STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 26: Danny Rose of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with Aaron Lennon after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Britannia Stadium on April 26, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.

Stoke City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs still in the running for Champions League (video)

Leave a comment

After talking up the fact that his mission at Tottenham was to score goals rather than secure a Champions League place, one might have expected more from Tim Sherwood’s goalscoring Spurs at the Britannia. But Stoke still have a touch of the Pulis around this prettier Mark Hughes side, and they’re still able to defend – particularly at home. Yet after going down to ten men, Stoke were unable to pull one back, and Spurs left with what might have been a narrow win but certainly counted as all three points.

Aaron Lennon nearly put the visitors ahead before ten minutes had passed. It wasn’t intentional: a cross just sort of drifted toward the Stoke goal. But Asmir Begović came to attention, pushing the ball away before it could land in the back of the net.

It took about twenty minutes for Stoke to get into the match, but Hugo Lloris was there to make sure Spurs didn’t concede. The hosts came closest when Tottenham, apparently deciding Stephen Ireland was no threat, allowed the midfielder plenty of time to get in a shot. It landed wide, however.

Tottenham took the lead in the 33rd minute, after Emmanuel Adebayor ducked around Glen Whelan. He sent a cross in to where Danny Rose was lurking by the near post. The defender’s header flew past Begović  and into the back of the net.

Stoke’s job was made all the more difficult shortly after the break, when Ryan Shawcross, already on a yellow, came in studs up on Rose. Andre Marriner sent him packing, leaving the Potters with ten men and forty minutes left to play.

The incident, felt by the Stoke fans to be harsh, showed why the Britannia is such a hard place for visiting teams to get a result. Fueled by a sense of injustice, the home crowd directed their ire at Rose, whom Sherwood had to replace with Zeki Fryers fifteen minutes later. Meanwhile the Potters pressed on, making every attempt to get an equalizer. Peter Odemwingie headed over, Steven N’Zonzi went wide.

But it was always going to be tough to find an opening with a man disadvantage, and in the end, Stoke just couldn’t get there. But they’re safe and they’ve still got a shot at a top-half finish, so they shouldn’t be too disappointed in themselves.

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Wilson, Shawcross, Muniesa; Arnautovic, Whelan, Nzonzi, Odemwingie; Ireland; Crouch

Subs: Sorensen; Pieters, Palacios, Adam, Walters, Assaidi, Wilkinson

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Rose; Lennon, Chadli, Paulinho, Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane

Subs: Friedel, Fryers, Bentaleb, Sandro, Sigurdsson, Townsend, Soldado

Argentine star Messi leaves Honduras match with back injury

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  (L-R) Jose Juan Vazquez #23 of Mexico and Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina during a international friendly at AT&T Stadium on September 8, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi left the field with a back injury in the second half of a 1-0 victory over Honduras in a friendly Friday night.

The Argentine team captain and Barcelona star was hit on an apparently inconsequential play and immediately went to the locker room. He was replaced at the 62-minute mark by Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega and never returned to the field.

“Messi suffered a trauma to the left side of his lower back and rib cage,” the Argentine Football (Soccer) Association said in a statement, adding that doctors were looking at the injury.

[ MORE: Hull City snares last PL spot for 2016-17 ]

Messi is not a player who leaves the field with minor injuries like he did Friday at San Juan’s Bicentenario stadium.

“I would not dare to venture a diagnosis,” said a concerned Argentine manager, Gerardo Martino.

Gonzalo Higuain, who scored for Argentina, said it “was an important win and here’s hoping that what happened to Leo is nothing.”

Messi was scheduled to fly to Spain to resolve a tax issue and then rejoin the team in Santa Clara, California.

Hull City secures PL position next season

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Ross Wallace of Sheffield Wednesday make a break during Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final match between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
1 Comment

Mohamed Diame was the hero on the day for Hull City, as the Tigers gain promotion to the Premier League next season.

The Senegalese attacker sent Sheffield Wednesday packing on Saturday afternoon at Wembley Stadium after hitting a scorching long-distance effort past goalkeeper Kieren Westwood in the second half.

After an initial back-and-forth spell of chances over the opening half hour-plus, Sheffield was drastically taken out of the match as Hull began to gain their composure on the ball.

Hull City will join Championship winners Burnley and Middlesbrough in the Premier League in 2016-17 after being promoted. Relegated clubs Newcastle, Norwich City and Aston Villa will take their place in England’s second flight.

Follow @MattReedFutbol

UCL FOLLOW LIVE: Lineups as Atleti, Real duel in finale

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, fights for the ball with Atletico Madrid's Tiago Mendes during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
AP Photo/Francisco Seco
Leave a comment

After their devastating defeat two seasons ago, Atletico Madrid looks for revenge and their first UEFA Champions League title on Saturday against Real Madrid.

Milan will be the site for the action, as Zinedine Zidane and Real are seeking their 11th title in the competition and have the opportunity to knock Atleti out in the title match for the second time in three seasons.

To follow live, click here.

LINEUPS

Real Madrid: Navas, Marcelo, Ramos, Pepe, Carvajal, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema Subs: Casilla, James, Nacho, Lucas Vasquez, Jese, Isco, Danilo

Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Filipe Luis, Godin, Savic, Juanfran; Gabi, Fernandez, Koke, Saul Niguez; Griezmann, Torres. Subs: Moya, Tiago, Correa, Hernandez, Thomas, Ferreira-Carrasco, Gimenez.

Follow @MattReedFutbol

Atlanta United actively pursuing Mexican duo Guardado, Vela

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 07:  (L-R) Former professional soccer player Carlos Bocanegra, MLS Atlanta owner Arthur Blank, rapper Ludacris, Commissioner of MLS Don Garber, and former professional soccer player Darren Eales attend the MLS Atlanta Launch Event at SOHO on July 7, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for MLS Atlanta)
2 Comments

With Atlanta United FC set to make their MLS debut in 2017, the club is reportedly set to make a major splash with one or possibly two Mexican stars.

[ MORE: Agent: Zlatan Ibrahimovic may not join Man United ]

ESPN FC‘s John Sutcliffe reported from the team’s future home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, on Friday, saying that the team is targeting both Andres Guardado and Carlos Vela.

[ MORE: Edgar Castillo to replace Timmy Chandler for USMNT ]

Guardado, who currently plays for PSV Eindhoven, has long been a staple of the El Tri midfield, making 124 appearances for the Mexican national team.

While Vela wasn’t included in Mexico’s Copa America Centenario roster, the Real Sociedad striker has every bit of talent you’d want from a future Designated Player, which is likely what either Guardado or Vela would be.

Atlanta currently has three players on their roster. Greek goalkeeper Alexandros Tabakis, Junior Burgos and Jeffery Otoo currently round out the squad.

The potential addition(s) of an Andres Guardado or Carlos Vela would prove to be not only big for Atlanta but for MLS as a whole, more so with Vela though. MLS’ growth over recent years has brought young DPs like Sebastian Giovinco and Giovani Dos Santos to Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy, respectively.

Another league addition who is in the prime of their career will only continue to build the league’s reputation, and immediately put Atlanta on the map next season.

Follow @MattReedFutbol