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Everton draws Spurs; Gomes suffers gruesome injury

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Cenk Tosun‘s goal deep in stoppage time gave Everton a 1-1 draw with 10-man Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on Sunday.

The match was marred by a gruesome ankle injury to Everton’s Andre Gomes, who was upended by a reckless Heung-Min Son challenge. Son was sent off, in tears.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Dele Alli had given Spurs a lead in a match which suffered in quality for more than an hour.

Everton’s 11 points have it 17th, three points above the drop zone, while Spurs are 11th with 13 points.


Three things we learned

1. VAR remains a main character, antagonist: Well this got a little ridiculous, as Martin Atkinson could — and maybe should — have awarded three second-half penalties but was backed by VAR. First, Spurs were denied a penalty when Yerry Mina fell into Heung-min Son, who admittedly added ridiculous embellishment to the foul. VAR didn’t no overrule the on-field decision, and Richarlison was not awarded an Everton penalty for a worse violation moments later. Then Spurs truly got off the hook when Dele’s raised arm deflected a cross but withstood a lengthy review.

2.Disappointing teams keep disappointing: How fitting that Spurs’ lone goal of a sloppy match came on an awful giveaway, while Everton tied it up through a forgotten forward. Both sets of players were poor for most of the match, though at least Spurs had some excuse with the illness of Harry Kane costing them a star striker. Neither team will find much to like from their performance, although Everton will lean on its resilience in finding an equalizer given the emotions involved in seeing a teammate’s serious injury.

3. Gomes suffers stomach-turning injury: Heung-min Son clattered into Gomes, and saw a yellow card but the nature of the problem escalated when players from both teams immediately called for medical treatment. Replays weren’t shown by the TV broadcast due to the nature of the injury, and the card was changed to red. It was a reckless but not malicious tackle, and a full-speed Gomes suffered an apparent ankle break when he landed. Son was nearly inconsolable after seeing what his tackle had done, and left the pitch in tears. Gomes left on a stretcher, and Spursd were down a man for 7six minutes plus what would be a long period of stoppage time.

The Premier League issued a statement on the red card: “The red card for Son was for endangering the safety of a player which happened as a consequence of his initial challenge.”

Man of the Match: It’s down to three D’s — Digne, Dele, and Fabian Delph. We’ll choose the former, whose match-tying assist was perfect.


The final decision or movement just wasn’t there in a clumsy first half hour with no shots on target. Richarlison couldn’t make a clean break on a terrific through ball and Andre Gomes popped a header over the goal.

Richarlison turned a Lucas Digne cross and lashed to Paulo Gazzaniga in the 33rd for the first shot on target of the match.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The second half began with more pace, and Yerry Mina’s sloppy tackle on Heung-min Son was not given as a penalty by Martin Atkinson. Son exaggerated the contact, but it still looked like a reason to go to the spot.

Richarlison went across his body to snap a shot at Gazzaniga moments after a penalty shot.

Spurs went ahead when Alex Iwobi gave the ball away in his own half, Son nutmegging Mina with a pass to Dele. The Englishman dribbled free to the top of the box before beating Jordan Pickford with a low shot for 1-0.

Dele looked to have given the goal back as his raised arm struck the ball on a challenge inside the 18, but no penalty was awarded by VAR.

Then came the Son yellow card, and substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin nearly equalized when the game was restarted.

The Toffees found their leveler in stoppage time, as Lucas Digne first touched a massive cross back into the mixer for Tosun to head past Gazzaniga.

On This Day: Bornstein becomes national hero – in Honduras

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You know what today is? It’s Jonathan Bornstein day in Honduras.

Ten years ago today at RFK Stadium in our nations capital, a young, hot-shot kid with plenty of hair named Michael Bradley and Bornstein helped the U.S. Men’s National Team come back to draw Costa Rica, 2-2, in World Cup qualifying. In fact, it’s eerie watching Bornstein’s celebration, running to the corner flag and diving headfirst as he’s mobbed moments after by his teammates. It’s a bit similar to what Lanson Donovan did about nine months later.

[READ: USMNT looks to build in match v. Canada]

To add some context, it was the final day of qualifications matches in the Hex. Three days earlier, the U.S. had already secured a place in the World Cup with a wild 3-2 win at Honduras, meaning Los Catrachos needed to win over El Salvador on the final night and hope that the U.S. would keep Costa Rica from winning in the final match.

Who else, but Carlos Pavon gave Honduras a 1-0 win over El Salvador that night. Then, it was Bornsteins goal later that night that put Los Catrachos into the World Cup for the first time since 1982, and left Costa Rica to battle for the shared spot between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.

In honor of the big day, hundreds of Honduras fans had been mentioning Bornstein on social media, and the veteran defender – currently of the Chicago Fire – retweeted quite a few of the thankful messages to him. Below, here’s video of the call from Honduras TV, as well as from Ian Darke and the ESPN crew.

Unfortunately for Bornstein, this may be the highlight of his national team career. He did make the 2010 World Cup squad and started twice, including the matches against Algeria and Ghana, but he never truly took the next step in his career to become a star left back.

After a calamitous performance against Mexico in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, which also Bob Bradley his USMNT job, Bornstein was dropped and hasn’t been seen from again on the national team stage.

However, even though he’s only a club player these days, he’ll never have to buy a drink in Honduras, that’s for sure.

Italian players’ rep calls out establishment’s racism tolerance

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ROME (AP) It was the day after Christmas and the festive atmosphere was quickly ruined when a soccer fan died in clashes outside of the venerated San Siro stadium in Milan.

Inside the arena, the situation grew worse when Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who is black, was targeted with racist monkey noises by Inter Milan supporters for the full 90 minutes.

After Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti pleaded with the referee to no avail for the match to be suspended, Koulibaly sarcastically applauded the official and was sent off with his second yellow card.

Days later, an emergency summit of Italian soccer and government leaders called to address the problems of fan violence and racism resulted in little more than opposing opinions.

“The feeling I took home was that we don’t all view the problem in the same manner and we don’t all want to confront it the same way,” Damiano Tommasi, the president of the Italian players’ association, said in an interview this week with The Associated Press. “Not everyone was convinced that this is unacceptable.”

No surprise then that, nine months later, fan racism remains a serious problem for Serie A and there has been a complete lack of punishment after three cases of discriminatory chants during the opening five rounds of the Italian league.

Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku, AC Milan’s Franck Kessie, and Fiorentina’s Dalbert Henrique — who are all black — have been targeted by racist chants but no sanctions have been handed out by the Italian league, federation or police.

“There’s always someone who says, `Yes, but. Yes, but that’s not racism. Yes, but it’s only one person. Yes, but it’s not a racist insult. Yes, but we can’t prevent someone from saying these things inside a stadium. Too many `Yes, buts,'” Tommasi said. “That results in a level of tolerance that doesn’t come into line with other countries.”

With coaches like Ancelotti and Antonio Conte at Inter having recently returned home after experiences abroad, plus the arrival of more high-profile foreigners in the Italian league like Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus and Lukaku, who recently transferred from Manchester United, the racism in Serie A has taken on a new dimension.

“They notice the difference much more than other players and coaches. And they’re personalities who are known internationally. Their voices gain more attention,” Tommasi said.

As Conte said recently, “I’m back in Italy after three years and I’ve discovered that the situation has really worsened. In England whoever offends someone pays for it because they put them in jail right away and throw away the key. That’s why so many families go to the stadiums there.”

The racism isn’t just against black players. Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic was recently insulted as “a Gypsy.”

Then there are degrading territorial chants constantly aimed at Napoli in which supporters of other clubs associate Napoli with cholera or sing that the southern city should fall victim to an eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

During Napoli’s opening match of the season at Fiorentina, Ancelotti uncharacteristically lost his cool at the final whistle and confronted opposing fans behind his bench.

“After 90 minutes of insults, I turned to the crowd and suggested that they just go home,” Ancelotti said. “It’s certainly not pleasant to hear non-stop insults.”

Fiorentina fans, meanwhile, have been known to celebrate the Heysel Stadium disaster, when 39 people – mostly Juventus fans – were killed in a stampede at the start of the 1985 European Cup final.

“Insults have become an accepted part of the fan culture,” Tommasi said.

An extra complication was revealed by a recent police crackdown on Juventus “ultra” fans linked to alleged infiltration by the Calabrian `Ndrangheta crime mob: Militant-like supporters allegedly blackmailed their own team by threatening racist chants which would result in a costly stadium closure if the club did not provide them with extra tickets for resale.

Solutions for fighting racism and other offensive behavior have been established in the English and French leagues, where high-tech cameras and listening devices inside stadiums can help authorities identify offenders, who then face harsh punishments.

Gerardo Mastrandrea, the Italian league judge charged with deciding disciplinary measures, has few tools to work with besides the official referees’ report from each match. If the referee does not report racist chants, Mastandrea can’t rely on fan videos circulating on social media to hand out punishment.

There was progress, however, when Atalanta’s 2-2 draw with Fiorentina last weekend was suspended briefly during the first half due to chants aimed at Dalbert, following FIFA’s “three-step process” for handling racism inside stadiums.

The FIFA process requires the referee to briefly pause a match at the first hint of discriminatory chants and request an announcement asking fans to stop. If the chanting persists, the referee can suspend the match and order the teams into the locker rooms until it stops. If that doesn’t work, the referee can stop the match definitively.

“The rules are there, they just need to be applied,” Tommasi said. “We could sit here and talk about solutions for months. But in terms of the regulations there are only a few moves to be made, we just need to have the courage, strength and – above all – the desire to say these people can’t be inside the stadiums.”

After last season’s racism summit, then-Interior Minister Matteo Salvini announced that he opposes suspending matches because racist chants are too difficult to identify.

Salvini lost his office in a political gamble this month but remains popular for his hard-line stance against migrants.

“Unfortunately,” Tommasi said, “athletes and sports in general have little to learn from society in general these days in terms of integration and inclusion.”

Liverpool hangs on for win over wasteful Chelsea

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Liverpool built a two-goal lead, then rode its luck to keep its perfect season alive.

Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold scored first half goals as the Reds beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

N’Golo Kante scored a sensational goal to bring the Blues within one, but Chelsea couldn’t finish several terrific opportunities to tie the match.

Now 6-0, the Reds restored their five-point lead over second place Man City, while the Blues sit 12th with eight points.


The main takeaways

1. Alexander-Arnold at both ends: TAA’s exceptional work in the attacking third is nothing new, and it says something that it comes as little surprise when he produces something sublime like the opening goal off a set piece, but Alexander-Arnold’s goal line clearance in the 68th minute adding some icing to the cake as Chelsea looked pull a goal back from its 2-0 deficit. A fine performance from the right back.

2. Liverpool gets big let-off: Liverpool’s defending and passing was poor over the final 30 minutes or so, and if the Reds have something resembling a weakness it is their overall back line when the opposition is in the Liverpool half. Michy Batshuayi and Mason Mount should’ve both troubled Adrian in the latter stages, but were let off the hook by a Chelsea team with only one sub available to it after the break. More on that below.

3. Bats, not the Yank: Frank Lampard opted against starting Christian Pulisic again on Sunday, and two defensive subs in the first 42 minutes meant there was only one left for the second half. Lampard chose target forward Michy Batshuayi over Pulisic, Ross Barkley, and Pedro. Batshuayi drew a free kick upon introduction, and coudn’t flash an opener header on frame in the 88th.

Man of the Match: Firmino, whose steady presence, strong dribbling, and — most importantly — powerful header steadied the match for a time, moments after VAR denied the Blues an equalizer.

Honorable mention: Kante was everywhere, stopping Mohamed Salah‘s long dribble toward goal late as a highlight. Another highlight, this. See ya later Fabinho.


[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A foul-heavy, physical start yielded a free kick atop the Chelsea 18 after Andreas Christensen got tangled with Sadio Mane.

A training ground play had Salah roll a shot pass for Alexander-Arnold to belt past Kepa Arrizabalaga in the 15th minute.

An injury to Emerson Palmieri then introduced Marcos Alonso to the match, a 16th minute substitution adding insult to the, well, you know.

Adrian saved Tammy Abraham‘s 1v1 chance in the 24th minute, a misstep from the youngster and great moment for Liverpool’s No. 2 backstop.

Azpilicueta looked to have leveled when he mopped up a sloppy final third performance from the Reds celebrated back line, but VAR ruled Mason Mount as offside.

Liverpool then made it 2-0, adding insult to insult, when unmarked Firmino hammered a header into the goal.

A calamitous first half continued with Christensen waylaid by an injury, as he subbed off for Kurt Zouma. Forty-two minutes in, two subs down.

The game could’ve been effectively put to bed on a 46th minute set piece, but Virgil Van Dijk‘s back post effort tame and allowed Arrizabalaga to make a fine save.

Chelsea found some footing in the second half, and Liverpool was cautioned for time wasting. N’Golo Kante dragged a shot wide in the 59th minute.

Kante was the next man on the score sheet, turning Fabinho and dribbling free into the 18 to blasting a 71st minute effort past Adrian. Game on.

But Batshuayi couldn’t flash a late header on goal, and Mason Mount butchered a difficult near-post chance to make it 2-2 late. Liverpool escaped, and is starting to feel a bit like the dreaded term: Team of Destiny.

Carli Lloyd ‘seriously considering’ offer to kick in NFL

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Well, this escalated pretty quickly.

Carli Lloyd has revealed she is seriously considering an offer to play in an NFL preseason game as a kicker.

One unnamed team has offered Lloyd, 37, the chance to kick for them in their final preseason game on Thursday.

The USWNT play Portugal in a friendly on the same day, which was previously thought to be holding Lloyd back, but in an email to Martin Rogers of Fox Sports she revealed she’s keen to give it a go.

“This has all been so wild. Can’t believe how big this has become,” Lloyd said. “I am having discussions with my husband and James about the reality of playing in the NFL. They both feel that I could do it and should consider it. So I’m seriously considering it, as it’s a challenge (and) I would probably enjoy it.”

How did we get to this point with the 2015 Women’s World Player of the Year?

A video of Lloyd kicking a 55-yard field goal went viral last week and now NFL teams are interested.

According to her trainer, James Galanis, there is serious interest in Lloyd, 37, after she trained with the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens in a joint session and was filmed making a field goal attempt with the Ravens players.

Let’s see how this all plays out and if this gig could last longer than just one preseason game.