Swansea 1-1 Hull: Danny Graham breaks his long scoring drought for the visitors (video)

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Hull City picked up a valuable road point as Swansea’s season of missed opportunities at home continued when the team’s finished level at 1-1 in Monday’s Premier League contest in Wales.

This was just Hull’s fourth road point of the campaign.

Both teams remain solidly mid-pack, not so very far behind decorated Manchester United – but not far beyond the relegation watch list, either. Still, it’s not bad considering Monday’s match was the first Premier League meeting of two clubs that, less than 10 years ago, were meeting up in England’ lowly fourth tier.

Michu returned for Swansea after more than a month out due to injury, manager Michael Laudrup getting his Spanish scorer right back into the starting lineup without benefit of appearances off the bench to re-acclimate.

But it was Hull with the early score, and what a time for Tigers’ striker Danny Graham to break his long, personal scoring drought, one that goes almost a full calendar year, and doing so against his old club. Graham’s previous Premier League strike had come for Swansea last January against Chelsea, with a completely unsuccessful loan to Sunderland into between the career stops.

The gap in minutes between goals had grown to 1,626 in Premier League contests, or about 18 full matches of action.

The early breakthrough came on a sloppy pass out the Swans back line, picked up by Ahmed Elmohamady, Hull’s busy right back, who was his team’s top man once again on Monday, broke forward aggressively. His bright, pinpoint delivery could not have been better, finding Graham at the far post for the tidy put-away, only the 13th  goal for Hull this year. Just two PL clubs have scored fewer, in fact.

(MORE: Updated Premier League standings)

Hull had a good defensive plan and kept Swansea, troubled this year to get the job done at home, from any real penetration before the break. The Swans had plenty of possession, but little in dangerous areas.

Swansea got itself together and ramped up the pressure after the break, and the equalizer finally arrived after a 60th minute short corner. Jonjo Shelvey banged a ball hard from the left side, one that Hull just couldn’t deal with. It was Chico, Swansea’s Spanish midfielder, credited with the goal, which possibly came off his arm.

Speaking of arms for the home team: the visitors were denied a seemingly obvious penalty kick when Swansea’s Dwight Tiendalli brought his hands together around his chest in the 70th minute, an seriously odd piece of work. Referee Martin Atkinson, who appeared to have a good view of it, declined to call what looked like something so obvious.

LINEUPS

Swansea: Tremmel, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Canas, de Guzman, Shelvey, Dyer, Hernandez (Routledge, 67th), Michu

Hull City: McGregor, Figueroa, Bruce, Chester, Davies, Meyler, Huddlestone, Graham (Koren, 65th), Livermore, Sagbo, Elmohamady

GOALS

Hull City – Graham, 8th minute

Swansea – Chico, 60th minute

Minnesota’s Molino lifts Trinidad and Tobago to big win (video)

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Minnesota United attacker Kevin Molino has given Trinidad and Tobago life in the race to win a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

Molino’s 37th minute goal gave hosts T&T a 1-0 lead against visiting Panama at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday, and the Soca Warriors held on to win its first points of qualifying.

Panama had a Luis Tejada goal controversially ruled offside as Los Canaleros nearly pulled their fifth point of the Hex. Panama faces the USMNT on Tuesday in Panama City.

[ WATCH: Zaha scores wonder vs. Russia ]

Molino fooled long time LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with a low shot across the body. The Panama backstop couldn’t get low enough or far enough with his dive to stop the shot.

The win has T&T in fifth place on the Hex table, behind Honduras on goal differential and three points ahead of the last place USMNT.

The U.S. needs a two-goal win to pass T&T, and a three-goal win to climb above Honduras.

WATCH: Zaha drives Russia nuts with mazy dribble goal

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Wilfried Zaha combined balance, deft touch, and breakneck speed to score his first international goal for the Ivory Coast.

With his side leading Russia 1-0 on Friday, the Crystal Palace winger worked his way through four defenders before burying his shot.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Zaha especially fooled with Ilya Kutepov, a harsh cut nearly tipping both to the field.

He’s just 24, and it seems much longer ago that he made his failed move to Manchester United in 2013.

Failed may be a rough verb considering it all contributed to making him the player he is for Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast today.

Everton loses Coleman to leg break on Ireland duty

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A horror tackle from Wales’ Neil Taylor snapped Seamus Coleman‘s leg in gruesome fashion on Friday.

Taylor was given a red card, and Coleman was stretched off the pitch in the 0-0 draw.

[ MORE: UEFA World Cup qualifying wrap ]

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill confirmed what was apparent from the match replay: the Everton man has a broken ankle.

“It’s a bad break. He’s a fantastic player and character. It’s a major blow for the lad, his club and us.

“Apparently it wasn’t the best challenge in the world – I haven’t seen it. He’s gone to hospital. I saw his reaction immediately and it didn’t look good. He was holding is leg up and it didn’t look good.

This is not only awful for the player, but causes stress as Everton mounts its assault on the Top Six. The right back has also manned right mid for Ronald Koeman this season, and has four goals and four assists in 26 Premier League matches.

Mason Holgate, Muhamed Besic, and Phil Jagielka have played some right back for Everton, while Ramiro Funes Mori has deputized at left back.

Emotional McClean speaks after honoring deceased teammate (video)

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After wearing the No. 5 to honor of his recently deceased teammate, James McClean met with the media following Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Wales in World Cup qualifying on Friday.

McClean played with Ryan McBride at Derry City, and left Ireland camp to attend funeral services after McBride died following a match last weekend. McClean was also mourning the death of friend and Sinn Féin politician Martin McGuinness.

Throw in a gruesome injury to teammate Seamus Coleman and, in McClean’s words, “I’ve had better weeks”.

[ MORE: UEFA World Cup qualifying wrap ]

McClean, 27, spoke with evident emotion following a Man of the Match turn in Ireland’s draw (video below).

“It was a really tough week. The lads here have been great. They rallied around me. The manager was first class as well. He let me go up to Derry there on Tuesday and say my goodbyes. It’s been a tough week with Seamus injury as well. It’d been nice if we had have got a win and ended on a positive note, but it wasn’t to be.

“(McBride and McGuinness) were going through my thoughts today. I wanted to put in a performance that would make them proud. In the national anthem and the moment’s applause, holding my wee girl, it was emotional but I tried to put that in the right way into my performance. Hopefully tonight I’ve done the lads proud.”