Steven Naismith

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Clinical Portugal tops Scotland in friendly

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Alex McLeish is in a world of hurt as manager of Scotland as they fell at home to Portugal 3-1 after a host of missed opportunities and defensive errors. The visitors were at less than full strength, without Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva.

Scotland started the game in Hampden brightly and nearly had the opener as Beto was forced to make a save on his own man Sergio Oliveira. Portugal found its way into the game and missed a few chances before they bagged the first just before halftime as Wolverhampton winger Helder Costa beat Andrew Robertson to the far post where he cut inside and met Kévin Rodrigues’ cross for a sliding finish.

The hosts had chances, as Scott McKenna missed a header after the break. That would prove costly, as Portugal struck again with 19 minutes remaining through Eder. Stephen O’Donnell was the culprit as Eder beat him to the far post on a Renato Sanchez free-kick, earning an open header.

Finally, in the 84th minute, Portugal found a third as a giveaway in the midfield allowed the visitors to break. Bruma took the ball down the left flank and turned Graeme Shinnie completely around before unleashing a powerful shot into the top corner. Steven Naismith grabbed a consolation in stoppage time but the damage had been done.

The loss is the sixth in the last eight for McLeish, who admitted he was at fault for the recent struggles. “It’s never easy to lose and that was a tough weekend,” said McLeish after the match. “I have to stand up and be brave and take it forward. There’s other examples of managers being under the cosh – Michael O’Neil and the Russian camp and Stanislav Cherchesov persevered. I’ll always retain that determination.”

“It’s basic errors that we made and that is the disappointing aspect of it,” said McLeish of the mistakes at the back. “You expect the top teams to cut you open with majestic skills, but we were the perpetrators of our own mistakes. I thought there was a lot of good football. We had a good game plan, we were compact, we pressed when we had a chance to press. I know there was a few Portugal players rested but there was a still a hell of a lot of money out on that pitch.”

Podolski goes out with super goal; Germany tops England

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The highlight of Wednesday’s international friendly docket was Lukas Podolski‘s final match for Germany, and the former Arsenal man did not disappoint his crowd.

But first, Canada plays its first match since unveiling new coach Octavio Zambrano.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

Scotland 1-1 Canada

Zambrano saw plenty to like from his new side, as Canada went ahead early with a goal from former Scottish youth Fraser Aird. Toronto-born, the ex-Rangers and current Falkirk man got his first Canadian goal against the team he represented at U-17 and U-19 levels.

Norwich City’s Steven Naismith redirected Tom Cairney‘s shot to make it 1-1 before the break, but Scotland never found its way back into Canada’s net.

Germany 1-0 England

Lukas Podolski scored his 49th international goal in his final cap for Germany, and it was spectacular.

Joe Hart didn’t stand a chance.

The match saw big stops from both ‘keepers, as Hart thwarted Leroy Sane on a second half break after Marc-Andre Ter Stegen defied Dele Alli in the opening 45.

Podolski subbed off in the 84th minute to wild applause, but it must sting slightly to know you finished an illustrious career one goal short of a nice, round 50. We guess he’ll have to rest on his millions and millions of earnings and loads of on-field honors.

Elsewhere
Vietnam 1-1 Chinese Taipei
Philippines 0-0 Malaysia
Cyprus 3-1 Kazakhstan
Yemen 0-1 Palestine
Cambodia 2-3 India

EFL Cup wrap: Chelsea, Arsenal score four; Everton, Leicester ousted

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The EFL Cup — formerly known as the League Cup — is into the third round, with eight of 16 fixtures played Tuesday around the United Kingdom.

[ MORE: More of today’s EFL Cup goals ]

It was a day for new boys at Arsenal, and a celebration of veterans at Chelsea, while Everton was stung by a longtime Toffee now wearing yellow.

Nottingham Forest 0-4 Arsenal

Granit Xhaka gave Arsenal a halftime lead when he sent this wrecking ball towards the Forest goal. Lucas Perez added a second half brace, as the Gunners cruised to a win despite the Forest debut of ex-Gunner Nicklas Bendtner.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nabbed the fourth, and USMNT talent Gedion Zelalem subbed into the match for the final 7 minutes.

The second Perez goal was class grunt work with a deft finish.

Leicester City 2-4 (aet) Chelsea

When you’re eye level with the keeper and so is the ball, just do what Shinji Okazaki did and nudge it over the line. Poor Asmir Begovic was outfoxed by Leicester’s Japanese striker, and again later when Okazaki bounded the ball off the ground from close range to make it 2-0.

Gary Cahill forced a ball across the Leicester line before halftime to halve the deficit, and Cesar Azpilicueta volleyed a 49th minute clearance home to level things at 2.

Sitting on yellow, Marcin Wasilewski put Leicester in an awful spot with a high elbow to Diego Costa during second half stoppage. The Foxes would need to play with only 10 men in extra time.

Cesc Fabregas only needed two minutes of the first frame of extra time to belt home a winner, as Hazard teed him up with a back heel straight from the playground. He added another soon after to dust this one up.

From 2-0 to 4-2, and having to contend extra time? Claudio Ranieri will not be pleased.

Newcastle United 2-0 Wolverhampton

DeAndre Yedlin proved playmaker on Matt Ritchie‘s opener, while Yoan Gouffran added a second, and Newcastle avenged its league upset from the weekend.

Derby County 0-3 Liverpool

Ragnar Klavan was the unlikely opening goal scorer, Philippe Coutinho the more likely second Red to tally. Divock Origi added the third Liverpool goal in the 54th minute, as Jurgen Klopp‘s bunch cruised.

Bournemouth 2-3 (aet) Preston North End

The Cherries went down 1-0 after 10 minutes, but avoid an upset at the Vitality Stadium when Lewis Grabban converted a 53rd minute penalty and Dan Gosling gave Bournemouth its first lead with under 15 minutes to play.

Simon Makienok leveled things with his second goal of the night, and we were off to extra time where  — wouldn’t you know it? — the Dane completed his hat trick to send the Cherries out of the EFL Cup.

Everton 0-2 Norwich City

Ghosts of Goodison past haunting Everton, as Steven Naismith had the Canaries up at the break. Josh Murphy tore into this shot in the 74th minute to insure the lead (and, as it turns out, ensure the win).

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-2 Reading

Reading had a 1-0 lead and made it 2-0 with 10 men after a red card to ex-Manchester United back Tyler Blackett.

Leeds United 1-0 Blackburn

Garry Monk got a winner from Kiwi striker Chris Wood to avoid extra time in a very even contest.

Wednesday
Swansea City-Man City — 2:45 p.m. ET
Northampton-Man Utd — 2:45 p.m. ET
Southampton-Crystal Palace — 2:45 p.m. ET
QPR-Sunderland — 2:45 p.m. ET
West Ham United-Accrington Stanley — 2:45 p.m. ET
Fulham-Bristol City — 2:45 p.m. ET
Stoke City-Hull City — 3 p.m. ET
Tottenham Hotspur-Gillingham — 3 p.m. ET

EFL Cup at the half: Xhaka’s blistering blast; Okazaki on fire (video)

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The EFL Cup — formerly known as the League Cup — is into the third round, with eight of 16 fixtures played Tuesday around the United Kingdom. Here’s where we stand at halftime.

[ LIVE: Follow the second halves ]

Nottingham Forest 0-1 Arsenal

Granit Xhaka put a little oomph on this one, huh?

Leicester City 2-1 Chelsea

When you’re eye level with the keeper and so is the ball, just do what Shinji Okazaki did and nudge it over the line. Poor Asmir Begovic was outfoxed by Leicester’s Japanese striker, and again later. Which Okazaki finish was more clever?

Gary Cahill forced a ball across the Leicester line before halftime to halve the deficit.

Newcastle United 2-0 Wolverhampton

DeAndre Yedlin proved playmaker on Matt Ritchie‘s opener, while Yoan Gouffran added a second, and Newcastle is well on its way to avenging its league upset from the weekend.

Derby County 0-1 Liverpool

Ragnar Klavan the unlikely opening goal scorer. Mark a man, Rams.

Everton 0-1 Norwich City

Ghosts of Goodison past haunting Everton, as Steven Naismith has the Canaries up.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-1 Reading

Reading leads despite a red card to ex-Manchester United back Tyler Blackett.

Elsewhere
Leeds United 0-0 Blackburn
Bournemouth 0-1 Preston North End

Wednesday
Swansea City-Man City — 2:45 p.m. ET
Northampton-Man Utd — 2:45 p.m. ET
Southampton-Crystal Palace — 2:45 p.m. ET
QPR-Sunderland — 2:45 p.m. ET
West Ham United-Accrington Stanley — 2:45 p.m. ET
Fulham-Bristol City — 2:45 p.m. ET
Stoke City-Hull City — 3 p.m. ET
Tottenham Hotspur-Gillingham — 3 p.m. ET

Premier League Player of the Week — Round 36 (video)

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When Joe Hart looks to his left, he might expect to see a Sadio Mane shot going past him.

That’s how lethal the Southampton attacker was this weekend, recording a hat trick in Saints’ 4-2 win over Manchester City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Mane becomes the third Southampton player to snare Premier League Player of the Week honors this season, joining Graziano Pelle and Fraser Forster.

Just two more honors to go this PL season.

Premier League Players of the Week – Round 36

Week 1: Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City

Week 2: Romelu Lukaku, Everton

Week 3: Callum Wilson, Bournemouth

Week 4: Bafetimbi Gomis, Swansea City

Week 5: Steven Naismith, Everton

Week 6: Anthony Martial, Manchester United

Week 7: Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Week 8: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 9: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

Week 10: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 11: Arouna Kone, Everton

Week 12: Jesse Lingard, Manchester United

Week 15: Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City

Week 16: Ayoze Perez, Newcastle United

Week 17: Odion Ighalo, Watford

Week 19: Xherdan Shaqiri, Stoke City

Week 20: Jermain Defoe, Sunderland

Week 21: Jermain Defoe, Sunderland

Week 22: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 23: Dele Alli, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 24: Fraser Forster, Southampton

Week 25: Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa

Week 26: Pedro, Chelsea

Week 27: Marcus Rashford, Manchester United

Week 28: Connor Wickham, Crystal Palace

Week 29: Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City

Week 30: Graziano Pelle, Southampton

Week 31: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 32: Alex Iwobi, Arsenal

Week 33: Andy Carroll, West Ham United

Week 34: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 35: Eden Hazard, Chelsea

Week 36: Sadio Mane, Southampton