Leicester City 1-2 West Brom: Drinkwater mistake dooms Leicester home streak

Leave a comment
  • West Brom took the lead through Morrison
  • Leicester got back level straight away from Slimani
  • Baggies won it as Phillips pounced on a mistake

Of all the teams to break the streak, it’s 17th placed West Brom.

Leicester City was beaten at home for the first time in 20 league matches after Danny Drinkwater gifted Matt Phillips the game winner with 18 minutes to go.

West Brom nearly struck just two minutes in, as Phillips snatched the ball off the Foxes in their own half, but he fired wide on the break. The visitors looked the more dangerous through 20 minutes, with James Morrison finding Chris Brunt on a run, forcing Ron-Robert Zieler off his line to make an important stop off his line.

Leicester slowly worked their way forward, and finally had a big chance on net just before the half-hour mark when Riyad Mahrez lashed a ball in from the right looking for Islam Slimani, but it just missed the striker’s diving head, and Gareth McCauley made sure it was cleared back out.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

That was just about it for the first half, as neither side threatened much in the opening 45 minutes. With few chances up front, Leicester City boss Claudio Raneiri brought on Jamie Vardy for the second half in place of Shinji Okazaki. Despite this, West Brom remained the most dangerous side in the opening minutes of the second half.

The Baggies would take advantage and strike first for a deserved lead. They switched the ball out wide right to Phillips, and he fizzed in another slicing cross that met the head of James Morrison who redirected it inside the far post.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The goal woke the Foxes, and they would respond immediately. Just three minutes after West Brom led, Mahrez sent in a cross, and somehow, none of the four West Brom defenders saw Slimani sneak past them to meet the ball with his head completely unmarked. There was no chance for Ben Foster to save it and Leicester pulled level.

The Foxes nearly had another just two minutes later, as Ahmed Musa burst past his defender and into the left edge of the box. He looked for the cutback as Vardy lay in waiting at the penalty spot, but Jonny Evans got just a slight nick of the pass, wrong-footing Vardy and ending the opportunity.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

West Brom continued to prove dangerous on set-pieces, with Craig Dawson forcing a save from Zieler on a corner. The next corner saw the ball nearly poked in again before being cleared. That was a foreshadow, as the Baggies would go back in front on a huge mistake by Danny Drinkwater.

The English midfielder tried to pass back to Zieler from the halfway line, and he didn’t get nearly enough on it, instead gifting Phillips a free one-on-one. The summer signing grabbed his first goal for the club by dinking the ball in as Zieler closed, retaking the lead for the visitors with 18 minutes to go. They nearly gave it back yet again, as Dawson came close to putting one into his own net, and Jamie Vardy moments later should have scored on the end of a cross from Christian Fuchs.

Leicester pressed looking to keep their home record unscathed, and Andy King had a big chance to head home a Mahrez cross, but put it right at Foster.

River Plate to sponsor car in Indy 500

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There will be a soccer presence at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500.

On Thursday, Club Atletico River Plate announced, along with car owner Juncos Racing that Kyle Kaiser’s No. 32 car will feature a River Plate logo on the front of the vehicle. Juncos Racing is named after founder Ricardo Juncos, an Argentine native and clearly a big River fan.

Per a press release from River Plate, it’s the first time a soccer team is sponsoring a car in the Indy 500, which takes place this Sunday, May 26.

[READ: Pochettino hopeful Kane will be ready to make an impact in UCL final]

“As a River fan, I always wanted to have the logo of the Club in the car,” Juncos said in a press release.
“This race is very important for me. I am very happy and I believe that in the goal of River to expand into the Indy 500. From here to there will come positive things for both.”

Kaiser, just 23, is one of the new guys on the main IndyCar scene, especially after winning the IndyCar Lights title in 2017. It’s the racing equivalent of winning the Europa League. Unlike River’s reputation as one of the biggest clubs in South America, Kaiser just barely made it into the field all together, bumping former Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso out of the field by about one hundredth of a second.

While it’s cool to see a soccer team get involved in the Indy 500, a worldwide viewing event that’s also akin to a religious holiday throughout the state of Indiana, it’s another Buenos Aires club that really should have been the first to sponsor a car.

Racing Club, defending Argentine league champs, would have been terrific, Racing in Uruguay, or Racing de Santander in Spain. Perhaps one day in the future the three clubs can combine forces to sponsor an IndyCar event or a car competing in a race.

USSF, Relevant Sports clash in court over international matches

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) A lawyer for a promoter asked a judge to order the U.S. Soccer Federation to sanction international league matches in the United States.

The USSF last month denied an application by Relevent Sports, a company partly owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, to have Ecuador’s Barcelona and Guayaquil clubs play on May 5 at Miami Gardens, Florida. The USSF cited an Oct. 26 announcement by FIFA that its ruling council “emphasized the sporting principle that official league matches must be played within the territory of the respective member association.”

During a half-hour hearing Thursday before New York Supreme Court Justice W. Franc Perry, a lawyer for the USSF argued the court should not hear the dispute and it should be sent to arbitration.

Blair G. Connelly, the lawyer representing the USSF, said because Relevent’s application included its executive chairman, Charlie Stillitano, as the FIFA-licensed match agent requesting approval to stage the game, Relevent was bound by a provision in FIFA’s match agent regulations requiring any dispute with a national association be submitted to arbitration. FIFA’s rules specify such a case be heard by its player status committee, whose decision could be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

“What they’re trying to do is outsource the court’s authority … to two bodies in Switzerland that don’t follow New York law and have nothing to do with it,” said Marc Litt, a lawyer for Relevent.

Connelly said the USSF’s decision could be overruled only if the court found it to be irrational. He also cited a 2007 decision by U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber in Illinois, who ordered a suit against the USSF by ChampionsWorld, a previous Stillitano-affiliated company, be stayed pending FIFA’s arbitration procedure.

“They are bound by the contracts their agent enters into on their behalf,” Connelly said.

Litt said FIFA never issued a formal regulation against international club matches in different countries and the USSF cited only a news release.

“Was U.S. Soccer irrational when it concluded that something that FIFA itself called a decision by its decision-making body was in fact a decision? We’re we crazy to think that? Was U.S. Soccer just in outer space?” Connelly said.

Litt claimed the USSF made its decision to protect Soccer United Marketing, an affiliate of the USSF and Major League Soccer.

“We believe that the only reason that they don’t want professional league matches that count in the United States is because that would damage Major League Soccer,” Litt said.

Relevent also attempted to stage the first Spanish La Liga match in the U.S., between Barcelona and Girona, at Miami Gardens on Jan. 26. That effort fell through following opposition from the governing body of Spanish soccer, the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol, and the players’ union, the Asociacion de Futbolistas Espanoles.

Perry did not announce any decision.

Wenger hints he may be retired from management

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s been a year since Arsene Wenger‘s Arsenal departure was announced, and the legendary manager remains on the sidelines.

Whether by his choice or not, Wenger has spent the year away from soccer, instead vacationing and being a studio TV pundit in France. In his latest public comments, Wenger hinted that while he still plans to return to a role in soccer, he likely won’t be a club manager anymore.

“I thought I will come back into management very quickly, but I enjoyed taking a little distance,” Wenger told the BBC. Now I’m at a crossroads.”

Per the BBC, Wenger later added: “You will see me again in football. As a manager… I don’t know.”

In the weeks and months after Wenger was effectively forced out of Arsenal after 22 seasons, Wenger repeatedly said that he had many offers to return to management, and it was only a matter of time before he’d accept one of these offers. And yet, it’s been a year and Wenger remains on the outside, perhaps a clear sign that today’s soccer has passed him by, and unless he wants to move to the Middle East or another soccer outpost, he won’t be able to get a top job in Western Europe.

Despite his acrimonious exit, Wenger still supports the Gunners and had some thoughts on the team’s season, as well as the club’s run to the Europa League final.

“I miss competition and I miss Arsenal because I left my heart in there,” Wenger said. “I gave my life to this club for 22 years. Every minute of my life was dedicated to this club and I miss the values we developed inside the club.

“I support Arsenal. It will be forever my club.”

Pochettino hopeful Kane can “give us a hand” in UCL final

Getty Images
1 Comment

Harry Kane returned to training this week as Tottenham continues preparations for the UEFA Champions League final.

The England and Tottenham captain has been out with yet another ankle injury since April 9. Initially feared he would be out for the rest of the season, Kane now looks set to play in the final match of the season, and his manager Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful he can make an impact.

“He’s training and has entered the final stage of his recovery, Pochettino told a conference in Bilbao, via video link, per AS. “We’re hoping he’ll be able to give us a hand – either from the start, from the bench or if not, then by giving us moral support in the dressing room. But we are optimistic that he’ll be able to help us on the pitch.”

Pochettino completed a magnificent feat guiding Tottenham to the Champions League final, but he may have one of the most difficult decisions he has to make in his managerial career ahead.

Should Kane be available to start, Pochettino has to decide whether he should break from the lineup that came back from a 3-0 deficit to Ajax, and potentially put Lucas Moura on the bench. If Tottenham loses, Pochettino is probably darned if he does, darned if he doesn’t with Kane.

Either Kane wasn’t fit enough to play and make a big impact, or he clearly was and he didn’t have enough time in the match.

Regardless, Pochettino will hope to have a full squad available, with Kane able to make a difference should be needed.