Newcastle 1-1 Southampton: Wasteful Magpies fail to capitalize as Southampton steal away point (video)

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A number of gaping chances for Newcastle went begging but Loic Remy couldn’t finish as Jay Rodriguez ensured a point for visiting Southampton at St. James Park.

Southampton were on top of the possession battle early on, owning 67% of the time in the first half hour.

Despite the early jabs by Southampton, the opening chance fell to Newcastle’s Loic Remy, and it was a gaping opportunity.

Shola Ameobi found himself with space on the edge of the box in the 12th minute, and he cut it back for Remy with the goalkeeper having come out to challenge. The goal was gaping, but Calum Chambers cleared it off the line with a solid block.

Southampton began to build an attack of their own, and a few dangerous balls into the box developed a chance or two. James Ward-Prowse let fly in the 16th but it bent right to Jussi Jaaskelainen down low.

Newcastle found the breakthrough finally in the 27th minute, thanks to a bit of a mistake at the back by Southampton. With a long-distance free kick coming in, Mike Williamson put a head on the ball towards the front of the goal.

The ball fell to Saints defender Jos Hooiveld, but he whiffed entirely on the clear, and the ball instead found Yoan Gouffran who skipped past Gazzaniga and finished into the empty net.

source: Getty Images
Loic Remy missed a pair of sitters that left Newcastle with just a single point.

The second half came and both teams traded blows, but nobody could capitalize.

Finally Southampton made the most of a chance, but it didn’t come from a build-up as they’d been trying to do all match.

It was a counter-attack that leveled for the visitors, as Jay Rodriguez broke with the two-on-one, and he played brilliantly with Steven Davis, and Rodriguez received the ball back perfectly just onsides before a first-touch finish.

The game exploded open. Southampton came close to going ahead just minutes later, and then Newcastle bungled a wonderful opportunity to retake the lead, as Loic Remy botched his second clear chance of the match.

After Newcastle pressed a bit, Paulo Gazzaniga gave the ball right back to Remy, and with nobody around Remy blasted well over with a chance to kill off the visitors.

Referee Mike Jones had a very rough last few minutes.

Moussa Sissoko was attempting to help up Gazzaniga during a stoppage of play as time wound down, but Gazzaniga didn’t appreciate the assistance. He pushed Sissoko’s hand away, and a flailing elbow caught Jones in the face, knocking him to the ground. Flagrant 1!

Jones received treatment for a bloodied nose, and not moments later he was called into action again. A bench fracas broke out, with assistant coaches from both sides getting into a tussle the referee was forced to break up.

It’s an unfortunate draw for both sides, but Newcastle will be disappointed with the result having wasted a number of chances.  They fail to jump Tottenham Hotspur, instead drawing even with Spurs on points in sixth position.

Southampton also could have desperately used three points, but will be a little happier with the away result as they go two clear of Manchester United in eighth place.


Newcastle – Gouffran 27′
Southampton – Rodriguez 65′


Newcastle – Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon (Haidara 78′); Sissoko, Anita, Tiote, Gouffran (Ben Arfa 73′); Shola Ameobi (Cisse 60′), Remy.

Southampton – Gazzaniga; Chambers, Lovren, Hooiveld, Shaw; Cork, S. Davis, Ward-Prowse (Lallana 45′), Rodriguez; Lambert, Osvaldo (Schneiderlin 45′).

Xabi Alonso denies Spanish accusations of tax fraud

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The list of players pursued by Spanish authorities crying tax fraud is starting to resemble a pretty good team,

Call it The Longest Yard: La Liga.

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Xabi Alonso is being accused of not paying taxes on his image rights while a player at Real Madrid, joining Radamel Falcao, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, and Cristiano Ronaldo as World XI-caliber players who’ve faced legal troubles in Spain.

Jose Mourinho even had to travel to Spain earlier this season to face accusations from a Spanish court. Those found guilty have found punishment other than jail time.

Alonso denies any wrongdoing, according to Sky Sports:

Prosecutors say he defrauded the Spanish state of £1.75m between 2010 and 2012 and called for the same sentence to be applied to Alonso’s financial advisor Ivan Zaldua Azcuenaga and the administrator of consultancy shell company, Ignasi Maestre Casanova.

Iraq hosts friendly tournament after 3-decade FIFA ban

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BAGHDAD (AP) Iraq is hosting a friendly soccer tournament this week, with Syria and Qatar.

It comes just days after FIFA lifted a three-decade-long ban on Iraq hosting international competitions.

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An Iraq-Qatar match is to start Wednesday evening in the southern city of Basra.

FIFA lifted the ban on Monday for Iraqi cities of Basra, Karbala and Irbil, considered to be the safest in Iraq – but not the capital, Baghdad, which still sees frequent militant attacks.

Iraq’s minister of youth and sports, Abdul-Hussein Abtan, congratulated the Iraqi people following FIFA’s move and said it would change how Iraq is viewed in the region and beyond.

While the ban was in place, Iraq was still able to host friendly games and tournaments.

$280m? Who cares? Salah is the rare “unsellable” player


The gossip reports are out there, with lofty claims that Real Madrid and Barcelona are willing to pay as much as $280 million dollars for Mohamed Salah.

Normally that figure triggers something in my brain that screams, “Sell! Sell! Sell before they realize what they’ve offered!”

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That’s not happening with Mohamed Salah.

This isn’t an inflated fee for a young English player like Ross Barkley or John Stones, nor is it a club throwing a lofty and desperate figure at a very good but supremely overvalued player like Philippe Coutinho. Even Raheem Sterling, who I advocated selling, has proven replaceable.

In the case of Salah, his Golden Boot figure is likely to dwarf any in the Premier League era. He’s at 28, three behind Luis Suarez’s 31. Cristiano Ronaldo has bagged 31 once Alan Shearer and Andy Cole hold the modern record with 34.

Salah needs six to tie Shearer. Here’s Liverpool’s run-in: Crystal Palace (A), Everton (A), Bournemouth (H), West Brom (A), Stoke City (H), Chelsea (A), Brighton and Hove Albion (H).

Five of those teams absolutely hemorrhage goals. Would you bet against Salah?

By the way, Salah has 10 assists, too. Sure Jurgen Klopp deserves credit for buying and deploying the Egyptian wizard, but

When Klopp argued that Liverpool was not a selling club, this is the exact example to follow. Selling Coutinho — again, not trying to poke the bear that is ornery overvaluing fan — is fine in a world where your club has Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah

But selling one of Europe’s leading scorers is almost never okay for a club challenging for a Champions League crown and with the clear caliber of a Premier League title hunter.

I’d argue that for this club, one who has sold Coutinho and Suarez, there is not a fee that meets Salah straight-on.  He’s 25 and living in the air just below Lionel Messi and Neymar.

The Messi comparisons I keep reading are fun but still unbelievably premature by every stretch of the imagination. By the time Messi was Salah’s age he had league seasons of 34, 31, 50, and was en route to a 46-goal mark. He posted 68 combined assists over those four seasons.

If this is somehow an aberration, and Salah cannot find this form ever again, well, that’s bad luck and a risk worth its weight in standard setting.

There is not a replacement player.

There is no fee.

Say it again now.

Dangerous playmaker Silva joins Montreal Impact (video)

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Alejandro Silva’s got a creative mind, and that’s something Montreal will welcome with open arms.

The Uruguayan signed with the Impact this week, joining Ignacio Piatti and Saphir Taider as playmakers in Quebec.

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Silva, 28, is a right-sided and forward-playing attacker who can also play right back if necessary.

The Impact lost two of three to start the season, winning this weekend’s 401 Derby versus Toronto FC to put a number in the win column.

Lanus has been a fertile ground for Major League Soccer clubs in recent years, with Lucas Melano (Portland Timbers) and Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United) making the move to North America.

The South American club has also sent Gustavo Gomez to AC Milan and Oscar Benitez to Benfica.