Yoan Gouffran

Newcastle 2-1 West Brom: Sissoko’s sizzling strike sends Magpies fifth (video)

Leave a comment

Newcastle United sealed their fourth-straight win in the league as Moussa Sissoko’s stunning second half strike was enough to take all three points against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Sissoko’s powerful drive into the top corner in the 56th minute turned out to be the game-winner as Newcastle’s home fans at St. James’ Park were sent home happy once again.

In the first half Newcastle took the lead through Frenchman Yoan Gouffran who headed home after Baggies ‘keeper Boaz Myhill made a hash of a routine punch in the box. But after the break West Brom fought back as captain Chris Brunt smashed him a terrific effort at the back post to give the Baggies hope of nicking a win on the road.

But a few moments latter Sissoko popped up with his dazzling strike to move Newcastle up to fifth spot on 23 points, while West Brom stay in 12th on 15 points.

A bright start from West Brom saw Brunt’s long-range free kick tipped wide by Tim Krul after two minutes and from the resulting corner the Magpies struggled to clear as the Baggies attackers made a real nuisance of themselves.

Newcastle came back into the game as both teams started at a steady pace up in the North East. The Magpies almost went ahead in the 18th minute after Sissoko wriggled free in the far right corner before teeing up Mathieu Debuchy to send a dangerous cross into the box that Loic Remy headed against Billy Jones who deflected it wide.

From the resulting corner West Brom struggled to clear the ball as Newcastle kept the pressure up on the visitors.

For the rest of the first half, Check Tiote and Youssuf Mulumbu locked horns and Tiote was booked for a late challenge as the encounter in the North East turned into a midfield battle.

In the 35th minute Gouffran opened the scoring as a dangerous in swinging corner from Yohan Cabaye saw West Brom ‘keeper Myhill come out to punch it away but he missed the ball and Newcastle’s French winger pounced to score. The goal was Gouffran’s third straight at home as Newcastle deserved their 1-0 lead thanks to his quick-thinking in the six-yard box and a blunder from Baggies goalkeeper Myhill.

After that goal Newcastle continued to press forward and felt that Jonas Olsson should have been given a straight red card as he appeared to take down Remy when the Frenchman was clean through on goal. No foul was given and the home fans were not happy with decision from referee Phil Dowd.

Following the interval Newcastle almost grabbed a second goal as Shola Ameobi played through his strike partner Remy but Myhill came off his line to smother the ball and save at the Frenchman’s feet.

However West Brom were soon back in the game as Amalfitano’s inviting cross from the right just evaded Long in the box but found captain Brunt who rifled in a fantastic effort to make it 1-1. The goal was actually the first shot on goal the Baggies had attempted and it was a great start to the second half for the visitors.

Buoyed by their equalizer the Baggies almost went ahead moments later when Olsson’s header just flew past the post and Long couldn’t redirect it.

But no sooner had West Brom got back into the game, Newcastle were back ahead as Sissoko smashed in a terrific strike from over 20 yards out that left Myhill with no chance and put the Magpies 2-1 up.

The Frenchman unleashed a rocket from his right foot in the 56th minute after Remy created the opening for Sissoko to smash in a beauty to send the fanatical Newcastle supporters into raptures. The goal also meant that 18 of Newcastle’s 19 goals this season have been scored by Frenchman.

West Brom tried to get back into the game but the home side were keen to shut any openings for the visitors down as Tiote and Cabaye marshaled the central midfield area superbly. The Baggies almost shot themselves in the foot in the 75th minute as Brunt gave the ball away but Debuchy struck his effort straight at Myhill from the edge of the box.

A double substitution from Steve Clarke tried to rescue a point for the Baggies as Victor Anichebe and Saido Berahino were both brought on late in the game. Those new arrivals gave West Brom some hope but Newcastle held firm and grabbed their fourth-straight win to climb into the top five.

LINEUPS

Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Sissoko (Cisse, 90), Tiote, Cabaye, Gouffran; Shola Ameobi, Remy (Anita, 84)

West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Morrison, Mulumbu, Amalfitano (Gera, 88), Sessegnon (Anichebe, 77), Brunt (Berahino, 76), Long

Klopp, Liverpool still consulting lawyers over in-limbo Matip

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Joel Matip of Liverpool and Andre Ayew of West Ham United compete for the ball during the Premier League match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield on December 11, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Few footballing sagas will ever reach heights of absurdity comparable to that of the Joel Matip/Liverpool versus Cameroon/FIFA battle currently raging, as the Reds defender finds himself “ineligible” to play for his club due to an international call-up 18 months after announcing his international retirement.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright summed up the situation quite well, in full, right here. An excerpt:

Matip, 25, was called up by the Cameroon national team for the 2017 African Cup of Nations which is currently taking place in Gabon. However, the former Schalke defender has previously stated that he did not want to play for them and he had retired from international duty.

Cameroon called him into their initial 35-man squad for the competition anyway but did not include him in their final 23-man squad once it became clear Matip, along with six other players, had no interest in playing for them at AFCON.

FIFA has confirmed that Liverpool has been in touch regarding Matip’s status and it now appears that he will not be able to play in any other competition while Cameroon is still in AFCON action under Article 5 of FIFA’s rules.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday | Friday | Thursday ]

Fast forward a few days, and Jurgen Klopp and Co. have no further clarity regarding the situation. It’s so unclear, in fact, that Klopp said on Tuesday he may select the 25-year-old during one of two remaining games this week, and hope for the best — quotes from the Guardian:

“As you can imagine, we are in a lot of talks. We’ve done transfers quicker than this. It’s already long term but now it’s getting really tense on our side. We’ve tried everything but at the end I have to make the decision. Of course I have to ask [Liverpool’s lawyers] but the decision is for me to make. I could put him in the lineup. I don’t think the referee is going to say: ‘Stop, stop, you cannot go on the pitch.’ But I will do it when it’s OK from our point of view. Of course I need advice — I’m not a lawyer.”

“Most of the time in life you know if you do this, then you get this. But it’s not 100 percent clear what happens [if Matip plays]. We try everything to win football games. If this can happen — out of the tournament or whatever — then we have to decide about the risk. He’s ready to play for us and that makes it difficult.”

What an utter disaster of a situation Cameroon have intentionally created here.

VIDEO: Jeison Murillo’s incredible bicycle from a corner kick

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 17:  (R-L) Jeison Murillo of FC Internazionale celebrates his first goal with Geoffrey Kondogbia during the TIM Cup match between FC Internazionale and Bologna FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 17, 2017 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
1 Comment

Look away now, Andy Carroll. Take a bow, Jeison Murillo.

[ VIDEOS: All in a week’s work — Messi free kick no. 1 | Messi free kick no. 2 ]

Just three days after Carroll scored the bicycle-kick goal of the year (so we thought), here comes Murillo, Inter Milan’s 24-year-old Colombian striker, to steal his thunder (below video). The fact he did it directly from a corner kick, with the ball traveling roughly 40 yards before flinging his body into the air and striking the ball so cleanly, (somehow) trumps Carroll’s accomplishment from Saturday.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings — Tight at the top… and bottom ]

Sensational goals come in twos now, apparently, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Olivier Giroud scored stunning scorpion-kick goals (WATCH HERE and HERE) just days apart earlier in the season.

FA Cup roundup: Burnley, Crystal Palace advance to 4th round

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: Christian Benteke of Crystal Palace (C) celebrates scoring his sides first goal with Andros Townsend of Crystal Palace (L) during the Emirates FA Cup third round replay between Crystal Palace and Bolton Wanderers at Selhurst Park on January 17, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Tuesday’s action in FA Cup third-round replays…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Burnley 2-0 Sunderland

Sam Vokes and Andre Gray grabbed goals for Burnley, who opted for a largely first-choice lineup in Tuesday’s replay. Sunderland, meanwhile, went with a mix-and-match bunch and slumped to six games without a win (all competitions), meaning they can focus solely on Premier League survival from here on out. Burnley will host Championship side Bristol City in the fourth round next Saturday, Jan. 28.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday | Friday | Thursday ]

Crystal Palace 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

Sam Allardyce picked up his first win as Palace boss, courtesy of a Christian Benteke brace scored nine minutes apart in the second half, as the Eagles came from behind to beat League One side Bolton at Selhurst Park. James Henry put the visitors three minutes into the second half, but Benteke hit back in the 68th and 77th minutes to improve Allardyce’s record to one win, two draws and three losses (all competitions). Palace will host Manchester City in the fourth round next Saturday.

Tuesday’s FA Cup scoreboard

AFC Wimbledon 1-3 Sutton United
Barnsley 1-2 (AET) Blackpool
Fleetwood Town 0-1 Bristol City
Lincoln City 1-0 Ipswich Town

AFCON: Ayew propels Ghana to victory; Egypt struggle vs. Mali

FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 21:  Andre Ayew of Ghana celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Ghana at Castelao on June 21, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Tuesday’s action in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations…

Ghana 1-0 Uganda

PORT-GENTIL, Gabon (AP) Andre Ayew scored a penalty as Ghana beat Uganda 1-0 on Tuesday in a lackluster opening to the four-time champions’ bid for a first African Cup of Nations title in 35 years.

Ghana took control of Group D after seven-time champion Egypt struggled in a 0-0 draw with Mali in the other group match.

Ghana has three points, Egypt and Mali one each and Uganda zero.

Ayew, a West Ham winger, netted in the 32nd minute after Asamoah Gyan was held back by Isaac Isinde in the penalty area in Port-Gentil.

Avram Grant, a former Chelsea manager, is looking to lead Ghana to a second successive final but go better than 2015 when his team lost to Ivory Coast.

Uganda has also finished runner-up in the continental championship but the trip to the final in 1978 was the last time it qualified until making the Gabon event.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday | Friday | Thursday ]

Mali 0-0 Egypt

Later, 44-year-old Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary became the oldest player in tournament history when he came on for injured Ahmed El Shenawy midway through the first half.

El Hadary, who celebrated his birthday two days ago, is participating in his seventh African Cup, having picked up winners’ medals in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Egypt’s standout forward Mohamed Salah struggled and was replaced midway through the second half.

Mali, looking to improve on its third-place finishes in 2012 and 2013, produced many more chances.

Egypt failed to qualify for the last three editions of the tournament.

Wednesday’s AFCON schedule

Gabon vs. Burkina-Faso — 11 a.m. ET
Cameroon vs. Guinea-Bissau — 2 p.m. ET