Watch Lukas Podolski, David Villa and Andres Iniesta preview Vissel Kobe v LAFC

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The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) and Japanese club Vissel Kobe will face off at Banc of California Stadium on Thursday, January 31 at 19:00 PT as part of the Japanese club’s USA Tour 2019.

Ahead of next week’s match, Vissel Kobe held an introductory press conference on Friday at the Hilton Costa Mesa Hotel in Orange County.

Participants included head coach Juan Manuel Lillo and world football legends Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Lucas Podolski.

The club is scheduled to train at the Great Park Soccer Complex in Irvine.










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FA Cup round-up as Man City cruise and Everton are hit by late Millwall show

David Cooper 27/01/2019
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Man City have lost four of their last nine league games.

Manchester City maintained their interest in four competitions by easing into the FA Cup fifth round with a commanding 5-0 win over Burnley.

Pep Guardiola’s side won at a canter at the Etihad Stadium with Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne strikes, a Sergio Aguero penalty and a Kevin Long own goal.

Elsewhere, Murray Wallace fired Millwall to a 3-2 FA Cup fourth-round victory over Everton.

Richarlison’s opener was quickly cancelled out by Lee Gregory’s neat header.

Substitute Cenk Tosun slotted his third goal of the season to push the Toffees into a second-half lead. But Jake Cooper barged his way to another rapid Millwall equaliser.

Everton were left to rue another lacklustre performance when Wallace sent Millwall storming into the fifth round.

Meanwhile, Andre Gray and Isaac Success fired Watford into the fifth round at the expense of Newcastle.

Gray’s 62nd-minute strike and a late second from Success were enough to settle a forgettable tie 2-0.

Meanwhile, Matt Doherty’s last-gasp header rescued Wolves after they hit back from 2-0 down to force an FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury.

The defender struck in the second minute of stoppage time to earn a 2-2 draw and break the hosts’ hearts in Shropshire.

Brighton face an unwanted FA Cup fourth-round replay after failing to break down West Brom in a goalless draw at the Amex Stadium.

The Seagulls struck the post through Dale Stephens but were unable to capitalise on their 24 attempts at goal.

Nahki Wells rescued QPR from elimination at the hands of Portsmouth as the Championship side came from behind to draw 1-1 at a sold-out Fratton Park.

Pompey took the lead in the 63rd minute when Rangers defender Joel Lynch sliced a Lee Brown cross into his own net.

But Wells ensured the tie went to a replay when he crashed home from close range 11 minutes later.

Martyn Waghorn broke Accrington hearts as Frank Lampard saw his Derby side sneak through a tricky fourth-round assignment.

Derby rode their luck and eventually edged through. Waghorn’s 78th-minute effort proved enough, with Kelle Roos denying a late Kee free-kick after Jayden Bogle earned a straight red card for fouling Paul Smyth.

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Fun has returned to Chelsea, says Maurizio Sarri

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Sarri is demanding more from his Chelsea stars.

Maurizio Sarri says the fun returned for Chelsea after a penalty shootout success over rivals Tottenham saw the Blues progress to the Carabao Cup final with Manchester City.

Sarri criticised his players’ poor performance at Arsenal and singled out Eden Hazard as “not a leader” on the eve of the semi-final second leg with Spurs at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea overturned a first-leg deficit as N’Golo Kante and Hazard struck in the first half, but Fernando Llorente’s header forced penalties, with the tie ending 2-2 on aggregate.

Eric Dier fired over and Lucas Moura’s effort was saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga, before David Luiz kept his composure in a 4-2 shootout success as the Chelsea players answered Sarri’s public rebuke with a fine performance.

“I think the last three, four matches we had a problem,” Sarri said.

“The problem was the motivation. The other problem was the players stopped to have fun on the pitch.

“Now, with the performance, with the result, we can find again enthusiasm. So it’s very important.”

Hazard shrugged off Sarri’s pre-match critique, which saw his team ethic questioned.

Hazard told Sky Sports: “To be fair I don’t care – I just play my football and it doesn’t matter what the manager says.

“I’m always focused on this team and I just want to do my best for this team, and today I did.”

Sarri enjoyed the performance of Hazard, who relished being freed from the ‘false nine’ role he had occupied of late.

“I had fun, for 65 minutes with Hazard,” Sarri said.

The Italian downplayed the impact of Hazard’s positional switch.

He added: “I think the position is not a big problem. I think that in this match we played with another mind, with another motivation, with another determination and so I think these qualities are more important than the position.”

The 60-year-old again denied attacking his players – “I only said we had a problem,” he said – and insisted he would have been happy even if Chelsea had not advanced to the February 24 final at Wembley.

“I was really very happy with the performance before the penalties,” he said.

“In that moment for me the result was not important.”

Chelsea, with new signing Gonzalo Higuain watching on, were transformed from the side which lost at Arsenal.

Luiz told Sky Sports: “The reaction of this team and the spirit of this team – I’m so happy because of that.”

Sarri now wants consistency, adding: “The reaction was really very good, but I think we need to have motivation with continuity now.”

Sarri has the chance of a first trophy of his managerial career, but he said Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie with Sheffield Wednesday and the subsequent Premier League clash at Bournemouth were more important, for now.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino’s wait for silverware goes on.

Pochettino, though, took pride in a performance which came in the absence of injured duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli, and Son Heung-min, who is on international duty with South Korea.

“I told the players that the way we came back after the first half, it was one of the best games we played,” Pochettino said.

“We enjoyed the game, scored and had a few chances more. With all the circumstances, to get to penalties… all I can say is I’m proud of my players.”

Dier scored the decisive penalty for England in the World Cup last-16 shootout with Colombia.

Pochettino said: “Anyone can miss who takes the responsibility to shoot. For me, it’s not a problem.”

Left-back Ben Davies went off with a minor groin problem, Pochettino said.

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