Everton v Cardiff City - Premier League

Everton 2-1 Cardiff City: Toffees snatch late win to pile misery on Cardiff (video)

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Everton left it late to beat Cardiff City on Saturday at Goodison Park, as Seamus Coleman’s fortunate injury time strike sealed a dramatic 2-1 win for the Toffees.

The home side went ahead in the second half through Gerard Deulofeu’s deflect effort, but Cardiff equalized soon after through Juan Cala. Then came the dagger in Cardiff’s heart late on, as Coleman sliced an effort than fortuitously flew past the excellent David Marshall and sent Goodison Park into raptures.

With the win Everton keep their top four hopes alive, as they sit in sixth spot on 51 points. As for Cardiff, they are still 19th on 25 points as their relegation fears grow.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

The Toffees started the brighter of the two sides, but Cardiff were dangerous on the break in the opening stages.

A few goalmouth scrambles ensued as the home side forced the issue early on, and their first big chance arrived after 24 minutes when Kevin Mirallas was found in the box but Cala blocked the Belgian’s shot superbly.

That sparked a flurry of chances as Cardiff were thwarted by Everton’s U.S. national team ‘keeper Tim Howard after going clean through, as Howard used his feet to stop the Cardiff’s strikers low shot.

Then Gerard Delofeu shuffled the ball on the edge of the box and arrowed an effort towards the bottom corner but David Marshall tipped it wide. Then in the 33rd minute Marshall saved superbly from Romelu Lukaku as the Belgian cut in from the right and hammered a shot on goal that Cardiff’s Scottish ‘keeper tipped acrobatically over.

The rest of the first half played out with Everton trying to force the issue, but Cardiff held on to go in level at half time.

After the break Cardiff started well and forced Howard into another save as Campbell again found space in the box but his drilled show was tipped wide by Howard at the near post. However soon after Everton were ahead as Deulofeu cut in from the left and saw his shot deflect off Ben Turner and past Marshall at his near post, to put the Toffees 1-0 up.

Just as you feared the floodgates would open for Cardiff, the Bluebirds hit back in the 68th minute when Cala bagged his first Bluebirds goal. The Spaniard attacked a cross from the left and after kneeing and heading the ball at the same time, the ball dribbled into the bottom corner and made it 1-1.

Wilfried Zaha came on to give Cardiff an extra boost late in the game, as Solkjaer’s side pushed hard for a winner but were indebted to Marshall who once again made a fine stop to keep Lukaku out. However Marshall’s heroics couldn’t grab Cardiff a point, as Coleman shanked an effort towards goal that flew in and handed Everton victory right at the death.

When you are at the bottom those are the kind of breaks which go against you.

LINEUPS

Everton: Howard, Baines, Coleman, Deulofeu (McGeady, 62), Mirallas (Naismith, 62), Distin, McCarthy, Lukaku, Barry, Osman (Barkley, 82), Stones

Goals: Deulofeu (59), Coleman (90)

Cardiff City: Marshall, Caulker, Medel, Campbell, Kim, Noone (Daehli, 62), Mutch (Whittingham, 57), Cala, Theophile-Catherine, Fabio (Zaha, 77), John

Goal: Cala (68)

Brazilian midfielder Fred has doping ban extended to club, out until June

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - AUGUST 19:  Fred of Donetsk goes for a header during the UEFA Champions League: Qualifying Round Play Off First Leg match between SK Rapid Vienna and FC Shakhtar Donetsk on August 19, 2015 in Vienna, Austria.  (Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images)
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Shakhtar Donetsk striker Fred, a regular for the Brazilian national team, has seen his CONMEBOL doping ban extended worldwide to all competitions.

A FIFA disciplinary committee announced that Fred’s suspension now covers “all types of matches, including domestic, international, friendly and official fixtures.”

The 22-year-old tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide during last summer’s Copa America, and has not played for the Brazilian national team since, having been banned for a year by CONMEBOL. He had been playing for his Ukranian club while FIFA was reviewing the case, making 12 appearances in league play and scoring two goals. He also played six times in the Champions League without scoring a goal.

The one-year ban is back-dated to Fred’s last international squad appearance, when he was on the bench for the Copa America quarterfinals on June 27 of last summer. That date will allow Fred to be eligible for the Rio Olympics, which start August 5.

Men In Blazers podcast: Irvine Welsh Pod Special

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog talks with “Trainspotting” author Irvine Welsh about his new novel “A Decent Ride,” unconventional career arc, and love for West Ham United/Hibernian.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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LA Galaxy newcomer Ashley Cole takes responsibility for previous MLS quote

CARSON, CA - FEBRUARY 5: Ashley Cole #3 of the Los Angeles Galaxy speaks after he was introduced during a news conference at StubHub Center February 5, 2016, in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Wireimage)
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During Ashley Cole‘s introductory press conference today, where the former Chelsea legend was officially unveiled by the LA Galaxy to the media alongside Belgian defender Jelle Van Damme, a predictable question came his way.

Cole was asked about comments he made a year and a half ago when he joined AS Roma, where he said he turned down offers from Major League Soccer because he didn’t want to go “relax on the beach.”

The 35-year-old took responsibility for the quote, saying, “Of course, I hold my hands up, it was said.” However, he defended himself saying he was baited into the comments by the Italian reporter.

“I’m not going to come here and try to defend myself,” Cole said. “It was said, but it was for sure taken out of content. I was talking to the reporter, and he kind of said it to me, ‘We’re glad to have you at Roma. We didn’t expect you to be here, we thought you would go and relax on the beach.'”

“Of course you have to understand, I was at a new team, I have to tell the fans at Roma I was here to fight, I was there to win things and play in the Champions League.”

Cole said he spoke to Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, and Robbie Keane about the league before deciding to join Major League Soccer. “I know it’s going to be hard for me for sure, but I’m happy to be here, I’m going to work as hard as I can, change a few views on me being here, and we’ll see. I’m a winner, I always want to win, I didn’t come here to sit on the beach – to rest – I’m here to play football and work hard. I’m not a diva, I’m not this egotistical guy that comes and thinks he’s bigger than anyone.”

3 key battles for USMNT against Canada

CARSON, CA - JANUARY 31:  Jozy Altidore #17 of the United States chases down a pass against Iceland during the first half at StubHub Center on January 31, 2016 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The United States takes on Canada in the second of two matches throughout January camp to test those brought in and see who stands out.

They took out Iceland in the first match, and now the Canadians stand in the way at the Stubhub Center in Carson, CA at 10:30 on Friday night.

[ PREVIEW: Get the full look at US vs Canada ]

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann no doubt has already run through is list of positives and negatives in the win over Iceland. While the win is nice, the overriding purpose here is to both evaluate certain players and determine the best formula for success moving forward into World Cup qualifying, the Copa America, and the Olympics.

So, with that in mind, here are three key matchups to keep an eye on as the USMNT players battle both Canada and each other for spots on the roster in future meaningful games.

1) United States attack vs Canada’s organization

The US was solid in possession against Iceland, but it came against an opponent that showed a more attacking intent and also appeared to have limited motivation. Canada would not be what you call a “defensive” team, but they are very organized under Benito Floro, and it shows. They’ve conceded 1 or 0 goals in each of their last 13 matches, losing just once across that time. Their goalscoring numbers have suffered, but it’s translated into marginal success.

To hold the ball against Iceland, the US used a slow build-up process beginning with Jermaine Jones (who stayed surprisingly composed and centralized during his time on the field) who fed Michael Bradley and Lee Nguyen further up the pitch. That tactic may not be as effective against a less erratic opponent, but it will be interesting to see how Klinsmann decides to break down the Canadian defensive unit. The wide areas may be vital.

The 0-0 scoreline has been a fixture in this matchup, finishing goalless the last two times and in four of the last eight, so the US will no doubt be looking to break that deadlock early lest they get frustrated as time progresses.

2) USMNT full-backs vs wide play

Michael Orozco and Brad Evans were sent back to their clubs, leaving the United States incredibly thin at a position the nation has already been weak at for years. Jurgen Klinsmann has been searching far and wide for an answer to this question, and with young Kellyn Acosta slightly out of his depth or potentially star-struck in his debut against Iceland, there are a few other question marks.

The options are limited. Acosta could get another shot if Klinsmann likes what he sees in training, or he could move to the likes of Brandon Vincent or Matt Polster. The latter logged 30 matches for Chicago last year as a rookie, while Vincent was just drafted by FC Dallas and has yet to even make a professional appearance. Either way, it’s likely Canada targets the wide areas as a point of weakness for the US, so whoever plays will be in the spotlight.

[ VIDEO: Bobby Wood scores skillful goal for club ]

3) Central defenders vs Akindele and Larin

Whether Floro decides to play Larin centrally by himself, or partner him with Akindele, the striker(s) will be the main target for Canada’s attack. Larin and Akindele both have not seen the scoresheet since a 4-0 win over the Dominican Republic in World Cup qualifying last June, so they will be itching to get back on board. Should one be deployed centrally, look for the lone wolf to split the central defenders and receive service from wide areas where Canada may exploit the aforementioned weaknesses along the outside of the US back line.

How do you see the US matching up against Canada, and visa-versa?