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)

MLS Cup: Toronto FC all about the team

Toronto FC defender Nick Hagglund, center, celebrates his goal against the Montreal Impact with teammates Michael Bradley, right, and Steven Beitashour (33) during the second half of the second leg of MLS Eastern Conference championship series, in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Toronto, Ontario (AP) Team has been the theme for Toronto FC in the buildup to the MLS Cup final.

From boisterous practices to team-first media interviews, the All for One club motto has been plain to see ahead of the championship game Saturday against the visiting Seattle Sounders.

“You don’t get to this point by mistake or by accident. You get here because a group of special guys who have all bought into a philosophy, an identity,” said Toronto midfielder Will Johnson, an MLS Cup winner with Real Salt Lake and Portland.

“I say the same about Seattle. They’re bought into what they’re good at. We’re bought in, very motivated and want to sacrifice and put aside egos to get to a point as a team to compete for the big trophy.”

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

Star striker Jozy Altidore, no fan of chatting with the media, was downright prickly when a reporter asked him if he had taken time to reflect on his personal journey to the championship game.

“No,” he said definitively. “This isn’t personal, this is a team game. We’re here to try to help Toronto to be a winning team. This has nothing to do with individuals. So it has nothing to do with what I’ve been through. This is what the city’s been through, what the fans have been through, what this club has been through. That’s far more important.”

Fullback Justin Morrow, a seven-year MLS veteran, has never played this deep into the season before.

“Each week we build on top of each other and we get closer as the year goes on. It really feels like it’s a culmination this week,” he said.

[ UCL: Who can Arsenal, Man City, Leicester draw? ]

Coach Greg Vanney has made a point of praising the entire squad, including reserves who function as the scout team in practice. While he has done soccer’s equivalent of shortening his bench for the playoffs, the squad has stayed on point. If anyone has beefs, they have been kept to themselves.

That’s no small feat considering the salaries on the squad range from $7.12 million for star striker Sebastian Giovinco to $51,500 for youngsters Mo Babouli and Tsubasa Endoh.

For Morrow, being part of a tight-knit group allows you to forget that it is your job.

“When teams aren’t doing well, players tend to focus on that – their job and not about the other people on the team,” Morrow said. “And I think when teams are doing well, it becomes about the relationships between the players.”

Report: Atlanta United to acquire Parkhurst; Guardado hopes fading

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 12:  Michael Parkhurst #4 of the Columbus Crew SC controls the ball against against the Philadelphia Union on March 12, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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Atlanta United is adding MLS experience to its high-flying international acquisitions.

The expansion side is set to acquire Michael Parkhurst from the Columbus Crew, according to a report from The Sporting News.

[ MORE: Mourinho worried about Zorya pitch ]

Parkhurst, 32, has been a fixture for the Crew since returning to MLS after stints with Nordsjælland and FC Augsburg. The 25-times capped American defender would join a relatively loaded expansion unit that reportedly will also add veteran Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, it seems the first-year club’s hopes of landing Mexican star Andres Guardado are fading.

From Ives Galarcep for The Sporting News:

The club has one remaining designated player slot it is expected to fill ahead of its inaugural 2017 season, but transfer target Andres Guardado appears less likely to be the player to fill that slot, sources have told Goal USA.

The Crew was a massive disappointment last season, failing to make the playoffs one season after making a run to the MLS Cup Final. Is Parkhurst a good gamble for Atlanta?

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Men in Blazers podcast: Conte v. Pep, Cherries comeback, Spurs-Swans

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Rog and Davo relive the tactical battle between Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola, marvel at tiny Bournemouth’s comeback win over high-flying Liverpool and duck-and-cover while recapping Spurs 5-0 Swansea.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Mourinho accepts Zorya compliment, but says best coach “doesn’t exist”

Manchester United's coach Jose Mourinho, centre, attends a training session with his team at Chernomorets stadium in Odessa, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, ahead of Thursday's Europa League group A soccer match against FC Zorya Luhansk. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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On the eve of his side playing Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League, Zorya Luhansk boss Yuriy Vernydub called counterpart Jose Mourinho the best manager in the world.

And Mourinho disagreed.

Well, in principle.

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

The Portuguese was flattered by Vernydub’s compliments and isn’t one to turn down praise. Yet at the same time, Mourinho thinks a coach’s success is year-to-year. There’s no clear best in the sport, according to Mou.

From ManUtd.com:

“He was nice by saying that but I don’t think he is right. I don’t think there is a best coach in the world. It doesn’t exist in my opinion. Every season one has to win the FIFA Gold Ball but I don’t think there is the best. You can say the best of the year and that I agree. Every year there is one with the most important result. So he is just being nice, no more than that.”

That’s almost meta, Mou.

Conceptually we understand, and Mourinho would feel he was the best in the world three seasons ago but not last year or this year (yet). Yet it’s difficult to say that the bodies of work from Pep Guardiola, Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Unai Emery, Antonio Conte, Luis Enrique, and Jurgen Klopp couldn’t be measured against each other, right?

[ MORE: United, Saints advancement scenarios ]

Onto the little picture Mourinho is worried about a potentially rock hard pitch at Zorya affecting the game. This, from the BBC:

“The pitch is very hard, the pitch is very icy,” said United boss Mourinho.

“They are putting warmth on the top of it, but the pitch is very difficult and people cannot make miracles. Let’s hope everything goes well.”

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