After the first leg of their English Championship semifinal playoff at Brighton, American owned Derby County have one foot in the Playoff final at Wembley on May 24.
Dubbed “the richest game in soccer” the winner of the Championship Playoff final will seal the third and final promotion spot to the Premier League for next season.
Derby beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 at The Amex on Tuesday night as they now head back to Pride Park with a one-goal advantage to their name and knowing they only need to avoid defeat in their semifinal second leg to set up a date with destiny. Derby were last in the PL back in 2007-08, after winning the playoff final, as that ill-fated campaign saw the Rams finish bottom as they only won once all season and accumulated just 11 points from 38 games.
Managed by former England boss Steve McLaren, Derby finished the season strongly with six wins from their last seven games in the Championship which sealed third place in the regular season. In stark contrast Brighton weren’t even in the playoffs heading into the final minute of the final day but a dramatic late goal got Oscar Garcia’s men to this point.
Brighton were in the ascendancy early on and inside 20 minutes they were 1-0 up as Jesse Lingard, on loan from Manchester United, got a second bite of the cherry inside the box and lashed an effort past Lee Grant in goal for Derby. Brighton continued to pour forward but Derby managed to gather themselves and drew level after 30 minutes.
Left back Craig Forsyth marauded forward and got the ball in the box but was scythed down by Matthew Upson as Derby were awarded a penalty that leading scorer Chris Martin coolly dispatched. On the stroke of half time Derby went ahead as Martin latched onto Johnny Russell’s lay off and crashed an effort off the bar that hit Brighton ‘keeper Tomasz Kuszczak on the back and went in for a bizarre own goal. The former Manchester United ‘keeper could do nothing about it, as the home fans were stunned by Derby’s comeback.
In the second half the Rams threatened on the odd occasion but Brighton did all the pressing yet just couldn’t find a way past an inspired Grant. Leonardo Ulloa’s shot was tipped onto the bar by Grant who made a string of fine saves late on to preserve Derby’s 2-1 lead heading into Sunday’s second leg in the Midlands.
If you love some Championship playoff action, the two sides who were relegated from the PL last season square off at the DW Stadium on Wednesday in their other semifinal as Wigan Athletic host Queens Park Rangers. We will have the latest news from that tie, right here on ProSoccerTalk.
MADRID (AP) Jose Mourinho’s agent says the Manchester United manager paid more than 26 million euros ($27 million) in taxes when he lived in Spain from 2010-13.
The information was made public on Tuesday by Gestifute, a company run by Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes.
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The Portuguese company has been releasing details about its clients’ tax declarations after European media outlets published what they claimed were details of apparent tax arrangements made by top soccer players and coaches, including Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil.
Gestifute, which also has Ronaldo as a client, has already published documents allegedly showing that Spanish fiscal authorities have certified that Mourinho and Real Madrid star Ronaldo are “up to date on … obligations.”
Mourinho coached Real Madrid from 2010-13 and took charge of United this season.
This is going to turn out to be one of the most exciting years of Matt Hedges’ life.
The FC Dallas man lead one of the best back lines in Major League Soccer to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.
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He’s also likely set for a chance to return to the USMNT fold under new coach Bruce Arena, as Hedges is one of the best players to be largely ignored by Jurgen Klinsmann.
Hedges, 26, was named the MLS Defender of the Year and made the Best XI, and now he’s inked a new long-term deal with FC Dallas.
The four-year deal will keep Hedges in Dallas through his 30th birthday. Capped once, Hedges has 159 appearances with 11 goals for FCD.
Christian Pulisic is one of the most exciting young prospects in the world.
It’s a statement that isn’t often said without hyperbole when it comes to American standouts, but the 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund man has seen his names in the gossip pages a few times this year.
While Liverpool has often been the destination, Italian site Calcio Mercato says Premier League interest is wider than Merseyside. The clubs? Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
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Dortmund doesn’t want to sell the youngster, who is locked up through 2019. The whispered price has been $31 million at a minimum, but perhaps BVB would be tempted given their wealth of young attacking options.
Pulisic has made 27 appearances for Borussia Dortmund, nabbing four goals and six assists. He has 11 caps and three goals for the USMNT as well.
Cristiano Ronaldo had been linked with massive tax evasion, but Real Madrid would ask you to kindly go back to treating him like a king now that he’s proven his innocence.
In a move usually reserved for politicians aiming for high office, Ronaldo’s agent released some of his tax documents to prove everything’s above board.
It all looks good, unlike what befell Neymar and Lionel Messi, so back off, huh?
[ MORE: Wednesday’s Champions League preview ]
From Real Madrid:
In view of the stories published over recent days and in consideration of the certificate issued by the Spanish Tax Agency which confirms that our player Cristiano Ronaldo is up to date with all of his tax obligations, Real Madrid C. F. call for the utmost respect to be shown towards Cristiano Ronaldo, whose conduct has been absolutely exemplary throughout all of his time at our club.
Only the utmost for CR7.
Real Madrid hosts Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in a match which will decide Group F of the UEFA Champions League.