Juan Foyth

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Messi, Suarez both score in pre-Copa America friendlies

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Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are both in typical goalscoring form as their international sides ramp up for the imminent 2019 Copa America.

Messi bagged a quickfire brace in the first half of Argentina’s 5-1 beatdown of Nicaragua, scoring in the 37th and 38th minutes to key the win. The first was a classic Messi stunner where he dribbled past nearly the entire Nicaragua defense, skipping by no less than four defenders before depositing the ball in the back of the net with ease.

His second came as Argentina went right back on the attack with Sergio Aguero rifling a shot on net that was saved by Nicaragua goalkeeper Justo Lorente, only for it to fall right at the feet of Messi who completed a sliding finish under pressure. The Barcelona superstar was withdrawn at halftime for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala.

Overall, it was a dominating performance from Argentina, holding 67% possession and putting eight of their 19 shots on target. Electric 21-year-old Inter striker Lautaro Martinez scored a second-half brace to double Argentina’s lead, a positive sign for the country that has searched far and wide for someone to share the goalscoring load with Messi. Roberto Pereyra completed the scoreline with a late tap-in, while the back line that consisted at times of Nicolas Otamendi, Juan Foyth, and Ramiro Funes Mori held Nicaragua to a measly two total shots with zero on target until stoppage time when Juan Berrera put Nicaragua on the board from the penalty spot.

While Messi was clowning the Nicaragua back line, his Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez was on target as Uruguay had no trouble dispatching Panama 3-0. The 32-year-old came off the bench alongside Edinson Cavani in the 63rd minute and six minutes later, he dispatched a Messi-like free-kick that found the top-left corner and left Panamanian goalkeeper Luis Mejia no chance, making the game 2-0 at the time.

The Uruguay defense looked tournament-ready as well, holding Panama to just one shot on target and five overall efforts on net. The game was a foul-fest, with the sides combining to produce 43 whistles, although only one yellow card was issued. Uruguay dominated the attacking play, holding 64% of possession and earning 10 corners while Panama did not take a single one.

Argentina will begin Copa America play next Saturday as it takes on Colombia in group stage play. Uruguay, meanwhile, gets under way a day later, set to face Ecuador before a meeting with AFC guest Japan.

Pochettino: ‘We have two finals’

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Mauricio Pochettino spoke defiantly after his nine-man Tottenham side lost 1-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday to set up a nervous finish to the season.

Heung-Min Son and Juan Foyth were both shown straight red cards in the space of five minutes and Spurs had to play close to 45 minutes with just nine men.

Despite their unbelievable lack of discipline Tottenham almost held on for a crucial point in their top four battle, but Nathan Ake‘s 91st minute header sealed their sixth-straight PL away defeat.

“It is painful to play without two players. We need to move on. We cannot change the decisions. We have ahead two finals. It is in our hands,” Pochettino told the BBC. “If it does not happen we will be proud because nobody expected Tottenham to be in the position they are today.”

That “not one believed in us” theme continued in Pochettino’s post-game comments, as he must now pick up his players for a huge UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg at Ajax on Wednesday.

Spurs head to Amsterdam trailing 1-0 from the first leg, and with injuries piling up and Tottenham winning just four of their last 15 games in all competitions, yet another fine season is threatening to end on a sour note.

“No one believed in Tottenham to be in this position in the last week of the competition. What happens will happen and I will feel proud,” Pochettino said. “We are fighting six teams, it is impossible for all six to get the top four, whatever happens I will feel proud and whatever happens in the semifinal I will be proud.”

Pochettino is probably right, but it wouldn’t make it hurt any less if Spurs somehow finished outside of the top four and lost to Ajax in the UCL semifinal on Wednesday.

In the PL they are four points ahead of fifth-place Arsenal, with the Gunners having a game in hand. If they win that against Brighton on Sunday, they will be one point behind Spurs going into the final game and Arsenal have to travel to Burnley. Man United aren’t out of the equation now too, as two wins in their final two games and a Spurs defeat would see them finish above Tottenham.

All of a sudden the tension levels at Spurs have been cranked up a few notches.

Pochettino is right. They have two finals. But the main problem is, they will be without Harry Kane and Harry Winks for both of those games, while Son can’t play in the PL season finale against Everton and the status of Jan Vertonghen is unknown.

This poor run of form to finish the season points to one thing: Tottenham’s squad is not big enough and their key players have run out of steam.

Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura looked shattered in the final moments of their defeat at Bournemouth and the last thing they needed was to play close to a half down two men.

But the equation is clear for Spurs. Beat in-form Everton at home on the final day and they will finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League. After no new signings, their stadium delay and injuries to Kane and others throughout this campaign, making the top four would be a huge achievement, whatever happens at Ajax next week.

Nine-man Spurs lose late on at Bournemouth (video)

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  • Son, Foyth sent off for Spurs
  • Ake scores 91st minute winner 
  • Tottenham’s top 4 hopes up in air
  • Six-straight away defeats for Spurs

Bournemouth beat nine-man Tottenham 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, as Spurs almost held on for a heroic point on the South Coast of England.

Heung-Min Son and Juan Foyth were both sent off in a five-minute spell either side of half time as Spurs totally lost their heads, but almost held on for a crucial point in the top four battle. But Nathan Ake headed home from a corner in the 91st minute to finally break through for Bournemouth, as they secured a first-ever league win against Tottenham.

With the win the Cherries moved up to 12th in the table on 45 points, while Spurs are now only four points ahead of Arsenal in fifth with one game to go, as the Gunners have a game in hand on them too. Spurs’ final game of the season sees them host Everton and if they win that, they will finish in the top four.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The game started evenly but almost saw Spurs go ahead in stunning fashion. Lucas Moura spotted Bournemouth debutant goalkeeper, 19-year-old Mark Travers, off his line and the Brazilian’s shot from inside his own half flew just wide.

Tottenham pushed hard for the opener and Travers pushed away Dele Alli‘s powerful shot well, as Bournemouth rarely threatened on the break. Travers then made a superb stop to deny Moura who was clean through on goal after a great ball from Moussa Sissoko, but the young Irish goalkeeper pushed the shot over as he enjoyed a fantastic first 45 minutes as a Premier League goalkeeper.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Moura was denied again before the break as he latched onto a long ball over the top but Travers stuck out a leg to make the stop. Eric Dier was lucky to not be sent off for two yellow cards, Son fired over after a typically incisive run and Travers saved Alli’s header with Josh King and Callum Wilson going down at the other end in the box as penalty kicks could have been given. Then a huge moment in the game arrived.

After Jefferson Lerma appeared to step on Son’s foot after he fouled Fraser, the South Korean forward reacted and pushed Lerma over and received a straight red card from Craig Pawson to reduce Spurs to 10 men for the second half. Soon it got even worse…

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Juan Foyth and Victor Wanyama both came on at half time for Spurs as Pochettino tweaked his lineup, but Foyth was shown a straight red card just two minutes after coming on. The Argentine lunged into a tackle with his boot high and caught Jack Simpson, and Pawson decided that was enough for a straight red card.

Spurs switched to a 4-3-1 formation after the second sending off, as they stayed compact and battled to try and keep hold of the ball whenever they could.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bournemouth’s Wilson glanced a header wide, Nathaniel Clyne came close and Lloris had to make saves from distance as the home side failed to carve out too many clear-cut opportunities, with Fraser’s late corner causing mayhem but somehow Spurs cleared.

However, from the following corner Ake headed home to break Tottenham’s hearts in the 91st minute, as Bournemouth secured a first win against Spurs in all competitions since 1957.

But there was time for one more moment of drama in the 96th minute, as a corner saw Alli go down and it looked like Wilson pushed him to the ground, but no penalty kick was given.

VIDEO: Red cards galore! Son, Foyth sent off for Spurs

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“You get a red card! You get a red card! Everyone gets a red card…”

Tottenham Hotspur needed a win at Bournemouth on Saturday to secure a top four spot for the fourth-straight season.

Things didn’t go as planned…

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Heung-Min Son was sent off just before half time for lashing out at Jefferson Lerma, and then Juan Foyth, who was brought on as a sub at half time, was sent off just two minutes into the second half for a lunging tackle on Jack Simpson.

See video of the wild incidents above and below, as Tottenham’s nine men were left to dig deep in the sun on the South Coast.

Exactly what Mauricio Pochettino‘s men needed ahead of a huge UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg at Ajax on Wednesday…

Watch Live: Tottenham v. West Ham

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Tottenham host West Ham United on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as Mauricio Pochettino‘s men aim to take another huge stride towards a top four finish with a big London derby win.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Ahead of their UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg against Ajax on Tuesday, Spurs have a four point cushion ahead of Arsenal who sit in fifth place. West Ham sit in 11th and must win all three of their remaining games to have any chance of finishing seventh.

In team news Spurs are without Jan Vertonghen who has picked up a small injury. Juan Foyth starts at right wing back again in a 3-4-2-1 formation. Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks aren’t fit enough to make the Spurs squad.

West Ham start Marko Arnautovic up top, while Javier Hernandez is fit enough to be on the bench as Issa Diop and Ryan Fredericks come into the back four.

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