Hull City 0-2 Manchester City: Silva inspires 10-man City to victory (video)

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HULL — Manchester City saw off a spirited Hull City 2-0 at the KC Stadium on Saturday, as David Silva’s stunner and Edin Dzeko’s late strike was enough to hand 10-man City all three points and give their hopes of lifting the Premier League title a timely boost.

Early on Vincent Kompany was caught out as last man and took out Hull striker Nikica Jelavic, as City’s Belgian captain was sent off with Man City playing over 80 minutes down a man. However that didn’t stop them going ahead in the first half as Silva served up a treat.

In the 14th minute the diminutive Spanish international picked up the ball 25-yards out, took one touch and bent a left-footed howitzer into the top corner. City protected that lead marvelously, but Hull pushed Manuel Pellegrini’s side throughout as Shane Long and Jelavic just couldn’t finish off some enterprising wing-play from the Tigers. A late incident involving Hull’s George Boyd and City’s goalkeeper Joe Hart may be reviewed after the game, as England international Hart seemed to bow his head down at Boyd. More headbutt controversy at the KC…

In the 90th minute Edin Dzeko rounded off the win, as Silva slotted the Bosnian striker in to seal the victory as City momentarily jump into second and are six points behind PL leaders Chelsea with two games in hand. As for Hull, they are now just five points off the relegation zone.

MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Hull started brightly, as an free kick just missed the head of Jelavic at the back post and then Hull’s record signing ran through in the 4th minute but his pull back across the six-yard box couldn’t find a teammate.

Then Jelavic was involved in a hugely controversial incident in the ninth minute, as Kompany dallied on the ball as the last man and was caught in possession by Jelavic. The Hull striker broke free and as he ran clean through on goal, Kompany hauled him to the ground and was handed a straight red card by referee Lee Mason.

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Vincent Kompany saw red in the opening 10 minutes, but Man City ground out a much-needed win.

Kompany protested but City were down to 10-men, as their skipper kicked the wall of the tunnel in frustration.

But soon City’s cries of disbelief were replaced with delight, as Silva bent in an absolute beauty in the 14th minute. Yaya Toure won the ball and played in Silva, whose sublime first touch set himself up to bend a boomerang of a shot into the top corner and put Man City 1-0 up.

The Tigers were buoyed be a passionate home crowd, and a cross from Long almost found Jelavic at the back post but Martin Demichelis got a vital touch. At the other end City were playing with confidence going forward and Pablo Zabaleta smashed the underside of the crossbar with a terrific half volley, as City came incredibly close to going 2-0 ahead.

Hull’s onslaught on City’s goal continued for the rest of the first half, as crosses bombarded Joe Hart and his defense and David Meyler scored a superb strike that was ruled out for offside in the build up, but City held firm to lead 1-0 at the interval.

At half time Hull went for it, as they brought on striker Sone Aluko for Honduran defender Maynor Figueroa. That attacking switch started to pay dividends as the second half played out, with Long and Jelavic combining well to see the former hit a rasping striker that Hart saved in the 49th minute. Then Jelavic fluffed a great chance, as Aluko’s free kick from the right found Hull’s Croatian striker unmarked but he failed to get enough contact on the ball.

All hell broke loose in the 68th minute, as Hull’s George Boyd broke through and as Hart advanced from his goal the Tigers midfielder dove to try and get a penalty. An ugly melee ensued as Hart was booked for looking to put his head towards Boyd and aim a headbutt at Hull’s player after they squared up, as the final few minutes turned into a scrappy affair.

Man City had the perfect chance to wrap up all three points late on, as Silva’s turn and shot deflected into the path of Fernandinho who had the goal at his mercy but mishit his shot from six-yards out to spurn a glorious opportunity to make it 1-0. Late on an aerial onslaught from Hull saw Curtis Davies and Jelavic go close, as the Tigers finished the game with four strikers on the pitch.

City then sealed the win through Dzeko’s first goal in 603 minutes, as Silva played in Dzeko to slot home and give his side’s chances of winning the PL crown a much-needed boost.

LINEUPS

Hull City: McGregor, Rosenior (Fryatt, 79), Elmohamady, Figueroa (Aluko, 45), Chester, Davies, Huddlestone, Meyler (Boyd, 58), Livermore, Jelavic, Long

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Garcia, Fernandinho, Toure (Lescott, 71), Nasri (Navas, 79), Silva (Kolarov, 90), Dzeko.

Goals: Silva (14), Dzeko (90)

Report: Arsenal interested in Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel

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According to a report by The Sun, Arsenal is monitoring the progress of Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

The rumor does make sense. With Petr Cech at 34 years old and having a poor season in front of net and backup David Ospina failing to challenge him for the starting job, the Gunners are looking elsewhere to bring in a potential future starter.

Schmeichel has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League the past two seasons. Last season he led the Foxes to the Premier League title, organizing a stunningly good defensive line of patchwork players. This season, the defense has largely regressed and let Schmeichel down, but he has still performed well and has the metrics to remain one of the league’s top shot-stoppers.

The Danish keeper is 30 years old himself, but that puts him in his prime for a goalkeeper. He has been with Leicester City since 2011, and he will tick 250 appearances for the club with his next match. Schmeichel was rumored to be a member of the secret player delegation that worked hard to see Claudio Ranieri pushed out of the club, a sentiment which he and the other players have strongly denied.

Still, with an improbable Premier League title in hand and an appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals now on the cards, there probably isn’t much else for him at Leicester City. It’s possible Schmeichel could look to bank on his past performances and secure a move to a bigger club this summer.

Should Arsene Wenger stay with Arsenal past this season, a possibility that looks more and more likely, he could look to move on from Cech despite signing the former Chelsea goalkeeper just two summers ago.

Diego Costa injured, but will stay with Spain squad for friendly

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Chelsea striker Diego Costa pulled up in Spain training on Sunday, and with the Blues in first in the Premier League and Costa in great form, there were obvious concerns.

With Costa struggling with leg and ankle injuries, the RFEF informed Chelsea that there was an issue, and Costa was pulled from training and sent for tests. X-Rays at the local hospital in Madrid were negative, and he’s rejoined the squad.

According to the RFEF, doctors will continue to monitor the 28-year-old and he will continue with the national team for the rest of the international break. With a World Cup qualification win over Israel already in the books and just a friendly against France to go on Tuesday, it’s odd that Spain would risk Costa moving forward, but they will continue to keep him around.

Costa has scored 18 goals this season to lead the Blues, and he scored in the win over Israel. Spain takes on France in Saint-Denis on Tuesday, with both teams leading their World Cup qualification groups. Spain has a goal-differential lead on Italy with both teams miles above the rest of the Group G, and France is ahead of Sweden by three points in Group A, with the Netherlands back in fourth.

Foul or flop? Player “headbutts” referee, is sent off

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Well, there must be something in the water down in Brasilia, because things got a little weird this evening.

Flamengo drew with Vasco da Gama 2-2, but that was just the start.

In the 54th minute, with Vasco da Gama leading 1-0 at Estadio Nacional Mané Garrincha, 36-year-old Luis Fabiano was sent off for “headbutting” the referee. Headbutting is in quotes because looking at the video, it certainly appears there was little to no contact, and the referee flops.

Yes, the referee flopped. Take a look:

To be fair, Fabiano was already on a yellow, so getting in the referee’s face even without the headbutt/pelvic thrust would likely still have seen him sent to an early shower.

So the former Porto and Sevilla man was sent off, and Vasco da Gama was down to 10 men. Immediately after the red card, Flamengo took advantage, powering in a pair of goals via Willian Arao and Orlando Berrio to take the lead 2-1. But Vasco wouldn’t quit, and they earned a penalty five minutes into stoppage time, which Nene buried for the 2-2 draw.

To top things off, a player named Yago Pikachu scored the opener for Vasco da Gama, which was followed by a delay in the game seven minutes later after a power surge in the stadium. Go figure.

Lletget diagnosed with foot sprain, escaping further damage

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Word has arrived from the LA Galaxy camp that will see USMNT fans feel relieved as Sebastian Lletget has escaped the news many feared.

The young attacker was impressive in the first 18 minutes of the United States’ 6-0 win over Honduras, but was injured minutes after scoring the opening goal and could not continue. Replays showed that Lletget got his foot caught underneath a defender in the process of a hard challenge on the right wing.

There was concern that Lletget would be out for a significant amount of time, but the Galaxy announced that after testing over the weekend, Lletget did not suffer any structural damage and was diagnosed with a left foot sprain.

[ MORE: USMNT adds Paul Arreola to roster, drops Lletget, Brooks, Morris ]

Lletget will visit a specialist on Monday to determine a plan for recovery, and it’s possible that he will still have to miss some time in the near future. The Galaxy visit Vancouver on Saturday, and his status for that match has to be considered up in the air. They then host Montreal on April 7.

While Lletget obviously misses out on the next USMNT game at Panama on Tuesday having already been dumped from the roster, he will most definitely be available for the June games against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, and will likely be an option for Bruce Arena given the manager’s history with Lletget at Los Angeles.

The United States have been struck with a collection of injuries that all occurred just before the international break, hampering the squad significantly. Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, and Fabian Johnson all went down in the days before reporting for international duty, and the team lost Lletget and John Brooks in the Honduras win. Lletget’s departure could see Alejandro Bedoya into the starting lineup on Tuesday, with the Union midfielder having replaced Lletget in the Honduras match. Also in contention is Jermaine Jones, who could come in after his suspension and push Darlington Nagbe onto the wing.