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West Brom 1-1 Fulham: New manager, same heartbreak for Fulham as Baggies equalize late (video)

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New Fulham manager Felix Magath shut up shop with just a 1-0 lead, and West Brom made him pay.

Just like the last time these two teams faced off, a late Baggies goal denies the Whites two points and may have condemned them to the drop.

The winner came from substitute Matej Vydra, as Fulham keeper Maarten Stekelenburg – who’d been fantastic all game – couldn’t handle a blast right at him and the ball trickled over the line for the equalizer four minutes from full-time.

Premier League Roundup: Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Man United grab wins

Fulham controlled much of the possession in the opening 10 minutes. The first real chance came in the sixth minute, as Louis Holtby played a one-two with Hugo Rodallega and the Spurs loanee fired wide left.

It turned into a possession game with precious little on goal going forward, but again the visitors had a chance as Steve Sidwell missed a follow-up shot in the 22nd minute, after Ashkan Dejagah’s cross was just out of the reach of Hugo Rodallega.

The Whites controlled possession but West Brom were dangerous on the break. Thievy Bifouma took a ball from Saido Berainho on the break, with Fulham caught out, but Maarten Stekelenburg saved very well to keep the game scoreless.

Fulham finally took advantage of their chances in the 28th minute. Kieran Richardson broke down the left touchline, and his first-time cross found Holtby. The forward whiffed at his kick, but it fell to Dejagah on the other end of the box, and the Iranian threaded the needle for the opener.

source: AP
Felix Magath saw exactly what Fulham is all about in his first match in charge.

The visitors were the more dangerous side throughout the first half, and Rodallega took a crack on goal from well far out, a great strike, but Ben Foster was equal to the task to dive and parry away, and it went to the half with just the one score.

West Brom finally had their first sustained spell of pressure on the Fulham defense following that chance. Chris Brunt had a testing shot on goal after the ball fell to him outside the box, but Stekelenburg again came to Fulham’s rescue, saving the bouncing shot and securing one of his best and most important performances in a Fulham shirt.

The home side continued to dominate possession in the second half, and Magath brought on Kostas Mitroglou for his Fulham debut on 60 minutes.

There were nearly shades of the reverse fixture earlier on, as Gareth McAuley – last time’s equalizing hero – latched onto a corner but put his header just wide with 20 minutes to go.  But with Dan Burn brought on to give Fulham five men at the back and 20 minutes to go , it was clear Magath was looking to see out the 1-0 win.

The Baggies had other ideas. With tired legs all around the pitch, Vydra took his chance.  Victor Anichebe sent in a great cross to Vydra in the middle of the box, and he blasted his shot from close range directly at Stekelenburg. The Dutch keeper, who’d had an outsanding match, couldn’t handle the heat, and the ball trickled away and just over the line.

The point is massive for West Brom.  They still have just two wins in their last 21 league matches, but the point gives them a bit of cushion over the drop.

For Fulham, who have Chelsea up next, they drop an enormous two points.  Instead of going just one point from safety, they remain bottom of the table and fail to take advantage of Cardiff City’s loss.

GOALS:

West Brom – Vydra 86′
Fulham – Dejagah 28′

LINEUPS:

West Brom – Foster; Jones (Anichebe 44′), McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Mulumbu, Morrison, Brunt, Amalfitano; Berainho (Vydra 75′), Thievy (Gera 45′).

Fulham – Stekelenburg; Riether, Hangeland, Heitinga, Amorebieta (Riise 52′); Dejagah, Parker, Sidwell, Richardson (Burn 70′); Holtby; Rodallega (Mitroglou 60′).

Conte not going to sell Matic, enjoys quality midfield headache

VELDEN, AUSTRIA - JULY 20: Nemanja Matic of Chelsea reacts during the friendly match between WAC RZ Pellets and Chelsea F.C. at Worthersee Stadion on July 20, 2016 in Velden, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images
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Antonio Conte feels he has a bit of an embarrassment of riches in his midfield, not that it’s a problem outside of deciding who hits the pitch.

The Chelsea boss does not plan on selling Nemanja Matic despite the acquisition of N'Golo Kante — in fact Conte thinks Matic can be one of the best in the world.

[ MORE: New club for Pato ]

That’s not surprising, given that Matic was one of the keys to Chelsea’s 2014-15 PL title run.

Conte says he has some tricky selections to make in the coming days, as Chelsea prepares to open its Premier League season Aug. 15 at West Ham United.

From ChelseaFC.com:

“Kante is a good player and he was a target of our market. I am pleased the club took this player, it’s fantastic,” said the 46-year-old. “The players in a great team like Chelsea must know there are many players that can play. It’s important for me to have a good choice to try the best solution game by game. It’s important for me to see always the right attitude and behaviour from the players.

“When I have players like N’Golo, Nemanja, Cesc, Oscar and Chalobah, and Mikel who is in the Olympics, it is not easy to choose. I want to have this problem.”

For a manager who loves to keep it tight in the midfield, it would be far from shocking to see Matic and Kante behind two attacking mids (Willian and Hazard?) or even three.

Regardless, Chelsea’s match day tactics will be one of the more fascinating subplots of 2016, especially when Conte matches up against the Blues’ former boss Jose Mourinho (Oct. 22 at Stamford Bridge and April 15 at Old Trafford).

Spain’s Villarreal signs Brazilian striker Pato

SWANSEA, WALES - APRIL 09:  Alexandre Pato of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on April 9, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
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MADRID (AP) Brazilian club Corinthians says it has agreed to transfer striker Alexandre Pato to Villarreal in Spain.

Corinthians says on its club website that it has “agreed to the final administrative details of the negotiation” for Pato’s move to Villarreal.

[ MORE: MLS All Star Game preview ]

It adds that both clubs have agreed to not release the financial details of the transfer.

The 26-year-old Pato played for AC Milan from 2007 to 2013, before returning to his native Brazil with Corinthians. He played the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea in the English Premier League.

Roberto Martinez linked to Atlanta United gig by Taylor Twellman

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Roberto Martinez, manager of Everton gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on May 11, 2016 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
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When news of Sigi Schmid’s departure from Seattle broke, there were plenty of folks wondering who could be the second coach in the Sounders’ MLS history.

One of those doing so publicly was ESPN writer Marc Connolly, who asked whether former Wigan and Everton boss Roberto Martinez could be interested in the gig.

[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]

Fellow media member Taylor Twellman is obviously well-connected, and his reply raised some eyebrows, especially given the news that technical director Carlos Bocanegra is closing in on selecting the first manager in Atlanta United history.

Ryan is the quarterback of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, for those unaware. Martinez and Twellman worked together for ESPN this summer.

Is Martinez to MLS really a thing? He’s also been linked to the vacant Hull City job, and would be one of the highest profile coaches to make the switch in the history of the league.

Premier League preseason: Everton, Burnley win; Spurs fall to Juventus

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - JULY 26:  Muhamed Besic of Everton celebrates after scoring the third goal during the pre-season friendly match between MK Dons and Everton at Stadium mk on July 26, 2016 in Milton Keynes, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
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Four Premier League teams were in action on Tuesday, with two picking up wins and not a clean sheet in the joint.

[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]

MK Dons 1-3 Everton

Ronald Koeman‘s men got goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and Muhamed Besic, but wasn’t entirely pleased with every facet of their game.

From EvertonFC.com:

“The team, the players, we need to press better. The pitch in some stages of the game was too long. If you press up front, it means the midfielders they need to push up as well and it’s the same for the defenders.”

Bolton 1-2 Burnley

Andre Gray will likely be a well-known Premier League entity when his career is done, and the way he’s playing it could be by the time this season is complete. The Burnley man scored for the fifth time in four preseason games, and Josh Ginnelly also scored for the Clarets.

Barnsley 2-2 Hull City

Adama Diomande and Jarrod Bowen scored as the Tigers stayed unbeaten in preseason play.

Spurs 1-2 Juventus — RECAP