- Shaqiri, Loftus-Cheek trade goals
- Sakho nabs winner
- Palace 2W-2D-2L in last six
Mamadou Sakho‘s late goal drove Crystal Palace to a 2-1 late win at Selhurst Park on Saturday, as the Roy Hodgson regroup is well and truly on in South London.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek canceled out Xherdan Shaqiri‘s first half goal within moments.
Palace now has eight points and can see safety for the first time this season. Stoke sits 15th.
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A slow start eventually saw Stoke City look superior, and Wayne Hennessey made a nice save on Xherdan Shaqiri 1v1.
At the other end, Lee Grant robbed James McArthur.
Roy Hodgson took McArthur off for Christian Benteke at the break. Could the big man make a difference in his second substitute appearance following a long layoff?
The aforementioned actors all played a role in a defining stanza of the match. Benteke lashed over goal moments before Shaqiri converted a chance at the other end.
Yet Palace battled back to equalize quickly through Loftus-Cheek. And Yohan Cabaye‘s late drive off the post allowed Sakho to snag three big points for the hosts.
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Three Premier League newcomers remain in close contention with one another after 12 weeks, one of which picked up another positive result today.
[ MORE: Congested PL schedule challenges the big boys ]
Brighton & Hove Albion earned a 2-2 draw against Stoke City at the Amex Stadium on Monday after Jose Izquierdo’s persistence gave the home side the leveler in the 60th minute from Glenn Murray‘s clever pass inside the box.
The result made for Brighton’s sixth consecutive match unbeaten at home this season.
A back-and-forth first half saw the on-loan Chelsea defender give Stoke the lead heading into the halftime break after a disappointing spell of defending by Brighton allowed Zouma to finish of a corner kick.
Pascal Gross gave Brighton an equalizer one minute from halftime after Davy Propper had done superbly to create space for himself down the right wing.
The visitors struck in the 28th minute after Shaqiri delivered a perfect long ball into the path of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
The Cameroonian proceeded to control the pass beautifully from his Stoke teammate, before tucking his shot from close range into the near corner past Brighton goalkeeper Maty Ryan.
Brighton thought they had the chance to level the score prior to the equalizer when the hosts appeared to have a penalty appeal after Murray went down inside the Stoke area. However, referee Lee Mason opted against spot kick.
The two sides will both be in action on Saturday when Brighton travels to Old Trafford to face Manchester United and Stoke takes on Crystal Palace.
- Stoke leads all-time 16W-14D-9L
- First league meeting since 2006
- Potters have won last 8 in series
Brighton and Hove Albion meets Stoke City for the first time in Premier League history when the two battle at the Amex Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
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Brighton is unbeaten in its last four PL matches, with a pair of away wins and two draws at home.
They’ve been led at the back end by Shane Duffy and in attack by Pascal Gross, but it’s been a well-traveled Premier League veteran filling the goals. Glenn Murray has historic motivation to keep scoring, knowing that a marker versus Stoke would make him the first Brighton player to ever score a goal in four successive top flight matches.
Stoke followed up its win over Watford with a draw against Leicester City. The Potters have two goals and four assists from Swiss attacker Xherdan Shaqiri, and three and one from Senegalese scorer Mame Biram Diouf.
What they’re saying
Brighton’s Chris Hughton on bagging wins: “For a club like us to get back-to-back wins would show the level we are playing at. It’s tough. I remember being told by somebody with one of the promoted teams that they didn’t get their first away win until February-March. That can happen and it’s exactly the same for a team getting promoted to get back-to-wins. They are hard to come by. Any way we are able to do that would certainly be a major boost for us.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes on Xherdan Shaqiri: “He is taking on more the role of the main instigator of our attacking threat. When he gets the ball, I think the whole team responds to that. You sense that maybe something’s going to happen. And I think the crowd sends it as well. And I know opposition team sense it too.”
Few matches are more of a toss-up than this one, and there’s no recent match-ups on which to rest our heads. So we’ll side with the home team managing a point, and maybe a pair of old-timer goals from Murray and Peter Crouch, in a 1-1 draw.
If you take into account Xherdan Shaqiri‘s personality — bold and bombastic — as well as his playing style — mercurial and full of flair — it’ll come as very little surprise to you that Switzerland’s star man is already making plans for a big party back home “when [they] qualify” for the 2018 World Cup.
[ MORE: Morocco, Tunisia secure Africa’s final World Cup places ]
Speaking after Thursday’s controversial 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland, a result which puts the Swiss 90 minutes from qualification to next summer’s tournament in Russia, the Stoke City winger stopped short of using words like “guarantee” or “promise,” but went so far as to call out the Northern Irish as second-best while playing on their home soil, and predict more of the same in the second leg when the two sides meet in Sunday’s second leg in Basel — quotes from the Guardian:
“It’s going to be a nice party when we qualify. We can celebrate but we have to do it. We have taken one step to the World Cup.”
“I think we had the ball for 90 minutes. We created more chances than them. They were only dangerous from corners and free kicks. It was not enough. It was a great result for us, the best we could get. They will have to play more offensively in Basel. They have to score to try to get to the World Cup.
“They played too defensively, they did not do enough to score, so they’re going to come to Basel and try to be more offensive, but that will mean it is more open for us. We will not sit back and relax, we are not a team that does that. We will try to keep the ball and make our game.”
Opinion alert: An absolutely woeful decision from Romanian referee Ovidiu Hațegan has put Northern Ireland’s World Cup hopes in a bad place following a 1-0 loss at Windsor Park in Belfast.
[ MORE: N. Ireland reacts to PK ]
Xherdan Shaqiri had a chance to score just after the break, but a Ricardo Rodriguez penalty allowed the Swiss to take a lead moments later when Corry Evans leapt to block a shot and was adjudged to have it hit his arm. Personally, it looked a criminal call, but you be the judge.
Norn Iron manager Michael O’Neill would’ve been content to keep Switzerland off the board when it comes to away goals, but the result doesn’t change much for the Northern Irish; They’ll need to triumph in Basel for Sunday’s second leg.