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Associated Press

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.

More AP English soccer: https://apnews.com/PremierLeague and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Barcelona president says Griezmann talks underway; Atleti now furious

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The Antoine Griezmann transfer saga is into Day 52, and the plot has thickened considerably.

[ MORE: Man United β€œin the process” of selling Paul Pogba ]

There are loud rumblings once again about a potential move to Barcelona, for the first time in weeks. Not your run-of-the-mill transfer rumors that inevitably lead to nowhere, but straight from the horse’s mouth: Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed on Friday that just 24 hours earlier when directors from each club made “first contact” over a potential deal.

That is, of course, really big news coming from a source that should actually know what he’s talking about.

[ PHOTOS: Ranking the new 2019-20 Premier League kits ]

It was a bit too transparent of an admission for the folks at Atletico Madrid, though, and they’re now furious over 1) Bartomeu going public with his statement; 2) the terms proposed by Barcelona; 3) his belief that Barcelona and Griezmann previously negotiated, and agreed, a deal back in February. Atleti released the following statement shortly after Bartomeu made his comments:

“On May 14, Antoine Griezmann informed Miguel Angel Gil, Diego Pablo Simeone and Andrea Berta of his decision to leave our club at the end of the season. In the days that followed that meeting, Atletico Madrid learned that FC Barcelona and the player had reached an agreement in March, specifically in the days following the return match of our Champions League tie against Juventus, and that they had been negotiating the terms of the agreement since mid-February.”

With Griezmann’s release clause now just β€” just β€” $135 million, down from $225 million as of July 1, he is now significantly more affordable. That hasn’t stopped Barcelona from trying to finagle a nice deal for themselves, though. Rather than paying the $135-million fee upfront, they asked Atleti to accept a deferred payment. Los Rojiblancos‘ response was exactly as one would expect.

“Regarding president Bartomeu’s statement today we wish to state that it is true that yesterday there was a meeting between Miguel Angel Gil and FC Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau, at Barcelona’s request and that at that meeting, Mr. Grau expressed his intention, once the release clause of Antoine Griezmann’s contract had decreased from 200 to 120 million euros, to ask for a deferred payment of the aforementioned amount of the clause in force as from July 1. Atletico Madrid’s response was obviously negative, as we believe that FC Barcelona and the player have disrespected Atletico Madrid and all its fans.”

Barcelona have already completed transfers for midfielder Frenkie de Jong ($84 million), goalkeeper Neto ($29 million) and defender Emerson ($13 million) this summer.

Mexico into Gold Cup semifinals with penalty shootout win over Costa Rica

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The game lacked flow, at times lacked quality, and certainly lacked grace, but Guillermo Ochoa produced his own brilliant signature moment when it mattered to send Mexico to the Gold Cup semifinals with a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Costa Rica after a 1-1 draw.

A game that featured 46 fouls and 12 yellow cards was ended abruptly as Ochoa guessed correctly on Keysher Fuller’s penalty, diving down low to his right and extending his right arm fully to reach the effort and palm it away to seal victory, peeling away in jubilant celebration.

The game was choppy until just before halftime when Mexico went in front on a 41st minute turn-and-shoot from Raul Jimenez whose initial shot was stonewalled by Oscar Duarte but he stuck with it and fired Mexico in front.

Mexico’s lead wouldn’t last long after the break as Costa Rica pulled back level in the 52nd minute when Joel Campbell latched onto a long ball forward having broken between two defenders. On the charge forward, Luis Rodriguez clipped Campbell’s foot just as he went to shoot, and the referee pointed to the spot. Bryan Ruiz cooly buried his penalty with a soft poke left that saw Ochoa wrong-footed and brought Costa Rica even at 1-1.

Overall, the teams put together 37 shots but could only see 10 of them find the target. The fouling was the story of the match, and between all the cautions handed out even the coaches were given cards. Mexico was the more vicious attacking team looking to win the match in regulation, and Costa Rica goalkeeper Leonel Moreira was required to make a spectacular save in the 58th minute on a long-distance effort by Jimenez looking for his second. With just five minutes to go, Mexico again came close as they worked the ball into the box from the left flank and again Moreira was there to leap and tip a shot by Carlos Rodriguez off the crossbar and out.

Ochoa came alive in extra-time, first diving low to his left to stop a 108th minute Jonathan McDonald slicer before his penalty shootout heroics. Mexico went behind straight away as Jimenez’s poor effort was saved by Moreira on the very first penalty of the shootout. It stayed that way until at 2-2 Randall Leal ripped his spot-kick wide. That set up Ochoa for his moment with the score at 5-4 and Fuller at the spot, sending Mexico through and ripping out Costa Rica hearts.

Mexico will meet Haiti in the semifinals after the comeback victory against Canada continued Haiti’s dream run through this tournament. For Costa Rica, it becomes the third Gold Cup in their last four where they have been eliminated in the quarterfinal stage, a disappointing haul for a team with consistent World Cup aspirations.

Copa America: Guests Japan, Qatar still alive ahead of group finales

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PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) Both Copa America guests are still alive as the last round of group stage matches begins, a feature that doesn’t seem to please some of their South American opponents.

Qatar and Japan, who this year played in the Asian Cup final, are in third place in their groups. The top two in each group and the two best third-place finishers advance to the quarterfinals.

If Argentina is prematurely eliminated, it will be because of Qataris with little international experience who are preparing for the 2022 World Cup.

Japan sent to Brazil an under-23 team that is being groomed for the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Asian champion Qatar has so far drawn with Paraguay 2-2 and lost to Colombia 1-0.

“We have come to compete, not to take pictures, even if we admire the players of the teams we are facing,” Qatar’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez said on Saturday. “Our main goal is to evaluate ourselves in a tournament of this caliber, so demanding.”

After winning the Asian Cup, Sanchez’s contract was extended until the end of the next World Cup. On Sunday, his team will have the chance to upset Lionel Messi.

“It would be beautiful to qualify no matter if it is against a monster like Argentina,” Sanchez said. “It will be a great step, even though we know they are also trying to advance to the next stage.”

The Qataris have already been invited to return to next year’s Copa, split between Colombia and Argentina. Australia will be a guest side in 2020.

Japan was thrashed by Chile 4-0 but held favorite Uruguay to 2-2 after leading twice. On Monday the young Japanese can eliminate Ecuador to advance and, depending on other results, possibly face host Brazil in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel is particularly upset with Japan’s decision to bring its Olympic team.

“I do not agree that a guest like Japan gives due importance to its participation by coming with players that are mostly under 23,” Dudamel said Saturday after Venezuela beat Bolivia 3-1 and qualified to the quarterfinals of Copa America.

“I raise my voice and say Copa America needs to be only for South American teams,” he added. “We have not seen South American teams be invited to the African Cup of Nations, tournaments in Europe… We have to respect the hierarchy that we have historically built.”

The list of Copa America guests in past editions is long: Mexico, Costa Rica, United States, Jamaica, Honduras, Panama, Canada and Japan. Mexico had the best result among those, reaching the final in 1993 and in 2001.

Paraguay coach Eduardo Berizzo said he doesn’t like the idea of teams outside of the Americas such as Qatar and Japan playing the Copa America.

“Playing among all American teams, that is logic,” Berizzo said after drawing Qatar. “We should think of a Copa America with Central and North Americas integrated. I never saw any European cup with South American teams. I strongly believe that Copa America needs to be played by American teams.”

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said business was the main reason to invite teams to the Copa America.

“We are few countries in South America to organize a tournament with 10 teams, even more so with four phases like in a World Cup,” Tabarez said.