Hull City 1-0 Sunderland: a nightmare for nine-man Sunderland

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It would be hard to picture this match going worse for Sunderland. A loss, an own goal, and two men sent off before the whistle blew for the interval. At they only lost by one? But with Gus Poyet’s men down deep in the drop zone, that probably doesn’t bring much comfort. Hull, meanwhile, are reveling in the Black Cats’ mistakes, with the three points keeping them in the top half of the table.

Carlos Cuellar got things started at the KC Stadium, but probably not in the way he would’ve preferred. Trying to prevent Liam Rosenior’s cross from reaching Yannick Sagbo, the Sunderland defender headed the ball into his own net. The goal may not have come from one of his own men, but Steve Bruce still looked like the tiger that got the cream.

Things got worse for Gus Poyet in the 40th minute, when Sunderland goalkeeper Kieren Westwood picked up an injury after a nasty collision with Paul McShane. Although it appeared Westwood would be able to continue, it was just a few minutes before Vito Mannone had to be deputized, his first league appearance for the Black Cats.

And then it just all got a bit comical. First Lee Cattermole showed himself happy to be back in the starting lineup, celebrating with a typical effusive challenge. The midfielder took out Ahmed Elmohamady and earned himself a straight red for his trouble. Then, not five minutes later, Andrea Dossena went chasing after a ball he’d idly misplaced and stomped on David Meyler on his way. A straight red marked the end of the Italian’s second-ever start with Sunderland.

Poyet used the half to make changes to protect his side: Adam Johnson was brought in for Jozy Altidore, and Wes Brown for Fabio Borini. Yet the switch wasn’t entirely defensive, so the question must be asked: How on earth did Hull not score? They had a two man advantage. They absolutely peppered Mannone’s goal with shots. Yet from the 24 shots put in, a mere two were on target. With the Black Cats digging in, most of the flurry of shots were blocked. Jake Livermore managed to hit the post, but that’s as close as the Tigers came.

Guess Hull are lucky Sunderland were kind enough to do the scoring for them.

Hull City: Harper, Rosenior (Proschwitz 70), Figueroa, Davies, McShane, Huddlestone, Livermore, Elmohamady, Boyd (Brady 76), Meyler (Koren 57), Sagbo

Subs not used: Jakupovic, Faye, Quinn, Gedo

Goals: Cuellar og 25′

Sunderland: Westwood (Mannone 43), Bardsley, Dossena, O’Shea, Cuellar, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Borini (Brown 46), Fletcher, Altidore (Johnson 46)

Subs not used: Gardner, Celustka, Giaccherini, Sung-Yueng

Red cards: Cattermole 45+2; Dossena 45+6

Spartak and Zenit fined in latest Russia fan racism cases

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MOSCOW (AP) Spartak Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg have both been fined for racist chants by their fans, the latest such incident in World Cup host nation Russia.

Spartak’s fans were accused of aiming monkey chants at FC Tosno player Nuno Rocha, who is black, while some Zenit supporters allegedly chanted a Nazi slogan during a league game.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

The clubs must each pay a 100,000-ruble ($1,600) fine, and Spartak has been hit with a partial stadium closure for its next cup game, state news agency RIA Novosti quotes Russian Football Union disciplinary committee head Artur Grigoryants as saying.

The verdict comes after FIFA charged Russia with racist abuse of France players during last month’s friendly.

Zenit has also faced two racism charges from UEFA this season.

Europa League: Arsenal, Marseille host semifinal 1st legs

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Arsenal’s Champions League dreams could be in for a rude awakening against tournament-tested Atletico Madrid.

The Premier League vs. La Liga match-up is one of two Europa League semifinal first legs set to be served up Sunday, with Marseille and Red Bull Salzburg meeting in the other.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

There’s something romantic about Arsene Wenger closing out his time at Arsenal against French opposition in Lyon, but Atleti and Salzburg won’t step aside for poetics.

Both matches kickoff ay 3:05 p.m. ET

Arsenal vs. Atletico Madrid

It’s a bit stunning that this tie has no history considering both club’s statures in their leagues and Europe, but that’s what we’ll se when Arsenal welcomes Atleti for the first leg.

Arsenal boasts two of the top 10 performers in the UEL this season — it would be three had the Gunners not sold Theo Walcott — and are paced by Aaron Ramsey, who has four goals and an assist. Mesut Ozil, who’s ready to return to the pitch, has the reverse with a goal and four helpers.

The Gunners have outscored UEL opposition 29-10 this season.

It’s no surprise that Antoine Griezmann has been Atleti’s best attacker since the Madrid side dropped out of the UCL to run rampant through the UEL knockout rounds. Atleti beat Copenhagen 5-1, Lokomotiv Moscow 8-1, and Sporting Lisbon 2-1 for an aggregate score line of 15-3.

Marseille vs. Red Bull Salzburg

Don’t expect this to be a simple case of Ligue 1 bossing inferior opposition: This pair met in the group stage, with the Austrian side winning at home and drawing 0-0 in France.

Salzburg has shown its mettle in various ways during the UEL. After allowing just one goal in an unbeaten group stage, they’ve won 4-3 over Real Sociedad, 2-1 against Borussia Dortmund, and 6-5 versus Lazio. That’s no easy road, and Marseille represents another big challenge.

Marseille is bidding to make its first European final since 2004, and has been led by Dimitri Payet‘s three goals and four assists, and Lucas Ocampos’ four goals and one assist. Marseille has knocked off RB Leipzig, Athletic Bilbao, and Braga after the group stage.

Names you’ll need to know from Salzburg: defenders Stefan Lainer and Paulo Miranda have been spectacular, and Munas Dabbur and Valon Berisha have each scored five times in the tournament.

Mourinho on longtime nemesis Wenger: ‘We can be friends in future’

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Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have had a poor relationship, but the former thinks he’s soon to get along with the latter.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

Manchester United boss Mourinho, 55, heaped praise on the departing Arsenal manager ahead of the two sides’ Sunday meeting at Old Trafford (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), saying the Frenchman has earned much respect.

Branding Wenger “iconic,” Mourinho says his fiery rivalry with Wenger stemmed from Arsenal’s stature in the Premier League when the Portuguese took over Chelsea.

“If he respects me even 50 percent of what I respect him we can even be friends in the future,” Mourinho told Sky Sports News. “I have lots of respect for him. But the reality is that he was at Arsenal, he was the champion and I came to the country in 2004 and wanted to steal his title. That’s football.”

Mourinho said he’s tried to show his respect for Wenger, 68, over the past few seasons. It may become a passable relationship, but we find it hard to believe the pair will be dining together on a regular basis as the sun sets on their managerial careers (Mou has a while to go, we think).

Real’s Modric on Bayern feeling unlucky: “That’s their problem”

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Bayern Munich produced far more chances than visiting Real Madrid in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg in Germany, but lost 2-1 at the Allianz Arena.

Franck Ribery butchered an open shot at goal, Robert Lewandowski beat Keylor Navas but didn’t score late, and Thomas Mueller missed getting contact on a shot inside the six.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

It was that kind of day, and Mueller is baffled that his team did not finish more than Joshua Kimmich’s opener.

“Everybody is wondering why this game is 1-2 for Madrid,” Mueller reportedly said. “We still cannot believe it.”

The quote comes from BeIN Sport’s Tancredi Palmeri, who has a stinging rebuke from Real Madrid maestro Luka Modric.

Real wasn’t great on Wednesday, but also limited their big mistakes to one: Marcelo’s lapse of judgment which helped Kimmich to open the scoring for Bayern Munich.

The hosts had a huge giveaway from Rafinha on the match-winner, and backup backstop Sven Ulreich didn’t have a phenomenal day on either goal. Throw in Arjen Robben’s injury requiring an 8th minute substitution, and Bayern did not have much good fortune on the day.

This one, though, doesn’t seem over, even with the tie moving to the Bernabeu.