contract for Bojan, a reported target of Brad Friedel‘s since the summer.

Last season was also a poor one for Bojan, who did not score on loan at Alaves in La Liga.

Bojan is three seasons removed from scoring seven times for Stoke City in the Premier League, and produced similar numbers earlier in his career at Barcelona and Roma.

The move represents a significant risk for the penny-pinching Revs. While his pedigree suggests he’d be a sure thing for success in Major League Soccer, his recent struggles say otherwise.

Prince-Boateng seals surprise loan move to Barcelona

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Kevin Prince-Boateng is moving from Sassuolo to Barcelona on loan with an option to buy for the Catalan giants.

The move is a big surprise, bringing the well-traveled 31-year-old midfielder to his 10th club.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Prince-Boateng has four goals and two assists in 13 Serie A appearances for Sassuolo, and has 15 caps for Ghana (though he has not represented the Black Stars since their scandalous 2014 World Cup).

He’ll have plenty of chances to impress Ernesto Valverde in the next few weeks, with Luis Suarez the only other true center forward on the roster. Valverde has used Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele, or Munir El Haddadi in that role when Suarez has been unavailable.

He has spent two stints at AC Milan, as well as time with Schalke, Borussia Dortmund, Las Palmas, Eintracht Frankfurt, Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur, and Hertha Berlin.