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.

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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′).

Barcelona’s Twitter hacked to claim Di Maria signing

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FC Barcelona had eyeballs popping across the Twitterverse for a solid 90 seconds there.

La Liga’s giants Tweeted out a welcome to Angel Di Maria, the current PSG and former Real Madrid star, with the hashtag #DiMariaFCB.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

It was an odd Tweet for 4 a.m. local time, as humourously pointed out by our Andy Edwards, and the hackers were quick to claim credit before any Tweets could be deleted.

So if someone tells you Angel Di Maria is the latest member of Barcelona, be sure to stop the spread of fake news.

On a day where Barca’s reportedly ready to up their bid for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, something tells us someone at the Camp Nou is turning over their keys to the club’s social media.

Rescheduled Yankees game moves NYCFC-Houston to Connecticut

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A rescheduled New York Yankees game is moving New York City FC to Connecticut.

Relax, it’s only for a day.

NYCFC will entertain the Houston Dynamo at Rentschler Field at 3 p.m. on Sept. 23 instead of their regular home of Yankee Stadium.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

The club will offer tickets to another match to current ticket holders, and will also discount tickets to the game in East Hartford for fans who hold tickets to the Yankee Stadium game and want to travel for the Dynamo match (More info here, if you are in either of those camps).

This is the third of three scheduled seasons NYCFC will play at Yankee Stadium, and it doesn’t look like it’ll find a new home any time soon.

Given the everyday nature of Major League Baseball, it’s surprising there have not been more conflicts for NYCFC. We just remain hopeful for the day we can watch NYC’s star-studded roster play on a bigger home field.

“Injustice.” “Incomprehensible.” Ronaldo again protests suspension

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The five-game suspension Cristiano Ronaldo received for making contact with an official is not sitting well with the forward.

Better put: it’s still not sitting well.

Six days ago, Ronaldo took to Instagram to say he was being persecuted after his red card in the Spanish Super Cup.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Tuesday afternoon, he kept up the strong words by saying the suspension is “incomprehensible” and “an injustice.”

Roughly translated, Ronaldo posted, “One more incomprehensible decision. From injustice to injustive, they will never overcome me. And as always I will come back stronger. Thank you to all who have supported me.”

We’ll say this: He’s a really good soccer player.

Barca to offer Liverpool $176M for Coutinho

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Barcelona is insane.

Desperate following a rough two-legged loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, the Blaugranas are reportedly ready to offer $176 million to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho.

Read it again: $176 million for Philippe Coutinho. It’s about $126 million with $12 million more when Barca clinches a UCL spot over the next four seasons (which they have done every year since finishing sixth in 2002-03).

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Even in this transfer market, that’s nuts. Crazy to offer, and maybe even crazier not to accept.

That’s pretty much two-thirds of the Neymar money. Two-thirds (I keep repeating myself with this story)

It’s even a convenient out for Jurgen Klopp, who’s said Liverpool is not a selling club. Here, he can say with a straight face that the club can improve with this money by selling a player who has — and I recognize it’s not all about goals and assists — one double-digit goal season in his career and a career single-season high of seven PL assists (done thrice).

Almost anyone who’s had the audacity to say the Reds should accept the bid has often been shot down by the Anfield faithful online. “It’ll ruin our season” and “How do we replace him this late?” are the common cries.

To the first question: No, it won’t. To the second: Easy?

It’s not like-for-like, but nearly every player in the world is available for $176 million. It’s not like-for-like, but here’s a short list: Antoine Griezmann, Gareth Bale, Paulo Dybala, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus… Shoot! Klopp could sign 2-3 of his favorite BVB alums.

With this fee, Coutinho would become the second-highest transfer fee of all-time, behind only Neymar. There are makeweights Barcelona could offer that would make the deal even more intriguing to the Reds: Arda Turan, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez.

Look at it from a neutral’s eyes — which I know is hard from the number of times I’ve read @ Tweets that say, “The only people who would like this deal are fans of Chelsea or United!” — at some point, it becomes unreasonable to not take advantage of Barcelona’s desperation. Maybe Coutinho is worth the “fit” for Barca, but rejecting this fee is more illogical than the offer itself.

At the risk of inflaming every more Liverpool supporters, Ross Barkley is probably going to cost someone $35 million and he’s a year and a half younger (Coutinho is a superior player right now, but we’re talking about the market here).

And, lastly, at some point you’re telling your entire team room that you’re willing to turn down near record money — it would be the highest non-buyout clause transfer ever — to keep a player from his dream club.

Take the money. Use it. Move on.