Cardiff 0-3 Southampton: Clincal finishes hand Saints first win in seven (video)

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Southampton easily dispatched Cardiff 3-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday, as the Saints raced ahead early on.

A quick-fire double from Jay Rodriguez and a Rickie Lambert strike did the damage during 13 first half minutes, as Cardiff were stunned by the clinical finishing from the South Coast club.

Malky Mackay’s men tried to get back into the game, but Saints recorded a shutout and were unlucky not to extend their lead with several second half chances.

With the win Southampton move onto 27 points and stay ninth, while Cardiff are now just one point above the drop zone in 16th place.

After protests against Cardiff’s controversial owner Vincent Tan before the game, the Bluebirds struggled early on as Southampton took the game to the them and Rodriguez got in down the left but his touch failed him.

The Saints controlled possession but Cardiff should have gone ahead as Craig Noone found Peter Whittingham found completely unmarked in the box with a great right-wing cross, but the Englishman somehow volleyed over from close range.

That miss proved to be costly as Southampton went ahead in the 13th minute when Rodriguez grabbed his first. The England winger ghosted in at the back post to finish coolly after Adam Lallana had set him up perfectly with a sublime through ball.

Six minutes later it was 2-0 to the Saints, and that man Rodriguez bagged another after Lambert’s pinpoint ball again found Rodriguez at the back post and he finished calmly to send the South Coast club into dreamland.

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A few minutes later it was 3-0 to the Saints as Lambert pounced in the box to volley home his 99th league goal for Southampton to net Saints’ third goal in 13 minutes.

(MORE: Latest Premier League Standings)

After that Lambert had a chance to make it 4-0 but skewed his effort wide after a delightful ball, then Paolo Gazaaniga made a good stop from Jordon Mutch’s effort as Cardiff tried to get back into the game.

In the second half Cardiff bombarded Gazzaniga’s goal and put plenty of pressure on the Saints from set pieces as the Argentine ‘keeper somehow managed to claw the ball away from under his own bar. Despite the Bluebirds best efforts, Southampton looked incredibly dangerous on the break and could’ve gone further ahead with strikes from Steven Davis, Rodriguez and Luke Shaw all going close.

Saints saw out the win with ease as the traveling supporters were treated to about as comfortable an away win win as they’ll ever see.

LINEUPS

Cardiff City: Marshall, Taylor (John, 61), Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Whittingham, Gunnarsson (Kim, 81), Mutch, Noone; Odemwingie (Cornelius, 45), Campbell

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Chambers, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Cork, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Lallana (Ward-Prowse, 80), Rodriguez (Ramirez, 86), Lambert (Gallagher, 93)

Goals: Rodriguez (14 &20), Lambert (27)

Mexico receives FIFA fine for insulting chant

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FIFA handed a $10,400 fine down to Mexico on Wednesday for “discriminatory and insulting chants” that occurred during El Tri’s 1-0 victory over Germany.

[ MORE: Spain tops Iran after overruled goal ]

The FIFA disciplinary committee reportedly levied the fine to Mexico for directing a derogatory chant towards German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) with a fine of CHF 10,000 for the misconduct of a group of Mexican fans (cf. art. 67 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code) in relation to discriminatory and insulting chants during the first half of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match played between Germany and Mexico,” FIFA declared in a press release.

The Mexican Football Federation has aimed to eliminate an ongoing epidemic of homophobic chants that supporters have screamed during goal kicks for some time.

El Tri was sanctioned 12 times during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for those chants.

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.