Pugh stars as USWNT beat Australia in eight-goal thriller

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COMMERCE CITY, Colorado (AP) Mallory Pugh scored twice in her return to Colorado to cap a three-goal rally, and the U.S. women’s national team held on to beat Australia 5-3 in an exhibition on Thursday. Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe scored goals early in the second half and Alex Morgan also scored for the Americans.

The U.S. is 3-1-2 in the first six games of the Countdown to the Cup. The Americans have four games left leading up to the Women’s World Cup in France from June 7 to July 7.

The U.S. team will start defense of its World Cup title against Thailand on June 11 in Reims, France.

Lisa De Vanna, Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord had goals for Australia.

The match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park was a homecoming for Pugh and Lindsey Horan. Horan is from Golden, Colorado and Pugh is from Highlands Ranch.

Pugh received a loud ovation when she checked into the game in the second half, and she wasted no time in scoring. Emily Sonnett fed her a pass as Pugh was charging in from the right side and she beat Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams in the 67th minute to make it 4-2.

Just before that, Rapinoe gave the U.S. the lead when she got the ball at the top of the box, worked around to the middle and sent a low shot to the left corner in the 60th minute.

Kerr’s header in the 80th minute cut the lead to one, but Pugh scored in injury time to close it out.

Morgan’s goal was the 100th of her career and came in her 159th match. She tied Tiffeny Milbrett for sixth all-time among U.S. players in career goals.

Morgan got the milestone marker when she fought off an Australian defender to gain control off a pass from Crystal Dunn. She then maneuvered around defender Alanna Kennedy and beat Williams with a well-placed shot to the right in the 14th minute.

The Australians got even when De Vanna got a pass from Foord and beat U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher with a shot to the far side in the 29th minute.

The Americans turned up the pressure and only a couple of good saves by Williams kept the score tied. She made a save on Rapinoe’s shot from close in and Ellie Carpenter cleared it off the line before it crossed in the 31st minute. Soon after she got a hand on Horan’s high shot and knocked it over the crossbar.

Australia took the lead early in the second half when Foord dribbled through the defense and beat Naeher with a low shot in the 47th minute.

The Americans tied it in the 53rd minute when Sonnett lofted a cross to Heath, and she headed it just past Williams to make it 2-2.

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

Serie A: Atalanta, Inter snatch UCL places on wild final day

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s final-day action in Italy’s top flight…

[ MORE: Chelsea, Real Madrid remain $38 million apart on Eden Hazard deal ]

Sampdoria (9th) 2-0 Juventus (1st)

With their eighth straight scudetto long since clinched, Juve slumped their way to the season’s finish line without a win in their final five games (three draws), including Sunday’s 2-0 loss away to Sampdoria. It was 0-0 for 83 minute, until Gregoire Defrel (84th) and Gianluca Caprari (91st) bagged late goals for the victory.

Atalanta (3rd) 3-1 Sassuolo (11th)

Atalanta completed their fairytale season and finished third in a hugely dramatic, chaotic way befitting their rapid rise to Champions League relevance. They finished 17th and avoided relegation by three points in 2015.

First, they fell behind when Domenico Berardi scored in the 19th minute. They were level by the 35 minute, thanks to Duvan Zapata’s equalizer. Then, things got weird.

Berardi was sent off during a massive skirmish between the two sides while leaving the field for halftime. With the score 1-1, and both Inter Milan and AC Milan ahead after 51 minutes, Atalanta were headed for a fifth-place finish.

Alejandro Gomez put Atalanta ahead three minutes later, though, and Mario Pasalic doubled the advantage in the 65th.

Inter Milan (4th) 2-1 Empoli (18th – relegated)

At that 51-minute mark, Keita Balde’s opening goal put Inter ahead of Empoli, but the visitors equalized in the 76th, briefly dropping them to fifth.

That lasted all of five minutes, as Radja Nainggolan put Luciano Spaletti’s side back in front, where they would finish the season. The top-four finished the day exactly as it began — Atalanta in 3rd and Inter Milan in 4th, each on 69 points.

SPAL (13th) 2-3 AC Milan (5th)

For those five glorious minutes, AC Milan were headed back to the Champions League for the first time since 2014, and were set to do so at the expense of their local rivals.

Finishing fourth, but behind Inter, would have been fine, but finishing fourth and ahead of Inter would have been a dreamland outcome. Alas, it’s a fifth-place finish on 68 points and another season in the Europa League for the Rossoneri.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Bologna (10th) 3-2 Napoli (2nd – Saturday)
Frosinone (19th – relegated) 0-0 Chievo (20th – relegated – Saturday)
Roma (6th) 2-1 Parma (14th)
Torino (7th) 3-1 Lazio (8th)
Cagliari (15th) 1-2 Udinese (12th)
Fiorentina (16th) 0-0 Genoa (17th)

Chelsea’s Kante to miss Europa League final with new injury

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N'Golo Kante is set to miss Chelsea’s Europa League final showdown with Arsenal on Wednesday after suffering a knee injury during a training session this weekend.

[ MORE: Chelsea, Real Madrid remain $38 million apart on Eden Hazard deal ]

Kante missed Chelsea’s two most recent fixtures — their Premier League finale and the second leg of the UEL semifinals — due to a hamstring injury suffered on May 5, but was on course to be fit and available from the start when the London giants meet in Baku, Azerbaijan. Now, though, the Frenchman’s latest injury has all but ruled him out with one final piece of silverware on the line.

According to a report from the Guardian, the injury occurred when the 2018 World Cup winner made a challenge to win the ball during Saturday’s training session. He left the field in “clear discomfort” and will undergo the requisite examinations to determine the severity of the injury.

[ MORE: USWNT wins final match before World Cup (video) ]

In the unfortunate event that Kante’s injury turns out to be serious and keeps him out of action into the start of next season, the Blues would find themselves in a world of trouble. The club’s season-long transfer ban would prevent them from signing even a single replacement for one of the Premier League’s most influential figures.

Antonio Rudiger (knee), Callum Hudson-Odoi (achilles) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles) will also miss out on Wednesday’s final due to long-term injuries.

Transfer rumor roundup: Chukwuese to Liverpool, Gomes to West Ham

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As fallout begins from Barcelona’s losses in the UEFA Champions League semifinals and Copa del Rey Final, players are being linked with moves away from the Camp Nou.

Andre Gomes, 25, already spent a year away from Barca, playing around 2000 minutes on loan to Everton this season.

[ MORE: USWNT wins final World Cup tune-up ]

The Times says that Everton would like to keep the player, but West Ham has made a $22 million bid for the EURO 2016 winner.

Meanwhile, Metro says that Xherdan Shaqiri could be one-and-done at Liverpool, making room for another Reds’ buy.

Samuel Chukwuese is the name, and the 20-year-old Nigerian plies his trade at Villarreal.

The Yellow Submarine flirted with relegation this season, taxed by the Europa League, and Chukwuese was a bright spot. He scored seven goals and added three assists in 38 matches across all competitions.

USWNT wins final match before World Cup (video)

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Tobin Heath, Mallory Pugh, and Christen Press all scored and then United States women’s national team was rarely threatened in a 3-0 win that stands as the final tune-up for the World Cup in France.

The U.S. will meet Thailand, Nigeria, and Chile in Group F play beginning on June 11.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

The match was barely 10 minutes old when Heath took advantage of terrible miscommunication between Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago and Rebeca Bernal.

There was still work to do when Heath got the ball, finding the angle to make it 1-0.

Carli Lloyd nearly slid a ball home after dribbling Santiago in the 48th minute, but was defied by a goal line clearance.

The second goal came when Lloyd dribbled toward the near post from a tight angle, sliding a pass to Pugh for a 2-0 lead.

Press completed the scoring with a classy finish in the final minutes.