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Napoli scores on late penalty, rare Van Dijk error in 2-0 win

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The good news is that Liverpool lost to Napoli last season in the UEFA Champions League, then went on to win the whole darn thing.

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Jose Callejon won a late penalty that Dries Mertens converted, and Fernando Llorente took advantage of a Virgil Van Dijk error to pad the lead as Napoli held serve at home with a 2-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday.


Three things we learned

1. Goalkeepers immense: No, he’s not Alisson Becker, but Adrian is probably the biggest reason Liverpool didn’t open its UCL defense with a blowout loss. He made a pair of early stops on Dries Mertens before a show-stopping effort in the second half. Napoli got two fine saves from Alex Meret, including a terrific denial of Mohamed Salah in the 65th.

2. Salah, Mane can’t deliver in key moments: Take away Salah’s penalty in the UCL Final, and Liverpool’s two top threats have not accounted for a goal in four matches inside the competition. Mane was mostly good on the day, but misled Salah on an early second half pass which would have almost certainly been a goal. Salah simply had an off day

3. Callejon sells the drama: Liverpool’s Andy Robertson lost a 50/50 with Jose Callejon, who ran into the fulback and hit the deck to win a penalty. That was the difference here, as Mertens beat Adrian.

Man of the Match: Meret was especially good, the 22-year-old Italian goalkeeper big in several key moments to edge Mertens for the honor.


Napoli thought it had gone ahead through El Tri star Hirving Lozano, who nodded over the line following two Alisson Becker saves on Dries Mertens, but the Mexican was offside.

Sadio Mane had a 20th minute chance at the other end, but pumped a point blank low shot to Napoli keeper Alex Meret which led to a corner kick.

Fabinho intervened in the 53rd minute as Napoli emerged from the locker room with energy, but the best chance of the early second half was flubbed in uncharacteristic fashion: Sadio Mane was through 2v1 with Mohamed Salah but made a miserable pass to his teammate.

The first goal arrived when Callejon tapped the ball past Robertson and leapt into the defender to earn a penalty from referee Felix Brych.

It was 2-0 in stoppage time when Fernando Llorente ran onto a Virgil van Dijk error and passed beyond Adrian.

Eriksen’s late heroics strengthen Spurs hold on third (video)

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  • Spurs out-attempt Brighton 29-6
  • Eriksen scores in 88th minute
  • Spurs regain third place

There were late cries of joy in North London, and surely Cardiff City, as Christian Eriksen finally pushed Tottenham Hotspur past stingy Brighton and Hove Albion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday.

The win boosts Spurs back into third place, with 70 points, while Brighton’s 34 keep it just three ahead of 18th place Cardiff.

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Spurs were very much in charge, but a combination of Seagulls goalkeeper Mat Ryan and his center backs helped defy a lively Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son.

Shane Duffy made a goal line clearance on Dele, which may have been partially hit toward the line by a Brighton defender, and Ryan pounced on the rebound to keep it 0-0 heading into halftime.

The game slogged forward at 0-0, Brighton resolute and Spurs unable to cut a path to danger. It took center back Toby Alderweireld dribbling and dragging a shot off the post to snap the game into life.

Ryan saved a Christian Eriksen hit in the final 10 minutes as Spurs desperately pushed for a winner and the Seagulls issued similar defense of their goal.

Mauricio Pochettino turned to Fernando Llorente and even Vincent Janssen off the bench, but it was Eriksen who stroked a beauty through traffic to win three points.

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Son, Llorente lead Spurs comeback win (video)

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  • Spurs one of only 2 Top Six teams to win
  • Cathcart gives Watford lead
  • Spurs net twice in second half

Heung-Min Son and Fernando Llorente brought Tottenham Hotspur back for a win and a very successful Premier League midweek.

Injury-hit Spurs answered Craig Cathcart‘s early goal to beat Watford 2-1 at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday, moving seven points back of Liverpool and two behind Man City.

Watford remains ninth with 33 points.

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Cathcart nodded a corner kick into the goal with the crown of his head. It didn’t look pretty, but it beat Hugo Lloris for 1-0 in the 38th.

In the second half, Toby Alderweireld forced Ben Foster into a good save and then set up Fernando Llorente for a chance the Spaniard headed over the goal.

Then Watford’s Ben Wilmot made a goal line clearance on Danny Rose as Spurs pushed for an equalizer.

Son did the trick, lashing a shot through traffic to fool Foster. And then Llorente nodded in the excellent Rose’s cross before celebrating with his manager on the touch line.

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Chelsea advance to League Cup final past Tottenham on penalty kicks

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Maurizio Sarri‘s team had the perfect response at home after a rough defeat last weekend to Arsenal.

Chelsea overcame Tottenham, 4-2 on penalty kicks in the League Cup semifinal after the tie was locked at 2-2 on aggregate after 180 minutes of action. Eric Dier skied one penalty, Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga saved one from Spurs winger Lucas Moura, and David Luiz put the finishing touches to send Chelsea to the League Cup final on February 24 at Wembley Stadium in London. Awaiting Chelsea in the final is Manchester City, who recorded an impressive 10-0 aggregate victory over Burton Albion in the other semifinal.

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Chelsea got off to a quick start on home ground and took the game to Mauricio Pochettino‘s banged up Spurs. In the 27th minute, off a corner kick, Chelsea finally struck gold. A corner kick from Eden Hazard was cleared to the top of the box, where N'Golo Kante rifled a shot home that went through three (3!) pairs of legs before slipping past Paulo Gazzaniga and in for a goal.

Hazard followed that up with a side-footed finish of his own, giving Chelsea the 2-1 lead on aggregate just 40 minutes into the game.

But in the second half, Fernando Llorente connected with a flying header into the box to tie the score on aggregate. Chelsea came close on a few more occasions in the second half, but the score was deadlocked at two each.

The defeat is insult to go with the injury, as two players limped off injured during the match, Ben Davies and Moussa Sissoko, leaving Tottenham with even fewer players available for the next stage of the season. Mauricio Pochettino’s silver lining, if there is any, is now he can focus on the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League, but he’ll rue losing another chance to get an elusive piece of silverware.

The ‘other’ Harry! Winks scores late for Spurs (video)

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  • Fulham strikes first
  • Dele finds equalizer
  • Winks gets winner
  • Babel lively in FFC debut
  • Spurs with 73 percent possession

Harry Winks‘ goal in the third minute of stoppage time led Tottenham Hotspur past Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

It was Winks first goal since November 19, 2016 v. West Ham United.

Dele Alli scored and was injured in the win, which started with Fernando Llorente scoring an own goal.

Spurs are now nine points back of Liverpool, while Fulham has 14 points, seven behind 17th place Newcastle United.

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Spurs had most of the ball in the first 10 minutes, but Fulham came alive in spurts. New addition Ryan Babel worked Davinson Sanchez to earn a corner kick, and Denis Odoi sliced a chance wide off the set piece.

Fulham went deservedly ahead five minutes later, when Llorente’s vision was obscured on a corner kick and his reaction only prodded the ball into his net.

Sergio Rico saved a Llorente chance at the other end in the 23rd minute, as Spurs angled for an equalizer.

Fulham appeared to have made it 2-0 when Aleksandar Mitrovic nodded a rebund over the line in the 41st minute, but the Serbian striker was ruled offside.

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Spurs leveled the score off a flub from American center back Tim Ream in the 52nd minute, with Christian Eriksen flicking a cross to Dele for the headed finish.

Danny Rose had a shot deflected off a sliding Odoi and hit the bar near the hour mark.

Llorente missed turning Rose’s free kick into the goal from near-sitter range in the 82nd minute, and was denied a penalty shout as the match entered stoppage time.