Ahmed Elmohamady

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Africa Cup of Nations last 16 preview: Salah, Mane on collision course?

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The group stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations has been low-scoring, so we’ll be hoping for some early goals to open up play for the many electric stars of Africa.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t seen the big names find the score sheet, as Mohamed Salah of Liverpool and host nation Egypt has two goals — as many as anyone in the tournament — the same amount as club teammate Sadio Mane.

[ MORE: JPW’s Round of 16 predictions ]

The Reds may be on a collision course for Cairo on July 19, with Senegal the 22nd ranked team in the world via FIFA and Egypt hosting the tournament.

All five of the nations to qualify for the 2018 World Cup remain alive, with three in the top of the bracket and two in the bottom.

The 32nd edition of the competition could see a rematch of the 31st final in the quarterfinals, but it will require Cameroon emerging from a massive Round of 16 meeting with Nigeria.

Should they do so, and the hosts beat South Africa, the rematch will arrive on Wednesday in Cairo.

The Cameroon-Nigeria match may be topped by one in the upper half of the bracket, as Ghana looks to reassert itself as a power by knocking of Tunisia. The Black Stars missed out on the 2018 World Cup, and the winner is arguably a favorite to reach the final.

Premier League talents on show

Senegal – Mane (Liverpool), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Everton), Cheikhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace)

Morocco – Romain Saiss (Wolves)

Democratic Republic of Congo – Arthur Masuaku (West Ham)

Ghana – Christian Atsu (Newcastle), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace)

Mali – Moussa Djenepo (Southampton)

Ivory Coast – Serge Aurier (Spurs), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Jonathan Kodija (Aston Villa)

Algeria – Riyad Mahrez (Man City), Islam Slimani (Leicester)

Guinea – Naby Keita (Liverpool)

Nigeria – Leon Balogun (Brighton), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester), Henry Onyekuru (Everton).

Cameroon – Gaetan Bong (Brighton),

Egypt – Salah (Liverpool), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa)

Round of 16 schedule

Uganda v. Senegal – July 5
Morocco v. Benin – July 5

Madagascar v. Democratic Republic of Congo – July 7
Ghana v. Tunisia – July 8

Mali v. Ivory Coast – July 8
Algeria v. Guinea – July 7

Nigeria v. Cameroon – July 6
Egypt v. South Africa – July 6

Three things learned: Aston Villa v. Fulham

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Fulham sealed promotion back to the Premier League on Saturday as the 10-man Cottagers beat Aston Villa 1-0 in the Championship playoff final at Wembley.

Tom Cairney‘s strike midway through the first half was enough to send Fulham back to the top-flight and leave Villa heartbroken.

Here’s a look at what we learned from a tense battle in the heat at Wembley.


FLUID FULHAM FIT FOR TOP-FLIGHT 

Since December Fulham’s fluid, attacking style of play saw them go on an incredible run of just one defeat in 24 games as they just missed out on automatic promotion with a defeat on the final day of the season.

The Cottagers’ silky play won them the playoff final as Slavisa Jokanovic’s men stuck to their playing philosophy with Tom Cairney pulling the strings in midfield, Aleksandar Mitrovic a handful up front and teenager Ryan Sessegnon floating about to cause havoc. They dropped deeper in the second half as Villa went at them but still had good chances and always looked dangerous on the break, even when they were down to 10-men after Denis Odoi picked up a second yellow card.

With their brave style of play, Fulham will add panache to the Premier League.

You can expect special things down by the banks of the River Thames at Craven Cottage as American owner Shahid Khan will no doubt splash the cash to take them to the next level after they dropped out of the big time in 2014. They will be desperate to solidify themselves back in the top-flight.

Fulhamerica is back and on that note U.S. men’s national team center back Tim Ream had himself a heck of a game at the heart of Fulham’s defense at Wembley to help seal the deal.


SESSEGNON SENSATIONAL

You can understand exactly why the biggest clubs in England have been chasing Sessegnon for many years.

The 18-year-old was the Player of the Season in the Championship and he was involved in the key moment in the final as the Fulham academy graduate has been the main reason they’re back in the Premier League.

Sessegnon finished the season as Fulham’s top goalscorer with 17 goals and there were many pushing for him to be included in England’s World Cup squad this summer. He has all of the talent available to flourish as a wide forward in the top-flight and after Matt Targett‘s arrival in January he has been pushed further forward from left back and has thrived.

There’s no doubt that Sessegnon is destined for big things but now he has the fairtyale end to a fairytale season for him at Fulham.


VILLA’S EXPERIENCED HEADS RATTLED

Villa’s experienced defense boasts Ahmed Elmohamady, John Terry, James Chester and Alan Hutton and in a massive game at Wembley they were rattled early on and Villa couldn’t quite drag themselves back into the game.

Steve Bruce‘s side had the second-best defensive record in the second-tier this season and they kept Fulham from opening them up for most of the first half but one lapse in concentration was exploited by Sessegnon and Cairney as Hutton stepped up, Terry was caught out and Villa conceded.

To be fair to Bruce’s side they dragged themselves back into the game impressively after a turgid first half display and were easily the better team after the break with Jack Grealish pulling the strings.

Grealish (who could well have been sent off) squandered two good chances either side of half time with a rising shot in the first half and then a header he should’ve done better with in the second, while the English playmaker also danced through Fulham’s defense before being denied by Marcus Bettinelli.

Villa have made significant progress this season under Bruce but you have to wonder if he and most of this Villa squad will be around next season, especially after a year of struggle off the pitch for Bruce as he lost both of his parents within a few months.

If Bruce sticks around then Villa will be one of the favorites for promotion next season.

Manchester City 3-1 Hull City: Hosts waltz past Tigers

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  • Man City settles in for easy win
  • Hull two points clear of drop zone
  • Delph, Aguero score

An Ahmed Elmohamady own goal was the first of three entries into the Hull City goal, as Manchester City cruised to a 3-1 win over Hull City on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium.

Fourth-place Man City sits seven points clear of Arsenal and Manchester United, who have played two less matches. Hull is in 17th, two points ahead of Swansea City.

Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph scored for Man City, while Andrea Ranocchia netted for Hull.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Eldin Jakupovic needed to be prepared early, and he made a terrific double save on David Silva and Leroy Sane on the way to the fifth minute.

Man City was very dangerous in the first 20 minutes against packed-in Hull City, but the Tigers were waiting to pounce via counter attack. Hull went from six men on the left side of its own 18 to a quick fire counter through Oumar Niasse and Andrew Robertson that the hosts handled well enough.

Yet it was back to home control straight away, and Fabian Delph knocked down a clearance that Yaya Toure casually sent just over the bar.

The breakthrough came via own goal, as Jesus Navas’ cross swept past the head of Sergio Aguero. Elmohamady had to act before the ball reached Sane, but passed the ball into his own goal.

Aguero didn’t even celebrate his goal to make it 2-0 just after halftime, as his shot hit Elmohamady and another Hull defender before crossing the line.

Delph made it 3-0 with a classy shot from distance, and this one was tucked in and dreaming of the future with 20 minutes to go.

Claudio Bravo ruined his own clean sheet off a stoppable shot from Hull defender Ranocchia.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Premier League AT HALF: Clasie thunderbolt a must watch, four 1-0 score lines

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Tottenham Hotspur’s 4-goal morning against Watford has been followed up by a total of four in five first halves across England.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]


Manchester City 1-0 Hull City

Ahmed Elmohamady has turned a Man City cross into his own goal, and Pep Guardiola‘s side is deservedly ahead at the Etihad.

Middlesbrough 0-0 Burnley

Robbie Brady has banged one off the bar for the visitors, who are still looking for a breakthrough.

West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Southampton

Are Tony Pulis‘ Baggies again going to have a 40-point let-off to finish the season. Jordy Clasie‘s finish (see top of page) was laced with venom.

Stoke City 1-0 Liverpool

Jon Walters took advantage of Ragnar Klavan to give the Potters a lead just before halftime.

West Ham United 1-0 Swansea City

As tight as you’d expect from a relegation six-pointer, with Cheikhou Kouyate lashing a nice low drive home before halftime.

West Brom 3-1 Hull City: Baggies comeback for easy win

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  • Snodgrass scores rare road goal
  • Phillips nabs two corner assists
  • Brunt, McAuley score

West Brom scored off a pair of Matty Phillips corners in a 3-1 comeback win over beleaguered Hull City at the Hawthorns on Monday.

Chris Brunt, James Morrison, and Gareth McAuley scored for West Brom, which sits 8th in the Premier League with 29 points.

Robert Snodgrass gave Hull a lead, but the Tigers failed to get a point and sit 19th with 13 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Brom had the better of play early, though Tony Pulis had his side set-up to defend.

For Hull, a 13th minute free kick saw dangerous Robert Snodgrass force Ben Foster into a diving save. Then Michael Dawson hammered a Snodgrass corner wide of the far post.

Snodgrass put Hull ahead with a first away goal in two months, sliding past Claudio Yacob to poke Ahmed Elmohamady‘s cross past Foster. 1-0.

Hull could’ve had a two-goal lead on several occasions were it not for Foster. Some quality work from West Brom’s Matty Phillips was collected by David Marshall just before half.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Brunt equalized just over three minutes into the second frame, powering Phillips header through the hands of a stunned Marshall.

And McAuley made it 2-1 by rising over the Hull defense to head just over the line for a goal awarded via Goal Decision System. It was another corner, with Phillips provided another assist.

Morrison piled the misery on the Tigers when he first-timed a mishit shot by Salomon Rondon behind Marshall. Woof.

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