Southampton 1-0 West Bromwich Albion: Lallana seals win for the Saints (video)

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Southampton beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 at St. Mary’s on Saturday, as England international Adam Lallana scored the only goal goal of the game in a tight-affair on the South Coast.

The Saints dominated for vast swathes of the match but were guilty of wasting several opportunities, especially in the first half. However Lallana came to Saints’ rescue as the captain latched onto a marvelous reverse pass from Gaston Ramirez in the 66th minute, then smashed home the game-winner.

With the victory Saints move onto 30 points and stay in ninth, while West Brom’s new manager Pepe Mel watched on from the stands as the defeat means his side are just three points above the relegation zone.

The game started off brightly, as Southampton’s high-pressure approach paid dividends with chances falling to Lallana and Jay Rodriguez.

Saints came in the 10th minute as Lambert worked some space in the box but dragged his left-footed effort just wide of Ben Foster’s post.

As the first half continued West Brom became more of a force, as Steven Reid’s free kick whizzed just over the bar. Southampton looked to get back on top but several sloppy passes curbed their progress, as the Baggies limited the homoe side to long-range efforts.

(MORE: Latest Premier League Standings)

Lambert went close for Southampton before the break, as Steven Davis’ delicate chip towards the back post found the England internaional but he riffled his volley high and wide.

After the break Saints again started brightly as Rodriguez raced clear but smashed his effort past West Brom ‘keeper Foster but also past the the post as the St. Mary’s faithful let out gasps of despair. But in the 66th minute the long-awaited breakthrough finally arrived, as substitute Gaston Ramirez flicked a delicious reverse pass into Lallana and saints’ skipper finished with aplomb to put the home side 1-0 up.

Saints had several chances to extend their lead but West Brom almost snatched a late equalizer as Shane Long was denied at point-blank range by Southampton ‘keeper Artur Boruc. The Polish shot-stopper had just returned from injury and showed  lightning quick reflexes to deny Long and hand Southampton just their second win in their last 10 games.


Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork (Ramirez, 62), Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Lallana (Ward-Prowse, 84), Rodriguez (Do Prado, 90), Lambert

Goal: Lallana (66)

West Brom: Foster, Reid, McAuley (Gera, 81), Olsson, Ridgewell, Amalfitano (Vydra, 86), Morrison, Mulumbu, Brunt, Anelka (Berahino, 77), Long

Cisse arrested in sex tape investigation

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Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse is embroiled in a bizarre investigation into the extortion of a sex tape.

The 34-year-old French striker has been arrested by French police who have confirmed that are investigating attempts to bribe another international footballer.

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Unconfirmed reports from France claim that the individual in question is France and Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, a former teammate of Cisse at both Marseille and with the French national team.

According to Reuters news agency, Cisse was questioned because he was familiar with the people involved and in total four individuals were arrested as it is alleged they plotted to ask for money from Valbuena for the sex tape to not be released. It is unclear if the tape is of Valbeuna and his partner Fanny Lafon, or if other individuals are involved.

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Cisse won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and scored 24 goals in 79 games during his three-year stay at Anfield until 2007. He also had spells with Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, while he is currently out of contract after being released by Ligue 1 side Bastia following nine goals in 41 appearances. Cisse is due to appear on the French version of “Dancing with the Stars” in the coming months.

Further reports from France say that Cisse is expected to be “exonerated” and that the existence of the video is “not proven” at this point.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?