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Swansea City 3-3 Stoke City: See-saw match ends in draw after Swansea comeback

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Swansea City found themselves 2-0 down in less than a half-hour, and battled back to deservedly go up 3-2 until referee Robert Madley awarded a 96th minute penalty to Stoke City which the visitors converted for a share of points at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

Despite owning the majority of possession and pressure, the Swans were undone early on the break as Stoke were on target with their early chances.  Peter Crouch assisted both goals with great touches, but things would change.

Swansea threw immense pressure at the Stoke back four, and they were unable to deal with the pace and incision as the game grew, and they battled for three goals to take a lead with five minutes to go.

But a shot off a corner may or may not have struck Wayne Routledge’s arm on its way through the box, and the referee allowed Charlie Adam to convert from the penalty spot and salvage a point for the visiting side.

It was Stoke on the break which gave them the early advantage. With Ashley Williams on the sidelines after an injury knock in the eighth minute, Jonathan Walters took advantage.  A long ball from the back found the towering Peter Crouch who flicked on with his head to the Irish midfielder who powered through the remaining back line and finished off the post and in.

Swansea didn’t capitulate following the goal, instead dominating possession and taking control in front of the home crowd.  Wilfried Bony finally unlocked the Stoke defense in the 24th minute, but couldn’t make them pay, rushing the volley and firing over off balance.

They would rue that chance, as Stoke came down the other way and again scored a second on some lovely passing.  Leon Britton lost the ball in the midfield, and it fell to Walters on the wing.  His pinpoint cross found Crouch in the box, whose brilliant one-time touch sprung Stephen Ireland free and he made no mistakes past Gerhard Tremmel.

Crouch’s two assists were both outstanding, and the imposing figure at front of Stoke’s attack was causing the home side all kinds of problems.Swansea reasserted their possession dominance again but again were wasteful in front of goal.  Wilfried Bony found himself gifted a free chance on goal when Stoke defender Erik Pieters made a massive mistake in the 40th minute passing it back to Bony, but Asmir Begovic did well to dispossess Bony before he could get a shot off.

Swansea began the second half in control as well, and this time they wouldn’t prove wasteful.  Bony got his goal when a corner in the 56th minute went long, and the Swans brought it back out to Jonathan de Guzman who sent in a perfect cross and Bony unleashed a powerful header past a hapless Begovic.

The goal sprung Swansea to dangerous heights, and the combination of Wayne Routledge and substitute Nathan Dyer used their pace to created chance after chance for Bony.

source: Getty Images
Substitute Charlie Adam converted the controversial penalty to end a wild match in Swansea.

Swansea continued to pour forward and got their deserved equalizer in the 74th minute.  Routledge on the left wing worked well to find space and crossed into the crowded box, and the cross was cleared by Robert Huth but only to Dyer.  The 25-year-old rifled a viciious attempt that took a deflection and skidded past Begovic to level the score.

Following the equalizer Swansea didn’t take their foot off the gas, and the game because very chippy. Angel Rangel earned himself a yellow card in a scuffle where he shoved Crouch to the ground.

Swansea nearly had another chance in the 83rd where Rangel and Bony broke with numbers, but some poor touches saw the build-up break down.  They wouldn’t misfire on the next chance.

Jonjo Shelvey worked hard on the wing to give him room to feed Bony in the middle, and the Dutch sensation shot the ball to the far post with one touch for the lead.

The drama wasn’t over though.  With Swansea feeling like they’d snatched victory, the chippiness earlier led to six minutes of added time, and the penalty was awarded when a header came swerving through the crowded box and possibly struck the arm of Wayne Routledge right in front of goal.

It was a soft call if anything, but Bobby Madley awarded the penalty to the shock of the Swansea players.  Michael Laudrup rued after the match that not a single Stoke player aside from Asmir Begovic up for the late corner appealed for the penalty call.  Routledge appears to have maybe stuck his elbow out a bit, but nobody expected the call to come in.

The point for both sides is enough to bump them up a place or two. Swansea are now up to 13th level with new boys Cardiff City, and Stoke City move out of the relegation zone on goal differential, dropping Fulham below the dreaded line.

GOALS:

Swansea City – Bony 56′ 85′, Dyer 74′
Stoke City – Walters 8′, Ireland 25′, Adam 96′

LINEUPS:

Swansea City – Tremmel; Rangel, Chico Flores, Williams, Davies; Britton, De Guzman (Shelvey, 71′), Pozuelo (Canas, 90′), Lamah (Dyer, 55′), Routledge; Bony.

Stoke City – Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Walters, Nzonzi, Ireland (Wilson, 72′), Palacios (Adam, 72′), Arnautovic (Etherington, 54′); Crouch.

Ronaldo: “Usually players of my age go to Qatar or China”

Photo credit: @juventusen
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TURIN, Italy (AP) — At the age of 33, many football players are past their peak. Cristiano Ronaldo vows to show he is not one of them.

[ VIDEO: Juventus unveil Cristiano Ronaldo ]

Juventus signed Ronaldo from Real Madrid last week for $131.5 million — an Italian league record sum — and the world player of the year penned a four-year contract.

Some see it as an extravagant sum for a player who, although a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, is entering the latter stages of a glittering career.

At his first news conference as a Juventus player on Monday, Ronaldo insisted he was motivated by a new challenge and keen to step out of his comfort zone after nine years at Madrid.

“With all due respect, usually players of my age go to Qatar or China, so coming to such an outstanding club at this stage in my career makes me very happy,” he said.

“I’m different from all the other players who think their career is over at my age. I want to show that I’m not like the others, I’m different. It’s an emotional moment for me because I’m not 23, I’m 33.

[ MORE: Hazard hints at Chelsea exit, has “preferred destination” in mind ]

“I’m not here on holiday,” he added. “I want to mark the history of Juventus. I hope I can surprise everyone one last time and I’m very, very confident.”

Ronaldo has always been credited with a phenomenal workrate, and he has promised to continue that at Juventus in order to prolong his longevity.

The Portugal forward moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009, and became the Spanish club’s all-time leading scorer with 451 in 438 matches. He helped Madrid win four Champions Leagues — beating Juventus in the final in 2017 — and also won La Liga and the Copa del Rey twice each.

Ronaldo, who also led Portugal to the European Championship in 2016, also won the Champions League at Manchester United as well as three Premier Leagues and the FA Cup.

He expects his winning ways to continue at the Serie A champion.

“It will be tough, I know that,” Ronaldo said. “The league is very tough but Juve is ready and I will be ready. The age is not important. I feel good, I feel motivated. I will try to do my best like always. I’m looking forward to starting the league well and to try to win every title.”

[ MORE: Courtois to join Hazard in Chelsea exit? ]

On his arrival at Allianz Stadium for his medical on Monday, Ronaldo was greeted by hundreds of fans, who chanted his name and “Portaci la Champions” (“Bring us the Champions League trophy”).

Juventus hasn’t won the Champions League since 1996. It has been on the losing side in the final five times since then, including twice in the past four editions.

Juventus has won the Serie A for the last seven seasons — and done the league and Italian Cup double for the past four — but has struggled to transfer its domestic supremacy to the European stage.

Ronaldo has won the Champions League four times in the past five seasons. He has a record 120 Champions League goals, 105 of them at Madrid, 12 more than Juventus as a team managed in that same period.

“Juventus has been one step away from it and couldn’t win,” Ronaldo said. “I hope I can be the lucky charm.”

VIDEO: Top 10 goals in 2018 World Cup

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Missing the 2018 World Cup already? Yeah, me too.

But it’s okay, only 1,588 days until the 2022 World Cup tournament in Qatar kicks off…

[ MORE: Review of 2018 World Cup ]

With that in mind, now seems like the best time to go back through the 169 goals scored at the World Cup this summer and pick out the top 10.

It was ridiculously hard to do that given the extreme quality of strikes, but here it goes as you can watch the top goals in the videos below.

Enjoy.


Nacho: Portugal v Spain, June 15, 2018


Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal v Spain, June 15, 2018


Toni Kroos: Germany v Sweden, June 23, 2018


Jesse Lingard: England v Panama, June 24, 2018


Ricardo Quaresma: Iran v Portugal, June 25, 2018


Lionel Messi: Nigeria v Argentina, June 26, 2018


Angel di Maria: France v Argentina, June 30, 2018


Benjamin Pavard: France v Argentina, June 30, 2018


Kevin De Bruyne: Brazil v Belgium, July 6, 2018

Denis Cheyshev: Russia v Croatia, July 7, 2018

The 2 Robbies Podcast: 2018 World Cup final review

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In the final instalment of The 2 Robbies podcast during the 2018 World Cup, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe break down an intriguing World Cup final.

With France victorious over Croatia, it was anything but a straightforward win for Les Bleus despite the 4-2 scoreline suggesting so.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ] 

Listen to the pod in full below as the lads analyze the key themes from a drama packed final in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

https://art19.com/shows/the-2-robbies/episodes/10ae6a3c-01c4-4929-af62-63b730c84b49

Alexis Sanchez to miss start of Man United’s US tour

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Alexis Sanchez did not fly out to the United States of America with Manchester United on Sunday.

[ MORE: Review of 2018 World Cup

The Chilean star, 29, may end up linking up with the Red Devils further down the line but he will miss the first chunk of their 15-day tour Stateside as Jose Mourinho’s men return to the U.S. after a hugely successful batch of summer games and training camps in LA last year.

Manchester United released a statement via a spokesman which read: “Alexis Sanchez did not travel due to a personal administrative issue.”

Speculation suggests that Sanchez was unable to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. after he accepted a 16-month suspended jail sentence in Spain after being found guilty of tax evasion with regards to a $1.17 million image rights issue.

It is believed that Sanchez and his agents are working on trying to secure a visa waiver but the process is taking longer than expected.

The former Barcelona and Arsenal star last played in the USA in the summer of 2016 as he starred for Chile who won the Copa America Centenario by beating Argentina in the final at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

United have a busy preseason schedule coming up as they play against Club America in Phoenix on Thursday, then against the San Jose Earthquakes in Santa Clara on Sunday.

Mourinho’s men end their tour with three huge International Champions Cup matches against AC Milan in LA (July 25), Liverpool at Michigan Stadium (July 28) and then Real Madrid in Miami (July 31) before heading back to Europe for the final days of preseason.

With so many of their star players not due back until the first week of the 2018/19 campaign due to the World Cup, Mourinho will have been hoping to use Sanchez often during preseason as the Chilean forward took advantage of a rare summer off as his country failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

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