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Man City in narrow FA escape, Arsenal crash out

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Manchester City received a huge FA Cup scare from fourth-tier Cheltenham before a late blitz gave them a 3-1 win on Saturday after Southampton dumped holders Arsenal out of the competition.

Six-time winners City were minutes away from exiting at the fourth-round stage before goals from Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres broke the hearts of the brave League Two side.

City boss Pep Guardiola made 10 changes for the trip to the southwest of England but his side was still packed with internationals.

The home team — 72 places below City in the football pyramid — produced a stirring defensive display but also sporadically threatened at the other end of the pitch.

Jesus hit the post shortly after the restart as City upped the tempo following a goalless first half but it was the home team who broke the deadlock.

The visitors failed to deal with the outstanding Ben Tozer’s long throw and Alfie May fired in from close range just before the hour mark.

Guardiola threw on Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Cancelo in a desperate bid to find a way back into the game and was rewarded in the 81st minute when Foden volleyed in Cancelo’s cross.

Three minutes later Jesus made amends for his earlier miss and Torres made it 3-1 with the final kick of the game, turning in Gundogan’s low cross.

“We came here with humility and had the quality to make the difference,” said Guardiola.

“They used their quality in the box, they are taller and better than us there and we showed clips on how to solve it. It is difficult to control that.”

The Catalan had warm words for Foden, who is the club’s top-scorer in all competitions this season.

“Phil Foden is in a great moment and with great confidence,” he added. “He is clinical in front of goal.”

Cheltenham boss Michael Duff said he was “super proud” of his players, bemoaning the fact the match had to be played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a shame because (with fans) the place would’ve been bouncing,” he said. “Would that have seen us through in the last 10 minutes? I’m not so sure — but the key is to enjoy it.”

Earlier, Arsenal, who have won the competition a record 14 times, went down 1-0 at Southampton courtesy of a Gabriel own goal.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made seven changes from his team’s 3-0 league win against Newcastle on Monday, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and midfielder Emile Smith Rowe both absent.

Southampton, FA Cup winners in 1976, earned a well-deserved lead in the 24th minute when Kyle Walker-Peters’ ball across the six-yard area was inadvertently turned in by Gabriel.

The visitors went close to an equaliser through Eddie Nketiah’s deflected shot but were forced to leave empty-handed.

“We had a dream to do it again like last year (win the FA Cup) and the dream today is over,” said Arteta.

“I am as well disappointed with the way we conceded the goal in an area where we know we shouldn’t be doing that. At the same time I cannot fault the effort of the players.”

West Ham, who will face either Manchester or Liverpool in the next round, crushed third-tier Doncaster 4-0 despite multiple changes from manager David Moyes while fellow Premier League sides Brighton and Sheffield United also progressed.

Pablo Fornals gave impressive West Ham an early lead at home to Doncaster as they dominated the League One side from the kick-off.

Andriy Yarmolenko doubled the lead before a second-half own goal from Andy Butler and a late strike from debutant Oladapo Afolayan.

Goals from Yves Bissouma and Steven Alzate were enough to seal a 2-1 win for Brighton against League One Blackpool.

Chris Basham and Billy Sharp scored for Premier League strugglers Sheffield United against League One opponents Plymouth.

Elsewhere, Swansea thumped fellow Championship side Nottingham Forest 5-1, while Bristol City beat Millwall 3-0. Barnsley beat Championship leaders Norwich 1-0.

On Sunday, Premier League leaders Manchester United face Liverpool in the tie of the round, while Chelsea host Luton.

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Iga Swiatek humiliates Pliskova to lift Rome Masters title

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Polish teenage star Iga Swiatek produced the best tennis of her short career to thrash Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-0 to win the Rome WTA 1000 title on Sunday.

The match lasted just 46 minutes.

Swiatek dropped just 13 points in total – four in the first set and nine in the second, to record the double bagel.

She faced only four game points against her opponent as she claimed the most one-sided victory in the history of the event, since 1983.

This was when Andrea Temesvari defeated Bonnie Gadusek 6-1 6-0.

The French Open champion last year will climb five spots to No 10 in the rankings on Monday after sealing her third WTA title.

After winning the championship, Iga posted this on Twitter:

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Iheanacho, Ndidi make history as Leicester win first FA Cup title

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Two Super Eagles stars, Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi, have won their first FA Cup title with Leicester City.
The Foxes’ long wait for an FA Cup trophy came to an end on Saturday after beating Chelsea 1-0 at the Wembley Stadium.
Chelsea, beaten in last year’s final by Arsenal, dominated the first half, but could not replicate the performance in the second stanza as Leicester comfortably controlled the half.
The intensity of the Foxes paid off in the 63rd minute when a screamer by Youri Tielemans proved unstoppable for Chelsea’s goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Ben Chilwell, a former Leicester player, gave the Foxes a momentary scare as he battered in the ball following a goalmouth scramble in the 89th minute — but the video assistant referee (VAR) ruled the goal offside.
No club has appeared in more FA Cup finals without lifting the trophy than Leicester, who have emerged losers four times.
Having broken their duck in their fifth attempt, Rodgers has now added a major English trophy to his resume, one which has been missing from his CV.
He is the first manager to have won the English and Scottish FA Cup since Sir Alex Ferguson (four Scottish FA Cup titles with Aberdeen and five English FA Cup titles with Manchester United).
Rodgers won the Scottish FA Cup with Celtic in 2017 and 2018.
Iheanacho and Ndidi have now joined Daniel Amokachi, Celestine Babayaro, Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka, John Mikel Obi, Alex Iwobi, and Victor Moses on the list of Nigerian players who have lifted the English FA Cup trophy.

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Dele Alli spotted kissing Guardiola’s daughter

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Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli and the daughter of Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, Maria, have been reportedly seen kissing in public.
An image has surfaced which shows Dele with his arms wrapped around a woman and leaning in for an intimate moment, with the other person in the photo reported to be Maria.
Apparently, neither of the two had a problem in publicly displaying their mutual affection, with The Sun claiming that they shared a kiss in a popular London night spot.

Dele Alli, aged 25, is said to have approached Maria, 20, at the bar before sharing a lengthy discussion that led to an intimate moment between the pair.
The Tottenham and England players has recently split up with 23-year-old model Ruby Mae after a lengthy relationship.
Mae ended her relationship with Dele after growing weary of his behaviour, which included his endless hours of playing Fortnite.
Maria, for her part, is alleged to have told her close circle that the pair are “just friends” and nothing more.

 

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