Cardiff City 1-0 West Bromwich Albion: Whittingham’s header the difference (video)

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In a game that will never be consider a classic in treacherous conditions at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff held on for a much-needed 1-0 win against struggling West Brom.

The game-winner came off the head of Peter Whittingham in the 65th minute as he bravely nodded home Craig Noone’s cross to give the Bluebirds just their fourth win of the season.

West Brom tried to get back into the game but found Cardiff’s ‘keeper David Marshall in inspired form as he stopped superbly on several occasions late on. With the massive three points the Bluebirds rise to 14th but the Baggies are now just two points and two places above the relegation zone in 16th.

Cardiff started the brighter of the two sides as the home side forced the issue early but whipping in a barrage of crosses to test the Baggies defense.

Both sides tried to push forward in the Welsh capital and West Brom nearly went ahead in bizarre fashion, as Cardiff defender Andrew Taylor almost comically put the ball past his own ‘keeper Marshall. His attempted block cannoned off his leg and went towards Cardiff’s goal but Marshall was alert to quell the danger.

In the 36th minute West Brom swung in a set piece and just as Billy Jones looked to be heading the Baggies ahead, Steven Caulker flicked the ball away superbly at the back post.

In truth, this wasn’t a classic game as both teams have been struggling and are in poor form and you could tell that from the lack of inventive play going forward in a goalless first half.

After the break Gareth McAuley had his effort cleared off the line by Gary Medel as the away side pushed forward to attack for the first time period in the match.

That near miss sparked Cardiff into life and Noone’s cross found Whittingham in the box who headed home bravely to put the Bluebirds 1-0 up in the pouring rain in South Wales. The Baggies pushed forward and Youssuf Mulumbu’s strike from distance deflected off Taylor and whizzed just wide of Cardiff’s left hand post and out for a corner.

Two penalty shouts for either side was then turned down as Peter Odemwingie was upended by Jones and then Shane Long was taken out by Ben Turner, both sides will feel aggrieved. West Brom forced the issue late on as they threw the kitchen sink at Cardiff to try and grab a point at the Cardiff City Stadium.

West Brom thought they’d equalized late on but Marshall made a terrific sprawling save to deny Long’s header across goal with a fantastic stop.

That save proved pivotal as Cardiff hung on for a fantastic win.

LINEUPS

Cardiff:
Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Turner, Caulker, Taylor; Whittingham, Medel (Gunnarsson, 87), Mutch, Noone, Odemwingie (Kim, 90); Campbell (Maynard, 82)

Goal: Whittingham (65)

West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Mulumbu, Yacob (Sinclair, 74), Amalfitano (Berahino, 73), Sessegnon, Brunt, Long (Vydra, 88)

Chelsea needs to wait “48 hours” to assess Mount

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Mason Mount‘s move from the Championship to the Premier League has been nearly seamless.

His adjustment to the Champions League was cut down too quickly to get an understanding of whether it would be too big of a jump.

[ MORE: Match recap | Barkley drama ]

Mount, 20, was chopped down by Valencia’s Francis Coquelin, the former Arsenal man, and had to leave the game after just 16 minutes.

Here’s Frank Lampard, from ChelseaFC.com:

“He’s got an ankle injury but we don’t know how bad it is. We’ll have to assess it in the next 48 hours to see the scale of the injury. It was a shame because he started the game well and it meant we had to make the change early on.”

Mount scored nine times with four assists on loan under Lampard at Derby County last season, and has already chipped in three goals for Chelsea this season.

Lampard turned to Pedro off the bench on Tuesday, but any lengthy absence for Mount will spell more time for American youngster Christian Pulisic.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview: Man City, Spurs debut

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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns on very different results and with very different vibes.

City is coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to injury-hit Norwich City, and is set up in Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk for the third-straight season, a side which beat Pep Guardiola once in four tries between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the UCL.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. wrap ]

But on Wednesday, Guardiola’s men are going to carry a similar feel to one of his old Barcelona teams, as Pep seemingly will have Fernandinho pull a Javier Mascherano and drop into the back line.

Yes, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are Manchester City’s hopes at center back, now that John Stones has joined Aymeric Laporte on the shelf.

“For me as a manager it’s an incredible challenge,” said Pep Guardiola. “But I believe a lot, people don’t know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players going to come back with Dinho, Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis. … It’s happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. We have to have 11 players on the pitch and I like it, to find a solution. For the players as well to find an incredible step forward.”

Spurs, meanwhile, will simply be trying to build on any momentum gained by a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the weekend, a win which came after manager Mauricio Pochettino begged his side to “re-focus” after a relatively poor start to the season.

Now a bit more relaxed, Spurs head to Greece as the clear favorites against stingy Olympiacos. These are, after all, the finalists of last season’s tournament.

Pochettino won’t be sleeping on the challenge, from The London Evening Standard:

“They have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take our best game we are going to suffer. But last season we played in the final of Champions League, so it’s normal people think before the game, Tottenham is one step above Olympiacos but in the end you need to show it on the pitch.”

Spurs are one of two early kickoffs on Tuesday.

Full UCL Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Tottenham Hotspur

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Dinamo Zagreb v. Atalanta
Bayern Munich v. Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City

American coach Marsch speaks after landmark Champions League day

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Jesse Marsch made his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, a historic first for not just the Wisconsin native but also his country.

Marsch, 45, oversaw Red Bull Salzburg’s 6-2 demolition of Genk, becoming the first American to win a UCL match as manager.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

“We knew we were going into the match full of confidence,” he said, via the Salzburg site. “We knew too that we could put in a performance of this quality. I wasn’t pleased with a few situations, such as conceding for 3-1. That shows our incredible mentality though as it prompted us to give a few more percent and immediately score two goals.”

The ex-New York Red Bulls manager and RB Leipzig assistant manager got another three goals from incredible 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who nows has 17 goals in nine matches this season.

“It is an absolute joy to work with this team. We have a lot of players who just know how to battle, and that rubs off on the others. You can see that on the pitch on nights like tonight.”

There will be tougher nights ahead for Marsch, who is in a group with Liverpool and Napoli, but Tuesday was a fine start for the tactician. And it was a banner moment for American coaches abroad, who’ve been led by past and present USMNT coaches Bob Bradley and Gregg Berhalter.

Maybe one day that’ll be Marsch’s title… but it seems like he may have some loftier ground to cover on his path through world soccer.

Klopp: Liverpool made wrong decisions; Penalty also incorrect

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is going to bat for his left back after Andrew Robertson gave away what became the decisive penalty in a 2-0 loss to Napoli in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s a penalty,” Klopp said. “What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact, we can’t change that.”

[ RECAP: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool ]

For what it’s worth: It sure seemed like both a foul on Robertson and a comical embellishment from Callejon, but we digress.

Liverpool just didn’t have it on the day, like when Sadio Mane played a terrible pass to Mohamed Salah on what could’ve been an easy 1-0 lead.

In the moments they did have it, there was Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret making a splendid save.

“We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”

Also, forgive Klopp if he has stopped enjoying the beautiful country of Italy.