Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool: ten-man Newcastle hold on for a point (video)

Leave a comment

Liverpool were desperate to take all three points and move to the top of the table, at least until Arsenal face Norwich later on Saturday. Yet it was Newcastle that took the lead, before the half-hour was up. Yohan Cabaye took the ball in midfield and flew up the right, getting his shot off from more than 30 yards out. Simon Mignolet stood rooted to the spot, waiting too long to prevent the ball from flying into the back of the net. But there was little the goalkeeper could’ve done to prevent Cabaye’s shot, as it swerved and twisted, moving to the inside and back out again, before landing in goal.

Newcastle looked like they just might manage to keep their lead; despite a shaky centerback pairing in the absence of captain Fabricio Coloccini, the defense was holding strong. Until the 40th minute, that is. A ball from Daniel Sturridge sent Luis Suarez free up the right, causing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to panic and bring the Uruguayan down inside the area. That earned the French defender a straight red for denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity, and brought Steven Gerrard to the spot. His low shot to Tim Krul’s right brought Liverpool level, and gave the Reds captain his 100th Premier League goal.

With Newcastle down to ten men with 50 minutes left to play, it looked as though Liverpool would be able to pull off a comeback win and retake the number one spot in the table. But again, the hosts surprised, retaking the lead through a set piece goal. The free kick floated into the Liverpool area, and Kolo Toure got a piece of it. But his headed flick fell right to Paul Dummett, who’d come around the edge of the Liverpool defenders and was able to side foot the ball into the back of the net. What a great show for the defender, whose yet to make his Premier League debut.

Of course, the tale would’ve been far more dramatic if Daniel Sturridge hadn’t come along to erase Newcastle’s lead. Liverpool’s second equalizer of the afternoon came through another great interplay between Sturridge and Suarez, with the latter flicking the ball over an onrushing Tim Krul for Sturridge to tap in with his head.

The visitors were determined to leave with all three points, with Sturridge very nearly putting in another just a minute later. Two minutes after that, Suarez hit the bar. Liverpool very nearly had their fairy tale ending when, five minutes into the four added on, Andre Marriner gave a free kick when Suarez went down under a foul by Mathieu Debuchy. Krul managed to save the shot, however, and Newcastle escaped with a point.

Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy,Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Santon; Cabaye (Anita 78), Tiote, Sissoko (Dummett 45); Gouffran, Ben Arfa (Sammy Ameobi 78), Remy

Subs not used: Elliot, Obertan, Shola Ameobi, Cisse

Goals: Cabaye 23′; Dummett 56′

Red Card: Yanga-Mbiwa 40′

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson (Sterling 83), Cissokho, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho (Alberto 63), Henderson, Gerrard, Moses, Suarez, Sturridge

Subs not used: Jones, Agger, Kelly, Flanagan, Allen

Goals: Gerrard 42′; Sturridge 72′

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

Ian Walton/Getty Images
2 Comments

Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images
Leave a comment

PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.