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Spurs outlast Man City in chaotic UCL 2nd leg

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  • Four goals in first 11 minutes
  • Sterling, Son score two each
  • Aguero gives City first lead of tie in 59th
  • Llorente puts Spurs back in front

Fernando Llorente’s 73rd minute goal withstood the review of VAR and Raheem Sterling‘s stoppage time finish did not, as Tottenham Hotspur advanced past Manchester City in an all-timer of a UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg.

It finished 4-3 to City on the day and 4-4 on aggregate, with Spurs scoring the only away goals. Tottenham will meet Ajax in the semifinal.

Heung-Min Son scored twice for Spurs, with Llorente’s winner overcoming a glance off his arm.

Sterling scored twice for City, who also got goals from Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero. The quadruple hunt is dead.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It didn’t take long for City to level the tie, a third minute pass from Kevin De Bruyne finding Sterling. The English winger cut inside as Kieran Trippier gave him room to fire a shot just inside the far post and into the side netting.

Son then demanded City score at least twice with an eighth minute marker to make it 2-1 on aggregate when Aymeric Laporte‘s poor intervention fell to the South Korean. Ederson got the a piece of it, but not enough to stop the ball from heading into the goal.

Then, again! Lucas Moura played Son into the left of the box, and Son curled one side netting to put City in an awful place after less than 10 minutes.

City was unbowed, a long pass finding Bernardo Silva in line for an 11th minute goal to make it 2-2 on the day and 3-2 to Spurs over two legs.

But wait, there’s more.

Sterling finished from an acute angle — really, though, it was a tougher task than we’ve made it sound — after De Bruyne swung a delightful cross over the fray.

The match made it an absurd (not really) 25 minutes without a goal, making it to halftime with the most notable occurrence being Moussa Sissoko‘s injury.

Son gave away a free kick to De Bruyne outside the 18, and Spurs faced a nervy moment in the 48th minute. But the Belgian sent an arrow just over the goal and it remained 3-3 on aggregate.

Sterling then forced a great save out of Lloris, with Danny Rose getting away with a tug on Bernardo as the pair went for the rebound.

Lloris then made a tremendous parry with his left arm to deny De Bruyne, and Ilkay Gundogan‘s corner led to more City possession but no immediate threat.

Spurs countered with great danger in the 58th, Ederson stymying a half-strength header from Fernando Llorente and then collecting a Christian Eriksen shot.

That’s when Aguero struck to take their first lead of the tie, taking a lay-off from De Bruyne and blasting inside the near post. 4-2, 4-3.

Son’s run tested Ederson in-tight to give Spurs a 72nd minute corner, which led to a goal.

Llorente put Spurs back in front on the day to bring the tie to 4-4 with Spurs claiming the only away goals, the goal defying a slight touch of the Spaniard’s elbow upon VAR review.

Bernardo then won City a corner as the match entered its final dozen minutes plus stoppage. Gundogan blazed over goal, and an Aguero header was soon claimed by Lloris.

Sterling then struck in the third minute of stoppage time, but the goal was taken off the board for offside by VAR!

Liverpool blasts Porto, advances (video)

AP Photo/Armando Franca
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  • Salah, Mane with goal, assist each
  • Van Dijk, Firmino also score
  • Liverpool to meet Barcelona next

Mohamed Salah‘s impressive week continues with a goal and an assist as Liverpool beat Porto 4-1, 6-1 on aggregate, to advance to the UEFA Champions League semifinal.

Sadio Mane, Virgil Van Dijk, and Roberto Firmino also scored for the Reds, who will meet Barcelona in the next round.

Eder Militão scored the lone goal for Porto.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Porto was all over the visitors, out-attempting Liverpool by double digits, but it’s hopes only decreased despite its early dominance.

Liverpool allowed everyone to turn over to the thriller between Man City and Spurs after just 26 minutes, demanding that Porto score four times in order to find a miracle path past the Reds.

Sadio Mane provided said marker, using a Mohamed Salah pass to knife a shot past Iker Casillas. Mane defied the linesman’s flag via VAR.

Salah would later make the remainder of the game a formality with a 65th minute goal.

Porto pulled a goal back from up-and-coming transfer window mainstay Militão.

Firmino came off the bench to restore the cushion, heading a Henderson cross past Casillas. And Mane found Van Dijk to put the tie to bed.

Man City, Spurs combine for 5 goals in first 21 minutes (video)

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur quintupled the goal output from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal.

That in itself was the sign of a good match, but the fact that the first four goals occurred within 11 minutes of kickoff made for pure insanity before the match was one-quarter of the way to its conclusion.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It didn’t take long for City to level the tie, a third minute pass from Kevin De Bruyne finding Sterling. The English winger cut inside as Kieran Trippier gave him room to fire a shot just inside the far post and into the side netting.

Son then demanded City score at least twice with an eighth minute marker to make it 2-1 on aggregate when Aymeric Laporte‘s poor intervention fell to the South Korean. Ederson got the a piece of it, but not enough to stop the ball from heading into the goal.

Then, again! Lucas Moura played Son into the left of the box, and Son curled one side netting to put City in an awful place after less than 10 minutes.

City was unbowed, a long pass finding Bernardo Silva in line for an 11th minute goal to make it 2-2 on the day and 3-2 to Spurs over two legs.

But wait, there’s more: Sterling finished from an acute angle — really, though, it was a tougher task than we’ve made it sound — after De Bruyne swung a delightful cross over the fray.

Veracruz docked points by FIFA, down to zero in Liga MX standings

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Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz fans received more grim news on Monday, just weeks after they were confirmed relegation from Liga MX.

FIFA’s disciplinary committee announced that it was, through Liga MX, docking Veracruz six points. Considering the club only has four points in the current Clausura campaign, it means that Veracruz is down to zero points. The club were docked the points over a failure to pay training compensation fees to Montevideo Wanderers for Matias Santos. Santos only played one Copa MX match for Veracruz before moving back to Uruguay to join Defensor Sporting, but despite Santos’ brief time in Veracruz, it appears the club did not pay for his rights.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Veracruz has been in trouble almost since club owner Fidel Kuri purchased the rights to another promoted team and moved it to Veracruz, effectively giving Veracruz a team. However, Kuri has been in trouble with Liga MX and the Mexican Football Federation before. He was suspended in 2016 for arguing with the league’s head of referees. He threatened to move the club away if he didn’t win a local election. And he’s reportedly been involved in a gentlemen’s agreement with other Liga MX owners to keep wages and transfer fees down.

Yet despite all the club’s struggles and relegations, Kuri has said that he will pay Liga MX’s “fine” of $6.34 million to keep Veracruz in the top division. It appears Veracruz’s story isn’t over yet. Stay tuned.

NWSL’s 7th season opens, looks for bump in World Cup year

McCall Zerboni NWSL
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The NWSL opens its seventh season this weekend with some lingering questions about its health, but also the encouraging possibility of a “bump” from the World Cup.

The National Women’s Soccer League has already outlasted any of the other previous pro women’s leagues in the United States. With support from the U.S. Soccer Federation, the NWSL has fared better than the earlier attempts.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t concerns going into Year 7 – many of which were there in the sixth season, too. Possible expansion, the stability of some individual clubs, a need for sponsorships and the lack of a TV deal are among the issues faced by the league that hasn’t had a commissioner since Jeff Plush stepped down in March 2017.

Still, the NWSL could get greater exposure starting in June when the World Cup opens in France. NWSL rosters are filled with national team players from around the globe. Teams will have to navigate player absences during the tournament but could win fans for the latter half of the season – much like after the last World Cup in 2015, which the U.S. won.

Portland Thorns defender Meghan Klingenberg said she believes the league is still headed in the right direction. But continued success will depend on both investment and the will to see it through.

“The most important thing is investment across the league, in human resources; whether that’s coaching or whether that’s just staff that’s helping out, whether that’s in better fields, whether that’s in better housing, whether that’s in whatever. Making the league better, in the league front office but also the clubs’ front offices, I want that,” she said. “And if we can get that, year after year after year then I think we’ll be in a good place.”

The defending champion North Carolina Courage will open the season Saturday night at home against the Chicago Red Stars, one of four games set for this weekend. The Courage defeated the Thorns 3-0 in the title game in front of a crowd of 21,144 in Portland last fall.

The victory capped a fantastic season for the Courage, who went 18-1-6 overall, won the league’s Supporters’ Shield for best record and never dropped a game on the road.

HOW TO WATCH: The NWSL and A+E Networks terminated their broadcast agreement in February, leaving the league with no TV partner. Last season, a `Game of the Week’ aired on the Lifetime channel. A+E also surrendered its stake in the league, but Lifetime remains a jersey sponsor.

At least for now, the league’s games will be streamed live exclusively on the Yahoo Sports app, or on the Yahoo website.

EXPANSION: The league currently stands at nine teams. Since the Boston Breakers folded just before the start of last season, there have been persistent rumors about whether the team will be revived by a new ownership group. Spanish club Barcelona had expressed interest in fielding an NWSL team, although there has been no movement on that front. Major League Soccer’s LAFC could also jump into the fray, with co-owner Mia Hamm suggesting as recently as last week that it is a priority.

Despite all the chatter, NWSL President Amanda Duffy previously indicated the league likely won’t make any expansion announcements until after this season.

WHAT’S GOING ON WITH SKY BLUE? The troubles that plagued New Jersey’s team, Sky Blue, were well documented last year after former player Sam Kerr, now with Chicago, hinted at issues. But improvements have been made.

In February, Sky Blue announced that Tammy Murphy, the wife of part-owner Gov. Phil Murphy, would take a more active role in running the team. And indeed, improvements have been made, with better housing and staff additions. The team will train this season at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey, and have access to the school’s wellness facilities in addition to practice fields.

Tony Novo, who served as team president and general manager, resigned and Alyse LaHue was named interim GM. Novo had been criticized by the Cloud 9 supporters’ group.

SCHEDULE: The league will take a short break during the group stage of the World Cup in France. But a chunk of the league’s players will be away with their national teams for extended periods this season. The NWSL allowed teams to expand rosters to 22 players, in addition to four supplemental players who won’t count against the salary cap.

Teams play a 24-game schedule that wraps up Oct. 12. The championship game is scheduled for Oct. 26.

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