Sunderland 1-3 Hull City: Visitors overcome early mistake

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A horrid back-pass allowed Sunderland to take a lead inside the first minute, but Steve Bruce’s side fought back valiantly and earned all three points anyways to pull themselves out of the relegation zone.

Gaston Ramirez scored a sloppy goal and James Chester powered Hull into the lead for good just six minutes after halftime, with substitute Nikica Jelavic scoring one more at the death.

A Hull City mistake less than a minute into the game put the Tigers down yet again incredibly early into the game. A horrible mistake by Curtis Davies saw a back-pass not even make it halfway to goalkeeper Alan McGregor, and Adam Johnson pounced. He strongly shoved Davies aside and swerved his way around the Hull goalkeeper for a tap-in.

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The game was a scrappy one back and forth, but Hull would find its way back. Gaston Ramirez picked up the ball with his back to goal at the top of the box, and one touch got him free to the edge and his shot found a way through. It dipped and bobbed, and the movement causing Costel Pantilimon to produce more of a “falling tree” effect than a legitimate dive, and the ball burbled past his outstretched hands.

Sunderland had a trio of chances as the game neared halftime, all within seconds of each other, but they could not put the ball into the back of the net. Four minutes before the halftime whistle, the ball slammed into Steven Quinn’s face at the top corner of the area, and Sunderland shouted for handball with Quinn flailing his arms.

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As the ball eventually did come in front of the net, McGregor went for a punch but whiffed, and Seb Larsson poked the ball towards the net with his head. But Alex Bruce was there to clip the ball acrobatically over his head as it was trickling towards the line. Gomez then fired a shot just over the bar from distance to end the furious play.

Following the break, Hull completed their comeback by going in front on the road. Just six minutes after play restarted, James Chester connected with a corner at the near post, beating Santiago Vergini in the air to poke home.

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Hull, with more possession, pushed for more. Sone Aluko should have scored while through on goal but his shot was straight at Pantilimon. Nikica Jelavic would put the game away six minutes into extra time as a tiring Sunderland side had little to offer, and it was all she wrote at the Stadium of Light.

The win propels Hull City out of the danger zone, into 17th position and a point above Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, Sunderland drop to 14th, three points above today’s opponents and they remain with just one win since the start of November.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Pantilimon, Vergini (Buckley 84′), Jones, O’Shea, Coates, Cattermole, Larsson, Gomez (Giaccherini 62′), Johnson, Alvarez (Altidore 62′), Fletcher.

Goals: Johnson 1′

Hull City: McGregor, Rosenior, Bruce, Chester, Davies, Elmohamady, Meyler, Brady (Ince 88′), Quinn, Ramirez (Sagbo 78′), Aluko (Jelavic 89′).

Goals: Ramirez 32′, Chester 51′, Jelavic 90+6′

Wolves clobber Espanyol, Neves scores another magnificent volley

Wolverhampton Wanderers
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Diogo Jota had a hat trick and Ruben Neves scored a very Ruben Neves goal as Wolves took a 4-0 lead over Espanyol on Thursday after one leg of Europa League Round of 32 action.

Raul Jimenez, Joao Moutinho, and Matt Doherty recorded assists for Wolves, who will visit the Portuguese side on Feb. 27.

Espanyol had 57 percent of the ball and put four shots on target to Wolves’ five.

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Wolves came out of the gates with a show of strength, taking six shots to Espanyol’s zero over the first 25 minutes.

The goal came off an Adama Traore-won corner, Raul Jimenez flicking on to Jota.

Neves’ goal came straight from his area of expertise, a beautiful bit of control with his chest before smashing home from distance.

The 23-year-old Jota scored the first, third, and fourth goals of the contest to give him two Europa League hat tricks this season. He has 12 goals and five assists in 33 appearances across all competitions this season.

Solskjaer, Mata react to Man Utd draw: ‘We can play better’

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Manchester United got an away goal in a 1-1 first leg draw with Europa League foes Club Brugge in Belgium on Thursday.

The goals were pretty individual, a big chip of Sergio Romero followed by Anthony Martial’s powerful dribble to equalize for the Red Devils.

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United outshot the hosts 16-10, but fell short in big chances created by a 3-1 margin.

Here’s Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, via the BBC:

“It was a game with difficult conditions out there. It was almost like an astroturf. The ball was very quick and lively,” Solskjaer said. “We got the away goal. It was a very good individual goal, worked hard to win the ball and finish so we are happy with that but we know we can play better.”

The second leg is Feb. 27 at Old Trafford, four days after a Premier League encounter with Watford in the same building.

United midfielder Juan Mata had a busy day, winning the majority of his tackles and creating one key pass. He expected better from his team but sees the game for what it is.

Here is Mata, from The Manchester Evening News:

“They scored a goal we shouldn’t concede. We scored a goal from their mistake. we wanted to win, obviously, 1-1 is not a very bad result, but we always want to win,” Mata said. “We just couldn’t find spaces, they defended very well with five plus four. We tried to play a few times through the middle, which we didn’t succeed to do that. Then we scored that goal and from then we played a bit better.”

Solskjaer kept Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Daniel James, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the bench to start the match. Fernandes and Fred came on late.

FC Cincinnati adds Ajax midfielder Siem de Jong

Siem de Jong
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FC Cincinnati got a much-needed bit of good news toward the end of a rough week in Southern Ohio.

Longtime Ajax attacker Siem De Jong has joined a talented FCC attack ahead of the club’s second MLS season.

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De Jong, 31, came up through Ajax’s vaunted academy before transferring to Newcastle United, where he suffered through a series of miserable injuries including two collapsed lungs in 18 months.

He’s been capped six times with two goals for the Netherlands in his career and will join a revitalized Cincinnati attack with Jurgen Locadia and Yuya Kubo.

“The system they want to play is quite similar to the Dutch system, and yeah, Ajax is probably one of the team’s that perfected it,” de Jong said. “Over the years I played there, I’ve learned a lot about this similar philosophy and trying to build up from the back in the Dutch style of play. That was one of the reasons why FC Cincinnati was a good fit for me. Hopefully I can help with the experience I’ve had over the years playing this style of football.”

De Jong scored three times in nine matches this season for Ajax, all of the goals coming in a cup match against third-tier Spakenburg. His other eight matches combined for just 118 minutes.

He may not be with FCC when the season starts as he waits on visa approval.

Man United held at Club Brugge (video)

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Man United were held to a 1-1 draw away at Club Brugge in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 tie as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side battled back from a sloppy start to stretch their unbeaten run to five games in all competitions.

Emmanuel Bonaventure (commonly known as Dennis) scored a beautiful opener to put Brugge ahead but United equalized through Anthony Martial and he also hit the post as the Red Devils looked more dangerous as both teams had chances in a tight, tense encounter.

The two teams met for the second leg at Old Trafford next Thursday, Feb. 27.

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Brugge almost scored with their first attack as Dennis caused havoc behind Luke Shaw and a combination of Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic cleared the ball from danger from close range.

Andreas Pereira fired in a low shot which Simon Mignolet saved well but moments later Brugge were ahead.

Nemanja Matic thought he had won a corner kick but a goal kick was given and former Liverpool goalkeeper Mignolet caught out the entire Man United defense with a long ball over the top to find Dennis who lobbed the ball over a stranded Sergio Romero and in.

Hans Vanaken, Mats Rits and Dennis then all went close to doubling Brugge’s lead as United’s defense was all over the place.

United did draw level before half time as a loose throw-in from Brugge caused their own problems and Martial powered towards goal and calmly slotted home to make it 1-1.

Brandon Williams missed a good chance and Mignolet then pushed Martial’s shot onto the post as United came alive after their opening goal.

In the second half Man United continued to improve as Diogo Dalot‘s cross found Jesse Lingard who flicked wide, while Martial and Juan Mata then combined but Brugge managed to block the danger at the last moment.

At the other end Dennis was denied as Romero saved well down low at the near post and late on Dennis bamboozled Harry Maguire before crossing for Odilon Kossounou who somehow scuffed his shot wide.

Man United finished with a flourish as new signings Odion Ighalo and Bruno Fernandes came on off the bench to try and help the Red Devils grab a winner and although they both looked lively, United couldn’t find a late goal.