John O’Shea

Relegated Sunderland “obviously distraught”; Moyes wants to stay

Leave a comment

Neither John O'Shea nor David Moyes had been relegated during their long careers in football.

That changed Saturday.

The former Manchester United defender and Everton manager saw Sunderland drop into the second tier after a bevy of wasted chances and a lapse at the back perfectly summed up their season in England.

[ RECAP: Sunderland 0-1 Bournemouth ]

Moyes wants to stick around and help Sunderland back to the Premier League the way Rafa Benitez did this season in the Championship. Here’s what he said on NBCSN after the match:

“I feel for the supporters. They put their hard-earned cash out there to support the team, and my thoughts are really with them today.

“Yeah, the job’s to make sure that we get ourselves prepared and ready but we’re in this position, to talk about it now is just too quick.”

As for O’Shea, he’s clearly gutted and exasperated. The veteran Irish back did not have a strong season along with the majority of his teammates, and is left grasping for answers.

“Look, we’re obviously distraught. We all wanted the support that we got today. It’s not a nice feeling.

“Performances, results, are the obvious things at the end of the season. The detail never lies. We haven’t kept enough clean sheets, we haven’t taken enough chances. We needed a miracle run to save us, and we couldn’t produce it.”

The Black Cats were kept alive by Jermain Defoe‘s heroics for most of the season, but the striker went ice cold with finishing from February onward. The club rarely looked the part this season, and this might not be a short spell away from the top flight.

Watch Live: Sunderland vs. Swansea City (Lineups and Live Stream)

Leave a comment

Bottom of the table Sunderland welcome Swansea City to the Stadium of Light on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra) with the home side under plenty of pressure.

Dick Advocaat’s men have lost both of their opening games, conceding seven times, and are being written off as the early season favorites for relegation.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA EXTRA

The opposite can be said for Swansea, who are unbeaten after two games and Garry Monk’s side once again look steady at the back and dangerous in attack.

In team news Sunderland make three changes as John O’Shea, Jack Rodwell and Danny Graham come in. As for Swansea, they are unchanged from the team who beat Newcastle United last weekend.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, van Aanholt, O’Shea, Coates, Cattermole, Rodwell, M’Vila, Lens, Defoe, Graham. Subs: Brown, Larsson, Matthews, Giaccherini, Fletcher, Watmore, Mannone.

Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Cork, Shelvey, Sigurdsson, Montero, Ayew, Gomis. Subs: Nordfeldt, Rangel, Bartley, Britton, Dyer, Routledge, Eder

EURO 2016 qualifying roundup: Faroe Islands upset Greece (again), plus a Ronaldo hat trick

1 Comment

The sixth round of 2016 European Championship qualification continued on Saturday, as groups take shape and next summer’s field begins to become just a bit clearer.

Faroe Islands 2-1 Greece

Remember when Greece won EURO 2004? It seems like ages ago, but in reality it was just 11 short years ago. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. On Saturday, Greece fell to the Faroe Islands — again — a tiny archipelago nation with a population of roughly 50,000.

Hallur Hansson scored the game’s opening goal in the 32nd minute and Brandur Olsen doubled the lead in the 70th minute, before Sokratis pulled back a mere consolation goal for the Greeks in the 85th minute.

Greece currently sit bottom of Group F with just two points from six games, a total that almost certainly means there’s little or no chance of qualifying for next summer’s EURO tournament. Faroe Islands have six point and sit in fourth, five points behind Hungary for third.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Copa America coverage | WWC | U-20 WC ]

Armenia 2-3 Portugal

A hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal to a comeback over Armenia, but they sweated it out late. The hosts snatched a shock 14th minute lead when Marcos Pizzelli ripped home a free kick past Rui Patricio. Ronaldo leveled with his first 12 minutes later on a penalty as the game went into halftime 1-1. A mistake at the back led to his second, as neither goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky or defender Robert Arzumanyan dealt with a ball in the box, and the Real Madrid star picked their pocket for a second. But his third was the best, an absolute stunner from 25 yards out that roared into the top corner.

Portugal midfielder Tiago found himself with an early shower for a deserved second yellow after the hour mark, and it let Armenia back in. They pulled one back when Hrayr Mkoyan put home a shot from distance that Patricio fumbled. Armenia pummeled forward the rest of the way, but couldn’t find the last one. Portugal exhaled and earned the three points, keeping their two-point lead in the five-team Group I.

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Scotland

A huge Group D matchup with two teams trying to keep pace with Poland and Germany at the top, the hosts took the lead just before halftime through Stoke City midfielder Jonathan Walters, but Scotland pulled level just a minute after halftime as Chicago Fire designated player Shaun Maloney deflected an effort from the top of the box off John O’Shea and into the back of the net.

The second half proved entertaining, but neither side was able to break the deadlock, and each side earned a point. The draw favors Scotland, who remain in a potential qualifying position three points back of Poland and two behind Germany. Meanwhile, Ireland fails to make a move into the top half of the group, sitting in fourth just two points back of Ireland.

[ MORE: Worry starts to build for France as EURO 2016 hosts lose again ]

Gibraltar 0-7 Germany

Andre Schurrle netted a hat trick, while Max Kruse scored twice, and Ilkay Gundogan and Karim Bellarabi added one a piece for the defending world champions, who take over second place in Group D, a single point off the pace of leaders Poland.

Poland 4-0 Georgia

The Polish squad maintained its lead over Group D by breezing by Georgia. It took an hour to get going but Arkadiusz Milik finished off a fantastic big of passing in the 61st minute with a curling shot from distance. Then, as Poland pushed to put the game away, and they did more than that. Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski burst open the game as time ran down with a hat-trick in under four minutes to roar across the finish line. The win keeps Poland at the top of Group D with 14 points.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying

Finland 0-1 Hungary
Denmark 2-0 Serbia
Northern Ireland 0-0 Romania

Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland: Champion Blues come back to finish what they started at home

1 Comment

With the Championship already sealed, Chelsea made sure their home fans got one more day to remember as a pair of goals from substitute Loic Remy helped complete a comeback against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge.

Didier Drogba had the game’s first chance in the third minute as Chelsea pressed hard early, but his shot from the right post skidded across the line without going over. The Blues had another chance 15 minutes in when Branislav Ivanovic went down in the area under a challenge from Seb Larsson but the referee waved away the penalty shouts.

The Blues were the better team until the 20-minute mark before Sunderland began to build into the game. They’d get the opener on 27 minutes as Steven Fletcher headed home a corner at the far post after sneaking away from John Terry.

[ RELATED: Final Premier League standings ]

The Blues gave Didier Drogba a sendoff as he was substituted after a half-hour, replaced by Diego Costa as the Chelsea team carried the Ivorian triumphantly off. The home side was level soon after, as Juan Cuadrado won a penalty as he touched past John O’Shea and was hauled down, with Costa netting the equalizer on 37 minutes, his 20th goal of the season.

Loic Remy, on for an injured Cuadrado just before halftime, nearly marked the beginning of the second half with a stunning individual goal, but he couldn’t complete his blistering 54th minute run with a finish on target.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The comeback would be complete with 20 minutes to go as a brilliant touch from Eden Hazard got him past Jack Rodwell and Sebastian Coastes, and he poked to Remy in acres of space in front of the 18-yard box. The Frenchman stroked the ball past Vito Mannone who got a very late break on the low shot.

[ RELATED: Premier League stats ]

Remy got his second and Chelsea’s third to seal things as Matic sent a cross through the box, and Remy finished it easily with confetti covering the ground. The game finished with another three points for Chelsea, giving them 87 to finish the season with a final eight-point lead. Sunderland finishes 16th with 38 points.

LINEUPS:

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel (Christensen 78′), Matic; Cuadrado (Remy 44′), Willian, Hazard; Drogba (Costa 30′).
Bench: Courtois, Filipe Luis, Christensen, Boga, Remy, D Costa, Solanke.

Goals: Costa 37′ (pen), Remy 70′, 88′

Sunderland: Mannone, Jones, van Aanholt, O’Shea, Coates, Larsson, Rodwell, Johnson (Giaccherini 75′), Fletcher, Wickham, Defoe.
Bench: Cattermole, Reveillere, Graham, Giaccherini, Vergini, Buckley, Pickford.

Goals: Fletcher 27′

Watch Live: Sunderland vs. Leicester City (Lineups and Live Stream)

Leave a comment

Boy, we have ourselves a relegation six-pointer on Saturday as Sunderland host Leicester City (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra) at the Stadium of Light.

This match will also be shown on NBCSN, as part of the Breakaway Show will will focus on the three big relegation battles.

Sunderland is two points above the relegation zone with three games left, while Leicester is three points off the bottom three with two games left as both sides have been in great form to drag themselves out of the drop zone in recent weeks. Dick Advocaat’s Black Cats have won two on the spin, while the Foxes have won six of their last seven and a win on Saturday would secure survival if other results go their way.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

Advocaat’s side finish with games against Arsenal and Chelsea, so they know a win at home to Leicester is a must if they want to stay up. Tension will be in the air.

In team news Sunderland bring in Liam Bridcutt and John O’Shea for the injured Jordi Gomez and Wes Brown, while Leicester make one change with Andy King coming in for Matty James.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Pantilimon; Jones, Coates, O’Shea, Van Aanholt; Larsson, Cattermole, Bridcutt; Defoe, Graham, Wickham.

Leicester: Schmeichel; Wasilewski, Huth, Morgan; Albrighton, King, Cambiasso, Schlupp; Mahrez, Ulloa, Vardy.