Norwich City's Howson celebrates his goal against Stoke City with teammates during their English Premier League soccer match in Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke City 0-1 Norwich City: Howson strike bests Stoke at home (Video)

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Stoke City failed to score in their second straight home match, and Norwich City’s better first half and organized defending gave the visitors all three points with a 1-0 win courtesy of Jonny Howson’s goal.

Norwich started confidently, passing well through the midfield and sending in a few dangerous crosses.  Stoke will find themselves lucky to keep out the Canaries in the first 10 minutes, weathering a good corner that a sliding Ryan Bennett crashed into the underside of the crossbar.

That was the only real good chance in the first half hour, as both teams battled but produced little. Stoke slowly climbed back into the fight, but still struggled to maintain any lengthy spells of possession.

The home side managed their first shot in the 33rd minute, as Marko Arnautovic blasted a searching shot just past the top right corner.

Norwich responded immediately, as Howson found some space and fired a ducking shot from distance. It caught Asmir Begovic flat-footed and the ball found the back of the net for a deserved opener.

The Norwich domination of the first half was acknowledged by Stoke manager Mark Hughes, as the 49-year-old made two changes after the break bringing on Jermaine Pennant and Stephen Ireland.  The two immediately provided support for Kenwyne Jones, and the possession instantly improved.

source: ReutersDespite the cearly more dangerous attack for Stoke City, Jones could not manage anything worthy of a goal, and was replaced by the towering Peter Crouch.

Norwich winger Robert Snodgrass, who had a relatively poor match overall, had a bit of brilliance in the 80th minute to give the visitors a chance at going two-up, but his curling shot was saved well by a diving Begovic.

Only able to grab the lone goal, Norwich were forced to repel intense pressure in the final 10 minutes of the match, but they held firm down the stretch and in stoppage time to seal the win.

The win draws Chris Hughton’s Norwich level with Stoke on points with seven.  It’s a big result considering they have Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City coming up in their next four fixtures.

Mark Hughes mentioned before the match that his side were working on creating more of an attacking sense, but it would seem back to the drawing board for the Welshman and his Midlands club.

Goals:

Norwich City – Howson 34′

Lineups:

Stoke City – Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Walters (Pennant, 46′), Nzonzi, Wilson, Adam (Ireland, 46′), Arnautovic; Jones (Crouch, 66′).

Norwich City – Ruddy; Martin, Turner, R. Bennett, Olsson; Tettey, Fer, Howson; Snodgrass, Pilkington (Whittaker, 83′); van Wolfswinkel (Elmander, 76′).

Ranking the Copa America Centenario contenders

Copa America trophy — 2015 Copa America
AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo
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Sixteen teams enter next month’s Copa America Centenario tournament, and only one emerges as the champion of North, South and Central America.

Will it be Chile who continues its reign? Will Argentina, Brazil or Uruguay find revenge? Can a CONCACAF side thrive with the tourney in the United States?

[ PREVIEWS: Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D ]

There a varying degrees of likelihood that a country rises above the field to win this year’s competition. In this post, we’ll rank the sides from 16 to 1, unlikeliest to likeliest.

16. Haiti — Happy to be there? Circling the Peru match on its calendar.

15. Venezuela — If Salomon Rondon can make things happen, who knows?

14. Bolivia — Lots of work to be done here.

13. Jamaica — Winfried Schaefer’s team has struggled since its strong Gold Cup.

12. Peru — Inexperience will be a problem.

11. Paraguay — Wins have been hard to come by for Los Guaraníes.

10. Panama — Are they primed for a run, or too old to outlast its group opponents?

9. Ecuador — Dangerous but inconsistent, La Tricolor has an easier group from which to advance than most.

8. Costa Rica — If the USMNT falters under the pressure of hosts, Los Ticos will be most likely to benefit in Group A.

[ USMNT-ECUADOR: Match recap | Player ratings | 3 things ]

7. United States — Hosting is a big deal, and Jurgen Klinsmann seems ready to take a more orthodox approach to his lineups. The Yanks will run more than a few teams ragged, depending on how the chips fall.

6. Uruguay — Navigating the absence of Luis Suarez, which could last the group stage or longer, knocks them down a peg.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

5. Mexico — It’s another golden generation for El Tri, and it’s not far-fetched to imagine Mexico makes a run at everything.

4. Colombia — James Rodriguez goes back to being the focal point of an attack, and will remind us just how good he is while under the spotlight.

3. Chile — Repeating is hard, and Chile had a lot of home cooking good fortune in its hosted run to a first title.

2. Brazil — No the side won’t be fully loaded, but Dunga has shown he knows how to run a side with or without Neymar.

  1. Argentina — This could be Lionel Messi’s year to lift hardware for club and country.

Ferdinand lauds Mourinho hiring: “This winner is now a wounded animal”

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Rio Ferdinand isn’t waiting for Manchester United to make it official, lauding the hiring of Jose Mourinho as his former club’s latest manager.

Ferdinand said Mourinho’s personality is “made for this great club”, as the longtime Red Devils defender took to Facebook to hail the Special One.

[ MORE: Five things United must do under Mourinho ]

Ferdinand, 37, made 455 appearances for United in a 19-year career that included stops at West Ham, QPR, Bournemouth and Leeds.

He says Mourinho will be a motivated and dangerous boss when he takes control in place of fired manager Louis Van Gaal.

“After his recent unsuccessful time at Chelsea in the final year, I can assure you this winner is now a wounded animal which makes him such a mouthwatering appointment. Jose went from winning the League Cup & Premier League to a season of disappointment at Chelsea and I am certain he will want to restore all of that very quickly.”

LISTEN: Copa America drops official song “Superstar” (Pitbull warning)

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Pitbull has joined forces with Becky G to make the official song of the Copa America Centenario, “Superstar”, which they will perform before the final.

I know Pitbull for liking light beer, and Becky G for going on dates with Sebastian Lletget of the L.A. Galaxy.

[ PREVIEWS: Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D ]

This, in all its pop glory, has a catchy-enough hook and a stadium-like chant that hopes to catch on like “Seven Nation Army”. The kids should dig it.

That’s all I got. Enjoy the jammage.

Report: Mourinho signs deal with Manchester United

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 26, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS 

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Noon ET.

That’s the time Sky Sports claims that Jose Mourinho put pen to paper on a deal that makes him the latest manager of Manchester United.

[ MORE: Five things United must do under Mourinho ]

The report says Mourinho returned home with a bottle of red wine after signing the deal at a London hotel.

From Sky Sports:

Mourinho symbolically wore a black and red tie for the final stage of negotiations, and the deal is completed on the 12th anniversary of his winning the Champions League for the first time with Porto.

Now, we wait. As a publicly-traded company, there are certain constraints United faces in making announcements that other clubs don’t have to entertain.