Facundo Ferreyra

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Sevilla go top of La Liga with 1-0 win at Alaves

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) A masterfully taken free kick by Sevilla midfielder Joan Jordan earned a 1-0 victory at Alaves and lifted his team to the top of the standings in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Jordan struck a dipping free kick over the defensive wall that goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco could only watch land in his net in the 38th minute.

[ MORE: Everton wasting opportunity ]

Jordan, who joined Sevilla from Eibar before the season, also scored in a 1-0 win at Granada in round two.

Sevilla didn’t threaten Alaves again, but both sides’ defenses and the heavy rain made the rest of the match a pedestrian slugfest.

The match ended with a small scuffle that earned bookings for a pair of players on each team.

Coach Julen Lopetegui, who was fired by both Spain’s national team and Real Madrid during a turbulent 2018, has made an impressive start in Seville. Sevilla is undefeated in four rounds after also winning at Espanyol and drawing with Celta Vigo.

Next weekend Lopetegui’s Sevilla will host Madrid.

The win at Alaves pushed Sevilla into first place. Atletico Madrid is one point behind, followed by Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao two points back. Defending champion Barcelona and Real Sociedad are three points off the pace.

FIRST GOALS

Espanyol scored its first goals of the season and got its first win after fighting back for a 2-1 victory at Eibar.

Facundo Ferreyra and Esteban Granero scored in the final 15 minutes to pull off the comeback.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

FOLLOW LIVE: Wolves, PSV, Frankfurt in Europa League qualifying action

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Wolves continue their Europa League journey with a chance to move into the playoff round as they look to protect a 4-0 first-leg lead over Armenian club Pyunik in the second leg at Monlieux.

Raul Jimenez was on the mark for a brace in the first leg, with Matt Doherty and Ruben Neves also on target to build the significant lead. Should Wolves reach the playoff round, they would be one two-legged tie away from the group stage.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Also in action are Rangers, PSV Eindhoven, Eintracht Frankfurt, Espanyol, Trabzonspor, and Torino, among a host of others.

Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers are protecting a 4-2 lead after a wild second half in Denmark saw them return home with a significant away goal advantage over FC Midtjylland. Rangers have been near perfect to start the new season, with six wins and a draw in seven matches, including a pair of wins in league play.

PSV will take its first go at the Europa League, having been dumped out of the Champions League in the second qualifying round by Basel. Hirving Lozano is rumored to be nearing a switch to Napoli, and it remains to be seen whether he will be available for the Dutch side that has won one and drawn one in early Eredivisie play. On the other wing, Steven Bergwijn has had a prolific start to the young campaign, as the 21-year-old Dutch international owns a goal and two assists in six matches thus far.

Ante Rebic will look to bring his recent hat-trick form with him to help Eintracht Frankfurt protect a 5-0 lead over Lichtenstein side Vaduz. Rebic scored a hat-trick in DFP-Pokal play last weekend, the first goals of the season for the Croatian international. Frankfurt owns three wins out of three in Europa League play thus far, looking to maintain momentum with its opening Bundesliga match of the season coming on Sunday.

Espanyol is also perfect in three Europa League matches and will be protecting a 3-0 lead over Swiss side Luzerne. Benfica loanee Facundo Ferreyra has scored a whopping four goals in their three games thus far, tallying at least one in each match. Like the Bundesliga, La Liga play also begins this weekend and Espanyol will look to maintain momentum ahead of their opening league game against Sevilla on Sunday.

Turkish side Trabzonspor returns home for a critical second leg against Sparta Prague with the aggregate scoreline level at 2-2. Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel made his club debut in the first leg but was yanked at halftime, and the Turkish side scored both goals in the final 10 minutes to dramatically level the score. Ghanan international Caleb Ekuban scored one and assisted the other in the comeback.

Serie A doesn’t begin play until next weekend but Torino is a perfect three-for-three in Europa League play thus far and will be protecting a whopping 5-0 lead against Belarusian side Shakhtar Soligorsk, hitting the road for the second leg. Captain Andrea Belotti scored a brace in the first leg to help Torino to the massive advantage, and he could be rested with such a large lead.

All fixtures (first leg score in parenthesis):

HJK Helsinki (1-1) Riga FC – 12:00 p.m. ET
Dinamo Tbilisi (0-4) Feyenoord  – 12:30 p.m. ET
Spartak Moscow (3-2) FC Thun – 12:45 p.m. ET
AIK (2-1) Sheriff Tiraspol – 1:00 p.m. ET
Apollon Limassol (2-1) Austria Vienna
BATE Borisov (2-1) FK Sarajevo
Bnei Yehuda (2-2) Neftchi
FC Zorya Luhansk (1-1) CSKA Sofia
FK Suduva (2-1) Maccabi Tel Aviv
Mlada Boleslav (0-0) FCSB
Shakhtar Soligorsk (0-5) Torino
Yeni Malatyaspor (1-3) Partizan Belgrade
Zrinjski Mostar (0-3) Malmo FF
Hapoel Be’er Sheva (1-1) IFK Norrkoping – 1:30 p.m. ET
The New Saints (0-5) Ludogorets Razgrad
Trabzonspor (2-2) Sparta Prague
AEK Athens (2-0) Universitatea Craiova  – 2:00 p.m. ET
Valletta (1-5) FC Astana
Viktoria Plzen (0-1) Antwerp
Aris (0-3) Molde – 2:30 p.m. ET
AZ Alkmaar (0-0) FC Maruipol
Eintracht Frankfurt (5-0) FC Vaduz
KAA Gent (1-1) AEK Larnaca
PSV Eindhoven (1-0) Haugesund
Strasbourg (1-0) Lokomotiv Plovdiv
Aberdeen (0-2) Rijeka – 2:45 p.m. ET
Braga (4-2) Bronby
Rangers (4-2) FC Midtjylland
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-0) Pyunik
Espanyol (3-0) Lucerne

VIDEO: Benfica signing Ferreyra stretchered off vs Juve in ICC

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Those watching the International Champions Cup match between Juventus and Benfica will think less about the final score and more about the health of Benfica striker Facundo Ferreyra.

Despite the 2-1 victory for Juventus, the focus of the preseason match will be on Ferreyra’s status after the 27-year-old Argentinian was stretchered off with a head injury in the 40th minute.

With the scoreline still untouched, Ferreyra went up for a headed defensive clearance and caught teammate Jardel on his leap, and the slow-motion replay appeared to show Ferreyra’s head clip the back elbow of Jardel on the way down. He appeared to be unconscious on the pitch as the medical team rushed on, and received lengthy treatment before being stretchered off.

Ferreyra signed for Benfica just this summer on a free transfer from Ukranian giants Shakhtar Donetsk. He had gone out on loan to English club Newcastle for the 2014/15 season but did not make a single appearance.

The injury marred what otherwise would have been a game remembered for its goals. A drab first half gave way to a second half that featured two fantastic strikes, including one from 21-year-old Luca Clemenza that would win it for Juve late. The Juventus youth product skipped expertly between a pair of defenders just inside the top-right corner of the box before whipping a stunning left-footed cannon that clipped the underside of the bar and went in.

Dzeko the star again as Roma advances past Shakhtar Donetsk

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Edin Dzeko‘s second half goal gave AS Roma a 1-0 win in the second leg of its UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match-up, and pulled i Lupi into a 2-2 aggregate score line with Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday in Rome.

The 1-0 win made Cenzig Under’s first leg away marker stand up as the difference maker in sending i Lupi into the quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Whatever Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco said to his men did the trick after a first leg he didn’t like very much.

Dzeko was played through on goal by Kevin Strootman early in the second half and defied Andriy Pyatov to bring Roma to 2-2 on aggregate with the lone away goal of the tie.

There was (slightly) off-field drama late, as Facundo Ferreyra appeared to shove a ball boy over the advertising boards.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Angry Di Francesco extremely quotable after Roma loss

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AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco absolutely roasted his charges after i Lupi tossed aside a Cenzig Under-inspired lead to fall 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

Di Francesco had praise for Edin Dzeko, who assisted Under’s goal, as well as goalkeeper Alisson, but was mostly enraged by his side.

[ MORE: Recap + Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Rather than construct a narrative, we’re going to point out our five favorite selections from Di Francesco’s post-match talk.

4) “The difference was that in the first half we tried to hurt them while in the second we were looking to hold on – to what? I don’t know.”

— “To what? I don’t know” is hilarious. Di Francesco’s side has posted some serious wins this season, including killing off Chelsea 3-0 at home and coming back from 2-0 to draw the Blues at Stamford Bridge. He doesn’t preach sitting back.

3) “There were far too many schoolboy errors – even by players with a wealth of international experience.”

— Schoolboy errors!

2) “I saw two completely different teams out there today. There were lots of players I should have taken off after we conceded the first goal.”

— Again, one mistake by a number of players on Facundo Ferreyra is enough for Di Francesco. He’s not just happy to be here.

1) “I can’t imagine we’d get arrogant just because we’re winning an important game. It’s not as if Roma are used to reaching the final every year.”

— When you’re willing to essentially rip an entire club’s history — Roma’s been to just two UCL quarterfinals since losing the final to Liverpool in 1984 — you’re putting your footprints in new cement.