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Serbia 1-2 Switzerland: Late Shaqiri break shatters Serbian hearts

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One of the most exciting games of the 2018 World Cup proved entertaining from start to finish, ended by a stunning breakaway goal by Xherdan Shaqiri that capped a 2-1 Switzerland comeback victory over Serbia.

The start of the game was all Serbia, with Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic the most dangerous option up front, and he delivered on that promise just five minutes in. After a pair of chances just kept out by Yann Sommer, Mitrovic powered in a header off a Dusan Tadic cross to put Serbia in front early on.

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The goal confirmed yet another game without a 0-0 draw, 26 in a row to start the tournament, marking the World Cup record set back in 1954 when every single game in the Switzerland event featured a goal.

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After the goal, the game exploded, with Serbia looking to double its lead and Switzerland hoping to gain a grip on the match. Without a second coming, Switzlerland began to build promisingly, and had its first chance right on the half-hour mark as Steven Zuber through-ball sprung Blerim Dzemaili, but his sliding effort was saved brilliantly by Vladimir Stojkovic at the last second. They had a second chance minutes later, but for some reason Xherdan Shaqiri decided for one too many crosses rather than taking the open shot himself.

Serbia didn’t just look to see out the first half, though, as the star of the first half Dusan Tadic nearly gave his team another lift. First, he delivered a fabulous corner that stunningly skipped through the box untouched. Then, just before the break, Tadic came agonizingly close to what would have been a fabulous half-volley strike that flew viciously wide.

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After the break, the back-and-forth action continued, and Granit Xhaka struck an absolute stunner on the counter to level the match seven minutes into the second half. Shaquiri’s initial attempt from the right edge of the box was blocked and the rebound fell to the Arsenal midfielder outside the penalty area. His follow-up was a laser, curling through the defense and past a wrong-footed Stojkovic.

The chaos continued, with Serbia swinging back into the initiative. Mitrovic had a penalty shout turned down after being bear-hugged and wrestled to the ground by a pair of defenders, and minutes later Aleksandr Kolarov delivered a luscious cross into the box but nobody was there to tap it home.

Serbia began to tire as the game inched towards the final minutes, and Switzerland had most of the late pressure. One moment of brilliance caught the Serbians sleeping, and it proved the difference. Mario Gavranovic fed Shaqiri on the break from his own half, and free on goal the Stoke City winger made no mistake as the last ticks of regulation came off.

The win for Switzerland moves them to four points through the first two matches, leaving them level atop Group E with Brazil on points but in second thanks to an inferior goal differential. Serbia, meanwhile, sits third with three points. Switzerland would advance to the knockout stage with a win or draw in their final match against Costa Rica, while the winner of Brazil vs. Serbia will advance as well, with Brazil advancing in the event of a draw.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Saints’ Hughes, Tadic thrilled to put pressure on relegation rivals

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Southampton’s big derby win over Bournemouth will have any number of teams craning their necks behind them at the Premier League drop zone.

[ RECAP: Saints 2-1 Bournemouth ]

Dusan Tadic scored twice to pull Saints to 32 points, one back of Swans and three behind West Ham and Huddersfield.

“We need to have the teams above us looking over their shoulder and this result does that,” said Mark Hughes. “They know we have good quality, we just need to keep momentum. If we keep going like today it will go close.”

Hughes, for his part, is getting plenty of credit from his charges. Tadic, for one, says it’s all different under the Welsh boss.

“The new coach gave us extra power and experience and finally we gave him something back,” Tadic said. “We need to be at our best when it is the most difficult.”

“I think this is one of the most important wins in our history because we are fighting for our lives and I think we showed that.”

Saints have played one fewer match than Swans but could pass them with a win, as Swansea faces 18th placed Southampton and 19th place Stoke City on its run in to Decision Day.

AT HALF: Derby scrap level; Everton, West Brom, Palace lead

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The Premier League match day is in high gear with five 10 a.m. ET matches sandwiching Liverpool-Stoke and Swans-Chelsea.

Southampton 1-1 Bournemouth (NBCSN on STREAM HERE)

The New South Coast Derby matters deeply to relegation-threatened Saints, and Mario Lemina found Dusan Tadic put Saints on pace for three important points. There was a problem with the equalizer, as a goal kick should’ve been given before Joshua King scored off a corner.

Newcastle United 0-1 West Brom (CNBC or STREAM HERE)

West Brom will be relegated with dropped points, but Matty Phillips continues to haunt safe Newcastle United.

Crystal Palace 2-0 Leicester City [ STREAM HERE ]

Now-fit Wilfried Zaha has a goal and an assist, and surely loves having Ruben Loftus-Cheek back healthy, too.

Burnley 0-0 Brighton and Hove Albion STREAM HERE ]

The Clarets’ pathway to seventh is settled, and the Gulls will have fire in the belly to clinch safety.

Huddersfield Town 0-1 Everton [ STREAM HERE ]

The Terriers are not safe yet, and the Toffees have been picking up wins but not exactly thrilling anyone. Sam Allardyce is probably happy Everton bought the striker he apparently didn’t favor: Cenk Tosun.

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: Giroud goal grabs point

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  • Austin produces three early chances, scores one
  • Arsenal with 67 percent possession
  • Giroud nods home equalizer

Southampton’s big striker Charlie Austin saw his early goal canceled out by Arsenal counterpart Olivier Giroud, as the Saints and Gunners split the spoils 1-1 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

The point boosts Arsenal fifth with 29, while Southampton is 10th with 18.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Austin put Saints ahead in the third minute, driving his run forward to meet Dusan Tadic‘s chopped pass.

And he almost had a two on the scoreboard when Petr Cech made a sprawling stop on a similar enough low drive.

Arsenal had the better of the next 20 minutes, but the hosts came storming back just before the half hour mark. The intent and possession was there, but the touches sloppy in the box. It remained 1-0.

Fraser Forster came across his body to stop a low Aaron Ramsey drive in the 32nd minute.

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[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Arsenal certainly produced its fair share of early shots, but it was Oriol Romeu who came close to an audacious second Southampton goal in the 62nd minute.

Ryan Bertrand came close to giving Saints a 2-0 lead when he dinked a ball over Cech only to see it meander wide of the far post.

Forster stopped an Alexis Sanchez free kick as the match hit the 85th minute.

Giroud got the job done in the 88th, coming off the bench to nod past Forster when Maya Yoshida mistimed his header.