Top 10 moments: Man City’s PL title-winning season

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Though Manchester City clinched the 2017-18 Premier League title on Sunday, thanks to Manchester United’s 1-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion, Pep Guardiola‘s squad still strives to reach the 100-point mark before season’s end.

[ MORE: PST’s latest coverage of Man City’s title win ]

While their quest to be dubbed the best PL side of all time will continue next weekend, we stop to appreciate and relive the top 10 moments of their title-winning season (so far)…

10. 96′ vs. Bournemouth — Aug. 26 — Sterling’s late winner — Raheem Sterling scoring late, game-winning goals (all in the 84th minute or later) would become a recurring theme of the first half of the season.

9. 84′ vs. Huddersfield — Nov. 26 — Sterling does it again

8. 95′ vs. Southampton — Nov. 29 — Sterling, again… again

[ MORE: Ranking the impact of each City player this season ]

7. 16-0 in back-to-back-to-back weeks — Sept. 9-Sept.23 — An unstoppable force — Liverpool (more on that game a little later), Watford and Crystal Palace were on the wrong end of City’s most dominant, ruthless run of a the season: a three-game stretch which saw them soar by a combined score of 16-0 (it would then be extended to 24-2 over the three ensuing games, thanks in large part to a 7-2 thrashing of Stoke City three weeks later).

6. Newcastle United 0-1 Man City — Dec. 27 — 18 straight wins — City’s PL-record 18-game winning streak began on Aug. 26 and didn’t end until New Year’s Eve (a span of 127 day before points dropped). The unbeaten start would go on another two weeks before ending at 22 games with a thrilling defeat away to Liverpool two weeks into the new year.

[ MORE: Twitter reacts to City winning Premier League title ]

5. Chelsea 0-1 Man City — Sept. 30 — Title credentials established — Ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge, City entered the weekend top of the table but level on points with Man United and only three ahead of their Week 7 foes, Chelsea. The overall performance was utterly dominant (17 shots to 4; 6 on target to 2), but the result remained in doubt for more than an hour, until Kevin De Bruyne bagged the game’s only goal, a fantastic solo effort, in the 67 minute.

4. Tottenham 1-3 Man City — April 14 — The final win — In total control from the first to final whistles, City breezed past Tottenham to move to within three points of the title.

3. Man United 1-2 Man City — Dec. 10 — Derby delight at Old Trafford — Winning away in the Manchester derby would have been the defining moment of City’s season in years and decades gone by. Now, it’s little more than a footnote in a throughly brilliant season.

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to United’s loss, City’s title win ]

2. Man United 0-1 West Brom — April 15 — Friendly neighbors — A day after beating Tottenham, and a week after blowing a 2-0 lead against their neighbors in red (for just their second loss of the season), all Man United need was a point against last-place and all-but-relegated West Bromwich Albion, but Jose Mourinho’s men fell flat on their face. Thus, City were officially champions.

1. Man City 5-0 Liverpool — Sept. 9 — Destruction of the Reds — Liverpool looked like genuine title contenders through their first three games (the trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino had just combined to thrash Arsenal to the tune of 4-0 one game earlier, and Philippe Coutinho was yet to even make his 2017-18 debut), but the Reds’ trip to the Etihad Stadium brought about an entirely different reality: City were of another universe entirely. They did it against 10 men following Mane’s early sending-off for a boot to the face of Ederson, but they were never more ruthless than that day in early September.

Serie A roundup: Napoli falls to Parma in debut for Gattuso (video)

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Napoli’s last-minute loss to Parma in Gennaro Gattuso’s debut highlights Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Napoli 1-2 Parma

Napoli remains in a dark place as Gennaro Gattuso debut with Gli Azzurri ended in a last-minute 2-1 loss to Parma.

The defeat marks eight consecutive games without a win in Serie A play for Napoli, who dismissed Carlo Ancelotti earlier this week despite punching a ticket in the last 16 of the Champions League after a win over Genk.

After their fifth loss of the season, Napoli are currently eighth on the table with 21 points, seven behind sixth-placed Atalanta and 17 behind league leaders Inter Milan.

 

 

In the third minute of stoppage time, Gervinho – experienced as anyone else in tightly-contested situations – received a simple pass from Dejan Kulusevski, carefully striking it into the back of the net inside the six-yard box. The 32-year-old Ivorian has five goals in Serie A this season, and Saturday’s was his most important yet. 

For Gattuso (and hopeful Napoli supporters), Saturday was the antithesis of dreamy start, but with time and a change of mentality the situation may change.

“I don’t believe in bad luck. Right now we’re not good mentally,” the 41-year-old manager said following the match. “The team is paying for the fact that it has not won (in the league) for 50 or more days.”

“The first 10 minutes also prove it,” he added. “It’s tough as are the whistles of the fans. There’s a lot of work to do.”

The home side recorded 33 shots throughout the night, but Parma proved to be more clinical, scoring at death and opening the scoresheet just four minutes in. In the 64th minute, Napoli were able to get one go their way, as Dreis Merten’s lofting cross with force was headed home by Arkadiusz Milik. 

Gattuso and his men will be tested once as they travel to Sassuolo in a weeks time, while Parma look to trim their four-point gap with Atalanta when they host Brescia.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Brescia 3-0 Lecce

Genoa 0-1 Sampdoria

Hertha’s under-16s stop playing after alleged racist abuse

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BERLIN (AP) Hertha Berlin’s under-16 team stopped playing a game at regional rival Auerbach after its players were allegedly subjected to racist abuse from their opponents on Saturday.

The Bundesliga club says in a statement on its website that “several players from our team were racially abused by their opposing players.”

Hertha officials informed the referee of the alleged abuse and decided to stop playing in the 68th minute while leading 2-0 “because we as Hertha BSC condemn racism and discrimination in every form,” the club said.

Hertha executive board member Paul Keuter called it “the only correct decision, not to continue with the game.”

On Twitter, the club said: “There are times when football doesn’t come first. Racism has no place in our society.”

Hertha under-23 player Jessic Ngankam said he was targeted with monkey chants and called an “ape” by an opposing player during his side’s fourth division game against Lokomotive Leipzig on Dec. 6.

“Insults are unfortunately an everyday occurrence in football, and I can put up with them. But racist abuse is a no-go,” the 19-year-old Ngankam told broadcaster MDR.

Both Hertha and Lokomotive condemned the alleged abuse.

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

Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

La Liga roundup: Sociedad hold leaders Barcelona to draw (video)

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A stunning draw from top-of-the-table Barcelona highlight La Liga’s Saturday action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Real Sociedad 2-2 Barcelona

If Real Madrid manages to walk away from Mestalla with three points, they’ll dethrone nemesis Barcelona and become clear-cut leaders of La Liga.

Just days before El Clasico itself, a rare 2-2 draw from Barcelona against hosts Real Sociedad is the reason behind Los Blancos’ prime opportunity.

 

Former Borussia Dortmund starlet Alexander Isak tapped in his fourth goal of the season in the 62nd minute, leveling the score for Sociedad and sending the home fans into a frenzy.

In true Barcelona fashion, Real Sociedad, ironically hit the ground running first. 

After earning a foul inside the box from a corner kick set piece, Reala captain Mikel Oyarzabal converted from the spot, putting Sociedad, who have exceeded expectations this season under first-year manager Imanol Alguacil, up against the defending champions. 

It wouldn’t take long before the visitors responded, however.

A familiar face and experienced goalscorer at Anoeta, it was the ideal scenario for Antoine Griezmann to shake off some pressure that has been a key talking point surrounding the Frenchman lately. Darting inside the box with only Alex Remiro to beat, No. 17 – like in the old days – carefully chipped the ball over Remiro and into the back of the net the ball wandered. 

If the second half indicated anything early on it was that it was going to be difficult for Barcelona to drop points on Saturday. Unselfish as ever before, Lionel Messi laid off the ball to an unmarked Luis Suarez, who his team up 2-1 four minutes into the second half.

A lack of control of possession and, most notably, an unstable defensive line, would end up costing Barcelona two points.

Next for Barcelona is the game of the season: a league bout against Real Madrid on Wednesday, while Real Sociedad travel to Becerril in the second round of Copa del Rey. 

Elsewhere in La Liga

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Osasuna

Granada 1-2 Levante

Atheltic Bilbao 0-0 Eibar

South Florida officials seeking more international soccer

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) More than two dozen political leaders in South Florida have written letters to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s board of directors, urging them to allow top-tier international matches to take place in the Miami region.

Relevent Sports, the soccer-promoting group owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, filed suit against the USSF earlier this year saying that the sport’s governing body in this country was helping to prevent them from hosting certain matches.

The letters were released Friday to media outlets, including The Associated Press.

The USSF did not respond to a request for comment.

Ross’ group and top Spanish league La Liga have been working for some time to bring a regular-season match to Hard Rock Stadium, the facility Ross owns and is the Dolphins’ home.

The politicians – ranging from city mayors, county mayors, county commissioners and one state Senator – all essentially said the same thing, that bringing major international soccer to South Florida only will help the region’s tourist-dependent economy.

“Doing so will demonstrate a genuine commitment to our communities and the growth of the game, which you, as the United States Soccer Federation, are charged with promoting,” wrote Dean Trantalis, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale. That’s the city where David Beckham’s new MLS team, Inter Miami, will begin play next March.