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Wolves rocks Newcastle in Premier League Asia Trophy

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A rough summer continued for Newcastle as the Magpies were hammered in Nanjing by a first-choice Wolves lineup 4-0 in Premier League Asia Trophy action.

Diogo Jota scored a pair, and England youth international Morgan Gibbs-White added a third as Wolves took a commanding 3-0 lead into the break. As both sides rung changes in the second half, an Allan Thomas own-goal with five minutes remaining finished the scoreline and doomed Newcastle to yet another summer misstep.

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For Wolves, it was a promising start to preseason play as the lineup featured a host of regulars, with only Mexican international Raul Jimenez, still resting after a successful Gold Cup campaign, missing from the starting eleven. Jota was particularly spectacular, with a brilliant touch in the buildup to his first goal rewarded with the finish, plus his second – Wolves third – where he snatched the ball straight off the feet of Newcastle defender Isaac Hayden in the penalty area.

Gibbs-White also scored off a Newcastle turnover in its own defensive third, with Jonny picking the pocket of Jamie Sterry on the left flank and finding the 19-year-old alone in the middle for a powerful finish from outside the top of the box.

Newcastle has had a rough summer, with the club losing manager Rafa Benitez, selling leading scorer Ayoze Perez, and failing to secure second-leading scorer Salomon Rondon on a permanent basis. The club has yet to sign a single player and was forced to overpay for Steve Bruce, who was in charge for the match against Wolves.

PL friendly roundup: Liverpool win; Everton, Saints, Norwich draw

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s preseason action involving Premier League teams, wherever in the world they might be preparing for the 2019-20 season…

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

Bradford City 1-3 Liverpool

James Milner scored twice — once from open play and once from the penalty spot — as Liverpool continued the long, slow build toward their PL opener against Norwich City on Aug. 9. 19-year-old Rhian Brewster continued to make noise this preseason, as he followed up his brace against League One side Tranmere Rovers during the week with another goal against another League One side on Sunday.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain started and played 45 minutes, as did all 10 outfield players before Jurgen Klopp made wholesale changes at halftime. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne, both of whom have been linked with moves away from Anfield this summer, also started.

Arminia Bielefeld 2-2 Norwich City

Dennis Srbeny and Josip Drmic scored a goal each for Norwich City, but the newly promoted PL side conceded an 88th-minute equalizer away to German second-division side Arminia Bielefeld.

The Canaries suffered injuries to a pair of key players on Sunday, with both Louis Thompson and Ben Godfrey being forced off. Head coach Daniel Farke indicated after the game that Thompson suffered a hamstring strain, while Godfrey left the stadium on crutches.

Other PL preseason results

Sion 0-0 Everton
Altach 1-1 Southampton

Costa Rica downs pesky Bermuda 2-1 in Gold Cup

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A hot night in Frisco, Texas saw Costa Rica deal with a pesky but wasteful Bermuda side and secure passage to the Gold Cup knockout stage with a 2-1 win on goals bracketing halftime. Jerseys were soaked through with sweat after just 20 minutes, and the minnows were up to the task but couldn’t finish off their chances and were punished on the other end.

Costa Rica remained in the majority of possession throughout but Bermunda continued to disrupt their early flow, holding the favorites to just one total shot through the first 25 minutes. Bermuda, meanwhile, had a few great opportunities in the opening minutes. They had an early chance on the counter just two minutes in, but Nahki Wells scuffed his shot wide after the Costa Rica defense somehow whiffed on stopping the through ball. Reggie Lambe found himself on the doorstep in the 19th minute after a Wells shot from outside the top of the box was blocked right to Lambe’s feet, but he took too long to get a shot off and put it into Leonel Moreira’s breadbasket.

Costa Rica had its first chance in the 27th minute as Allan Cruz rose high and got his head to an Elias Aguilar cross from deep in the corner, but the effort was right at Bermuda shot-stopper Dale Eve. Bermuda was lucky to keep 11 players on the pitch on the half-hour mark after an ugly tackle by Jaylon Bather who went studs-up high onto the lower leg of Bryan Oviedo. They broke through on a subsequent corner as Mayron George headed home at the back post.

Oscar Duarte came close to a second with another header off a corner 10 minutes later, but he put it just over the bar. Eve was required again just before halftime as he flew through the air to keep out a Celso Borges free-kick effort destined for the top corner. After the break, Costa Rica was bright and found a second as Elias Aguilar bagged his second of the tournament on a simple shot from left side of the box.

Bermuda woke up after the second Costa Rica goal, and a Donte Brangman scorcher from distance forced a save of Moreira on 57 minutes. On the ensuing corner, Borges tripped Jalen Harvey and a penalty was awarded, which Wells blasted down the middle to get Bermuda on the board. Zeiko Lewis had a glorious opportunity to draw level as Lambe fed him through on goal but he couldn’t settle properly and the chance disappeared.

Costa Rica controlled the ball as the game wound down and while Bermuda tested them in spells, they never truly had what it took to equalize. They came closest in the 89th minute on a turn-and-shoot from Wells but he put it wide right. Somehow, Costa Rica failed to find a third with the final kick of the game as George saw his breakaway shot saved by Eve and his follow-up on the doorstep blasted off the underside of the crossbar.

The win for Costa Rica secures a spot in the knockout round, while Bermuda is officially eliminated with no points from their first two games. Nicaragua is also eliminated with the result, and Costa Rica will take on Haiti to determine the group winner in the final match of Group B play on Monday.

Southampton ‘not a pig to be fattened’

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Southampton’s majority owner Gao Jisheng has rarely talked about purchasing the Premier League club. If ever.

However, the Chinese real estate tycoon has now been talking and it doesn’t seem like he’s willing to pump much, if any, of his own money into Saints in the coming years.

In a rare interview with the Financial Times in Shanghai, Gao revealed some of his plans for the future of the South Coast club.

“I am not treating Southampton as a pig to be fattened and sold,” Gao said. “I am treating it as a child. But my children must believe they cannot depend on the boss. I have said to Southampton: ‘I am now your father. But I am putting you on the right track: you need to feed yourself.’”

He added: “The club’s financial situation is good this year and it doesn’t require more investment.”

Southampton’s fans will not be too shocked to hear these words from Gao, but will be intrigued to have had heard anything at all from him.

The Chinese businessman often attends games but has never spoken publicly about his reasons and motivations for buying an 80 percent stake in the club from the Liebherr family back in 2017.

With his property company Lander Sports buying the club, Gao recently sold a large chunk of his stake in Lander to the Chinese government which led to the Premier League requesting information from Southampton about whether or not they were now owned by the state of China.

Gao has brushed off those suggestions, saying he has given the PL the information they need and they are satisfied. Lander Sports, who own the 80 percent stake in Saints, are based in Hong Kong due to strict laws about risky foreign investments in mainland China.

All of this is a little confusing for Southampton fans, but the main thing to come from Gao’s comments is that they shouldn’t expect a huge flurry of big money signings as long as he’s the owner but they could spend some money this summer without selling anybody.

Gao wants the club to be self-sustaining and that is pretty admirable in this day and age when fans demand huge money spent on new players, and will then slam the club when relegation could see it spiral into financial meltdown.

Southampton have always been a club which produces young talent and then sells players on for a huge profit. That won’t change anytime soon.

But after two close shaves with relegation over the past two seasons, it is clear Southampton’s squad needs a large rebuild under Ralph Hasenhuttl this summer. If they can sell on a plethora of players who have been out of the picture and out on loan last season, then they will be able to reinvest that cash in new players.

How successful Saints are at doing that this offseason will determine if Hasenhuttl’s side can kick on and push for a top 10 finish next season. The coach has worked wonders with one of the youngest squads in the PL since he arrived last December and there is plenty of promise that a full season of Hasenhuttl-ball will see Saints not embroiled in yet another relegation scrap.

Gao’s comments underline the fact he will not spend big like Wolves’ Chinese owners Fosun, but given how much Saints have spent over the past few years (they are one of the few PL clubs to make a profit in transfer business year in, year out) this wasn’t a huge surprise.

With Southampton playing a game in China again this offseason, their new sponsorship deal with LD Sports (a company yet to launch in China) has seen them double their revenue in terms of sponsorship in a club-record deal.

Gao’s connections in China are helping the club financially in certain aspects, but it appears they will not pump money in to try and challenge the PL’s elite like they did in years gone by under Ronald Koeman. In truth, their success under Koeman was fuelled by selling a host of star names such as Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren and Morgan Schneiderlin, which allowed them to buy Sadio Made, Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle and Virgil Van Dijk among others.

Saints must unearth a few more gems in the transfer window this summer to keep their model rolling along and bring about another push into the top half of the table. They have a great manager, some talented youngsters and a sensible owner.

The latter will hamper any progress their fans have of making another push for European qualification in the years to come.

MLS (early) roundup: Galaxy, TFC, FCD all lose at home (video)

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action from the early set of games in Major League Soccer…

[ MORE: Ex-NYCFC star pushes Leeds ahead of Derby in promotion playoffs ]

LA Galaxy 0-2 New York City FC

Following a strong start to the Guillermo Barros Schelotto era (six wins from seven games), the Galaxy have fallen back onto hard times in recent weeks and lost three straight, including Saturday’s home defeat at the hands of NYCFC. In those three successive defeats, they have conceded eight goals. At the risk of overreacting, they look once again like the 2018 team that conceded 64 times and missed the playoffs.

NYCFC did all of their damage in a three-minute span just before the halftime whistle, which left the Galaxy reeling as they went into the locker room. Heber and Maxi Moralez (penalty kick) got the goals, and NYCFC hardly broke a sweat in the second half.

The only real moment of danger for Dome Torrent’s side came in the 86th minute, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Chris Pontius each hit the woodwork. This, as is becoming all too commonplace these days, resulted in Ibrahimovic becoming physically violent against an opponent.

Toronto FC 1-2 Philadelphia Union

Speaking of teams looking more like the 2018 version of themselves rather than the new and improved 2019 squad, Toronto FC lost its second straight game, at home against the first-place Union.

Chris Mavinga put the ball into his own net in the 25th minute, but Alejandro Pozuelo dazzled the North American masses once again with a sublime free kick in the 51st minute.

The Union responded brilliantly, though, as Kacper Przybylko found a wide open Jamiro Monteiro inside the TFC penalty area, once again harkening back to the Reds’ 2018 form at the most inopportune time.

FC Dallas 1-2 New York Red Bulls

Cristian Casseres Jr. (12th minute), Sean Nealis (58th) and Brian White (85th) each bagged a goal in the Red Bulls’ comfortable 3-1 victory over FC Dallas. Chris Armas changed 10 of 11 starters from last week’s game, and the move paid off.

Entrenched starters Aaron Long, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Luis Robles, Daniel Royer and Marc Rzatkowski didn’t even travel with the team to Dallas.

FC Cincinnati 2-1 Montreal Impact

The Alan Koch era in Cincinnati ended abruptly this week, thus 29-year-old Yoann Damet’s (interim) tenure began on Saturday. Anytime you can end a five-game losing skid (and a winless run of seven), it’s a good day.

Allan Cruz opened the scoring in the 7th minute, ending Cincinnati’s 528-minute scoreless drought in the process. Fatai Alashe made it 2-0 just after the hour mark, and good thing he did because Orji Okwonkwo pulled a goal back for the Impact not even 15 minutes later.