Crystal Palace 1-3 Sunderland: Fletcher, Gomez pull visitors out of drop zone (video)

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With Crystal Palace’s defense taking a snooze, Jordi Gomez broke a 1-1 deadlock with 15 minutes to go and Mile Jedinak’s sending off sealed their fate at Selhurst Park as Sunderland’s first home win of the season pulled them out of the relegation zone.

Steven Fletcher struck early for Sunderland with a long-distance header, and despite Wes Brown’s own-goal to bring Palace level, Sunderland were more deadly on the day despite what seemed like an even amount of attacking play.

Straight after the opening whistle referee Phil Dowd was tested, and it appeared he failed the early exam. Frazier Campbell got by the Sunderland defense on a headed flick from Marouane Chamackh, and with Costel Pantilimon late to come out of his goal to smother the break, Santiago Vergini slid across to make the tackle, Vergini got none of the ball and all of Campbell’s shin, but Dowd didn’t make the call.

[RELATED: Watch full match replay]

The home side continued to pummel the Sunderland back line, and the tempo of the game was at a lightning pace, although the quality of play was unable to keep up. Speedy breaks often came to a screeching halt with misplaced feeds or heavy touches.

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Steven Fletcher opened the game for Sunderland and closed the door on Palace.

The opening goal came a half-hour in from the game’s first real chance – officially the game’s first shot on target – with Sunderland going in front with their first goal in their last four road games. Patrick van Anholt collected just barely onside, and his cross floated in to Steven Fletcher who powered a header in from a good distance out with Julian Speroni wrong-footed.

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Just minutes later van Anholt had to be stretchered off with a shoulder injury, suffered while defending Wilfried Zaha on the edge of the penalty area, and Phil Dowd again waved off Palace’s penalty shouts.

Fletcher then sprung to life again, displaying a bit of brilliance on the ball and stinging Speroni’s hands. Vergini also ripped a volley on goal before the halftime whistle but Speroni was able to palm it out.

Crystal Palace began the second half like they started the first, and it paid off this time around. Pantilimon made a brilliant save on a vicious Chamakh header, but Campbell backheeled the ball back in front of net and Wes Brown’s attempt to clear went into the back of the net. Speroni then denied a Vergini volley again to preserve the 1-1 scoreline.

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

But it wouldn’t last forever, as Jordi Gomez would put the visitors back on top 15 minutes from time and set them up for relief from the relegation zone. A scything run by Will Buckley confused the Palace defense, and while the back line stood shockingly still, Gomez rifled one into the corner past a wrong-footed Speroni.

A stupid moment for Palace’s captain put Neil Warnock’s side in an even more untenable position when he took down Gomez in midfield and tried to sneak in a post-tackle kick, but Phil Down caught it and sent Jedinak off with a second yellow card, although it could have warranted a straight red.

Fletcher grabbed his second in stoppage time to wrap things up on a break with Palace pouring men forward. That would seal it for Sunderland, who jumped to 15th position in the table – out of the drop zone – with the three points, putting them ahead of Crystal Palace who drop to 17th, just a point ahead of the danger area.

Your random stat of the day:


Crystal Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Hangeland (Gayle 74′), Dann, Ward, Jedinak, Ledley, Zaha, Bolasie, Chamakh (Puncheon 76′), Campbell.

Goals: Brown (og) 55′
Discipline: Jedinak (second yellow) 87′

Sunderland: Pantilimon, Reveillere, van Aanholt (Brown 37′), O’Shea, Vergini, Cattermole, Larsson, Gomez, Buckley (Bridcutt 82′), Wickham (Altidore 78′), Fletcher.

Goals: Fletcher 31′, 90+4′; Gomez 75′

Euro 2020 qualifying: France settles for draw with Turkey

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Euro 2020 qualifying continued on Monday and included a top-of-the-group clash in Group H.

[READ: England rout Bulgaria in game marred by racist chants]

France 1-1 Turkey

France spoiled a chance at home to put one foot in Euro 2020 after conceding late in the match and settling for a draw with Turkey.

Despite playing without a lot of starters – Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Hugo Lloris are all out injured – France still was strong in the first half and peppered Turkey with 12 shots. Goalkeeper Mert Gunok made an outstanding double-save in the first half and Leicester City’s Çağlar Söyüncü did his best to keep Antoine Griezmann in front of him.

In the 72nd minute, Olivier Giroud came on the field as a substitute and four minutes later, he put France in front to the delight of the home crowd at the Stade de France. What else, but a header off a corner. However, the lead didn’t last long. Off a free kick in the 82nd minute, Hakan Calhanoglu’s delivery was nodded home by Kaan Ayhan. The 1-1 draw leaves both France and Turkey tied with 19 points from eight qualifying matches. It also means that Turkey hasn’t lost to France over two games in this qualifying cycle.

Here’s a look at the rest of Monday’s scores:

Monday’s Euro 2020 qualifying scores

Group A

Bulgaria 0-6 England

Kosovo 2-0 Montenegro

Group B

Lithuania 1-2 Serbia

Ukraine 2-1 Portugal

Group H

Iceland 2-0 Andorra

Moldova 0-4 Albania

Ronaldo scores 700th goal for club and country

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Cristiano Ronaldo achieved yet another personal milestone in his star-studded career on Monday evening with a simple penalty kick goal.

With his 72nd minute strike, Ronaldo tallied his 700th goal for club and country in his career. It’s an incredible achievement, and one indicative of his incredible goal-scoring exploits and his long career.

Ronaldo was already leading all active players globally in terms of goals scored, so his 700th is only adding to the list. His former club nemesis, Lionel Messi, still sits a reported 28 goals behind him, according to Soccerway. After them, LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the closest, and he has “only” 542 goals.

The Portuguese icon becomes the sixth male player to score 700 goals in his career. The others include Pele, Romaro, Josef Bican, Ferenc Puskás, and Gerd Muller.

Ronaldo made his debut for Sporting Lisbon in the 2002-2003 season as a 17-year-old and quickly was snapped up by Man United and Sir Alex Ferguson, where he transitioned from a tricky winger to a clinical striker who couldn’t stop scoring.

The 34-year-old has scored 40-or-more goals on three occasions in his career and he scored 25-or-more goals in all nine years he was at Real Madrid. For Portugal, he’s now scored an incredible 95 goals in all competitions. He had 15 goals in World Cup qualifying alone for the 2018 campaign.

Watch the video of Ronaldo’s breaking goal below. Unfortunately for him, Portugal fell, 2-1 to Ukraine.

Southgate, England players sound off on racist abuse

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England took care of business in Monday’s 6-0 thrashing of Bulgaria, but the Three Lions had to endure some horrendous racist abuse from the crowd during the game.

The match was paused on two occasions I’m the first half by the match officials after racist chanting could be heard from a section of supporters, and a large group of Bulgarian fans were ejected towards the end of the half. However, racist abuse continued during the match from small pockets of fans in the stadium.

[READ: England v. Bulgaria delayed after racist abuse from stands]

“I have to say that the officials were on to everything very quickly,” England manager Gareth Southgate told ITV after the match. “We reported everything immediately when we heard things, we had constant communication with the fourth official and the referee. I was in contact with the players, all the way through the first half in particular, and then again at halftime.

”We know it’s an unacceptable situation, and I think we’ve managed to make two statements. By winning the game, but also we’re raised the awareness of everybody to the situation. The game was stopped twice, I know for some people that won’t be enough, but we as a group were on board with that process.”

Raheem Sterling, who scored a brace in the win, also sounded off on social media, as did former England and Arsenal star Ian Wright.

Ultimately, UEFA and the match officials followed the protocol, but the sad part about this is that England and the officials had a plan for racist abuse, and it was predictable that it would happen.

In a statement after the game, the FA confirmed they would be asking UEFA to investigate what happened. However, any punishment is too little, too late for the players who endured the abuse.

Kane, Sterling star as England rout Bulgaria

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On a night where racist abuse from the stands in Bulgaria marred the overall spectacle, England’s players produced an incredible result and spectacle for the visiting fans, with all things considered.

Harry Kane scored once and assisted on three others as England rolled over Bulgaria, winning 6-0 on Monday evening in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria. Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley both scored a brace for the Three Lions and Marcus Rashford’s thunderbolt from a tight angle gave England the opening goal it needed.

[READ: USMNT looks to build from win v. Canada]

The blowout result was the perfect response after England had suffered its first loss in qualifying for a decade, losing on Friday, 2-1 at the Czech Republic. The six goals England put past Bulgaria was also the fourth time out of six games that England had scored at least five goals in a match. The only other time, aside from the defeat, was a 4-0 win last month at Wembley Stadium over Bulgaria.

It took just seven minutes for England to get on the board. Barkley found Rashford down the left wing, and after turning a defender with a cross-fake, Rashford cut back from goal and whipped a strike that flashed past Bulgarian goalkeeper Plaman Iliev and in for a goal.

Kane, who has earned some criticism for not scoring as much recently as in the past, showed he was more than a goal-scoring No. 9. Combining with Raheem Sterling like he did so well at the 2018 World Cup, Kane in the 20th minute played a great pass into Sterling’s feet in the box. The Manchester City winger did the rest, crossing to a wide-open Barkley at the back post for a tap-in.

Kane again played provider in the 32nd minute, floating to the right and delivering an-inch perfect cross right to the penalty spot with his left foot. Barkley was there to meet it with a glancing header to score and put the game to rest.

Despite dealing with horrendous racist abuse from the crowd and two pauses in the game, England continued to attack and were rewarded when Kane set up Sterling for another tap-in moments before the halftime break.

Kane and Sterling connected again for another goal before in the 85th minute, Kane finally got his finish to send Bulgaria packing.

Considering the events in the stadium, it’s a triumphant win for England. However, they still must win at least one more game before automatic qualification to Euro 2020 is assured, as Kosovo beat Montenegro, 2-0 on Monday as well to stay within touching distance of England and the Czech Republic.