Crystal Palace edge past Leicester

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  • Luka Milivojevic scores only goal of the game
  • Palace hadn’t won any of their last 14 PL games without Zaha
  • Leicester with just one win in six

Crystal Palace battled to a 1-0 win against Leicester City at a soggy Selhurst Park on Saturday, as Roy Hodgson‘s side did the business without their star man Wilfried Zaha.

Luka Milivojevic’s fine strike in the first half was enough to grab all three points for Palace, but Jamie Vardy hit the post in the second half as Leicester battered the Eagles but somehow they couldn’t find an equalizer.

With the win Palace move up to 15th place on 15 points for the season, while Leicester have 22 points and sit in 11th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Crystal Palace started the game well with Jordan Ayew causing problems but the final pass or shot was just off.

Leicester then had the ball in the net as Vardy put goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, starting his first Premier League game, under pressure. Although a foul was given for a shoulder barge by Vardy, it seemed like Palace’s goalkeeper had got away with one.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Vardy headed a Christian Fuchs cross at goal but Guaita saved easily before the break as Leicester grew into the game in south London.

But it was Palace who took the lead as Milivojevic picked the ball up 25 yards out and fired a beautiful shot into the far corner past Kasper Schmeichel. 1-0 to the Eagles.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Leicester played with more urgency in the second half as Demarai Gray tried his luck after a rapid counter but rushed his final shot.

At the other end Ayew was played in but Harry Maguire blocked, as the Foxes battled to stay in the game. Gray then found Rachid Ghezzal in the box but the Algerian winger sent his effort just wide as Leicester pushed hard for an equalizer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Vardy was then played in and his poked effort was pushed onto the post by Guaita, as Palace were hanging on for dear life.

Despite late Leicester pressure the Eagles secured a second-straight home win to drag themselves further away from the relegation zone.

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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