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Tottenham 6-1 Rochdale: Llorente hat-trick overrides VAR decisions

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Snow, VAR outrage and plenty of goals were the main attraction during Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth round replay at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur avoided any upset discussions with a 6-1 victory over Rochdale, despite the Premier League facing some shaky moments due to unfavorable VAR decisions in the first half.

[ MORE: PSG confirms Neymar will have surgery on injured ankle/foot ]

The match flipped in favor of Spurs just a minute into the second stanza though, when Fernando Llorente’s perfectly-timed run finished off with a lobbed finish over goalkeeper Josh Lillis.

Llorente quickly secured a hat-trick within 14 minutes, and capped off his day with his third goal in the 59th minute from a tap-in header.

Stephen Humphrys had equalized just beyond the half hour mark in a stunning turn of events for the visitors, after the striker finished off a through ball from Andrew Cannon.

Cannon nearly gave Rochdale the lead on the stroke of halftime when his low shot struck the post in the 45th minute.

Tottenham took a 1-0 lead on 23 minutes when Heung-Min Son cut in on his right foot and blasted a shot into the far corner beating Lillis.

A penalty decision four minutes later resulted in a second Spurs goal from Son, however, referee Paul Tierney ruled the spot kick off when the South Korean kick taker stuttered during his penalty attempt.

Son was shown a yellow card for the infraction, and the goal was ruled off.

The agile attacker would add another goal in the second half though when he scored Tottenham’s fifth.

Erik Lamela thought he had put Spurs ahead in the sixth minute, however, a controversial VAR decision ruled the goal off despite confusion that ensued throughout Wembley Stadium.

The hosts were furious once again in the 20th minute when Lucas Moura went down inside the Rochdale penalty area. However, the referee opted to play on, despite VAR reviewing the play once again.

Lamela was denied an opportunity to score once again in the 73rd minute, when the Argentine struck the post.

Second-half substitute Kyle Walker-Peters capped off the scoring for the London side with a goal in stoppage time to make it 6-1.

Tottenham will now move on to face Swansea City in the sixth round, as seven PL clubs remain in this season’s FA Cup.

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.