Report: Cardiff, Tan claim to have evidence against Palace in spy accusation

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After falling to Crystal Palace 3-0 this past week, mercurial owner Vincent Tan protested the result shouldn’t stand.

Tan cried witchcraft before and after the match, claiming former Cardiff assistant Iain Moody, now working for Palace, successfully attempted to obtain Cardiff’s lineup prior to the game.

He says Cardiff have what The Mirror calls “concrete evidence” that Moody sent texts to a trio of his former coworkers at Cardiff, who apparently gave up the lineup but also alerted manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian then in turn alerted his superiors, but decided not to change his teamsheet.

Moody was disgraced by Tan for an apparent overspenditure late last calendar year in an ugly parting which ultimately saw a falling out between Tan and then-manager Malky Mackay.

There is no concrete law against Moody’s actions (and shame on whoever gave up the lineup), but Cardiff believe his actions violate the “good faith” rule that reads: “In all matters and transactions relating to the league, each club shall behave towards each other club and league with the utmost good faith.”

Back in December, Moody claimed in an interview with the Guardian that “most of my best friends in football work” at Cardiff City still, and that he holds no bitterness against the club.

UPDATE: In a report released by the BBC, there are some absolutely wild, yet surprisingly detailed accusations brought to the Premier League.

According to the BBC, the following is the order of events leading up to the Cardiff City vs Crystal Palace match, which Palace won 3-0:

  • Two days before the match, Iain Moody called (previously reported to be text messages) Cardiff City performance analyst Enda Barron to attempt to obtain Cardiff’s lineup. Moody claimed to be “under pressure from Tony Pulis. Barron denied to release the lineup.
  • Moody then went to another source, reportedly Cardiff City player Aron Gunnarsson, and successfully obtained the lineup. Gunnarsson and his agent have both since denied to the club his involvement in this part of the story.
  • Moody contacted Barron again (unclear whether it was by phone or twxt) to tell his former colleague he was successful.
  • Here’s the wildest part of the story: Moody then mistakenly texted the lineup to current Bolton manager Dougie Freedman (what?!?!). Freedman, a friend of Solskjaer, alerted the Cardiff manager of the leak and the club proceeded from there.

The most unfortunate part of the story in the BBC is that Barron, who denied to leak the lineup to Crystal Palace, was still relieved of his duties with Cardiff claiming breach of contract (possibly for failing to bring the attempt by Moody to his superiors?).

The mistaken text to Freedman, according to the report, read, “Straight from Gunnarsson their line up is 4-4-2 Marshall, KTC, Caulker, Turner, Taylor, Daehli, Medel, Mutch, Zaha, Campbell, Jones.”  That lineup turned out to be exactly correct, with Solskjaer making three changes from their previous match.

In addition, the BBC claims Solskjaer and Pulis discussed the incident following the match, with the following taking place:

Solskjaer: “I am disgusted that your head of recruitment is texting one of my players to get our team.”
Pulis: “Oooh I know. I didn’t ask for it.”

Cardiff are apparently claiming that response as evidence Pulis was aware of the leak.

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.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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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.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Halted World Cup flip-throw heard around the world

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Milad Mohammadi knew the time was right for something special, but special isn’t always good.

And good is a subjective term. Cause to us this is very good, Milad.

The Iranian national team defender failed with a flip-throw bid in the final moments of a 1-0 loss to Spain on Wednesday at the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

And this wasn’t like he illegally flipped or broke some other rule. No, like a kid trying an audacious jump into the deep end, Akhmat Grozny star Mohammadi just bailed and climbed in from the side (so to speak).

The kiss, the look skyward, the headbutt… all integral parts of a wonderful World Cup moment.

Renard, Morocco ‘very proud’ of unlucky national team

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If you would’ve told Morocco fans or their manager, Herve Renard, that they’d outshoot and outpossess both Iran and Portugal at World Cup, their next question would probably be, “So do we need to do against Spain to win Group B?”

Alas, Morocco lost a pair of 1-0 decisions to become the first team knocked out of the 2018 World Cup.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The Lions of Atlas fell to Iran in their opener on a stoppage time own goal after carrying 64 percent possession and a 13-8 advantage in shot attempts, then lost to a Cristiano Ronaldo fourth minute goal on Wednesday despite a 16-10 shot advantage and 53 percent of the ball.

“I’m very proud of the performance and I am very proud of my players, I’m very proud of this country,” Renard said.

With no hope of advancing to the next round, the manager is finding the experience bittersweet. From RTE:

“What I am sure of at this moment is that the entire Moroccan people is proud of this team. Of course it’s easier to play with a player who has one chance and he puts it away. But we are in Morocco.

“We have quality players. Despite the ups and downs of the game, we should have been more effective. Because, like in the first game, we had plenty of chances. I won’t blame anyone. That’s football. It’s always those who know how to be present in the box, the most gifted players, who make the difference. We took a lot of risks and we didn’t get our reward.”

It’s unlikely Morocco will hold either of those statistical advantages against Spain, especially a Spanish side yet to qualify, but there is plenty to like from the tournament aside from poor finishing quality.

But the performances of 19-year-olds Amine Harit (Schalke) and Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid) — not to mention Hakim Ziyech (25, Ajax) — seem to hint at a promise for 2022. And Renard’s men can still play spoiler for Spain, which is no small shockwave.