Fulham 1-2 Swansea: Coaching change yet to work miracles at Fulham (video)

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Swansea take temporary possession of tenth place thanks to their win at Craven Cottage, and reminded themselves of what it feels like to win on the road, after six games without. Fulham, meanwhile, find themselves even more miserable, with the loss marking their fourth straight. Despite the addition of Rene Meulensteen alongside Martin Jol, the Cottagers remain in the relegation zone, and still looked, for the majority of the match, rather hapless.

The first half may have been goalless, but at least both sides had one or two decent chances. Swansea came out slightly on top, with ten shots, forcing some quick blocks on many of them. Just before the break, Nathan Dyer was cruelly denied a chance to put the visitors ahead, when Maarten Stekelenburg blocked his shot with his leg.

Fulham, meanwhile, were a bit more cautious, perhaps bargaining on the fact that one point would be better than none at all. Their best chance came around the half-hour mark, when Darren Bent smacked the woodwork with his sharp shot. But if Bent wants to establish himself as a regular starter, he’s going to have to do a bit better.

Swansea started the second half quite lively, building into their attacks and getting in shots. Wilfried Bony and Roland Lamah both went wide. Dyer saw another shot denied, this time by a perfectly timed tackle by Kieran Richardson. Stekelenburg saved an attempt from Jonathan De Guzman, while Ben Davies saw two shots blocked — all within the opening ten minutes of the second half.

And so there was little surprise when that pressure resulted in the Swans taking the lead. The goal came courtesy of Fulham, however. Aaron Hughes attempted to clean up a cross from De Guzman and, in so doing, legged the ball into the back of his own net. You could just see Martin Jol’s blood pressure rise.

Fortunately, the Fulham manager’s health was spared less than ten minutes later, when his side put the ball in the back of the correct net. The goal by Scott Parker didn’t look entirely intentional — it was a chipped ball off a corner from Bryan Ruiz, that somehow evaded Michel Vorm and ended up in the top corner. It was a fantastic goal to watch, but it also seemed a touch unbelievable.

Intentional or not, Fulham sure wouldn’t have minded a repeat. Instead, it was Swansea that took the lead once more, ten minutes before the whistle. Jonjo Shelvey, who replaced Dyer at the hour mark, weaved his way through the Fulham defense and sent in his shot from just outside the area. The sharp shot flew past an outstretched Stekelenburg to nestle into the top right corner.

Fulham: Stekelenburg; Zverotic, Hughes, Amorebieta, Richardson; Parker (Taarabt 86), Kasami, Boateng (Sidwell 60), Ruiz (Kačaniklić 77); Berbatov, Bent

Subs not used: Stockdale, Senderos, Dejagah, Dembele

Goals: Parker 64′

Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies, Canas, de Guzman, Dyer (Shelvey 59), Lamah (Tiendalli 86), Pozuelo (Alvaro), Bony.

Subs not used: Tremmel, Amat, Taylor, Britton

Goals: Hughes o.g. 56′; Shelvey 80′

French league terminates goal-line technology contract

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PARIS (AP) The French football league has terminated the contract with its goal-line technology provider after a series of glitches.

The LFP had already suspended the use of GoalControl, the German system that was deployed at the 2014 World Cup.

According to L’Equipe newspaper, the league will launch a tender in February to find a new provider of the technology that determines whether the ball crossed the line.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

In recent months, the French league had repeatedly expressed its discontent with GoalControl.

Goal-line technology entered soccer after a goal was wrongly disallowed at the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA is already focused on fast-tracking the next phase of technology – video assistant referees – for the World Cup in June.

Goal-line technology and VAR were provided by Hawk-Eye at the Confederations Cup last year.

Bristol City’s Johnson: “They certainly have heard of us now”

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The Premier League world may see Bristol City next season, but it seems its manager has the personality to arrive on the top flight whether or not his Robins earn promotion this season.

Johnson, 36, earned plenty of plaudits after leading his Championship club to the League Cup semifinals, famously defeated Manchester United in the quarters.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Before that, Bristol beat Premier League sides Crystal Palace, Stoke City, and Watford. The Robins beat third tier Plymouth Argyle 5-0 in the first round.

Johnson was beaming after the Robins took Man City to the edge, closing to within a goal of extra time before Kevin De Bruyne‘s stoppage time number ended the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

“Absolutely I’m proud. It’s not just tonight but over the course of the season, particularly the cup run. It was a fantastic occasion, I’m sorry we couldn’t get the win but we played against the best side that I have ever seen live. They have so many good individuals.

“We kept going and it’s taken two injury-time goals to beat us. They certainly have [heard of us] now…everybody knows what we’re about. It’s been great.”

Bristol City is in the Championship’s fifth place, bidding for its first top flight campaign since 1980. Johnson should be a hot prospect to earn a shot in the Premier League should the Robins not make the jump.

League Cup semifinal preview: Arsenal vs. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea has won 4-of-7 League Cup matches vs. Arsenal
  • Arsenal leads all-time series 74W-58D-62L
  • Clubs have drawn four times this season

Hardware hopes are on the line when Chelsea hits the Emirates Stadium for a League Cup semifinal second leg with Arsenal on Wednesday.

The sides drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge, giving Chelsea the advantage of knowing a scoring draw would do the trick and set up a date with Manchester City at Wembley on Feb. 25, though Arsenal has home field advantage in pursuit of a win.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Henrikh Mkhitaryan may debut for Arsenal, though the club released an interesting note on Tuesday: He’ll wear No. 7 in most competitions, but will have to use a different number in the Europa League because Alexis Sanchez wore it to start the tournament.

Chelsea’s Antonio Conte won’t have Alvaro Morata (back) and Cesc Fabregas for the match, though Andreas Christensen will be available for selection.

The clubs are no strangers to each other in big non-PL spots, squaring off in this season’s Community Shield (Arsenal won in penalty kicks) and last season’s FA Cup Final (Arsenal won).

Nothing has separated the sides on the field aside from those penalty kicks at Wembley Stadium, as Arsenal and Chelsea have drawn 1-1, 0-0, 2-2, and 0-0 since August.

What they’re saying

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on Henrikh Mkhitaryan“He can play in different positions, but personally I see him first in a wide position, but I’m thinking about him a possibility to play through the middle. You are certain in our job of nothing, that’s absolutely sure. But you believe and I believe he has the qualities to do well, is a team player and our game is based on team attitude and movement and I think he can absorb the quantity of movement in our team.”

Chelsea’s Conte on the lineup: “Every game is different, you change the quality of your opponent and you must be intelligent enough to understand if you should continue with the same players or make some changes.”

Javier Mascherano leaving Barcelona after 8 seasons

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano is leaving the club after eight seasons.

Barcelona says there will be a farewell ceremony on Wednesday with Mascherano, club president Josep Bartomeu and the rest of the squad.

[ MORE: Man City to buy $86m CB ]

The 33-year-old Argentina international will say goodbye to the fans before Thursday’s game against Espanyol at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey. He is reportedly going to play in China.

Mascherano, who also played as a defensive midfielder, arrived in Barcelona in 2010 from Liverpool and helped the Catalan club win 18 titles. He has made 334 appearances with Barcelona, but recently hadn’t been playing much.

The club earlier this month signed Colombia international Yerry Mina to boost its defense.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga