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Peralta’s goal saves FIFA more controversy; Mexico dominates Cameroon 1-0

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If Mexico fails to escape Group A on goals, fans of El Tri could point directly to Friday’s dominant-but-unrewarded first half as a key moment in the tournament.

Mexican forward Giovani dos Santos had two first-half goals disallowed — at least one unfairly — as Cameroon was fortunate to make its way to a scoreless halftime at the Arena das Dunas in Natal.

But Miguel Herrera’s decision to keep Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez on he bench eventually paid off, as the match’s best player played a major role in Mexico’s goal.

MORE: Soccerly’s Mexico/Cameroon recap

Dos Santos was through on goal, and his hard attempt rebounded off Cameroon keeper Charles Itandje and right to Oribe Peralta. Mexico’s best finisher did just that, and it was 1-0 in the 61st minute.

The first 45 minutes were decidedly-slanted in Mexico’s favor, in terms of the run of play. The officials had the pitch going more in the way of El Tri’s African opponents, whose sloppy and disorganized opening was allowed to skate free of damnation.

Disallowed goal No. 1 came after just 11 minutes, as dos Santos scores a goal on a beautiful cross, but is ruled offsides. It was a bout of brutal work by the linesman, and FIFA’s history has us wondering what’s on the official’s mind?

Disallowed goal No. 2 was more understandable… at least in super slow motion. Dos Santos was ruled offsides again when a Cameroon player barely flicked a corner into his path before the finish.

source: AP
Source: AP

In between the disallowed goals was Cameroon’s best chance, as Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s left-footed cross was near-perfect for Samuel Eto’o, who fired wide left (just skimming the post)

The second half brought one substitution for Cameroon, as Dany Achille Nounkeu took the place great flick by dos Santos sends Oribe Peralta in on goal, but Itandje get a piece of a low shot with his legs.

The first yellow card of the game came in the 57th minute, after Moreno took down Cameroon’s Stephane Mbia about 28 yards out from goal. Assou-Ekotto’s free kick was deflected off the wall and briefly appeared headed for glory, only to go wide of the frame.

Eto’o won a corner for Cameroon in the 80th minute, its fourth. It was a dangerous ball, but sailed through the box untouched.

Cameroon found a couple good chances late, but Guillermo Ochoa made a leaping save of a snapped-header by Moukandjo.

Hernandez butchered a chance to give Mexico a goal in the third minute of stoppage time.

[ MORE: Soccerly covers the World Cup ]

LINEUPS

Mexico: Ochoa, Aguilar, Rodríguez, Moreno, Márquez, Layún, Vázquez, Guardado (Fabian, 69′), Herrera (Salcido, 90’+2), Dos Santos, Peralta (Hernandez, 73′)

Goals: Peralta (61′)

Cameroon: Itandje; Nkoulou, Djeugoue (Nounkeu, 46′), Chedjou, Assou Ekotto; Song (Webo, 79′), Mbia, Enoh, Choupo Moting, Moukandjo, Eto’o

League Cup roundup: Middlesbrough and Burnley fall to lower league foes

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Adam Forshaw of Middlesbrough is challenged by Tim Ream of Fulham during the EFL Cup second round match between Fulham and Middlesbrough at Craven Cottage on August 24, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
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Sunderland, Bournemouth, and Burnley all advanced to the League Cup third round, while Middlesbrough dropped out after finding themselves bested in extra-time.

A strong Boro lineup still saw its goal pummeled all evening by Fulham’s young squad, and Lasse Vigen Christensen won it in extra time with an assist from American youngster Luca de la Torre to complete the 2-1 scoreline. Middlesbrough went ahead early on an 8th minute header by David Nugent, but they were on the back foot the rest of the match. Scott Malone forced a Boro own-goal for the equalizer shortly after halftime, and Christensen won it seven minutes before penalties. The win for Fulham means they are unbeaten through five matches this season across Championship and League Cup play.

Burnley also went to extra-time after a scoreless full 90 minutes, and they were stunned by a goal from Accrington Stanley’s Matt Pearson in the 122nd minute, just ticks before penalties to down the Clarets 1-0. It was a dull match up to that point, and the League Two side earned its first-ever victory over a Premier League side in cup play with the late winner.

Bournemouth nudged past League Two side Morecambe 2-1 thanks to goals from Max Gradel and Marc Wilson, although Morecambe had leveled things for a bit between the two Cherries’ goals.

Sunderland also saw themselves through thanks to Adnan Januzaj‘s first goal for the Black Cats, an 83rd minute strike to down League One side Shrewsbury Town 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. The match was a relatively even affair until Januzaj’s late goal, but Sunderland likely deserved to win on number of chances, with Patrick van Anholt having the best prior opportunity just before halftime with a rocket saved by Jason Leutwiler.

Champions League playoff roundup: Man City eases through, Ajax bounced

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24:  Joe Hart of Manchester City looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League Play-off Second Leg match between Manchester City and Steaua Bucharest at Etihad Stadium on August 24, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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The result was never in doubt for Manchester City after a 6-0 demolition of Steaua Bucharest in the first leg, but the Premier League side made it official as they eased into the group stage with a 0-0 second leg result at the Etihad.

Joe Hart started and played what could be his final match in a City shirt, with Pep Guardiola handing him potentially one last showing in front of the home fans. The fan favorite received a thunderous welcome from the home fans who understood the situation.

Guardiola rested Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, and David Silva but still put forth a strong side, and Fabian Delph‘s 58th minute goal sent Man City home with an easy victory and clean sheet. There was a scary moment when Kelechi Iheanacho appeared to pull up lame with a hamstring injury, and then suddenly passed out on the field, but he came to just before a Bucharest player was about to attempt to resuscitate him. The young striker was brought off in favor of Fernandinho in the 75th minute.

Also through easily is Borussia Monchengladbach, with a 6-1 home win over Young Boys to complete a 9-2 aggregate victory. Thorgan Hazard opened the scoring just nine minutes in with a solid bit of skill, and Raffael continued his solid run of form with a hat-trick to easy the Germans through. Hazard would eventually cap off a hat-trick in the 84th minute as well.

In the surprise of the round, Dutch giants Ajax saw themselves bow out of the Champions League following a 4-1 aggregate defeat to last year’s Russian Premier League runners up FC Rostov. The spot in the group stage was there for the taking after a 1-1 first leg in the Netherlands, but Ajax was hammered on Wednesday 4-1 in Russia. Rostov managed four goals with four different goalscorers, including Ecudorian international Christian Noboa. The visitors, meanwhile, didn’t even manage a shot on target until the 73rd minute.

FC Koln needed a late equalizer to send them through over APOEL Nicosia, as Paraguayan international Federico Santander scored in the 86th minute to level the match at 1-1 and give the visitors a 2-1 aggregate win. Finally, Dinamo Zagreb completed a stunning comeback, scoring twice after the 87th minute to beat Red Bull Salzburg 2-1 on the day in Austria and 3-2 on aggregate. Junior Fernandes scored in the 87th to level things at 1-1 and requiring extra time. Then Algerian international El Arabi Hilal Soudani bagged the winner in the 97th minute, sending the Croatians through to the group stage.

Coleman explains why he stayed as Wales coach, rejected Hull

ZENICA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - OCTOBER 10: Head coach Chris Coleman of Wales celebrates after the Euro 2016 qualifying football match between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Wales at the Stadium Bilino Polje in Elbasan on October 10, 2015. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
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CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Chris Coleman says he chose to remain as Wales manager despite interest from Premier League side Hull because he’s in a job that is “close to his heart.”

The Football Association of Wales rejected an approach for Coleman from Hull this month, with the Welshman deciding to stay on rather than resigning.

Coleman, who guided Wales to the European Championship semifinals against the odds, said on Wednesday that “if someone comes and it’s the Premier League, anybody, you kind of look at it sideways. Of course.”

But, Coleman added, managing your country “comes around once, if you’re lucky.”

Coleman has made no secret of his desire to manage in club football in the future, but says “what I’ve got here is something very special and close to my heart.”

FOLLOW LIVE: The UEFA Champions League finds its last five group stage teams

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24:  Joe Hart of Manchester City warms up prior to the UEFA Champions League Play-off Second Leg match between Manchester City and Steaua Bucharest at Etihad Stadium on August 24, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Who’s going to join Porto, Monaco, Legia Warsaw, Ludogorets Razgrad and Celtic as playoff teams to join the UEFA Champions League group stage?

The biggest names of Wednesday’s slate are cruising after their first legs, with Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach putting five and three goals on the board, respectively.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. roundup ]

Could the match be Joe Hart‘s last for City? The longtime backstop gets the call with the transfer window a week away.

In the other three cases, things are wide open. Rostov plays Ajax, Red Bull Salzburg faces Dinamo Zagreb, and APOEL lines up Copenhagen.

Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League slateFOLLOW LIVE

Borussia Monchengladbach (3) vs. (1) BSC Young Boys
Rostov (1) vs. (1) Ajax
Red Bull Salzburg (1) vs. (1) Dinamo Zagreb
APOEL (0) vs. (1) Copenhagen
Manchester City (5) vs. Steaua Bucuresti (0)