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Cardiff City 2-1 Wolves: Hoilett stunner caps Cardiff comeback

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Cardiff City came back from a 1-0 first-half deficit to defeat Wolverhampton Wanderers at home 2-1 for a massive three points in the relegation battle. Aron Gunnarsson and Junior Hoilett were the goalscorers who gave the home fans the day’s excitement, striking 12 minutes apart for the victory.

Wolves struck first 18 minutes in off a corner, the seventh goal Cardiff has conceded from a set-piece this year. The ball swung in and came to the head of Raul Jiminez at the near post. His header was destined for the far corner, but Neil Etheridge made a diving save to push the ball away. His touch fell to a streaking Matt Doherty at the far post, and he roofed the effort from point-blank range.

Cardiff came incredibly close to an equalizer past the half-hour mark after a mad scramble in front of net led to a long-distance volley by Harry Arter that rattled the post, nearly producing a stunning strike.

After the break, Gunnarsson took advantage of poor defending from Wolves to bring Cardiff level. Arter pumped the ball into the box with a clumsy swing that popped it high in the air. Sean Morrison got his head to it, and with Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio indecisive and the rest of the defense nowhere to be found, Gunnarsson lept into the air and scissor-kicked the ball into the net from close range.

That set Cardiff up for the moment of the match came the hosts as Hoilett put them into the lead with 13 minutes to go. Morrison chested down a deep cross into the box, laying it off for Callum Paterson right on the penalty spot, but he whiffed. The ball trickled to substitute Bobby Reid whose wild swing was blocked, and eventually the ball landed at the feet of Hoilett at the top-left corner of the box. He produced what the others could not, a moment of perfection that sailed effortlessly into the top corner of the net, past a helplessly outstretched Rui Patricio.

That strike against the run of play set Cardiff City up for all three points, as the home side kept Wolves off the scoreboard the rest of the way and earned the three points. It was the perfect 70th birthday for Neil Warnock, as his side moved out of the relegation zone with its third win of the season.

For Wolves, it’s a disappointing result against a team they were expected to beat. They miss the chance to jump into the top half of the table, instead sitting in 11th, two points back of Leicester City.

Pique: Copa-losing Barca still “really hurting” from UCL exit

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Barcelona was the favorite to win La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey for the majority of the season, but only claimed one.

Liverpool’s amazing comeback to beat Barca in the second leg of the UCL semifinals met Saturday’s loss to Valencia in the Copa del Rey Final to give Barca a league title alone.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Even with that La Liga advantage being decisive — Barca carried the table by 11 points over Atletico Madrid and finished 19 ahead of Real Madrid — there’s a very dour mood and promised change for the Camp Nou set.

And Gerard Pique says it all traces back to the loss against Liverpool. From The Liverpool Echo:

“I believe that if we had gotten through at Liverpool, we would have won the treble. We would have come here [to the Copa del Rey final] with a different mood, and I’m convinced we would have won the Champions League final, but that is football. We are really, really hurting.”

There are hints of a massive clear-out at Barcelona, with Lionel Messi and Pique two of the only safe bets to stay. When will Barca get over it?

Brazilian team tangles in locker room futmesa (video)

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It was defense versus attack in the Brazil dressing room.

Neymar and Gabriel Jesus squared off with international teammates Filipe Luis and Ederson in a game of futmesa/table soccer this week.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Neymar and Filipe Luis are used to be on different sides of the field from their time in La Liga, while Jesus and Ederson are teammates at Manchester City.

Brazil is hosting this summer’s Copa America and is the favorite to win its first tournament since 2007, when it claimed its fourth in five tries.

It’s really impressive stuff for us normal to subpar athletes, even if standard for those with such deft talent.

Quite a winner from Man City’s young striker.

Jovic could see himself in Premier League, Serie A

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Maybe Luka Jovic’s presumed move to Real Madrid won’t happen this summer.

Or at all.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

The Eintracht Frankfurt striker has been tipped for a move away from the Bundesliga after another strong campaign, and taking the center forward reins from Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

Several outlets reported the deal as done, but Jovic isn’t speaking that way (or at least the Serbian is throwing us off the scent.

From Goal.com:

“In terms of the physique, the Bundesliga is very demanding, but after the games against Chelsea or Inter Milan, I personally had the feeling that I could feel even better [playing] in the Premier League or Serie A. … The way the teams play there suits me better.”

Jovic scored 27 times in 48 appearances for Frankfurt, adding seven assists at the tender age of 21. Ten of those came in the Europa League, and we’re not talking about flooding the nets of minnows; Jovic scored against Chelsea (twice), Marseille (three), Lazio (two), and Inter Milan (once).

Report: Chelsea, Real $38M apart on Hazard

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How much for Hazard?

Real Madrid are willing to pay $127 million, no small fee, to bring Eden Hazard from Chelsea, but that’s well off the Blues’ evaluation according to Sky Sports.

Chelsea sees Hazard’s price as $165 million. Belgian writer Kristof Terreur told Sky that Hazard wants his future sorted by June 4.

[ MORE: Bayern wins double ]

The Blues’ superstar is entering the final year of his contract, and could begin negotiating with other clubs in January and leave on a free transfer.

Hazard turns 29 in January. He recorded 19 goals and 16 assists in 51 matches this season, his best output in a Blues uniform.

The report says Chelsea feels no pressure to sell Hazard, but it would be a surprise if it dug in its heels too deeply considering the state of the Belgian’s contract.

Even for Chelsea, letting over $100 million walk out the door is wild, and for all Hazard’s won with Chelsea there’s also been consternation under several managers and a more than occasional habit of disappointing on the table.