West Ham United 2-1 Hull City: Red card, own goal doom Tigers (video)

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A mid-first half red card to goalkeeper Allan McGregor proved too much for Hull City to overcome, with the controversial decision leaving West Ham United up a goal and a man. Though the short-handed Tigers would pull that opener back in the second half, an own goal from James Chester proved decisive as the Hammers, snapping a three-match losing streak, earned a 2-1 win at Upton Park.

An even affair was broken open in the 23rd minute when McGregor saw red after a collision with Mohamed Diamé, one Mike Dean and his crew adjudicated to have denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Mark Noble’s conversion from the spot gave West Ham the lead, one that was pulled back when Nikica Jelavic deflected home a Tom Huddlestone free kick in the 48th minute. Shortly after, a cross from the right from Guy Demel was redirect by James Chester into the Hull net, giving the Hammers their final margin of victory.

The result moves West Hame three spots up the Premier League table, with Sam Allardyce’s crew claiming 11th place from Aston Villa. Hull, on the other hand, slides to 13th after losing its third in four.

West Ham created the first chance of the match when a cross from the right was knocked down by Andy Carroll, giving Matthew Taylor a chance after a poor clearance by Hull. A lunging block from Alex Bruce kept McGregor from being tested with the game’s first threat, giving way to a match that was played on even footing for its first 20 minutes.

The the ninth minute, however, West Ham was forced to make its first sub after James Collins hobbled off the field. With fellow center half James Tomkins having overcome injury doubts to make today’s starting XI, the Welsh international was forced to give way to Roger Johnson, who would soon find his day made easier by a disputed call at the other end of the park.

source: Getty ImagesNear the 23rd minute, a venture from Noble into the penalty area ended when a tackle sent the ball bouncing off two defenders and toward the Tigers’ goal. There the ball hit Diamé’s elevated right hand before McGregor, coming out to challenge a potential shot, turned to collide side-first into the West Ham midfielder. With Diamé, just outside the six-yard box, having lifted the ball over the keeper and toward goal, McGregor was shown straight red, forcing Steve Harper on at Bruce’s expense.

After McGregor was treated for injury, Noble welcomed Harper with the game’s first goal. The replacement keeper, leaning early into the left side of goal, saw the West Ham midfielder calmly finish toward the right post, making it 1-0.

Minutes into the second half, the 10-mean Tigers pulled back Noble’s opener, with a Huddlestone drive from 26 yards out deflecting off Jelavic before beating Adrían. Making amends for a missed chance toward the end of the first half, the Hull midfielder blasted his restart toward the middle of the West Ham goal. Just inside the penalty area, however, Jelavic ran into the shot and pushed it toward Adrían’s left post, giving the keeper no chance of preventing Hull’s unlikely equalizer.

The lead was gone in six minutes, however. Off a poor cross from Demel, Chester failed to adjust to an unexpected bounce, his attempted left-footed clearance seeing the ball skip off his knee. The deflection went over Harper and under the crossbar to give West Ham its winner.

Hull’s best chance over the match’s final 36 minutes was a long drive from Huddlestone that forced Adrían to concede a corner. Even against a West Ham team that failed to adjust to a man advantage, the short-handed Tigers couldn’t find a second equalizer. Instead, they were left wondering if another official would have called Diamé’s hand ball.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Adrían; Dumel, Collins (Johnson 9′), Tomkins, McCartney; Noble, Diame (J. Cole 69′); Downing, Nolan, Taylor; Carroll

Goals: Noble (26′), Chester (54′, o.g.)

Hull City: McGregor; Chester, Bruce (Harper 25′), Davies; Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler, Figueroa (Rosenior 59′); Long, Jelavic (Sagbo 82′)

Goals: Jelavic (48′)

Madrid beats Leganes 3-1 in game postponed from December

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MADRID (AP) Real Madrid overcame the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and other regular starters Wednesday, coming from behind to defeat Leganes 3-1 Wednesday in a Spanish league match postponed from last year.

The result allowed the defending champions to regain third place from Valencia, but it did little to put Zinedine Zidane’s team back in the title race as it still trails leader Barcelona by 14 points after 24 matches. Madrid is seven points behind second-place Atletico Madrid.

[ MORE: Messi defies Conte’s successful tactics ]

Less than a month ago, Leganes jolted Madrid into a crisis by eliminating the Spanish powerhouse from the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.

The hosts from southern Madrid went ahead less than 10 minutes into the match on Wednesday, but Madrid answered with first-half goals by Lucas Vazquez and Casemiro. Sergio Ramos sealed the victory by converting a 90th-minute penalty kick.

The league match was rescheduled from the 16th round because of Madrid’s participation in the Club World Cup in December, a competition it won.

Only in its second season in the first division, Leganes had a promising start to the campaign but has struggled recently. It hasn’t won in six matches and has lost four straight, dropping to 13th with 29 points.

Madrid has won four in a row, including 3-1 against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League last week.

Ronaldo, who scored twice against PSG and has 10 goals in his last six matches, was rested on Wednesday along with goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Marcelo, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are trying to recover from injuries in time for next month’s return match against PSG in Paris.

Leganes opened the scoring with a goal by Unai Bustinza six minutes into the match at Butarque Stadium. The defender dived in front of the ball as Madrid left back Theo Hernandez tried to clear it from near the goal line. The ball ricocheted off Bustinza’s head and shoulder and went into the net.

Madrid equalized five minutes later with Vazquez’s low shot into the far corner from inside the area after a through ball by Casemiro, and 20 minutes later it was the Brazilian defensive midfielder who found the net from close range after a pass by Vazquez.

Ramos scored from the penalty spot after Mateo Kovacic was pushed inside the area in the closing minutes.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

LIVE, UCL – Sevilla vs. Man United, Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Roma

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Jose Mourinho has created a splash this morning by benching Paul Pogba despite utilizing a 3-man central midfield formation as Manchester United heads to Spain to take on Sevilla in their Champions League Round of 16 first leg meeting.

Pogba was left out of Saturday’s win over Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup due to illness, but having made the trip to Sevilla with the matchday squad, it seems his omission is instead due to tactical reasons. 21-year-old academy product Scott McTominay starts in Pogba’s place alongside Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera, with the Frenchman on the bench among the substitutes.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

The decision is surprising given Manchester United’s 16-point deficit in the Premier League table as they trail runaway favorites Manchester City, leaving the Champions League as the best competition remaining that the Red Devils have a shot to win.

Up front for Manchester United, Alexis Sanchez carries the creative load along with Juan Mata, with both supporting Romelu Lukaku at the striker position. Meanwhile, Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof continue to work as the central defensive partnership, while Antonio Valencia captains the side as full-back, mirrored by Ashley Young on the other edge.

In the other matchup, Roma heads to the Ukraine to take on Shakhtar Donetsk, who finished 2nd in Group F three points behind Manchester City. The Ukranian side has only just returned from its winter break, with just a single game played since December 10th.

Roma, meanwhile, has pulled itself out of a rut just in time for the return of Champions League play, with three straight Serie A wins coming on the heels of a five-match winless run. They have scored eight goals over those three wins, with a pair of road clean sheets among the group. 20-year-old Turkish winger Cengiz Under is on fire over the win streak, scoring four goals over that span.


Today’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 schedule

Sevilla vs. Manchester United – 2:45 p.m. ET
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Roma – 2:45 p.m. ET

Reports: Mourinho to leave Paul Pogba out of Champions League lineup

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According to multiple reports across England, including the BBC, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is ready to leave Paul Pogba out of his starting lineup for Wednesday’s Champions League match against Sevilla despite utilizing a 4-3-3 formation with three central midfielders.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

The reports state that Pogba will be left on the bench in favor of youngster Scott McTominay, who will start alongside Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic. Mourinho has spoken highly of McTominay recently, saying three days ago, “I think Scott deserves more than what he is getting.”

“Maybe it’s because he’s this kind of kid profile: a normal haircut, no tattoos, no big cars, no big watches, humble kid, arrive in the club when he was nine or 10,” Mourinho said in what many perceived to be a thinly veiled slap at Pogba.

Mourinho has held back from publicly criticizing his $125 million midfielder in the media, but his actions on the field suggest otherwise. The 24-year-old has failed to record 90 minutes in three straight Premier League matches, seeing his manager yank him before the full-time whistle in two and failing to make the starting lineup in the other, leaving many to speculate a rift between the two.

The decision is especially surprising given Juan Mata‘s comments earlier Wednesday that suggested Manchester United is prioritizing the Champions League, given their 16-point deficit to Manchester City in the Premier League table.

Pogba missed the 2-0 FA Cup win over Huddersfield on Saturday due to illness, but it’s hard to imagine that four days later that keeps the French superstar on the bench, especially given his ability to make the trip to Sevilla with the matchday squad.

Leicester City settles Financial Fair Play dispute with Football League

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Leicester City will owe the Football League a reduced fine after coming to an agreement with the English lower-league governing body over a dispute regarding the 2013/14 season.

The Foxes, who won the Championship that season and were promoted to the Premier League, were handed an official breach of Financial Fair Play rules after accruing a loss exceeding the allowed $11 million amount. However, Leicester City argued that the deficit was due to “allowable” amounts regarding promotion and academy costs.

After talks between the two parties, the EFL announced Leicester City will owe a reduced amount of $4.33 million. They could have owed up to $18 million, the differential between the allowed amount and their actual posted loss of $20.8 million.

In an official release, the EFL announced, “The EFL acknowledges that [Leicester City] did not make any deliberate attempt to infringe the Rules or to deceive and that the dispute arose out of genuine differences of interpretation of the Rules between the parties.”

After initially receiving word of the notice back in 2014, the Foxes had legally challenged the fine, but that had been put on hold after litigation began in 2015 between the EFL and Queens Park Rangers for a similar dispute. Bournemouth was also fined after incurring a significant loss in their 2014/15 promotion season. Teams that breach rules but are not promoted face transfer bans, such as Fulham, Bolton, and Nottingham Forest received through the 2014/15 season.