Wolves, 10-man Everton in electric 2-2

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Richarlison scored two goals for 10-man Everton, but Ruben Neves scored and posted an assist on the equalizer as the Toffees and Wolves drew 2-2 at the Molineux Stadium on Saturday.

Mexican international Raul Jimenez scored said equalizer, which came against an Everton side which played down a man for 50 minutes following a controversial red card to Phil Jagielka.

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A boisterous Molineux settled into watching Everton having the better of early play, and Seamus Coleman forced an early save out of Rui Patricio.

Richarlison opened his account just a few minutes after collecting a yellow card. The Brazilian found Michael Keane‘s knockdown of a Leighton Baines free kick to make it 1-0 to the Toffees.

The Brazilian then led a 2v1 break, but opted for the outside of his right foot instead of the left for a cross, flubbing the chance to find Theo Walcott. Wolves broke right back, with Jordan Pickford saving a Helder Costa attempt.

The game changed wildly when Jagielka’s lunging recovery attempt of a casual touch clattered into the ankle of Diego Jota.

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And Neves curled the ensuing free kick upper 90 in sensational fashion, sending the clubs to the locker rooms level at one.

The game remained even, the pouring rain certainly depriving the match of a certain amount of flow.

Two saves marked the second half as it reached the 60th minute, with Cenk Tosun denied by Patricio and Wolves’ Jimenez blocked by Pickford.

Richarlison nearly had an assist when he knocked down a cross into the path of Walcott, but the ex-Arsenal man couldn’t get purchase on his shot.

And then he put the Toffees ahead, rewarding his manager for both buying him and leaving him in the game on yellow. It was a cute curling effort inside the far post and beyond the reach of a diving Patricio.

But hold on! Neves sent a beautiful cross over the head of a leaping Keane, and Jimenez buried his header to make it 2-2 with 10 minutes to play.

Season preview: Wolves a high-powered promoted team

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Wolverhampton Wanderers at a glance

Premier League titles: 0 (English First Division titles – 3 — 1953/54, 1957/58, 1958/59)
FA Cups: 4 (1893, 1908, 1949, 1960)
League Cups: 2 (1974, 1980)

[ MORE: 2018-19 PL season preview hub ]  


They will challenge for top half because… The roster, man. Joao Moutinho? Rui Patricio? On a promoted team? Come on. There are questions of adaptability to the league, but it won’t be a surprise should Wolves scrap enough points to be in the discussion for a top half finish come January.

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They’ll fail to launch and find relegation a probability if… they can’t quickly find their footing in a tricky first half-dozen match days. Apart from the challenges of Manchester City and Manchester United, Wolves will meet Leicester City, Everton, Burnley, and West Ham. Not a dud amongst the bunch.


Transfers in: Diogo Jota ($16 million, Atletico Madrid), Willy Boly ($14 million, Porto), Joao Moutinho ($7 million, Monaco), Leo Bonatini ($5.5 million, Hilal), Raul Jimenez ($4 million loan, Benfica), Rui Patricio (free transfer, Sporting Lisbon), Jonny Castro (loan, Atletico Madrid).

Transfers out: Benik Afobe (loan, Stoke City), Barry Douglas ($5 million Leeds), Ben Marshall ($2.5 million, Norwich City).


Best possible XI

—– Patricio —–

—- Jonny —-  Saiss —-  Boly — Vinagre —- 

—- Neves —- Moutinho —-

—- Cavaliero —- Costa —-Jota —-

 —- Jimenez —-


Ranking their offseason: 9/10 – Joao Moutinho for $7 million? That alone is insane, even with Wolves’ connection to Portugal. Throw in Raul Jimenez (El Tri!), Diogo Jota, and Rui Patricio, and it’s difficult to see Wolves not beating the drop.


Star player: Joao Moutinho — There are other candidates for this position, but the AS Monaco man was strong in both Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League last season. The 31-year-old has been linked with everyone from Manchester United to Real Madrid during his celebrated career; Who would have thought he’d wind up at the Molineux.

Coaches’ Corner: Nuno Espirito Santo — The 44-year-old is a rising name in the management, winning more than half his matches at Valencia and Porto before spearheading Wolves’ run to the Premier League. He’ll have a chance to really raise his profile as a story of the season.


PST Predicts: A hot enough start allows Wolves to focus on cups, where they make a decent run in either the League or FA Cup while finishing somewhere between 14th and 11th.

Almost unprecedented: Sporting Lisbon facing exodus, free agent frenzy

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There is an almost unbelievable state of play at one of the world’s most successful clubs right now.

That club is Sporting CP, the group that has been home to Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo, and William Carvalho.

That last name is part of our story today.

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When last we checked in with the Lisbon club, its players had been attacked mid-training session by a mob of supposed fans following the club’s failure to land its near-annual berth in the UEFA Champions League. This came a month after the club’s entire first team was suspended after a row with its president.

Sporting had spent four seasons in the UCL, rebounding from its lone season outside Portugal’s Top Four since 1976.

Now many on its laundry list of high-priced talents could be leaving the club for free, potentially setting one of the most storied clubs in Portugal back to its very roots.

Bas Dost, William Carvalho, Gelson Martins, and Bruno Fernandes reportedly requested to break their contracts on Monday, joining goalkeeper Rui Patricio and Daniel Podence.

Dost scored 27 league goals this season, and joined Fernandes and Martins as Top 15 performers according to WhoScored. Carvalho, the big 26-year-old midfielder, was 21st.

Sporting has done a remarkable job identifying talent from without and growing talent from within, only once spending more than $14 million on a player (Dost) while selling 11 individuals for that much or more (Adrien Silva, Ruben Semedo, Joao Mario, Islam Slimani, Marcos Rojo, Bruma, Joao Moutinho, Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Viana, Aldo Duscher).

Only a cursory search through our pages finds several of Sporting’s want-aways in the gossip section for almost thrice that figure. Carvalho (and/or Sporting) has resisted interest of as much as $50 million, often connected with Jose Mourinho. Dost has been linked with Newcastle, and Patricio said to be making a move to PL new boys Wolves.

To lose these players for free, largely because of an attack from “supporters” is bonkers. And in your gut, you have to think the players stand a very good chance of being allowed to leave for safety reasons, making for an unexpected sort of free agent frenzy.

How long would it take for a club to rebound from that, and how far could Sporting sink on the table? Fortunately, it would have some time to rebuild for its Europa League run, but wow.

Portugal wins third-place at Confederations Cup (video)

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Pepe’s stoppage time equalizer and Adrien Silva’s extra time penalty kick helped Portugal to a third-place finish in the Confederations Cup as Mexico self-destructed against the EURO 2016 champs in Russia on Sunday.

A Luis Neto own goal and missed Portugal PK had Mexico up 1-0 until the late stages, but Portugal’s deserved win came after the teams played level through 90 minutes for a second time in two weeks.

Nelson Semedo was shown red in the 106th minute, but Raul Jimenez was shown his second yellow six minutes left in the match. Mexico should have been awarded a penalty near the end of stoppage time, but Pepe’s clever foul went uncalled and Juan Carlos Osorio was sent from the stadium after barking into the fourth official’s ear and bumping him.

Portugal will finish third in its first Confederations Cup, while Mexico finishes fourth for the second time.

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Rafa Marquez chopped down Andre Silva in the 18, and Video Assistant Referee made sure the Mexican defender gave away a penalty kick.

Marquez was given yellow for the takedown, as he kicked Silva’s knee. The new AC Milan attacker took the pen with Cristiano Ronaldo away from the team, but Guillermo Ochoa dove low and right to slap the ball wide of the frame (VIDEO).

Portugal then headed the ensuing corner over the frame, and the match remained scoreless in the 18th minute.

Chances at either end went wanting as Pizzi’s far post shot took a slight uncalled deflection that dragged wide for a goal kick, and Marquez nearly bundled a crossed free kick past Rui Patricio.

The Portuguese keeper made a point-blank stop on Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in the 31st minute, drawing “Mex-i-co” chants from the Spartak Stadium crowd.

Portugal was on the front foot in the second half, with Joao Moutinho blazing an effort over the bar and Gelson Martins shooting a clever chipped pass from Silva outside the near post.

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Yet Mexico went ahead through Chicharito’s cross banging off Luis Neto and into the Portugal goal in the 54th minute.

Pizzi missed wide with a bid for an equalizer just before the hour mark. Ochoa then made a terrific one-handed stop on a Martins header. Captain Nani then headed the ensuing corner wide of the far post.

Pepe then knotted things up in stoppage time, leaping for a martial arts-style finish of substitute Ricardo Quaresma’s cross to make it 1-1.

Jimenez saw a shot deflected out for a corner early in the first period of extra time, and the ensuing corner led to Patricio’s stellar save at the back post.

After what could’ve been red cards to both sides in the Portugal end, Martins won the decisive penalty kick when his cheeky juggle around Miguel Layun clipped the former Watford man’s raised arm.

Mexico nearly found a rescue of its own following the pair of red cards, but Patricio dove to save from Hector Herrera’s bullet. Then Pepe was allowed a push of Hector Moreno as the latter missed a close-range header deep into the second period of extra time. Mexico could have easily been given a penalty, but was not.

Patricio, Eder help Ronaldo-less Portugal to EURO 2016 crown

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Eder scored a goal in the 109th minute to lift Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal to its first ever major tournament title, a 1-0 win over host France as EURO 2016 concluded on Sunday.

The substitute’s fourth international goal in 29 caps was enough for Portugal thanks to the outstanding goalkeeping of Rui Patricio, who was credited with seven saves.

Ronaldo’s injury came in the opening 10 minutes when Dimitri Payet surprised Ronaldo with a tackle. The captain went down and clutched his knee, briefly leaving the field twice before finally exiting in the 25th.

Moments later, Antoine Griezmann forced Rui Patricio into a fabulous save. The ensuing corner was headed at the keeper by Olivier Giroud.

[ MORE: Twitter reacts to Ronaldo injury ]

Portugal had problems containing a fit and motivated Moussa Sissoko, though the final ball continued to elude Les Bleus. Also instrumental in that failure to break through were center backs Pepe and Jose Fonte.

It’s easy to forget that so much of France’s tactics would’ve been focused on Ronaldo, and Didier Deschamps’ crew looked perplexed at times.

Kingsley Coman came on for an ineffective Payet with a half-hour to play and changed the game, his 66th minute cross nearly headed home by Griezmann.

Giroud slipped down the left of the box to force Patricio into another solid save, and the 75th minute saw France looking more likely to find the opener.

Hugo Lloris was called into action for the first time in a great deal of time and looked shaky in dealing with an 80th minute chip from Nani but scooped up an ensuing overhead kick to keep it 0-0.

Sissoko teed up a blast in the 84th, but Patricio dove to make a two-handed parry. And Andre-Pierre Gignac worked Pepe before hitting a stoppage time ball off the far post. Was fortune on Portugal’s side?

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Extra time found, well, a continued dearth of excitement. It took almost the entire first period for a moment of import, as Eder was robbed by Lloris.

Referee Mark Clattenberg misread handball on Eder as one on Laurent Koscielny, and Raphael Guerrero almost scored on the resulting free kick. The crossbar won the battle, though.

Eder found the goal though moments later, shrugging off a pull to carry to the middle of the pitch and lash a shot past a diving Lloris. It wasn’t the finest moment for the Spurs keeper.

An injury to Guerrero left Portugal down to 10 men in the final moments of the match, but it was not to be for France.