Norwich City 1-1 Swansea City: Hooper dazzler leaves things even at Carrow Road

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Nathan Dyer capitalized on an early error by the Norwich defense, but Gary Hooper made sure things left level with a cannon from distance just before halftime.

Hooper’s chance was made possible thanks to a serious injury to Dyer’s ankle leaving six minutes of added time before the break, which the Norwich striker jumped on.

Both teams were sloppy in the opening few minutes, leading to chances for both sides early.  Steven Whittaker lashed out at goal wide right in the within the first two minutes for Norwich, and Jonathan De Guzman missed wide left for Swansea on five minutes.

Swansea were looking to build from the back, but they scored a goal out of nothing, a bit of a gift from Norwich.

Ashley Williams saw Nathan Dyer one-on-one up ahead, and lumped a good long ball forward from him.  The ball found Dyer after eluding Sebastian Bassong, and Dyer settled with his head.  Then, a mix-up between John Ruddy and his defense saw the keeper come out and Dyer easily chipped past him for the opener.

Norwich pressed immediately after, as they looked to get the home crowd back in the match, and because of it Swansea struggled to get the ball out of their back four.

The home side, however, couldn’t shake their sloppiness, and eventually Swansea exploited more space in the defensive midfield and back line to get a few more shots off.

source: Getty Images
Nathan Dyer capitalized on an early Norwich mistake for the opener, but went off injured before halftime.

Gary Hooper had a brilliant chance to level for the Canaries in the 35th minute as he received a long ball on the left wing, and bottled up Williams to get in on goal. But by the time he worked into a shooting position there were defenders back, and Vorm held strong as well to force Hooper into shooting wide.

The game slowed a bit and came to a halt for a few minutes before halftime. Nathan Dyer had to be stretchered off after a mid-air clash with  Bassong, landing very awkwardly on his right ankle. Dyer required oxygen and was in obvious pain as he came off, hand on his face.

Directly after, Norwich earned a corner kick and the ball dangerously pinballed around the box before Ashley Williams cleared off the line with his head.

Six minutes of injury time ensued, and Norwich were fully on top before cashing in. Johan Elmander received a long ball and chested it down perfectly for Hooper, who rifled in a dipping shot from a long way out, giving Michel Vorm no chance.

Norwich continued to assert themselves after the break, and Bassong got his head to a corner just three minutes in to the second half but steered it just wide.

It was Swansea’s turn to be sloppy, as they were very wasteful passing in the final third.  They also produced some messy tackles and play, as three Swans were all booked within a 10-minute span.

Both sides fought hard, but chances were few and far between as the second half progressed.  Swansea were the ones who pushed for a winner as time expired, but they never were able to unlock the Norwich defense as errant passes and clumsy challenges continued to plague the visitors.

The point moves Swansea to 20 on the season as they remain in 10th position.  Norwich will take anything they can get, as they jump Cardiff into 14th position.

GOALS:

Swansea – Dyer 12′
Norwich – Hooper 45+3′

LINEUPS:

Norwich Ruddy; Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Olsson; Redmond (Murphy 83′), Howson, Johnson, Fer, Elmander (Becchio 76′); Hooper.

Swanwea – Vorm; Rangel, Amat, Williams, Davies; Canas, Shelvey, de Guzman, Hernandez (Lamah 83′), Dyer (Pozuelo 44′); Michu (Bony 75′).

Belarusian Premier League roundup: BATE Borisov pick up win, end early-season drought

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The Belarusian Premier League – the only active European top-flight league at the moment – continued on Saturday despite the coronavirus pandemic.

FC Rukh 0-1 BATE Borisov

With an early goal from midfielder Stanislav Dragun, BATE Borisov, Belarus’ most successful team (15 league titles) and a regular face in European competition, earned their first win of the season. Kirill Alshevsky, who took over at the helm prior to the season, had started his spell on a two-game losing streak.

BATE, despite not winning the possession battle decisively, generated twice as many shots on target as the visitors, registering a total of 11 shots throughout 90 minutes at Borisov Arena.

A winner of 13 straight Belarusian Premier League titles – spanning from 2006 to 2018 – pressure began looming over BATE after starting the 2020 campaign with back-to-back lackluster results. BATE, who lost to Arsenal in Europa League’s Round of 32 in April 2019, were outscored 5-2 in the first, two games of the league.

Dinamo Minsk, the second most successful Belarusian side, also picked up their first three points on Friday, following a slower-than-usual start to the season. Meanwhile, defending champion Dinamo Brest fell 2-1 to Slavia-Mozyr, dropping to eighth on the table.

Elsewhere in Belarusian Premier League 

Shakhtyor 0-0 Nerman

Dinamo Brest 1-2 Slavia-Mozyr

NWSL extends league-wide training moratorium through May

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The NWSL is extending its league-wide training moratorium another month amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league announced on Saturday.

All NWSL teams will be unable to partake in team trainings until at least May 5, extending its previous training moratorium that was set to expire on Sunday, April 5. The 2020 season – which was set to start on April 18 – is expected to start by the end of June, according to NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird.

“We’ve been just communicating with our players and we’re targeting for the end of June for our season to start,” Baird told The Equalizer. “I say that with conviction and hope, but … we’re gonna adhere to the public health guidelines that are in place at the time and I don’t think that we can predict what they are. But our strategy is in place.”

Earlier this week, Major League Soccer and United Soccer League extended their training moratorium through April 24 and April 19, respectively.

Report: England manager Gareth Southgate agrees to 30 percent pay cut

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England manager Gareth Southgate has agreed to a 30 percent pay cut amid the coronavirus pandemic, our partners at Sky Sports reported on Saturday.

[ MORE: What PL clubs are doing to help during coronavirus ] 

Southgate’s move, which is reportedly expected to be confirmed by the Football Association (FA) next week, comes hours after the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) released a statement on behalf of the Premier League players responding to proposed pay cuts.

A FA spokesperson told Sky Sports the following: “The financial implications of the coronavirus are not yet known however, as a not-for-profit organization, we want to ensure that we take the appropriate course of action to support the wider organization and our employees.

“We will make a further announcement on our next steps in due course.”

On Friday, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe – and a handful of technical staff personnel – became the first Premier League manager to take a voluntary pay cut. Howe’s “significant, voluntary” pay cuts were done in light of the club furloughing non-playing employees throughout the organization, joining Tottenham, Norwich, Newcastle and Liverpool.

Spanish league and players still far apart on salary cuts

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MADRID (AP) The Spanish league and players are still far apart on the size of the salary cuts they need to take to help reduce the financial impact caused by the coronavirus outbreak, with the footballers saying the organization wants them to carry nearly half the total losses.

The league and the players’ association have been in talks to try to find ways to mitigate losses that could reach nearly 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) if the season cannot be restarted because of the pandemic.

The players have said they are willing to reduce their salaries, but not as much as the league or the clubs want.

“After analyzing the current circumstances of the sector and given the distance in conversations with the players’ association, it is necessary to adopt measures in view of the serious economic crisis that COVID-19 is causing in the Spanish soccer industry,” the league said in a statement.

It also added that government furloughs are “an exceptional mechanism to avoid and mitigate the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector, and thus guarantee its subsequent recovery.”

According to media reports, the league expects losses of 957 million euros ($1.03 billion) if the season is canceled, with 303 million euros ($327 million) lost if it resumes with games in empty stadiums and 156 million euros ($168 million) of deficits if it continues with fans.

The players said the total cuts in salaries requested by the league would account for 451 million euros ($487 million) if the top flight cannot restart.

The reduction in salaries being discussed reportedly varies depending on the clubs, and also on whether they are playing in the Champions League or the Europa League.

Team captains met with the players’ association late Friday to discuss their options after the league earlier in the day called for all clubs to put the footballers on government furloughs to reduce labor costs while the stoppage of play continued. The furloughs help the clubs and guarantee players their jobs once the crisis is over.

The league said it is responsible for preserving an industry that represents 1.37 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and employs about 185,000 people.

Atlético Madrid and Barcelona were among the clubs to resort to the furloughs in recent days. Both reached an agreement with players to reduce their salaries by 70 percent, and guaranteed the wages of other employees were unaffected.

There are nearly 125,000 cases of the new coronavirus in Spain, which on Saturday surpassed Italy as the country with the second-most infections behind the United States. The death toll in the nation stands at 11,744.

The government is expected to extend lockdown measures until April 26, likely keeping the Spanish league suspended until then.

The league has said the season won’t resume until authorities deem it safe for everyone’s health. It said it will recommend a “minimum of 15 days” of practice before the games can restart, though it suggested recently the training period may begin with restrictions before the lockdown is removed.

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