Southampton 0-0 West Bromwich Albion: Stalemate at St. Mary’s (video)

Leave a comment

Southampton and West Brom played out a dour 0-0 at a sunny St. Mary’s on Saturday.

The closest either team came to a goal was a bending free kick from James Ward-Prowse as the Saints midfielder clipped the post in the second half. West Brom’s new signing Brown Ideye headed into the side-netting and was thwarted by Fraser Forster following a lovely bit of skill, as both teams struggled to carve out clear cut opportunities.

[MORE: Watch the full match replay ]

With the draw Saints picked up their first point of the Ronald Koeman era, while the Baggies drew their second-straight match as both teams flattered to deceive on the South Coast in a closely fought encounter.

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

Saints were lively early on as Tadic ran at the Baggies defense and clipped a perfect cross that Graziano Pelle headed tamely wide. West Brom sat back and tried to soak up the pressure, then hit the home side on the break.

The Baggies went in the 14th minute as Graham Dorrans shot was well blocked by Saints defense but the away side began to rack up the chances. Pelle then put in a late challenge on Sebastien Pocognoli but referee Roger East waved away the incident despite a lengthy spell of treatment for the West Brom left back.

source: Getty Images
Saints and Baggies battled it out in the sun at St. Mary’s.

A nifty move down the left flank saw Tadic and Ryan Bertrand link up nicely and the latter found Pelle in the box but the big Italian striker saw his effort blocked by Jonas Olsson. Moments later Baggies ‘keeper Ben Foster was let off the hook as he came rushing off his line and Tadic beat him to the ball. The Serbian then whipped in a cross which just evaded Pelle as an empty net beckoned. Saints continued to build the pressure and a blocked clearance fell to Steven Davis who headed the ball towards Tadic but his left-footed shot was saved well by Foster.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

At half time Shane Long replaced Steven Davis as the Irish international came on to face his former club. Less than 10 minutes into the second half the Baggies brought on club record signing Ideye for his debut as the Nigerian striker replaced Victor Anichebe. The forward was soon picked out at the back post after a looping cross from Pocognoli but he headed the ball into the side-netting with Saints under pressure. That turned out to be Pocognoli’s last action of the match as he was injured in the act and was replaced by Australian international Jason Davidson.

Southampton continued to push as the game closed out and in the 70th minute James Ward-Prowse rattled a superb free kick off the post as he curled the ball beautifully open and over the wall but saw his effort hit the woodwork. West Brom then almost went ahead as Ideye tricked his way past Saints’ defender but Fraser Forster came up with a superb save with his leg to keep the game scoreless.

Late on Saints tried to push for the winner but West Brom held firm to thwart the home side as the game ended goalless.

LINEUPS

Southampton: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse (Cork, 78′), S. Davis (Long, 45′), Tadić, Pellè.

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Wisdom, Dawson, Olsson, Pocognoli (Davidson, 60′), Mulumbu, Gardner, Berahino (Sessegnon, 89′), Dorrans, Brunt, Anichebe (Ideye, 52′)

Video: Ronaldo scores fourth goal, gives Portugal early lead

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Leave a comment

He has four goals in less than two matches, and Portugal is off to another flying start courtesy of their star forward.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Portuguese a 1-0 lead against Morocco in the fourth minute after brilliantly heading home a corner kick.

The Real Madrid star gave Portugal a similar spark at the beginning of their 3-3 draw against Spain in their first Group B match when Ronaldo drew, and scored a penalty kick inside of the opening three minutes.

Is there anything this man cannot do?

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment

The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.