Brighton 4-1 Swansea City: Seagulls soar

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  • Murray on 10 PL goals for the season
  • Swansea suffer first defeat in 11
  • Brighton unbeaten in four

Brighton and Hove Albion beat Swansea City 4-1 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday as the Seagulls continue to pull clear of the relegation zone.

Glenn Murray scored in each half to get Brighton on their way, while Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia added a goal each in comfortable second half.

Swansea hit the post in the first half but Carlos Carvalhal‘s men were second best throughout and although Tammy Abraham‘s effort deflected off Lewis Dunk and in, it wasn’t enough.

With the win Brighton move on to 31 points for the season, while Swansea remain on 27 points.

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Pascal Gross went close early on for the Seagulls but his shot was blocked by Tom Carroll, yet the home side didn’t have much longer to wait to go ahead.

Murray ran into the box and was needlessly hauled down by Mike Van der Hoorn as a penalty kick was awarded and Murray delivered a panenka to put Brighton 1-0 up and continue his fine form.

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Swansea improved after going behind and Van der Hoorn’s shot got two deflections which almost caught out Mat Ryan but he saved well. Carvalhal then made a substitution to try and spark his team into life with Andre Ayew coming on to replace Nathan Dyer and change the formation before half time had arrived.

Shane Duffy hit the crossbar right on half time as Gross’ corner from the right found the center back and he was inches away from doubling Brighton’s lead. At the other end moments later Jordan Ayew hit the post and the ball struck Ryan on the back before bouncing out and Martin Olsson lashed the rebound wide.

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Swansea kept pressing at the start of the second half as Ki had a shot well saved by Ryan and from a resulting corner the Welsh side claimed a handball against Murray at the back post but nothing was given.

Brighton were close to going 2-0 up as Knockaert’s cross towards Murray (in an offside position) missed everyone and crept in… but Murray attempted to get on the end of it and got in Lukasz Fabianski‘s way. No goal.

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The Seagulls did seal the win late on with a fine flowing move. Jose Izquierdo and Gross played a one-two and the former crossed for Murray to slot home his and Brighton’s second at the back post. Game over. Brighton grabbed another late on as Murray flicked the ball onto Gross and he fed Knockaert to prod home a third.

Abraham came off the bench in the second half and his deflected effort was no more then a late consolation for the Swans who conceded again late on with Locadia jumping off the bench to tap home and make it 4-1.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Fekir negotiations back on; Chelsea waiting on transfer targets; and more

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Could Liverpool get its star attacking midfield target after all?

That’s what seems to be the case, as the agent for Lyon and France midfielder Nabil Fekir told French TV channel LCI Monday evening that negotiations aren’t over between Liverpool and Lyon.

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“He didn’t sign because um… it is not over! This is not the end of the story,” Fekir’s agent, Jean-Pierre Bernes reportedly said.

It was just two weeks ago when Lyon president Jean-Michael Aulas stated that Fekir, Lyon’s captain, would remain with the club for the upcoming season, after negotiations with Liverpool fell through. According to the Liverpool Echo, the Reds wanted a second opinion on a previous knee injury, and had balked at the $70 million price tag.

But now it appears Liverpool and Aulas could still be in conversations to try and find a mutually accepted fee.

At the same time, stirring up transfer drama is in Bernes interest, as it could drive other teams into the race to sign Fekir and raise his transfer fee, meaning more money to him, Fekir (if he gets a cut) and Lyon. Watch this space for more to come during and after the World Cup.

Here’s some more transfer rumors from across the Premier League and Europe:

(more…)

Japan upsets ten-man Colombia in Group H opener

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On paper, the 61st-ranked team in the world beating the 16th-ranked team in the world is a massive upset. But considering the circumstances within the game, perhaps this wasn’t an upset after all.

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Two set pieces were the difference as Japan defeated ten-man Colombia, 2-1 on Tuesday morning in Saransk. Colombia played with ten men for nearly the entire match, after Carlos Sanchez was sent off for a handball in the box and a denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

The game took a massive turn in the third minute, as Colombia centerback Davinson Sanchez failed to control a pass and Yuya Osako found himself free on goal. His shot was parried away by Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina but Kagawa’s rebound shot was clearly blocked by Sanchez’s right arm. The referee, Damir Skomina immediately pointed to the penalty spot and went to the back pocket, sending Sanchez to the showers.

Kagawa stepped up and cooly sent Ospina the wrong way to put Japan on top.

Late in the first half, after both teams had chances on target, Colombia came back and evened the scoreline.

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Juan Fernando Quintero, starting in place of the recovering James Rodriguez, smartly took a free kick and fired it low, under the wall as it jumped. Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima reacted late and although he arrived as the ball was crossing the line, he couldn’t keep it from going over, tying the game in the 39th minute.

Ultimately, despite its efforts, Colombia began to tire and on a corner kick, the Blue Samurai took back the lead and control of their destiny in Group H. A corner kick from Keisuke Honda was re-directed past Ospina by Osako, who jumped well over Santiago Arias, to give Japan a 2-1 lead in the 75th minute.

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Rodriguez was introduced in the 57th minute but try as he did, Colombia was unable to find the final pass in the box, and Japan held on for the unexpected victory.

With the win, Japan top Group H ahead of a meeting with Senegal, while Colombia will have to regroup to face Poland.

In a World Cup full of unexpected results, Tuesday brought yet another memorable win for an underdog.

New Zealand women footballers rebel against national coach

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Wellington, New Zealand (AP) Only weeks after New Zealand Football made headlines by signing a revolutionary equal pay deal with its female players, the organization is facing a mutiny by members of its women’s team against the national coach.

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New Zealand Football confirmed on Tuesday it had received a letter signed by a number of New Zealand players complaining about the methods and tactics employed by Austria-born coach Andreas Heraf.

The complaints follow the New Zealand team’s recent 3-1 loss at home to Japan. Heraf angered his players, and fans of the Football Ferns national team, by taking an entirely defensive game plan into the rare home international.

Heraf then further angered his players with comments defending his approach.

He said there was “a big difference in quality” between the New Zealand and Japanese players and that New Zealand “will never have that quality” to compete with top teams like Japan. He said the scoreline might have been 8-0 if New Zealand had not adopted a defensive approach.

One of New Zealand’s leading players, United States-based Abby Erceg, retired after playing 132 matches for New Zealand, citing Heraf’s approach in previous international matches.

She later told New Zealand media: “I couldn’t stand to wear that (national symbol) on my chest any more when his vision was to cower in a corner and not get beat by too much.”

New Zealand Football defended Heraf against the media and public criticism but admitted his comments were “strange” and “wrong” and did not accurately reflect his views. Heraf later apologized and said he had not expressed himself clearly.

But efforts to dampen the controversy have failed. New Zealand Football said in a statement it had “received a letter from the NZ Professional Footballers Association (NZPFA) last night with a number of complaints from the players of the Football Ferns.”

The mutiny comes only weeks after New Zealand gained international headlines for a deal which gives female pay parity with their male counterparts.

New Zealand Football signed the deal which provided female players with equal match payments, travel arrangements and prize money.

At the time, New Zealand women’s captain Ali Riley said the deal meant New Zealand would “be able to compete against the top teams, to be able to do well at a World Cup and the Olympics – this is what we needed.”

VIDEO: Colombia sees red, Japan takes early lead

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The first red card of the World Cup came just moments after fans took their seats in Saransk.

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After David Ospina blocked a breakaway opportunity from Yuya Osako in the third minute of the match, Japan star and former Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa fired the rebound on goal. But his shot was blocked by the arm of Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez, which earned him a straight red card from referee Damir Skomina and an early trip to the locker room.

Kagawa then stepped up to the spot and calmly sent Ospina the wrong way to give Japan the shock early lead.

Colombia will play the rest of the match with ten men and no James Rodriguez, who was named to the bench for this match as he recovers from a reported calf injury.