You certainly have to like Felix Magath’s optimism, which can be more easily swallowed after a good result today. Yes, it would have been much better for the debuting manager had Fulham held on and took all three points at the Hawthorns.
Still, a point at West Brom (in a 1-1 draw) isn’t an awful outcome for Fulham’s increasingly desperate doings.
Magath says he is certain the last-place Cottagers – a team so close to so many American hearts due to all the U.S. internationals who have passed happily through Craven Cottage over the last 10 or so years – will remain in the Premier League.
He said so before Saturday’s match and refused to come off that stance afterward.
“I was sure before the game and I am sure now,” he said after Saturday’s draw. “We were close to winning against West Brom and the next game we will win. It is only against Chelsea!”
Plucky fellow, eh?
Here’s the issue: Magath will have to instill that kind of genuine, unbending confidence in his charges, because the schedule gets harder before it starts softening a bit. The Cottagers finish with matches at home in the last five weeks against Norwich, Hull and Crystal Palace – all contests in which supporters of the West London side can arrive with realistic hopes of Ws.
But the toughies are lined up ahead of what will surely be a late, gripping dash to the wire; there are plenty of matches that would ring the bell of “big upset” if Fulham can take a point or three.
Here is what Fulham’s final 11 matches look like:
- vs. Chelsea
- at Cardiff
- vs. Newcastle
- at Manchester City
- vs. Everton
- at Aston Villa
- vs. Norwich
- at Tottenham
- vs. Hull
- at Stoke City
- vs. Crystal Palace
LIMA, Peru (AP) Peru has extradited the country’s former soccer boss to the United States for his alleged involvement in a multibillion-dollar FIFA bribery scandal involving marketing and broadcasting rights.
Manuel Burga was sent to New York on a commercial flight before dawn on Friday.
He has been in jail since December 2015 as part of the investigation. Peru’s Supreme Court in June cleared the way for his extradition and President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski signed a decree authorizing the move a week ago.
Burga oversaw Peru’s football federation for more than a decade until 2014. He has denied any wrongdoing.
While the battle for MLS Cup 2016 has been dwindled down to two sides, the rest of the league continues to make roster transactions in preparation for next season.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
The San Jose Earthquakes announced on Friday that the club has exercised options on six players, including goalkeeper David Bingham, Fatai Alashe, Kip Colvey and Victor Bernardez.
Additionally, the Earthquakes have released nine players, including U.S. Men’s National Team defender Clarence Goodson, Marc Pelosi and Tommy Thompson, however, the latter two are reportedly in talks to return to the club in 2017.
NAPLES, Italy (AP) Napoli eased to a 3-0 win over Inter Milan in Serie A on Friday, with two goals in the opening five minutes.
[ MORE: Top 5 PL storylines heading into weekend ]
The home side got off to a lightning start as, following a wonderful team move, Jose Callejon headed back Marek Hamsik’s chipped pass for Piotr Zielinski to volley into the bottom left corner.
[ MORE: Ronaldo, Mourinho involved in massive tax evasion system ]
Zielinski turned provider moments later as Hamsik beat the offside trap to run onto his pass and fire into the bottom right corner.
It was Hamsik’s 104th goal for Napoli, moving him level with Edinson Cavani in third in the clubs’ goalscoring charts. The Slovakia forward needs 11 more to equal Diego Maradona’s record.
Inter started the second half aggressively but hopes of getting back into the match were scuppered six minutes after the restart when Lorenzo Insigne netted his fourth goal in three league matches after visiting goalkeeper Samir Handanovic only flapped at a corner.
Napoli moved level on points with Atalanta, which visits league leader Juventus on Saturday, and fourth-placed Lazio, which hosts Roma in the capital derby on Sunday.
Inter, which beat Fiorentina 4-2 on Monday for its first win under coach Stefano Pioli, remained eighth ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.
On a day where Atlanta United added another young talent, the 2017 MLS expansion side could be preparing to make a major splash for a South American playmaker.
According to numerous Argentine media outlets, Atlanta is closing in on signing Paraguay international Miguel Almiron for an MLS-record fee of $13 million from Lanus at the end of 2016.
Almiron, 22, has scored three goals in 34 appearances for Lanus since joining the Argentine club in 2015. The young winger began his professional career back in 2013 with Cerro Porteno, where Almiron also played for the club’s youth academy.
On the international stage, Almiron has already earned seven caps for Paraguay after previously representing the nation’s Under-17 and U-20 national teams.