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Soccer Roundup: Silva double earns title-chasing Man City 2-0 win at Stoke / World Scores

STOKE, England (AP) — For Manchester City, a record-setting season in the English Premier League could yet have the perfect ending.

Beating Stoke 2-0 on Monday restored City’s 16-point lead and increased the possibility that Pep Guardiola’s side could clinch the title by beating fierce rival Manchester United at home in the derby on April 7.

“Everybody in the blue side of Manchester knows it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” City captain Vincent Kompany said, with a smile.

David Silva inspired the latest win for the runaway leaders, scoring in each half by finishing off sumptuous team moves that have been the hallmark of City’s season.

Silva side-footed home a cross from fit-again winger Raheem Sterling to give City a 10th-minute lead against a Stoke team that is next to last in the standings.

City dominated thereafter and Sterling won back possession on halfway to start the move that led to the second goal, a hooked finish by Silva following a pass across the box from Gabriel Jesus.

Silva took his tally of league goals to eight in a season that has been disrupted for the playmaker while he makes regular trips back to his native Spain because his prematurely born son is receiving medical attention.

He was there for much of last week, with Guardiola allowing Silva to miss the second leg of its Champions League last-16 matchup against Basel.

“When I play football, I forget. I forget everything. So it’s good for me to play,” Silva said. “I know in my private life it’s a very hard moment, but my son is fighting. I am very happy because he’s getting stronger and fighting.”

Silva was the star player in another stroll for City against a team it beat 7-2 in October.

“He controlled the tempo perfect,” Guardiola said. “Normally people say he has skills, technical ability, and after that he cannot be an aggressive competitor. But he has both. In the bad moments, he’s there, always controlling the game.”

Sterling was influential on his return to the team after missing five games because of injury, and he should have capped his display with a goal of his own.

Running clean through in the 80th minute, Sterling delayed his attempt to round Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland. He finally did so, but Stoke’s defense recovered by then and managed to dispossess Sterling.

Stoke didn’t threaten City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes once and will resume its bid to escape relegation with a home game against Everton on Saturday.

“It was a free hit,” Butland said, “… but they had too much for us today.”

City is off for some warm-weather training in Abu Dhabi amid a three-week break that arose from its unexpected loss to Wigan in the FA Cup last month.

On its return, City has to beat Everton at Goodison Park to set the stage for a title-clinching derby victory.

“I understand that it is important to our fans to win it against United,” Guardiola said, “but the target is the next game at Everton. After that, if we play like today, sooner or later we will be champions.”

___

MLS RECAP:

Major League Soccer and Liga MX have joined in a long-term partnership that will launch later this year when reigning MLS Cup champion Toronto hosts a team from Mexico’s top league.

The match, dubbed the Campeones Cup, is set for Sept. 19 at BMO Field. The Liga MX opponent will be the winner of the July’s Campeon de Campeones between the Apertura and Clausura champions.

The partnership announced Tuesday will go beyond that single game to include youth competitions, future All-Star games and other events and initiatives.

“We and Liga MX have an opportunity to do something that’s really unprecedented in North America,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “We can work together across borders to create something unique and special that soccer fans both in Mexico and the United States and Canada can benefit from.”

There’s even the possibility of some kind of interleague play in the future, although it’s still being discussed.

Previously, the two leagues came together for the North American SuperLiga, a tournament which started in 2007 and ran through 2010. It was sanctioned by the North and Central American and Caribbean confederation. But it fizzled out as attention went to the CONCAAF Champions League.

In recent years there had been increasing talk of reviving a similar competition. Ever-improving play in MLS has helped spur the speculation.

“We realize that the world is getting global and there are no longer borders in football,” Liga MX President Enrique Bonilla said. “So we started talking about doing something together and being more competitive in football, not just on the pitch.”

The partnership comes as the United States, Canada and Mexico bid to host the 2026 World Cup. Morocco is the only other nation vying for the event. A vote will be held on the competing proposals in June at the FIFA congress in Moscow.

“We’re showing the world that we can do things together, not only a World Cup,” Bonilla said. “If we can work together as leagues, then definitely we can work together to have the best World Cup ever.”

In the United States, MLS competes with Liga MX for television viewers. Garber and Bonilla hope that the collaboration brings new fans to both sides.

“It’s for the good of the game. We have to do the best that we can so that our fans can see the best football in the world. We have to take it one step at a time and this is the first step,” Bonilla said.

The partnership also comes at a time when there is political tension between the United States and Mexico, spurred by new U.S. immigration policies, President Donald Trump’s calls for a border wall and trade negotiations over NAFTA.

“This idea that soccer can be a unifier of different cultures, particularly close neighbors, is such a powerful position for us collectively to be in,” Garber said. “And while we are agnostic to the politics because we’re trying to run our respective leagues, if we can do some things that bring people together, than that’s a powerful position to be in and we’re happy to be in that position.”

___

WORLD SCORES: COURTESY OF LIVESCORE.COM

March 12
FT
Stoke City
Manchester City
FT
Hungerford Town
St.Albans
March 12
FT
Novara
Brescia
FT
Bassano Virtus
Calcio Padova
FT
Alaves
Real Betis
March 12
FT
Werder Bremen
FC Cologne
March 12
Postp.
Luebeck
??
Hamburger SV II
March 12
FT
Lens
Bourg en Bresse Peronnas
FT
Almere City FC
Telstar
FT
FC Dordrecht
RKC Waalwijk
FT
FC Oss
FC Emmen
FT
FC Volendam
MVV Maastricht
FT
Fortuna Sittard
De Graafschap
FT
Helmond Sport
FC Den Bosch
FT
Jong AZ Alkmaar
Go Ahead Eagles
FT
Jong Ajax
FC Eindhoven
FT
Jong FC Utrecht
NEC Nijmegen
FT
Jong PSV
Cambuur
March 12
FT
Chaves
Sporting CP
FT
Belgium U17
01
Sweden U17
FT
Croatia U17
11
Cyprus U17
FT
Switzerland U17
21
Finland U17
FT
Portugal U17
21
Slovakia U17
March 12
FT
FC Koebenhavn
FC Helsingoer
March 12
FT
Kristiansund BK
Vaalerenga
March 12
FT
Djurgaarden
Haecken
March 12
FT
Wattens
Kapfenberger SV
FT
Wiener Neustadt
Hartberg
FT
Aarau
FC Rapperswil-Jona
March 12
Postp.
PAS Giannina
??
Apollon Smirnis
March 12
FT
AE Sparti
AE Karaiskakis
FT
Aris Thessaloniki FC
Ergotelis
March 12
FT
Akhisar Belediye Genclik Ve Spor
Trabzonspor
March 12
FT
Adanaspor
Balikesirspor
FT
Eskisehirspor
Altinordu
FT
Istanbulspor
Ankaragucu
March 12
FT
Bray Wanderers
Sligo Rovers
FT
Cork City
Shamrock Rovers
FT
St. Patrick’s Athletic
Dundalk
FT
Waterford FC
Bohemian FC
FT
Derry City
Limerick
March 12
FT
Finn Harps
Mayo League
FT
Pafos FC
Ermis Aradippou
March 12
FT
Ural
Lokomotiv Moscow
FT
SKA Rostov
Biolog Novokubansk
March 12
FT
Arka Gdynia
Termalica Nieciecza
FT
Dinamo Bucuresti
Gaz Metan Medias
FT
Vereya
Botev Plovdiv
March 12
FT
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Maccabi Petach Tikva
FT
Defensa y Justicia
Belgrano
FT
Union
Temperley
FT
Newells Old Boys
San Martin San Juan
FT
Santamarina
Instituto
FT
Boca Unidos
Aldosivi
FT
Gimnasia Mendoza
Villa Mitre
FT
Royal Pari
Blooming
FT
El Nacional
CSD Macara
FT
Luqueno
Nacional
FT
Mineros De Guayana
Academia Puerto Cabello
FT
Lokomotiv Tashkent
Al-Duhail SC
FT
Al-Wahda
Zob Ahan
FT
Al-Rayyan
Al Hilal
FT
Esteghlal
Al-Ain
March 12
FT
Al-Jaish
14
Al-Ahed
FT
Manama
13
Al Zawraa
March 12
FT
MC Alger
MC Oran
March 12
FT
Al Masry
00
El Entag El Harby
FT
Akwa United
Nasarawa United

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