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Everton 4-1 Fulham: Coleman and Barry ensure normality at Goodison Park over Fulham (video)

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Fulham went into halftime a goal down and brought it back level on a penalty, but Seamus Coleman and Gareth Barry restored order and gave Everton all three points in a 4-1 win at Goodison Park.

Leon Osman had the opener for Everton early, and the 1-0 lead stood for a while before Dimitar Berbatov finished from the spot to give the visitors hope, but their Goodison Park woes continue.

The match had a bit of a dull start, with both sides looking to win the possession game and solidify themselves with deliberate build-up play.

Fulham won that battle early on, but couldn’t produce much of anything in the opening 15 minutes.

Everton played on the counter-attack mostly, looking to build more, and their fluidity bought them the opener.

In the 18th minute Bryan Oviedo on the wing found Setven Pienaar who sliced back for Leon Osman making a run, and the midfielder cut back from right foot to left foot before letting fly past Stekelenburg from the top of the box.

Everton sprung to life after the goal, and Romelu Lukaku would have had a second on a header if Stekelenburg had not saved beautifully from close range.

They pushed again after the half-hour mark, with Gerard Deulofeu continuing to harass the Fulham left flank. Osman had a good chance at a second from deep but his bending shot went wide left.

source: AP
Gareth Barry conceded a penalty in the second half, but made amends with a cleanup goal – Everton’s third – to ensure the result.

After the halftime break Fulham pressed early, with Scott Parker coming close in the first two minutes. Then again some bright play from the away side saw Steve Sidwell fire off a shot which was deflected directly to Kacaniklic all alone in front of goal, but he blazed over, missing a sitter with nobody but Howard to stop him.

With the early chances wasted, Fulham were back to defending Everton’s smart build-up play.

Unfortunate circumstances struck Martinez and Everton, as the bright Deulofeu went down injured and had to be stretchered off on 60 minutes, replaced by Kevin Mirallas.

Fulham asked a few questions, and found their answer in the 65th minute when Alex Kacaniklic was fouled by Gareth Barry in the edge of the box. It’s the second week in a row Kacaniklic has won a penalty, smartly inviting contact by shielding the ball with his body and easing into the defender.

Dimitar Berbatov finished the penalty easily, wrong-footing Howard for level terms.

It wouldn’t last long though, as Everton didn’t change a thing and found another reward. Steven Pienaar made a run and Lukaku found him in traffic.  Pienaar’s cross was initially stopped by a diving Stekelenburg, but it spilled through his hands and Seamus Coleman was there to collect and finish into the empty net.

Everton, with their lead restored, had he same for their confidence, and they’d put it away in the 85th minute when Gareth Barry got the close-range rebound from a Stekelenburg save and poked it home off his head.

Kevin Mirallas made it 4-1, a trinket of his own at the death, as he wrong-footed Stekelenburg from distance in injury time.

The loss means Fulham have now gone 26 league matches without a win at Goodison Park, and only four points overall.

Everton take the three points and move above Liverpool temporarily into fourth place with 31 points.

Fulham remain in 18th place still looking to edge their way out of the relegation zone.

GOALS:

Everton – Osman 18′, Coleman 73′, Barry 85′, Mirallas 90’+4
Fulham – Berbatov 63′ (pen)

LINEUPS:

Everton – Howard; Oviedo, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman; Barry, Osman, Pienaar (Stones 88′), Barkley, Deulofeu (Mirallas 63′); Lukaku.

Fulham – Stekelenburg; Riise, Senderos, Hughes, Riether; Parker, Sidwell, Karagounis (Bent 78′), Kacaniklic (Kasami 69′), Dejagah; Berbatov.

West Ham want Payet to sign new contract for fear of losing him this summer

Dimitri Payet, West Ham United FC (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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Dimitri Payet is going to be a red-hot commodity during this summer’s transfer window, there’s no doubt about it.

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Given he’s currently contracted to one of the Premier League’s “smaller” clubs — in comparison to some of the giants which are bound to be interested — West Ham United, there’s a decent-to-good chance he could be wearing a different club’s shirt come August. Especially if the 28-year-old attacker shows up and shows out at this summer’s European Championship in his native France.

If I can foresee the interest in Payet, then so too can the executives at West Ham, which is why manager Slaven Bilic took to the press on Monday to convey his desire for Payet to consider signing a new, increased contract at his earliest convenience — quotes from the Guardian:

“We are moving, the club is moving, with the new stadium, with the revenue and everything. We have to move and the most important move is to keep your best players and to add some new players who are needed and Dimitri Payet is our best player — I have no problem whatsoever to say that. Of course, I would love to have him happy, long term, at the club.”

Of course West Ham want Payet to sign a new deal immediately — doing so would accomplish two things in the club’s eyes: 1) increase the likelihood he remains at the club next season, or 2) insure the club receives a higher transfer fee for the player if he leaves in the summer anyway. The more total money remaining on his West Ham contract, the more they can demand of a prospective buyer.

[ MORE: Ronaldo commits himself to Real Madrid through 2018 ]

From Payet’s side — unless he has absolutely zero desire to move to a club like Liverpool, Chelsea or Manchester United, where he’d likely be paid close to $200,000 per week — he’d be crazy to sign a new contract at this point. Not only would it make a move this summer more difficult, but a strong showing at EURO 2016 could be worth another $15,000 or $20,000 per week on a new contract with West Ham.

With as many as five seasons still remaining on his current contract (a one-year club option can be exercised at any point), and his stock perhaps at an all-time high, the next six months could hold Payet’s last chance to get really, really paid before he hits the downside of his career.

USWNT players’ union responds in USSF lawsuit

FILE - In this Sunday, July 5, 2015 file photo, the United States Women's National Team celebrates with the trophy after they beat Japan 5-2 in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The U.S. Soccer Federation’s original lawsuit against the union for its champion women’s national team has been sealed after the governing body realized it had disclosed the home addresses and email accounts of many players, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016.(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
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(AP) — The union that represents the Women’s World Cup-winning American national team opposed an expedited schedule in the lawsuit filed against it by the U.S. Soccer Federation last week, insisting no collective bargaining agreement exists.

The federation sued in an attempt to establish it has a contract with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association that runs through this year’s Olympics until Dec. 31. The union maintains the memorandum of understanding agreed to in March 2013 can be terminated at any time.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USWNT coverage ]

The USSF filed a motion Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago asking for an expedited schedule, and the submitted opposition papers Monday that claim “facts asserted in the motion are nowhere near accurate and are hotly disputed.”

The union also maintains the USSF knew about the disagreement since July but did nothing about it.

An initial status conference is set for April 4.

Lionel Messi to undergo tests for lingering kidney problems

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi holds the ball during a quarterfinal, second leg, Copa del Rey soccer match against Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says Lionel Messi is to undergo medical tests to assess a recurrence of kidney problems.

[ MORE: Saturday’s La Liga roundup | Barca win on Sunday

Messi missed the Club World Cup semifinal in December due to a renal colic, an abdominal ailment often related to the presence of kidney stones within renal ducts.

Barcelona says in a statement Monday that the tests to be conducted by Tuesday at the latest, are “to assess the evolution of the kidney problem he suffered last December.”

[ MORE: Champions League returns next week — KO round matchups ]

The statement says Messi will resume training with the squad on Wednesday, when Barcelona travels to Valencia for the return leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals in which it carries a 7-0 lead.

Qatari official says World Cup drunks will be treated “very gently”

In this photo taken during a government organized media tour, laborers work at the Al-Wakra Stadium that is under construction for the 2022 World Cup, in Doha, Qatar, Monday, May 4, 2015. Qatar’s top labor official told The Associated Press Monday that Qatar’s inability to ensure decent housing for its bulging migrant labor population was “a mistake” the government is working to fix as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup, vowing his country would improve conditions for its vast foreign labor force. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
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One of the biggest unanswered questions still hanging over the 2022 World Cup — at least for fans traveling to Qatar for the tournament — has to do with the rules and regulations placed upon their consumption of alcohol.

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On Monday, Hassan Al Thawadi, the head of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup committee, attempted to ease those fears when he said that not only will the consumption of alcohol be permitted during the tournament in six years’ time, but that in the event of public drunkenness, the visitors in question will be dealt with quickly and “very gently” — quotes from the Guardian:

“I know in South Africa there where specific courts established during the World Cup for this kind of thing, and that is something we were discussing with FIFA.”

“In relation to drunk fans it will be as it is anywhere else, anyone who is rowdy, anyone who breaches the law, will be very gently – depending on how they react – taken care of in a manner to make sure that people are not disrupting the public order. Everyone will be able to have fun and be exposed to Qatari culture.”

“We welcome everyone in the world. We’ve hosted many people, from many places and [drinking] was never an issue. This will be a fun World Cup. It will be one of the best cups out there.”