Manuel Pellegrini questions Vincent Kompany’s red card, praises Manchester City’s resilience

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HULL — Following Manchester City’s battling 2-0 win away at Hull City, where the Citizens played for over 80 minutes with 10-men, manager Manuel Pellegrini called out referee Lee Mason after a pivotal decision could’ve cost his side dear.

In the end Vincent Kompany’s ninth minute red card — which came after City’s skipper was caught on the ball by Hull striker Nikica Jelavic who then raced in on goal but was brought down by last-man Kompany — didn’t stop City from climbing to second in the Premier League standings, as they now sit six points behind leaders Chelsea with two games in hand.

But Pellegrini believed Jelavic fouled Kompany with his initial challenge, and lambasted referee Mason for missing it.

“Maybe because we won the game, I have a calm opinion. But I think it was a clear foul by Nikica Jelavic before Vincent made his foul,” Pellegrini said. “But the referee didn’t see it, he saw the foul on Kompany and he was the last man so he sent him off. I repeat, I think it was a clear foul [by Jelavic] just before.”

(MORE: Hull City 0-2 Man City: Silva inspires 10-man City to victory)

Pellegrini has a point, Jelavic did appear to force his arm out to obstruct Kompany. But the big Belgian went down very easily, and that kind of upper body strength is usually a trademark of Kompany’s game. Plus the center back seemed to slip just before he hauled Jelavic to the ground, with the only possible outcome being a red card.

City battled out regardless of Kompany’s sending off, as David Silva’s stunner five minutes later sucked the life out of Hull, before the diminutive Spanish playmaker teed up Edin Dzeko to seal the victory late on.

A chippy second half played out, as some other flashpoints flared up. Hull attacker George Boyd went through and looked to dive as Joe Hart raced out at his feet, then City’s England international ‘keeper rushed out to confront Boyd and seemed to move his head towards Boyd. Pellegrini, unsurprisingly, failed to see that incident and felt the referee should be left to deal with it. Would Man City’s manager have been saying that if his side would’ve lost at Hull?

Luckily, they didn’t and Pellegrini praised his side after a difficult week where City crashed out of the FA Cup at home to Wigan and then lost to FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.

“It was a very good response after a very difficult week,” Pellegrini said. “Playing with one player less for 80 minutes is very difficult. It was a great performance.”

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.