Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Ben Yedder makes it five goals in three days with first-half hat trick

Leave a comment

BARCELONA, Spain — Wissam Ben Yedder hit a first-half hat trick to lead Sevilla to a 6-2 rout at Levante in the Spanish league on Sunday.

[ MORE: 2 Robbies on Mourinho, Man Utd ]

It was the second big win for Sevilla in three days. Ben Yedder scored twice in a 5-1 home win over Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday.

Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik saved a penalty kick by Jose Morales that would have allowed Levante to pull level at 2-2 midway through the first half.

Pablo Sarabia also scored for Sevilla and set up three more goals. Daniel Carrico and Andre Silva also got on the scoresheet for the visitors.

Sevilla had gone three rounds without a win in La Liga since its victory in the opening round at Rayo Vallecano.

Roger Marti scored for Levante, which also got a late own goal from Simon Kjaer.

Later, Barcelona hosts Girona seeking a fifth win in as many rounds.

Report: Roma to sign French international Nzonzi

Getty Images
Leave a comment

According to Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Roma is nearing completion of a deal for Sevilla midfielder Steven Nzonzi that would cost the Italian club around $34 million.

The total cost is just shy of the $40 million release clause in Nzonzi’s contract, but with Nzonzi set to turn 30 in December and his Sevilla contract set to run out in 2020, this is likely the last year Sevilla would have any leverage to entertain a significant transfer fee.

The 29-year-old was a member of France’s 2018 World Cup winning squad, making five appearances in Russia. He has nine caps overall for the national team.

Roma makes sense as a landing spot for Nzonzi. With Radja Nainggolan sold this summer to Inter and Daniele de Rossi now 35 years old, 29-year-old Maxime Gonalons is the only other defensive midfielder on the roster. Nzonzi had a fantastic season with Sevilla last campaign, earning him a spot on France’s World Cup roster behind N'Golo Kante.

On Sunday, Sevilla sporting director confirmed that Nzonzi wants to leave the club, but said a suitor must submit a “significant offer” for him to be sold.

Messi wins record 33rd title as Barcelona lift Super Cup

AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy
Leave a comment

TANGIER, Morocco (AP) — Lionel Messi won his 33rd title with Barcelona on Sunday to become the most successful player in the Catalan club’s history.

[ VIDEO: USMNT’s Tim Weah scores first Ligue 1 goal in goofy fashion ]

Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-1 in the Spanish Super Cup as Messi overtook Andres Iniesta, who had 32 titles when he left this summer for the Japanese league.

Ousmane Dembele scored a late winning goal with a blistering strike from outside the area. The 21-year-old France winger stunned Sevilla’s defense with a right-footed shot that hit the underside of the crossbar in the 78th minute.

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a penalty kick from Sevilla substitute Wissam Ben Yedder in the 89th after Ter Stegen fouled former Barcelona forward Aleix Vidal.

[ MORE: Ronaldo made Juventus fans wait only eight minutes for first goal ]

Pablo Sarabia opened for Sevilla in the ninth, when the video assistant referee overruled an offside call in the first use of VAR in Spanish competition.

Gerard Pique equalized three minutes before halftime when he finished off a free kick by Messi that hit the post and ricocheted off the back of goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik — and again off the upright — before falling to the Barcelona defender.

Former Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal debuted for Barcelona as a late substitute.

[ MORE: Pogba makes eyebrow-raising comments about Man United ]

The Super Cup is played between the previous season’s league and Copa del Rey winners. Since Barcelona won both competitions, Sevilla played the match as the Copa runners-up after losing 5-0 in last season’s cup final to Barcelona.

Played in Tangier, Morocco, this was the first Spanish Super Cup held outside Spain and the first time it was played as a single match, instead of a two-leg series.

Sevilla threaten to quit Super Cup if Barca field ‘improper lineup’

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
Leave a comment

The 2018-19 Spanish Supercopa is in danger of being boycotted and abandoned by Sevilla, should their opponents on Sunday, Barcelona, field what they deem “an improper lineup” made of up too many non-European Union players.

[ PL Sunday preview: Man City visit Arsenal; Liverpool vs. West Ham ]

The limit for non-EU players for La Liga fixtures is three. The same limit was previously applied to — or, at least thought to have been — the Supercopa, which pits the previous season’s league and Copa del Rey winners against one another. Since Barcelona won both trophies last season, Copa runners-up Sevilla are slated to face the Blaugrana in Tangier, Morocco.

Sevilla released the following statement on Saturday:

“Sevilla FC is surprised by the Spanish football federation’s statement 24 hours before the Supercopa.

“It has been stated that as many non-EU players as desired can be registered. In their last notice for the 18-19 season, only three were due to be permitted, without exception.

“The club’s legal department is studying the matter and should FC Barcelona submit a team with more than three non-EU players, it would present possible ground for withdrawal on account an improper lineup.”

Arturo Vidal, Malcom and Arthur are expected to be the three non-EU players selected by Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde, but the Catalan club has traveled a fourth, defender Marlon, leading Sevilla to make the above claims and threats. The likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez — South American-born superstars — are EU citizens after years of living on the continent. Philippe Coutinho is also said to have recently received a Portuguese passport through his wife.

Europa League: Burnley, Rangers, Leipzig all advance

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Burnely advanced in Europa League in extra time thanks to a bullet header from former Swansea and Southampton midfielder Jack Cork.

The 29-year-old put Burnley 2-1 over Scottish club Aberdeen up on the day in the 101st minute, and Ashley Barnes finished it off from the penalty spot in the 114th minute. Cork’s goal gave the Clarets a 3-2 advantage on aggregate, and the Barnes spot-kick rounded out the final aggregate scoreline at 4-2, enough to send the side through after a 1-1 draw on the road in the first leg. Chris Wood had put Burnley up in the sixth minute of the match, but Aberdeen equalized Lewis Ferguson in the 27th minute.

The victory moves Burnley on to the Third Qualifying round of the Europa League, where they will face Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir on August 9 and 16.

Fellow Scottish club Rangers held on for a 2-1 aggregate victory over Croatian club NK Osijek, with a 1-1 draw on the day. Rangers ironically went in front through Croatian defender Nikola Katic in the 53rd minute, and it looked like they would go through easily before Borna Barisic equalized in the 89th minute.

Notably, Scottish police confirmed two people were stabbed before the game near Ibrox.

RB Leipzig also advanced after a 1-1 draw with BK Hacken, but did so more comfortably after a 4-0 win in the first leg, giving them a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Turkish club Besiktas steamrolled Faroe Islands semi-pro side B36 Torshavn by a 6-0 final on the day, securing an 8-0 aggregate win. Former Orlando City striker Cyle Larin grabbed a hat-trick in the match, scoring the first three goals of the game, finishing it off with a pinpoint header off a great cross from deep in the left corner.

La Liga side Sevilla completed a 7-1 aggregate destruction of Hungarian club Ujpesti with a 3-1 away win capped by a Pablo Sarabia brace. Meanwhile, Dutch club AZ Alkmaar was upset by Kazakhstani side Kairat Almaty, unable to overcome a shock 2-0 first leg road loss despite a 2-1 win in the second leg, succumbing to a 3-2 aggregate defeat.

Here’s a complete list of notable scores, with the bolded club advancing:

Burnley 3-1 Aberdeen
Rangers 1-1 Osijek
BK Hacken 1-1 RB Leipzig
Ujpesti 1-3 Sevilla
Besiktas 6-0 B39 Torshavn
FC Copenhagen 5-0 Stjarnan
Vitesse Arnham 3-1 Viitorul Constanta
FK Sarajevo 0-8 Atalanta
NK Maribor 2-0 Chikhura Sachkhere
AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Kairat Almaty
Bordeaux 2-1 FK Ventspils
Radnicki Nis 2-2 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Asteras Tripoli 1-1 Hibernian
Trakai 1-1 Partizan Belgrade
Slavia Sofia 2-3 Hajduk Split
Flora 2-0 Apoel Nicosia
KF Laci 0-2 Molde
Lech Poznan 3-1 Shakhter Soligorsk