Tottenham 3-2 Southampton: Sigurdsson puts icing on three-goal comeback after Eriksen double

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A pair of brutal mistakes by Kyle Naughton in the opening half hour set up Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana for opening Southampton goals, and it looked like another Europa League hangover for the home side.

But Christian Eriksen and Spurs held firm, and the Danish winger found himself a pair of goals before Gylfi Sigurdsson struck the winner two minutes deep into stoppage time.

The comeback was a spirited one, as it never seemed like Spurs were truly out of the match even after going down 2-0 on a half hour.

With the game wide open early and often, both teams got good looks into the box in the opening 10 minutes. Aaron Lennon’s cross into the box found no takers for Spurs, and Rickie Lambert’s run was cut off and Lallana’s ensuing shot was a good bit wide of the top corner.

With a couple more half-chances at either end, Southampton took full advantage of their first clear opportunity.  Artur Boruc’s goal kick leaped right over the head of a surprised Naughton and fell right to Rodriguez on the right flank, and with nobody back it was all the Burnley product who slotted past Lloris for the opener on 19 minutes.

The 24-year-old’s goal came right in front of the England manager Roy Hodgson watching a number of his international players at White Hart Lane.

The opener didn’t change much, but the visitors continued to be bright in the final third.  Six minutes later James Ward-Prowse came inches from a second, with his low effort deflected just wide.

source: AP
The pair of Southampton goalscorers pounced early but couldn’t produce enough after the half hour mark to hold off Spurs.

Southampton would get their second moments later, when a ball clattering around the Tottenham half came to Naughton in front of the box, and a heavy touch gifted the ball to Rickie Lambert who slotted Lallana through for another easy low finish.

The mistake by Spurs right-back is the club’s 15th defensive mistake leading to a goal, the highest mark in the Premier League. On the other end, it’s the England international’s first goal in eight games, again giving Hodgson cause to smile.

Spurs weren’t done, however, as they immediately responded with a mistake on Southampton’s part. It was Nathaniel Clyne’s turn for a heavy touch to betray him, and the ball fell at the feet of Christian Eriksen who made no mistake to bring Spurs right back into things.

The goal blasted Spurs right back into things, and although they couldn’t get another before halftime, their statement was made. Danny Rose had a brilliant opportunity to get his team level two minutes before the break, but after breaking free down the left, his cut-back for Aaron Lennon was off-target and it slid through the box untouched.

The home side would retain momentum through into the second half, and it paid off almost immediately. Roberto Soldado, starting in place of the injured Emmanuel Adebayor, broke with acres of space down the right touch, and he found a streaking Eriksen in the box for a close-range tap-in and a level 2-2 scoreline.

Tottenham’s furious start to the second half wasn’t over, and they peppered the Southampton box by pumping the ball in repeatedly.  It took a while for the next real chance, but Eriksen had a shot at a hat-trick getting behind the back line but substitute Callum Chambers threw his body in the way at the last moment for the block.

With tired legs taking over, the game settled down the stretch, but as expected, it sprung to life in the dying minutes as both sides pressed for the winner. Rickie Lambert’s 89th minute shot dragged wide before coming off, and then Spurs got their moment.

A long ball forward wasn’t dealt with right away by the visiting defense, and it fell to Eriksen who touched to Sigurdsson at the top of the box. There was some space to work with, and the Icelandic winger rifled confidently past Boruc deep into stoppage time.

White Hart Lane exploded, and the winner provided a massive lift for Tim Sherwood who had seen a dip in the club’s form since his initial boost.  The team can still hope for a European spot next season, although they need a fifth place finish to do so. They sit in that spot with the win, but Everton in sixth have two games in hand.

For Southampton, they miss their chance to jump Newcastle into eighth place. The club has had some quality showings this season, but weren’t consistent enough at White Hart Lane to secure their result.

LINEUPS:

Tottenham – Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Lennon (Townsend 72′), Bentaleb, Chadli, Dembele (Sigurdsson 45′), Eriksen; Soldado.

Goals: Eriksen 30′, 46′; Sigurdsson 90+2′

Southampton – Boruc; Clyne (Chambers 45′), Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Cork, Ward-Prowse, S. Davis, Lallana, Rodriguez (Rodriguez 64′); Lambert (Gallagher 90′).

Goals: Rodriguez 19′, Lallana 28′

Qatar stadium safety concerns again raised by death investigation

Photo by Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy/Qatar 2022 via Getty Images
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An investigation into why a British man fell to his death on a building site for the 2022 Qatar soccer World Cup has raised concerns about stadium roof safety.

World Cup organizers on Thursday released partial findings of an assessment of the accident at the Khalifa International Stadium, but said the full report cannot be released while local authorities continue their own investigation. It is one of two work-related deaths detailed in Qatar’s latest welfare report on preparations for the 2022 soccer tournament, which currently involves 12,367 workers on eight construction sites.

The 40-year-old British man fell 39 meters in January after one end of the roof catwalk he was installing dropped and a safety rope snapped.

“During the course of the investigation, the team had raised concerns with the method of installation of the raised catwalk system,” the welfare report from Qatar’s World Cup organizers stated. “This required further investigation regarding the method itself and the supervision skills of the specialist contractor staff.”

It has led to “corrective and preventative actions” being implemented by the contractor, a joint venture between Belgian and Qatari firms, along with safety checks across all stadium sites, the report said.

“These included a review of all working-at-height activities across all SC projects, an enhanced process when reviewing specialist activities within construction sites, and a detailed review of all roof and gantry designs,” the Supreme Committee overseeing stadium projects added.

The British man is the only European working on Qatar stadiums to have died in a country relying on a low-paid migrant workforce from south Asia to prepare for the first World Cup in the Middle East. Six non-work related deaths have been announced by organizers, with most suffering from heart or breathing problems.

Hassan Al Thawadi, the supreme committee’s secretary general, said medical staff are trying to raise awareness of the “importance of healthy lifestyles” by evaluating diets and identifying health issues, including hypertension and diabetes. Cooling helmets have also been developed in an attempt to make it safer for workers on outdoor sites during the searing summer heat.

World Cup preparations have been dogged by concerns about the welfare of workers since the natural gas-rich Gulf nation won the FIFA vote in 2010. Mounting international pressure led to Qatar raising living standards and worker rights. Inspections led to three contractors being blacklisted and 14 entities “demobilized” from projects for failing to tackle welfare issues, the World Cup report reveals.

“There is still work to be done to ensure our workers’ welfare standards continue to have a tangible impact on the ground and we are comprehensive in our attempts to tackle the myriad of issues facing migrant workers across the SC program,” Khalid Al-Kubaisi, who oversees worker welfare at the Supreme Committee, said in a statement.

The report has been released as Qatar is gripped by a diplomatic crisis that has seen it isolated in the region. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar earlier this month and blocked air, sea and land traffic over its support for Islamist groups and ties with Iran. Qatar denies the charges and says the allegations are politically motivated.

Official (finally): Salah completes move from Roma to Liverpool

Photo credit: Liverpool FC / Twiter: @LFC
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It was the summer’s first transfer rumor-turned-real-story-turned-never-ending-saga that seemed to refuse to cross the finish line, but it’s finally come to pass: Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player.

Salah’s move from Roma to Liverpool took so long to complete that the club’s poor social-media manager probably never wants to read the words “Announce Salah” for the rest of his/her life.

The deal will cost Liverpool something in the neighborhood of $50 million — a new Liverpool club record — and completes the utterly terrifying attacking quartet Jurgen Klopp can’t wait to unleash on the Premier League come August — Salah on one side, Sadio Mane opposite, Philippe Coutinho in the middle, and Roberto Firmino at striker. Salah, by the way, will take over Firmino’s no. 11 shirt, with the Brazilian switching to no. 9.

Alexis sets the record, but Germany come back for draw

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Alexis Sanchez became Chile’s all-time leading goalscorer (38) on Thursday, and La Roja inched ever closer to progression at the 2017 Confederations Cup with a 1-1 draw against Germany.

[ MORE: VAR steps in to help Aussies draw Cameroon, 1-1 ]

Sanchez moved past Marcelo Salas with his 6th-minute opener (above video) to capitalize on a poor turnover and complete a quick one-two atop Germany’s 18-yard box. Arturo Vidal put a foot in to disrupt Germany’s attempt to play out of the back, and the ball fell to Sanchez who quickly played it back to Vidal, who played Sanchez into the box for a left-footed finish inside the near post.

[ MORE: Latest 2017 Confederations Cup news

Chile’s lead wouldn’t quite last until halftime, though, as Lars Stindl got on the end of Jonas Hector’s cross in the 41st minute to bring the reigning World Cup champions back to level terms and all but secure their place in the next round.

With the result, Chile and Germany remain tied on top of Group B (4 points) with one game to play. Given the distance between themselves and Australia and Cameron (1 point each) in third and fourth, a draw in their final group games would be more than enough to go through to the semifinals. One-goal defeats would even do the trick.

Kenny Saief approved for one-time switch from Israel to USMNT

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Kenny Saief has been officially cleared by FIFA to make his one-time switch of international allegiance from Israel to the United States, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Thursday.

Saief, 23, was born in Panama City, Fla., to Druze-Israeli parents and began his youth career with Maccabi Haifa in 2005, at the age of 11. After a handful of first-team appearances for various Israeli clubs between 2010 and 2013, Saief earned a regular place in Ironi Nir Ramat HaSharon’s first team during the 2013-14 season. In the summer of 2014, he moved to Belgian side Gent, where he’s played in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. U.S. men’s national team head coach Bruce Arena included Saief on his 40-man preliminary roster for next month’s 2017 Gold Cup.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

He appeared for Israeli youth national teams at just about every level, but having grown frustrated at the lack of a call-up to the senior team, Saief made it known many months ago he would consider a switch to the USMNT if the omission continued.

Saief figures to serve as something of a utility-man for the USMNT, at least from the start. He’s a left-footed midfielder who’s played extensively on both the left and right wings, and even a bit at left back. It’s the latter that should most intrigued USMNT fans, considering the dearth of options available at the position.