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Newcastle United 0-0 West Ham United: Stalemate at St. James’ Park (Video)

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Newcastle and West Ham United played out a hard fought 0-0 draw at St. James’ Park.

But the game lacked real quality in the penalty box, with only one shot on target between both teams as defensive solidity ruled in the North East.

The best chance of the game fell to Newcastle’s Yoan Gouffran in stoppage time but he somehow blazed over from five yards out following Sammy Ameobi’s hopeful cross-shot that hit the inside of the post.

The draw will sit much better with former Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce, as his West Ham side were comfortable throughout despite not creating many clear cut chances.

As for Alan Pardew, he will be disappointed that his team didn’t make the most of long periods of pressure, and he again left French midfielder Yohan Cabaye out of the squad as Arsenal ready a second bid for the Magpies main man.

The game started off slowly, with the long ball approach of each team cancelling each other out. However Papiss Demba Cisse was working the flanks well and created plenty of problems for West Ham’s full backs.

source: Reuters
Gouffran misses from four yards out in stoppage time.

It took until the 36th minute to get the first real chance of the game, which fell to West Ham. Winston Reid flicked his shot just over following a delicious in-swinging cross to the back post. Three minutes later, Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko headed over in the box under pressure, as set pieces seemed to be the best way either team would score.

However in the 41st minute a great run down the left from Matt Jarvis saw him cross towards Stewart Downing who headed down and across goal but really should have buried the Hammers best chance of the first half.

After the break the Hammers once again had a great chance when Downing put in a tempting cross from the right and former Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan arrived by missed a terrific chance after 59 minutes.

But just as West Ham began to build pressure, Newcastle hit back and put the Hammers on the back foot for the final knockings in front of a partisan home crowd at St. James’ Park.

Yet there wasn’t too much to shout about until the three minutes of stoppage time arrived.

In the 90th minute, West Ham thoguht they’d snatched a late win, as Modibo Maiga tapped in from five yards out following a blocked shot. But the Mali international was in an offside position, much to the relief of Newcastle’s fans.

Then the Magpies went straight down the other end and almost grabbed a last-gasp winner in dramatic circumstances.

In the 92nd minute winger Sammy Ameobi cut in from the left and over hit his cross that looped over West ham ‘keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen before rebounding off the post and straight to Yoan Gouffran.

However the Frenchman somehow put the ball over from four yards out, and the game finished 0-0.

Lineups

Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini (c), Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita, Marveaux (Sammy Ameobi 66); Shola Ameobi, Cissé (Gouffran 72) Subs not used: Elliot, Bigirimana, Dummett, Gosling, Vuckic.

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O’Brien, Collins, Reid, Noble, Diame (Morrison 75), Nolan, Downing (Cole 64), Jarvis, Maiga. Subs not used: Adrian, Rat, Tomkins, Diarra, Vaz Te.

UEFA Champions League preview: Spurs, Foxes, and BVB hosts Real

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 02:  Gareth Bale of Real Madrid takes on Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Borussia Dortmund during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 2, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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Leicester City gets a home Champions League match, Spurs head to Russia, and two of the world’s best attacks meet in Germany; Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League slate is pretty tasty.

[ MORE: Allardyce on England hot seat? ]

An out-of-form Cristiano Ronaldo has Real Madrid in a mini-slump, and a trip to Borussia Dortmund isn’t exactly the antidote now, is it? Normally we wouldn’t dial that up, but Ronaldo has a knack for shining brightly when folks question him. We’ve seen this one before. Expect a highlight-reel night from CR7, but perhaps the same from high-flying BVB.

Spurs are buoyed by the news that Harry Kane‘s injury may not be as serious as first thought, but could be sunk back into the depths with a loss at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday. Spurs fell to Monaco, while CSKA scooped up a solid draw at Bayer Leverkusen.

Leicester City is looking to stay perfect after an impressive UCL debut at Club Brugge, and faces a big test in Portugal. Porto does quite well in this tournament almost annually, and won’t be scared by a trip to King Power Stadium. El Tri trio Miguel Layun, Jesus Corona, and captain Hector Herrera join familiar names Iker Casillas, Yacine Brahimi, and Maxi Pereira on the Porto roster.

Tuesday’s UCL matches

all matches at 2:45 p.m. ET

Sporting Lisbon vs. Legia Warsaw
Sevilla vs. Lyon
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Juventus
CSKA Moscow vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid
Monaco vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Copenhagen vs. Club Brugge
Leicester City vs. Porto

Kei Kamara “shocked” at boos in return to Columbus

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13:  Soccer player Kei Kamara attends the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
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Kei Kamara couldn’t gather his emotions after his return to Columbus as a member of the New England Revolution.

The star striker netted 27 times in 41 appearances for the Crew before a locker room falling-out found him traded to New England.

[ MORE: Harry Kane to return sooner? ]

The reigning MLS joint-top scorer and a member of the 2015 Best XI, Kamara was back at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday. The Revs fell 2-0, thanks to Columbus’  new Kamara, and Kei was booed.

There was bitter, smarmy Kei (from MLSSoccer.com):

“I was shocked,” he said after the match. “Come on. You make so many sacrifices for an organization to really boost it. But hey, if I can bring some life to the stadium for once in the season, why not?”

And there was also sad, pensive Kei:

“It wasn’t something I asked for, to move,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It’s been tough. It’s been really, really tough. But after today, I got the final answer to everything. It’s time to move on.”

“It’s time to move on. I’m happy where I am now and I wish [Columbus] the best of luck.”

I’ve rarely understood the booing of former players unless that player grievously harmed your club on the way out the door. Here in Buffalo, I’ve seen even the least-celebrated of ex-Sabres get the boo treatment, though, so it’s not uncommon.

Winter on Allardyce corruption allegations: “Touch and go whether he survives”

England international soccer team manager Sam Allardyce, centre, his assistant Sammy Lee, left, and FA chief executive Martin Glenn, right, applaud during the launch event of UEFA Euro 2020 and the unveiling of the tournament brand and the London host city logo at City Hall, in London, Wednesday Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
AP Photo/Tim Ireland
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As details continue to unfold from the Telegraph’s sting operation that may’ve caught England manager Sam Allardyce in its grasp, the question of whether the ex-Sunderland man could be fired after just months on the job is moving to the forefront.

Allardyce, 61, is on tape talking about third party ownership of players — a big no-no for FIFA — and the words have some alleging that he is giving advice on how to buck the system.

[ MORE: Watford’s Deeney rages after loss]

Given that the manager has only overseen one match for the Three Lions and had been accused, but never charged, with accepting bribes from agents in 2006, some think he may not survive the issue.

Well-connected The Times of London writer Henry Winter says it’s possible.

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp pulls the rug out from armchair tacticians

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp spent time on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football set for Burnley’s 2-0 win over Watford, and proffered some fascinating comments.

The ones that had us quite delighted were some dismissive comments aimed at people who like talk about, even lament, the Reds’ “false nines” — boiled to its bone, an advanced attacking mid that assumes the striker’s role.

[ MORE: Allardyce in hot water ]

After all, most times a 4-5-1 and a 4-1-4-1 are essentially the same thing (and perhaps dictated more by how a match plays out). And when Liverpool is using Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, or Divock Origi, it’s the player that matters as much as the formation (USMNT fans can consider how Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey rotated around the top of Jurgen Klinsmann’s formation at the Copa America despite having a traditional given position in the Starting XI).

“To be honest, I don’t think about us having now a false nine or no nine or whatever it is. These players are all responsible for being in the opposition box in all situations there can be. “

Right. If an attack is moving ahead with just one man sitting high, that most advanced attacker is a forward. It doesn’t matter if that attacker has drifted out left on defense, or checked deeper into the formation when the other team has the ball. He’s a striker.

“A lot of people have got different views on it. Where’s the difference between 4-1-4-1 and 4-5-1, I don’t see it really.

“4-3-3, it depends on the situation you are in. For example, if you play a 4-3-3 with real wingers, like Holland played a few years ago, then it is different.”

Presumably, Klopp is speaking of the 4-3-3 employed by Louis Van Gaal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, and Robin Van Persie forced defenses to stretch wide as well as long, and that is a genuine 4-3-3. It’s much different than an average formation graphic showing three players high and three players low. The spacing of the opposition and movement of the ball match demands that!

Tactics and techniques are a lot of fun to discuss and debate, but Klopp reminded us a fact that plays out in almost every match. Most times, when the ball is kicked in anger, it’s “about Jims and Joes, not X’s and O’s” as former University at Buffalo and current Canisius College men’s basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon liked to say.