Fulham can look forward to another FA Cup replay after failing to score more than a goal against League One side Sheffield United, despite the Blades being down a man for nearly forty minutes.
Clint Dempsey didn’t even make the bench for Fulham’s trip to Bramhall Lane, possibly because the US international played the full 90 minutes against Arsenal last weekend, and René Meulensteen wasn’t prepared to risk him ahead of the midweek relegation battle against Swansea. All in all, the Cottagers made 11 changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Arsenal last time out, although Darren Bent still didn’t manage to make the starting XI.
But even the use of an entirely new side wasn’t enough to boost Fulham to victory over a side sitting two divisions below. In fact, it was Sheffield that scored first, in the 31st minute. Chris Porter easily wiggled through the Cottagers defense, got on the end of a low cross and neatly put the ball past David Stockdale.
The visitors very nearly got their own back minutes later, when Hugo Rodallega was brought down inside the area, but Andre Mariner waved away appeals. When halftime came around, the Blades were still on top, both in score and in play.
Fulham were thrown a lifeline when Sheffield captain Michael Doyle was sent off five minutes after the restart, although the hosts nearly doubled their lead just a minute after. But with fifteen minutes remaining, Rodallega leveled things up, sending a sharp shot into the bottom corner.
With Fulham sitting just a point outside the relegation zone, another replay is likely the last thing Meulensteen wanted. Now he’ll have to decide again: prioritize the league and send out another inexperienced squad to face the Blades, or field a few regular starters in hopes that a solid win will give his side a confidence boost.
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.
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 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.
France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.
That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.
Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.
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2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE