Nine-man Spurs lose late on at Bournemouth (video)

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  • Son, Foyth sent off for Spurs
  • Ake scores 91st minute winner 
  • Tottenham’s top 4 hopes up in air
  • Six-straight away defeats for Spurs

Bournemouth beat nine-man Tottenham 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, as Spurs almost held on for a heroic point on the South Coast of England.

Heung-Min Son and Juan Foyth were both sent off in a five-minute spell either side of half time as Spurs totally lost their heads, but almost held on for a crucial point in the top four battle. But Nathan Ake headed home from a corner in the 91st minute to finally break through for Bournemouth, as they secured a first-ever league win against Tottenham.

With the win the Cherries moved up to 12th in the table on 45 points, while Spurs are now only four points ahead of Arsenal in fifth with one game to go, as the Gunners have a game in hand on them too. Spurs’ final game of the season sees them host Everton and if they win that, they will finish in the top four.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The game started evenly but almost saw Spurs go ahead in stunning fashion. Lucas Moura spotted Bournemouth debutant goalkeeper, 19-year-old Mark Travers, off his line and the Brazilian’s shot from inside his own half flew just wide.

Tottenham pushed hard for the opener and Travers pushed away Dele Alli‘s powerful shot well, as Bournemouth rarely threatened on the break. Travers then made a superb stop to deny Moura who was clean through on goal after a great ball from Moussa Sissoko, but the young Irish goalkeeper pushed the shot over as he enjoyed a fantastic first 45 minutes as a Premier League goalkeeper.

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Moura was denied again before the break as he latched onto a long ball over the top but Travers stuck out a leg to make the stop. Eric Dier was lucky to not be sent off for two yellow cards, Son fired over after a typically incisive run and Travers saved Alli’s header with Josh King and Callum Wilson going down at the other end in the box as penalty kicks could have been given. Then a huge moment in the game arrived.

After Jefferson Lerma appeared to step on Son’s foot after he fouled Fraser, the South Korean forward reacted and pushed Lerma over and received a straight red card from Craig Pawson to reduce Spurs to 10 men for the second half. Soon it got even worse…

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Juan Foyth and Victor Wanyama both came on at half time for Spurs as Pochettino tweaked his lineup, but Foyth was shown a straight red card just two minutes after coming on. The Argentine lunged into a tackle with his boot high and caught Jack Simpson, and Pawson decided that was enough for a straight red card.

Spurs switched to a 4-3-1 formation after the second sending off, as they stayed compact and battled to try and keep hold of the ball whenever they could.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bournemouth’s Wilson glanced a header wide, Nathaniel Clyne came close and Lloris had to make saves from distance as the home side failed to carve out too many clear-cut opportunities, with Fraser’s late corner causing mayhem but somehow Spurs cleared.

However, from the following corner Ake headed home to break Tottenham’s hearts in the 91st minute, as Bournemouth secured a first win against Spurs in all competitions since 1957.

But there was time for one more moment of drama in the 96th minute, as a corner saw Alli go down and it looked like Wilson pushed him to the ground, but no penalty kick was given.

How will USMNT line up versus Costa Rica?

USMNT
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Saturday brings a first look at the United States men’s national team in 2020, though Gregg Berhalter’s bunch won’t look anything like its best self.

The Yanks have an almost exclusively MLS roster for the match, with Hobro’s Christian Cappas, Wolfsburg II’s Uly Llanez and unattached 17-year-old Bryang Kayo in the fold.

Many of Berhalter’s best MLS stars won’t be in Carson either for the 3:55 p.m. ET Saturday kickoff. Jordan Morris, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley are the biggest names.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Ronald Gonzalez’s Ticos will be similarly hampered, although more of Costa Rica’s A-side play in MLS and domestically.

We’ll leave the breakdown of the visitors for a later date, but who will rep the U.S. in Saturday’s Starting XI?

The travel roster includes keepers Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid, and Matt Turner, as well as defenders Aaron Long, Walker Zimmerman, Reggie Cannon, Julian Araujo, Chase Gasper, Justen Glad, Mark McKenzie, and Sam Vines. Listed midfielders Sebastian Lletget, Jackson Yueill, Brenden Aaronson, Cappis, Kayo, and Brandon Servania are joined by forwards Gyasi Zardes, Paul Arriola, Jonathan Lewis, Jesus Ferreira, and Ulysses Llanez.

Goalkeeper is anyone’s guess, but Johnson’s got the most run of the three during the Berhalter era. The younger Turner or more accomplished Hamid may step in there.

It would be surprising to see any other center backs besides Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long given what we know of Berhalter and his respect for regulars. Reggie Cannon should start at right back and it’s between Chase Gasper and Sam Vines for the left. We’ll choose Vines out of intrigue.

Jackson Yueill, Paul Arriola, Sebastian Lletget, and Gyasi Zardes are safe bets to start, and this would seem a spot to give Jonathan Lewis more than subs’ run. That leaves one spot, and we’re pegging Brandon Servania to be the one chosen of four midfielders aged 17-20.

There’s also the matter of whether FC Dallas striker Jesus Ferreira will be internationally cleared to play Saturday. We sure hope he will be!

How do you think Berhalter will line them up?


How Berhalter may go

Johnson

Cannon — Zimmerman — Long — Vines

Yueill — Servania

Arriola — Lletget — Lewis

Zardes


What we’d like to see

Turner

Cannon — Zimmerman — McKenzie — Vines

Yueill — Cappis — Servania

Arriola — Ferreira — Lewis

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

Report: Sheffield United in ‘advanced talks’ for $22M Norway star

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Sheffield United is ready to add one of the game’s brightest young talents to its blossoming Premier League side.

Norway midfielder Sander Berge is the name, and he’s been linked with Liverpool amongst others over the past few months.

Berge turns 22 next month and already has 20 caps for Norway in addition to 113 senior appearances for Genk in Belgium and 43 more for Valerenga in his home country.

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The defensive midfielder has chipped in six goals and four assists. He won the Belgian Super League with Genk last year and has a career-best four goals so this season.

It shows what success brings to a club, as Sky Sports reports that Berge turned down a move to Bramall Lane in the summer.

The fee is said to be $22 million, which isn’t small but completely reasonable given his stature for club and country.

This may move may join the Lys Mousset purchase as one of the Blades’ smartest bits of business, especially as Chris Wilder‘s men look for success on multiple fronts. Their success as a newly-promoted side is one of the great stories of the European season, and a place in Europe would be a fantastic achievement.

From The Yorkshire Post:

“It is going well, no doubt about it,” Wilder said. “On the Premier League front and in the Cup. You probably would not think it, but the win at Millwall has given me an enormous amount of pleasure in confirming, not even seeing, what my team is about. Players have come in with the likes of the skipper (Billy Sharp) and other players who are really driving it forward and want to produce individual performances and the atmosphere is good.”

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

Espanyol identify 12 fans who racially insulted player

Racism in football
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BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish club Espanyol says it has identified 12 fans who racially insulted an Athletic Bilbao player in the Spanish league last weekend.

Espanyol said on Monday in a statement that nine of the fans were club members and would face punishment that could include suspension or a full-time ban.

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It said a report of its analysis of the video images of Saturday’s game at RCDE Stadium were sent to authorities.

The club reiterated its “categorical condemnation of any displays of violence and racism.”

The fans made monkey noises directed at Athletic forward Inaki Williams, who is black. Television images showed Williams confronting the section of Espanyol fans who taunted him after he was substituted late in the game in Barcelona.

The Spanish league said it will seek a partial stadium closure for Espanyol and will raise the incident with the Spanish soccer federation’s competition committee, which handles disciplinary issues.

Transfer rumors: West Ham want $44M midfielder, Barca eyes Rodrigo

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West Ham United is being linked with a big transfer splash, and it’s not even a striker.

Uruguayan midfielder Nahitan Nandez is the man in question, and West Ham is reportedly tempting Cagliari with a $44 million offer this January.

Nandez, 23, arrived from Boca Juniors for less than half that fee this summer, and has chipped in a goal with three assists for Tommaso Giulini’s sixth-place Serie A side.

He’s got 31 caps for his national team, and is averaging 1.5 tackles per match with Cagliari. Nandez is also averaging a key pass and 1.1 successful dribbles per league outing.

Football-Italia says that Cagliari will try to tie Nandez to a new deal with a $44 million release clause if the move to West Ham is unsuccessful.

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Meanwhile Barcelona’s pursuit of a Luis Suarez replacement isn’t limited to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to Marca.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu admits that Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno is interesting his coaches.

“We don’t talk about players from other teams. But [Rodrigo’s] name is on the table of the coaches, and a replacement will arrive. I do not know whether it will be from Barcelona B or from outside. I like many players.”

The Spaniard has eight goals in 21 caps, and turns 29 in March. Rodrigo has four goals and 10 assists in 23 matches across all competitions this season.

Valencia beat Barcelona this weekend to send the Blaugranas three points back of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.