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)

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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

Pellegrini says announcing departure was mistake; Won’t jump into job

Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini, right, and Bayern Munich's manager Pep Guardiola during the Champions League group D soccer match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Clint Hughes)
AP Photo/Clint Hughes
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Former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini thought it was the right thing to do; His club was reportedly looking for his successor, so why not let them do it in the open.

[ MORE: Barcelona could chase Mata ]

What followed Pellegrini’s announcement that he would leave at the end of season were three straight losses and, arguably, City’s chances at a Premier League title.

From Sky Sports:

“After Guardiola said he was coming to England it was my decision [to go public] because all the media was talking about Guardiola here, Guardiola in Arsenal, Guardiola in Manchester United,” he told The Guardian.

“It was not fair for all managers – when everyone knew he was coming here. If I ask if I would do that again… I have some doubts.”

Pellegrini said the announcement didn’t make it difficult for him, but for his players.

The Argentine also said he’ll wait for an interesting job to come calling, and that he could be done managing forever if such an opportunity doesn’t present itself. That said, we think he’ll find a job that’s to his liking given this comment:

“Of course, I would miss it. The challenge keeps me alive.”

Life is a good motivator.

Will upsets continue in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round?

SANDY, UT - OCTOBER 1: The U.S. Soccer Championship trophy sits on display before the game between DC United and Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium October 1, 2013 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
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The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup hits the third round on Wednesday, with NASL teams entering the fray and at least one fourth-tier or lower side guaranteed to advance to face MLS competition.

The USASA had three teams win second round matches, and two will face each other on Wednesday. The L.A. Wolves knocked off the USL’s Orange County Blues, while L Maquina FC handed the NPSL’s Sacramento Gold an ouster. They will tangle for the right to a high-profile match-up with the L.A. Galaxy.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Gonzalez wins Liga MX with Pachuca ]

We’ll also see NASL vs. USL geographical rivalries when Carolina faces Charlotte and Rayo OKC meets Oklahoma City.

Wednesday’s third round matches
Chattanooga FC (NPSL) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) vs. Richmond Kickers (USL)
Jacksonville Armada (NASL) vs. Charleston Battery (USL)
New York Cosmos (NASL) vs. Jersey Express (PDL)
Carolina RailHawks (NASL) vs. Charlotte Independence (USL)
Miami FC (NASL) vs. Wilmington Hammerheads (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) vs FC Cincinnati (USL)
Rochester Rhinos (USL) vs. Lansdowne Bhoys FC (USASA)
Indy Eleven (NASL) vs. Louisville City FC (USL)
Saint Louis FC (USL) vs. Minnesota United (NASL)
Rayo OKC (NASL) vs Oklahoma City Energy (USL)
Des Moines Menace (PD) vs. San Antonio FC (USL)
Arizona United (USL) vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)
La Maquina (USASA) vs. L.A. Wolves (USASA)
Kitsap Pumas (PDL) vs. Sacramento Republic (USL)

Iranian woman “sneaks” into Persian League match dressed as a man

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An Iranian woman wanted to see her favorite team play badly, but knew well the unspoken rule: no females at the stadium.

The Independent has the story of a woman who dressed in layers and filmed herself in case trouble came from her attendance.

[ MORE: Police free kidnapped Mexico striker ]

Persepolis FC is the name of the club, and they play in the Persian Gulf Pro League.

From The Independent:

There is no official ban on women attending sports events in Iran, but they are often refused entry so it is rare for women to attend.

In a third video, the woman explains that she layered five T-shirts and five pairs of trousers to hide her figure and covered her face with face paint.

I recognize that this is the norm over there, but it’s still a striking story.

Report: Barcelona ready to swoop if Mourinho deems Mata surplus at Manchester United

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - OCTOBER 01: Juan Mata (L) of Chelsea shakes hands with manager Jose Mourinho (R) after being substituted during the UEFA Champions League Group E Match between FC Steaua Bucuresti and Chelsea at the National Arena Stadium on October 1, 2013 in Bucharest, Romania.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
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It’s a $40 million question for Manchester United: Will Juan Mata and Jose Mourinho work well together?

Their time at Chelsea was fractured when Mourinho deemed Mata surplus to requirement and shipped the Spaniard to Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Rashford signs new 4-year deal ]

Mata, 28, has been a consistent performer for United, but will his reunion with Mourinho be short-lived? It’s easy to imagine both as ready to move on and Barcelona could be an option if that happens.

Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona could make a bid of close to $40 million in order to help the midfield continue to tick. Mata was a key part of United’s possession-based approach under Louis Van Gaal, and as a player really does fit the bill of a Mourinho-minded mid.

We’re just hoping that if Mata moves, he doesn’t switch anywhere that would change his English language blog posts.