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Mina, Stevens charged by FA over breaking gambling rules

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Everton’s Yerry Mina and Leeds United’s Jordan Stevens have both been charged by the English Football Association over breaking gambling rules.

Stevens, 19, has been banned from all soccer related activity for six weeks after placing 59 bets last season, including five on Leeds. He was also fines $1,482.

Mina has been fined $12,300 and warned about his future conduct after he appeared in an advert for a betting company in his homeland of Colombia. He was charged in July and has now been charged.

Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear released a strong statement with regards to the sanctions against Stevens.

“We are hugely disappointed in the FA’s choice of sanction,” Kinnear said. “To prevent a young footballer from taking part in any football activities at such a critical period of his career is a disproportionate punishment following a foolish mistake from a young player. We are particularly disappointed that the sanction was determined by two former professional footballers who we hoped would have had a better understanding of the impact of their decision.”

In recent years Daniel Sturridge, Joey Barton and others have been charged by the FA for breaching betting rules and with the rise in availability of betting on sports in the UK it is an issue which will continue to crop up.

Professional players in the UK are banned from betting on any soccer, no matter what game or team are involved.

Rashford, James, Pogba star as Manchester United hammers Leeds in Perth

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Manchester United topped Leeds 4-0 in a comprehensive victory in Perth that saw Marcus Rashford and new signing Daniel James run rampant down the flanks.

Rashford scored in the 27th minute with a beautiful move down the left that threw two Leeds defenders into each other, while James struck the post just before halftime on an overlap down the right in his Red Devils debut.

Also on the scoresheet was 17-year-old Mason Greenwood who received a hard, low cross from fellow debutant Aaron Wan-Bissaka and beat two Leeds defenders in a footrace to the ball on the doorstep for a sliding finish. The move was started by Paul Pogba who found the new Manchester United defender down the right with a wonderful through-ball, leading to the delivery into the box. Greenwood has had quite the last 12 months, scoring for the Manchester United U-17, U-18, U-23, and now senior side all in that span.

After the break, Phil Jones found the back of the net by powering home a corner with his head, while Anthony Martial finished off the scoreline with a penalty after Tahith Chong was fouled in the area by Liam Cooper. Chong impressed throughout the second half, linking well with fellow Manchester United youth product Angel Gomes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found playing time for just about every first-teamer, completely changing the side at halftime. Nemanja Matic was one of the halftime introductions, but was curiously withdrawn with 12 minutes to go, unclear if due to injury. The only Red Devil in the squad to not see the field was 21-year-old Axel Tuanzebe.

Leeds exercises Bielsa’s second-year option

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Marcelo Bielsa will start a second season with the same club for the first time since 2015.

Hopefully this one lasts more than one match.

Leeds United is exercising its option year in Bielsa’s contract, the Championship club revealed Tuesday following a season spent largely in the automatic promotion places before dipping into the playoff race and bowing out of the competition.

[ MORE: Spanish police investigate La Liga match fixing ]

Leeds had a fantastic run for most of the season, with the meticulous and creative Bielsa getting a lot of the credit.

Leeds spent the entire season in the Top Four, but a six-point advantage over third place dwindled, Bielsa’s staff was caught spying on Derby County, and Leeds finished the season in third.

Bielsa is a detail-oriented manager who is admired by some of the giants of the game, including Pep Guardiola of Manchester City.

He’s also had a combustible time in his last few settings, including leaving Marseille after one game of his sophomore campaign and skipping out on Lazio before coaching a match. He also spent a half-season at Lille before being suspended and ultimately fired.

Leeds grab 1-0 win at Derby in promotion playoffs

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Leeds United spent the vast majority of the 2018-19 season occupying one of the top two places in the EFL Championship, only to fall out of the automatic promotion spots at the tail end of the season.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines for Championship Sunday ]

If this season’s promotion playoffs are just, they’ll be the third club — joining champions Norwich City and runners-up Sheffield United — in the Premier League come August. The problem with that line of thinking is as follows: the Championship’s promotion playoffs have historically been anything but just.

Saturday was a mightily strong start for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, though, as the third-place Whites secured a 1-0 victory away to Frank Lampard‘s sixth-place Derby County. While away goals are not used in the EFL’s playoffs, it’s still a firm advantage ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal second leg back at Elland Road.

[ MORE: Salford City promoted to the Football League ]

Kemar Roofe bagged the first leg’s only goal, in the 55th minute, set up by a stunner curler of a pass from former New York City FC (and Manchester City loanee) Jack Harrison.

Championship playoff preview: Derby, Leeds, Aston Villa, West Brom

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The Championship playoffs get going this weekend with Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, and Derby County going at it with a spot in the Premier League on the line.

[ PREVIEW: Brighton v. Man City | Liverpool v. Wolves ]

Last year, Fulham finished third just two points behind a guaranteed promotion spot, but managed to earn a place in the top flight via the playoffs. The year before that, Huddersfield Town tasted playoff glory after finishing fifth in the Championship table to earn its first-ever trip to the Premier League.

Aston Villa v. West Bromwich Albion

Villa Park is begging for a return to the Premier League. After the storied club was stunningly relegated three seasons ago for the first time since 1987, it’s been a long, hard road to this point. They finished a disappointing 13th the first time around as hopes of going straight back up vanished, and a fourth place finish last season saw them reach the playoffs but Fulham was last year’s team of destiny and won a slim 1-0 victory over Villa in the final, so the fans have been through this ringer before.

West Brom, meanwhile, is another recent Premier League mainstay looking to get back to the promised land where they’d been for eight straight seasons before last year’s relegation. West Brom has been promoted three since the turn of the millennium, but all came via automatic promotion – both of which defender Chris Brunt were with the club for – while both playoff journeys over that span ended in disappointment.

Aston Villa will have leading scorer Tammy Abraham back from a hamstring injury, a major boost as they look for a trip back to the top flight. The hosts are in great form – an important feature for any playoff team – as they were seven points off the playoff spots in 10th back in mid-February, but rattled off 10 straight wins beginning in early March, and while they’ve slipped in the last two league matches, there is far more riding on this weekend’s tilt.

Derby County v. Leeds United

The top seed in the playoffs gets going first as Leeds United looks for its way back to the top flight for the first time since relegation in 2004. Derby County, meanwhile, hasn’t been back since its disastrous 2007/08 campaign that set the record low for a point haul in a Premier League season.

Still, this matchup has more teeth than just a chance to reach Wembley – it’s the first time these two teams will meet since the Spygate mayhem that marred their January matchup. Frank Lampard will now look for revenge over Marcelo Bielsa who admitted to spying on Derby training before the weekend match, with the former Chelsea midfielder also hoping to turn around the results of the regular season, where Derby was beaten by Leeds twice during the regular season.

Leeds, meanwhile, had aspirations of automatic promotion, but a poor finish to the season saw them fall out of a top-two position with just three wins in their last nine league matches, and more specifically no wins in the final four, with three losses in that span. Bielsa will need to pick the team up, known for his high-intensity managerial style that could be wearing the team out, as the playoff takes no prisoners and bad recent form can be deadly.

Derby County will have plenty of experience at this level, although to this point with nothing to show for it. The club has earned a playoff spot in four of the last six seasons, but have only made it to Wembley once, falling to Queens Park Rangers in the in the 2014 playoff final.