Hull City 2-0 Everton: Tigers pull away from relegation zone as Everton slump further

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Everton has found itself in a seriously troubling slump with four straight losses, the latest coming at the KC Stadium as Ahmed Elmohamady and Nikica Jelavic scored to down Roberto Martinez and the Toffees yet again.

Romelu Lukaku missed a good chance late, but it was probably too late anyways as Steve Bruce put some space between himself and the relegation zone. The win is reward for his loyalty, as Bruce shot down links to the vacant Newcastle managerial position just yesterday.

A dubious refereeing decision marred the beginning of the game as Abel Hernandez was fouled by Gareth Barry, and while replays showed he was clearly inside the penalty area, referee Kevin Friend gave the free kick at the top of the box instead. Hernandez would pump in another solid chance inside five minutes, with a powerful shot expertly saved by Joel Robles diving to his right.

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Everton slowly built into the game, but their first chance saw Kevin Mirallas blast way over the goal on eight minutes. Despite long spells of Everton possession, it was Hull that would strike first. Substitute Liam Rosenoir, on for an injured Andy Robertson, sent in a long cross into the box for Elmohamady, and with the Hull attacker one-on-one with Leighton Baines, he out-jumped his mark to power home a header.

Hull would get another for their home fans to cheer as Everton produced some head-scratching defending. A ball over the top for Nikica Jelavic saw him through on goal after Gareth Barry inexplicably froze, and Jelavic produced a brilliant finish with a chip over Robles for the 2-0 lead just minutes before the halftime break.

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Everton had its best chance of the evening just after halftime when Liam Rosenior went down with a leg injury as the Toffees broke. Eventually it came to Ross Barkley in the box, and after wrong-footing defenders he powered a shot on goal that forced Allan McGregor into a stunning diving save.

The injury looked serious and forced Rosenior off, with the substitute himself replaced by Harry Maguire, Hull’s final change.

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Romelu Lukaku missed yet another good chance five minutes from the final whistle with a long ball directed his way on the break, but all alone for a header, he couldn’t put it on target.  Antolin Alcaraz picked up a questionable second yellow card four minutes from full time to make things even harder for Everton, and they wouldn’t have any way back.

Hull City’s win gives them a massive three points. The Tigers jump two points above the relegation zone and into 15th with the win. The Toffees, with their fourth loss in a row, are just four points above the relegation zone as we start 2015.


Hull City: McGregor, Chester, Robertson (Rosenior 23′, Maguire 56′), Bruce, Davies, Meyler, Livermore, Elmohamady, Ramírez (Brady 46′), Jelavić, Hernández.

Goals: Elmohamady 33′, Jelavic 43′

Everton: Joel, Baines, Jagielka, Alcaraz, Coleman, Barry, Besic (Oviedo 46′), Barkley, Naismith, Mirallas (Lukaku 46′), Kone.

Discipline: Alcaraz (second yellow) 86′

Saint-Maximin absence to ask more of struggling Almiron, Joelinton

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Newcastle United lightning bolt Allan Saint-Maximin is going to miss a month with a hamstring injury suffered late in the Magpies’ 2-1 defeat of Southampton at St. James’ Park.

The ebullient Saint-Maximin played deep into the match despite a minor injury, and was on of the main reasons Newcastle won. He helped set up the winning goal, but left the stadium on crutches.

That left Steve Bruce questioning his decision to keep “ASM” in the match.

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Now the electric Frenchman is set to miss fixtures against Burnley, Crystal Palace, Manchester United, Everton, Leicester City, and an FA Cup third round match versus either Boston United or Rochdale.

Saint-Maximin’s absence will hurt Newcastle all-around, but especially when its counter-attack tries to take down bigger sides. His 4.5 dribbles per match makes him one of just three players in the Premier League with more than 3.1 (Adama Traore and Wilfried Zaha).

Ultimately, though, this could provide struggling Joelinton more looks at performing on the wing opposite of Miguel Almiron. The Brazilian will have to work center forward at times as Andy Carroll certainly can’t go every game, and Dwight Gayle, Christian Atsu, and Yoshinori Muto could also be asked to play prominent roles.

And, of course, this will demand much more from industrious but sloppy Miguel Almiron, whose expected goal total is 2.5 (he has zero).

Sessegnon beats Neuer to score first Spurs, Champions League goal

Photo by Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images)Photo by Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Ryan Sessegnon has his first Spurs goal, which also happens to be his first UEFA Champions League goal, and he’ll love telling the tale of it.

The 19-year-old Englishman ripped a rocket past Manuel Neuer of all people, collecting a deflection to equalize early in Tottenham’s match against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

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Sessegnon entered the day with an assist in 30 minutes spread across three appearances for Spurs, and needed just 20 more minutes to find a goal.

He made a big money move from Fulham this summer, having made a remarkable 120 senior appearances. Almost all of those came before he turned 19, and he’s scored 25 times with 18 assists.

Kingsley Coman has Bayern’s goal as the teams remain locked at 1 after Bayern hung 7 on Spurs in England earlier in the group stage.


Jesus hat-trick downs Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta qualifies for knockouts

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Manchester City looked sluggish again, but Gabriel Jesus made sure it didn’t matter.

The Brazilian cropped up at a critical juncture for Pep Guardiola, sending Manchester City through into the knockout stage on a winning note as his hat-trick sealed a 4-1 come-from-behind victory that knocked Dinamo Zagreb from European competition altogether.

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The first half was especially lackluster for the English visitors to Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb, with lots of possession but little to show for it. The hosts went in front early on, punishing Man City on the counter on a fabulous volleyed finish from former Barcelona youth product Dani Olmo.

That was the best goal of the day, but Man City picked itself up and pulled back level before the break, with Jesus grabbing his first via a header as Dinamo Zagreb shut off, screaming for Man City to put the ball out with a Zagreb player down. The visitors rightly did not, and Dinamo was punished by the equalizer.

After halftime, Man City was much better, hammering the left flank to take a commanding lead. The second came on excellent work by Jesus in the box to shake a defender and finish with his right, while the third flew in minutes later on a pinpoint Benjamin Mendy cross that Jesus met with a flying karate kick. Pep Guardiola had one eye on the festive fixtures, withdrawing Jesus soon after the hour mark, replaced by Oleksandr Zinchenko who curiously took Jesus’s place at the striker position.

Phil Foden was the best Manchester City player throughout, and finished off the scoreline with seven minutes to go. An excellent buildup down the right saw Bernardo Silva sprung through, and he cut back to Foden at the top of the six-yard box who slid to meet the ball with pace and poke home the cherry on top.

Elsewhere, Atalanta topped Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 in the Ukraine on goals by Timothy Castagne, Mario Pasalic, and Robin Gosens, meaning the Italians secured the second spot in Group A, qualifying for the knockout stage. The Ukranians were left dead in the water after right-back Dodo was sent off 13 minutes from time, leading to the second goal to seal things up. Atalanta’s advancement marks a stunning comeback given the Italian side failed to secure points in any of their first three group stage matches.

That left Shakhtar in third, dropping to the Europa League, while Dinamo Zagreb was left at the bottom of the group, on the outside looking in.

Charlotte MLS club files trademarks for eight potential names

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It is being heavily reported that Charlotte is the next city to earn a club in the rapidly expanding Major League Soccer landscape, and Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has taken the next step towards that possibility.

The new club needs a name, and they appear to be nearing a selection. Tepper filed for eight different name trademarks, according to multiple reports, including The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue who confirmed the filings were made under Tepper’s Panthers address.

Here is the list of names he filed copyright requests for:

“Charlotte FC” would be a bare-bones and generic name that follows in the footsteps of recent MLS expansion clubs such as Orlando City SC, NYCFC or LAFC. Others are a little more colorful, including “Carolina Gliders FC” or “Charlotte Monarchs FC,” while a few others like “Charlotte Town FC” or “Charlotte Athletic FC” clearly call forth thoughts of smaller English clubs.

Rodrigue speculated that the relative lack of “Carolina” encompassing names is potentially due to the possibility of an expansion bid from Raleigh down the road, and a Carolina team would potentially provide an unnecessary roadblock to that future prospect. There is a clear lack of region-encompassing names in Major League Soccer, with “New England Revolution” the only example, and there’s no real reason to break that mold with another potential bid city down the road.

Which name is your favorite? What would you have gone with if you could name the club?