FA Cup sees Fulham bounce back, eliminate Norwich City 3-0

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This weekend, Fulham looked like the worst team in the Premier League. Tonight at Craven Cottage, however, René Meulensteen’s team were on a different level than Norwich City – more of an indictment of the visiting Canaries than the recovering Whites.  Losing 3-0 in West London, Chris Hughton’s team was escorted out of the FA Cup, failing to challenge a team that lost 4-1 on the same ground three days earlier.

The Cottagers took advantage of a weak Norwich left side to score two goals before halftime. The first, coming after 15 minutes, saw Pajtim Kasami beat the Canaries to a ball at the byline before cutting his pass back for Ashkan Dejagah. The Iranian international allowed the ball to run to Darren Bent nine yards from goal, with the Fulham striker putting his shot just wide of Mark Bunn to make it 1-0.

Four minutes before half time, Dejagah scored on a similar play, with Alexander Kacaniklic getting behind the defense before play the ball far post to his open teammate. The easy finish sent the Cottagers into intermission up 2-0.

In the 68th minute, another surprisingly easy goal put the match away, with Sascha Reiter’s cross from Fulham’s right finding Steve Sidwell at the far post. Redirecting his header home, the Cottagers’ midfielder gave the home side a lead they’d carry to full-time, reversing the three-goal embarrassment they suffered on Saturday.

Coming off a disastrous result against Sunderland, Fulham gave fans reason to believe their team is more erratic than bad. With goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and defender Brede Hangeland’s returns producing the team’s first clean sheet since Dec. 8, there were some faint hints Tuesday’s win could be a legitimate turnaround. Even on top of a 3-0 win, there was a silver lining.

Norwich’s performance, however, prevents any broad conclusions. The ease with which Fulham produced their goals didn’t reflect superior performance or particularly clever tactics. With conventional, straight forward attacks down their right, Fulham made Norwich look inept – unable to defend the most basics play you’ll see in top-flight of English soccer.

Though they took care of business on Tuesday, Fulham will have to wait until their Saturday trip to Arsenal to see if they’ve made any meaningful progress from Saturday’s loss. Norwich, on the other hand, lip out of the Cup hoping to show more fight Saturday against Hull.


Third round matches
Charlton Athletic 2-2 Oxford United
Birmingham City 3-0 Bristol Rovers
AFC Bournemouth 4-1 Burton Albion

Third round replays
Watford 2-0 Bristol City
Peterborough United 2-3 Kidderminster Harriers
Milton Keynes Dons 1-3 (a.e.t) Wigan Athletic
Sheffield Wednesday 4-1 Macclesfield Town
Preston North End 3-2 Ipswich Town
Plymouth Argyle 2-3 Port Vale

Blatter, Platini both officially appeal FIFA suspension

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 25:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini look on during the Team Seminar ahead of the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Corinthia Hotel on July 25, 2015 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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Suspended FIFA executives Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have both officially appealed their 90-day bans through various means in attempts to clear their names.

The pair have been forced to temporarily vacate their office due to an investigation by Swiss authorities into corruption charges based on a “disloyal payment” of around $2 million from Blatter to Platini in 2011.

Blatter’s appeal was lodged within FIFA on Friday, with the president’s lawyer confirming he has “requested additional proceedings before the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee and filed an appeal with the Appeal Committee.”

Blatter’s American lawyer Richard Cullen said he is “very hopeful” the suspension will be lifted on appeal, while his lawyer team back on Thursday argued in a statement that the FIFA Ethics Committee “based its decision [to suspend Blatter] on a misunderstanding of the actions of the attorney general in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the president.”

The New York Times obtained a copy of the appeal, in which Blatter’s lawyers demand to see the case file which the Ethics Committee reviewed upon its decision to suspend the 79-year-old. It also asks that he receive a full opportunity to argue his innocence in front of the committee; previously, he was only afforded a short interview with Swiss investigators.

Meanwhile, Platini’s appeal came through Saturday morning and is filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. His case has received official, legal backing from the French FA as his home nominating association for the upcoming presidential election. Using the French FA’s support, Platini can bypass the FIFA appeals system which he individually must exhaust before moving to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CONMEBOL has also publicly supported Platini, issuing a statement that says it “does not agree” with the decision to suspend him, calling it “untimely and disproportionate” while stating, “The presumption of innocence is a fundamental right that has to be considered. Mr. Platini has not been found guilty of any charge, therefore the provisional ban jeopardizes the integrity of the electoral process to the FIFA presidency, of which Mr. Platini is a candidate.”

The FIFA Executive Committee has announced it will hold an emergency meeting on October 20 to discuss the situation. Among the topics that will be considered will be a decision on whether to postpone the February 26 presidential election.

Emerson Hyndman says he wishes to leave Fulham amid contract standoff

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 28: Emerson Hyndman of Fulham celebrates after scoring the team's second goal during the FA Youth Cup Final: First Leg match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage on April 28, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
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Emerson Hyndman is stuck in an endless circle at his home club Fulham, and the only way out he sees would be to leave.

With his contract set to expire in the upcoming summer, Fulham has been pushing hard for the 19-year-old to lock down a long-term deal as many of his teammates have done in the recent months. Unfortunately, due to reported interest from abroad from teams like Borussia Dortmund, plus others in La Liga and the Dutch Eredivisie, Hyndman has been unwilling to do so thus far.

As a result, the USMNT prospect has seen little playing time, with manager Kit Symons understandably unwilling to let him see the field while he refuses to commit his future to the club. Hyndman has just eight minutes of League Cup play to his name so far this campaign.

Hyndman blames the lack of action as the main reason why he wants to depart, telling American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta that he would like to move on.

“It’s a little difficult right now,” he said. “I’ve told them in the past that I think it’s time for me to move on. There are clubs out there that are interested and that I am excited about, so it’s difficult for me right now, and I can’t see myself getting too many first-team minutes. I feel that I had a good preseason, and I thought I might get a chance, but I am really looking forward to the future more than anything.

Unfortunately, that seems a bit unfair to his club. Why would a Championship club looking to build from within give significant minutes to a player who refuses to sign a long-term deal and looks set to leave in the summer? Then he tags the lack of playing time as the reason he wants to leave. It all seems to be a never-ending cycle.

Hyndman joined the Fulham youth setup at age 15 and flourished last season, making both his club first-team debut and earning a cap with the senior national team. He is currently with the U-23 Olympic team leading the charge for Rio 2016 qualification.

There is no doubting Hyndman’s abilities on the field, but for his sake, he needs to sort out his club situation as quickly as possible to further his growth as a midfielder.