Getty Images

Tottenham collapse late, lose at Inter

1 Comment

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.

FOLLOW LIVE: Seattle v. Portland, ATLUTD v. DCU on a busy MLS Sunday

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Leave a comment

Strap yourself in for a very busy Sunday of soccer, as four MLS games are set to consume your attention for the rest of the day.

[ FOLLOW: MLS scoreboard, for the next 7.5 hours ]

The day begins with Atlanta United hosting D.C. United in a 3-versus-2 matchup in the Eastern Conference, and ends with the Seattle Sounders hosting the Portland Timbers in arguably the biggest and best rivalry in MLS.

In between all that, a suddenly resurgent Orlando City SC hosts the New York Red Bulls, and FC Cincinnati hosts the red-hot (unbeaten in nine games) New England Revolution, in case you feel the need to cram a little more soccer into your afternoon/evening.

Sunday’s full MLS schedule

Atlanta United v. D.C. United — 4 p.m. ET
FC Cincinnati v. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Orlando City SC v. New York Red Bulls — 7:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders v. Portland Timbers — 9:30 p.m. ET

Rumored Neymar for Bale swap: Who wins?

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Who would gain more of an advantage from the rumored, sensational Gareth Bale for Neymar swap: Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid?

Both players are currently problems for their clubs, though neither is known as a true rabble-rouser; Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane wants to be done with the newly-minted 30-year-old Bale, while PSG knows Neymar wants to leave and would love to satiate Kylian Mbappe’s appetite to be the man at their club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

Presumably some money would be headed PSG’s way in addition to Bale, and both clubs would be getting a motivated megawatt star.

Neymar doesn’t turn 28 until February, but the difference in age may be offset by the Brazilian’s track record of injuries.

In fact, his injury status last season combines with an off-field accusation of sexual assault and a red card for confronting a fan to overshadow his production: Neymar’s 23 goals and 13 assists in just over 2300 minutes last season, including five and two in the Champions League (and a goal and an assist against defensively-stout Liverpool).

Bale presents very few personality challenges, and PSG won’t have a problem with his massive wages (especially with Neymar off the books). His numbers have dipped in two of three seasons since his otherworldly 2015-16, but La Liga is a more difficult scoring league than Ligue 1.

Neymar has twice been a Ballon d’Or finalist and, presuming his legal troubles don’t persist, could be a title fight changer in La Liga. Imagine the Neymar, Eden Hazard, and Luka Jovic trying to outgun Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Luis Suarez? Insane.

We’d say Real would be winning the straight-up swap, and that it’s pretty unlikely to go down that way. So it depends what PSG does with the relative Financial Fair Play freedom that would come with the money that also arrives from Spain. Is it Idrissa Gana Gueye? Someone else who helps take PSG’s Champions League hopes to the next level?

Manchester United in ‘concrete talks’ with Lille over Pepe

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United are reportedly in “concrete talks” to agree a fee with Lille for much-tracked playmaker Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal amongst others, and Lille has admitted he’ll be leaving the club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

United’s reported salvo was around $87.5 million. He’d give them a star who could play across from Anthony Martial or as an attacking midfielder under Romelu Lukaku.

Only Kylian Mbappe and Teji Savanier garnered better season-long ratings than Pepe in the 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign, and Pepe’s 22 goals and 11 assists stand out from the pack. Only Mbappe had more goals and only Savanier more assists.

Pepe has four goals in 11 caps for the Ivory Coast, and made three starts in Les Elephants’ five-match run at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He’s a fit for the Premier League, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s system. And if the Red Devils can keep him from Liverpool, well, all the better we’re sure.

Report: Manchester United, Leicester agree to monster Maguire fee

Adam Davy/PA via AP
2 Comments

Manchester United and Leicester City have agreed a fee for Harry Maguire, clearing the way for the English center back to join the Old Trafford set.

That fee is a whopping $100 million, according to Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones. That’s about $4 million more than the world record for a defender, set when Liverpool purchased Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.

[ MORE: USMNT CB to West Ham? ]

Maguire has been a statistical monster for Leicester City, and he passes the eye test, too.

Manchester United has needed to upgrade its stable of center backs for some time, and now the biggest question is who will work best alongside the 6-foot-4 26-year-old.

The former Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, and Hull City defender is now 20-times capped by England.

The move could have a ripple effect on the Premier League, as the Foxes have been expected to bid for Burnley star James Tarkowski should Maguire leave the King Power Stadium.