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Report: 1 dead, 37 hurt in crush at Madagascar-Senegal game

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ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar (AP) French radio service RFI is reporting at least one person has died and 37 have been injured in a crush before an African Cup of Nations qualifying soccer game in Madagascar involving Sadio Mane‘s Senegal team.

RFI says a stampede happened before kickoff at the Mahamasina Municipal Stadium on Sunday.

Television pictures showed packed stands at the stadium, which has a capacity of around 22,000. Reports say thousands began queuing hours before kickoff in an attempt to get a ticket to watch Mane and Senegal’s other stars. It’s unclear if the crush happened inside or outside the stadium.

The Madagascar vs. Senegal qualifier went ahead and ended in a 2-2 draw.

RFI quoted a local hospital as saying one person was dead and 37 injured. The Madagascar ministry of sport also listed 37 injured on its Facebook page.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Stadium stampede kills at least one during AFCON qualifying

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A mad rush to get into a stadium in Madagascar has led to death of at least one spectator and injuries to over 30 more.

[ MORE: USMNT loss to Brazil still shows hope for future ]

The Stade de Mahamasina uses only one entrance. That’s a fatal flaw that should’ve been remedied long ago, and the stadium also saw two fans die and many more injured during a 2005 stampede to get into an already packed building.

The Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match went ahead as scheduled between Senegal and Madagascar. From the BBC:

Thousands of spectators were still trying to get into the stadium through the only entrance.

Two of those hurt are in a critical condition in the capital, Antananarivo.

Unfortunately, as the BBC notes, stadium stampedes are not a rarity.

The match finished 2-2, with Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Stoke City’s Mame Diouf scoring for Senegal.

Report: Kouyate has medical ahead of Palace switch

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Crystal Palace can count on continued improvement if it keeps adding pieces like this.

The Eagles have had a slow start to the transfer season, adding goalkeeper Vicente Guaita in an offseason which saw Damien Delaney and Yohan Cabaye leave Selhurst Park.

[ MORE: Chattanooga announces as USL D-III franchise ]

Most important, though, is that Palace have so far resisted all offers for Wilfried Zaha, and are said to be on the verge of two significant signings.

As noted in our rumor roundup, Multiple reports say that Max Meyer will join on a free transfer from Schalke.

And Sky Sports says West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate will join Meyer and Luka Milivojevic in Palace’s midfield should the Senegalese midfielder pass a medical.

Kouyate, 28, also deputized at center back last season, and has made 147 appearances for West Ham since 2014. Kouyate has 15 goals and 10 assists with West Ham, and also 51 caps for Senegal.

Palace is good money to improve their standing this season, especially if Zaha can stay healthy (The Eagles lost every match he missed last season).

FIFA to review fair-play tiebreaker, but unlikely to change

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MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA plans to review a rule that resulted in Senegal being eliminated from the World Cup because it had more yellow cards than Japan, but is unlikely to remove the measure.

[ MORE: 2018 World Cup Best XI (so far) ]

“We will review after this World Cup, we will see what the feedback and the situation is,” FIFA’s competition director Colin Smith said Friday, “but as it currently stands we don’t see any need to change.”

The rule, in use for the first time at the World Cup, caused a stir when the last games in Group H were being played simultaneously and it became obvious it would be needed as a tiebreaker between two teams finishing equal in every other way.

Japan barely attacked in the end of its 1-0 loss to Poland — preferring instead to take a safety first approach against a team that was already out of contention — because it was due to qualify on its disciplinary record ahead of Senegal. At the time, Senegal was losing 1-0 to Colombia, which jumped from third spot to top of the group.

Previously the situation would have been resolved with the drawing of lots, which would have meant that during the game, no team would have been assured of going through in the same circumstances.

[ MORE: Predicting the round of 16 ]

“What we want to avoid is the drawing of lots. We believe that teams should go forward on their performance and what happens on the pitch, not in a draw bowl,” Smith said. “The preference is that slots and teams advancing is on the basis of goals and results and there’s clear winners.” He said the ‘fair play’ rule was clear to all teams.

Smith added that FIFA had no complaint about England’s 1-0 loss to Belgium on Thursday, which was widely likened to a friendly game because of the combined 17 changes to the starting lineups and perceived lack of attacking intent. Both teams had already qualified for the knockout stages, and the losing team could face lower-ranked opponents in subsequent rounds.

“Fans who have paid money” deserve to see competitive games, Smith said, but he added that he Adnan Januzaj’s curling shot for Belgium’s goal showed the game was indeed competitive.

“If Belgium didn’t want to win, they obviously forgot to tell the goalscorer,” Smith said, “Because it was a cracker.”

Out in the group stage, but up in transfer stock

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Hyeon-woo Jo had an exceptional World Cup.

His South Korean national team did not.

But that will not stop potential suitors from seeking the 26-year-old goalkeeper who was named Man of the Match against Germany.

[ MORE: Knockout round schedule, bracket ]

And there will be many more. The 2014 World Cup saw names like DeAndre Yedlin (USMNT), James Rodriguez (Colombia), and Keylor Navas (Costa Rica) gain plenty of renown.

Here’s a list of names who’ve left the World Cup in the group stage but will certainly have their proverbial tires kicked.

Hyeon-woo Jo, South Korea (Daegu FC)

And he’s humble, to boot. From FIFA.com:

“I’ve never had a perfect game like this before, in my entire career, but I wasn’t saving all the shots by myself today – I thought the other goalkeepers [Kim] Seunggyu and [Kim] Jinhyeon were also giving me a hand.”

Salem Al-Dawsari, Saudi Arabia (Al-Hilal)

Didn’t see much time on loan at Villarreal this season, but clearly is a player not constrained to playing in his home country. The 26-year-old winger scored, averaged key passes per game, and threw in 2.3 interceptions per contest for good measure.

Kenneth Omeruo, Nigeria (Kasimpasa)

The center back registered an assist and played an all-around game for Nigeria. At 24, he should have plenty of suitors.

Lee Jae-sung, South Korea (Jeonbuk Hyundai)

If the 25-year-old midfielder’s status as the 2017 K-League Most Valuable Player hadn’t already raised some eyebrows, his job patrolling the center of the park certainly did the trick.

Ramin Rezaeian, Iran (Oostende)

The 28-year-old right-sided man can play right back or more advanced. He’s a bit longer-in-the-tooth in terms of prospect, but a club could do worse in adding depth.

Moussa Wagué, Senegal (Eupen)

A 19-year-old right back whose name was already popping up in the rumor mill, he’s going to be carrying even more interest after scoring against Japan.