Fulham 2-2 Hull City: Cottagers let two-goal lead slip (video)

Leave a comment

Fulham squandered a 2-0 lead at Craven Cottage on Saturday, as Hull City scored twice in the final 15 minutes to break the Cottagers’ hearts.

A lackluster first half saw both sides go in level at the break, then Fulham raced into a 2-0 lead in sensational fashion. First Ashkan Dejagah cut in from the right and curled home a beauty to make it 1-0, then moments late a cross from the left was headed home by Fernando Amorebieta to give the Cottagers a 2-0 lead.

Hull were stunned but came flying back in the final stages with Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long both heading home after slack Fulham defending, to drive a dagger into the heart of the Craven Cottage faithful.

After letting two points slip Fulham are one point from safety with two games to go against Stoke City and Crystal Palace, while Hull took another step towards safety by sealing a dramatic late point.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

John Arne Riise had an early effort from the edge of the box, as Huge Rodallega controlled well before laying it off to the Norwegian, who shot just wide with a low drive. Rodallega then missed a glorious chance to give Fulham the lead as a cross from the left saw the Colombian unmarked from close range but he somehow missed ball completely.

source: Getty Images
Hull fought back to give Fulham that sinking feeling after giving up a 2-0 lead.

The game was a nervy affair for much of the first half, as the home fans knew how important a win would be in their fight against relegation. Hull City felt aggrieved before the break as Shane Long went down in the box but no penalty was given by referee Lee Mason.

At half time Magath made two vital changes as Dejagah and Kieran Richardson came off the bench and that sparked the game into life in sensational fashion. First Dejagah cut inside from the right flank after a good advantage was played by the ref and the Iranian winger curled a sumptuous left-footed effort into the far corner to put Fulham 1-0 up in the 55th minute. Three minutes later it was 2-0 to the home side, as the other half time substitute Richardson picked the ball up on the left flank and delivered a wonderful cross that was met with an equally fantastic header by Amorebieta.

Hull were shell-shocked by conceding two goals in three minutes, as the home fans at Craven Cottage got right behind their side and sensed a vital win was within touching distance.

Yet with 15 minutes to go Hull were handed a lifeline, as a clearance from Fulham’s Sasha Riether looped high into the air, hit his own crossbar and Jelavic was on hand to head home and make it 2-1. Moments later Hull were almost level as Sone Aluko took a shot from outside the box which took a huge deflection and crashed onto the bar and out as David Stockdale was rooted to the spot. Elmohamady then had a shot turned onto the post by Stockkdale as Hull went for broke. Fulham should’ve gone 3-1 up as Rodallega played in Dejagah who saw his shot well saved by Harper and then Darren Bent took too long to try and tuck home the rebound.

That missed proved costly as with three minutes left Long was left unmarked at the back post to head home a damaging equalizer, as Fulham missed a glorious chance to climb out of the drop zone.

LINEUPS

Fulham: Stockdale; Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta, Riise (Richardson, 45′); Riether, Parker, Sidwell (Bent, 53′), Diarra, Holtby (Dejagah, 45′); Rodallega

Goals: Dejagah (55′), Amorebieta (58′)

Hull City: Harper, Rosenior (Boyd, 82′), Bruce (Aluko, 67′), Chester, Davies, Meyler (Sagbo, 82′), Huddlestone, Livermore, Jelavic, Long, Elmohamady

Goals: Jelavic (75′), Long (87′)

Texas-born Dempsey at home 1 goal from record, 1 win from Final

AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Leave a comment

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Clint Dempsey is back in his home state of Texas, one goal away from a national scoring record for the United States team that is one win from playing in another CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

The Americans play a semifinal game Saturday night against Costa Rica in a stadium synonymous with American football – the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, the Cotton Bowl and where the first College Football Playoff championship game was played three seasons ago.

That is only about 180 miles from Dempsey’s hometown of Nacogdoches.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

“It’s always great to be home and play in front of family and friends, especially for a big game,” Dempsey said Friday. “I have a lot of great memories of playing in Dallas as a kid, and I’m proud to represent Nacogdoches. Being from there made me who I am today.”

Dempsey, one goal from matching Landon Donovan’s American record of 57 national team goals, wasn’t part of soccer’s only Gold Cup games at the $1.2 billion AT&T Stadium.

In a 2013 semifinal game there when the Americans were on the way to their fifth Gold Cup championship, they beat Honduras 3-1. Donovan scored twice in that game – his 55th and 56th goals for the national team – and assisted on the other goal. About two months later, Donovan scored his final goal in a World Cup qualifier win over Mexico.

Within a week after Costa Rica beat the U.S. team 4-0 in World Cup qualifying last November, Jurgen Klinsmann was out as the U.S. coach and Bruce Arena was rehired to the position he had been fired from a decade earlier.

[ WATCH: Coutinho’s super goal vs. Leicester ]

Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez said Friday that Arena has seemingly had a positive impact on the U.S. team.

“They look more relaxed in terms of what they’re doing on the field,” Ramirez said through an interpreter.

This U.S. roster for the Gold Cup knockout rounds also is much different than the one that played in Costa Rica eight months ago – not just the change at coach. Only five players from that game that are set for this semifinal game – Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi.

“That’s in the past,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t think about that game. … This is just another game. It’s another opportunity for us to see what we’re made out of.”

Altidore, Dempsey, Bradley, Darlington Nagbe, and goalkeeper Tim Howard were all added to the lineup before a 2-0 win over El Salvador in the quarterfinal on Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

Dempsey set up Eric Lichaj‘s goal in extra time before halftime to make it 2-0 against El Salvador. Dempsey also fed Gyasi Zardes for a breakaway, though that apparent goal didn’t count after he was ruled offside.

That game was Dempsey’s 135th appearance for the national team, trailing only Cobi Jones (164) and Landon Donovan (157) on the U.S. list.

[ MORE: Why PSG’s Alexis-Neymar pursuit makes (relative) sense ]

Dempsey isn’t the only player with Texas ties with the U.S. team. Three players from FC Dallas, the MLS team that plays its home games about 40 miles away from the big stadium in Frisco, are on the roster: Kellyn Acosta, Matt Hedges and Jesse Gonzalez.

Acosta, the homegrown midfielder who turns 22 next week, was recently named to the MLS All-Star team. He was born in nearby Plano, Texas, and signed by FC Dallas five years ago.

“It’s definitely a proud moment, to get to represent my community, play before my friends and family,” Acosta said. “To be back in my hometown, I’m definitely excited about it.”

Notes: Costa Rica is trying to get to its first Gold Cup final since 2002, when it lost 2-0 to the Americans. “Obviously, we want to look for that reward, that happiness, and go after that,” Ramirez said. “We have a difficult team in front of us.” … The United States’ nine goals are the most in this Gold Cup, while Costa Rica has allowed only one in its four games.

Why PSG’s Alexis, Neymar pursuit fits in a (relatively) smart space

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Paris Saint-Germain’s run of four Ligue 1 titles ended last season, a campaign which also saw exciting league-winners Monaco go two rounds further into the UEFA Champions League.

Monaco looks set for a step back this season, with Bernardo Silva off to Man City and Tiemoue Bakayoko signing for Chelsea. Kylian Mbappe could join Monaco’s list of departures, and reports say Man City had a bid accepted for Benjamin Mendy.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

While Monaco is loading up on young talent again, PSG clearly sees its chance to surge back into the title seat and Les Parisiens may just make themselves European favorites as well if they can pry Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and Neymar from Barcelona.

That would be a South American trident nearly as potent as the one Neymar current shares with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and the Brazilian would not be second or third fiddle.

PSG has so far been relatively quiet this summer, with the addition of Dani Alves the lone new buy. Aside from money, how was Alves lured to Paris over Man City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola? The idea of a reunion with Neymar and several Brazilian mates — Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura — may’ve been enough and surely that conversation would’ve happened between the two Barca stars.

The French side has to make a big chance at some point soon, unless they’ve been able to unload their money bags and actually buy a fountain of youth. Thiago Motta is 34, Blaise Matuidi 30, Silva 32, and Edinson Cavani 30.

It’s calculated aggression from PSG to splash cash in hopes of rivaling Real Madrid, Juventus, and Barca in pursuit of the UCL title. The Neymar move weakens one of those rivals. If Marco Verratti isn’t part of a swap deal, the signings of Sanchez and Neymar would meet the Italian star’s ambitions well up the road.

De Boer: West Brom was out to injure Palace star Zaha

AP Photo/Kin Cheung
Leave a comment

No shrinking violet, new Crystal Palace boss Frank De Boer was left fuming at West Bromwich Albion players following the PL Asia Trophy third place match on Saturday in Hong Kong.

While the focus could’ve been on Luka Milivojevic‘s gorgeous free kick (watch here), De Boer couldn’t get past the hard fouls aimed at his key attacker.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

West Brom gave away the free kick that led to the aforementioned goal by chopping down Zaha, and the foul was not an isolated incident.

From the BBC:

“They were looking for him, to injure him,” said De Boer.

“He’s one of the exciting players in the league. I don’t want to think he’d be out for two weeks or months.”

De Boer is no stranger to rough play, so this is not coming from a soft place. We doubt it’s going to change anything from Tony Pulis‘ men, though.

Chelsea hammers Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing (video)

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
Leave a comment

Chelsea struck twice early and Michy Batshuayi put the cherry on top as the Premier League champions cruised past Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing on Saturday.

The Blues started a lineup they’d use on any occasion in the PL, while Arsenal had unproven prospects Cohen Bramall and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the XI.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

Willian‘s quick goal put the Blues up 1-0 at the Bird’s Nest, and Batshuayi scored the second and third. Both were pretty classy, especially the second.

Marcos Alonso did the lion’s share of the work to produce the second chance for Batshuayi, who is threatening to carry over his fine late season form to this campaign. What a smash.