Stoke 2-2 Leicester: Potters fight back twice

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  • Iborra, Mahrez gave Leicester lead
  • Shaqiri, Crouch net equalizers
  • Ref Bobby Madley off injured early on

Stoke City fought back twice on Saturday to draw 2-2 with Leicester City at the bet365 Stadium.

The Foxes created the better chances throughout and took the lead through Vicente Iborra in the first half. Before the break Xherdan Shaqiri made it 1-1 but Leicester went 2-1 up early in the second half with Riyad Mahrez scoring a fine solo goal.

Late on Peter Crouch jumped off the bench to head home an equalizer as the Potters and Foxes played out a third 2-2 draw in their last four meetings at the bet365 Stadium.

With the point Stoke move on to 12 points, while Leicester have 13 with Claude Puel unbeaten in two games as Foxes boss.

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The first change of the game game unexpectedly as referee Bobby Madley suffered a calf strain and had to be replaced by fourth official Jon Moss.  Stoke had the best chance of the game early on as Eric Chopou-Moting raced free but Kasper Schmeichel saved well.

After plenty of counters, Leicester then took the lead as Riyad Mahrez’s corner from the right found Harry Maguire and his header fell to Iborra who volleyed home his first Premier League. 1-0 to the Foxes.

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Mahrez broke free soon after the goal and should’ve played in Vardy but Kurt Zouma recovered well to deny the Algerian winger, then Shaqiri’s pass on the break was too heavy for Joe Allen and moments later Shinji Okazaki had a header brilliantly saved by Jack Butland after Demarai Gray‘s rapid break.

The chances kept coming and Choupo-Moting played a wonderful flicked pass to Shaqiri who finished superbly off the far post to make it 1-1. Moments later Leicester were almost back ahead as Zouma shanked a cross towards his own goal but his clearance flew just over.

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Leicester started well in the second half as Mahrez forced Butland to tip a dipping effort over the bar, then the Algerian flashed an effort just wide of the far post.

At the other end Choupo-Moting pulled the ball back for Allen but the onrushing Welshman couldn’t sort his feet out at the chance came and went.

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In the space of 60 seconds Schmeichel denied Ryan Shawcross‘ header and then Wilfried Ndidi broke up play with a fine challenge which allowed Mahrez to race towards goal, cut inside and slam an effort home. 2-1 to Leicester.

Stoke pushed for the equalizer but looked vulnerable on the break, however Crouch jumped off the bench and nodded home from Shaqiri’s corner to score for the third time this season off the bench. 2-2.

Zouma then nodded a header towards goal in the final seconds of the game but Schmeichel kept it out as Leicester secured a point.

Pressure builds on Borussia Dortmund manager Peter Bosz

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Borussia Dortmund has fallen to fifth in the Bundesliga table thanks to a trio of consecutive losses in league play, and suddenly there is loads of pressure on manager Peter Bosz.

The Dutchman came to Westfalenstadion after upper management pushed Thomas Tuchel out over the summer, and while he won seven of his first eight league matches in charge by a total goal differential of 21-2, things have come crashing down. The black & yellow have lost three in a row Bundesliga matches and four of their last five across all competitions, with their only win in that span coming over third-tier Magdenburg.

With fans feeling helpless over the departure of the wildly successful Tuchel that came as a result of a falling out between the German and his superiors, Bosz would always be on a short leash. He inherited a flawed squad, yet one that had achieved much under his predecessor, and immediate failures would naturally be lumped on the new man.

The most recent defeat, a 2-1 falter at Stuttgart, was a microcosm of Dortmund’s recent failures. The team conceded a comically poor goal five minutes into the match, worked hard to equalize just before the halftime break, and conceded again just after returning to the pitch. They controlled much of the match, but largely failed to capitalize.

The head man summed it up pretty well. “The defeat really hurts,” Bosz proclaimed after the final whistle. “We came here to win, so we’re very disappointed. When you see the goals we conceded, it borders on the ridiculous. It hurts because we actually put in a relatively good performance in the first half. The team performed well after conceding the early goal, only the final ball was lacking. The second half wasn’t as good. We need to keep going, we won’t give up.”

So what do the Dortmund executives do? Does Bosz get the benefit of the doubt based on performances? Or does he get blamed for the sudden dropoff in results? There is plenty of pressure given the team sits not only nine points back of Borussia Dortmund in league play, but is also third in a brutal Champions League group with almost no hope of recovery, and even threatens to miss out on a drop to Europa League play if they slip behind Cypriot club Apoel Nicosia, whom they find themselves level on points with.

Even if the club sticks with the Dutchman for now, his room for error has almost completely evaporated and it’s only mid-November. The next two matches will likely tell the tale, and it’s an uphill battle. Tottenham comes to Westfalenstadion on the backs of a disappointing defeat to North London foes Arsenal, followed by the home end of the Rivierderby against a Schalke side that sits second in the Bundesliga table, three points above Bosz and Dortmund.

Antonio Conte calls Tony Pulis a “really good manager”

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West Brom, after four straight defeats, sits 17th in the Premier League table, most recently suffering a 4-0 dismantling at the hands of Chelsea.

Yet Blues boss Antonio Conte has offered his counterpart an olive branch, supporting his fellow Premier League manager at a time of panic.

With reports that Pulis could be fired this coming week – some say as early as Monday – the Baggies boss is under heaps of pressure, but Conte doesn’t believe he should be. “I must be honest, I think Tony Pulis is a really good manager,” Conte said, hoping those in charge don’t make decisions based on Sunday’s result.

“He has great experience and it’s always very difficult to play against his team. This game became easy because we started very strong, with great concentration and desire to win. We showed from the start our will to win this game. But I repeat: Last season we struggled a lot against them.”

West Brom has lost four in a row in league play, and they haven’t picked up a win since August, and as The Guardian points out, they have the lowest average possession in the Premier League and have the second-lowest shots on target thus far. They registered just two shots on target against Chelsea, and held 39% possession, which is actually slightly above their average for the season.

Sergio Ramos suffers broken nose in Atletico Madrid draw

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Real Madrid trails Barcelona by 10 points in the La Liga title race just 12 matches in, and now they will have to play catch-up without their best defender.

Club captain Sergio Ramos suffered a broken nose after being accidentally kicked in the face by teammate Lucas Hernandez during the first half of Madrid’s 0-0 draw with cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid. He received treatment and remained on the field, but he was withdrawn at halftime.

Manager Zinedine Zidane was unable to give a timetable for Ramos’s return.

Ramos said via Twitter, alongside some graphic images of his bloody nose, “I would bleed a thousand times for this badge and this shirt. Thanks for your support. I’ll be back in no time.”

Up next for Madrid is Champions League group match against Cypriot club Apoel midweek before a league game against Malaga at home. Athletic Bilbao and Borussia Dortmund are also on the horizon. A masked Sergio Ramos could be in our midst soon.

Real Madrid has not lost a league match without Ramos since March of 2015, but they drew their only game this season with Ramos suspended, a 2-2 home split with Valencia.

Moyes roasts West Ham players after loss to Watford

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After his first game in charge of West Ham, David Moyes thought he had a better squad. Apparently he was mistaken.

A 2-0 loss to Watford gave Moyes a rude awakening as he looks to replace Slaven Bilic and pull the Hammers out of the relegation zone. He was not pleased with his players.

“Overall, that level of performance will not be good enough,” Moyes told reporters after the match.

He wasn’t done.

“I thought this was a big job, but there were some players with big reputations who disappointed me. There were some who I thought would show me more, and why they play for the team regularly. They need to show me, ‘If that’s your reputation, show me why you’ve got it.'”

He backtracked slightly, agreeing that the players are in a difficult position changing managers, but ultimately that excuse wasn’t enough for him. “It’s tough for the players – I could sense that – but I didn’t enjoy our performance in the end. I didn’t enjoy us giving the ball away too cheaply, too many times and I expected us to do better.”

Moyes even called out striker Andy Carroll, saying he removed the England international because he feared Carroll would pick up a second yellow card. Carroll could have been carded seven seconds into the match, leaving Marvin Zeegelaar with a bloody nose after an elbow to the face, something Carroll has been sent off for earlier this season. He was eventually given one in the 28th minute.

“I thought we defended OK,” Moyes said, “but then we gave away cheap goals by getting bundled off the ball and we didn’t really deal with it. We didn’t do well enough in all departments at different times.”

That’s about as ruthless as you’ll ever hear the mild-mannered David Moyes, and all West Ham players should beware that their places in the team are in jeopardy.