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Professional soccer

Cardiff backs player over lineup leak allegations

Cardiff backs midfielder Aron Gunnarsson, denying he's linked to lineup leak allegations
The Associated Press

CARDIFF, Wales - Cardiff midfielder Aron Gunnarsson has been backed by the south Wales club after being linked to an alleged leak of team information to a rival.

Cardiff has lodged a complaint with the English Premier League, claiming Crystal Palace obtained its lineup before their match this month. Relegation-threatened Cardiff wants the 3-0 loss overturned.

Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

MLS growing again, announces Atlanta expansion team for 2017 owned by Falcons' Arthur Blank
Paul Newberry, The Associated Press

ATLANTA - Arthur Blank donned traditional soccer garb to mark his newest venture — an MLS team for Atlanta.

"I love this one," Blank said, looking down at the red, black and gold scarf draped over his dark suit. "I haven't taken it off since it was given to me. I may not sleep in it tonight, but I may. I haven't decided yet."

Major League Soccer announced its latest team Wednesday, an expansion team for Atlanta that will begin play in 2017 at the city's new retractable roof stadium.

Aston Villa suspends assistant manager, official

Aston Villa suspends assistant manager, head of football operations amid fight to stay in EPL
The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, England - Aston Villa has suspended the assistant manager and a key off-field official as the club fights to stay in the English Premier League.

The sudden announcement on Tuesday comes with Villa just four points above the relegation zone with five games remaining.

The central England club says Ian Culverhouse, assistant to manager Paul Lambert, and Gary Karsa, the head of football operations, have been suspended pending an internal investigation. Further details were not provided.

Vietnam police probe soccer match-fixing

Vietnam police probe soccer match-fixing after players admit to betting
The Associated Press

HANOI, Vietnam - Vietnamese police are investigating an alleged match-fixing incident involving 11 professional soccer players.

Hoang Manh Truong, the owner of the top-flight V-League side the Vissai Ninh Binh, said Monday the players had admitted to police they conspired to fix the result of an Asian Football Confederation Cup match against Malaysian club Kelantan last month after placing bets with a bookmaker.

He said police are widening their investigation into other domestic and international matches played by his club.

Liverpool, Atletico continue sparkling form

Liverpool takes charge of Premier League, Atletico Madrid 3 points clear in Spain
The Associated Press

LIVERPOOL, England - There could be unlikely league winners in England and Spain this season, with Liverpool and Atletico Madrid keeping up their good form with wins on Sunday.

Liverpool is two points clear of Chelsea in the Premier League after a 3-2 victory over third-place Manchester City, while Atletico leads La Liga by three points from Real Madrid following a 2-1 win at Getafe.

Here is a look at the action across Europe's main leagues:

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ENGLAND

Liverpool in charge of Premier League title race

Liverpool takes charge of Premier League title race after beating Man City; Chelsea also wins
Steve Douglas, The Associated Press

LIVERPOOL, England - Liverpool took command of the captivating Premier League title race by beating Manchester City 3-2 in a match of wide-ranging emotions at Anfield, although the destiny of the trophy is also in Chelsea's hands after its win at Swansea on Sunday.

Robbie Keane lifts Galaxy past Whitecaps, 1-0

Robbie Keane scores early in 2nd half, Galaxy beat Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0
Joseph D'Hippolito, The Canadian Press

CARSON, Calif. - A momentary lapse in focus Saturday night proved costly for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

As a result, Robbie Keane scored in the 47th minute to give the Los Angeles Galaxy a 1-0 victory over Vancouver, stretching the Whitecaps' losing streak at Stub Hub Center to five games.

Since joining Major League Soccer in 2011, Vancouver has not won a game on the road against L.A.

"In two seconds or five seconds, we lost the game," Vancouver midfielder Gershon Koffe said.

Barcelona loses again; Arsenal into FA Cup final

Barcelona loses 2nd match this season to drop to 3rd in Spain; Arsenal into FA Cup final
The Associated Press

LONDON - Barcelona isn't used to such demoralizing weeks. After being eliminated from the Champions League on Wednesday, the Catalan giant made a miserable return to Spanish league action, losing 1-0 at Granada on Saturday and dropping to third place.

It also looked like a bleak day for Arsenal until Arsene Wenger's side scraped into the FA Cup final by beating second-tier club Wigan in a penalty shootout.

Here's a look at the action from the leading leagues in Europe:

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25 years on, English football recalls Hillsborough

96 seats empty at Wembley as English football remembers Hillsborough victims 25 years on
Rob Harris, The Associated Press

LONDON - By the Wembley pitch, 96 seats remained empty on Saturday. Just a Liverpool scarf draped over each of them: a powerful tribute to the 96 Liverpool fans who went to an FA Cup semifinal 25 years earlier but never returned home.

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