Associated Press

Dortmund 3-2 Bayern: Der Klassiker delivers exciting comeback

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Der Klassiker was billed as a chance for Borussia Dortmund to right all the wrongs suffered so far this young Bundesliga season. It looked as if they would make good on that opportunity, as Robert Lewandowski was on target and Borussia Dortmund was not.

Then, in a seven-minute span in the second half, all that went to waste. Dortmund found its shooting boots after a number of glorious chances went awry, as Marco Reus hit for a double and substitute Paco Alcacer found the winning touch in the 73rd minute for a 3-2 comeback win. The hosts found themselves a goal down twice, and both times erased the deficit before eventually going in front for good.

Surprisingly, both Christian Pulisic and Alcacer were left on the bench by Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre, with in-form Jadon Sancho preferred to the American down the right-hand side and Mario Gotze chosen up top over the Spanish striker. That left Dortmund to sit back and defend for large stretches of time, and they wouldn’t make it to the halftime break with the clean sheet intact.

Dortmund looked dangerous on the counter-attack, but Bayern had the best early chances, the most contentious of which came in the 11th minute as Robert Lewandowski went down in the penalty area and screamed for a foul. VAR clearly gave it a look by the referee’s reaction, but ultimately decided there was minimal contact and did not ask for a review.

The game was wide open past the 15 minute mark, with Marco Reus through on goal but his a weak effort was saved by Manuel Neuer, before Franck Ribery fired a volley wide after latching onto a good Josh Kimmich cross. Bayern would go in front on 26 minutes as Serge Gnabry delivered a pinpoint cross to the head of Lewandowski, and the Polish international dove to meet the ball with his head, burying it past Marwin Hitz on the doorstep.

With Bayern leading at halftime, Dortmund took control of the run of play in the second half and pegged the visitors back. Just minutes after the break, Manuel Neuer brought down Marco Reus in the box, and although he got to the ball to punch it away, a penalty was awarded as Neuer cleaned out Reus after the touch. Reus took the spot kick and finished to equalize at 1-1 with a great penalty as Neuer went the wrong way.

The visitors would go back in front minutes later on a messy goal as Dortmund failed to clear, and eventually Kimmich at the near post lifted the ball to Lewandowski at the far post for another headed goal.  The hosts missed all kinds of beautiful chances to go in front, but Reus was there to finally put the ball in the back of the net on 67 minutes, leveling again at 2-2. He latched onto the ball near the top-right corner of the box and whipped a twisting shot across the face of goal and into the far right corner.

Dortmund would go in front just minutes later, and it was the in-form Alcacer to deliver the finishing blow. Bayern turned it over near the halfway line, and Axel Witsel perfectly released Alcacer on the break, who carried the ball forward before clipping it over Hitz after he had committed to coming out.

As expected, Bayern would pour forward looking to equalize, but they could not find a lifeline. Lewandowski thought he’d found the back of the net for a comeback of his own and a hat-trick, but the assistant referee’s flag went up to rule out the goal, with replays showing the decision was correct.

It was a famous comeback win for Borussia Dortmund who moved four points clear at the top of the table on 27 points, with Borussia Monchengladbach behind them at 23. Bayern sits in third, now on 20 points after the loss. The winner for super-sub Alcacer was his eighth Bundesliga goal in just his sixth appearance, with just one start in that span.

LAFC’s Adama Diomande voluntarily enters MLS’s health program

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Los Angeles FC forward Adama Diomande has entered Major League Soccer’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.

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MLS announced Diomande’s voluntary decision Friday.

Diomande won’t play for LAFC at least until the program’s doctors complete their evaluation and he is cleared by program officials.

The 29-year-old Norwegian scorer has eight goals and seven assists in 25 appearances this season, including 15 starts. He has played a valuable complementary offensive role alongside MLS scoring leader Carlos Vela.

[ MORE: Report: Netherlands FA to meet with Sergiño Dest ]

Diomande is in his second MLS season after joining LAFC from Hull City. He also previously played under LAFC coach Bob Bradley in Norway.

LAFC (19-4-7) has clinched the Western Conference title, and it leads the overall MLS table by seven points despite a four-game winless streak.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle v. Brighton

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  • Early-season relegation battlers meet on Saturday
  • 18th-place Newcastle to host 16th-place Brighton
  • Brighton won at Newcastle, drew at home last season

Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion, a pair of Premier League sides with just two wins from the first five weeks of the season between them, will meet at St. James’ Park on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) for what could prove to be a retrospective relegation six-pointer when May rolls around.

Each side replaced its manager — Steve Bruce for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle; Graham Potter for Chris Hughton at Bright — in the summer and neither of the new bosses has had a particularly enjoyable start to the 2019-20 campaign. Brighton won on the opening day of the season, but have taken just two points from the following four games. Newcastle lost their first two games, won their third, and have drawn and lost again since. It’s the kind of form that’ll see both sides stuck in the high-teens of the PL table if they don’t find their footing in the coming weeks.

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Things are particularly worrying for Newcastle, who didn’t they’d be without Benitez until the end of June and didn’t appoint Bruce until mid-July. Key players had already left the club and reinforcements for few and far between. Forward Joelinton joined for $50 million and is one of four players with a single goal scored thus far.

Last week was nearly fruitful for the Seagulls, until the conceded a stoppage-time equalizer and settle for a point at home against Burnley. Summer signing Neal Maupay bagged his second goal for Brighton earlier in the game, giving Potter a potential trump card over a handful of other relegation-threatened sides without a consistent goalscorer.

Injuries/suspensions

Newcastle: OUT – Matt Ritchie (ankle), Florian Lejeune (knee), Dwight Gayle (calf); QUESTIONABLE – DeAndre Yedlin (groin)

Brighton: OUT – Leandro Trossard (groin), Jose Izquierdo (knee), Ezequiel Schelotto (knee)


Projected lineups

Newcastle: Dubravka – Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems – Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu – Joelinton

Brighton: Ryan – Duffy, Dunk, Webster – March, Stephens, Propper, Burn – Gross, Maupay, Murray


What they’re saying

Joelinton, on Andy Carroll: “It’s always great to have experienced players in the group, and he’s one of them. He can help the club, he can help the young players. Andy Carroll has scored a lot of goals in the Premier League, and it’s great to be playing alongside him. He’s a calm guy. I still haven’t spoken to him a lot because my English isn’t great! But every day he’s trying to help. He’ll help me before the games, he’ll give me positional advice and suggest what I’ve done both good and bad.”

Graham Potter, on the trip to Newcastle: “Newcastle away is a tough game just like all the others. We don’t target particular matches — it’s about what we need to do to get a positive result. They have an experienced manager who I came across last year and he’s someone I have a lot of respect for. They have good quality players and we know it can be a hostile environment, it’s a big club and we know we have to play well to get something.  Steve has a lot of games under his belt – he’s had a lot of success and he’ll understand the challenge that lies ahead.


Prediction

Newcastle haven’t scored multiple goals in a game yet this season, and they’ve conceded twice as many as they’ve scored (four). It’s hard to trust them to be anything resembling consistent from game to game. It wouldn’t be surprising if they battled to a boring 0-0 draw, or conceding three times before halftime. It’ll probably be closer to the former, a 1-1 stalemate.

AC Milan announces internal anti-racism task force

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MILAN (AP) AC Milan has announced it will establish an internal task force to address racism in Italian football.

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The club says the task force will be supported by “an external consultancy” and “develop a program of activities to increase awareness, monitor and address racist behavior on social media and in the stadium, and drive the adoption of global best practices on diversity and inclusion.”

The move comes after reports of racist chants directed at Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who is black, during a match at Hellas Verona last weekend.

Milan says the anti-racism initiative will be launched during Saturday’s derby against Inter Milan.

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Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was subjected to racist chants in a match at Cagliari this month.

Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis, who is South African, says: “Italian football needs to wake up and take a strong stance against racist behaviors. AC Milan will take a leadership position on this issue. . We believe that we have a moral obligation to do everything we can to address this issue.”

Slow start dooms Southampton again: ‘We lost the game in first half’

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Slow starts are, ironically, quickly becoming the story of Southampton’s Premier League season. It happened again on Friday, resulting in a 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth in the Premier League‘s budding south coast rivalry

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Through six games, Saints have conceded the first goal four times. In those four games, they have taken just one point. When scoring the game’s first goal, they have two wins and two clean sheets.

It would appear that Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side is set up to play one way, and one way only. Speaking after Friday’s defeat, Hasenhuttl lamented his side’s slow start, conceding that the game was all but lost when they fell 2-0 behind in the 35 minutes — quotes from the BBC:

“The finish was not important anymore. If you lose 2-1 or 3-1 it does not make too much difference. We lost the game in the first half.

“In the second half, we were sharp. Had about 26 shots to six from Bournemouth but the most important stat is the goals. They scored three, we scored once.

“We weren’t aggressive enough and too easy in the first half. It is not easy to be 1-0 down after 10 minutes. We had a lot of blocked shots and misses near the post. It was a good performance in the second half but without a result.

“For the second goal was had a lot of players in our attacking box so it was not easy to defend.

“We showed a good reaction because we knew we needed to be brave. We changed our shape and were aggressive for the second ball. It gave us 64% possession and we had a lot of shots. Maybe we didn’t deserve to take something because of our first half.”

Southampton’s next chance to start a game quickly will come in an away bout with Tottenham Hotspur next Saturday.