Tottenham 1-0 Hull City: Spurs cash in on questionable refereeing decision, jump to fourth (video)

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Tottenham Hotspur struggled to produce a goal from open play yet again, but were bailed out by referee Michael Oliver when he gave a questionable penalty for a handball in the final 10 minutes as White Hart Lane exhaled and went home 1-0 winners.

Hull City proved to be their usual gritty selves, peppering the Spurs goal on a 22nd minute free kick but couldn’t find a shot on target, with a pair of good attempts blocked.

The good start for Hull not only frustrated the home side but built the visitors’ confidence as they went forward and played their teammates in well.

The first half marched on and came to a close without a clear momentum leader, although Hull will have been happy to keep it goalless. Spurs have often found the final ball lacking from open play this season with the new squad.

Roberto Soldado, one of those new signings, proved threatening in the second half as Spurs quickly gained the upper hand, but Hull City goalkeeper Steve Harper played fantastically to keep him out on multiple occasions.

Soldado went down in the box as well in the 56th minute but referee Michael Oliver sided with the defender Alex Bruce.

Halftime substitute Mousa Dembele, not known for shooting very often, had a crack in the 70th minute but it whistled wide right along the grass.

The chances were beginning to wither for Spurs, when Oliver shockingly handed Tottenham a lifeline in the 80th minute.

Jan Vertonghen sent in a cutback cross from outside the left end of the penalty area, and his defender Ahmed Elmohamady stuck his leg out to block the cross.  The ball ricocheted off of Elmohamady’s leg and back onto his arm, and Oliver gave a penalty to Tottenham.

The decision was very harsh, as Elmohamady’s arm wasn’t outstretched from his body in any attempt to make his body larger, but Spurs took their chance. Roberto Soldado converted just Spurs’ ninth goal of the season in nine Premier League matches to get the win.

A scary moment before full time saw Andros Townsend go tumbling over the advertising boards at full speed, with the boards clipping his upper thigh and sending him head over heels.  Townsend popped right back up, however, much to the delight of the fans.

The three points push Spurs up to fourth in the Premier League table.  Depsite their lack of scoring, the staunch Spurs defense has only conceded five goals.

GOALS:

Tottenham – Soldado 80′

LINEUPS:

Tottenham Hotspur – Lloris; Walker, Chiriches, Dawson, Vertonghen; Pauilnho, Sandro (Dembele, 45′); Townsend, Holtby (Eriksen, 60′), Lennon (Defoe, 70′); Soldado

Hull City – Harper; Rosenoir (Mclean, 84′), Figueroa, Bruce, Davies; Meyler, Huddlestone, McShane, Boyd (Brady, 84′), Elmohamady; Sagbo (Proschwitz, 87′).

Qatar stadium safety concerns again raised by death investigation

Photo by Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy/Qatar 2022 via Getty Images
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An investigation into why a British man fell to his death on a building site for the 2022 Qatar soccer World Cup has raised concerns about stadium roof safety.

World Cup organizers on Thursday released partial findings of an assessment of the accident at the Khalifa International Stadium, but said the full report cannot be released while local authorities continue their own investigation. It is one of two work-related deaths detailed in Qatar’s latest welfare report on preparations for the 2022 soccer tournament, which currently involves 12,367 workers on eight construction sites.

The 40-year-old British man fell 39 meters in January after one end of the roof catwalk he was installing dropped and a safety rope snapped.

“During the course of the investigation, the team had raised concerns with the method of installation of the raised catwalk system,” the welfare report from Qatar’s World Cup organizers stated. “This required further investigation regarding the method itself and the supervision skills of the specialist contractor staff.”

It has led to “corrective and preventative actions” being implemented by the contractor, a joint venture between Belgian and Qatari firms, along with safety checks across all stadium sites, the report said.

“These included a review of all working-at-height activities across all SC projects, an enhanced process when reviewing specialist activities within construction sites, and a detailed review of all roof and gantry designs,” the Supreme Committee overseeing stadium projects added.

The British man is the only European working on Qatar stadiums to have died in a country relying on a low-paid migrant workforce from south Asia to prepare for the first World Cup in the Middle East. Six non-work related deaths have been announced by organizers, with most suffering from heart or breathing problems.

Hassan Al Thawadi, the supreme committee’s secretary general, said medical staff are trying to raise awareness of the “importance of healthy lifestyles” by evaluating diets and identifying health issues, including hypertension and diabetes. Cooling helmets have also been developed in an attempt to make it safer for workers on outdoor sites during the searing summer heat.

World Cup preparations have been dogged by concerns about the welfare of workers since the natural gas-rich Gulf nation won the FIFA vote in 2010. Mounting international pressure led to Qatar raising living standards and worker rights. Inspections led to three contractors being blacklisted and 14 entities “demobilized” from projects for failing to tackle welfare issues, the World Cup report reveals.

“There is still work to be done to ensure our workers’ welfare standards continue to have a tangible impact on the ground and we are comprehensive in our attempts to tackle the myriad of issues facing migrant workers across the SC program,” Khalid Al-Kubaisi, who oversees worker welfare at the Supreme Committee, said in a statement.

The report has been released as Qatar is gripped by a diplomatic crisis that has seen it isolated in the region. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar earlier this month and blocked air, sea and land traffic over its support for Islamist groups and ties with Iran. Qatar denies the charges and says the allegations are politically motivated.

Official (finally): Salah completes move from Roma to Liverpool

Photo credit: Liverpool FC / Twiter: @LFC
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It was the summer’s first transfer rumor-turned-real-story-turned-never-ending-saga that seemed to refuse to cross the finish line, but it’s finally come to pass: Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player.

Salah’s move from Roma to Liverpool took so long to complete that the club’s poor social-media manager probably never wants to read the words “Announce Salah” for the rest of his/her life.

The deal will cost Liverpool something in the neighborhood of $50 million — a new Liverpool club record — and completes the utterly terrifying attacking quartet Jurgen Klopp can’t wait to unleash on the Premier League come August — Salah on one side, Sadio Mane opposite, Philippe Coutinho in the middle, and Roberto Firmino at striker. Salah, by the way, will take over Firmino’s no. 11 shirt, with the Brazilian switching to no. 9.

Alexis sets the record, but Germany come back for draw

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Alexis Sanchez became Chile’s all-time leading goalscorer (38) on Thursday, and La Roja inched ever closer to progression at the 2017 Confederations Cup with a 1-1 draw against Germany.

[ MORE: VAR steps in to help Aussies draw Cameroon, 1-1 ]

Sanchez moved past Marcelo Salas with his 6th-minute opener (above video) to capitalize on a poor turnover and complete a quick one-two atop Germany’s 18-yard box. Arturo Vidal put a foot in to disrupt Germany’s attempt to play out of the back, and the ball fell to Sanchez who quickly played it back to Vidal, who played Sanchez into the box for a left-footed finish inside the near post.

[ MORE: Latest 2017 Confederations Cup news

Chile’s lead wouldn’t quite last until halftime, though, as Lars Stindl got on the end of Jonas Hector’s cross in the 41st minute to bring the reigning World Cup champions back to level terms and all but secure their place in the next round.

With the result, Chile and Germany remain tied on top of Group B (4 points) with one game to play. Given the distance between themselves and Australia and Cameron (1 point each) in third and fourth, a draw in their final group games would be more than enough to go through to the semifinals. One-goal defeats would even do the trick.

Kenny Saief approved for one-time switch from Israel to USMNT

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Kenny Saief has been officially cleared by FIFA to make his one-time switch of international allegiance from Israel to the United States, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Thursday.

Saief, 23, was born in Panama City, Fla., to Druze-Israeli parents and began his youth career with Maccabi Haifa in 2005, at the age of 11. After a handful of first-team appearances for various Israeli clubs between 2010 and 2013, Saief earned a regular place in Ironi Nir Ramat HaSharon’s first team during the 2013-14 season. In the summer of 2014, he moved to Belgian side Gent, where he’s played in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. U.S. men’s national team head coach Bruce Arena included Saief on his 40-man preliminary roster for next month’s 2017 Gold Cup.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

He appeared for Israeli youth national teams at just about every level, but having grown frustrated at the lack of a call-up to the senior team, Saief made it known many months ago he would consider a switch to the USMNT if the omission continued.

Saief figures to serve as something of a utility-man for the USMNT, at least from the start. He’s a left-footed midfielder who’s played extensively on both the left and right wings, and even a bit at left back. It’s the latter that should most intrigued USMNT fans, considering the dearth of options available at the position.