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Chelsea grab huge win late on at Ajax

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Chelsea beat Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam on Wednesday, as substitute Michy Batshuayi scored the winner off a Christian Pulisic assist.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform? ]

Frank Lampard‘s Chelsea now sit top in Group H, leapfrogging Ajax. The hosts hit the post in the second half and were the better team for vast swathes of the game and until Pulisic and Batshuayi came off the bench to cause havoc late on in the Johan Cruyff Arena.

The UEFA Champions League semifinalists from last season had now answer to a mature Chelsea display, as the Blues’ attacking options off the bench made the difference in their sixth-straight win in all competitions.

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Ajax started well with and had a penalty shout for handball waved away, then Joel Veltman drilled a shot just wide.

In an end-to-end encounter Mason Mount cut inside but his shot at the near post was saved as the Blues looked dangerous on the counter.

After a poor defensive clearance the ball fell to Hudson-Odoi but he hurried his shot and wasted a glorious chance.

Ajax thought they had taken the lead before half time as Hakim Ziyech’s cross deflected to the back post where Quincy Promes tapped home. After a delay via VAR, the goal was disallowed as Promes was just, just offside.

Promes was in again moments later after good work from USMNT right back Sergino Dest but Cesar Azpilicueta recovered well to block his effort.

In the second half Dusan Tadic was a growing force in the game as Chelsea were pinned back by Ajax.

Edson Alvarez hit the far post with a superb diving header from a corner and moments later Daley Blind forced Kepa into a save.

Christian Pulisic came on for Willian for the final stages as Chelsea tried to regain control of the game and that is what he did for them.

Pulisic cut in from the left time and time against Ajax, getting past Dest to send a shot just wide and a deflected effort then fell to Batshuayi who sent his effort way off target from a glorious position.

But Pulisic then set up the winning goal as he beat Dest on the dribbled and pulled it back for Batshuayi to hammer home the winner as the subs combined to secure a sixth-straight win in all competitions for Lampard, and his biggest yet as Chelsea’s manager.

Arsenal beat Spurs in front of WSL-record crowd of 38,262

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LONDON (AP) The first north London derby in the Women’s Super League produced a record crowd of 38,262 for the competition on Sunday when Arsenal claimed a 2-0 victory at Tottenham.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

The newly fully professional side held out until the 66th minute when Kim Little struck for the champions and Vivianne Miedema extended Arsenal’s lead in the 82nd minute.

It was the first time Tottenham, in its first top-flight campaign, had staged women’s football at its main 61,000-capacity stadium, which opened earlier this year.

The crowd surpassed the 31,213 at Manchester City for the visit of Manchester United on the opening weekend of the season in September.

Tottenham hosted Arsenal on the first designated Women’s Football Weekend in England which also saw 23,500 at Anfield for Liverpool’s 1-0 loss to Everton.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

Chelsea opened the season by hosting Tottenham in front of around 25,000 at Stamford Bridge.

League leaders Chelsea were back at their usual home of Kingsmeadow on Sunday. Maren Mjelde’s penalty sealed a 1-0 victory over promoted Manchester United in front of 4,790 fans – a WSL record crowd for a game not played in a large stadium usually used by the men’s team.

VIDEO: Dutch 2nd-division game stopped for racist abuse; player later scores goal

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A Dutch second-division game between Den Bosch and Excelsior was temporarily stopped on Sunday due to suspected racist chanting and Nazi salutes performed by some of Den Bosch’s fans.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

The game was halted by referee Laurens Gerrets in the 30 minute. Dutch winger Ahmad Mendes Moreira, who plays for Excelsior, was the player targeted by the racist chanting. He was at that time seen gesturing toward the crowd, indicating to Gerrets and teammates that he was hearing racist abuse from the stands.

In a mixed zone for media availability after the game, Den Bosch manager Erik van der Ven is reported to have called Mendes Moreira a “pathetic little man” for pointing out the racist abuse to Gerrets. Den Bosch released a statement claiming that no racist abuse occurred, that the fans were instead making “crow sounds” and treating Mendes Moreira to a “crow concert,” which they claim is part of customary treatment of opposing players.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

Mendes Moreira appeared emotional after scoring a goal to put Excelsior 2-1 ahead fewer than 15 minutes after the game was restarted.

Defending champs Portugal qualify for EURO 2020

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Defending European champions Portugal booked their place at the 2020 European Championship with a 2-0 victory away to Luxembourg on Sunday, the final day of qualification.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

Portugal (17 points) finishes second in Group B behind Ukraine (20), three points ahead of third-place Serbia which will now go the qualification playoffs route in March.

Bruno Fernandes scored Sunday’s winner in the 39th minute, followed by a late insurance goal from Cristiano Ronaldo in the 86th.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

As things stand, Portugal, who won the European title in 2016 and followed it up with the inaugural UEFA Nations League crown earlier this year, will be placed into Pot 3, alongside Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Austria and Sweden. Ukraine, meanwhile, is assured of being seeded in Pot 1.

Southgate: Gomez to ‘clear his head’ following injury, Sterling incident

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Gareth Southgate believes Joe Gomez has a chance to “clear his head” in the wake of this week’s incident with England teammate Raheem Sterling, thanks to the minor knee which forced Gomez out of the England team for Sunday’s game against Kosovo.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

Gomez suffered the injury in a clash of knees during Friday’s training session, but Southgate stated emphatically that Gomez is “absolutely fine” after undergoing a scan “and I think he’ll be fine in a couple of days.”

As Southgate sees, the injury could be something of a blessing in disguise for Gomez, who earlier this week was involved in a brief physical confrontation with Sterling, to “clear his head” before beginning his regular work week back at Liverpool. Southgate believes that both players have received closure over the incident and can now move forward without issue.

“I think now is a good moment for him just to go home for a couple of days, clear his head.”

“I think the fact that Raheem put out the tweet was real closure on that whole incident. We get Raheem back on the pitch tomorrow. We won the match on Thursday and we can now just look forwards.

“You couldn’t make it up, really, if you tried, but he’s absolutely fine. He took a clash of knees yesterday. We scanned it just to be certain and I think he’ll be fine in a couple of days.”

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

England secured qualification to this summer’s European Championship with a 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro, a game for which Sterling was dropped. Even before Gomez’s injury forced him out of the team, Sterling was set to return to the England team for Sunday’s qualifying finale.