Wolves edge Leicester, win seven-goal thriller (video)

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  • Jota, Bennett score early, Wolves led 2-0
  • Leicester fought back to make it 2-2
  • Jota made it 3-2, then Morgan equalized late on
  • Jota seals hat trick in stoppage time
  • Leicester suffer fourth-straight defeat in all competitions

Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Leicester City 4-3 in a classic Premier League encounter Saturday, as the game flowed back and forth in a thrilling encounter at Molinuex.

Diogo Jota and Ryan Bennett scored to put Wolves 2-0 up early, but Leicester fought back at the start of the second half with a Demarai Gray striker and an own goal from Conor Coady. Jota popped up to make it 3-2 in a pulsating, end-to-end clash which both teams couldn’t control. Wes Morgan popped up to head home a late equalizer for Leicester, but then Jota struck in stoppage time to seal an incredible win.

With the win Wolves move up to eighth place on 32 points and leapfrog Leicester, who remain on 31 points. Foxes boss Claude Puel is certainly under pressure as his team suffered their fourth-straight defeat in all competitions.

Nuno Espirito Santo was sent off in stoppage time for running on the pitch and celebrating with his players, but the Portuguese coach will not care as Wolves’ European dreams remain alive.

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Wolves came flying out of the traps as Nampalys Mendy picked up an early booking and the Foxes couldn’t recover. First Kasper Schmeichel denied Ruben Neves with a fantastic save, then Jota gave Wolves the lead as he prodded home Joao Moutinho‘s perfect cross. 1-0.

At the other end Leicester almost hit back right away as Rui Patricio dallied on the ball and Jamie Vardy nipped in to steal it, but Wolves’ goalkeeper recovered to save and the hosts eventually cleared.

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The game failed to calm down as Wolves then scored a second from a corner. Moutinho whipped in the set piece to the back post and Bennett towered above Harry Maguire to nod home a second for Wolves and leave Puel fuming on the sidelines.

Leicester tried to battle their way back into the game as Patricio pushed away Demarai Gray’s effort, saved another from Gray and Ricardo Pereira dragged as shot wide. At the other end Jota came close to finishing off Jimenez’s superb cross but Schmeichel saved, and Jimenez was then denied as Wolves ended the first half as they started it. Well on top.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Right at the start of the second half Leicester were back in the game as Gray dances through the Wolves defense and finished to make it 2-1, and moments later Barnes smashed an effort on goal which Patricio pushed over.

Barnes played a big hand in making it 2-2, as a mix-up in the box saw the ball drop kindly to him and the 21-year-old smashed home, via a deflection off Coady, what he thought was his first Premier League goal on his first start (the goal later went down as a Coady own goal) to spark wild celebrations among the Leicester fans. Game on.

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Wolves went back ahead midway through the second half as Neves played a beautiful ball over the top and Jota drilled a low shot home to make it 3-2.

Substitute James Maddison missed a glorious chance to level things, but he then whipped in a wonderful cross for Morgan to head home an equalizer late on. But the drama wasn’t done. A mistake from Leicester allowed Jimenez to tee up Jota and he completed his hat trick to make it 4-3 and hand Wolves a dramatic late victory as Nuno Espirito Santo ran on the pitch in jubilation.

That goal capped off an instant Premier League classic rather nicely.

Coronavirus: Italy may lift ban on sporting events by Monday

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MILAN (AP) The Italian government could lift its ban on sporting events by Monday in areas affected by the coronavirus if the number of cases stabilizes.

The outbreak forced a number of sporting events to be called off throughout the country this past weekend, including four Serie A matches in the north of Italy.

This week, the ban on sporting events was extended from Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont – the areas hardest hit by the outbreak – to also include the regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia Romagna and Liguria, until March 1.

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“If, as I hope, the statistics don’t give us different signs then maybe already by Monday these measures won’t be continued,” Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said. “But it’s only Tuesday today and we have to wait and see what happens over the next few days. The health of the Italian citizens is the most important thing.”

Italy reported a 45% increase in the number of coronavirus cases Tuesday, from 222 to 300. Ten people have died, all of them elderly or suffering from other ailments.

“Obviously, I can’t say I’m not worried because I don’t want anyone to think we’re underestimating this emergency,” Premier Giuseppe Conte said before meeting with visiting World Health Organization representatives. “But we trust that with the measures we have implemented, there will be a containing effect in the coming days.”

Italy has closed schools, museums and theaters in the two regions where clusters have formed and troops are enforcing quarantines around 10 towns in Lombardy and the epicenter of the Veneto cluster, Vo’Euganeo.

Serie A matches this weekend are set to be played behind closed doors, including Juventus’ key match against Inter Milan. That game is not only potentially crucial to the title race but also sees the return of former Juventus coach Antonio Conte.

Inter’s Europa League match at home to Ludogorets on Thursday will also take place without any fans allowed in.

Serie C canceled all games in two leagues which have teams in the north. Volleyball and rugby games were also suspended nationwide through next weekend.

The Italian Winter Sports Federation suspended all of its events throughout the country for an entire week, although it said that “for now” next weekend’s World Cup ski races in La Thuile in the Valle d’Aosta region were still set to go ahead. Those races are operated by the International Ski Federation, which has already canceled races this season in China that were slated to test the course for the 2022 Beijing Games.

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

El Tri winger Jurgen Damm headed for MLS this summer

Jurgen Damm
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This season’s Liga MX invasion of MLS continues with Jurgen Damm announcing that he’ll leave UANL Tigres this summer after five years with the club.

TUDN has the destination as Atlanta, though previous reports have linked Damm to the LA Galaxy is the spot.

And MLSSoccer.com scribe Tom Bogert says the Houston Dynamo have his “discovery rights” (which remains the worst concept in the entire league).

Reports emerged over the past 48 hours that the El Tri man was headed for an MLS club.

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The 12-times capped winger has one goal for Mexico, but has not been capped since Oct. 2018. He has spent his entire career in Liga MX.

Damm spent the early part of his career with Tecos and Pachuca, but has been with UANL Tigres since 2015.

He won four league titles with UANL, as well as the 2018 Campeones Cup.

Ex-Arsenal man Gnabry: “London’s still red” after Bayern beats Chelsea

Serge Gnabry
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Ex-Arsenal man Serge Gnabry still has love for the club.

Gnabry tweeted that “London is still red” after he scored twice for Bayern Munich in a 3-0 beating of Chelsea on Tuesday in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

This after scoring four times against Spurs in a previous Champions League group stage match and Tweeting that “North London is Red.”

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So what’s with the London form?

“I’ve got a lot of friends here,” Gnabry said after the game. “A lot of them were in the stands tonight, and it seems they give me a lot of good power.”

Gnabry only scored once during his time in England with Arsenal and West Brom but is a bona fide star in the Bundesliga.

With a three-goal advantage over Chelsea heading to Munich for a second leg, however, he’s not got his head in the clouds.

“Three goals ahead gives us a little bit of confidence, but we need to be prepared for the second leg. We can’t take it not seriously enough. … We’ve seen it last year with Liverpool beating Barcelona, so we have to be careful. We have to go into the second leg with all of our focus.”

Gnabry now has 51 goals and 29 assists in four seasons since returning to Germany from Arsenal. Not terrible production for a player the Gunners offloaded to Werder Bremen for under $6 million in 2016.

What color will London be when Chelsea buys him next year? We kid, we kid…

Champions League preview: Real Madrid renews rivalry with Pep; Lyon hosts Juve

UEFA Champions League preview
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The final two ties of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 begin Wednesday when Manchester City and Juventus head to Spain and France.

The focus for many will be on the former, as City continues to weather UEFA drama while its manager prepares for his fiercest foe as a player and manager.

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Pep Guardiola has managed against Real Madrid 17 times and boasts a 9-4-4 record between Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

The Catalan wizard has lost his last three versus Real, two with Bayern and once in his final El Clasico as Barca boss.

Even as Guardiola stresses preparation and plan, he knows there will be bounces and that both teams will have to cope with them.

“We have to be strong, have quality and need to have luck,” he said, via The Manchester Evening News. “At this stage, it’s important but we cannot control that. We can control what we can control and we will see. This competition, last season, against Liverpool, there are decisions. You have to overcome. You need incredible concentration in our game and game plan plus try to be a little lucky.”

Real Madrid living legend Sergio Ramos has earned the ire of Guardiola on plenty of occasions, one of the few things Liverpool and City fans have in common.

Ramos wouldn’t get drawn into rivalry talk, sying the stage somewhat negates the opponent.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” Ramos said via the club’s web site. “I think he’s a fantastic coach, with loads of experience, and his numbers speak for themselves. We’re motivated by the Champions League, regardless of the players or coaches who may have been rivals in the past. We’re up for the Champions League and our next task is to beat City. From a personal point of view, I’m just focused on making the next round.”

[ MORE: Key battles for Real-Man City ]

Wednesday’s other match sees a club long linked with Guardiola, as Juventus will play the role of heavy favorites against Lyon.

Maurizio Sarri‘s side is to bidding to win what’s eluded all Juve bosses since Marcello Lippi beat Ajax in 1996. If they succeed, it will be by going down a different path than it’s traveled in recent years.

Here’s Leonardo Bonucci, via Football-Italia:

“What the coach asks of us now is basically the opposite of what the previous coach did,” Bonucci mused. “It was usually individual against individual, now it’s more about organized team movements. Obviously, you need to train consistently to get that down and playing every three days makes it difficult. But we started this journey well aware of the positives it could bring and the difficulties of getting there.”

Lyon has been maddeningly inconsistent this season, sitting seventh in the Ligue 1 table, but has the tools to surprise if Juve doesn’t bring its best. That starts in France on Wednesday.