Baku, May 30 (AP/UNB) — For Eden Hazard, it was the perfect goodbye. For Petr Cech, it was a painful way to retire.
Hazard scored twice past his former teammate as Chelsea sliced through Arsenal in the second half of the Europa League final on Wednesday, netting four times in the space of 23 minutes to win 4-1 in a London derby played far from home.
The Belgian then confirmed that he is likely to leave the club this summer, amid widespread speculation about a move to Real Madrid.
"I think it is a goodbye but in football you never know," Hazard told British broadcaster BT Sport . "My dream was to play in the Premier League. I did this for seven years for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Maybe it's time for a new challenge."
After a drab first half, Chelsea took control in the 49th minute when Olivier Giroud met Emerson's pass with a diving header into the net. It was the French striker's 11th goal in 14 games in the Europa League this season, but he barely celebrated against his old team, kneeling with palms raised as his teammates mobbed him.
"These two clubs changed my life," Giroud said. "They gave me the opportunity to play in the Premier League. I didn't want to celebrate against Arsenal but I am so proud to win this trophy with Chelsea."
Pedro doubled the lead when he found space in the penalty area in the 60th to stroke in a cut-back pass from Hazard. It was soon 3-0 when Hazard converted a penalty after Ainsley Maitland-Niles — the only English player to start the all-English final — shoved Giroud in the box.
Two minutes after coming off the bench, Alex Iwobi punished Chelsea for a poor clearance with a volley from the edge of the box to make it 3-1 in the 69th.
But Arsenal's hopes of a comeback were extinguished three minutes later when Hazard and Giroud teamed up again. Hazard first passed the ball to Giroud and then knocked his flicked cross past Cech, the veteran goalkeeper who was playing his final game before retiring.
Facing the team where he spent his best years — and is expected to return this summer in an administrative role — Cech made good saves from Hazard and substitute Willian to stop Chelsea increasing its lead yet further.
"It's disappointing to have lost the final and especially now. It was the last game of my career and you want to finish on a high, but I had an amazing career," Cech he said.
Ending the season empty-handed was unfair to Arsenal, which is improving fast, Cech added.
It was the first trophy for Maurizio Sarri, the Chelsea coach, who did not rule out leaving the club Tuesday when asked about the vacant Juventus coach job, after falling out with sections of the club's fans.
After the final, he said he wanted to meet with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich — who missed most games this season due to British visa issues but was in Baku for the final — or director Marina Granovskaia.
"The season finished one hour ago so tomorrow I will begin to speak with my club, to the owner, to the director, or Marina, I don't know," Sarri said. "We need to know what the club can do for me, what I can do better for the club. I need to speak but I also think the club needs to speak with me."
In the first Europa League final to have the video referee system, referee Gianluca Rocchi opted against using any reviews. That aggrieved Arsenal's players and fans early on when Alexandre Lacazette collided with Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga but no penalty was given.
Arsenal now faces a third consecutive season outside the Champions League, which could hurt its ability to attract transfer targets in the summer.
"We need the same players, the same idea, maybe also to add some new players," said coach Unai Emery, a three-time Europa League winner with Sevilla. "But it's the same way we've done this year, to do one step more. I think next year a lot of players who played the first time this year with us can be better."
With several thousand empty seats and only around 6,000 fans from England, the atmosphere in the stadium struggled to match that of a typical European final.
Arsenal and Chelsea fans had complained of the high cost of travel from Western Europe, and even though locals and fans from elsewhere in the world made up the numbers, the atmosphere was subdued, even flat. Livening up the Baku Olympic Stadium will be a tricky task for Azerbaijani's organizers for the four European Championships game it hosts next year.
For English soccer, this was just the curtain-raiser in a week showing the Premier League's dominance. On Saturday, Tottenham and Liverpool contest the Champions League final in Madrid.
Montreal, May 30 (AP/UNB) — Omar Browne and Saphir Taider scored in the Montreal Impact's 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night.
Evan Bush made three saves to help the Impact (7-6-3) end win for the first time in four games.
Sam Johnson scored a late goal for Real Salt Lake (6-7-1). The Utah club had won three straight.
Browne opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time for Montreal's first goal at Saputo Stadium in 232 minutes. Taider made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 68th minute after former Impact defender Donny Toia knocked down Sagna in the 18-yard-box.
Johnson scored in the 84th minute.
Dhaka, May 30 (AP/UNB) -Josef Martínez scored two goals in second-half stoppage time to help Atlanta United beat Minnesota United 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Atlanta (7-5-2) ended a two-game losing streak with its sixth win in eight games. Minnesota (6-5-3) had its two-game winning streak snapped.
Martínez has eight goals this season, six in the last seven games. He beat two defenders on a breakaway in the first minute of stoppage time and capitalized on an errant defensive header to win a one-on-one opportunity with goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute on Franco Escobar's first goal of the season.
Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan had a wild multi-save sequence in the 74th minute. He finished with his seventh shutout of the season.
IMPACT 2, REAL SALT LAKE 1
MONTREAL (AP) — Omar Browne and Saphir Taider scored in Montreal's victory over Real Salt Lake.
Evan Bush made three saves to help the Impact (7-6-3) end win for the first time in four games.
Sam Johnson scored a late goal for Real Salt Lake (6-7-1).
Dhaka, May 29 (UNB) - After a 1-1 draw in their first friendly match against Thai Club Air Force United FC on Tuesday, Bangladesh team made a good gym, swimming and recovery session in Bangkok on Wednesday.
In the first preparatory match on Tuesday, Biplu Ahmed netted the lone goal for Bangladesh in the very 4th minute while Chutidet Maunchaingam scored equalizer for Air Force United FC of Thailand in the 16th minute.
Bangladeshi booters made a gym session at the Hotel Asia Airport Bangkok for about 45 minutes in the morning and took part in swimming, exercise and recovery sessions in the afternoon.
Every body of the team was physically and mentally in sound conditions, but the local weather was cloudy and lightly cool on the day, said Bangladesh Football Federation.
Bangladesh Team will make their Training at Air Force ground Stadium in Bangkok on Thursday morning.
Bangladesh National Football team went to Thailand on a 10-day preparation camp ahead of the joint qualifications for FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 against Laos, will play their 2nd and last practice match against another Thai Club BG Pathum United FC at Leo Stadium in Thani on Saturday (June 1).
After the training camp in Bangkok, Bangladesh will fly to Laos to play their round-1 away match for joint qualifications against Laos on June 6 at 5:30 pm (BST) at the National Stadium in Vientiane and will play their home match against the same team on June 11 at 7 pm at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
The team will return home from Laos on June 7.
Members of Bangladesh Football team are: Tutul Hosain Badsha, Mamunul Islam Mamun, Sohel Rana, Ashraful Islam Rana, Anisur Rahman Zico, Yeasin Khan, Bishwanath Ghosh, Jamal Bhuyan (C), Rahmat Mia, Mohammad Ibrahim, Biplu Ahmed, Masuk Mia Jony, Sushanto Tripura, Md Rabiul Hasan, Nabib Newaj Ziban, Tawhidul Alam Sabuz, Riyadul Hasan, Matin Miah and Md Mazharul Islam.
May 29 (AP/UNB) - Neymar had to cut short his first full training session with Brazil ahead of the Copa America after the striker appeared to feel pain in his left knee.
The 27-year-old Neymar left the field in the Granja Comary training ground outside Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday alongside doctor Rodrigo Lasmar. Brazil's football confederation said Neymar had felt "discomfort" in his knee and was being evaluated by the medical staff.
It was another setback for Brazil's biggest star, who has only played four matches with Paris Saint-Germain since he returned from a broken metatarsal in his right foot on April 27.
That was the same injury that slowed his runs and dribbles at last year's World Cup.
Brazil fitness coach Fabio Mahseredjian had said before the training session that Neymar should be fully recovered after a pair of friendlies against Qatar and Honduras in early June.
But on Tuesday, which marked Brazil's first full training since players started gathering for the South American championship, Neymar had to leave and appeared to be in pain after taking a shot near the end of the session.
The Copa America starts on June 14 with host Brazil facing Bolivia in the opening match at Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo. Venezuela and Peru are also in the same group.
Brazil's coaching staff was also optimistic about Neymar's recovery for the World Cup in Russia, but the striker instead made news for his splashy dives rather than his once frequent dashing performances.
Neymar is also heading into the Copa America, a tournament Brazil hasn't won since 2007, with a disciplinary problem.
Besides being been banned for three matches in France after an altercation with a fan following the French Cup final, Neymar also publicly criticized some of his teammates — a move that Brazil coach Tite doesn't like.
In response, Neymar has been replaced as captain by veteran defender Dani Alves. The Brazilian soccer confederation said Tite made the decision on Saturday after a one-on-one conversation with Neymar.
Cafu, a former Brazil captain who led the team to the World Cup title in 2002, said Neymar was not showing enough respect for the armband.
"Being captain is a big responsibility," Cafu said. "It is more than being the team's star."
Adoration at home has also suffered because of political reasons.
Neymar recently showed support for far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has made a series of racist, misogynistic and anti-gay statements.
Weeks later, as Neymar prepared for his return after the injury, Brazilian media reported his father had met Bolsonaro and Economy Minister Paulo Guedes to discuss the player's tax problems.
The Copa America will mark Neymar's fourth tournament played at home. He won the 2013 Confederations Cup and the gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, but his team was eliminated in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup. Neymar was injured and didn't play in the 7-1 loss to Germans.