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Sean Dyche elated at Europa League victory

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Burnley manager Sean Dyche couldn’t hold back his excitement after the Clarets advanced into the Europa League third qualifying round over Aberdeen in extra time.

“It’s on my CV too, a win in Europe, whatever way you look at it,” Dyche said after the match.

The Clarets hosted a European match at Turf Moor for the first time in 51 years, topping Aberdeen 4-2 on aggregate on a 3-1 victory in extra time. Jack Cork scored the winner in the 101st minute with a header, while Ashley Barnes added one more from the spot in the 114th minute.

[ MORE: Full Europa League roundup ]

“Our fans literally just wanted to get into Europe so they could have a European tour!” Dyche said. “I’m pleased we achieved that for them.”

Dyche was forced to temper his excitement slightly, however, aware of the pitfalls that could plague this team in the coming months. Mid-table Premier League sides that enter early-season Europa League play have often suffered in Premier League standings as a result of the brutal fixture congestion that can potentially take place. These teams often don’t have the resources to ensure the squad is deep enough to handle so many fronts, and it takes a toll.

“We’ve got to be careful, tonight was weird because we’re drawing and I’m thinking, ‘I’ve still got a Premier League campaign coming’,” said Dyche.

Two years ago, Southampton played Europa League matches early on, and it cost in league play as they lost five of their first six Premier League matches, with just two Premier League wins through December 3. Hull City back in 2014/15 qualified for the tournament and played four early-season matches, but they grabbed just two league wins by December 20 and ended up relegated. The year before that, Swansea City made a huge Europa League run through the playoff round, into the group stage, and beyond into the knockouts, but they suffered in league play finding themselves as far down as 15th in mid-January and eventually finishing just nine points above the drop. Even as far back as the 2011/12, Fulham reached the Europa League on fair play points, and it torpedoed their league season. They ended up playing 14 games in a run from the first qualifying round all the way to the group stage, but had just four Premier League wins by Christmas and were down in the bottom quarter of the table, eventually rebounding once Europe was completed to finish 9th.

Dyche is aware of what’s at stake. “It’s tough because we wanted to win,” he said, “but I can’t lose my players. Whatever happens this is still not as important as the Premier League and I’ve made that clear to everyone. As soon as I found out [Chris Wood] Woody [was struggling] he’s got to come off. Aaron [Lennon] had a tight hamstring and he almost ran back for one, so I’m shouting not to. The bigger picture still has to be there.”

Spurs’ Kane scores from midfield to beat Juve

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Harry Kane lobbed Wojciech Szczesny from nearly 50 yards to send Tottenham Hotspur past Juventus early Sunday morning.

Maybe he wanted to embarrass a former North London Derby rival, or perhaps he just wanted to avoid penalties.

The goal was made more remarkable by Kane’s blast radius including two men marking him near the Juve part of the center circle.

[ MORE: Where will Bale go? ]

It was an entertaining International Champions Cup match on Sunday morning, with goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Gianluigi Buffon plenty busy.

Tanguy Ndombele came off the bench to assist and impress for Spurs and Matthijs de Ligt making his Juve debut as a sub.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain scored for Juve, and the latter probably should’ve won it with a dragged shot in the 83rd minute.

Spurs goals came courtesy of Erik Lamela, who tapped in a rebound of a bullet shot from 17-year-old Ryan Parrott, and Moura.

The Brazilian was fed into the box by a sweet Ndombele pass moments after the new Spurs midfielder subbed into the match.

Here is Ronaldo’s goal.

Bale leaving Real Madrid; Where to?

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Gareth Bale is not going to play for Real Madrid this season. The jersey he will pull onto his body remains a mystery.

Real manager Zinedine Zidane said that “it’d be better” for the club and player if he was sold tomorrow, claiming it’s nothing personal but that Bale is simply not in his plans.

[ MORE: Watford chasing Sarr ]

Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett poured gasoline on those comments by blasting the French legend as “a disgrace,” saying the player and agent are “working on” an exit.

From Marca.com:

“Zidane is a disgrace,” Barnett told AFP. “He shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid.”

Obviously it’s far from disgraceful for Zidane to publicly admit that a massive player and personality may no longer fit the bill, and Barnett’s harsh words are more than agent talk: He wants a higher fee than will come from Real saying, “He’s 10000000000% available.”

Barnett does represent Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw, and there are so many reasons to think the Welshman could move to Manchester United. A return to Spurs is obviously romantic, but the club’s wage structure would be a concern to deeming this a fit.

Bale wasn’t fantastic last season, posting eight goals and three assists in under 1800 La Liga minutes and adding three goals and two assists in under 500 Champions League minutes (In fact, he was the 14th ranked player in UCL advanced stats according to Who Scored).

He is not far removed from monster campaigns with Real, and it’s no surprise that his production would drop off in a world without Cristiano Ronaldo around him (and vice versa, to a lesser degree).

There are a lot of reasons to wonder whether Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy would consider what it takes to bring Bale to town. It would instantly and realistically elevate the discussion about whether Spurs could seriously rival Liverpool and Man City for a Premier League title while adding Champions League mettle as well.

The idea of Bale playing with Harry Kane the way he worked with Ronaldo and Karim Benzema is electric, though the prospective move took a hit by Zidane’s lack of love for Christian Eriksen.

Bayern Munich is another potential avenue for Bale, as is the Chinese Super League.

But we wonder if the 30-year-old would sign up for massive David Beckham wages at Inter Miami with a loan to a Champions League side for a season ahead of the Super Becks’ opening campaign in MLS. What better way to engender some fan interest amongst Floridians and Manchester United fans than a nice loan? We’re sure Zlatan brought some Red Devils’ eyes to LA, for what it’s worth. Spurs would work here, too, as would any side hopeful of expanding their American imprint.

Maybe Bale isn’t ready for that step. He’d surely prefer adding to his four Champions League titles and probably likes the idea of doing some bigger things for Wales, but there’s a lot of dough in America and really it’s not going to cost him his place with the Welsh side (though concerns about competition would be legit).

Russian fans clash with baton-wielding police at stadium

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MOSCOW (AP) Russian soccer fans have criticized what they consider heavy-handed policing after clashes at a league game.

Video footage posted online shows police in riot gear beating Spartak Moscow fans on the stadium concourse after a game Saturday with FC Rostov, including two who have fallen to the ground. Fans have alleged they were kept tightly packed in the corridor after the game and then attacked by police with batons.

[ VIDEO: Nketiah leads Arsenal win ]

The Russian Football Union has told the Sport-Express newspaper that it is calling for an investigation and that “this kind of situation should not be repeated at stadiums.”

The Russian Premier League says in a statement that it is satisfied police acted correctly and accused Spartak fans of trying to free fellow supporters arrested earlier over allegations of throwing pyrotechnics.

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

Watford chasing Rennes, Senegal star Sarr

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Watford may capture one of the rising stars of the game.

Ismaila Sarr would cost the Hornets a club transfer record fee, and Sky Sports says that Watford and Rennes are about $10 million apart.

The Ligue 1 side reportedly wants $34 million for the Senegal national team right wing.

[ VIDEO: Nketiah leads Arsenal win ]

Sarr, 21, scored a goal and an assist in Senegal’s run to the Africa Cup of Nations final, playing opposite Sadio Mane of Liverpool.

He posted 13 goals with 14 assists last season between Ligue 1, the French Cup, and the Europa League. He was the lone Rennes player to score against Arsenal in the UEL Round of 16.

Watford has held onto Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dodi Lukebakio this offseason. Lukebakio is also a 21-year-old right wing, and had a sensational loan season with Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2019-20.