Everton 2-1 Cardiff City: Toffees snatch late win to pile misery on Cardiff (video)

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Everton left it late to beat Cardiff City on Saturday at Goodison Park, as Seamus Coleman’s fortunate injury time strike sealed a dramatic 2-1 win for the Toffees.

The home side went ahead in the second half through Gerard Deulofeu’s deflect effort, but Cardiff equalized soon after through Juan Cala. Then came the dagger in Cardiff’s heart late on, as Coleman sliced an effort than fortuitously flew past the excellent David Marshall and sent Goodison Park into raptures.

With the win Everton keep their top four hopes alive, as they sit in sixth spot on 51 points. As for Cardiff, they are still 19th on 25 points as their relegation fears grow.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

The Toffees started the brighter of the two sides, but Cardiff were dangerous on the break in the opening stages.

A few goalmouth scrambles ensued as the home side forced the issue early on, and their first big chance arrived after 24 minutes when Kevin Mirallas was found in the box but Cala blocked the Belgian’s shot superbly.

That sparked a flurry of chances as Cardiff were thwarted by Everton’s U.S. national team ‘keeper Tim Howard after going clean through, as Howard used his feet to stop the Cardiff’s strikers low shot.

Then Gerard Delofeu shuffled the ball on the edge of the box and arrowed an effort towards the bottom corner but David Marshall tipped it wide. Then in the 33rd minute Marshall saved superbly from Romelu Lukaku as the Belgian cut in from the right and hammered a shot on goal that Cardiff’s Scottish ‘keeper tipped acrobatically over.

The rest of the first half played out with Everton trying to force the issue, but Cardiff held on to go in level at half time.

After the break Cardiff started well and forced Howard into another save as Campbell again found space in the box but his drilled show was tipped wide by Howard at the near post. However soon after Everton were ahead as Deulofeu cut in from the left and saw his shot deflect off Ben Turner and past Marshall at his near post, to put the Toffees 1-0 up.

Just as you feared the floodgates would open for Cardiff, the Bluebirds hit back in the 68th minute when Cala bagged his first Bluebirds goal. The Spaniard attacked a cross from the left and after kneeing and heading the ball at the same time, the ball dribbled into the bottom corner and made it 1-1.

Wilfried Zaha came on to give Cardiff an extra boost late in the game, as Solkjaer’s side pushed hard for a winner but were indebted to Marshall who once again made a fine stop to keep Lukaku out. However Marshall’s heroics couldn’t grab Cardiff a point, as Coleman shanked an effort towards goal that flew in and handed Everton victory right at the death.

When you are at the bottom those are the kind of breaks which go against you.

LINEUPS

Everton: Howard, Baines, Coleman, Deulofeu (McGeady, 62), Mirallas (Naismith, 62), Distin, McCarthy, Lukaku, Barry, Osman (Barkley, 82), Stones

Goals: Deulofeu (59), Coleman (90)

Cardiff City: Marshall, Caulker, Medel, Campbell, Kim, Noone (Daehli, 62), Mutch (Whittingham, 57), Cala, Theophile-Catherine, Fabio (Zaha, 77), John

Goal: Cala (68)

Champions League preview: Spurs host Leipzig, Valencia visits Atalanta

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Two more UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties kickoff Wednesday, including one being labeled as the biggest in a club’s existence.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

That would be Serie A side Atalanta, which hosts Valencia at 3 p.m. at Gewiss Stadium.

Atalanta had played in two consecutive Europa Leagues, but this is their first move into the Champions League. To make the knockout rounds is exceptional, and club president Antonio Percassi is fired up.

“We must be honest, this is the most important game in the history of this club,” Percassi told Sky Sport Italia. “It doesn’t seem real. It’s exciting just thinking that tomorrow we’ll be in a Champions League Round of 16. It’s wonderful for our fans too. … This is going to be a unique experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”

Atalanta finished second in its group to Manchester City, and is fourth in Serie A. Valencia won its group.

There’s a Premier League side in action on Wednesday, too, as Spurs begin life without Heung-Min Son.

Jose Mourinho spun a tale about how badly Tottenham will need its fans against RB Leipzig, comparing the home-field advantage to an emergency rescue crew of sorts.

Leipzig is led by Julian Nagelsmann, who was once referred to as “Baby Mourinho” by his players.

The 32-year-old was quick to distance himself from the story.

“Tomorrow it is Leipzig against Tottenham, not Mourinho v. Baby Mourinho,” he said. “I have great respect for Mourinho. He has won lots of titles with big clubs, the Champions League twice. He has made his mark on European football at some big European clubs. I think it his 59th knockout game in the CL and it is my first so there is obviously respect there.”

Liverpool’s Robertson not a fan of Atletico Madrid theatrics

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Liverpool fullback Andy Robertson was not impressed with Atletico Madrid’s display as his side fell 1-0 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The Reds fell behind on a fourth-minute Saul Niguez goal and couldn’t get a shot on target despite 73 percent possession in Spain.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Atleti executed its plan to near-perfection, slowing restarts and taking advantage of counterattacking opportunities to assuage the constant pressure of Liverpool.

At times it was reminiscent of early-century Italian national team play, and both neutrals and Liverpool knew what they were in for once Atleti took the lead.

“We gave them the best possible start to get the fans behind them and then they can start falling over and things like that, trying to get under our skin a bit which I think we handled quite well to be honest,” Robertson told BT Sport. “We know we are better than (how they played). We put in a decent performance and we can be better than that. Luckily we have got a second leg to put it right.”

Given the performance and the reputation, you’d still fancy the Reds to “put it right” at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp thinks Atleti will feel plenty of pressure at Anfield, and he will certainly feel the officiating will be more to his liking.

Liverpool’s Klopp: ‘Our people will be ready’ for second leg at Anfield

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Jurgen Klopp didn’t have any issue with Diego Simeone’s defense-first Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The Spanish side flummoxed Liverpool’s attack and the Reds didn’t manage a shot on target despite eight attempts and 73 percent possession at the Wanda Metropolitano.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

What Klopp didn’t appreciate was the referee’s work, though, implying that Polish official Szymon Marciniak was overwhelmed by the occasion. Marciniak has worked UCL matches for six seasons, twice overseeing quarterfinal ties.

Klopp was shown a yellow card in the second half, and the Liverpool boss felt Sadio Mane was harassed by Atleti. Klopp removed yellow-carrying Mane at halftime.

“He was targeted obviously,” Klopp said after the game. “The only thing they wanted was to make sure he got a yellow card. The score is 1-0, that’s all but you need to be really strong as a ref in this atmosphere. So many things happened, after 30 minutes already three players were on the ground. The first yellow card was a striker from us. I’m not sure they even got a yellow card, which is funny.”

Atleti’s Angel Correa was shown a yellow, while Klopp, Mane, and Joe Gomez were cautioned for Liverpool.

The Liverpool boss found himself laughing a few times, especially when he was asked about Simeone’s touchline personality.

Klopp said before the game that if the German was a four in intensity, then Simeone was a 12. Simeone followed suit by constantly urging the crowd to get behind the home side on Tuesday.

That didn’t bother Klopp, but he issued a public relations officer’s dream in reacting to it.

“Wow, wow,” he laughed. “That’s energy. I don’t think I have to do it that much (at Anfield). Our people will be ready. Welcome to Anfield. It’s not over yet.”

Klopp finished his remarks by saying of Jordan Henderson‘s removal from the game with a hamstring injury, “I hope it was a precaution, but I’m not 100 percent sure”

Haaland wins first leg after Borussia Dortmund-PSG comes to life late

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Erling Haaland scored twice in a mid-second half flurry as Borussia Dortmund beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The hosts also got an assist from teenager Giovanni Reyna, who became the youngest American to appear in a Champions League match.

Haaland now has 39 goals in 29 appearances between Red Bull Salzburg and BVB, 11 of those for his new German employer.

Neymar scored off a Kylian Mbappe goal for PSG, who brings an away goal back to the Parc des Princes for a March 11 second leg.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Neymar had an early free kick, missing just wide of the far post.

Jadon Sancho troubled the keeper twice in the first half hour, first with a cross that Mats Hummels headed over goal. Then, Keylor Navas picked another Sancho offering out of the air.

Sancho kept serving, and Erling Haaland couldn’t turn a promising cross on target.

Dortmund walked into halftime with a scoreless match but a 7-2 edge in shot attempts. Neither of PSG’s shots were on target.

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Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre put in American teen Giovani Reyna in the 67th minute.

Two minutes later, it was 1-0 to the hosts through Haaland’s close-range goal.

Neymar replied from close range himself after a powerful, clever dribble from Kylian Mbappe led to a pass through the box.

But Haaland got his second in the 77th minute with a scorching shot that serves as the first senior assist of Reyna’s senior career with Dortmund (Watch it here).