Stoke City 1-1 Brighton: Ryan saves the day

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  • Potters without a win in three
  • Brighton unbeaten in three
  • Izqueirdo, Shaqiri trade superb goals

Stoke City and Brighton battled out to a 1-1 draw at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

Two form wingers grabbed the goals as Jose Izquierdo put the Seagulls ahead with a fine team goal, but Xherdan Shaqiri curled home a beauty in the second half to grab a point at home for the Potters.

Stoke could have won it late on as referee Bobby Madley awarded them a penalty kick but Charlie Adam had his penalty saved by Mat Ryan to seal a point for the Seagulls.

With the point Stoke remain in the relegation zone on 25 points, but they’re just three points behind Brighton in 13th on 28 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Stoke went close after an even start in the Potteries with Mame Biram Diouf volleyed wide.

Brighton took the lead through Izquierdo as the Colombian winger continued his impressive recent form by capping off a flowing team move.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

He played a one-two with Solly March, then Dale Stephens was involved as Brighton looked like Brazil in their yellow jerseys with Izquierdo slotting home.

Straight away Mame Biram Diouf almost equalized but volleyed wide,

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Badou Ndiaye was the forefront of everything good about Stoke as the Senegalese midfielder had a volley saved by Mat Ryan and then forced another effort just wide at the end of the first half.

Ndiaye went close again at the start of the second half as Stoke pressed for the equalizer but left themselves vulnerable on the break as Davy Propper nodded over.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Shaqiri then equalized with a fine individual goal as he curled home from outside the box to level the scores and set up a grandstand finish.

Stoke pushed hard to go head but Brighton dug deep as drama ensued in the final minutes. Jese was bundled over in the box by Stephens and a penalty kick was awarded.

Jese wanted to take the PK but substitute Adam pulled rank and had his penalty saved by Ryan then Lewis Dunk cleared superbly.

From the two resulting corners Brighton cleared off the line twice in wild fashion.

What a finish as the honors were even.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Halted World Cup flip-throw heard around the world

AP Photo/Sergei Grits
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Milad Mohammadi knew the time was right for something special, but special isn’t always good.

And good is a subjective term. Cause to us this is very good, Milad.

The Iranian national team defender failed with a flip-throw bid in the final moments of a 1-0 loss to Spain on Wednesday at the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

And this wasn’t like he illegally flipped or broke some other rule. No, like a kid trying an audacious jump into the deep end, Akhmat Grozny star Mohammadi just bailed and climbed in from the side (so to speak).

The kiss, the look skyward, the headbutt… all integral parts of a wonderful World Cup moment.

Renard, Morocco ‘very proud’ of unlucky national team

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If you would’ve told Morocco fans or their manager, Herve Renard, that they’d outshoot and outpossess both Iran and Portugal at World Cup, their next question would probably be, “So do we need to do against Spain to win Group B?”

Alas, Morocco lost a pair of 1-0 decisions to become the first team knocked out of the 2018 World Cup.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The Lions of Atlas fell to Iran in their opener on a stoppage time own goal after carrying 64 percent possession and a 13-8 advantage in shot attempts, then lost to a Cristiano Ronaldo fourth minute goal on Wednesday despite a 16-10 shot advantage and 53 percent of the ball.

“I’m very proud of the performance and I am very proud of my players, I’m very proud of this country,” Renard said.

With no hope of advancing to the next round, the manager is finding the experience bittersweet. From RTE:

“What I am sure of at this moment is that the entire Moroccan people is proud of this team. Of course it’s easier to play with a player who has one chance and he puts it away. But we are in Morocco.

“We have quality players. Despite the ups and downs of the game, we should have been more effective. Because, like in the first game, we had plenty of chances. I won’t blame anyone. That’s football. It’s always those who know how to be present in the box, the most gifted players, who make the difference. We took a lot of risks and we didn’t get our reward.”

It’s unlikely Morocco will hold either of those statistical advantages against Spain, especially a Spanish side yet to qualify, but there is plenty to like from the tournament aside from poor finishing quality.

But the performances of 19-year-olds Amine Harit (Schalke) and Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid) — not to mention Hakim Ziyech (25, Ajax) — seem to hint at a promise for 2022. And Renard’s men can still play spoiler for Spain, which is no small shockwave.

Queiroz: Iran has one ‘match point’ left in World Cup group stage

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Iran manager Carlos Queiroz isn’t going to let his tournament be defined by one win or one loss, especially with a massive moment on the horizon.

Iran fell 1-0 to Spain on Wednesday, days after defeating Morocco in its World Cup opener. Team Melli was denied its equalizer despite VAR review thanks to an offside, and failed in several other bids to level the score.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Now Queiroz and his men need a win over Portugal to qualify for the first knockout stage in its five World Cup history.

“We showed that we were ready to suffer and ready to compete. I felt we deserved a better result. There’s no doubt Spain play wonderful, stylish football but I thought we deserved more for the way we played.

“But congratulations to Fernando Hierro and Spain. We will learn a lot from this game. If you think of it like tennis, we had one match point today and we will have another against Portugal. Everything is still open. We are still alive and still dreaming.”

What chance do you give Iran of getting over on Portugal, who only topped a dominant Morocco side via a terrific designed play executed to perfection by Cristiano Ronaldo?

The odds are in Portugal’s favor, if only for its experience in tight games on massive stages. Well, perhaps the better “if only” would be to say if only for Ronaldo. Either way…