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Tottenham collapse late, lose at Inter

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Tottenham Hotspur lost 2-1 with Inter Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side opening up their UEFA Champions League Group B campaign with a late collapse to seal their third-straight defeat in all competitions.

The opening goal of the game came via Christian Erisken’s first of the season, with the Danish playmaker scoring in the second half after a sluggish start from Tottenham. It looked like that would be the winner, but Mauro Icardi smashed home a stunning volley in the 85th minute then Matias Vecino scored the winner in stoppage time.

Elsewhere in Group B, Barcelona beat PSG 4-0 thanks to a hat trick from Lionel Messi and a moment of magic from Ousmane Dembele to set up a mouthwatering clash at Wembley against Tottenham on Oct. 3. Inter head to PSV on the same day.

[ MORE: Champions League stats/schedule ]

Tottenham started the game slowly with Ivan Perisic causing Serge Aurier plenty of problems, while at the other end Eriksen’s free kick was pushed out by Samir Handanovic.

Marcelo Brozovic then sent a shot just wide from a good position for Inter but the best chance of the first half came and went for Tottenham.

A lovely clipped ball over the top from Eriksen found Harry Kane and he danced past Handanovic, but then tripped over his own feet and dribbled the ball out of play from a tight angle. That summed up Spurs’ first half performance.

They did improve in the second half and Eriksen soon had them ahead.

His initial low effort from the edge of the box was pushed out by Handanovic but the ball went straight back to Eriksen and his deflected follow-up looped into the far corner. A bizarre goal, but exactly what Tottenham needed.

Buoyed by the opener Erik Lamela had a curled effort deflected just wide as the Premier League side tried to wrap the game up.

Inter pushed hard to equalize but Perisic’s header was easily saved by Michel Vorm and on the break they were opened up by Spurs as Lamela twice went close again.

Icardi clattered into Vorm as Inter pinned Spurs back late in the game and the Argentine eventually equalized.

Keita Balde’s cross from the left found him unmarked on the edge of the box and Inter’s skipper smashed home a beautiful volley to make it 1-1.

The drama wasn’t over.

Yet more frustration arrived for Spurs in stoppage time as Vecino headed home from close range in the 92nd minute to send Inter’s fans wild at the San Siro.

Men in Blazers podcast: Mourinho’s day at Chelsea, stylish Arsenal, Tata leaving ATL

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Rog and Davo break down Chelsea’s last gasp draw against Manchester United and Jose Mourinho’s contentious return to Stamford Bridge. Plus, wins for City and Liverpool, Arsenal’s poetic football, and Tata is saying goodbye to the ATL.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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AP source: FIFA proposes annual Club World Cup

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A person with knowledge of the talks tells The Associated Press FIFA President Gianni Infantino is doubling down on his Club World Cup plans with a proposal for an annual tournament despite European soccer’s resistance to any competition that challenges the supremacy of the Champions League.

[ MORE: Premier League club power rankings ]

The revised proposal amends an initial plan to play a 24-team Club World Cup every four years. The new format will be discussed at the FIFA Council meeting in Rwanda on Friday, the person said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were confidential.

UEFA has stymied Infantino’s attempts since March to gain approval for the new FIFA competitions, which will have $25 billion of income guaranteed by an international consortium including Japan’s SoftBank.

Is something amiss with Romelu Lukaku?

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Maybe he was sick. Maybe he was tired. Heck, maybe he’s still exhausted from the World Cup.

But something isn’t right with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, and it was on full display in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Juventus in the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Match recap | Mourinho reacts ]

Lukaku was fighting his touch, and just plain out-of-sorts, which is unusual for the industrious center forward.

The 25-year-old has just four goals for United in 13 matches across all competitions this season, all coming in the Premier League and none since a Sept. 15 marker at Watford.

Tuesday’s performance could be down to one bad night, but Lukaku has been much better for country than club in the same time span. The Belgian scored a pair against Switzerland on Oct. 12 and two more the previous month versus Iceland.

While Eden Hazard certainly isn’t unlocking defenses for him at Old Trafford, Lukaku has struggled in a few different ways. He’s getting less shots off per game, his key passes are down, and so are his dribbles.

Moreover, his offsides are higher than they’ve been since 2014-15, so perhaps he’s even cognizant of his struggles and trying to cheat a bit more.

If Harry Kane‘s post-World Cup struggles, relatively speaking, can be down to exhaustion, perhaps someone should check on big Rom.

Lukaku is still grinding through performances, for better or worse, and his four goals do lead United on the season. And it’s paramount to note that the side’s uncharacteristic 16 goals allowed per game (5th worst in the PL) is a bigger reason for its record than the 15 goals for (tied-7th).

A visit from former club Everton could snap Lukaku back into form, but perhaps the big man needs more than adrenaline right now. Mourinho hasn’t subbed him once this season in any competition, and he’s being leaned on heavily by Roberto Martinez at Belgium, too. After running him 90 in the 2-goal performance against the Swiss, Lukaku got another 45 in a friendly against the Netherlands.

Maybe this is where the loan for Zlatan Ibrahimovic comes into play, or perhaps Marcus Rashford should get some time running atop the United attack. Either way, it’s a good bet that the big man could use a respite.

Allegri: Juventus tried to ‘attack around Nemanja Matic’

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Max Allegri’s plan to attack without Mario Mandzukic got the job done.

Juventus took a 17th minute lead against Manchester United at Old Trafford and did not look back, deprived of a multi-goal halftime lead by United backstop David De Gea.

[ MORE: PL club power rankings ]

Without Mandzukic, his towering talisman, Allegri turned to less hold-up play and more active runs through the midfield.

And he wasn’t shy about the tactics, with the numbers showing that Nemanja Matic was a very busy man. From Football-Italia:

“Naturally we can play without Mandzukic, someone has to get into the box. It was important against Manchester United to keep the ball to ground and attack around Nemanja Matic.

“We still make too many mistakes on the final ball, as we had so many more chances and half-chances that we didn’t develop properly. A couple of times it was the player with the ball, another couple it was the player who didn’t peel away from his marker to reach the space.”

Allegri has long been said to be a fan of Matic’s, but Dybala shook the center midfielder on this goal.

The win was Juve’s first at Old Trafford since a 1996 visit in the Champions League. All told, Juve is 2W-2D-3L at Manchester United in its illustrious history.