Hull City 2-2 Everton: Snodgrass heroics cancelled by Barkley equalizer

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The team at the bottom of the table at the turn of the calendar year has only survived three times in Premier League history. Hull City may not have to worry about that.

Robert Snodgrass delivered two exquisite free-kicks, as the first crashed into the post but the second found the back of the net to give Hull City a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Ross Barkley rose high in the air six minutes from full time to peg back the home side, leaving the sides to share the points with a 2-2 finish. Still, the draw pulls Hull off the bottom of the table, leaving Swansea City a point in their wake.

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Hull City was the more incisive and attacking side in the opening few minutes, and they were rewarded after 6 minutes. A corner came in from Robert Snodgrass to the near post, and Curtis Davies met it there and nodded it across the face of goal. With all the defenders sucked up to the near post towards the initial ball, Michael Dawson was at the far post where Davies’ flick fell, and he whacked it into the back of the net for an early home lead.

The Toffees responded immediately, and nearly came level just seven minutes later. A ball into the box from Gareth Barry from the left met the head of Seamus Coleman, who powered the ball on net, but it clattered the inside of the post and unluckily came back out, cleared by the Hull defensive scrum.

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Nevertheless, it was clear Everton was the brighter side following the opener. They pressured David Marshall‘s box on numerous occasions through the 20th minute, when Hull had a chance of their own to go 2-0 up. A cross from Ahmed Elhomamady on the right met the crown of Dieumerci Mbokani who beat Coleman in the air, but his header was weak and cleared.

The game closed down, and it appeared Hull would take a lead into halftime, but just before the break, Hull City goalkeeper David Marshall had a horrible moment to gift Everton a goal. With a corner swung in by the Toffees, Mbokani got in Marshall’s way, looking to clear the ball with his head, and when Marshall rose behind him to punch clear, the ball clipped off the inside of his fist and instead went backwards into his own net, ticking the score to 1-1 after 45 minutes.

After the break, goals were there for the taking, but the woodwork denied both sides. Everton had a chance just two minutes after play resumed, as his shot pinged off Dawson and was tipped off the bar by a Marshall save. Then minutes later, Robert Snodgrass delivered a delicious, curling free-kick that slammed into the corner of the bar after having beaten Robles.

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He’d get another chance, however, after a soft foul was given outside the Everton box when Leighton Baines was judged to have pushed down Harry Maguire. Snodgrass presented another brilliant delivery, and this time it went in, curling around the wall and tucking just inside the top-left corner.

They again couldn’t hold on, as Everton struck six minutes from full time as a nobody closed down Leighton Baines on the end line left of the box. The England international whipped in a cross, meeting the head of Ross Barkley who rose to head in the equalizer. They nearly went on to win it, as substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed just wide a minute before added time.

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The points shared means Hull City moves to 13, off the bottom of the table but still four points back of safety. Swansea City now sits on the bottom, and they take on Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve. Everton, meanwhile, move to 27 points, but remain in seventh, still six back of Manchester United in front of them.

PHOTOS: Tottenham’s stunning new stadium

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Tottenham Hotspur’s new $1 billion stadium is taking shape and it is looking magnificent.

The plan is for Spurs’ new home at White Hart Lane to be ready for the 2018/19 season, with reports stating that Mauricio Pochettino‘s men will play their first couple of games away from home next season in order to squeeze in a few more weeks for construction.

Spurs’ new  home will seat 62,062 fans and will be the second-largest stadium in the Premier League behind Manchester United’s Old Trafford.

Take a look at the photos below in the spring sunshine in London, with the largest single-tier stand in Europe looking sublime as the roof panels are going on and the stadium is really starting to come to life.


Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso handed three-game ban

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After being named in the PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year on Wednesday, it has been a mixed few days for Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso as he has received a three-game ban with immediate effect after being found guilty of violent conduct.

Alsono, 27, stamped on Shane Long‘s calf in Chelsea’s 3-2 comeback win at Southampton last time out but referee Mike Dean missed the incident completely.

Since then Alonso has received a retrospective charge from the English FA and although the Spanish left back appealed the decision and the length of the ban, it was upheld and he will now miss Chelsea’s next three games.

Alonso will miss the clash at Burnley on Thursday, the FA Cup semifinal against Southampton on Sunday and the trip to Swansea City on Apr. 28.

Who will come in for Alonso?

Antonio Conte has already stated that Emerson Palmeri, a January arrival from AS Roma, will start at Burnley on Thursday and if the Brazilian full back impresses then it is highly likely he will stand in for Alonso in the big FA Cup semifinal on Sunday against Saints. Other options would be Davide Zappacosta playing as the left wing-back or even Cesar Azpilicueta out there.

As for Saints, they feel hard done by after Dean didn’t spot Alonso’s foul even though he was standing yards away from the incident and looking straight at it. At the time of the incident they led 1-0 going into half time and their manager Mark Hughes believes it would have made a big difference as Alonso’s cross set up Olivier Giroud to make it 2-1 and the Spaniard made a big difference from left back in the incredible 3-2 comeback victory. Still, at least Saints won’t have to play against Alonso on Sunday with revenge in the air…

PHOTOS: Liverpool unveil new 2018/19 kit

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Liverpool have gone for a “pepper red” kit for the 2017/18 season.

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On Thursday the Anfield club released their new jersey for next season with New Balance once again their kit suppliers.

The key features of this new kit is a small collar, with a fresh white and red look throughout.

Check out the images and video below.


VAR decisions at World Cup to be explained on giant screens

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FLORENCE, Italy (AP) Fans attending World Cup matches in Russia won’t be left wondering about the reasons behind decisions of the video assistant referee.

After the VAR’s decision is made, replays will be shown on giant screens inside the stadiums accompanied by a written explanation.

It’s all part of the VAR information system that FIFA unveiled Wednesday .

[ MORE: Man Utd makes historic hire ]

FIFA will place someone in the VOR (video operations room) who will listen in to the VAR’s decisions and communicate them to both TV commentators and stadium personnel operating the giant screens.

“So we will have graphics on the giant screens, we will have replays after the decision on the giant screens, and we will also inform the fans about the outcome of a VAR incident and review,” said Sebastian Runge, group leader of football innovation at FIFA.

With the VAR making its tournament debut during the June 14-July 15 World Cup, FIFA is holding its final training camp this month for the 99 match officials – 36 referees and 63 assistants – who have been selected to go to Russia.

Thirteen VARs have been pre-selected and are being trained at Italy’s Coverciano complex, and FIFA referees chief Pierluigi Collina said more VARs and VAR assistants will be chosen from the 99 match officials.

Three of the 13 VARs come from Italy’s Serie A and two from Germany’s Bundesliga – elite competitions that already use video assistants.

The VAR can support the referee in four game-changing situations: goals and offenses leading up to a goal, penalty decisions and offenses leading up to a penalty, direct red card incidents and cases of mistaken identity.

Still, VARs in both Italy and Germany have received vehement criticism for long delays and bungled decisions this season.

On Monday, Mainz was awarded a penalty during halftime against a rival Freiburg side that had already left the pitch for the break – prompting the unusual scene of a team returning from the changing room to defend a penalty.

“Yesterday we had already discussed this incident here and gave match officials and VARs clear indication about what should be done if something similar in FIFA competition – specifically the World Cup – happens,” Collina said without providing further detail.

Collina added that the VAR should not be overused, adding that ideally it would intervene at all in a match.

“The goal of VAR is to avoid major mistakes,” Collina said. “The objective is not to have clear and obvious mistakes committed on the field of play. This is the target, the goal is not to re-referee the match using technology.

“There will continue to be incidents when a final answer will not be given and there will be different opinions,” Collina added.

Among other items involving the VAR:

MOSCOW CONTROL CENTER

FIFA will follow the Bundesliga model of a central control center for the VAR rather than using trucks outside stadiums.

“We will have all of the referees based in Moscow so there won’t be any stress in terms of travel,” Collina said.

For each match, Collina will select one VAR and three assistant VARs.

Training operation rooms presented to media included six monitors for the VARs and two more for technical assistants enabling the VARs to see requested replays.

There could be up to four technical assistants in the room for World Cup matches.

OFFSIDE CAMERAS

FIFA will install two extra cameras at matches to monitor offside decisions.

The cameras will be in addition to the 33 cameras used for broadcasters and they will be installed under stadium roofs.

Broadcasters will not have direct access to the cameras but if they are used by the VAR then broadcasters can show the video.

Runge added that three dimensional technology – considered the ultimate strategy for determining offside – is not ready for real-time access yet.

SWEAT AND STRESS

VARs will not officiate more than one match per day.

“It’s not like watching a match on the sofa sipping coffee,” Collina said.

Collina, who officiated Brazil’s 2-0 win over Germany in the 2002 World Cup final, explained why the VARs will wear track suits similar to referees’ on-pitch attire.

“The reason is at the end they sweat as much as someone on the field, because the tension is very high,” Collina said. “They can’t do two matches per day – it’s too stressful.”

COMMS AND HACKING

The Moscow control center will be connected to match officials via a fiber optic network.

If the network fails, the backup plan includes an old-fashioned land telephone line and a telephone stationed near the fourth referee for emergency use.

“Worst-case scenario includes a backup plan on site. That’s when the IBC is down – no power, no fiber network,” Runge said. “Then we have a plan in place where the fourth official would become the VAR and the fourth official would be replaced by the reserve referee.

“We have a cabin in the broadcast compound from where we send all of the feeds to the IBC anyway. That cabin can be turned into a smaller, light version of the VOR.”

Hacking has also been considered.

“We are aware that there might be something but our IT department put measurements in place that will protect us from that,” Runge said.

POST-MATCH BRIEFINGS

In extraordinary circumstances, FIFA will hold post-match briefings to explain decisions in greater detail.

“If something should happen that we think should properly and accurately be explained – and it doesn’t matter if it’s related to VAR or something different – if it is a matter to explain the background of a decision, as an exception certainly we will do it,” Collina said.

“But it won’t be a post-match press conference for every match, explaining every single decision taken during every single match.”

More AP soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/asdampf