Report: Cardiff, Tan claim to have evidence against Palace in spy accusation

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After falling to Crystal Palace 3-0 this past week, mercurial owner Vincent Tan protested the result shouldn’t stand.

Tan cried witchcraft before and after the match, claiming former Cardiff assistant Iain Moody, now working for Palace, successfully attempted to obtain Cardiff’s lineup prior to the game.

He says Cardiff have what The Mirror calls “concrete evidence” that Moody sent texts to a trio of his former coworkers at Cardiff, who apparently gave up the lineup but also alerted manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian then in turn alerted his superiors, but decided not to change his teamsheet.

Moody was disgraced by Tan for an apparent overspenditure late last calendar year in an ugly parting which ultimately saw a falling out between Tan and then-manager Malky Mackay.

There is no concrete law against Moody’s actions (and shame on whoever gave up the lineup), but Cardiff believe his actions violate the “good faith” rule that reads: “In all matters and transactions relating to the league, each club shall behave towards each other club and league with the utmost good faith.”

Back in December, Moody claimed in an interview with the Guardian that “most of my best friends in football work” at Cardiff City still, and that he holds no bitterness against the club.

UPDATE: In a report released by the BBC, there are some absolutely wild, yet surprisingly detailed accusations brought to the Premier League.

According to the BBC, the following is the order of events leading up to the Cardiff City vs Crystal Palace match, which Palace won 3-0:

  • Two days before the match, Iain Moody called (previously reported to be text messages) Cardiff City performance analyst Enda Barron to attempt to obtain Cardiff’s lineup. Moody claimed to be “under pressure from Tony Pulis. Barron denied to release the lineup.
  • Moody then went to another source, reportedly Cardiff City player Aron Gunnarsson, and successfully obtained the lineup. Gunnarsson and his agent have both since denied to the club his involvement in this part of the story.
  • Moody contacted Barron again (unclear whether it was by phone or twxt) to tell his former colleague he was successful.
  • Here’s the wildest part of the story: Moody then mistakenly texted the lineup to current Bolton manager Dougie Freedman (what?!?!). Freedman, a friend of Solskjaer, alerted the Cardiff manager of the leak and the club proceeded from there.

The most unfortunate part of the story in the BBC is that Barron, who denied to leak the lineup to Crystal Palace, was still relieved of his duties with Cardiff claiming breach of contract (possibly for failing to bring the attempt by Moody to his superiors?).

The mistaken text to Freedman, according to the report, read, “Straight from Gunnarsson their line up is 4-4-2 Marshall, KTC, Caulker, Turner, Taylor, Daehli, Medel, Mutch, Zaha, Campbell, Jones.”  That lineup turned out to be exactly correct, with Solskjaer making three changes from their previous match.

In addition, the BBC claims Solskjaer and Pulis discussed the incident following the match, with the following taking place:

Solskjaer: “I am disgusted that your head of recruitment is texting one of my players to get our team.”
Pulis: “Oooh I know. I didn’t ask for it.”

Cardiff are apparently claiming that response as evidence Pulis was aware of the leak.

Everton loses Coleman to leg break on Ireland duty

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A horror tackle from Wales’ Neil Taylor snapped Seamus Coleman‘s leg in gruesome fashion on Friday.

Taylor was given a red card, and Coleman was stretched off the pitch in the 0-0 draw.

[ MORE: UEFA World Cup qualifying wrap ]

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill confirmed what was apparent from the match replay: the Everton man has a broken ankle.

“It’s a bad break. He’s a fantastic player and character. It’s a major blow for the lad, his club and us.

“Apparently it wasn’t the best challenge in the world – I haven’t seen it. He’s gone to hospital. I saw his reaction immediately and it didn’t look good. He was holding is leg up and it didn’t look good.

This is not only awful for the player, but causes stress as Everton mounts its assault on the Top Six. The right back has also manned right mid for Ronald Koeman this season, and has four goals and four assists in 26 Premier League matches.

Mason Holgate, Muhamed Besic, and Phil Jagielka have played some right back for Everton, while Ramiro Funes Mori has deputized at left back.

Emotional McClean speaks after honoring deceased teammate (video)

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After wearing the No. 5 to honor of his recently deceased teammate, James McClean met with the media following Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Wales in World Cup qualifying on Friday.

McClean played with Ryan McBride at Derry City, and left Ireland camp to attend funeral services after McBride died following a match last weekend. McClean was also mourning the death of friend and Sinn Féin politician Martin McGuinness.

Throw in a gruesome injury to teammate Seamus Coleman and, in McClean’s words, “I’ve had better weeks”.

[ MORE: UEFA World Cup qualifying wrap ]

McClean, 27, spoke with evident emotion following a Man of the Match turn in Ireland’s draw (video below).

“It was a really tough week. The lads here have been great. They rallied around me. The manager was first class as well. He let me go up to Derry there on Tuesday and say my goodbyes. It’s been a tough week with Seamus injury as well. It’d been nice if we had have got a win and ended on a positive note, but it wasn’t to be.

“(McBride and McGuinness) were going through my thoughts today. I wanted to put in a performance that would make them proud. In the national anthem and the moment’s applause, holding my wee girl, it was emotional but I tried to put that in the right way into my performance. Hopefully tonight I’ve done the lads proud.”

World Cup qualifiers: Wales in trouble; Buffon hits 1000

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Friday’s matches mark the midway point of the main round of qualifying in UEFA, and the tables remain tight near the top of Groups D and G.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Group I, however, is seeing some distance between first and second thanks to Croatia’s result versus Ukraine.

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Wales

Neil Taylor was sent off in the 69th minute for Wales, whose World Cup hopes are in trouble.

Seamus Coleman was stretchered off after the tackle, with a scary-looking injury that will leave Everton fans sick in more ways than one. Coleman’s leg was broken, and left dangling by the challenge.

Ireland couldn’t take advantage of the sending off, and failed in a bid to overtake Serbia for first in Group D. The Irish trail on goal differential, and will host Serbia on Sept. 5.

But Wales will rue the result more, remaining four points back of second-place Ireland. Chris Coleman’s side drops a point behind Austria as well, and will not have Taylor or Gareth Bale (card accumulation) in its next match. That comes against leaders Serbia.

Italy 2-0 Albania

Daniele De Rossi scored a 12th minute penalty kick won by Andrea Belotti, and Ciro Immobile scored late to provided the goals in Gianluigi Buffon’s 1000th appearance for club and country. Fittingly, it ended in a clean sheet. The match was briefly delayed after flares were thrown onto the field.

Spain 4-1 Israel

David Silva, Vitolo, and Diego Costa stakes the Spaniards to a three-goal lead, with Lior Refaelov ruining David De Gea‘s clean sheet with 11 minutes to play. Isco scored the match’s final goal.

Spain remains atop Group G on goal differential, eight better than second place Italy. Israel is four points behind both.

Croatia 1-0 Ukraine

Fiorentina’s Nikola Kalinic’s 38th minute goal was enough for the hosts, and Croatia is now five points clear of Ukraine and three above Iceland midway through qualifying.

Elsewhere
Austria 2-0 Moldova — RB Leipzig’s Sabitzer nabs winner
Liechtenstein 0-3 Macedonia — Ilija Nestorovski bags brace
Kosovo 1-2 Iceland — Sigurdsson PK the match winner
Georgia 1-3 Serbia — Mitrovic, Tadic lead the way
Turkey 2-0 Finland — Brace for Cenk Tosun

Boro’s Gibson called to England after injury to Man Utd’s Smalling

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Scoring goals has been the biggest problem for Middlesbrough in its return to the Premier League, and that overshadows how well the Northeast club has defended its own goal.

Ben Gibson has been a huge part of that, and now he’ll earn the chance to represent his nation thanks to an injury to Chris Smalling. Gibson will join England ahead of Sunday’s home World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

[ MORE: Podolski leads Germany past England ]

Gibson has far and away been Boro’s best player, leading the side in blocked shots and clearances. The blocked shots total is tied for ninth in the Premier League, 11 behind current leader and new England teammate Michael Keane.

Smalling’s undisclosed injury is a bigger problem for Manchester United, which had already lost center back depth on England duty when Phil Jones was hurt.