Cardiff City keeps up safety fight with win over West Ham (video)

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  • Hoilett scores in fourth minute
  • West Ham no 1st half shots on target
  • Camarasa lively, scores in 2nd half

All of the ball, but none of the battle.

West Ham United fell 2-0 to a spirited Cardiff City on Saturday, as the Bluebirds rode goals from Junior Hoilett and Victor Camarasa to a home win at Cardiff City Stadium.

Cardiff is two points back of Burnley and Southampton in the race for safety, while West Ham fails to put any heat on Watford and Wolves in the race for 7th.

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Cardiff scored through the Premier League’s Canadian representative, as Hoilett lifted the home fans following the neat advancement of Victor Camarasa and Josh Murphy.

The Irons allowed the first six shots of the half and did not manage one on target against Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League box scores, lineups, stats ]

West Ham was still without a shot on goal when Cardiff doubled its advantage.

It was the same trio of actors from the first goal, with Hoilett cueing up Murphy via a big cross. The latter than headed back to Camarasa for the finish.

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AT HALF: Cardiff ahead, Saints trail; Goals in five matches

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Brighton’s comeback win at Crystal Palace featured three goals, and the five 10 a.m. ET kickoffs around the Premier League are providing more.

[ MORE: Stream the second halves live ]

Cardiff City 1-0 West Ham United

Junior Hoilett scored in the fourth minute and the visitors might honestly still be in London.

Huddersfield Town 0-1 Bournemouth

Callum Wilson profited from some David Brooks and Ryan Fraser work to put the Cherries ahead at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Leicester City 1-0 Fulham

Wilfred Ndidi turned Fulham over at midfield, and Jamie Vardy laid off to Youri Tielemans for his first Premier League goal.

Southampton 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Harry Kane has been at his best, and collected his 200th goal for club and country off a feed from rejuvenated Dele Alli.

Newcastle United 0-2 Everton

Goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are sandwiched around a Jordan Pickford conceded-and-saved penalty at St. James’ Park.

[ MORE: Premier League box scores, lineups, stats ]

Canada coach Herdman aims for 2022 World Cup

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We haven’t talked about 2022 World Cup qualifying in some time, as the focus was on the USMNT finding its coach, then Gregg Berhalter implementing his style, and soon winning the 2019 Gold Cup to ensure a spot in the 2021 Confederations Cup.

[ MORE: Montreal adds Serie A striker ]

There should be a ton of focus on the U.S. bounce back for any number of reasons, especially considering that qualifying for the next World Cup may be the last time the U.S. has to truly worry about its berth (unless Gianni Infantino gets his way and miraculously implements an expanded field for 2022. Then Berhalter and Co. are set already).

So with three-and-a-half spots available, it’s of-note any time a manager admits his national team side should earn one of those berths in Qatar.

Today, we’re talking about the biggest underachievers in CONCACAF for the better part of the last 20 years, and that’s Canada. The Canucks are led by John Herdman, and he’s bringing a mentality of expectation that’s been lacking from the unit in some time (although there were strides under Benito Floro) From Sportsnet.ca:

“We don’t have excuses. I don’t want to be that guy making them. At the end of the day if we don’t qualify for [2022], it’ll be a disappointment. To put that level of expectations on the team is critical. The team wants that, they’re ready for it. They know it’s now or never for many of them,” Herdman said.

“So, when you say, ‘how do you know it’s going to happen?’, we have to make it happen. But more importantly, we have to believe, and I think that belief is there from the men who are going to be leading the charge.”

He also, albeit not in so many words, admitted that the Canadians have underperformed in recent cycles.

First of all, no one is catching Mexico this cycle. El Tri are in something akin to a golden generation, and have the following stars in their prime: Wolves’ Raul Jimenez, Diego Reyes, and Hector Herrera, with Hirving Lozano getting there and several veteran leaders on the end of their elite window but still easy CONCACAF stars (Memo Ochoa, Hector Moreno, Andres Guardado).

So that’s 2.5 half spots.

Canada is ranked 78th in the world by FIFA and is 68th in the Elo Ratings. That puts them 8th and 7th amongst CONCACAF sides, as El Salvador is much lower in Elo than FIFA (and Elo is superior as an analytical tool. We’ve placed the chart at bottom).

Considering that the USMNT historically underperformed in 2018 qualification and Panama lucked into the tournament via a goal that did not cross the line, and it’s easy to predict a reverse in fortunes for the those two, but can Canada get in the Top Three (or the playoff spot) by moving ahead of 2-3 of the U.S., Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Jamaica (Considering Canada a contender requires they pass El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago).

If anything, the time is now for this group of Canadians, considering they’ll host the 2026 tournament with the U.S. and Canada. Les Rouges have vastly under-performed at two of the last three U-20 World Cups since giving the Americans a scare in the 2013 Round of 16. But they had a quality 2017 Gold Cup, and missed the 2018 World Cup qualifying Hex because Mexico had nothing to play for in the final game and drew Honduras.

Canada is still very low on overall depth and has a generation of player-first entitlement to overcome, but has CONCACAF star power in Alphonso Davies, Junior Hoilett, Scott Arfield, Cyle Larin, and Jonathan Osorio, a UEFA Champions League goalkeeper in Milan Borjan, a rising Liverpool teen in Liam Millar and the wild card of Barcelona property and former Montreal forward Ballou Tabla. Not to mention, the new and promising Canadian Premier League will make it easier for Herdman to scout potential next level stars.

Canada is currently en route for a Pot 3 ranking for the fourth round of World Cup qualifying (the last stop before the Hex). It would be drawn into a group where the main combatants will be one of Mexico, the USMNT, and Costa Rica, and one of Jamaica, Honduras, or El Salvador.

It’s not crazy at all to think Canada would edge Honduras and El Salvador for a top spot, and a group with Costa Rica where points will be live in those two fixtures. And the Canucks have a tactical boss with a chance to outwit another manager.

Hot take: Los Ticos are still long on experience but a bigger question in terms of depth and youth, missing three of four U-20 World Cups. That tournament shouldn’t be the lone arbiter of future goodness, but it’s something.

Even given the 2018 qualifying embarrassment, I fully expect the Yanks to qualify for 2022 in Qatar. Honestly, I think Jamaica might be the third-best group in terms of talent, with Costa Rica and Honduras interesting for different reasons. To borrow from the other football, Panama out-kicked its coverage and should be considered no certainty for the Hex. T&T is tricky at home. If Canada can be, there’s a really good chance they make the Hex.

Wagner slams officials as “clear” penalty kick overturned

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David Wagner was not a happy man after Huddersfield’s 0-0 draw at Cardiff City on Saturday.

The Terriers dominated the game and thought they had been given the opportunity to score from the penalty spot late in the second half after Joe Bennett brought down Florent Hadergjonaj in the box and referee Lee Mason awarded a penalty kick.

However, Mason consulted his linesman and overturned the decision to award Huddersfield a penalty.

That decision could be pivotal in their season as the Terriers remain bottom of the Premier League table, without a win in nine games and eight points from safety.

“There are four people in black and you have to ask them what was going on. I spoke to the linesman during the match and he said ‘the first incident was not a foul and the second I don’t know’ but I don’t know what he means,” Wagner fumed. “It was clearly a penalty, the video footage speaks for itself and we have not got it. It makes no sense to waste my energy for something like this, but it was a big mistake. I really can’t find the words how this can happen. The fourth official had no idea either, he was as surprised as everyone else was. Decisions like this make tables and seasons. We have had so many decisions against us and I don’t know why. The boys left everything on the grass, and only one team deserved something out of the game. One point is not enough, we needed to win.”

Cardiff’s manager Neil Warnock had a slightly different view on the penalty decision…

“I think it is good there was an experienced linesman. There was not enough contact for a penalty and the linesman made him change his mind. If that had won them the game I would’ve been disappointed,” Warnock told BBC’s Match of the Day.

There is no doubt there was contact on Hadergjonaj and although Warnock stated that the Huddersfield player was lucky to not give away a penalty in the first half for catching Junior Hoilett, he knows that Cardiff got away with one here.

You can count on one hand the times when a referee has given a penalty kick then trusted his linesman to overturn the decision, and in this case there really wasn’t that much evidence to suggest it wasn’t a penalty kick. The contact was clear, although no forceful, and Mason was pretty clear with his original decision.

When you are down the bottom like Huddersfield are, these are the kind of things which go against you and the Terriers can feel hard done by as they dominated the game and if either team deserved to win it was them.

Cardiff held by Huddersfield (video)

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  • Huddersfield end run of 8-straight defeats
  • 1 win in six for Cardiff
  • Terriers remain bottom of table

Cardiff City and Huddersfield played out a tight, tense scoreless draw at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday as the away side had the better chances and their bad luck continues.

In the second half Huddersfield’s Florent Hadergjonaj had won a penalty kick but referee Lee Mason consulted with his linesman and decided to overturn the decision.

With the draw Huddersfield have 11 points, while Cardiff have 19 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

The first big chance of the game fell to Huddersfield as Jason Puncheon fired just wide from distance.

At the other end Nathaniel Mendez-Laing found Junior Hoilett at the back post with a wonderful cross, but the Canadian winger was just put off by Florent Hadergjonaj at the crucial moment.

Huddersfield continued to look bright as Jason Puncheon played in Elias Kachunga but Joe Bennett blocked superbly to deny the Terriers.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Neil Etheridge then pushed the ball over after Steve Mounie mishit an effort and it spun up into the air awkwardly.

Huddersfield were by far the better team in the first half as Cardiff just couldn’t get going.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

In the second half Huddersfield continued to look sharper in attack as Cardiff couldn’t get anything going.

Puncheon’s shot from distance was headed wide by Sol Bamba and Huddersfield just kept pushing Cardiff back. Callum Paterson‘s deflected shot looped just over as the Bluebirds finally woke up late in the game.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Huddersfield thought they had been given a penalty kick as Hadergjonaj was pushed in the box by Bennett, but referee Lee Mason consulted with his linesman and they then decided it was not a penalty kick. The contact was minimal but Huddersfield had every right to feel hard done by.

Late on Etheridge denied Laurent Depoitre’s header, as both teams had to settle for a point.