Jordan Ayew

Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

AFCON wrap: Pote’s beauty helps Benin draw Ghana; Cameroon wins

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All 24 teams at the Africa Cup of Nations have a match in the books as of Tuesday, and we’ve got another tournament surprise.

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Having already seen Uganda upset the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar draw Guinea, this one came when Ghana met Benin.

It was aided by a red card to Ghana, but the 88th ranked Les Écureuils (Squirrels) of Benin managed a result.


Cameroon 2-0 Guinea-Bissau

Scoreless at halftime, Cameroon saw Yaya Banana and Stephane Bahoken score three minutes apart to give the Indomitable Lions the Group F lead on Day One of group play.

Ghana 2-2 Benin

Mickael Pote scored first and last, giving Benin a valuable point against 10-man Ghana.

The Black Stars went behind in the second minute on Pote’s first, only to get Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew goals on either side of halftime to build a lead of their own.

But John Boye took a 54th minute red card and Pote potted his second nine minutes later to give Benin an early Group F bonus.

How about this sweep behind the leg?

Cardiff City relegated from Premier League

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  • Cardiff relegated from PL
  • Zaha, Batshuayi, Townsend score for Palace
  • Bluebirds will finish in 18th

Cardiff City’s second season in the Premier League ended the same way as their first: relegation after one season.

Cardiff lost 3-2 to Crystal Palace at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday, as the Welsh side are four points from safety with one game to go and Neil Warnock‘s newly-promoted side have joined Fulham and Huddersfield as the three teams who were relegated this season.

With Cardiff’s relegation confirmed, Brighton & Hove Albion are now secured of being in the Premier League for the 2019-20 season.

Wilfried Zaha and Michy Batshuayi scored for Palace, who had handed Cardiff brief hope in the game through Martin Kelly‘s own goal. Then Andros Townsend made it 3-1 before Bobby Reid scored late on to make it 3-2, but that wasn’t enough to save Cardiff.

With the win Palace move on to 46 points for the season, while Cardiff have 31 points and now travel to Manchester United on the final day knowing it will be their last in the top-flight for at least 12 months.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Palace started the game well as Zaha went close and the visitors were soon ahead via their main man. Zaha controlled the ball, cut inside and placed a low finish past Neil Etheridge to put the Eagles 1-0 up as Cardiff’s slow start was punished.

But no sooner had they went behind, Cardiff equalized in bizarre circumstances. Leandro Bacuna whipped a ball into the box which was harmless, but Kelly got his clearance all wrong and shanked the ball into his own net. 1-1. Game on.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Batshuayi then scored to regain the lead for Palace, as he played a one-two with Jordan Ayew and then slotted home to make it 2-1 in a frantic first half.

Moments later James McArthur ran down the right and found Zaha who struck a shot at goal but his effort was blocked by his own player Ayew. At the other end Bruno Manga headed over and then Vicente Guaita made a fine stop to deny Bobby Reid, while Palace then went close again but Neil Etheridge saved bravely.

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In the second half Palace looked dangerous on the counter, as Cardiff pushed forward to try and save themselves from relegation.

The Bluebirds were causing problems from set piece situations and Josh Murphy somehow shanked his effort wide after Nathaniel Mendez-Laing found him at the back post.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Murphy’s shot was blocked and Kenneth Zohore‘s shot was saved by Guaita as Cardiff pushed hard, but that led to Palace scoring another as Townsend’s low strike hit the post and went in to make it 3-1.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing had a shot cleared off the line, then Junior Hoilett missed a great chance as the home side threw everything at Crystal Palace to try and keep their hopes of a dramatic survival alive.

Reid curled home to make it 3-2 late on, but that was how the game finished as the Eagles sent the Bluebirds back down to the second-tier.

Watch Live: Cardiff City v. Crystal Palace

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Cardiff City host Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) and the equation for the Bluebirds is simple.

Neil Warnock‘s men must win to keep their faint hopes of Premier League survival alive, as they are four points behind Brighton with two games to go for both teams but Cardiff have a much worse goal difference compared to Brighton who sit one place out of the relegation zone.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

As for Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson, they will be aiming to finish as high as possible after a fairly comfortable campaign.

In team news Cardiff bring in Josh Murphy, Danny Ward and Bobby Reid for Leandro Bacuna, Junior Hoilett and Oumar Niasse.

Crystal Palace make four changes as Joel Ward, Michy Batshuayi, Andros Townsend and Jordan Ayew replace Patrick Van Aanholt, Cheikhou Kouyate, Max Meyer and Christian Benteke.


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Crystal Palace cruise past Fulham (video)

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  • Milivojevic nets first half PK
  • Schlupp adds late goal
  • Batshuayi makes Palace debut

Crystal Palace beat Fulham 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday as Roy Hodgson‘s side secured a vital three points.

Despite Fulham playing well early on and Aleksandar Mitrovic missing a big chance, a first half penalty from Luka Milivojevic put Palace ahead.

In the second half Palace were the better team and Jeffrey Schlupp added a second goal late on after good work from substitute Michy Batshuayi on his debut.

With the win Palace move up to 14th place on 26 points, while Fulham stay in 19th place with 17 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fulham spurned a great chance early on as Joe Bryan whipped in a lovely ball for Mitrovic but he somehow nodded off target.

The Cottagers had all the play early on as Palace started the game slowly.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A big moment arrived soon after as Cyrus Christie handled in the box under pressure from Christian Benteke, and Palace went ahead against the run of play. Milivojevic sent home the spot kick, as four of Palace’s seven home goals had come from penalties.

Christian Benteke then rolled back the years and sent an incredible overhead kick against the crossbar as Palace pushed for a second.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Palace started the second half well as Fulham struggled to get going.

Jordan Ayew‘s shot was pushed over by Sergio Rico and James Tomkins put a header from a corner over. Rico also denied Schlupp and Mamadou Sakho nodded wide at the back post as Palace kept pushing.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Late on Batshuayi came on for his debut and made an instant impact as his shot was saved by Rico, but Sclupp finished off the rebound. 2-0 to Palace.

Report: Michy Batshuayi heading to Crystal Palace

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Michy Batshuayi could be heading to Crystal Palace late in the January transfer window.

Sky Sports in the UK state that Batshuayi, 25, has been offered to Palace at the eleventh hour on Deadline Day and paperwork is being hastily arranged for the Belgium international to sign for the Selhurst Park club.

It is believed personal terms have been agreed on the deal, and now it is all about the two clubs sorting out the paperwork in the final few minutes. Palace currently sit in 15th place in the Premier League and Batshuayi’s arrival would be a big boost in their battle against relegation.

Per the report, Batshuayi’s move could be a permanent one but a loan offer seems likely as he has spent time on loan at Borussia Dortmund and Valencia over the past two seasons.

His latest loan spell at Valencia was cut short after half a season, and the likes of Real Betis, Tottenham and West Ham had been linked with a late move for Batshuayi on Deadline Day.

Batshuayi arrived from Marseille in the summer of 2016 for $43.2 million, but since then the striker has struggled for minutes at Stamford Bridge as he played second fiddle to Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata under former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. He would provide Palace with an extra cutting edge up top, as Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend will provide chances galore for him to finish off.

Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham have worked their way back to fitness but are far from prolific, while Jordan Ayew has also struggled to deliver goals this season.

Batshuayi scored seven goals in 10 Bundesliga games at Dortmund after joining them on loan last January before suffering a season-ending injury. But his time at Valencia has been less fruitful, with just one goal in 15 La Liga appearances so far this season.

The Belgian almost joined Palace over two years ago, but Chelsea usurped them. However, it now appears the Eagles have finally landed Batshuayi.

Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here