Hull City 1-0 Sunderland: a nightmare for nine-man Sunderland

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It would be hard to picture this match going worse for Sunderland. A loss, an own goal, and two men sent off before the whistle blew for the interval. At they only lost by one? But with Gus Poyet’s men down deep in the drop zone, that probably doesn’t bring much comfort. Hull, meanwhile, are reveling in the Black Cats’ mistakes, with the three points keeping them in the top half of the table.

Carlos Cuellar got things started at the KC Stadium, but probably not in the way he would’ve preferred. Trying to prevent Liam Rosenior’s cross from reaching Yannick Sagbo, the Sunderland defender headed the ball into his own net. The goal may not have come from one of his own men, but Steve Bruce still looked like the tiger that got the cream.

Things got worse for Gus Poyet in the 40th minute, when Sunderland goalkeeper Kieren Westwood picked up an injury after a nasty collision with Paul McShane. Although it appeared Westwood would be able to continue, it was just a few minutes before Vito Mannone had to be deputized, his first league appearance for the Black Cats.

And then it just all got a bit comical. First Lee Cattermole showed himself happy to be back in the starting lineup, celebrating with a typical effusive challenge. The midfielder took out Ahmed Elmohamady and earned himself a straight red for his trouble. Then, not five minutes later, Andrea Dossena went chasing after a ball he’d idly misplaced and stomped on David Meyler on his way. A straight red marked the end of the Italian’s second-ever start with Sunderland.

Poyet used the half to make changes to protect his side: Adam Johnson was brought in for Jozy Altidore, and Wes Brown for Fabio Borini. Yet the switch wasn’t entirely defensive, so the question must be asked: How on earth did Hull not score? They had a two man advantage. They absolutely peppered Mannone’s goal with shots. Yet from the 24 shots put in, a mere two were on target. With the Black Cats digging in, most of the flurry of shots were blocked. Jake Livermore managed to hit the post, but that’s as close as the Tigers came.

Guess Hull are lucky Sunderland were kind enough to do the scoring for them.

Hull City: Harper, Rosenior (Proschwitz 70), Figueroa, Davies, McShane, Huddlestone, Livermore, Elmohamady, Boyd (Brady 76), Meyler (Koren 57), Sagbo

Subs not used: Jakupovic, Faye, Quinn, Gedo

Goals: Cuellar og 25′

Sunderland: Westwood (Mannone 43), Bardsley, Dossena, O’Shea, Cuellar, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Borini (Brown 46), Fletcher, Altidore (Johnson 46)

Subs not used: Gardner, Celustka, Giaccherini, Sung-Yueng

Red cards: Cattermole 45+2; Dossena 45+6

VIDEO: Portugal lead Iran at HT; Spain 1-1 Morocco

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We’re through the first 45 minutes of Monday’s Group B finales at the 2018 World Cup, and things are happening. A quick rundown…

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos combined to commit a disastrous gaffe at midfield, resulting in a goal for Khalid Boutaib in the 14th minute. At this point, Spain would have finished second, behind Portugal, and headed to the far more difficult side of the knockout bracket.

Five minutes later, it was Iniesta who, with a little help from some slightly lesser geniuses, unlocked the Moroccan defense to set up Isco for an emphatic finish. La Furia Roja moved back to the top of the group, on goals scored.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

In the afternoon’s other game, Portugal and Iran appeared destined for a 0-0 scoreline at halftime, until Ricardo Quaresma unleashed a stunning, outside-of-the-foot curler from outside the box to beat the goalkeeper and put Portugal ahead — both on the day, and in the table. As things currently stand, Portugal would win the group and Spain would finish second.

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 4

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In the fourth episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England players have been preparing for their next match in an unusual way, Argentina has a huge meltdown, and more.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

Click play on the video above to watch the fourth episode in full.

Atlanta leads way with six All-Star Fan XI selections

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It may be hard to believe with all the World Cup festivities going on, but the Major League Soccer season is nearly halfway over.

[ MORE: Toronto FC’s 2018 has been far from their cup-winning 2017 ]

And that means it’s almost All-Star time.

The MLS All-Stars will continue their recent tradition of facing a European superpower in August, with Juventus being welcomed to the United States in early August.

But, which players from MLS will we see in action?

Last season’s expansion sweetheart Atlanta United leads the way in the fan voting with six players from the Eastern Conference side voted into the Fan XI, including attackers Miguel Almiron, Ezequiel Barco, Darlington Nagbe and Josef Martinez.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan and defender/captain Michael Parkhurst also made the team from Atlanta.

In all, only five clubs were represented based on the Fan XI, with the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Los Angeles FC’s Carlos Vela and Laurent Ciman, Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi and Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri each rounding out the squad.


Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United)

Defenders: Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United), Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles Football Club), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)

Forwards: Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club – EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge)

Saudi Arabia steals late win over Egypt in Group A finale

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Saudi Arabia pulled off a late 2-1 win against Egypt on Monday in their Group A finale, as the two nations ended their 2018 World Cup run in the group stage.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Salem Al Sawsari scored in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time to give the Saudis a late winner in the match, as the attacker struck the post in the dying moments before the ball crossed the line.

The Pharaohs took the lead in the 22nd minute, after a tremendous run from Mohamed Salah and lob over the Saudi Arabia goalkeeper.

Salah has two goals at the World Cup for Egypt, who were already eliminated heading into Monday’s match.

Saudi Arabia was granted a chance to equalize prior to halftime, however, goalkeeper Essam El Hadary brilliantly stopped Hattan Bahebri’s penalty kick in the 41st minute to preserve the Egypt advantage.

El Hadary became the oldest player in World Cup history to appear in a match at the age of 45.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

The Egypt keeper wasn’t as lucky the second time around though, with Salmon Al Faraj converting a penalty kick in the 51st minute.

Saudi Arabia finishes group play in third place on three points, while Egypt goes winless in its three matches.