Cardiff City's Odemwingie is challenged by Newcastle United's Cisse during their English Premier League soccer match at Cardiff City Stadium

Cardiff 1-2 Newcastle: Visitors hold on to grab a much needed victory (video)

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Alan Pardew will be sleeping a bit easier tonight, after his Newcastle side held on in the face of a late onslaught from Cardiff to take all three points home from Wales. Loic Remy scored a brace inside ten minutes, but the Bluebirds came roaring back in the second half. Only Peter Odemwingie managed to get in a goal, however, and Cardiff take 12th — for now, anyway.

After two successive league losses, the visitors were desperate for a win. When Remy scored his first goal on the half hour mark, one could almost see the weights lifting from Pardew’s shoulders. The Frenchman charged up the left, cut inside and drove his shot low and into the far corner. David Marshall managed to get a hand to it, but could do nothing to keep out Remy’s fine solo effort.

Not even ten minutes had passed before Remy managed another. This time Papiss Cisse put in the effort, but Marshall parried away. Unfortunately for the Cardiff keeper, the ball fell to Remy, who easily slipped in the rebound.

Perhaps Pardew buoyed his side up a bit too much during the halftime interval, or perhaps Malky Mackay really is that good at the halftime pep talks, but Cardiff came back determined to find at least a point. Jordon Mutch, last week’s goalscorer, came on for Bo-Kyung Kim and quickly got into the swing of things, putting one effort wide before setting up Peter Whittingham for his own scuffed attempt.

The third try’s the charm, though, and it was Mutch’s through ball that set up Cardiff’s goal. Odemwingie latched on to the end of it, leaving Newcastle defender Mike Williamson scuffing at air before drawing out Tim Krul. With the goal clear, Odemwingie easily slotted home.

Cardiff very nearly got their equalizer moments later, with Odemwingie playing the set up man this time, but Frazier Campbell sent his shot wide. The hosts continued to press for the equalizer, enjoying the majority of the possession in the second half. Mackay might do well to put Mutch on from the start next time, as he proved to have an excellent touch and fine way of weaving through the Newcastle defense.

Cardiff Starting XI: Marshall; Taylor, Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Medel, Whittingham, Kim (Mutch 46) Gunnarsson, Odemwingie (Maynard 81); Campbell (Bellamy 66)

Substitutes not used: Lewis; Hudson, Noone, Cowie

Goals: Odemwingie 58

Newcastle Starting XI: Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Cabaye (Ben Arfa 85), Tiote, Sissoko; Gouffran, Cissé, Remy (Gutierrez 71)

Substitutes not used:  Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Dummett, Anita, Sammy Ameobi

Goals: Remy 30, 38

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.