Nathan Redmond, Leroy Fer

Norwich City 1-0 Southampton: Redmond’s stunner hands Canaries victory (Video)

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Norwich City grabbed their first win of the season after Nathan Redmond’s sublime individual effort in the second half downed the Saints at Carrow Road.

The Canaries battled hard for the 1-0 win in a closely-fought encounter between two teams who had spent big this summer.

Chris Hughton’s side started the game brightly but Southampton had all the play as half time approached, with Adam Lallana smashing the post with a left-footed volley. However that effort was as close to scoring as the Saints came as Redmond struck in the 68th minute after picking the ball up on the left flank, cutting inside and striking a powerful effort past Artur Boruc.

On a blistering day at Carrow Road, it was the home fans who went home happy following a resolute and clinical display.

In the first half, eventual game-winner Redmond went close after just four minutes but his shot flashed just wide of Boruc’s post.

Southampton’s new striker Dani Osvaldo linked up with Rickie Lambert in Saints’ new-look attack and the duo struggled to get their partnership going in the opening half.

In the 15th minute Southampton’s Polish international Boruc pulled off a tremendous point blank save from Leroy Fer after Robert Snodgrass’ inviting cross into the six yard box. But just three minutes later the Saints felt they should have had a penalty when Bradley Johnson raised both his arms to block Lallana’s shot on the edge of the box. The replays showed that it should have been a penalty to Southampton but referee Howard Webb waved their protests away.

source: Getty Images
Redmond was the game-winner with a terrific goal

Moments later in the 30th minute Ricky van Wolfswinkel headed down in the box and Saints’ teenage right back Calum Chambers looked to have handled but nothing was given, as the handball shouts evened each other out.

Norwich looked composed and in control for most of the first half but as the interval approached it was the visitors who looked the most likely to break the deadlock. And they come so close to doing that in the 39th minute after James Ward-Prowse’s free kick was half cleared to Lallana 15 yards out and the skipper slammed his left-footed volley onto the post, with John Ruddy stranded in the Norwich goal

After the break Southampton again looked lively as new $22.5 million signing Osvaldo received a ball from Lallana, turned his man before sharply hitting his strike goalwards. However Ruddy parried the ball out as the Saints kept pushing for an opener.

Norwich and Southampton both looked brighter in the second period as the tempo was raised in the bright sunshine in Norfolk, however the two evenly-matched teams were somewhat cancelling each other out.

But in the 68th minute the crucial moment came as Redmond was found on the left with a raking cross-field pass from Dutchman Fer. The England Under-21 international then cut inside Chambers before accelerating past two other defenders and smashing a low shot home to put Norwich 1-0 up.

After going ahead the home side continued to flood forward as Southampton struggled to respond and despite a late rally and Danny Fox’s 86th minute shot being blocked, Norwich comfortably held on for all three points.

The win leaves the Canaries in eighth spot with four points from their first three games, while the Saints are in ninth after tasting defeat for the first time this season.


Norwich:  Ruddy; Whittaker, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Snodgrass, Fer, Johnson, Redmond; Elmander (Howson 76); van Wolfswinkel. Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Martin, Tettey, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Becchio.

Southampton:  Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Fox, Wanyama, Schneiderlin (S. Davis 72), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Ramírez 62), Osvaldo (Rodriguez 78), Lambert. Subs not used: K. Davis (GK), Clyne, Yoshida,Shaw.

MLS Cup Playoffs: Seattle Sounders 1-0 Sporting KC (video)

Seattle Sounders defender Brad Evans celebrates after Sounders' Nelson Haedo Valdez scored a goal against Sporting Kansas City in the second half of an MLS soccer playoff match, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Seattle. The Sounders beat Sporting Kansas City 1-0. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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The game in 100 words (or less): There’s a ton to unpack here, so we’ll dive right in. The Seattle Sounders topped Sporting Kansas City in the final knockout-round game of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs. Nelson Valdez scored the game’s only goal, an 88th-minute header, but not without supreme controversy. For starters, Valdez was offside as Joevin Jones played the ball into the box, just as Matt Besler was on a free kick for Sporting earlier in the second half. Besler’s goal was ruled out for offside, Valdez’s was allowed to stand. Benny Feilhaber, perhaps in his final game for Sporting, played like a man possessed and so nearly singlehandedly won the game for Sporting at multiple points on the night. Stefan Frei stood on his head and refused to allow such an occurrence. Osvaldo Alonso could have been sent off twice on the night — once on a straight red; once on a second yellow — but finished the game with just a single caution. Up next, the Sounders will take on Supporters’ Shield-winning FC Dallas in the Western Conference semifinals.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three Four moments that mattered

10′ — Zusi hits the post with a strike through traffic — Benny Feilhaber’s through ball to set up this double-chance for Sporting in sumptuous, and fully deserving of a proper finish.

53′ — Besler heads home, but he’s offside — This is about as close an onside/offside decisions get.

79′ — Frei denies Feilhaber after a spectacular run — Feilhaber’s run was mesmerizing, but Stefan Frei’s save was the tiniest bit better.

88′ — Valdez heads home the late winner — If Besler was offside, Valdez was offside. An unfitting end to a thrilling game.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Benny Feilhaber

Goalscorers: Valdez (88′)

MLS Cup Playoffs: D.C. United 2-4 Montreal Impact (video)

CORRECTS DATE - Montreal Impact forward Matteo Mancosu, back, celebrates his goal with Ignacio Piatti (10) during the first half of an MLS playoff soccer match against D.C. United, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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The game in 100 words (or less): There are epic playoff collapses, and there is the MLS Cup Playoffs abomination put forth by D.C. United on Thursday. Playing host to a Montreal Impact side that won just two of its last eight regular-season games and crawled over the finish line, United — winners of four of their last five and one of the hottest teams in the league down the stretch — no-showed Thursday’s knockout-round tie, and their season is deservingly finished. Laurent Ciman put the Impact ahead inside the first five minutes, and United never recovered or seemed the least bit urgent with their season on the line. Matteo Mancosu bagged a brace either side of halftime to make it 3-0, and Ignacio Piatti, who was his usual brilliant self — so good, in fact, he made you forget Didier Drogba was unavailable due to injury/dispute over his role as a substitute — added a fourth not long before full-time. Lamar Neagle grabbed a late consolation goal for United, bringing them back to 4-1 before Taylor Kemp fired a laser past Evan Bush for 4-2 late in stoppage time, but that’s as close as they’d get. Up next for the Impact, it’s the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals, beginning Sunday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three moments that mattered

4′ — Ciman slots home from a corner for 1-0 — An absolute dream start for Montreal, as Ciman gets front side of his marker and benefits from a fortunate bounce after he scuffs the shot.

43′ — Mancosu slams home Piatti’s cross for 2-0 — Someone tell DCU that the knockout round is most definitely win-or-go-home. Horrific defending. Ball-watching all over the place. This is not the same team that won four of their last five in order to host this game.

58′ — Mancosu heads home at the near post for 3-0 — Steve Birnbaum has not had the greatest end to the 2016 season. Stay healthy, John Brooks and Geoff Cameron.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Matteo Mancosu

Goalscorers: Ciman (4′), Mancosu (43′, 58′), Piatti (83′), Neagle (90′), Kemp (90+4′)

FOLLOW LIVE: 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round

Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer, center, is congratulated by teammates, including midfielder Roger Espinoza (27), following his goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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The knockout round of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs concludes on Thursday, as four teams vie for the final two places — one in the Eastern Conference, one in the Western Conference — in the conference semifinals, which begin on Sunday.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round ]

Up first, the East’s fourth-seeded D.C. United welcome the five-seed Montreal Impact to RFK Stadium for the two sides’ third meeting of the 2016 season. Each of the year’s first two clashes finished a 1-1 draw, in July and August. Didier Drogba is expected to be unavailable for the win-or-go-home tie. United finished the regular season with four wins in the last five games, while the Impact won just two of their last eight.

[ MORE: Preivewing Thursday night’s knockout-round games ]

In the nightcap, the West’s fourth-seeded Seattle Sounders will take on the five-side, Sporting Kansas City, at CenturyLink Field. Sporting were victorious in both regular-season meetings this year — 1-0 on opening day, and 3-0 in late-July, the day the Sounders essentially quit on Sigi Schmid. Since that blistering hot day in KC, the Soudners have lost just twice in 14 games (eight wins, four draws).

Thursday’s MLS Cup Playoffs schedule

D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC — 10 p.m. ET

Cristiano Ronaldo says Ashley Cole is the toughest player he faced

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Cristiano Ronaldo has faced the best defenders in the world during his time with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team.

He has also caused fits for most of those defenders with goal after goal for club and country. But, there have been some players who have at least made it difficult for the all-time leading goal scorer in Real Madrid and Champions League history.

According to Ronaldo, former Chelsea and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole was the toughest player he has faced in his career.

[ MORE: VIDEO: Incredible Pelle goal in China ]

“Over the years I had some great battles with Ashley Cole, he does not give you a second to breathe,” Ronaldo told Coach Mag. “He was such a tenacious player when he was at his peak, quick, tough in the tackle. You knew it would never be an easy game.”

During his time with Manchester United, Ronaldo faced Cole on numerous occasions while Cole was with Arsenal and Chelsea. The two have also faced off in international competition between Ronaldo’s Portugal and Cole’s England.

It’s certainly high praise for Cole, who now plays in MLS for the LA Galaxy. At the age of 35, Cole has started 25 matches for the Galaxy this season, scoring one goal.