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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.

Ex-Leicester boss Pearson hired by Derby County

Nigel Pearson, Leicester City FC
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Nigel Pearson lives.

The combustible former manager of Southampton, Hull City and Leicester City will now lead Derby County in the hopes of Premier League promotion.

Derby has been on the edge of promotion to the Premier League for several seasons, but neither Steve McClaren and Darren Wassall could do the trick.

[ MORE: Mourinho confirmed | Speaks more ]

Enter Pearson, 52, who has been hired on a three-year deal. It’s his first stop since a roller coaster ride saw him guide Leicester into the Premier League, only to be fired in the aftermath of some players being involved in a racist sex tape incident on a tour of Thailand.

This was after a bizarre season that saw him put his hands on an opposing player’s throat, call a journalist an ostrich, and ultimately save Leicester from the drop.

From Derby County’s site:

“I am honoured to be named as the Manager of Derby County, which is one of the biggest clubs in the country, a club in excellent shape and one with strong ambitions. It is firmly focused on achieving Premier League football.

“I will give absolutely everything I have to this role and do all I can to bring exciting, entertaining and winning football which our supporters can be proud of.”

At the very least, the Rams will be interesting to watch next season.

Castillo called up to take place of injured Chandler on USMNT roster

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 29:  Edgar Castillo #23 of the United States Men's National Team controls the ball against Guatemala during the FIFA 2018  World Cup qualifier on March 29, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The United States defeated Guatemala 4-0.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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The United States men’s national team has applied to have left back Edgar Castillo take the place of Timmy Chandler on the Copa America Centenario roster.

The Monterrey back played well in the Yanks’ 4-0 win over Guatemala in World Cup qualifying, but was passed over for Chandler and others in the 23-man roster for this summer’s tournament in the United States.

[ MORE: USMNT-Bolivia preview ]

But Chandler has picked up a quadriceps strain and Jurgen Klinsmann will add Castillo in his stead.

Perhaps this is a sign that fate is on the Yanks’ side.

USMNT-Bolivia preview: Yanks look for momentum ahead of Copa America

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 29:  Michael Bradley #4 of the United States Men's National Team controls the ball against Guatemala during the FIFA 2018  World Cup qualifier on March 29, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The United States defeated Guatemala 4-0.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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Momentum is a funny thing. Numbers don’t really back it up, claiming the better team has momentum simply by nature of being better, but many players and coaches swear by it.

And the United States men’s national team might just have a bit of it heading into next week’s Copa America Centenario if it can topple Bolivia on Saturday.

The Yanks played their best half in ages on Tuesday night, eventually getting a deserved winner against Ecuador when Darlington Nagbe rifled in his first national team goal in the 90th minute.

[ COPA AMERICA PREVIEWS: Group A | BC | D ]

All told, the Yanks are 6-1-1 in their last eight, the lone blemish a deplorable loss to Guatemala in World Cup qualifying. That’s kinda the story of the U.S. under Jurgen Klinsmann: pretty good record despite the on-field not always matching the numbers.

Again, that changed in Tuesday’s second half. With Michael Bradley lying deep and Darlington Nagbe attacking, the U.S. had plenty going for it even with Bobby Wood’s finishing touch a bit off. Whether Klinsmann goes back to Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes in the Starting XI will go a long way to see if the coach feels he learned anything (at least if Dempsey is a center forward again).

Juan Carlos Arce of Bolivia (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Bolivia made a surprise run into the quarterfinals of last year’s Copa America, but recent history hasn’t been kind to them outside of that.

La Verde is 3-9-1 in its last 12, a pair of the wins coming against Venezuela and the other over Ecuador. That said, the losses come against far superior competition than many confederations, as CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying is an onslaught of desperate, talented teams.

Longtime Club Bolivar attacker Juan Carlos Arce is at the forefront of Bolivia’s attack, with New York Cosmos striker Yasmani Duk breaking into La Verde’s scoresheet in recent matches. Goalkeeper Romel Quinonez is also integral to a defense that can yield big chances.

The United States should pick up a win at home against Bolivia, and if they do it in style we may see an invigorated USMNT fan base heading into the Copa America. If not, unease may abound.

Atleti’s Torres ready for “game of his life” in UEFA Champions League final

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 21: Atletico de Madrid players Saul Niguez (L) and Fernando Torres (R) stretch during the training session during the Club Atletico de Madrid Open Media Day ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final match against Real Madrid CF on May 21, 2016 in Majadahonda, Spain.
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Fernando Torres has won the UEFA Champions League before, but a victory on Saturday would ring as true as ever.

Calling it the game of his life, the Atletico Madrid striker spoke about this year’s final against Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Three battles that could determined UCL final ]

A lot has changed since the 2012 victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, when Torres subbed into Chelsea’s comeback win.

His decline at Chelsea found him on loan to Milan, where he transferred before finding another loan back home to Atleti. Now 32, Torres has his most goals since 2013 and is preparing for a Madrid Derby final.

From Sky Sports:

“Tomorrow [Saturday] is the game of my life, without doubt,” said Torres. “To me it means everything. Everything you dream when you’re a kid, I have the chance tomorrow to make this dream come true.

“I’ve played for great teams, and won many things, but this one is special, it is different, it’s what I wanted when I was a kid.”

Later lauding Atleti for giving him the chance “to come back and fight for what I wanted”, Torres is clearly hungry for a bit of redemption. And if his side comes out on top, he’ll likely be a big part of it.