Newcastle United 1-2 Swansea City: Bony’s brace seals crucial win for Swans (video)

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Swansea City secured a last gasp win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday, as a double from Wilfried Bony did the damage in a stunning comeback.

Newcastle took the lead early on when Shola Ameobi slotted home, but right on the stroke of half time Bony headed home a sumptuous cross from the right to send the teams in level. After the break both teams searched to go ahead, but the pivotal moment didn’t arrive until the 91st minute when Cheick Tiote brought down Marvin Emnes for a penalty and Bony stepped up to coolly slot the spot kick home.

The 2-1 win sees Swansea move onto 36 points and all but secure their safety in the race against relegation, while Newcastle suffered a fifth-straight defeat as they remain in ninth.

(Premier League Roundup: Chelsea blow it, Swansea, Spurs and Palace win)

It was an even start at a sunny St. James’ Park, as both sides zipped the ball around but neither carved out clear cut opportunities in the opening stages. Referee Chris Foy was then involved in the thick of things, as a shot from Jonjo Shelvey was blocked by Fabricio Coloccini and the ball ricocheted straight into Foy’s face as he hit the floor. The referee received treatment and eventually saw the funny side of it, as the game continued with Foy getting plenty of ‘banter’ from the 50,000 plus fans inside St. James’.

Swansea pressed for the opener, as Jonathan de Guzman’s near post cross was cleared away by Mike Williamson just before Bony could pounce to shoot. However, the home side then went ahead with their first goal in five PL matches. Target man Ameobi flicked the ball on to find Luuk de Jong, who laid the ball back into Ameobi’s path for the Newcastle veteran to slot home just his second goal in 55 PL matches.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

After early being smashed in the face by the ball, referee Foy had to be replaced after feeling nauseous as fourth official Anthony Taylor took control of the match. Then Newcastle lost both their strikers as Papiss Demba Cisse and de Jong had to leave the pitch through injury. For the rest of the first half Swansea tried to get back level and right on the stroke of half time they did just that. Ben Davies whipped in a delightful cross from the right and Bony rose like a salmon to nod home his 21st goal of the season to make it 1-1 at half time.

It was a subdued start to the second half at St. James’ as both teams felt their way into the second half. Newcastle went close in the 60th minute when Vernon Anita twisted away from his marker and rifled a 30-yard shot just wide of the far post. Newcastle were the better of the two teams and pushed to go ahead throughout the second half.

Yet Swansea went close in the 78th minute win de Guzman curled an effort towards the top corner that went narrowly over and landed on top of the net. In the final 10 minutes the Swans continued to push and Bony was played clean through but just as he tried to get control of the ball, Tim Krul rushed off his line to save Newcastle.

The game-winning moment arrived in stoppage time as substitute Emnes raced clear of Newcastle’s defense and was then brought down by Tiote to win a penalty kick. Bony stepped up to slot home the PK and send the traveling fans from Swansea into raptures, with the Swans holding on to secure a precious three points.

LINEUPS

Newcastle United: Krul; Coloccini, Williamson, Dummett; Anita, Gosling (Armstrong, 81′), Tiote, Gouffran; de Jong (Remy, 40′); Cisse (Debuchy, 21′), Sh Ameobi

Goal: Ameobi (23′)

Swansea City: Vorm, Rangel, Amat, Williams, Davies, Britton, Shelvey, De Guzman, Routledge (Bartley, 94′), Hernandez (Emnes, 81′), Bony

Goals: Bony (45′ & 90′)

Cruzeiro relegated from Brazilian top flight for first time

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Brazilian side Cruzeiro was relegated from the top flight for the first time in the club’s 98-year history following a 2-0 defeat to Palmeiras on the final day of the season.

Cruzeiro required victory and a loss by Ceara at Botafogo to stay safely in the Brazilian Serie A, but neither came to pass.

Palmeiras midfielder Ze Rafael scored in the 58th minute to send the visitors on their way, with fellow midfielder Dudu finished things off in the 84th minute. Referees ushered the players off the field immediately after the conclusion of the match as Cruzeiro fans rioted in the Mineirao stadium, ripping out seats, setting off smoke bombs, and clashing with police.

Cruzeiro finished 17th in the 20-team table, three points back of Ceara in 16th. In the Brazilian top flight, the bottom four teams are relegated. CSA, Chapecoense, and Avai were also relegated. Cruzeiro had won the Brazilian Serie A as recently as 2013 and 2014, winning four titles in its history. They also have six Copa do Brasil titles, most recently winning the league cup in 2017 and 2018.

Flamengo ran away with the championship, finishing on 90 points, 16 points clear of second-placed Santos and third-placed Palmeiras who both finished level on 74 points. Palmeiras had challenged for the title, but fell off at the end of the season with a five-match winless run through November.

Premier League Preview: West Ham United v. Arsenal

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Two struggling London sides meet Monday when West Ham United hosts Arsenal (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The sides might’ve expected they’d be within close proximity at this point on the fixture list, but two wildly disappointing seasons means the three points between the Gunners and Irons comes with the former in 11th and the latter 16th.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

It’s been nine matches since Arsenal beat someone, 11 since it happened in the Premier League. West Ham hasn’t been much better, winning once in its last 10.

Freddie Ljungberg has yet to win as Arsenal interim boss, while West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini could see his current stint in London end without more results like the Nov. 30 win at Chelsea.

Monday versus Arsenal would qualify.


Injuries/suspensions

West Ham United: OUT —  Jack Wilshere, Lukasz Fabianski, Manuel Lanzini, Winston Reid. QUESTIONABLE — Michail Antonio.

Arsenal: OUT — Dani Ceballos. QUESTIONABLE — Rob Holding.


Probable lineups

West Ham United: Martin; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Fredericks; Rice, Noble, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Snodgrass, Haller.

Arsenal: Leno; Kolasinac, Sokratis, Luiz, Bellerin, Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette.


What they’re saying

West Ham’s Antonio sees an opportunity: “The only three teams that are really performing are Liverpool, Leicester and Man City. Everyone else is getting beaten, and it means we’ve had a missed opportunity so far this season. We started the season off brightly, the best start we’ve had for four years, but then we’ve had a slump. Everyone’s having a slump and this is our slump. Now it’s time for us to start turning up. We’ve been in this situation before and we know how to dig in and pull ourselves up again.”

Arsenal’s Ljungberg on setting targets: “I don’t think we should stop talking about the top four, but for us it’s about concentrating on what we’re doing here now and not look up, down, sideways. We just need to work on our own game and our own confidence.”


Prediction

Really, you wouldn’t want to predict anything from these sides right now besides goals. We’ll give an edge in desperation to the hosts and a 2-2 draw.

La Liga: Sevilla held at Osasuna, Getafe maintains UCL fight

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Sevilla was held to a 1-1 draw at 10-man Osasuna on Sunday, giving both Real Madrid and Barcelona space at the top of the La Liga table.

Munir El Haddadi put the visitors 1-0 up just 11 minutes in, but Ezequiel Avila struck just before halftime to share the points. Sevilla was held to just two total shots through the opening 45 minutes, and despite Osasuna defender Oier Olazabal being shown a second yellow card with 29 minutes to go, Sevilla still managed just 11 total efforts through the 90 minutes, with four on target.

Getafe continued its battle for a top four spot as they won 1-0 on the road at Eibar. Angel Rodriguez bagged his eighth goal of the season to secure the win, cropping up in the 67th minute to finally put Getafe through. They had been turning the screw for some time, forcing Marko Dmitrovic into a pair of big saves just before the opener which came from an absurdly tight angle after Angel had rounded the goalkeeper. The win leaves them fourth, level with Real Sociedad on 27 points.

They were allowed to close the gap after Real Sociedad was held scoreless in a 0-0 draw at 14th placed Real Valladolid. The visitors put just two of their 14 shots on net, and dropped to fifth thanks to Getafe holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Athletic Club also fell back in the race for a top four spot, dropping a 3-2 decision on the road at Real Betis. Joaquin scored a first-half hat-trick, with all three goals coming in the opening 20 minutes to give him five in his last three games. Inaki Williams brought Athletic Bilbao one back before halftime from the spot, and Yuri Berchiche made things interesting with a minute to go, but that was all they could muster as the visitors fell to sixth on 26 points, above Atletico Madrid on goal differential with the two yet to play head-to-head.

Celta Vigo made it interesting as Iago Aspas scored a man-down goal, but Leganes held on for a 3-2 win over the 10-man visitors. Oscar Rodriguez had a first-half brace to help the hosts to a 3-0 lead, but Nestor Araujo and Aspas helped Celta Vigo make things interesting. Still, a 71st minute second yellow card for halftime substitute Gabriel Fernandez hampered the visitors in their efforts for a comeback, leaving Celta Vigo in the relegation zone, a point back of safety, with Leganes is four points behind them in 19th.

Gerrard reacts to Rangers’ Old Firm heartbreak in final

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Steven Gerrard lined his Rangers side up for success, but fate was cruel to the Liverpool legend.

Rangers lost the League Cup Final to their Old Firm rivals on Sunday despite out-shooting the Bhoys by a 16-5 margin, winning a penalty, and playing almost a half-hour up a man.

[ RECAP: Rangers 0-1 Celtic ]

“To a man we were very good … by much the better side,” Gerrard said. “But unfortunately that’s not what gets you a trophy.”

But Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster stopped Alfredo Morelos’ penalty, three minutes after goal scorer Christopher Jullien was offside on the lone goal of the game.

Scotland doesn’t yet use VAR, and Gerrard doesn’t love VAR but he likes it more than he likes Scottish officials.

“There were three Celtic players standing in offside positions but unfortunately we play in a country where there is no VAR,” he said, via the BBC. “I’d be a liar if I said I was 100% in favour of it, but the one thing I do know is that officials up here need support.”

Now he has the task of getting his men to rebound ahead of its biggest non-derby in ages, as Rangers need at least a draw against Young Boys at home on Thursday to advance to the Europa League knockout rounds

“It’s a bit raw right now… It’s up to me to pick the players up. One thing I will say is I’ll stay with these players on the evidence of today because they gave me absolutely everything. We might have to suffer a bit short-term. I need to pick them up a bit physically and mentally for Thursday which is huge but our day will come on the evidence of today.”

Gerrard has done a very good job with Rangers, who are two points back of Celtic in a two-horse race for the Scottish top flight title. Celtic has won eight-straight titles to improve their total to 50, four less than the Rangers.