Thomas Ince

Crystal Palace 3-1 West Brom: Debutants shine as Palace bag vital win (video)

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Crystal Palace made it five wins from seven home games under Tony Pulis, as the Eagles stormed past relegation rivals West Brom 3-1 at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Two debutants put Palace ahead, after Thomas Ince and Joe Ledley both scored in the first half at Selhurst Park as they made an immediate impact since arriving on transfer deadline day.

Just after the break West Brom got back into it as substitute Thievy Bifouma came off the bench for his debut and scored after 36 seconds on the pitch. Then fellow sub Scott Sinclair forced Palace ‘keeper Julian Speroni into a great save in the 68th minute as the Baggies pushed for an equalizer. Moments later Marouane Chamakh was brought down at the other end by WBA ‘keeper Ben Foster and the Moroccan striker dusted himself off to make it 3-1.

The vital three points see Palace climb to 13th place on 26 points, while West Brom slip into the relegation zone on 23 points after this telling defeat.

(Latest Premier League Standings)

Palace went close to opening the scoring as new signing Ince whipped in a great corner that Dikgacoi looped goalwards but Youssuf Mulumbu cleared off the line.

Good defending by the visitors but it was a bright start from the Eagles.

And they were rewarded for that in the 14th minute when Ince grabbed a debut goal as Yannick Bolasie surged at the Baggies defense and the young England winger stole in and chipped home superbly to make it 1-0 to the Eagles. West Brom came back into the game after going behind but failed to carve out any clear cut chances.

Then another debutant scored his first Palace goal, as deadline day signing Ledley from Celtic headed home after a good cross from Jason Puncehon to make it 2-0 to Palace at half time.

In the first attack of the second half half time sub Sinclair got the ball on the left and linked up with fellow sub Thievy, who scored his first goal for West Brom, also on his debut, to make it 2-1 in the 46th minute.

The Baggies were buoyed by that goal and almost equalized in the 66th minute as Sinclair was stopped by a superb save from Palace ‘keeper Julian Speroni. Moments later that save looked even better as Chamakh was tripped in the box by West Brom ‘keeper Ben Foster and referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot.

Chamakh dusted himself off and slotted in the PK to make it 3-1 to Palace, to seal yet another home win for the Eagles.


Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Ledley, Puncheon (Murray, 72), Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bolasie (Parr, 76), Ince, Chamakh (Thomas, 83)

Goals: Ince (14), Ledley (27), Chamakh (69)

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Dawson, Ridgewell (Sinclair, 45), Yacob (Berahino, 71), Mulumbu, Gera (Thievy, 45), Morrison, Brunt, Anichebe

Goal: Thievy (46)

FOLLOW LIVE: 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round

Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer, center, is congratulated by teammates, including midfielder Roger Espinoza (27), following his goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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The knockout round of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs concludes on Thursday, as four teams vie for the final two places — one in the Eastern Conference, one in the Western Conference — in the conference semifinals, which begin on Sunday.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round ]

Up first, the East’s fourth-seeded D.C. United welcome the five-seed Montreal Impact to RFK Stadium for the two sides’ third meeting of the 2016 season. Each of the year’s first two clashes finished a 1-1 draw, in July and August. Didier Drogba is expected to be unavailable for the win-or-go-home tie. United finished the regular season with four wins in the last five games, while the Impact won just two of their last eight.

[ MORE: Preivewing Thursday night’s knockout-round games ]

In the nightcap, the West’s fourth-seeded Seattle Sounders will take on the five-side, Sporting Kansas City, at CenturyLink Field. Sporting were victorious in both regular-season meetings this year — 1-0 on opening day, and 3-0 in late-July, the day the Sounders essentially quit on Sigi Schmid. Since that blistering hot day in KC, the Soudners have lost just twice in 14 games (eight wins, four draws).

Thursday’s MLS Cup Playoffs schedule

D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC — 10 p.m. ET

Cristiano Ronaldo says Ashley Cole is the toughest player he faced

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Cristiano Ronaldo has faced the best defenders in the world during his time with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team.

He has also caused fits for most of those defenders with goal after goal for club and country. But, there have been some players who have at least made it difficult for the all-time leading goal scorer in Real Madrid and Champions League history.

According to Ronaldo, former Chelsea and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole was the toughest player he has faced in his career.

[ MORE: VIDEO: Incredible Pelle goal in China ]

“Over the years I had some great battles with Ashley Cole, he does not give you a second to breathe,” Ronaldo told Coach Mag. “He was such a tenacious player when he was at his peak, quick, tough in the tackle. You knew it would never be an easy game.”

During his time with Manchester United, Ronaldo faced Cole on numerous occasions while Cole was with Arsenal and Chelsea. The two have also faced off in international competition between Ronaldo’s Portugal and Cole’s England.

It’s certainly high praise for Cole, who now plays in MLS for the LA Galaxy. At the age of 35, Cole has started 25 matches for the Galaxy this season, scoring one goal.

Phil Neville praises Juan Mata’s play to Manchester United

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Juan Mata has appeared in 116 matches for Manchester United since moving to Old Trafford in 2014. In that time, Mata has scored 29 goals and recorded 18 assists.

Despite his performance for the team, some thought Mata would be moved when Jose Mourinho came to town, including former United player and assistant coach Phil Neville.

Neville told Sky Sports, “I actually thought he would be the first out of the door when Jose came, but he’s actually becoming one of the most important players.”

Neville praised Mata’s contributions and versatility for United. “He is never injured, he provides a lot of assists, he plays in two or three different positions, and he scores important goals.”

Manchester United has lacked an identity under Mourinho and recently faltered in the Premier League as the team is winless in its last three matches.

[ MORE: Mourinho gets FA charge ]

Could Mata be the answer to some of United’s problems?

The Spaniard is a classic No. 10 with the ability to dictate his team’s attack and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. Mata can also put the ball in the back of the net as evidenced by his winner against Manchester City in the EFL Cup.

Mourinho has options in the center midfield with the likes of Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick in addition to Mata on the roster.

However, given the team’s Premier League struggles, it could be worth giving Mata a chance as the team’s No. 10.

David Moyes faces FA charges after being sent off during EFL Cup

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David Moyes and Sunderland have gotten off to one of the worst starts in Premier League history.

If they fail to earn a point against Arsenal this weekend, they will tie the 1995-96 Manchester City team for the worst start ever through 10 matches with two points.

It appears those frustrations carried over to the EFL Cup for Moyes. On Wednesday, the manager was forced to leave the dugout toward the end of Sunderland’s 1-0 loss to Southampton after he protested a no-call from referee Chris Kavanagh.

Moyes was charged by the FA for his protests, saying the manager “used abusive and/or insulting words towards a match official”.

It’s just another thing to add to Moyes’ plate as he looks to keep Sunderland’s hopes of safety alive in the Premier League.