Steve Mandanda

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Atletico Madrid wins third Europa League title

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A Frenchman ended the silverware dreams of a French power.

Antoine Griezmann’s brace, both assisted by Koke, led Atletico Madrid past Marseille 3-0, claiming the UEFA Europa League title on Wednesday in Lyon.

It’s the third Europa League crown for Atleti, and for Diego Simeone (two as Atleti manager, and one as Inter Milan player).

Gabi also scored for Atleti.

[ MORE: The Premier League season in statistics ]

Valere Germain was played through on goal very early, but missed his chance to give Marseille the lead.

The miss stung soon after, when Steve Mandanda made a poor clearance. Koke hit it to Griezmann first time, and the Atleti striker scored in his home country.

Marseille lost Dimitri Payet to an injury soon after the half-hour mark.

And Griezmann made it 2-0 before the second half was four minutes old, taking another Koke through ball and flicking over a diving Mandanda.

Kostas Mitroglou subbed into the game for Marseille and headed off the frame in the Ligue 1 side’s best chance to get back into the hunt.

Pair of Premier League keepers leave for home countries

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Leicester City’s Ron-Robert Zieler and Crystal Palace’s Steve Mandanda are heading back to where they play their international ball.

Zieler, 28, made 13 appearances for Leicester after coming over from Hannover 96 last year. He’ll head back to Germany to join Stuttgart, home of USMNT winger Julian Green, for the club’s Bundesliga return.

[ MORE: The 5,442-mile away day ]

Zieler signed with Manchester United as a 16-year-old, but did not appear with the club.

As for Mandanda, he’s headed back to Marseille. The 32-year-old backstop made 441 appearances for Marseille and earned 24 caps for France before heading to Palace last season.

Mandanda missed six months for Palace with a knee injury and finished his lone PL season with nine starts which included three wins and two draws.

Zieler’s return to the Bundesliga makes sense with Kasper Schmeichel sticking around the King Power Stadium, but we have to wonder whether things may’ve went differently for Mandanda had he not done his knee after nine-straight starts for the Eagles. Oh well, he’ll have to settle for a return to a club where he’s a club legend.

Burnley 3-2 Crystal Palace: Barnes wins it in stoppage

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  • Barnes at the death
  • Burnley up 2-0 by 15′
  • Wickham pulls one back
  • Benteke nabs equalizer

Shocking defending put Crystal Palace down 2-0, and a valiant comeback was betrayed by that same defense in a 3-2 loss to Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Connor Wickham and Christian Benteke had leveled things for the visitors, but a 94th minute counter attack had Palace at the proverbial sixes and sevens as Ashley Barnes pushed a winner past Steve Mandanda.

Sam Vokes and Johann Berg Gudmundsson scored the opening goals for Burnley, who rise to ninth in the table with 14 points. Palace sinks 15th, with 11 points.

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Palace’s defense was all over the place on the opening goal. Despite a cross hit too far and a less-than-ideal hit at goal, Vokes was able to bundle in the opener to make it 1-0 in the second minute.

And, oh, Steve Mandanda. After a strong save by Tom Heaton at the other end, Burnley’s Vokes slipped Gudmundsson in on goal. Mandanda’s parry of the Burnley man’s rip bounced into the net.

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Palace pulled within a goal when substitute Wickham took Wilfried Zaha‘s cross with style to make it 2-1. And Benteke finished a penalty kick opportunity to make honors even before Barnes’ surprising late goal.

Crystal Palace sign Townsend, Mandanda

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Alan Pardew has been a busy man on the first day of the summer transfer window, with Andros Townsend and Steve Mandanda arriving at Selhurst Park.

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Townsend, 24, arrives from Newcastle United on a five-year contract after the Eagles triggered the release clause of $17.2 million in his contract, while French international goalkeeper Mandanda, 31, joins the south London club on a three-year deal from Marseille in Ligue 1.

Speaking about his move to Palace Townsend was delighted to be back in the Premier League after being relegated last season with the Magpies, just six months after he joined them from Tottenham Hotspur in January.

“I’m extremely delighted. I had chats with the manager and chairman before I signed and I’m pleased to a part of Crystal Palace’s future,”Townsend said. “By the sounds of things it’s going to be a bright one and I can’t wait to get started.”

Townsend will considerably strengthen Palace’s already stacked options out wide as he will compete with Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie for a spot on the flanks, which could lead to Bolasie playing centrally.

As for Mandanda, he is a vastly experienced goalkeeper who will push Wayne Hennessey all the way for the starting spot between the posts. He won the goalkeeper of the year award in Ligue 1 last season and in nine years with Marseille he’s won a league title and three French League cups.

With Julian Speroni around as cover, the Eagles needed to strengthen in goal and Mandanda’s arrival does that. He is currently on duty at EURO 2016 with the French national team but has yet to play a single minute as captain Hugo Lloris leads the French side in goal.

Both arrivals signal the intent of Pardew’s team as they started last season strongly and were in and around the top six up until the halfway point of the season. However, just two wins in 2016 saw them slide down the table but they managed to stay up and also reach the FA Cup final where they lost in agonizing fashion to Manchester United.

Palace’s American investors are prepared to spend big and plans are already in place to upgrade their Selhurst Park home. Looks like there’s a bright future ahead for the Eagles.

French goalkeeper will miss World Cup with devastating injury


French goalkeeper Steve Mandanda will miss out on a trip to Brazil, thanks to a devastating injury suffered on Saturday night.

The Marseille ‘keeper was withdrawn after 23 minutes on Saturday, following a collision with Guingamp striker Mustapha Yatabare. Marseille went on to win 1-0 thanks to a strike from Andre Ayew, but the victory must have seemed rather hollow.

Later reports revealed that Mandanda cracked his vertebrae and suffered a cervical sprain. He will need to wear a neck brace for three weeks, and then spend a few more weeks in physiotherapy.

And with the World Cup just four weeks away, that means the 27-year-old will not be representing France this year. He was named on Didier Deschamps’ roster for Brazil, along with fellow goalkeepers Hugo Lloris, at Tottenham, and Mickael Landreau, at Bastia. His place is now likely to be taken by Stephane Ruffier, currently at Saint-Étienne.

Mandanda has represented France 16 times, and began the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign as their first choice goalkeeper. By the time South Africa rolled around, the job had gone to Hugo Lloris, and Mandanda did not appear in any of France’s three matches in the 2010 tournament. He has been at Marseille since 2007, and is currently captain of the Ligue 1 side.