Kyle Lafferty

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Gerrard: “Big result” to come back twice at Villarreal

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Steven Gerrard remains unbeaten as a manager in Europe after his toughest test yet.

The Rangers boss watched his team go down 1-0 to Villarreal after less than a minute of their Europa League group stage debut, but ended up collecting a pair of equalizers and an impressive 2-2 draw in Spain.

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“It’s a big result and that’s always the way, my experience in Europe, you have to come away and get something,” Gerrard said on BT Sport.

“Obviously we came here to try and win the game and we nearly did through Scott Arfield at the end. We nearly lost it as well. They pushed, which is understandable but it’s a big point for us. Now we’ve got a home game and if we can take maximum points it’s a terrific start to the group.”

Adversity was there for Rangers, from Carlos Bacca’s first minute marker to conceding a second goal two minutes after Scott Arfield made it 1-1. But the Glaswegian side answered the ball through Kyle Lafferty.

Playmaker Daniel Candeias has plenty of praise for Gerrard. From Rangers.co.uk:

“When we finished the first half, the gaffer said in the dressing room to believe in ourselves and get a great result,” Candeias said. “I know we didn‚Äôt win, but a draw is a good result for us.”

Rangers will host Rapid Vienna on Oct. 4 in their second Group G match. Rapid beat Spartak Moscow 2-0 on Thursday.

Celtic sells $23m Dembele to Lyon ahead of Old Firm match

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The Old Firm Derby will have a new feel on Sunday, relatively speaking, after Celtic announced it will not keep hold of Moussa Dembele, the electric attacker who scored seven goals in eight matches against Rangers.

The 22-year-old is off to Lyon, netting Brendan Rodgers‘ side $23 million. Celtic signed Dembele on a free transfer.

[ PL PREVIEW: Leicester vs. Liverpool ]

Dembele left Fulham for Celtic in 2016, helping the Bhoys to a pair of Scottish crowns while scoring 46 goals with 18 assists.

Rodgers was not excited to announce the sale. From CelticFC.net:

“It is vital to make clear that we have never promised any player that he can leave the Club at a particular time. It has never happened. In fact, we have said all along that we did not wish to sell Moussa, given the circumstances within the transfer window and that is why we rejected a significant offer yesterday.

“However, this particular decision to accept this offer has been taken in order to serve the best interests of the first-team squad, my coaching team and the culture and environment we have created in these last two seasons.

Celtic will enter the derby one point ahead of Rangers and three behind leaders Aberdeen. They signed former West Brom man Youssouf Mulumbu and Leicester City’s¬†Filip Benkovic on loan.

Rangers have flipped their roster under Steven Gerrard, with Roma’s Umar Sadiq and Liverpool’s Ovie Ejaria and Ryan Kent on loan. Rangers also bought Hearts’ Kyle Lafferty.

Celtic’s record unbeaten run ends at 69 matches

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Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run has ended at 69 matches, and it ended with a thud.

Tynecastle Park was the scene for a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Hearts, a defeat started by a 16-year-old’s first Scottish Premiership goal.

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Harry Cochrane’s his name, and his 26th minute goal gave Hearts the lead, and it was 2-0 by halftime through Kyle Lafferty, the ex-Burnley and Norwich player.

David Milinkovic scored three minutes after halftime, as the wake-up call didn’t arrive at the break, and added a penalty kick late in the match.

Celtic has a two-point lead on second-place Aberdeen with a match-in-hand. Rangers sit five-points back.

Sixty-nine games! Remarkable in any league. Here’s what Rodgers had to say:

“But I also want to congratulate my players. To have gone through 69 games and this to be their first defeat; of course it’s a sore one when you are beaten like that but they can hold their heads up. They have been absolutely amazing over those 18 months.”

EURO 2016, Copa America Today: Germany-Ukraine; Brazil look to win Group B

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Close out your weekend by parking up on the couch and watching five matches of football.

There’s no other choice really.

[ LIVE: Follow EURO 2016 ]

Things start over in Europe, with Turkey and Croatia kicking things off in Paris. Then you can check out one of the world’s top strikers as Robert Lewandowski captains Poland before defending World Cup champions Germany start their run for another trophy.

[ LIVE: Follow Copa America 2016 ]

Two Copa America matches take center stage in the evening, as U.S. fans should be keeping a close eye on these results. Ecuador face Haiti before Brazil take on Peru, as the runner-up from Group B will face the USMNT in the quarterfinals.


Essential reading: Scenarios for the USMNT after winning Group A at the Copa America Centenario.

ICYMI: A ten-man United States held on to beat Paraguay 1-0, while Russia scored late to steal a draw England.


EURO 2016, Game 5: Turkey vs. Croatia

When: Sunday, 9 a.m. ET

Where: Parc des Princes, Paris

Live updates: NBCSports.com

Croatia is a team that could make a run at this tournament, and they open up Group D play in Paris on Sunday. A stacked midfield with the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, and Mateo Kovacic, this is one of the most talented Croatian sides in years.¬†For Turkey,¬†the nation failed to qualify for EURO 2012 after reaching the semifinals in 2008. Now back in the tournament, an experience side will be led by their captain, Barcelona’s Arda Turan.

They have history at the EUROs, including this classic thriller back in 2008.


EURO 2016, Game 6: Poland vs. Northern Ireland

When: Sunday, 12 p.m. ET

Where: Allianz Riviera, Nice

Live updates: NBCSports.com

Robert Lewandowski led EURO qualifying with 13 goals, and the Bayern Munich striker will lead the line for Poland once again on Sunday. The Polish captain is one of the elite strikers in the tournament, and his goalscoring will either make or break his side’s chances of making a run. This marks the first-ever appearance at a European Championship for Northern Ireland, with Norwich City’s Kyle Lafferty the player to watch for.


EURO 2016, Game 7: Germany vs. Ukraine

When: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET

Where: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille

Live updates: NBCSports.com

The defending world champions open up their EURO campaign in Lille against Ukraine. Germany are one of the favorites to win the whole thing, with Thomas Muller looking to add to his stellar scoring record at major tournaments. A Ukrainian side dealing with some political unrest back home, a good showing in France would be a massive boost for the country’s morale.


Copa America, Game 19: Ecuador vs. Haiti

When: Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET

Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Live updates: NBCSports.com

Ecuador need a win to keep their hopes of advancing alive, and they will feel confident in taking all three points against a weak Haiti side in New Jersey. Currently in third place in Group B, anything but a win would see Ecuador eliminated from the Copa.


Copa America, Game 20: Brazil vs. Peru

When: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Live updates: NBCSports.com

Group B favorites Brazil look to claim first place and advance to the quarterfinals with a match against Peru. A draw would likely see Brazil finish first, but a win would make that definite. The Brazilians lead Copa with seven goals in two matches, although Peru know how to get results when it matters, finishing third in last summer’s tournament.

A look at Robert Lewandowski’s ridiculous goalscoring run

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Robert Lewandowski is an elite goalscorer. We all knew that.

He’s scored at least 20 goals for his club in seven of the past eight seasons, and won the 2013-14 Golden Boot in the Bundesliga.

However, the current run of form he is on is something else. Something legendary.

[ MORE: EURO 2016 roundup ]

If you go back to the beginning of August and start with the International Champions Cup, Lewandowski has scored 24 goals in 16 matches. Over that span, he has failed to score in just two games.

Here are his most recent stats for Bayern Munich and Poland:

9/22 vs. Wolfsburg (Bundesliga) — Five goals…as a substitute…in nine minutes.
9/26 vs. Mainz (Bundesliga) — Two goals.
9/29 vs. Dinamo Zagreb (Champions League) — Three goals.
10/4 vs. Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga) — Two goals.
10/8 vs. Scotland (EURO qualifier) — Two goals.
10/11 vs. Ireland (EURO qualifier) — One goal.

TOTAL: Six matches, 15 goals.

Lewandowski is currently the top scorer in the Bundesliga with 12 goals in seven matches. His 13 goals in EURO qualifying are tied for the most all-time in a single campaign.

And there are no signs of him slowing down.

[ MORE: Could Kyle Lafferty’s form for Northern Ireland lead to a new club?¬†]

Heading into every match, the opposition knows Lewandowski is going to be a focal point of the attack, whether it be for club or country. However, there’s nothing they can do to stop him, as he is scoring at a ridiculous pace of 1.5 goals per game.

What we are witnessing from Lewandowski is something really special, so just sit back and enjoy it. Unless of course, he’s playing against your club.