Scott McTominay

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Early Euro qualifiers: Belgium, Netherlands, Russia all win

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In the early slate of Sunday’s Euro 2020 qualifiers, there were little surprises as Belgium, Russia, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Scotland all found the winner’s column.

Liverpool midfielder Giorginio Wijnaldum bagged a first-half brace, including an absolute rocket, as the Netherlands held on for a 2-1 win over Belarus. BATE Borisov midfielder Stanislav Dragun grabbed one back for Belarus soon after halftime, but the visitors held on in Minsk.

[ WATCH: Wijnaldum scores ripper for Netherlands ]

Virgil Van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt partnered in defense yet again, as they have for 17 of the last 19 Netherlands games, conceding just 17 goals in those 17 matches. Thanks in part to that stellar partnership, Jasper Cillessen had little to do, with Dragun’s headed goal the only shot on target for Belarus in the match, while the Netherlands put seven of their 21 shots on frame.

Michy Batshuayi and Thomas Meunier both found the back of the net as Belgium topped Kazakhstan 2-0 in Astana to remain perfect in qualifying action and keep pace with Russia in Group I. Batshuayi was filling in for an injured Romelu Lukaku, and he latched onto a low back-post cross from Dennis Praet for the opener 21 minutes in. Meunier’s 53rd minute poke came off an absolutely stunning long delivery from Eden Hazard to the far post placed perfectly over the head of the defender. Belgium held 66% possession throughout the match, and while they were only able to put three shots on target, they scored on two of them and held the hosts to just one. Belgium has now scored 30 goals in Euro qualification while conceding just one.

Russia also continued to surge ahead in Group I play one game back of Belgium with a 5-0 demolition of Cyprus in Nicosia. Denis Cheryshev struck nine minutes in to put Russia ahead as he pilfered the ball off the Cyprus back line. The hosts lost Standard Liege defender Konstantinos Laifis to a straight red card, and the rest was elementary. Magomed Ozdoev, Artem Dzyuba, and Aleksandr Golovin all found the back of the net before Cheryshev finished it off with his second of the game in stoppage time. Russia and Belgium have both qualified for the finals, with Russia sitting in second three points behind the perfect group leaders.

Hungary scored 10 minutes in and hung on for a 1-0 victory at home over Azerbaijan. 30-year-old Mihaly Korhut struck a long-distance ripper from well outside the box that appeared to catch goalkeeper Emil Balayev off guard, and the Hungary defense did the rest. RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban and Sporting Kansas City defender Botond Barath held Azerbaijan to just four total shots, including two on target. Meanwhile, despite splitting the possession nearly halfway, Hungary ripped off 23 shots, putting six on target.

Scotland hammered San Marino at home 6-0 behind a first-half hat-trick from Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn. In the pouring rain in Glasgow, McGinn opened the scoring 12 minutes in for his second international goal on a simple cutback and shot from Ryan Christie which clipped McGinn on its way inside the far post. He hit for a second just before the half-hour mark as he poked home a cross by Scott McTominay that was saved into no-man’s land by a diving San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini. The third featured the highest degree of difficulty as a set-piece delivery into the box was headed by Stuart Findlay towards the far post and McGinn ripped it home on the doorstep under pressure. Lawrence Shankland, Findlay, and Stuart Armstrong finished off the scoreline in the second half, although Scotland has still long been eliminated from qualification in the top-heavy Group I.

Longstaff gives Man of Match award to brother after Newcastle beats Man Utd

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It’s one of the feel good stories of the Premier League season, and it’s added to the misery of Manchester United.

Newcastle United’s Matty Longstaff, 19, scored the match-winner on his Premier League debut on Sunday at St. James’ Park, joining his older brother Sean in the middle of the park.

To add to the lore, the Longstaffs deservedly rivaled Fabian Schar and Allan Saint-Maximin for Man of the Match on the day, and Sean gave the award to his match-winning brother in the post-match interview following the 1-0 win.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 1-0 Man Utd ]

“Last night you go to bed dreaming of it but you never think it will happen,” said Matty Longstaff. “I’m over the moon, speechless. … I found out I was in the team yesterday after training, the butterflies started going and I looked forward to it ever since. I was buzzing.”

Sean, 21, has been in a few more PL matches — this was his 15th — and was the subject of big money transfer rumors this summer, linked with Manchester United in a bit of irony.

He toyed with his little brother a bit, lifting the lid on life at home, admitting that he’s “over the moon” to see Matty score at the Gallowgate end.

“He’s been the best player in training,” he said. “(Matty) was a breath of fresh air. I couldn’t be prouder of him. Look how lively he was, he made my job a lot easier.

“He was really quiet last night, he’s usually bouncing around the house shouting. I’ve never heard him so quiet.”

Given his big celebration afterwards and tete-a-tete with Scott McTominay, we don’t expect the quiet to continue at the Longstaffs.

And how about this? The BBC reported this:

Matty and Sean’s dad David still plays professional ice hockey for Whitley Warriors. Last week he was named the NIHL (National Ice Hockey League) player of the month for September after scoring six goals and adding six assists. He has now scored in 30 consecutive seasons.

Watch Live: Newcastle United v. Manchester United

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
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American defender DeAndre Yedlin makes his first start of the year as Newcastle United hopes to conjure up a win over injury-hit and struggling Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Yedlin’s been out since the end of last season, and takes the place of Emil Krafth. Allan Saint-Maximin starts in a promising front three with Joelinton and Miguel Almiron.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s bottom half Red Devils are without Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba, and turn to Fred and Scott McTominay to help stabilize the middle of the park.

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Newcastle United:

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Arsenal rallies for draw at Man United

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Arsenal teen Bukayo Saka cued Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up for a second half equalizer as the Gunners rallied for a 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Scott McTominay scored for United, assisted by Marcus Rashford.

Arsenal moves into fourth with 12 points, while United moves into 10th with nine.


Three things we learned

1. McTominay flashes power: When you think of Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay, it’s about intelligent movement, tidy passing, and willingness to get into a tackle (and also, maybe, his surprise emergence under Jose Mourinho). But the 22-year-old showed us something a bit different with his powerful 45th minute lash from outside the 18. What a hit, even with a slight deflection, and the moment this sleepy game required on Monday. The Scot would miss an open header later in the game, but the damage was done.

2. Pepe fails to build on performances: With a goal and 2 assists in his last four matches prior to Monday at Old Trafford, big money Arsenal signing Nicolas Pepe had a chance to cement his star status on Monday Night Football. He did not, missing the goal with one first half effort before hitting a tame ball directly to David De Gea before halftime.

3. The kid and the megastar team up again: Bukayo Saka is living the dream. Starting in Arsenal’s trident at age 18, Saka assisted prolific striker Aubameyang with a delightful through ball. As for Aubameyang, the Gabonese mega finisher has scored in every match but one this season. His seventh goal of the season was his 49th in 73 matches for the Gunners, a wonderful return for the longtime Borussia Dortmund man.

Man of the Match: Saka — The teen completed 90-plus percent of his passes on the day and won four of five attempted tackles in addition to his assist and two shots. Saka now has two goals and two assists in his first 270 minutes with the Gunners.


[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A rather lengthy feeling out period finally opened up for a chance when Andreas Pereira took it into his hands with along dribble to the precipice and a shot saved by Bernd Leno.

At the other end, Nicolas Pepe clunked an open shot from 16 yards well over the bar. He’d later cut a low shot that De Gea collected inside the six.

McTominay delivered an unfitting end to a sloppy first half with a beautiful strike for 1-0. A cut back to the top of the 18 allowed McTominay to rip a shot that relegated Leno to onlooker status.

David Luiz‘s long free kick led to an Arsenal corner, but De Gea sprung an effective corner that required a Matteo Guendouzi intervention.

Aubameyang beat De Gea moments later, but the linesman’s flag was inexplicably raised. VAR took a look and allowed the goal.

Young striker Bukayo Saka just missed in a bid to make it 2-1 within a minute of Aubameyang’s marker.

McTominay ran onto a free header outside the six, but popped his effort over the frame with a little over 20 minutes to play.

United kept pushing, and Maguire stepped well ahead of his center half position to force Leno into a save, which drew a corner. Alas, Maguire made a silly foul as Leno attempted to collect the corner, and the chance died at the doorstep.

Marcus Rashford presided over a stoppage time free kick, but was denied by the ever-impressive Leno. Overall, it was an improved defensive effort from the Gunners, who still needed their star goalkeeper to get the win.

WATCH: McTominay beauty snaps Man Utd-Arsenal to life

(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images
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Scott McTominay gave a sloppy first half the goal it needed, not the one it deserved.

Arsenal and Manchester United were engaged in a bit of snoozer when the Scottish national team midfielder wound up with a cut back five yards outside the 18.

[ STREAM: Man Utd-Arsenal ]

McTominay froze Leno with a clinical strike, relegating the goalkeeper to interested onlooker status as the ball sailed into the upper reaches of the goal.

The goal is McTominay’s third in Premier League play, and first of the season.

A win for the hosts would push the Old Trafford set past Arsenal on goal difference, as both teams would land on 11 points after seven matches.