Hull City 2-1 Leicester City: Tigers stun Foxes on opening day

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  • Diomande opens scoring
  • Mahrez equalizes with PK
  • Snodgrass scores winner
  • Reigning champs lose on opening day

Hull City beat Leicester City 2-1 at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday as the first game of the 2016-17 Premier League delivered a huge shock.

The reigning champions of the PL had never lost the opening game of the following season… before today.

Beleaguered Hull have no manager, just 13 fit senior players and have endured a preseason from hell as Steve Bruce walked out and their owners continue to push ahead with plans to sell the club. A win like this might help.

Hull looked composed from the start an caretaker boss Mike Phelan saw his side go ahead with an incredible acrobatic effort from Adama Diomande as both he and Abel Hernandez launched a bicycle kick towards goal. Riyad Mahrez equalized from the penalty spot but Robert Snodgrass fired in a beauty to win it against Claudio Ranieri and his PL reigning champs.

Not the start to the season Leicester will have wanted — they last lost a PL game in February and only lost three all of last season — but a dream return to the big time for Hull.

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Early on Demarai Gray surged forward and smashed a shot in on goal which deflected and looped onto the top of the net, while at the other end Curtis Davies glanced a header just wide after a superb Snodgrass corner.

[ MORE: Premier League standings ]

Hull settled well early on but Leicester looked dangerous on the break and Ahmed Musa linked up with Jamie Vardy but the latter had a complete air-shot when he was found on the penalty spot. Mahrez then saw the ball ricochet into his path in the box and his cross found Danny Drinkwater but his right-footed shot curled just wide of the far post.

Just before half time Leicester finally got in-behind Hull as Christian Fuchs surged forward but his initial shot was saved by Eldin Jakupovic and then Jake Livermore brilliantly blocked Vardy’s rebound. Soon after Vardy skied over after Musa latched on to a loose ball as the Foxes got going but right on half time a stunner arrived.

A corner was flicked towards goal and after Kasper Schmeichel saved well, the ball looped and both Diomande and Hernandez launched themselves into a bicycle kick with Hernandez’s effort deflecting slightly off Diomande’s foot and into the net. 1-0 to Hull.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Just 14 seconds into the second half Leicester were awarded a penalty kick as Gray was fouled by Tom Huddlestone just outside the box but referee Mike Dean awarded the PK and Mahrez stepped up to slam it home. 1-1.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Hull battled back well and after some shaky Leicester defending Snodgrass put them back ahead before the hour mark as he drove a left-footed effort into the bottom corner. 2-1.

Leicester brought on Shinji Okazaki and Leonardo Ulloa to try and force the issue but Snodgrass went close as he whipped in a free kick to the near post which Schmeichel just pushed away.

Late on the Foxes pushed hard for an equalizer but Hull dealt with set pieces and long throws somewhat easily as they marked their return to the Premier League with a memorable victory.

U-20 World Cup Rewind: Italy tops Mexico, host Poland falls on Day 1 (video)

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Italy opened the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with a bang, knocking off fellow Group B favorite Mexico, 2-1, in Gdynia, Poland.

It only took Italy three minutes to get on the board, as Davide Frattesi found a pocket of space in front of the El Tri backline and dribbled in on goal. The Sassuolo midfielder then decided to fire on goal from distance, hitting a rocket into the corner to give Italy a 1-0 lead.

Later in the first half Gianluca Scamacca also took a rip from outside the box, but his strike sailed just wide.

A defensive error on a corner kick gave Diego Lainez and Mexico life. In the 37th minute, AC Milan product Alessandro Plizzari committed a howler, coming out to punch away the curled corner kick. Plizzari missed the ball and it went right to the head of Roberto De La Rosa, who calmly made it 1-1.

El Tri however suffered a blow late in the match as Italy took back the lead. In the 67th minute, Luca Ranieri collected the ball on the edge of the six yard box and from a tight angle, he scored past Mexico goalkeeper Carlos Higuera.

For Mexico, it’s a rough way to start the World Cup, having to go against a perennial power in Italy and playing on European soil. Not all is lost for Mexico, but it has to rebound with a win in its next game against Japan.

Elsewhere, Colombia defeated host Poland, 2-0, Japan tied Ecuador 1-1, and Senegal beat Tahiti, 3-0.

Saudis, Bahrain, UAE join to bid for FIFA’s U-20 World Cup

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GENEVA (AP) Middle East neighbors Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are jointly bidding to host the Under-20 World Cup in 2021.

FIFA says the Gulf plan is among five to express interest in bidding, including Brazil.

Indonesia, Peru and a Myanmar-Thailand joint bid are the others.

FIFA announced the contenders Thursday, one day after dropping a proposal for Qatar to share hosting duties for the 2022 World Cup with regional neighbors.

The 2021 U20 contenders must submit a formal bid by Aug. 30. FIFA’s ruling Council will pick the winner, likely in October.

The 2019 edition kicks off Thursday in Poland.

Putin awards medal to FIFA president Infantino

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MOSCOW (AP) Vladimir Putin has given FIFA president Gianni Infantino a medal.

The Russian president awarded Infantino the Order of Friendship at the Kremlin on Thursday.

Infantino has often said last year’s World Cup in Russia, where the host nation surprisingly reached the quarterfinals, was the best of the 21 editions of the tournament.

Putin thanked the FIFA leader for “your glowing assessment of our efforts.”

Infantino says of Russia’s “bonds of friendship” with soccer “is not the end, it is only the beginning of our fruitful cooperation and interaction.”

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Why Derby deserve Premier League promotion

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With the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on May 27, the richest game in soccer will see one of Aston Villa or Derby County promoted to the Premier League.

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Which club deserves a spot in the English top-flight, and the estimated minimum $120 million it will generate, more?

You can use metrics such as fanbase, stadiums, players, historical success and quality of coaches to try and sort this out, but the fact of the matter is, the playoffs are always a complete, and utterly brilliant, lottery.

The path Villa and Derby took to get to the final this season proves that.

We’ve already focused on why Villa deserve to return to the PL after a three-year absence, so now it is time to see why Derby should return after an 11-year absence…

The Rams are on a roll and Frank Lampard, in his first season as a manager, has led Derby to Wembley to play Aston Villa with the latter the favorites to win.

Like Villa, we are talking about a team which has some magical moments in its history. Derby were Champions of England under Brian Clough twice in the 1970s but since then success has been hard to come by. A five-season spell in the Premier League from 1996-2002 was followed by a miserable season in 2007-08 (the worst in PL history) and the Rams haven’t been back to the top-flight since.

Owner Mel Morris, a local businessman who is behind gaming apps such as Candy Crush, has led their crusade back towards the PL in recent seasons but Derby have come up short in the playoffs time and time again, with the Rams failing in the playoffs in three of their previous five campaigns.

Heading into the final weeks of this season Derby were in the chasing pack after a poor second half of the campaign. For most of the season it seemed like Frank Lampard’s youngsters were nailed on for a top six finish, but then they wobbled and it seemed like they may miss out on the playoffs altogether.

But a run of four wins in their last six to finish the season gave them extra momentum heading into the playoffs.

Then came that incredible night at Leeds.

1-0 down from the first leg, then 1-0 down on the night in the second leg, Derby had a mountain to climb with a 2-0 aggregate deficit at Elland Road as Leeds’ fans started the party… Then Derby scored three unanswered goals in a wild 13-minute spell to turn the game on its head before Jack Marriott added his second and Derby’s fourth of the game late on to stun Leeds and send them to Wembley.

With the backdrop of the spygate scandal — which saw Leeds and Bielsa punished earlier in the season for spying on Derby’s training sessions — and the fact Leeds were heavy favorites to get past Derby, this was a sweet moment for Lampard and his adoring squad and fans.

Derby don’t have a lot of cash to work with. They have relied this season on Lampard’s contacts as some of the best young talents at the Premier League level (Mason Mount and Harry Wilson) wanted to learn from him and that is why they arrived at Pride Park on loan. Lampard has translated his knowledge as a player who had an amazing career to several of his Derby players, and it is exciting to think what he can go on to do.

This Derby squad is made up of youngsters from the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool and veterans like Richard Keogh, Ashley Cole and Bradley Johnson who are desperate for one last chance to play in the Premier League.

Lampard has galvanized the entire club and the Chelsea legend regularly bounces in celebration with the Derby fans after games. Runs in both the FA Cup and League Cup saw them beat Manchester United and Southampton on penalty kicks, while they also pushed Chelsea close to show they are capable of competing with PL clubs regularly.

Derby are full of guts and their young stars Wilson and Mount have the ability to win games with one swipe of their foot.

Lampard is a loveable character and if Derby do beat Villa to clinch promotion, he can work his magic to secure some big names signings and they will be an intriguing squad who, like Villa, will play open, expansive soccer. If Derby don’t get promoted then Lampard is already being lined up for Premier League jobs, even at the club where he became a legend, Chelsea. If the Rams do go up we will get to see Lampard and this exciting attacking side put on a show.

That is why Derby deserve promotion to the Premier League.