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Chelsea beat PAOK in Europa League opener

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It is six wins from six for Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea manager, with the Premier League side winning 1-0 at PAOK Salonika in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

Willian‘s early goal was enough to grab the win for a dominant Chelsea side, with Alvaro Morata having several chances but failing to score.

Next up for Chelsea in Group L are Videoton, who they host at Stamford Bridge in two weeks time. PAOK travel to BATE Borisov, who beat Videoton in Hungary in their opening game of the competition.

[ MORE: Europa League standings ] . 

Chelsea had the perfect start as Ross Barkley ran free and slipped in Willian brilliantly and the Brazilian finished low under PAOK’s goalkeeper Paschalakis to make it 1-0.

PAOK struggled to recover from that early deficit as Chelsea dominated the ball and Alvaro Morata should have scored a second but he headed Pedro‘s cross wide.

Morata then dragged a shot wide of the far post after a clever ball from Antonio Rudiger as Chelsea continued to push PAOK back. Marcos Alonso found Pedro before the break but the Spaniard’s effort was saved by Paschalakis and from the resulting corner Morata headed inches wide.

Right on half time Chelsea were a little lucky not to give away a penalty kick as Barkely looked to pull the shirt of a PAOK attacker in the box.

In the second half Chelsea poured forward in search of a second but Willian blasted over the bar and Alonso’s effort was deflected just wide.

Paschalakis saved Pedro’s shot late on but Chelsea held on for victory in Greece ahead of their London derby at West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday.

Men in Blazers podcast: Chelsea, Liverpool still perfect

Men in Blazers
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Rog and Davo recap Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Tottenham at Wembley, Manchester United’s shock upset of unbeaten Watford, and Eden Hazard’s hat trick to keep Chelsea perfect.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Hazard “can score 30-35 goals,” says Chelsea boss Sarri

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Chelsea star Eden Hazard is getting dream advice for an attack-minded player.

It seems his manager wants him to be more one-dimensional.

Hazard scored thrice in Chelsea’s 4-1 demolition of Cardiff City on Saturday to bring his goal haul to five on the Premier League season.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff City ]

And Maurizio Sarri thinks the Belgian can tempt Mohamed Salah‘s Premier League record of 32 goals if he focuses on the final third.

“He touched the ball in our own half six times,” Sarri said. “That means he spent more energy.”

Hazard’s previous PL-best goal season is 16, set in 2016-17. Can he double that in a season?

Probably not unless Chelsea takes the shackles off to the extent Jurgen Klopp does with Salah at Liverpool, but the 27-year-old looked scintillating while combining with Olivier Giroud and company on Saturday.

A better question might be whether Chelsea is the best team in the league through five matches. They do, after all, lead the table on goal differential.

Willian, Hazard wow as Chelsea rout Cardiff

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Eden Hazard scored a hat trick while Willian was the star of the second half as Chelsea overcame an early concession to rock Cardiff City 4-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Hazard’s first two goals were set-up by Olivier Giroud, while Willian scored a beauty and drew the penalty kick that became Hazard’s third.

Chelsea goes ahead of Liverpool on goal differential to lead the table, while Cardiff is one point ahead of the Bottom Three.

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Cardiff took a shock lead, with Bamba in position to deposit a Sean Morrison flick beyond the reach of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Pedro missed a significant chance to make it 1-1, failing to challenge Neil Etheridge with a 36th minute shot.

It was one of several first half chances created by the Blues that did not have appropriate finish.

Hazard, however, did when he worked a 1-2 with Olivier Giroud to slot a gorgeous low shot inside the far post.

And it wasn’t long after the Giroud stuck out a leg to perfectly set up Hazard for his second of the game.

Pedro missed making it 3-0, set up by Antonio Rudiger in the 62nd minute.

And it could’ve been 2-2 out of nowhere had Bobby Reid not dragged his shot wide of goal.

That’s when Willian stepped to the front, earning a penalty that Hazard converted for his hat trick and then scoring a gorgeous curling shot from outside the 18 to make it 4-1.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

USMNT 0-2 Brazil: Young hosts no match for Neymar, Firmino

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Brazil coach Tite named a very strong starting lineup, with the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, and Casemiro. That was always going to be a struggle, and it was, but the United States was far from run off the field in East Rutherford on Friday night as they fell 2-0 to the World Cup quarterfinalists in an international friendly meeting.

The United States came out of the opening whistle with a very high press, and it seemed to trouble the Brazilians from the start, but the visitors began to figure things out and struck in the 11th minute. Douglas Costa straight burned Antonee Robinson who over-committed on the flank, and his cross found Roberto Firmino at the back post who had drifted back from an oblivious Matt Miazga. Brazil nearly grabbed a second as Costa again torched Robinson, this time cutting inside, but his ball into the box was fumbled at the penalty spot for Neymar.

[ COVERAGE: 5 Things Learned | Player Ratings ]

The US had its best chance down the other end on the half-hour mark as Yedlin crossed to Weston McKennie, but his promising shot was blocked. The ensuing corner resulted in a header by Miazga on a delicious cross from Julian Green, and again it went out for a corner. Again McKennie had a massive chance, but Alisson came off his line to smother the shot from the far post. A fourth corner again came sizzling in, but Wood couldn’t get his head to it and instead found himself shaken up on the turf.

Again Brazil almost had a second, but a Coutinho shot from the top of the box was blocked bravely by Robinson and Zack Steffen saved the follow-up from Fabinho. They would double the lead before the break when Fabinho went down softly in the penalty area trying to squeeze between John Brooks and Wil Trapp, and the referee pointed to the spot. Neymar sent Steffen the wrong way for his 53rd international goal. At the break, Brazil had most of the possession while the United States was left with little to savor.

With no substitutions for either side at halftime, Brazil came out of the break with the intent. Douglas Costa toasted Paul Arriola down the right, and nearly found Firmino but his poor first touch killed off the chance. Yet again, Costa beat Robinson on 52 minutes – this time through the middle – and fed a delicious pass to Neymar, but his shot was slowed by Steffen and eventually cleared off the line by Matt Miazga right on the doorstep.

[ MORE: U.S. to hire new head coach by end of 2018 ]

Sarachan brought on Timothy Weah and Kellyn Acosta for Paul Arriola and Julian Green as the game neared the hour mark, a positive substitution. Tite countered with the addition of Arthur for Manchester United midfielder Fred, while Douglas Costa was removed for Chelsea winger Willian. McKennie had a chance to put the U.S. on the board soon after, but he put his effort just wide on the end of a curling free-kick.

Another change for either side saw Gyasi Zardes replace Bobby Wood, while Paqueta made his international debut for Brazil replacing Coutinho. The U.S. nearly found an opening as Wil Trapp forced a shaky save from Alisson with a long-distance shot low and to the left. Down the other end, Robinson picked Firmino’s pocket to save a breakaway opportunity. The U.S. again had a chance on a set-piece with 15 minutes to go, but Alisson stopped a weak effort as two U.S. players came together for the shot.

With three minutes remaining, the U.S. had one last chance as Tyler Adams sent a cross in that went just over the head of Gyasi Zardes, while substitute Christian Roldan had his follow-up cutback cleared away. The loss is just the second for the United States in seven matches since the failure in Trinidad & Tobago, and will provide Dave Sarachan and the rest of the coaching staff plenty of tape to teach the players how to match up against the best in the world.