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Costa and Felix score as Atletico Madrid ends winless streak

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MADRID (AP) Diego Costa and Joao Felix scored a goal each as Atletico Madrid defeated promoted Mallorca 2-0 on Wednesday to halt a three-game winless streak and move back to the top of the Spanish league standings.

Costa scored his first goal of the season with a first-half header in Mallorca, and Felix sealed the victory after halftime.

Atletico has 13 points from six matches, one point more than Athletic Bilbao, which lost the lead after being held to a 1-1 draw at last-place Leganes.

Real Madrid can move past both Atletico and Athletic if it beats promoted Osasuna at home later on Wednesday.

Atletico hosts Real Madrid on Saturday.

Diego Simeone’s team had drawn its last two matches, against Celta Vigo in the league and Juventus in the Champions League, both at home. It lost at Real Sociedad in its previous league match.

Atletico played with 10 men against Mallorca from the 77th minute as striker Alvaro Morata was sent off following an altercation with an opponent. Morata had replaced Costa in the 69th.

Costa, who missed the beginning of the season because of an injury, opened the scoring with a firm header in the 26th. Felix added to the lead in the 64th after his shot from inside the area deflected on a defender and went over the Mallorca goalkeeper. It was the second goal of the season for Felix, the 19-year-old Portugal forward who joined from Benfica in the offseason.

Japanese teenager Takefusa Kubo, playing for Mallorca on a loan from Real Madrid, nearly scored for the hosts with a second-half shot that hit the post.

Mallorca, 17th in the 20-team standings with four points, has lost two in a row and hasn’t won since the opener against second-to-last-place Eibar.

UNBEATEN ATHLETIC

Athletic Bilbao took the lead at Leganes with a penalty converted by Raul Garcia in the 59th, but Oscar Rodriguez equalized two minutes later with a well-placed free kick.

The result kept Athletic as one of the three teams without a loss, along with Real Madrid and Osasuna. Leganes is yet to win after six matches and has only two points from six matches.

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Costa Rica manager quits citing “boredom” of coaching national team

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It takes a particular breed of manager to be successful at the national team level. Gustavo Matosas is not one of those people.

The 52-year-old Uruguayan made that abundantly clear as he stepped down on Wednesday after less than a year on the job, saying during a press conference that he did not anticipate the particular struggles he faced personally as national team coach.

“I didn’t know being a national team manager was so boring,” Matosas said. “I don’t regret it and I don’t leave frustrated because I gave my best. I won’t manage a national team again. I can’t only have the players every two months. It’s not for me.”

That doesn’t leave much up for interpretation. Matosas said he was so bored, he felt unfulfilled, preferring a club job where he can coach more and scout less.

“I realized that in the national side I feel unproductive even though I kill myself watching videos,” Matosas said. “It’s not what I like to be doing.

“It’s tough not having players in the day-to-day to train them. I only have the players for a week every two months and it’s killing me. I didn’t know it was so hard. I thought I would be able to somehow endure it.”

Matosas was hired last October to replace Oscar Ramirez who stepped down after the World Cup. He took charge of eight matches, winning three and losing four. Before his appointment with Costa Rica, Matosas managed club teams such as Club America, Queretaro, Atlas, Al Hilal, Danubio, and Estudiantes. He never spent more than two seasons at any position.

After his departure from Costa Rica, there were reports he would be hired at Liga MX side Atletico San Luis, but the club president denied the rumor.

UEL Recap: Wolves earn huge road victory, and more

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Wolverhampton Wanderers has one proverbial foot back in a European competition, potentially breaking a 40-year drought for the club.

Wolves defeated Torino on the road, 3-2, in the first leg match between the two sides on Thursday at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. Mexican international Raul Jimenez continued his red-hot form with another goal, while Diogo Jota scored as well for Wolves.

The Premier League side took the lead late in the first half thanks to an own goal, as Gleison Bremer headed in a Wolves free kick expertly into the side netting. Jota then added the second for Wolves in the 59th minute after an individual moment of brilliance from Adama Traore down the right side of the box, completely bamboozling his defender.

Torino’s Lorenzo di Silvestre answered just two minutes later off a late run into the box and a powerful header, but Jimenez then gave Wolves another two-goal advantage, as well as another crucial away goal. Jimenez ran with the ball from midfield and with Nicolas N’Koulou retreating, Jimenez took the space and scored.

Torino striker Andrea Belotti gave the Italians some late hope with a penalty kick goal in the 89th minute, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback. Anything but a defeat by more than two goals for Wolves will be enough for the club to make it to the Europa League group stage.

Here’s more results from around the Europa League on Thursday afternoon:


Celtic top AIK at home

The Scottish champions appear to have brushed off the disappointment of exiting the UEFA Champions League with a solid 2-0 win at Celtic Park against AIK Solna on Thursday evening.

James Forrest scored the opener for Celtic, taking advantage of a ricochet on the edge of the box to unleash a strike that AIK goalkeeper Oscar Linner couldn’t parry away. Odsonne Edouard then put the icing on the cake with a tremendous free kick from 30-yards out to give Celtic it’s 2-0 lead.

Neil Lennon’s side then held off AIK late to secure the shutout.

Thursday’s Europa League Playoff Round first leg qualifying matches:


Astana 3-0 BATE
Ararat Armenia 2-1 F91 Dudelange
Malmo FF 3-0 Bnei Yehudah Tel Aviv
Suduva 0-0 Ferencvaros
Feyenoord 3-0 Hapoel Be’er Sheva
Ludogorets 0-0 Maribor
FC Copenhagen 2-1 Riga
AEK Athens 1-3 Trabzonspor
Legia Warsaw 0-0 Rangers

Atlanta United wins Campeones Cup as Josef Martinez comes through

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If at first you do not succeed, try and try again. That is how Josef Martinez proceeded through the 90 minutes at Mercedes Benz Stadium, missing a first-half penalty and seeing a close-range effort saved after the break, but he delivered the winning blow with a 65th minute spot-kick to see Atlanta United over Club America 3-2 to win the Campeones Cup.

Atlanta United went in front early thanks to Bournemouth loanee Emerson Hyndman who put Atlanta United up inside the opening five minutes. A fabulous flick by Dion Pereira sent Hyndman through who finished one-touch inside the far post past Oscar Jimenez.

The home side was dominant on the ball, holding 60% possession through the first 45 minutes. Club America, however, remained dangerous when countering, and they struck back just minutes later through Roman Ibarra who roofed the equalizer. The goal came off fabulous work by Roger Martinez who corralled a hot pass from Andres Ibarguen down the left and worked his way down to the end line and along the edge before rifling a ball across the face of goal to Ibarra waiting at the far post for a thumping finish.

Atlanta United had a glorious opportunity to go in front after VAR forced a review of an incident in the box and a penalty was given for a foul by Bruno Valdez who clumsily hacked down Pity Martinez. Josef Martinez stepped up but his unorthodox run-up failed to produce a result as Jimenez saved the poor effort and the charging defense thwarted any rebound effort.

After the break, the two sides had good chances, with Josef Martinez missing a glorious opportunity soon after the restart as he trickled a breakaway shot wide left. Roger Martinez put Club America in front just before the hour mark on a corner as Atlanta goalkeeper Alec Kahn failed to judge the delivery right at the goal mouth and Martinez poked the effort in from point-blank range.

The lead wouldn’t last long – two minutes to be exact – as Jeff Larentowicz produced a piledriver from well outside the box and the effort took a deflection off the head of Carlos Vargas, seeing the ball sail into the top corner past a rooted Jimenez. The goal brought a sheepish smile from Frank De Boer as Mercedes Benz Stadium lit up.

Josef Martinez nearly put Atlanta in front minutes later, but Jimenez saved spectacularly with the goal gaping on Pereira’s scything cutback. He got another chance moments later, though, as Florentin Pogba was barged over by Guido Rodriguez, a blatant penalty. Martinez this time delivered a blistering effort from the spot, putting Atlanta United up 3-2 with a firecracker into the top-left corner.

The home side took firm control from that point, first coming close again via Pity Martinez who delivered a stunning free-kick that was athletically headed off the line by Valdez. The Paraguayan defender would not last much longer on the pitch, however, as he dragged down Josef Martinez on the break to earn his second yellow card and a sending off with 18 minutes to go.

The Club America meltdown was complete when manager Miguel Herrera and an assistant were both shown yellow cards by the official for dissent on the touchline, and the boss took some time to calm down as he gesticulated wildly. Club America threw goalkeeper Jimenez for a final corner effort, but it was a poor delivery and the final whistle blew to crown Atlanta United the first Campeones Cup winners from Major League Soccer.

West Ham sells Arnautovic to Chinese champion Shanghai SIPG

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LONDON (AP) West Ham announced the sale of Marko Arnautovic to Chinese champion Shanghai SIPG in a terse, two-line statement on Monday.

The value of the deal was not disclosed in a statement from West Ham which offered no thanks for the Austria forward’s 22 goals in two seasons.

The club’s Twitter account message was even shorter: “Marko Arnautovic departs.”

[ REPORT: Mings to Aston Villa ]

British media reported the transfer fee was around 22 million pounds ($27.6 million).

Relations between West Ham and Arnautovic have been tense since he sought a move to China in January, and got worse this offseason.

Arnautovic leaves despite signing a contract extension in late January.

The 30-year-old forward was a club record 20 million pounds ($25 million) signing from Stoke in 2017.

At Shanghai, Arnautovic will join up in attack with former Brazil internationals Hulk and Oscar.

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