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.

source: Getty Images
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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Wigan player races off for son’s birth after scoring 2 goals

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WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.

A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.

[ MORE: Chelsea advances to UCL Round of 16 after win over Qarabag ]

A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.

Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.

“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”

Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”

Lille suspends coach Marcelo Bielsa

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LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.

[ MORE: Basel stuns Man United late to keep UCL hopes alive ]

The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.

The 2 Robbies podcast: PL sides in the UCL, Pulis sacking and more

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In today’s Euro Pod Edition, the Robbies breakdown the latest Champions League action. Man United lose at Basel, Chelsea cruise at Qarabag, Spurs impress against Dortmund, Man City continue to win, Liverpool surrender a 3-goal lead against Sevilla. Plus, the guys weigh in on the Oumar Niasse ban for diving and the Tony Pulis sacking.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

[ Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Europa League preview: Arsenal looks to wrap up Group H and more

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While several teams have already booked their place in the knockout phase, the Europa League reaches its penultimate round on Thursday with many big matches in hand.

[ MORE: Yannick Bolasie finally returns to Everton training ]

Of the two Premier League sides in the competition, only one will advance to the Round of 32, as Arsenal have all but assured themselves of the top spot in Group H. The Gunners can do so tomorrow with a win over Koln or a Red Star Belgrade defeat.

The other end of the spectrum features Everton, who has already been eliminated from reaching the next round after acquiring just one point in its first four matches.

European giants AC Milan can lock up a spot in the knockout phase on Thursday despite the club’s ongoing struggles in Serie A, while fellow Italian side Atalanta can move a step closer to the Round of 32 in Group E along with Lyon.

Here’s the full rundown of Thursday’s UEL matches.

Astana vs. Villareal — 11 a.m. ET
Konyaspor vs. Marseille — 1 p.m. ET
Rosenborg vs. Real Sociedad¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Lazio vs. Vitesse¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Viktoria Plzen vs. Steaua Bucuresti¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv vs. Copenhagen¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Zenit vs. Vardar¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Vitoria¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Hertha Berlin¬†— 1 p.m. ET
BATE vs. Red Star Belgrade¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Ostersund vs. Zorya¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Koln vs. Arsenal¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Nice vs. Zulte Waregem — 1 p.m. ET
Lugano vs. Beer-Sheva¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Ludogorets vs. Istanbul¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga vs. Hoffenheim¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
AEK vs. Rijeka¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
AC Milan vs. Austria Wien¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Lyon vs. Apollon¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Slavia Praha¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Sheriff vs. Zlin¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Partizan vs. Young Boys¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Skenderbeu vs. Dynamo Kyiv¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Everton vs. Atalanta — 3:05 p.m. ET