Everton, Watford settle for 2-2 draw at Goodison

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  • Richarlison opens the scoring (15′)
  • Coleman (OG’ – 63′) and Doucoure (65′) flip the script
  • Digne steals a point with late FK (90’+5)

If Monday’s meeting between Everton and Watford — the first time Marco Silva faced his former club — was any indication of how Hornets fans feel about the Toffees’ new manager, they made it abundantly that clear Silva will long be a despised man in parts of London.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Those traveling fans — inflatable snake props and all — nearly got the last laugh after erasing an early deficit before ultimately conceding a back-breaking equalizer in second-half stoppage time.

Everton took their lead after 15 minutes, in highly controversial fashion, lending further credence to the idea that video review would improve refereeing in the Premier League.

It was Richarlison who victimized his former team, but not without a massive no-call assist from the assistant referee. Theo Walcott stood in a clearly offside position when Andre Gomes touched the ball into space — whether to himself or to Walcott is unclear. Walcott took an obvious touch before Gomes resumed service, cutting the ball back for Richarlison near the penalty spot for a smooth finish Ben Foster.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The score remained 1-0 beyond the hour mark, at which point the soccer gods flipped this game on its head and shook loose every frenzied occurrence one can wish to see in a game of soccer.

Clumsy own goal? Check, courtesy of Seamus Coleman (WATCH HERE).

Leaping-salmon headed goal? Check, courtesy of Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Penalty kick awarded? Check, courtesy of Christian Kabasele‘s needless foul.

Penalty kick saved? Check, courtesy of Foster, versus Gylfi Sigurdsson.

All in the span of five frenetic minutes, from the 63rd to 68th.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

In fairness, such a drastic swing in momentum had been coming, as Watford slowly but surely gained more and more control following the restart. Doucoure got on the end of Roberto Pereyra‘s lofted cross into the six-yard box just two minutes after Coleman’s gaffe pulled the visitors level.

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Watford appeared to be home free until the game’s final seconds, when Lucas Digne curled an unstoppable free kick past Foster from 22 yards out. It was Kabasele who, again, committed the offense and gave away the chance.

Former Arsenal, Brazil midfielder Baptista announces retirement

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Julio Baptista’s time at Arsenal only lasted 12 months, but it was a memorable stint.

The Brazilian, who played the 2006-07 season for the Gunners, announced his retirement on Thursday at the age of 37. The former Brazil international only managed 10 goals with Arsenal, but they came in bunches.

Baptista memorably scored four goals against Liverpool in the League Cup quarterfinal, as Arsenal finished with a 6-3 win. Baptista even missed a penalty kick that game.

Baptista cemented his legacy later in the season with a brace in the FA Cup against rival Tottenham.

Baptista, clearly an immensely talented player, suffered from being a good, but not great player. He seemed to have no perfect position other than the No. 10, and most teams he played for had better players in that position. It forces him to play along the wings, deeper in midfield or as a striker during the prime of his career.

In the end, injuries beset his career, especially a short spell at Orlando City in MLS.

 

U-20 World Cup Rewind: Italy tops Mexico, host Poland falls on Day 1 (video)

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Italy opened the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with a bang, knocking off fellow Group B favorite Mexico, 2-1, in Gdynia, Poland.

It only took Italy three minutes to get on the board, as Davide Frattesi found a pocket of space in front of the El Tri backline and dribbled in on goal. The Sassuolo midfielder then decided to fire on goal from distance, hitting a rocket into the corner to give Italy a 1-0 lead.

Later in the first half Gianluca Scamacca also took a rip from outside the box, but his strike sailed just wide.

A defensive error on a corner kick gave Diego Lainez and Mexico life. In the 37th minute, AC Milan product Alessandro Plizzari committed a howler, coming out to punch away the curled corner kick. Plizzari missed the ball and it went right to the head of Roberto De La Rosa, who calmly made it 1-1.

El Tri however suffered a blow late in the match as Italy took back the lead. In the 67th minute, Luca Ranieri collected the ball on the edge of the six yard box and from a tight angle, he scored past Mexico goalkeeper Carlos Higuera.

For Mexico, it’s a rough way to start the World Cup, having to go against a perennial power in Italy and playing on European soil. Not all is lost for Mexico, but it has to rebound with a win in its next game against Japan.

Elsewhere, Colombia defeated host Poland, 2-0, Japan tied Ecuador 1-1, and Senegal beat Tahiti, 3-0.

Saudis, Bahrain, UAE join to bid for FIFA’s U-20 World Cup

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GENEVA (AP) Middle East neighbors Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are jointly bidding to host the Under-20 World Cup in 2021.

FIFA says the Gulf plan is among five to express interest in bidding, including Brazil.

Indonesia, Peru and a Myanmar-Thailand joint bid are the others.

FIFA announced the contenders Thursday, one day after dropping a proposal for Qatar to share hosting duties for the 2022 World Cup with regional neighbors.

The 2021 U20 contenders must submit a formal bid by Aug. 30. FIFA’s ruling Council will pick the winner, likely in October.

The 2019 edition kicks off Thursday in Poland.

Putin awards medal to FIFA president Infantino

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MOSCOW (AP) Vladimir Putin has given FIFA president Gianni Infantino a medal.

The Russian president awarded Infantino the Order of Friendship at the Kremlin on Thursday.

Infantino has often said last year’s World Cup in Russia, where the host nation surprisingly reached the quarterfinals, was the best of the 21 editions of the tournament.

Putin thanked the FIFA leader for “your glowing assessment of our efforts.”

Infantino says of Russia’s “bonds of friendship” with soccer “is not the end, it is only the beginning of our fruitful cooperation and interaction.”

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