Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Hull City: Chester’s header enough to hand Tigers win (video)

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Hull City recorded an opening day 1-0 win over new boys Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

James Chester’s second half header was the difference between the two teams as QPR huffed and puffed but couldn’t find a finishing touch on a frustrating afternoon for Harry Redknapp’s side.

In the 85th minute Charlie Austin had the perfect chance to grab Rangers a point, but Allan McGregor saved his penalty kick and the Tigers head back to Yorkshire with all three points.

This match was the first time both teams has met in the top-flight of English soccer.

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

QPR were rampant earlier in the game as Hull sat back and tried to soak up the pressure. Both teams were employing similar 3-5-2 formations with possession the key.

The home side looked more enterprising and had the best chance of the opening stages as Faurlin wriggled free in the box but dragged his effort just wide of the far post. Promising start for Rangers. In the 27th minute Joey Barton whipped a free kick up and over the wall but it clipped the side netting as the home side continued to push for the opener.

Moments later Jordan Mutch sent a deft header just wide and Rangers continued to press but just couldn’t find the opening goal before the break as Steven Caulker also had a header cleared off the line. Just before half time Robert Snodgrass was forced off through injury on his Hull City debut.

Despite all of that early pressure, QPR went behind in the 52nd minute as Rio Ferdinand let Chester bully him at the back post as the Hull defender headed home. A deep corner from the right eluded everyone but the former Manchester United trainee fended off Ferdinand and netted the opening goal of the game to put the Tigers 1-0 up.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

Hull were well in the ascendancy after that opener and after Stepheen Quinn played in Tom Ince, the latter steamed in on goal but his shot was saved well by Robert Green as QPR held on. In the 80th minute QPR almost equalized as a corner from the left was headed towards his own goal by Chester and Ferdinand directed the ball towards goal but Hull hacked the ball off the line as they battened down the hatches late on.

The chance QPR had worked so hard for arrived in the 84th minute as Chester conceded a penalty after a handball in the box.  Charlie Austin stepped up to take the PK on his Premier League debut but the striker saw his effort saved by Allan McGregror as the chance came and went.

Hull held on for a valuable three points, while QPR’s return to the big time was not a happy one.

LINEUPS

QPR: Green, Caulker, Ferdinand, Dunne (Zamora, 78′), Simpson (Phillips, 67′), Faurlin (Hoilett, 68′), Mutch, Barton, Traore, Remy, Austin.

Hull: McGregor, Bruce (McShane, 45′), Chester, Davies, Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Livermore, Robertson, Snodgrass (Quinn, 40′), Ince (Meyler, 82′), Jelavic.

Goal: Chester (52′)

Chicharito says Mexican team “always feels welcome” in the United States

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Mexico will take on Wales on Monday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA as they warm up for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Playing in the United States is nothing new for the USMNT’s southern neighbors, and it doesn’t phase them. In fact, they love it.

Star striker Chicharito told reporters that he and the rest of the squad is more than happy playing north of the border, because according to him, apart from a pair of venues, they can’t even tell they’re on the road.

“We always feel welcome here,” Chicharito said. “It’s like our second country, if we can say that, apart from Columbus [Ohio] and apart from the stadium in Miami when we played Colombia…those two stadiums, that’s the only time I’ve felt that we were the away team.”

Chicharito knows that the high population of his countrymen and women in the United States helps the Mexican team feel close to home when they play over the border. He’s all for the melting pot of the US.

“We feel at home [in the United States],” Chicharito said. “We have plenty of Mexicans here, so I don’t know what else to tell you, we feel welcome, we feel glad, happy to be in touch with those people here. They are sacrificing a lot of things, and they are all enjoying their lives that they decide to live in the USA…it’s great. It’s great when you come to another country and you feel like you are home. You see all the stadium green, shouting and screaming your names, screaming your goals, so yeah, it’s great.”

Mexico will play Wales on Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET, and will return home to take on Scotland at Azteca on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET.

England international Delph expecting child in middle of World Cup

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England international Fabian Delph could face quite the dilemma if England advances past the group stage of the World Cup.

Delph’s wife Natalie is expecting the couple’s third child on June 30, which is two days after their pivotal group stage match against Belgium, and two days before the squad would take the field July 1 for its Round of 16 game should they win Group G. If they finish second in the group, they would play their Round of 16 game on July 3.

When asked what his plans are, Delph joked that his wife would manage on her own. “She’s tough, she’s a Yorkshire lass so she’ll deal with it,” Delph said with a smile.

He then coughed up the truth: they’re not quite sure what the plan is.

“We’re not 100% certain, with a game on the 28th there might be an opportunity to fly back and then get back fast,” he said. “[England manager] Gareth [Southgate] has been fantastic. There’s nothing more important than family to me – family always comes first and always will.”

There’s another dilemma that Southgate must navigate involving Delph. The 28-year-old is a natural winger, but played wing-back in Pep Guardiola‘s title-winning system for much of the year and saw a massive uptick in form in the new role, playing in place of the injured Benjamin Mendy. Southgate must decide where he wants to deploy Delph – if at all – and if he wishes to fit his formation and tactics to mold Delph’s season under Guardiola.

Authorities drop assault charges against Hope Solo

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KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) — Prosecutors in Washington state have dropped domestic violence charges against former U.S. national team star goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Solo was charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault in 2014 after police said she assaulted two family members at a home in Kirkland, east of Seattle. The case was delayed by appeals.

KING-TV reports that city prosecutors dropped the charges Wednesday, saying the witnesses in the case wanted to move on with their lives and did not want to participate in a trial. An attorney for Kirkland, Melissa Osman, wrote in court documents that the circumstances were unlikely to be repeated.

The longtime national team goalkeeper and two-time Olympic gold medalist recently ran unsuccessfully for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation. She has called for equal pay and equal treatment for the U.S. women’s team.

Mark Hughes signs new long-term contract at Southampton

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Mark Hughes has gone from Stoke City outcast to Southampton savior in little under six months time.

The Welsh boss was let go from Stoke City with the Potters 18th in the table and headed towards eventual relegation, but he was picked up by fellow relegation candidates Southampton after the departure of Mauricio Pellegrino. He steered the club to safety, finishing three points above the drop in 17th.

With the Saints in the top flight for another season, the club has announced the signing of Hughes to a new three-year contract.

“Mark, Eddie and I are thrilled to have signed long-term contracts with the club. It was the only option we considered, having spent the last eight weeks with the club,” Hughes said of himself and his assistant coaches Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki. “Now it is vital that we take the unbelievable support we received from the fans during the last few games into next season. The staff and the players will work hard every day to deliver the success this club deserves, and with everyone pulling together we will achieve our goals.”

Hughes guided Stoke City to three consecutive ninth-placed finishes, the highest the club had ever finished in the English top flight, but they finished 13th last year and regressed even further this campaign. The sale of playmaker Marko Arnautovic was particularly damaging, and the club scored just 35 goals in 38 games as a result.

At Southampton, Hughes took over a club that sat in 17th with just eight matches to go. He lost three Premier League games in a row to start his tenure and only won two league matches with Saints the rest of the way, but managed to keep the club barely afloat.