Sunderland 1-2 Middlesbrough: Stuani’s brace just enough for Boro

Leave a comment
  • Stuani marked his PL debut with a first-half brace
  • Van Aanholt made it 2-1 with a late consolation goal
  • Middlesbrough’s first PL victory since April 11, 2009

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The month is August, and Sunderland are struggling. Again.

After falling to Manchester City on the opening day of the 2016-17 Premier League season last weekend, the Black Cats dropped their second straight on Sunday, at home against newly promoted Middlesbrough, by a final score of 2-1 .

The opener came with just 13 minutes on the clock, and it was one to remember (above video). Christhian Stuani unleashed a long-range effort that swerved across the face of goal and ‘keeper Vito Mannone. The next thing the ball touched was the inside of the side netting at the far post.

[ MORE: Premier League standings ]

Stuani doubled his tally and Boro’s lead on the stroke of halftime, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the vision and unselfishness of Alvaro Negredo. With every right to fire on goal himself, Negredo opted cut the ball across the face of goal for Stuani, who thanks to Negredo’s patience in the penalty area wound up all alone at the top of the six-yard box.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Sunderland pulled their back in the 71st minute, when Patrick Van Aanholt reacted quickest after Brad Guzan spilled the rebound following Duncan Watmore‘s bouncing effort from outside the box. The Dutch left back split a pair of Boro defenders and slotted home with ease.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

With the defeat, David Moyes‘s side is without a single point from its first two games. Worse than Sunday’s result, though, was the familiar lack of resistence in giving away two goals, and their inability to fight their way back until so late on. Just like their last four seasons of PL survival.

Jose Mourinho on Tottenham unveiling: “I am humble”

Leave a comment

Okay, this is still weird, but Jose Mourinho has given his first press conference as Tottenham Hotspur’s head coach.

As expected, it was box office.

Mourinho, 56, answered questions from reporters at Spurs’ training ground on Thursday ahead of their clash at bitter London rivals West Ham United on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss began by praising his friend Mauricio Pochettino who was fired less than 12 hours before he was hired as Spurs’ new manager.

“Mauricio, for the work he did, this club will be always his home,” Mourinho said. “He can come when he wants. When he misses the players, when he misses the people he work with. The door is always open for him. He will find happiness again. He will find a great club again. He will have a great future.”

Mourinho then interestingly said he will not make the same mistakes he made previously in his career, as he’s spent his recent time off tweaking his methods and thinking about how he can evolve as a coach.

“I always thought that these 11 months were not a waste of time. They were months to think, to analyse, to prepare. You never lose your DNA, you never lose your identity, you are what you are,” Mourinho added. “I am humble. I am humble enough to analyze my career, and the problems. There was no one else to blame… I went really deep in that analysis… I am stronger, I am relaxed, I am motivated, I am ready and I think the players felt that in two days. I am ready to support them, this is not about me. It is about the club. I am here to try and help everyone.”

The press conference room was packed, with a limit of one journalist per organization such was the demand, and Mourinho smiled and lapped up the attention as he is back in the Premier League after a 11-month hiatus after his firing by Man United.

“Happiness-wise I am convinced my choice was a great one,” Mourinho said. “The club is huge. I know that I have potentially a great job in my hands.”

With Spurs 11 points off the top four, Mourinho has a heck of a job on his hands but he is now in role he relishes.

The Special One is the underdog once again.

Gareth Bale sparks angry reaction at Real Madrid

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Gareth Bale has upset plenty of people around Real Madrid and in Spain over the international break.

Following the 2-0 win against Hungary on Tuesday, Bale, 30, celebrated Wales reaching EURO 2020 by singing “Wales. Golf. Madrid” with this teammates, while holding a flag which had the same message and “in that order” printed on it.

Safe to say that didn’t go down well in Madrid, with Bale’s critics, of which there are many, livid with his actions.

Did it needlessly poor fuel on the fire? Yes. Was it a bit of banter towards his situation for Bale? Yes.

It has already spoken about playing for Wales being more fun than playing for Real Madrid and many in the Spanish capital were surprised to see him play for Wales over the international break as his last game for Real was on Oct. 5 due to injury.

Real’s fans don’t like Bale and their former president Roman Calderon called his behavior “childish” as others said fans should demand he leaves in their next game against Real Sociedad at home on Saturday.

Here are a selection of the headlines across the Spanish newspapers, as Bale still has three years left on his current contract a Real and looks set to stay, despite Zinedine Zidane desperate to offload him in the summer.

Chairman of Swedish club Ostersund appeals against conviction

Getty Images
Leave a comment

OSTERSUND, Sweden (AP) The former chairman of Swedish soccer club Ostersund has appealed against his conviction for serious financial crimes.

Daniel Kindberg was sentenced on Nov. 5 to three years in prison, banned from doing business for five years and ordered to pay damages after being found guilty of funneling millions of kronor in taxpayer money into Ostersund. The scheme involved two other men and three companies, one being the Ostersund municipality’s housing corporation for which Kindberg was chief executive.

Kindberg said immediately after the verdict was handed down that he would appeal, describing it as “a legal scandal.” His defense lawyer, Olle Kullinger, says the appeal was submitted this week and will be heard in the Court of Appeal in Sundsvall, likely next year.

Kulllinger said Kindberg is appealing against the conviction, the damages, and “regarding all points of the indictment.”

Ostersund, which plays in Sweden’s top league, will not be facing any sanctions from the Swedish soccer association following Kindberg’s conviction.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Report: No money in January for Mourinho

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho will have to deal with the squad he has for the rest of the season, according to a report the Guardian.

The report states that Tottenham isn’t making any money available for signings in January, meaning that Mourinho won’t have the chance to add to his Spurs squad. Usually, when a new coach comes in, they’re given at least a transfer window to bring in one or two players, especially mid-season, to stabilize the squad.

[READ: Mourinho speaks for the first time as Spurs manager]

It’s certainly an unusual move from Tottenham. It leaves Mourinho in a bad spot in terms of the five first-team players who will be out of contract in June. If any of them, including Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen, leave on transfer, perhaps Tottenham can use those funds towards new signings. However, it’s more likely at this point that all five will finish the season at White Hart Lane and leave, setting up a massive summer for Mourinho.

At the same time, Tottenham has shown financial austerity for the past few seasons, as it struggles to pay back the loans it took to renovate its stadium. Pochettino didn’t make a single signing for the entirety of the 2018-2019 season and while the club broke its transfer record to sign Tanguay Ndombele, there wasn’t investment throughout the squad.

Considering Tottenham’s financial behavior, it does question why Mourinho took the job in the first place. But with his reported eight-figure salary, and the chance to work with Harry Kane, Mourinho may have decided it’s worth it, even if he can’t sign his players and mold the squad in the way he wants.