Crystal Palace 4-1 Stoke City: Potters embarrassed by fluid Palace

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Crystal Palace appeared on the front foot immediately behind the vocal home fans, and they were rewarded immediately. James Tomkins opened the scoring on his full debut in the 9th minute, beating Jonathan Walters to a long free-kick at the back post and touching home.

Scott Dann then picked up the second just two minutes later as Jason Puncheon rifled a blistering cross in from the right edge, and the 29-year-old defender rose high above his mark to power home the header for a stunning 2-0 lead.

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The visitors didn’t look to be buoyed by their adversity, instead pushing forward only in small spurts. The game ground to a halt as the first half wore on, and the halftime break came without any more danger on either side. Dann continued to cause problems after the break, seeing yet another powerful header cleared off the line on 52 minutes, very nearly handing Palace a third.

Again Palace should have had a third moments later, but again they were somehow denied at the line. Andros Townsend’s cross sailed over the head of Christian Benteke and right to the feet of Wilfried Zaha, but with the ball bouncing around in front of net, both attackers failed to get a final touch, and the ball was eventually cleared.

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Palace finally sealed the game on a free-kick with 18 minutes to go. The ball comes to James McArthur at the top corner of the box, and his shot took a massive deflection off Geoff Cameron and nestled into the back of the net, officially an own-goal with the original effort likely off target.

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Townsend put a cherry on top with a quality solo goal, dribbling through the attacking half, touching brilliantly onto his right foot, and passing a curler into the bottom corner for Palace’s fourth. The goal sealed the embarrassing 4-0 scoreline for Stoke City, who still remain on just a single point through five matches.

With the game already out of reach, Stoke struggled to put together a consolation as Wilfried Bony had the goal gaping on 83 minutes following a mistake by Mathieu Flamini, but he overran the ball and saw the chance evaporate. Walters had a chance himself in the final minute, but he fired wide after sending Martin Kelly flying by. They would get one finally at the death as Marko Arnautovic delivered a curler into the top corner.

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Meanwhile, the Eagles closer to the top half with their second win of the season, advancing to seven points which pushes them level with four other clubs but ahead of them all on goal difference.

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.

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.

This story will be updated.


Racist abuse delays England v. Bulgaria qualifier

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England raced out to an impressive 4-0 lead at Bulgaria by halftime, but the wonderful attacking display was marred by horrendous incidents from the crowd.

The match in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria was stopped on two occasions with announcements being made to ask sections of the crowd to stop their abusive language. This comes with the stadium already serving a partial stadium closure due to racist chanting from the crowd in previous qualifiers.

Below is UEFA’s protocol on how to intervene in these situations, and what transpired from lead writer Joe Prince-Wright.

Tottenham re-signs goalkeeper Vorm

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With Hugo Lloris set to miss at least another two months of action with a broken elbow, Tottenham has turned to a familiar face to provide some cover between the pipes.

Tottenham announced Monday it had re-signed goalkeeper Michel Vorm to a contract through the end of the 2019-2020 Premier League season. Vorm spent five seasons with Tottenham after signing from Swansea City in 2014. However, after playing second-fiddle to Lloris and later serving as the third backup behind current Tottenham No. 2, Paulo Gazzaniga for the past couple of seasons, Vorm was released at the end of last season.

Its certainly a boost for Tottenham that a player with a long history at the club and plenty of experience was available to help in this situation. Similar to Liverpool picking up Adrian after Alisson Becker’s injury, Tottenham know what it’s getting in Vorm and may play him a few times if Gazzaniga needs a night off in the next few months.

According to Vorm, he had been home in his native Netherlands and was watching the game when he saw Lloris get injured.

“Obviously I saw straight away that he had a bad injury and at the time I thought about how bad it was, Vorm told Tottenham’s website. “After the game I spoke with Jan (Vertonghen), he told me what was going on and I spoke also with Toni (Jimenez, our goalkeeping coach) and, yes, during the week I got the phone call to ask if I was open to come back and help out. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of the players and also with Toni. We were speaking quite regularly and on Thursday he called me, we had the conversation and from there on, it went very quickly.”

In his five seasons with Tottenham, Vorm made a total of 47 appearances in all competitions. He saw plenty of time in the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Champions League during his stay at White Hart Lane.