Chelsea beat Norwich in thriller

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“Super, Super Frank, Super Frankie Lampard!” sang the Chelsea fans at Norwich.

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Frank Lampard is off and running as Chelsea boss, as he grabbed his first win as a Premier League manager in a wild encounter at Carrow Road.

Chelsea beat Norwich City 3-2 after a wild first half gave way to a measured second half display for the Blues, with Tammy Abraham scoring his first two PL goals for Chelsea and playing the hero.

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Norwich battled back to equalize twice in the first half through Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki after Abraham and Mason Mount had twice given Chelsea the lead. But Abraham’s strike in the second half capped off a fine Chelsea display, as their youngest PL starting lineup since 1994 did Lampard proud.

Chelsea are off and running for the season.


Three things we learned

1. Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic take their chance: This was a big moment for two of Chelsea’s young stars. Abraham was favored ahead of Giroud up top and scored his first Premier League goals for his boyhood club. Pulisic grabbed an assist on Mount’s goal and had a hand in Abraham’s first and was a constant menace on the right. With Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi returning to fitness, this was a big day for Pulisic. His displays have been up and down but this was a solid outing on the right, and he was only playing there because Pedro was injured in the warm up. The American will have earned another start based on this display.

2. Defensive issues continue for young Chelsea: This team was the youngest Chelsea XI in the PL since Feb. 1994, and it is clear they are still learning under first-year coach Lampard. Norwich scored twice very easily in the first half and the manner of their equalizers will upset Lampard. Quick passing and movement took Zouma and Christensen out of the game and that lack of pace and positioning is a reoccurring theme at the center back position. Lampard’s young side did manage the game well late on and didn’t fade as they’ve done in the second half of games recently. The young bucks are learning, but there are still going to be plenty of speed bumps along the way.

3. Cavalier Norwich growing in confidence: Yes, they lost the game, but the way Norwich kept pouring forward, especially in the first half, sums up their style under Daniel Farke. They are comfortable playing in an attacking manner and won’t change that against the big boys this season. They couldn’t drag themselves back into the game a third time but Farke can be proud of the way his team approached this game. They gave the ball away an awful lot, but they did so trying to set the tone and launch attacks.

Man of the match: Tammy Abraham – The English youngster scored his first two PL goals for Chelsea and led the line superbly with plenty of runs behind the defense which created space for Pulisic, Kovacic and Barkley. This is just the start for Abraham.


It took Chelsea just four minutes to open the scoring as Christian Pulisic played in Cesar Azpilicueta and his cross was rifled home by Abraham for his first Blues goal.

Seconds later Norwich were level. Cantwell picked up the ball in the box, played it to Pukki and got on the end of the cross to tap home and send Carrow Road wild with less than six minutes on the clock.

The fast start continued as Mount was played in by Pulisic and slotted home after 17 minutes to score his second goal in as many PL games. Tim Krul then brilliantly denied Andreas Christensen‘s header as Chelsea pinned the Canaries back in the first half.

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But just when it looked like Chelsea would runaway with things, Norwich equalizer. Pukki was played in down the right and he finished calmly across goal for his fifth goal of the season to make it 2-2.

Chelsea dominated the second half as Pulisic fired wide in the box, Emerson was denied by Krul and Mount flashed an effort wide.

Abraham then latched onto a nice pass from Kovacic and beat two Norwich defenders before firing home his second and Chelsea’s third of the game. The Canaries finished strongly as Ben Godfrey hit the crossbar with a header but Chelsea eased to their first victory of the season.

Belarusian Premier League roundup: BATE Borisov pick up win, end early-season drought

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The Belarusian Premier League – the only active European top-flight league at the moment – continued on Saturday despite the coronavirus pandemic.

FC Rukh 0-1 BATE Borisov

With an early goal from midfielder Stanislav Dragun, BATE Borisov, Belarus’ most successful team (15 league titles) and a regular face in European competition, earned their first win of the season. Kirill Alshevsky, who took over at the helm prior to the season, had started his spell on a two-game losing streak.

BATE, despite not winning the possession battle decisively, generated twice as many shots on target as the visitors, registering a total of 11 shots throughout 90 minutes at Borisov Arena.

A winner of 13 straight Belarusian Premier League titles – spanning from 2006 to 2018 – pressure began looming over BATE after starting the 2020 campaign with back-to-back lackluster results. BATE, who lost to Arsenal in Europa League’s Round of 32 in April 2019, were outscored 5-2 in the first, two games of the league.

Dinamo Minsk, the second most successful Belarusian side, also picked up their first three points on Friday, following a slower-than-usual start to the season. Meanwhile, defending champion Dinamo Brest fell 2-1 to Slavia-Mozyr, dropping to eighth on the table.

Elsewhere in Belarusian Premier League 

Shakhtyor 0-0 Nerman

Dinamo Brest 1-2 Slavia-Mozyr

NWSL extends league-wide training moratorium through May

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The NWSL is extending its league-wide training moratorium another month amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league announced on Saturday.

All NWSL teams will be unable to partake in team trainings until at least May 5, extending its previous training moratorium that was set to expire on Sunday, April 5. The 2020 season – which was set to start on April 18 – is expected to start by the end of June, according to NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird.

“We’ve been just communicating with our players and we’re targeting for the end of June for our season to start,” Baird told The Equalizer. “I say that with conviction and hope, but … we’re gonna adhere to the public health guidelines that are in place at the time and I don’t think that we can predict what they are. But our strategy is in place.”

Earlier this week, Major League Soccer and United Soccer League extended their training moratorium through April 24 and April 19, respectively.

Report: England manager Gareth Southgate agrees to 30 percent pay cut

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England manager Gareth Southgate has agreed to a 30 percent pay cut amid the coronavirus pandemic, our partners at Sky Sports reported on Saturday.

[ MORE: What PL clubs are doing to help during coronavirus ] 

Southgate’s move, which is reportedly expected to be confirmed by the Football Association (FA) next week, comes hours after the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) released a statement on behalf of the Premier League players responding to proposed pay cuts.

A FA spokesperson told Sky Sports the following: “The financial implications of the coronavirus are not yet known however, as a not-for-profit organization, we want to ensure that we take the appropriate course of action to support the wider organization and our employees.

“We will make a further announcement on our next steps in due course.”

On Friday, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe – and a handful of technical staff personnel – became the first Premier League manager to take a voluntary pay cut. Howe’s “significant, voluntary” pay cuts were done in light of the club furloughing non-playing employees throughout the organization, joining Tottenham, Norwich, Newcastle and Liverpool.

Spanish league and players still far apart on salary cuts

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MADRID (AP) The Spanish league and players are still far apart on the size of the salary cuts they need to take to help reduce the financial impact caused by the coronavirus outbreak, with the footballers saying the organization wants them to carry nearly half the total losses.

The league and the players’ association have been in talks to try to find ways to mitigate losses that could reach nearly 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) if the season cannot be restarted because of the pandemic.

The players have said they are willing to reduce their salaries, but not as much as the league or the clubs want.

“After analyzing the current circumstances of the sector and given the distance in conversations with the players’ association, it is necessary to adopt measures in view of the serious economic crisis that COVID-19 is causing in the Spanish soccer industry,” the league said in a statement.

It also added that government furloughs are “an exceptional mechanism to avoid and mitigate the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector, and thus guarantee its subsequent recovery.”

According to media reports, the league expects losses of 957 million euros ($1.03 billion) if the season is canceled, with 303 million euros ($327 million) lost if it resumes with games in empty stadiums and 156 million euros ($168 million) of deficits if it continues with fans.

The players said the total cuts in salaries requested by the league would account for 451 million euros ($487 million) if the top flight cannot restart.

The reduction in salaries being discussed reportedly varies depending on the clubs, and also on whether they are playing in the Champions League or the Europa League.

Team captains met with the players’ association late Friday to discuss their options after the league earlier in the day called for all clubs to put the footballers on government furloughs to reduce labor costs while the stoppage of play continued. The furloughs help the clubs and guarantee players their jobs once the crisis is over.

The league said it is responsible for preserving an industry that represents 1.37 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and employs about 185,000 people.

Atlético Madrid and Barcelona were among the clubs to resort to the furloughs in recent days. Both reached an agreement with players to reduce their salaries by 70 percent, and guaranteed the wages of other employees were unaffected.

There are nearly 125,000 cases of the new coronavirus in Spain, which on Saturday surpassed Italy as the country with the second-most infections behind the United States. The death toll in the nation stands at 11,744.

The government is expected to extend lockdown measures until April 26, likely keeping the Spanish league suspended until then.

The league has said the season won’t resume until authorities deem it safe for everyone’s health. It said it will recommend a “minimum of 15 days” of practice before the games can restart, though it suggested recently the training period may begin with restrictions before the lockdown is removed.

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