Southampton 0-0 West Bromwich Albion: Stalemate at St. Mary’s (video)

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Southampton and West Brom played out a dour 0-0 at a sunny St. Mary’s on Saturday.

The closest either team came to a goal was a bending free kick from James Ward-Prowse as the Saints midfielder clipped the post in the second half. West Brom’s new signing Brown Ideye headed into the side-netting and was thwarted by Fraser Forster following a lovely bit of skill, as both teams struggled to carve out clear cut opportunities.

[MORE: Watch the full match replay ]

With the draw Saints picked up their first point of the Ronald Koeman era, while the Baggies drew their second-straight match as both teams flattered to deceive on the South Coast in a closely fought encounter.

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Saints were lively early on as Tadic ran at the Baggies defense and clipped a perfect cross that Graziano Pelle headed tamely wide. West Brom sat back and tried to soak up the pressure, then hit the home side on the break.

The Baggies went in the 14th minute as Graham Dorrans shot was well blocked by Saints defense but the away side began to rack up the chances. Pelle then put in a late challenge on Sebastien Pocognoli but referee Roger East waved away the incident despite a lengthy spell of treatment for the West Brom left back.

source: Getty Images
Saints and Baggies battled it out in the sun at St. Mary’s.

A nifty move down the left flank saw Tadic and Ryan Bertrand link up nicely and the latter found Pelle in the box but the big Italian striker saw his effort blocked by Jonas Olsson. Moments later Baggies ‘keeper Ben Foster was let off the hook as he came rushing off his line and Tadic beat him to the ball. The Serbian then whipped in a cross which just evaded Pelle as an empty net beckoned. Saints continued to build the pressure and a blocked clearance fell to Steven Davis who headed the ball towards Tadic but his left-footed shot was saved well by Foster.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

At half time Shane Long replaced Steven Davis as the Irish international came on to face his former club. Less than 10 minutes into the second half the Baggies brought on club record signing Ideye for his debut as the Nigerian striker replaced Victor Anichebe. The forward was soon picked out at the back post after a looping cross from Pocognoli but he headed the ball into the side-netting with Saints under pressure. That turned out to be Pocognoli’s last action of the match as he was injured in the act and was replaced by Australian international Jason Davidson.

Southampton continued to push as the game closed out and in the 70th minute James Ward-Prowse rattled a superb free kick off the post as he curled the ball beautifully open and over the wall but saw his effort hit the woodwork. West Brom then almost went ahead as Ideye tricked his way past Saints’ defender but Fraser Forster came up with a superb save with his leg to keep the game scoreless.

Late on Saints tried to push for the winner but West Brom held firm to thwart the home side as the game ended goalless.

LINEUPS

Southampton: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse (Cork, 78′), S. Davis (Long, 45′), Tadić, Pellè.

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Wisdom, Dawson, Olsson, Pocognoli (Davidson, 60′), Mulumbu, Gardner, Berahino (Sessegnon, 89′), Dorrans, Brunt, Anichebe (Ideye, 52′)

Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery, scores in England win

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Jermain Defoe’s friendship with terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has been special to watch unfold, and the Sunderland striker brought his little buddy to Wembley today.

Then he notched a match-winner.

Lowery walked Defoe out onto the field in a replica England kit before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and then Defoe scored his 20th goal for country.

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It was his first since 2013, the last year Defoe was called up for the Three Lions.

Here’s the goal, which was followed by a second-half Jamie Vardy tally as England stayed atop Group F with a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

Two Russian soccer fans stabbed in Serbia

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Two Russian fans have been hospitalized with serious injuries after being stabbed following a friendly soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday police were looking for the knife-wielding perpetrators who attacked a group of Lokomotiv fans in downtown Belgrade late Saturday.

Serbian media reports said the Russian fans were attacked by supporters of Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade.

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The match, which Red Star won 2-1, was meant to promote Serbia’s traditional friendship with Russia.

Stefanovic says “nobody should think they could hurt the Serbian-Russian friendship” with such attacks.

Serbia has seen a surge of fan violence inside and outside stadiums. In 2009, a French football fan was fatally beaten in Belgrade.

VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

[ MORE: Under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

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Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.