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Josh Sargent scores first professional club goal

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What a way to make an enterance.

Two minutes into his first professional appearance for Werder Bremen, 18-year-old United States international Josh Sargent scored his first professional goal for the club as the German side defeated Fortuna Dusseldorf 3-1.

Sargent came on as a 76th minute sub for Milot Rashica and scored with his very first touch. Fellow sub Martin Harnik looked to be in, reaching with his right leg to touch a Davy Klaasen cross on net. Fortuna goalkeeper Michael Rensing was positioned well to save the point-blank attempt, but as bodies spilled to the turf and the ball popped up in the air, Sargent was there to head home the final goal of the match, a special moment.

Sargent had pushed for more playing time with his performances both in preseason with the first-team squad, and with the club’s reserve team that plays in the German fourth tier. Sargent bagged seven goals in 12 matches for Werder Bremen II, which earned him a call-up to the main squad.

The 18-year-old already has six appearances for the senior USMNT squad, scoring two goals. He is hailed as the striker of the future, thought highly of by those both domestically and abroad, and he continues to prove worthy of those valuations.

VIDEO: Spurs’ U-18s christen new stadium with goals galore

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LONDON (AP) Spurs winger J’Neil Bennett scored the first-ever goal at Tottenham’s new stadium on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Pochettino addresses fans during first game at new stadium ]

Tottenham played Southampton in an Under-18 game in the first official test event at the 62,000-seater arena.

The opening of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, built on the site of the club’s White Hart Lane ground, had been repeatedly put back because of construction and safety delays.

Watched by almost 29,000 fans, Bennett neatly curled the ball low into the bottom corner from the edge of the area to give his side an 11th-minute lead. The match, which Tottenham won 3-1, took place 679 days after the final game at the old stadium.

It was the first of two test events required to take place in order to receive the relevant safety certificates from the local council, with the second coming on Saturday when a Spurs Legends team takes on an Inter Milan team.

Under this schedule, the first senior game will see third-placed Spurs take on Crystal Palace in the Premier League on April 3.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was interviewed on the field at halftime.

“We all feel the same, so excited. I got the same feeling when we left White Hart Lane on the last day, we were crying and now in the first day in the new stadium we feel the same emotion,” Pochettino said.

“We need to cry because our dream became true.”

The week after the Palace game, Tottenham will play Manchester City at home in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.

Italian soccer federation signs deal with Chinese government

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ROME (AP) The Italian soccer federation has signed a wide-ranging memorandum with the Chinese government to promote soccer between the two countries.

The deal foresees playing the Italian Super Cup or Italian Cup in China within the next three years.

[ MORE: Upsets in EURO qualifying ]

The Italian Super Cup – which pits the Serie A champion against the Italian Cup champion – has already been played in China four times over the last 10 years.

The meeting with China Media Group head Shen Haixiong also focused on TV content and rights, collaboration over developing young Chinese players in Italy and instruction for using the video assistant referee.

Shen was in Rome for the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Italian federation president Gabriele Gravina says, “Soccer has shown once again to be a bridge between different cultures.”

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

WATCH: Asprilla scores terrific bicycle kick on USL cameo

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Portland Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla has had to spend some time in the USL Championship this season, and the second tier would probably like to see Gio Savarese keep the Colombian in Major League Soccer.

[ REPORT: Liverpool to sell Keita? ]

Asprilla scored twice and added an assists on Saturday night in a defeat of Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights, and he put up a near picture perfect bicycle kick on the highlight reel.

Watch as he sets himself up, willingly or not, for the endeavor before splashing a shot in the side panel for an amazing aesthetic.

Report: Bayern, BVB ready to buy Keita from Liverpool

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A report claims that Liverpool is ready to admit defeat in the case of Naby Keita.

Keita, 24, was bought from RB Leipzig last season and arrived at Anfield in the summer, but has struggled to find consistent playing time under Jurgen Klopp.

[ VIDEO: USMNT’s Saief shines for FC Cincinnati ]

Viewed as the missing link between the Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s torrential attack, Keita has not come close to replicating the form that saw his price tag reach $69 million.

Indeed, Team Talk says Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich look prepared to pay around $53 million to bring Keita back to the Bundesliga.

Keita has played 27 matches in all competitions for Liverpool, accumulating 1,388 minutes and just one assist. He had nine goals and seven assists in more than double the minutes one season ago.

According to WhoScored.com, he’s passing the ball better and taking almost a foul less than last season, but almost every other measurable has declined since he moved to England.

I’m as guilty as anyone of thinking Keita would be everything the Reds required after an improved 2017-18, but he’s either being used very poorly or having trouble adjusting to the culture.

It’s early to quit on a player so talented, but maybe Klopp and he just don’t mesh well. But if it isn’t a case of clashing with the club, it may be worth waiting out a player who looked a giant just eight months ago.