Can Roberto Soldado kick on and seal another win for Spurs?

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.


Tottenham – Soldado 80′


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′).

EURO 2016: Ireland shock Germany, Northern Ireland qualify

Shane Long, Ireland
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A recap of Thursday’s action in 2016 European Championship qualifying:

Ireland 1-0 Germany

Southampton striker Shane Long scored the goal that knocked off the defending world champions and pushed Ireland one step closer to next summer’s European Championship in France. Long, who entered the game in the 65th minute, latched onto Darren Randolph‘s ball over the top in the 70th minute, took one touch to settle and fired for the far post, beating Manuel Neuer for the game’s only goal.

With one game still to play, Ireland (18 points) sit third in Group D, level on points with Sunday’s opponent Poland. While the winner of Sunday’s clash could leapfrog Germany (19), they will more likely finish second in the group and qualify automatically. A draw on Sunday could still see both sides qualify automatically through the ranking of third-place finishers (the top third-place finishers from group play earns an automatic berth at EURO 2016).

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

Norther Ireland (20 points) topped Greece (3), 3-1 on Thursday to officially book their place at EURO 2016. Steven Davis scored twice and Josh Magennis added the third for Michael O’Neill’s side.

With one game still to play (Sunday, at Finland), Northern Ireland can finish no lower than second. A draw against Finland, or any points dropped by Romania (17) would see Northern Ireland finish top of Group F.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game to secure Portugal’s (18 points from just seven games) place at next summer’s tournament. The defeat sees Denmark remain second in Group I, a point ahead of third-place Albania, who lost to Serbia on Thursday. Having played all eight of their group games, Denmark can go no higher than 12 points, meaning they would fail to qualify if Albania beat Armenia on Sunday. A draw between Albania and Armenia would see Denmark qualify based on tiebreakers.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying action

Group D

Scotland 2-2 Poland
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Group F

Hungary 2-1 Faroe Islands
Romania 1-1 Finland

Group I

Albania 0-2 Serbia

Jurgen Klopp announced as new Liverpool manager

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
Liverpool Football Club/Getty Images
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Enough with the speculation and reports already, because it’s finally officially official: Jurgen Klopp has been appointed the newest manager of Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside club announced on Thursday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Klopp will be unveiled to the world at an introductory press conference at Anfield on Friday.

According to early reports, Klopp’s three-year contract could pay him as much as $10 million per season.

[ QUOTE KING: Top 10 “Klopp-isms” from his time at Dortmund ]

The 48-year-old German has been out of work since stepping down at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund following a seventh-place finish to the 2014-15 season. Klopp’s seven seasons in charge of Dortmund weren’t without success and silverware, though, as he led Der BVB to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, a German Cup triumph in 2012 and a UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2013.

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright will be at Anfield on Friday for Klopp’s unveiling, so be sure to follow JPW on Twitter and check back to PST for wall-to-wall coverage of Klopp’s first press conference as Liverpool manager.