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Stoke City 1-1 Southampton: Begovic’s crazy goal not enough for Potters

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Stoke City and Southampton played out a hugely entertaining 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium, as both teams battled away in the wind in the Midlands.

The Potters took an incredible lead just 12 seconds into the game as goalkeeper Asmir Begovic saw his long punt forward catch a gust of wind before bouncing once and going over Southampton ‘keeper Artur Boruc’s head and into the net.

Despite that early set back Saints battled back well and equalized just before half time through Jay Rodriguez header. In the second half Southampton took the game to Stoke both the atrocious conditions turned the game into a midfield battle.

Stoke rise one place to 16th with the point, while the Saints stay in fifth as they extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to seven games.

So, after just 12 seconds goalkeeper Begovic scored for Stoke City in a bizarre incident at the Britannia Stadium.

Southampton had the kick off, and gave possession away and as the ball went back to Begovic the Bosnian international smashed the ball forward and the gusty conditions in Staffordshire played havoc with Artur Boruc and Saints’ defense.

Begovic’s long punt flew through the air, bounced once and went over Boruc’s head and shocked the entire stadium to give the Potters an early 1-0 lead.

Stoke should have a grabbed a second in the 5th minute when Ryan Shawcross headed wide when unmarked inside the six-yard box.

That early setback didn’t disrupt Saints’ flow and Rickie Lambert came ever so close to equalizing just moments later, as an inviting cross was cleared away. From the resulting corner Saints defender Dejan Lovren missed a glorious chance to equalize by heading wide from close range.

Stoke then continued to force the issue as their high-pressure approach combated the way Southampton usually set their stall up, and the home side carved out several chances as they battered Saints’ defense with long balls and a physical aerial approach.

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Asmir Begovic smashes another long kick forward as the wind swirled around the Britannia Stadium.

But Southampton equalized in the 42nd minute through Jay Rodriguez following some lovely build up play by the Saints. The English striker, who netted his third goal in the last four headed home past Begovic by directing the ball down into the turf and into the net.

Some great one-twos from Rickie Lambert and James Ward-Prowse set up the goal, as the two teams went in level at the break at 1-1.

In the second half Stoke started brightly and Boruc made up for his earlier error by making a superb stop from Marko Arnautovic’s effort.

The Potters put Saints under pressure as the windy conditions continued to affect the game, and the wind was behind Southampton as they attacked the home teams goal.

In the 54th minute an extended period of pressure from Saints resulted in 19-year-old midfielder Ward-Prowse whipping a terrific free kick from 20-yards out just over the bar as the visitors pushed to go ahead.

For most of the second period, Saints did most of the pressing with the wind behind their backs and Stoke found it extremely difficult to get out of their own half. A midfield battled ensued in the bluster November weather, with the Potters digging deep to try and claim their first PL win in seven games.

In the 89th minute Southampton had a huge claim for a penalty, as a inswinging free kick from Ward-Prowse looked to have struck Shawcross in the arm. Referee Chris Foy waved away protests from Saints’ players as they game ended level.

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Walters, Nzonzi, Ireland (Assaidi, 65), Whelan (Palacios, 45), Arnautovic; Crouch

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Rodriguez (Ramirez, 69), Lambert

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Ex-Guatemalan soccer chief pleads guilty in FIFA bribe case

PRATO, ITALY - APRIL 13: General view during the FIFA Futsal playoff match between Italy and Hungary on April 13, 2016 in Prato, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) A former Guatemalan soccer federation president has pleaded guilty in New York to charges related to a sprawling corruption investigation of world soccer.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri ready for return, pursuing Chinese Super League ]

Brayan Jimenez pleaded guilty Friday to federal racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy charges, each carrying up to 20 years in prison. It’s unclear when he’ll be sentenced.

The 62-year-old Jimenez is among 40 people from around the world charged in a FIFA bribery scandal over lucrative broadcasting rights.

Prosecutors say Jimenez accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Florida-based sports marketing company. They say in exchange for the money Jimenez awarded the company media marketing rights to the Guatemalan soccer team’s World Cup qualifying matches in 2018 and 2022.

Jimenez’s attorneys haven’t returned a message seeking comment on his guilty plea.

D.C. United acquires Igboananike from Fire in trade

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 06:  Andrea Pirlo #21 of the New York City FC looks to pass against Kennedy Igboananike #77 of the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on March 6, 2016 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The New York City FC defeated the Fire 4-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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With the playoffs still very much in sight, D.C. United is making another attempt to boost its struggling attack.

[ MORE: NYCFC, Rapids meet in Bronx on Saturday ]

After recently trading for New York City FC forward Patrick Mullins and New York Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam, D.C. has completed a trade for Chicago Fire attacker Kennedy Igboananike in exchange for target allocation money and a third-round draft selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.

In over a season-and-a-half in MLS with the Fire, Igboananike notched 11 goals and four assists in 49 matches. The Nigerian forward is a Designated Player, and is due to make over $900,000, according to the MLS Players’ Union website.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

D.C United is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, sitting on 20 points through 21 matches. The team is four points behind the New England Revolution for the final playoff position.

Report: Atletico set to offer $52 million for Chelsea’s Costa

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Diego Costa of Chelsea shoots past Thiago Silva of PSG to score a gol to level the scores at 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg match between Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge on March 9, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Already with one of the world’s most dangerous attacks, Atletico Madrid is prepared to add another dimension into the mix.

[ MORE: Man City makes final bid for defender John Stones ]

Daily Mail is reporting that the Spanish side is prepared to offer Chelsea over $52 million for striker Diego Costa, who joined the team from Atletico back in 2014.

While the Blues have maintained their position that Costa isn’t for sale, Atletico looks to boost its already strong offense with the 27-year-old Spaniard. Diego Simeone’s group already features talented attacking duo Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres.

During his previous stint in La Liga, Costa netted 56 goals across all competitions in two seasons with the Rojiblancos.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

Chelsea is reportedly pursuing former striker Romelu Lukaku after signing Belgian Michy Batshuayi this summer. Antonio Conte’s side also features young forward Bertrand Traore, who has made a strong impression during the preseason.

Report: Manchester City makes final bid for John Stones

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16:  Diego Costa of Chelsea and John Stones of Everton compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on January 16, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Take it or leave it.

Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.

[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]

City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.

While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.