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Europa League: Burnley, Rangers, Leipzig all advance

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Burnely advanced in Europa League in extra time thanks to a bullet header from former Swansea and Southampton midfielder Jack Cork.

The 29-year-old put Burnley 2-1 over Scottish club Aberdeen up on the day in the 101st minute, and Ashley Barnes finished it off from the penalty spot in the 114th minute. Cork’s goal gave the Clarets a 3-2 advantage on aggregate, and the Barnes spot-kick rounded out the final aggregate scoreline at 4-2, enough to send the side through after a 1-1 draw on the road in the first leg. Chris Wood had put Burnley up in the sixth minute of the match, but Aberdeen equalized Lewis Ferguson in the 27th minute.

The victory moves Burnley on to the Third Qualifying round of the Europa League, where they will face Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir on August 9 and 16.

Fellow Scottish club Rangers held on for a 2-1 aggregate victory over Croatian club NK Osijek, with a 1-1 draw on the day. Rangers ironically went in front through Croatian defender Nikola Katic in the 53rd minute, and it looked like they would go through easily before Borna Barisic equalized in the 89th minute.

Notably, Scottish police confirmed two people were stabbed before the game near Ibrox.

RB Leipzig also advanced after a 1-1 draw with BK Hacken, but did so more comfortably after a 4-0 win in the first leg, giving them a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Turkish club Besiktas steamrolled Faroe Islands semi-pro side B36 Torshavn by a 6-0 final on the day, securing an 8-0 aggregate win. Former Orlando City striker Cyle Larin grabbed a hat-trick in the match, scoring the first three goals of the game, finishing it off with a pinpoint header off a great cross from deep in the left corner.

La Liga side Sevilla completed a 7-1 aggregate destruction of Hungarian club Ujpesti with a 3-1 away win capped by a Pablo Sarabia brace. Meanwhile, Dutch club AZ Alkmaar was upset by Kazakhstani side Kairat Almaty, unable to overcome a shock 2-0 first leg road loss despite a 2-1 win in the second leg, succumbing to a 3-2 aggregate defeat.

Here’s a complete list of notable scores, with the bolded club advancing:

Burnley 3-1 Aberdeen
Rangers 1-1 Osijek
BK Hacken 1-1 RB Leipzig
Ujpesti 1-3 Sevilla
Besiktas 6-0 B39 Torshavn
FC Copenhagen 5-0 Stjarnan
Vitesse Arnham 3-1 Viitorul Constanta
FK Sarajevo 0-8 Atalanta
NK Maribor 2-0 Chikhura Sachkhere
AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Kairat Almaty
Bordeaux 2-1 FK Ventspils
Radnicki Nis 2-2 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Asteras Tripoli 1-1 Hibernian
Trakai 1-1 Partizan Belgrade
Slavia Sofia 2-3 Hajduk Split
Flora 2-0 Apoel Nicosia
KF Laci 0-2 Molde
Lech Poznan 3-1 Shakhter Soligorsk

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

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Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

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L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.

Clark County “declines to prosecute” Ronaldo for rape

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not face sexual assault charges for a June 2009 incident in the United States, attorneys say.

An American woman filed a civil lawsuit against the Juventus superstar last year, claiming that Ronaldo forced himself upon her while she was in a prone position in his hotel room.

[ MORE: Bayern keen on Zaha ]

Ronaldo had expressed belief that he would be cleared of the claims, and claimed that graphic documents produced by German publication Der Spiegel were altered and fabricated.

Las Vegas police issued a warrant in a bid to get Ronaldo’s DNA, and the DA’s office says the woman’s refusal to name her attacker stopped them for collecting “vital evidence.” The woman reached a civil settlement with Ronaldo in 2010.

From News3LV.com:

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the D.A.’s office said. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”

Bayern Munich kicking the tires on big Zaha bid

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A sensational report is linking Wilfried Zaha not just with a move away from Crystal Palace, but a move clear of the Premier League altogether.

90min.com says that Bayern Munich has turned to Zaha, having been rebuffed in their pursuit of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.

Palace wants $100 million for Zaha, but so far has only received a $50 million offer from Arsenal for his services. Reports Monday said Arsenal is upping its bid, and offering a loan of Reiss Nelson as a make-good. Palace has had good Fortune with loans from the big boys of the PL, in particular with Ruben Loftus-Cheek two seasons ago.

A lot of this makes sense for all parties, apart from Sane, and it will be interesting to see if the report brings a bigger bid from the Gunners.

Zaha is a sensational player, and has created chances year-after-year for the Eagles. He wants to taste the Champions League, but Palace is not willing to let him go for (much) less than its asking price given its sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United.

Bayern will spend less on Zaha than it would on Gareth Bale or Sane, and get a determined player who is very much in his prime. Zaha would also get the chance to showcase himself with actual breathing room on the pitch, thanks to Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, and others.

And Palace, of course, will end up with between $80-100 million and the knowledge that it won’t need to mark Zaha on a Premier League pitch. More importantly, the money raised from Zaha and Wan-Bissaka will allow them to strengthen at nearly every position (above what they have now, not above AWB and Zaha).