Hull City v Manchester City - Barclays Premier League

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.

source: Getty Images
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)

Messi named La Liga Player of the Month for first time in career

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 06:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou on January 6, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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Lionel Messi has won every individual award imaginable, but now he can add another trophy to his shelf.

For the first time in his career, Messi was named La Liga’s Player of the Month for January.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings, Vol. VIII ]

It’s hard to believe, but somehow the Barcelona superstar had never won this honor before. Despite winning a record five Ballon D’or trophies as the best player in the world, this trophy had eluded Messi since its inception in 2013.

Messi scored six goals in six January matches as Barcelona sit atop the La Liga table, currently holding a three-point lead over Atletico Madrid.

Despite their dominance in La Liga, this is only the second time a Barcelona player has won this monthly award, as Neymar took home the honor in November of 2015.

USWNT-Mexico preview: Energized Yanks look to keep rolling toward Rio

FRISCO, TX - FEBRUARY 10:  Team USA poses for a photo before play against Costa Rica during 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying at Toyota Stadium on February 10, 2016 in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The United States women’s national team looks to keep rolling through CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying with a match with Mexico on Saturday.

Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, is again the scene after the Yanks battered Costa Rica 5-0 on Wednesday.

[ MUST WATCH: Christen Press’ dazzling first touch, spin, goal ]

A win over Mexico would move the USWNT into the all-important semifinal, where a win would gain them entry into this Summer’s Olympic Games.

Mexico staged a blowout of its own on Wednesday, cruising past Puerto Rico 6-0 thanks in large part to a hat trick from Maribel Dominguez.

[ VIDEO: Alex Morgan caps off a 12-second, six-pass goal ]

Mexico has only beaten the USWNT twice in history, and only the 2010 Gold Cup semifinal is considered official.

In recent history, the USWNT beat up Mexico 5-1 last year, and thrice in 2014 by a combined score of 15-0. Expect very little to change with an energized, impressive U.S. side on Saturday.

[ SATURDAY: Watch USWNT vs Mexico live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Big boys to turn up

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Week 26 of the Premier League season is here. This will be a lot of fun with massive games at both ends of the table.

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live online ]

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out.

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the longshots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.

BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Arsenal 3-2 Leicester City – (Sunday, 7 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Norwich City 0-2 West Ham – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, USA) –  [STREAM]

Man City 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur – (Sunday 11:15 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United – (Saturday, 7:45 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Everton 2-1 West Brom  – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Swansea 1-1 Southampton – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) –  [STREAM] 

Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) –  [STREAM]

Chelsea 3-2 Newcastle – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Bournemouth 2-1 Stoke City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) –  [STREAM]

Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool – (Sunday, 9:05 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Ranieri on Leicester City’s dream season: “Nobody wake us up please!”

during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Manchester, England.
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There’s plenty to like about Leicester City’s run to the top of the Premier League, but perhaps nothing is more enjoyable that its manager’s musings.

Claudio Ranieri, the Tinkerman himself, has provided some of the best quips of the season.

[ MORE: Top 5 storylines to look for in PL ]

From “I want to be the crazy man in the Premier League” to “It’s like nobody wants to win the league“, the 64-year-old Italian has offered plenty of beauties.

Make way for some more gems, from LCFC.com:

“I think we work so hard to achieve this level. We want to stay at this level. It’s no pressure for us. The pressure was at the beginning to start well, to carry on and maintain the standard of our performance.
“Now we are safe and we want to fight with respect with all our opponents. Face to face, we play with our strength and they play with theirs. If we win, fantastic. If we lose, next match.
“I think the pressure is on the other teams. We have pressure for our little gap. We continue to dream with our fans and we want to continue to dream. Nobody wake us up please!”
We love this man. To go from a short-lived run in Euro qualifying with Greece to this remarkable roll with Leicester has to be a bit dream-like. We get it. And we love that he’s going with it.