Hull City 3-1 Liverpool: David Meyler winner downs Reds at KC Stadium (video)

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24-year-old David Meyler’s first Premier League goal is one he’ll remember for a long, long time.

With Hull averaging less than a goal per game, they put two past Simon Mignolet and Liverpool and used a strong, anchored midfield to stymie Luis Suarez and the Reds attack to win 3-1 at the KC Stadium.

Meyler’s winner did the trick, and Tom Huddlestone forced a Martin Skrtel own-goal down the stretch to ice the win, Hull’s first-ever over Liverpool in any competition in 17 tries.

The Reds were lively at times, but it was only for short moments and they snoozed through much of the 90 minutes.

It was a terribly dull first 20 minutes, with Hull City content to out-midfield Liverpool.

Thankfully, the soccer gods took over and said “enough with this.” Jake Livermore found himself with the ball in the Liverpool half, and decided to have a go at goal from range.  It took a deflection off Martin Skrtel, and a lucky break for Hull turned into the game’s first goal.

It woke up Liverpool for a bit, and the Reds immediately responded, with a Jordan Henderson run forcing a yellow-card challenge from Curtis Davies which gave the visitors a dangerous free-kick.

Steven Gerrard stepped up and delivered, bending his kick around the wall and in the net to level the score just seven minutes after falling behind.

Liverpool then went back to sleep, but Hull stayed incisive.  The home midfielders didn’t press hard, happy to keep possession, but the home side didn’t disappoint as they asked a few questions of the visiting defense and used a physical approach to pin down Liverpool’s buildup.

The Reds began the second half much brighter, clearly given some encouragement by Brendan Rodgers at the halftime break.

source: Getty Images
Tom Huddlestone and the strong Hull midfield kept Luis Suarez at bay without Daniel Sturridge.

However, after the initial Liverpool spell, the game grinded to a halt once more until the 65th minute, when Hull began a spell of their own.

Tom Huddlestone anchored the Hull midfield, and he found Robby Brady who dribbled into a dangerous area but couldn’t put anything on the ball.

Finally on 70 minutes the game opened up. Liverpool build a beautiful chance in the 71st minute, only to have Allan McGregor deny Victor Moses in his first real action between the sticks. Luis Suarez did well on a one-two with Moses, and the ball went out to Philippe Coutinho who crossed back to Moses, and the young winger was rejected on close range by a strong McGregor.

It didn’t last long for Liverpool, as then Hull took the reigns and scored back on the other end through David Meyler.

The Irish midfielder popped off an early shot, and a scrum ensued in which Liverpool were unable to clear the ball.  It ended up back at the feet of Meyler, who didn’t miss with his second shot across the face and into the far corner past Simon Mignolet for the lead.

Hull continued to pin down Liverpool impressively, and as time wound down Yannick Sagbo nearly put Hull 3-1 up on a breakaway in the 87th minute, but was saved well by Mignolet.

However, they would get their 3-1 lead moments later as Tom Huddlestone got another Skrtel deflection to wrong-foot Mignolet and seal the win. Huddlestone received the ball from Sagbo at the top of the box and probably should have hit the shot first-touch, but instead he backed it up and fired, and Skrtel’s head put it in the net.

Unfortunately, Huddlestone will not be cutting his hair, as the score is down as an own-goal off Skrtel, with Huddlestone’s attempt going wide.

It’s a shocking yet comprehensive win for this season’s best new side thus far, as Hull City move to an impressive 10th place in the table with the three points.  Liverpool had an opportunity to jump closer to Arsenal at the top, but fail to do so as the Gunners lead remains seven points.

GOALS:

Hull City – Livermore 20′; Meyler 72′
Liverpool – Gerrard 27′; Skrtel (og) 87′

LINEUPS:

Hull City – McGregor; Elmohamady, Figueroa, Davies, A. Bruce; Meyler, Huddlestone, Livermore, Brady (Boyd, 90′), Koren (Rosenoir, 66′); Sagbo (Graham, 90′).

Liverpool – Mignolet; Flanagan, Toure, Skrtel, Johnson; Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Moses (Alberto, 74′), Sterling (Coutinho, 66′); Suarez.

Barcelona plan Cruyff tribute at club’s training center

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) One year after his death, Barcelona says it will name the future stadium at its training center after Dutch great Johan Cruyff.

The new stadium at Barcelona’s training center just outside the Catalan city will be called “Johan Cruyff Stadium” in honor of the club’s former player and coach.

Barcelona says in a statement that “the most emblematic building in the facility where future Barca players are coached is to be named after somebody who played such a central role in fostering youth talent at the club.”

Barcelona also says it will commission a “commemorative sculpture” of Cruyff, who died of lung cancer on March 24 last year at age 68. The statue will be placed at Barcelona’s main Camp Nou stadium.

Cruyff is largely credited with launching Barcelona’s era of trophy success, both as a player and a coach.

As a player, Cruyff joined Barcelona midseason in 1973 and led the middle-of-the-table team to its first national title in a decade.

He later returned as a coach and guided Barcelona to four consecutive Spanish leagues from 1991-94 and the club’s first European Cup in 1992.

“I think the tributes are very warming,” said Cruyff’s son, Jordi Cruyff. “It sort of changes the sadness that we might feel as family to lose a father, a husband and a grandfather. It changes to a certain kind of pride to understand that he left something behind.”

MLS Snapshot: Defense optional — Crew SC outlast Timbers, 3-2

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The game in 100 words (or less): As far as teams who get out in the open field and score the lion’s share of their goals on the counter-attacking, there aren’t many MLS teams better than Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers. The two sides met Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium, site of their MLS Cup 2015 clash, and lived up to their reputations. Of the five goals scored, two were notched on flat-out counters and two more came to pass through quick transitional movements. Portland (9 points) dropped their first points of the season, falling 3-2 to goals scored by Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and Niko Hansen, while Crew SC have back-to-back wins and find themselves level on points (7) with the New York Red Bulls with each side having played four games.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

4′ — Asprilla opens the scoring early on — 2017 Crew SC defending, same as 2016 Crew SC defending.

11′ — Meram fires home the rebound for 1-1 — One of Portland’s biggest weaknesses last season was their set-piece defending. Looks like not much has changed.

19′ — Higuain feeds Kamara for a 2-1 lead — The question mark that Portland will eventually have to answer is this: How much, if at all, have they improved defensively in the open field? Based on this Crew SC counter-attack, the answer might be “not much.”

45+3′ — Adi recovers to make it 2-2 — Everything Adi does these days (even the bad things, like this first touch) ends up being good.

84′ — Hansen cleans up at the back post for 3-2 — Jake Gleeson made a spectacular reaction save to deny Kamara his second goal of the game, but the rookie, making his MLS debut, was in the right place at the right time.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Wil Trapp

Goalscorers: Asprilla (4′), Meram (11′), Kamara (19′), Adi (45+3′), Hansen (84′)

Andorra’s 11-year, 58-game losing streak is over

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rarely has a scoreless stalemate in front of the home fans tasted so sweet.

But 11 years of nothing but losing will do that to a team.

Andorra’s 0-0 draw with fellow minnow Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Saturday ended its run of 58 competitive defeats.

It was the first point in qualifying for the Pyrenees mountain principality, population 80,000, since a scoreless draw with Finland in 2005.

Faroe Islands finished with 10 men after Joan Edmundsson was booked a second time with 15 minutes to play.

World Cup qualifiers: Dutch disaster persists; Greece hold Belgium

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying fixtures, as Groups A, B and H hit the halfway point in Europe…

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Bulgaria 2-0 Netherlands

Spas Delev scored both Bulgarian goals (5th and 20th minutes) to secure all three points and send Danny Blind’s Netherlands side (7 points) into fourth place in Group A, six points back of leaders France and three back of second-place (qualifying playoffs) Sweden.

17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was handed his international debut for the Dutch; he was ultimately at fault for both of Delev’s goals; he was subbed off at halftime (as was Georginio Wijnaldum).

Luxembourg 1-3 France

Olivier Giroud scored twice (28th and 77th minutes) for France, and Antoine Griezmann added the other (37th minute – penalty kick), as Les Bleus maintained their three-point lead in Group A. Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old rising star, made his international debut in the 78th minute, when he replaced Dimitri Payet.

Portugal 3-0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the 69th and 70th goals of his international career (36th and 65th minutes), as Portugal (12 points) kept pace with an unbeaten Switzerland side (15 points) which managed a 1-0 victory over Latvia to keep their 100-percent record intact. Andre Silva scored the opener (32nd minute) for Portugal, the 21-year-old Porto striker’s fifth goal in six international appearances.

Belgium 1-1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku‘s 89th-minute rescued a point for Group H leaders Belgium (13 points), but it did little to mask an otherwise uninspiring performance from Roberto Martinez’s side. Kostas Mitroglu put Greece ahead in the first minute of the second half, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute, and that was the start of Greece’s unraveling. The draw was just enough to keep Greece (11 points) in second, ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose 5-0 thrashing of Gibraltar moved them to 10 points with a superior goal differential.

Elsewhere in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying

Group A

Sweden 4-0 Belarus

Group B

Switzerland 1-0 Latvia
Andorra 0-0 Faroe Islands

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar
Cyprus 0-0 Estonia