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Man City compound Watford relegation battle with 4-0 thrashing

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Watford’s hopes of avoiding relegation suffered a double blow on Tuesday when they were thrashed 4-0 at home by Manchester City and then slipped into the Premier League relegation zone after fellow strugglers Aston Villa beat Arsenal in the late game.

City were inspired by Raheem Sterling who struck twice before halftime at Vicarage Road while Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte scored after the break as the visitors racked up their 13th straight win over Watford in all competitions.

The previous two meetings between the sides resulted in an 8-0 home league win for Pep Guardiola’s City side in September and a 6-0 victory in last year’s FA Cup final.

Watford’s only consolation was that the scoreline could have been even worse on Tuesday, although with Villa beating visiting Arsenal 1-0, their fate is no longer in their hands.

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Watford are level on 34 points with Villa but have dropped below them into the relegation zone on goal difference. Second-bottom Bournemouth have 31 points but could still escape.

Watford face Arsenal away in their final game on Sunday when Villa, who have the better goal difference by one, visit West Ham United. Bournemouth travel to Everton knowing they must win and hope the other two lose to have a chance of staying up.

Hayden Mullins, in temporary charge of Watford following the sacking of manager Nigel Pearson on Sunday, watched powerlessly from the touchline as City went through their routines.

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GREAT SIDE

“It was always going to be a tough ask, we knew that. They are a great side with a great manager,” Mullins said.

“City do this to most teams. The minute you come out and give space they take advantage of it.

“Tomorrow we will look at the performance more, put it to bed and start looking at the next game.”

Watford did have an early chance when Will Hughes slashed a shot miles wide, but it was mainly one-way traffic.

Sterling opened the scoring after 30 minutes with a stunning strike. Controlling Kyle Walker’s driven pass instantly, he looked up and smashed a right-foot effort past Ben Foster.

England forward doubled City’s lead when he fooled Hughes into a trip inside the area and although Foster saved his spot-kick, the rebound fell kindly and Sterling touched the ball home for his 19th league goal of the season.

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City, beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, hunted for more goals after the break and Foster performed heroics to deny Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne.

He made another save from Sterling in the 63rd minute only for the ball to fall to Foden who tapped it home.

When Laporte headed in a free-kick shortly afterwards Watford were reeling, but they avoided any further punishment and had a stroke of luck, that could yet prove crucial, when Gabriel Jesus’s late header was ruled out for offside.

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Europa: Sevilla beat Wolves 1-0, to face Man United in semis

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Sevilla midfielder Lucas Ocampos headed a late goal to snatch a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers as they reached the Europa League semi-finals on Tuesday after the English side paid the price for an early penalty miss.

Raul Jimenez saw his hesitant spot-kick easily saved by goalkeeper Bono in the 13th minute of the single-leg tie and Wolves failed to muster a shot on target after that as former Real Madrid and Spain coach Julen Lopetegui’s side took control.

Five-times winners Sevilla, who will face Manchester United in the last four in Cologne on Sunday, enjoyed 73% of possession and won 14 corners to none for Wolves in a one-sided game.

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Wolves, playing in their first European quarter-final for 48 years, appeared to feel the effects of a marathon season which saw them play 59 matches, including 17 in the Europa League starting at home to Crusaders on July 25 last year.

Yet the Midlands team made a promising start with Adama Traore at the centre of things. Having set up an early chance which Raul Jimenez headed straight at Bono, the Spaniard powered into the area and was tripped from behind by Diego Carlos.

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Jimenez, who usually waits for the keeper to move, appeared caught in two minds and his effort was comfortably stopped by Bono with a dive to his left. It was the Mexican’s first penalty miss for Wolves after converting his previous eight efforts.

Sevilla dominated the match after that, passing the ball around in the centre of the pitch, but it was fairly unproductive possession and they created few openings.

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The second half was a similar story with Wolves apparently happy to allow Sevilla to knock the ball around in midfield.

But the Spaniards grew more dangerous towards the end and broke through with two minutes left. Their 13th corner was rolled to Ever Banega and he curled a cross into the area which Ocampos flicked past keeper Rui Patricio.

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Mexico’s third tier club, Coyotes Tlaxcala, ‘court’ Cristiano Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo has been told how “handsome” he would look in the kit of a Mexican third tier side.

Coyotes Tlaxcala made the flirty transfer approach to the Juventus star on Twitter amid rumours over his future.

The team based in the state of Tlaxcala – just east of Mexico City – mocked up a picture of Ronaldo in their red camo style kit accompanied by a witty caption.

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They wrote:

“Did you see how handsome you would look with the Coyotes, my commander @Cristiano Ronaldo?

“But, you strawberries, tell Juventus to answer the phone to us.”

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Barca reject RB Leipzig, Gladbach offers for Ilaix Moriba

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Barcelona have turned down Borussia Monchengladbach and RB Leipzig’s approaches for highly-rated 17-year-old midfielder, Ilaix Moriba.

According to AS Sport, the German outfits wanted to take him on loan, but Barca are not interested in letting him go.

Ilaix Moriba is one of the most promising young people in Europe. Despite being a first-year youth, the midfielder has already established himself in the midfield of Garcia Pimienta’s Barça B and in the U-17 team.

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Sports director Eric Abidal is very confident in the progression of the midfielder and wants him to be the leader of Barça B next season.

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