Zaha saves Palace in M23 Derby draw

Leave a comment

Brighton and Hove Albion looked interesting it’s way to a confidence-boosting three points on the road against long-time rivals Crystal Palace.

But the Seagulls forgot about Wilfried Zaha.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Crystal Palace star winger saved a point for the Eagles with a brilliant second half goal, as Crystal Palace drew 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion, Monday afternoon at Selhurst Park.

Zaha dribbled into the box, then cut into his left foot before unleashing a blast that Brighton goalkeeper Matthew Ryan had no chance of stopping.

With the draw, both teams move one point away from the drop zone, with Crystal Palace moving above Arsenal into ninth place in the table.


3 things we learned

1. Zaha the hero: Crystal Palace had one of its worst afternoons this season, but Roy Hodgkin always has an ace up his sleeve. When the team needed him, Zaha came home with a moment of brilliance to score and save a point for the Eagles.

2. Maupay off the mark again: Brighton and Hove at times look to have one of the best attacks outside the top six in the Premier League, and Maupay is a huge reason why. The Frenchman scored for the third-straight-game on Monday and he is showing no signs of slowing down. If only the rest of the attack could deliver some finishes.

3. Both clubs miss out on extending distance from drop zone: Crystal Palace was already in the top ten of the Premier League at kickoff, and with a win, Brighton would have joined the Eagles. But with a draw, both teams gain just one point over Southampton at 15 points. Brighton sits just five points up while Crystal Palace is now eight points ahead of Southampton. All it takes is a string of bad defeats in the next 30 days and both teams can be in trouble.


Despite playing at Selhurst Park, it was all Brighton early on. The Seagulls would finish with 65 percent possession, and that number was even higher until around the 70th minute, just after Max Meyer came off the bench for the Eagles.

In the 100th rivalry match between these two teams connected by the M23 in South England, tackles were flying in early, but it was Brighton which had the better of the chances. After VAR denied a possible penalty shout in the 20th minute when Marvin Montoya appeared to have been tripped in the box while shooting, Lewis Dunk sent a powerful header straight at Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita in goal.

In the 29th minute, Yves Bissouma found space and time outside the box and unleashed a blast that Guaita had to dive sharply for at the low-left post to keep the ball out.

A few minutes later, Davy Propper had a strike on goal, but Guaita was equal to it. Brighton’s constant attacks and ball movements kept Crystal Palace on its heels, and into the second half, it appeared the same story was playing out in front of us.

In the 57th minute, Brighton finally found the breakthrough. Leandro Toussard’s cross from the right was flicked on in the box by Pascal Gross. It fell to the feet of Maupay, who took a touch and powered a strike in for a well-deserved goal.

Brighton continued pushing for a second goal, but suddenly around the 70th minute, Crystal Palace woke up. Christian Benteke spun away from his defender to fire a shot on goal, before Zaha’s brilliant effort in the 76th minute tied the match at 1-1.

This story will be updated.

Barcelona ends contract with company accused of fake posts

Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Qatar Museums
Leave a comment

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona has ended its contract with a company that made negative comments on social media about people within the club.

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu said Tuesday the decision was made after the club found out that one of its service providers used an account to make “inadequate” comments about people in the club. He did not name the company nor give any detail about the comments.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Bartomeu reiterated the club’s denial of accusations it hired a company to make negative comments about its own players and opponents on social media in order to boost the image of senior club officials.

The Cadena Ser radio network said Monday a company used fake social media accounts to discredit opposition figures and some of Barcelona’s players when they expressed views that went against the club. Cadena Ser said some of the figures included star players Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique as well as former coach Pep Guardiola.

Bartomeu said other companies will continue to monitor social media on behalf of the club.

“It’s the responsibility of the club to know what is said on social media around the world,” he said. “But the club has never contracted services to discredit anyone, and we will do whatever is needed to defend ourselves from such accusations.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Premier League Preview: Man City v. West Ham

Premier League Preview: Man City v. West Ham
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester City takes the pitch at the Etihad Stadium for the first time since UEFA hammered it with a two-year Champions League ban when it hosts West Ham United on Wednesday (Watch Live at 3 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Manager Pep Guardiola has reportedly stated his commitment to the club ahead of the match, which was rescheduled from last weekend after Storm Ciara hit England.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Second-place City opens the day 25 points back of leaders Liverpool, while West Ham is one point behind 17th place.

The Irons have not won a Premier League match since New Year’s Day, David Moyes‘ first match in charge.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 


Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT —  Oleksandr Zinchenko, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane. QUESTIONABLE — Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy

West Ham: OUT — Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko. QUESTIONABLE — Felipe Anderson


Probable lineups

Man City: Ederson; Cancelo, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Walker, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, D. Silva, Aguero, Mahrez.

West Ham: Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Diop, Zabaleta, Rice, Soucek, Noble, Snodgrass, Haller, Antonio.


What they’re saying

West Ham’s David Moyes on the relegation fight: “I’m more than confident we will climb the table. I think the players here are more than capable. I think we have got a good group. I think they are all fully aware of the situation we’re in and the improvement we need to make to make sure we’re not in the bottom three, and I’m sure come the end we will do.”


Prediction

A blowout. While West Ham has the urgency to get out of the drop zone, City will be pouring its full focus into finding form for next week’s Champions League tie with Real Madrid. City, 4-1.

Champions League preview: Spurs host Leipzig, Valencia visits Atalanta

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Two more UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties kickoff Wednesday, including one being labeled as the biggest in a club’s existence.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

That would be Serie A side Atalanta, which hosts Valencia at 3 p.m. at Gewiss Stadium.

Atalanta had played in two consecutive Europa Leagues, but this is their first move into the Champions League. To make the knockout rounds is exceptional, and club president Antonio Percassi is fired up.

“We must be honest, this is the most important game in the history of this club,” Percassi told Sky Sport Italia. “It doesn’t seem real. It’s exciting just thinking that tomorrow we’ll be in a Champions League Round of 16. It’s wonderful for our fans too. … This is going to be a unique experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”

Atalanta finished second in its group to Manchester City, and is fourth in Serie A. Valencia won its group.

There’s a Premier League side in action on Wednesday, too, as Spurs begin life without Heung-Min Son.

Jose Mourinho spun a tale about how badly Tottenham will need its fans against RB Leipzig, comparing the home-field advantage to an emergency rescue crew of sorts.

Leipzig is led by Julian Nagelsmann, who was once referred to as “Baby Mourinho” by his players.

The 32-year-old was quick to distance himself from the story.

“Tomorrow it is Leipzig against Tottenham, not Mourinho v. Baby Mourinho,” he said. “I have great respect for Mourinho. He has won lots of titles with big clubs, the Champions League twice. He has made his mark on European football at some big European clubs. I think it his 59th knockout game in the CL and it is my first so there is obviously respect there.”

Liverpool’s Robertson not a fan of Atletico Madrid theatrics

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Liverpool fullback Andy Robertson was not impressed with Atletico Madrid’s display as his side fell 1-0 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The Reds fell behind on a fourth-minute Saul Niguez goal and couldn’t get a shot on target despite 73 percent possession in Spain.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Atleti executed its plan to near-perfection, slowing restarts and taking advantage of counterattacking opportunities to assuage the constant pressure of Liverpool.

At times it was reminiscent of early-century Italian national team play, and both neutrals and Liverpool knew what they were in for once Atleti took the lead.

“We gave them the best possible start to get the fans behind them and then they can start falling over and things like that, trying to get under our skin a bit which I think we handled quite well to be honest,” Robertson told BT Sport. “We know we are better than (how they played). We put in a decent performance and we can be better than that. Luckily we have got a second leg to put it right.”

Given the performance and the reputation, you’d still fancy the Reds to “put it right” at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp thinks Atleti will feel plenty of pressure at Anfield, and he will certainly feel the officiating will be more to his liking.