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UEFA gives partial stadium bans to Bulgaria, Romania for fan racism

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) Bulgaria will have to close part of its national stadium for European Championship qualifiers against England and the Czech Republic because of fan racism.

UEFA issued the order, saying Bulgarian fans were racially abusive during a 2-1 loss to the Czech Republic and a 3-2 loss to Kosovo last month.

Bulgaria hosts England on Oct. 14 and the Czech Republic on Nov. 17.

Romania has also been ordered to close part of its home stadium for a future under-21 game after UEFA ruled its fans behaved in a racist manner during the European under-21 championship last month.

Another racism case against Latvia was dropped.

UEFA also handed out various fines to Romania, Ukraine, and Greece for rowdy behavior by fans.

England U-21’s collapse late again in defeat to Romania

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A wild final 15 minutes saw Romania come out on top of England at the U-21 Euros, sealing a disappointing end to their tournament in the group stage after just two matches.

The game was 0-0 through the first half as England looked spotty and Romania struggled to get past Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Questions will be asked of England boss Andy Boothroyd who controversially chose to bench sparkling Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden and the team appeared toothless without him.

Foden came on in the 57th minute but it remained scoreless until the 76th minute when it all kicked off with a bang. Inter youth product and Palermo striker George Puscas struck from the penalty spot after Everton youth product Jonjoe Kenny tripped Romanian substitute Florinel Coman in the area.

That lit the fuse and the game exploded. Leicester City’s Demari Gray equalized three minutes later off a set-piece situation, but Romania would go in front again via Ianis Hagi, son of the great Gheorghe Hagi, who deposited a low piledriver for the lead with five minutes to go, although the game was far from over. Just a minute later Tammy Abraham collected a cross onto his chest and produced a fine cut finish for another England equalizer at 2-2.

That is where England collapsed and Coman became a hero. Having already created one chance with earning the earlier penalty, the Steaua Bucuresti winger bagged a late brace, first striking on a gift from Henderson on a speculative shot from distance that squirted underneath the goalkeeper. The second was far more deserving of a late winner, a glittering volley on the bounce from well outside the box that rose and dipped into the top-left corner.

The late flop is the second of the tournament for England and ultimately becomes their legacy for the summer. They collapsed late in a 2-1 defeat to France in their group stage opener, seeing Crystal Palace full-back and rumored Manchester United target Aaron Wan-Bissaka turn home an unlikely own-goal in the 95th minute.

Boothroyd, who signed a contract extension just this summer immediately prior to the tournament, was criticized heavily for his team selection, most notably for Foden’s initial absence but also for his handling of the 90 minutes. He brought Ryan Sessegnon off the bench at halftime, only for the Fulham youngster to pull up injured 12 minutes later, requiring a substitute himself in a move that finally saw Foden enter the fray. For a team that won eight matches in qualifying for the competition, the face-first stagger marks a downright embarrassing result.

England is eliminated no matter the rest of the group stage results, given the best they can do is finish level with France who beat them head-to-head. They still have a chance to save face as they take on Croatia in their final group stage match despite their fate already sealed. Croatia was thumped in its first game against Romania 4-1 and takes on France later today needing a win to keep them a live. Should Croatia lose that, the final group stage match between the two sides would be nothing more than a consolation prize.

NYCFC’s Mitrita scores marvelous goal against USL’s Nashville (video)

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New York City FC attacker Alexandru Mitrita is yet to meet an MLS defense, but so far his skills honed in Romania and Italy are translating nicely.

Mitrita, 24, has scored in a pair of preseason friendlies, the latest a beauty against USL side Nashville SC, as he begins life after Romania’s Liga 1.

[ VIDEO: Pochettino goes wild at referees ]

He tortured that league, having been serviceable in a stint with Serie A and B side Pescara.

If his work so far this preseason is any sign, that should continue in Major League Soccer (if he’s not murdered by fouls).

Able to play across the pitch, Mitrita’s latest goal showed that NYCFC is going to have a wealth of attacking options with Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Jonathan Lewis, Jesus Medina, Maxi Moralrez, and Mitrita.

New York City FC signs Mitrita as Designated Player (video)

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It’s time to familiarize yourself with Alexandru Mitrita, the 23-year-old Romanian attacker set to help fill the void left by David Villa.

New York City FC announced the reported $9 million purchase of Mitrita from Romanian Liga I club Universitatea Craiova.

[ MORE: Almiron agent unhappy with MLS ]

He has 12 goals and four assists in 16 matches while captaining the Craiovan club this season. Prior to that, he spent two seasons at Pescara in Serie A and Serie B, scoring two goals with six assists.

Mitrita is capped five times by Romania with a single assist. Here’s NYCFC sporting director and USMNT legend Claudio Reyna, via NYCFC.com:

“He comes to New York during a stage in his career where he’s extremely motivated to make the next step after recently breaking into the Romanian national team. He possesses an innate desire to win and is focused on becoming an important player for our Club as we challenge for the Supporters Shield and MLS Cup.

“He was an important player at his previous club and very well-liked by an amazing and loyal fan base. Our fans will immediately notice the personality he carries on the field and they’ll really enjoy watching him play for NYCFC.”

He’s built like Sebastian Giovinco. If he can produce anywhere near the Italian’s level, the signing will be a win for NYCFC.

Soccer great Hagi’s club fires player for gambling issues

https://fcviitorul.ro/mihai-vodut-nu-mai-este-jucatorul-viitorului
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CONSTANTA, Romania (AP) Gheorghe Hagi’s soccer club in Romania says it has terminated a player’s contract for gambling on games.

Viitorul Constanta, which is owned and coached by the former Romania great, had previously said it suspended Mihai Vodut while verifying media reports of his betting.

[ MORE: Latest on Emiliano Sala ]

A Romanian news website published claims by a former girlfriend of the 24-year-old forward that she placed bets on his team’s games at his request.

Viitorul says the player’s contract specified that betting was forbidden.

The club, which is fifth in the 14-team top division, was created by Hagi 10 years ago after a storied playing career that included being signed by Real Madrid and Barcelona.

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