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Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Manchester United: Rooney double spoils two Spurs leads

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Tottenham shook their goal-scoring struggles to twice take the lead, but they could not shake the visitors as a double by Wayne Rooney gave Manchester United a share of the spoils at White Hart Lane by a 2-2 scoreline.

Both sides began early working their right offensive flanks. Shinji Kagawa for United and Lennon for Spurs saw the most work in their respective midfields in the first 10 minutes.

The game’s first shot didn’t come until the 11th minute, when Lennon popped off a low effort comfortably saved by De Gea.

The opener for Spurs didn’t come from open play, but they’ll certainly take it.  After a late challenge by Jonny Evans on Paulinho on the edge of the penalty area, Kyle Walker bagged the goal in the 18th minute as he cannoned a low free-kick below the United wall and past De Gea.

Just before, Everton goalkeeper and guest NBC commentator Tim Howard had urged De Gea to trust his wall and cover the far end of the goal, but his wall got it wrong as they all jumped above the low blast by Walker and it tucked in for a home lead.

It’s the first Premier League goal of the season for the defender, and his first for Spurs since April 2012 against Blackburn. It also ended a goal drought for Spurs of 298 minutes.

Spurs began to press harder after scoring, pinning the United attack further back and developing more chances. They had one on the break for Roberto Soldado in the 30th minute, but the struggling Spurs striker wasted the chance by firing well over.

In was a shocking turn of events, a counter-attack stunned Spurs and drew United level. Phil Jones worked down the right and put in a beautiful cross from the right side just over Rooney’s head. The ball took a bit of a fortunate bounce off Walker’s foot and fell right to Rooney, who took and finished.

source: Getty Images
Wayne Rooney finished off both goals for United, his 7th and 8th scores of the Premier League season.

Nothing changed at the halftime break for United, as they continued to press the right flank with Valencia and asking questions of out-of-position defender Jan Vertonghen.

The two sides played a bit of cat-and-mouse in the start of the second half, but Spurs got a piece of brilliant work from Sandro to give them the lead.  The Brazilian, being a bit outshone in the match by his midfield partner and countryman Paulinho, would not be outdone with a wonder goal in the 55th minute.

Sandro cut through some space in the Manchester United midfield, and with the defense tracking back, he worked towards the box, surprisingly cut back, and teed himself up for a brilliant drive into the top corner for a 2-1 lead.

But it would not be for Spurs once again, as referee Mike Dean straight away down the other end gave a penalty as sweeper-keeper Hugo Lloris took down Danny Welbeck on the left edge of the box.  It was a soft foul, but Lloris missed the ball and definitely caught Welbeck’s back foot with his hands.

Rooney drilled the penalty straight down the middle past a disheartened Lloris for his second equalizer of the match.

Surprisingly, Andre Villas-Boas decided to remove the incisive Aaron Lennon around 65 minutes for Andros Townsend, while leaving the relatively invisible Nacer Chadli in on the other wing.

Spurs came inches from another lead as Kyle Walker continued to work the right wing, launching in a slicing cross in the 78th minute just barely out of reach of Andros Townsend, who was all alone in front of the United goal.

Both sides were asking questions of the opposition defense as the clock ticked into extra time, but there was no winner on the cards.

It’s a quality result for both sides, all things considered.  United stay unbeated in seven games, and Tottenham kick some of their goalscoring woes to get back on track in front of goal.

United and Spurs remain in eighth and ninth respectively in the Premier League table with their points.

GOALS:

Tottenham Hotspur – Walker 18′; Sandro 54′
Manchester United – Rooney 32′, 57′ (pen)

LINEUPS:

Tottenham Hotspur – Lloris; Walker, Vertonghen, Chiriches, Dawson; Paulinho, Sandro; Lennon (Townsend, 65′), Dembele, Chadli (Sigurdsson, 85′); Soldado (Defoe, 72′).

Manchester United – De Gea; Evra, Vidic, Smalling, Evans; Jones, Cleverley; Welbeck (Hernandez, 73′), Kagawa (Young, 84′), Valencia (Nani, 84′); Rooney.

Watch Live: Leicester City vs. Liverpool

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27:  A person selling club merchandise outside the stadium wears a mask of former Leicester City Manager Claudio Ranieri prior to the Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at The King Power Stadium on February 27, 2017 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Leicester City welcome Liverpool to the King Power Stadium on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Foxes begin life without Claudio Ranieri.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Craig Shakespeare is in caretaker charge of Leicester as they’ve lost five games on the spin in the Premier League and now find themselves in the relegation zone. The last thing they would is a Liverpool side fresh after two weeks without a game.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men smell blood in the water as they’ve already ripped Leicester apart once this season, beating the reigning champions 4-1 at Anfield back in September.

In team news Leicester start with Okazaki and Vardy up top in what looks like a straight-up 4-4-2 formation, while Liverpool bring in Emre Can for the injured Jordan Henderson and Lucas starts at center back with Dejan Lovren out.

LINEUPS

Leicester City: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Drinkwater, Ndidi, Mahrez, Albrighton; Okazaki, Vardy. Subs: Zieler; Chilwell, Gray, Amarety, King, Ulloa, Slimani

Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lucas, Milner; Can, Wijnaldum; Lallana, Coutinho, Mane, Firmino. Subs: Karius, Alexander, Klavan, Stewart, Moreno, Origi, Woodburn,

Togo striker Kone saves opposing goalkeeper in Czech league

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PRAGUE (AP) For the fourth time in his career, striker Francis Kone rushed to the rescue on the soccer field to help save someone’s life.

The Togo international jumped into action on Saturday when the opposing goalkeeper in a Czech league match was lying motionless after a collision with a teammate.

Kone, who plays for Czech club Slovacko, reacted quickly and was able to stop Bohemians goalkeeper Martin Borkovec from swallowing his tongue, allowing him to breathe freely. The incident happened in the 29th minute after Borkovec collided with teammate Daniel Krch.

After the match, Kone revealed it was the fourth time he had been able to help in such circumstances following two incidents in Africa and one in Thailand.

Borkovec thanked Kone on Facebook “for his quick action in saving me.”

The league called Kone the “hero” of the match.

Premier League Playback: Ranking the chance of relegation

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With 12 games to go in the Premier League season, the bottom seven teams are starting to get cut off from the rest of the league.

Just like at the top of the table, this is the “business end” of the campaign and strange things start to happen.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Team who looked dead and buried start to rise (see: Hull and Swansea, already) and others start to sink from midtable and towards the abyss with Bournemouth and particularly Leicester City struggling.

[ MORE: Premier League standings | Schedule

Below is a look at the seven main contenders for the three relegation spots, focusing on the toughest games they have remaining, their reasons for optimism and a percentage chance of relegation.

[ MORE: Full PL Playback archive ]

Even if you have points on the board right now, momentum means everything at this time of the season…


Bournemouth

Points: 26
Reason for optimism: The quality Eddie Howe‘s side possess on the ball will see them create chances, so there’s that. However, they have to score two or three goals a game recently to get a win. They have four of the the current top six coming up, then finish the season with four of their last five games against relegation rivals. That will test the nerve of this talented yet inexperienced team.
Toughest games remaining: at Man United (Mar. 4), at Liverpool (Apr. 5), vs. Chelsea (Apr. 8), at Tottenham (Apr. 15)
Relegation percentage: 50%

Swansea City

Points: 24
Reason for optimism: Things are looking much more solid in defense since Paul Clement arrived. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente continue to score and assist, plus the Swans look dangerous on the break. Plenty of reasons to believe they’ll continue to pull away from the bottom three. Will complacency set in though? Swans next four games are against Burnley, Hull, Bournemouth and Boro. Huge few weeks ahead and then an easier finish to the season, on paper.
Toughest games remaining: vs. Tottenham (Apr. 4), at Man United (Apr. 29), vs. Everton (May 6)
Relegation percentage: 20%

Middlesbrough
Points: 22
Reason for optimism: They’ve got the fifth defensive record in the PL, so they can hang in there. That’s a good trait to have when the pressure is on. They just need a goalscorer to pop up with the goods. A run of three games against relegation rivals at the beginning of April is likely to decide their fate with four very tough games to finish the season.
Toughest games remaining: vs. Man United (Mar. 19), vs. Arsenal (Apr. 15), vs. Man City (Apr. 29), at Chelsea (May 6), at Liverpool (May 21)
Relegation percentage: 50%

Crystal Palace
Points: 22
Reason for optimism: Big Sam has never been relegated as a Premier League manager. Simple. That said, this task is tougher than he thought. The 1-0 win against Boro proved they can grind out a victory when they need to. Still, they have five of the current top six left to play in their final 12 games of the season. It will be a flip of the coin for the Eagles.
Toughest games remaining: At Chelsea (Apr. 1), vs. Arsenal (Apr. 8), at Liverpool (Apr. 22), at Man City (May 6), at Man United (May 21)
Relegation percentage: 50%

Leicester City

Points: 21
Reason for optimism: Scrapping the barrel here… Their incredible runs to safety in 2015 and then for the PL title in 2016 (that did happen, right!?) gives them experience in high-pressure situation. One big marquee win can help get momentum going again, either in the PL or by getting past Sevilla in the return leg. Claudio Ranieri‘s sacking could give the Foxes the jolt they badly need but it must happen soon.
Toughest games remaining: vs. Liverpool (Feb. 27), at Everton (Apr. 8), vs. Tottenham (Apr. 22), at Man City (May 13),
Relegation percentage: 50%

Hull City

Points: 21
Reason for optimism: Marco Silva’s side are much improved and have just two games remaining against the big boys. So many relegation scraps coming up. They look tough to break down and dangerous on the break. That’s a great combo at this point in the season. They have momentum among the teams at the bottom.
Toughest games remaining: at Everton (Mar. 18), at Man City (Apr. 8), vs. Tottenham (May 21),
Relegation percentage: 30%

Sunderland

Points: 19
Reason for optimism: Well, just look at pretty much the last four seasons. Down and out time and time again, somehow Sunderland survive. That’s the only reason for optimism. Oh, and Jermain Defoe‘s goals. David Moyes needs a miracle, especially what those remaining games…
Toughest games remaining: vs. Man City (Mar. 5), vs. Man United (Apr. 8), at Arsenal (Apr. 22), at Chelsea (May 21)
Relegation percentage: 70%


Premier League Playback comes out every week as PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here.

VIDEO: Remembering Jamie Vardy’s magic vs. Liverpool

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Just over 12 months ago Leicester City beat Liverpool on a raucous evening at the King Power Stadium to ignite real belief into their Premier League title charge.

We all know how that turned out…

[ PREVIEW: Leicester host Liverpool

A year on and boy, Leicester could use some magic from Vardy as they host Liverpool on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Foxes fired Claudio Ranieri last Thursday and the reigning champions have slipped into the relegation zone over the weekend as they’re in freefall with five defeats on the spin and they’ve failed to score in their last six PL games.

Click play on the video above to see Vardy’s wonderful volley from distance as the England international was in full flow on his way to 24 goals for the season. He has just five in the PL this season, three of which came in the 4-2 win against Manchester City at the KP back in December.

Again, caretaker Craig Shakespeare needs some magic from somewhere on Monday if the Foxes are going to gain momentum in their battle against relegation.