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Swansea 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday: Ayew in right place, right time

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A sixth Premier League side is through to the FA Cup quarterfinals, after the latest team prevented another lower-level side from advancing.

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Swansea City progressed on Tuesday after picking up a 2-0 win over Championship club Sheffield Wednesday at the Liberty Stadium.

Second-half substitute Jordan Ayew broke the dealock for the Swans, scoring just 10 minutes after entering the pitch for the Premier League side.

Ayew finished off a close-range attempt in the 55th minute, after Tom Carroll was unlucky not to score just prior when he struck both posts with a venomous strike from long distance.

Then, Nathan Dyer doubled the lead with a tidy finish under 15 minutes remaining in regulation to help secure a place in the next round.

The hosts began to face a great deal of pressure in the 29th minute, when two good attempts for Sheffield came in that tested goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt.

The Swans shot-stopper made a brilliant save to his right after a scorching left-footed shot from Jacob Butterfield at the top of the box, before a follow-up attempt was pushed aside for a corner kick by the keeper.

Nordefeldt was tested once again in the 35th minute when Lucas João tried a curling effort off of a Sheffield counterattack. However, the goalkeeper was game to make the save yet again, denying the Championship side.

Swansea’s best chance of the opening stanza came four minutes later after Ki Sung-Yeung drove a low, powerful shot towards the left post, but missed just wide of the target.

[ MORE: Ranking the candidates to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal ]

The Premier Leaguers will now join Wigan, Southampton, Brighton, Manchester United, Leicester and Chelsea in the quarterfinals. The winner of Tottenham and Rochdale’s replay on Wednesday will decide who the Swans face in the final eight.

Nothing to separate Portland and 10-man LAFC

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There was entertainment value in Los Angeles FC’s potential playoff preview with the Portland Timbers on Sunday in the City of Angels, but all that arrived was a scoreless draw.

[ MORE: Atlanta 1-1 Seattle ]

Both Giovani Savarese’s Timbers and Bob Bradley‘s nickname-free expansion club remain in the West’s Top Four. PLAFC remains unbeaten at home during their maiden voyage through Major League Soccer.

Adama Diomande came close for the hosts, who finished with 10-men when Lee Nguyen went studs-up on Sebastian Blanco‘s thigh for a pretty easy red card (though it took some time for Silviu Petrescu to produce the red).

VIDEO: France stars projected onto Arc de Triomphe

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If France’s players had any doubt about the level of import their World Cup title had back home, it was erased when their photos were projected onto one of the most celebrated monuments in the world.

The photos of Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, and company made their way onto the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, hours after France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The Arc de Triomphe honors those who died in the French Revolution and early 19th century wars, and sits above France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

How humbling must it be for those players to grace such a heavy monument (both in weight and substance).

Dalic: In one day, Croatia went from lucky to unlucky

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Ante Cacic’s Croatia was on pace to miss out on the World Cup.

Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia rallied the troops to second place in their qualifying group, a playoff defeat of Greece, and a run to the World Cup Final.

Pretty decent stuff.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

And surely the 51-year-old will reflect on that, probably even this evening, but he’s more focused on a letdown after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to highly-favored France.

Key to the match was a penalty awarded to France when a partially-obscured Mario Mandzukic handled a ball inside the 18, leading to Antoine Griezmann’s pivotal goal.

The PK was awarded via VAR, and France went up 2-1 en route to a three-goal lead. From the AFP:

“I never comment on referees but in a World Cup final you do not give such a penalty,” said Dalic.

“It in no way diminishes France’s win. We were a bit unlucky. Maybe in the first six games we were favored by luck and today we weren’t.

“I have to congratulate my players. Maybe today we played our best game at these championships. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we must also be proud of what we’ve done.”

Croatia had two-thirds of the ball and doubled France’s shot attempts, and Dalic isn’t the least bit controversial in wondering whether the match is much different if that penalty goes unawarded by referee Nestor Pitana.

Atlanta comes back to draw 10-man Seattle (video)

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A scrappy if not downright venomous affair between the lowly Seattle Sounders and high-flying Atlanta United ended in a 1-1 draw in Georgia on Sunday.

The Sounders went ahead through a Nicolas Lodeiro penalty kick, awarded via VAR a la this morning’s World Cup Final, but Atlanta leveled the score with a highlight which show every bit of the game story.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Just check Josef Martinez’s barking at Stefan Frei, who made an uncharacteristic error on the play, after his 19th goal of the season (Nice cross, Julian Gressel).

Martinez needs nine more goals to break the MLS single season record, and he has 13 games to score them.

Jordan McCrary was sent off for Seattle in the 63rd minute for a second yellow, but Seattle navigated the final half hour or so to scoop up an unlikely point.

Atlanta still sits first with its earned point but opens the door for New York City FC to reach the top of the table when it plays its match-in-hand, while Seattle is now 11 points back of the West’s final playoff spot.