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Championship focus: West Brom go 6 points clear; Fulham stumble at Millwall

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A roundup of the top-of-the-table action in the EFL Championship, where nine points separate places 1 through 7, and three points is the difference between third place and seventh…

[ MORE: The race for Premier League promotion is red-hot ]

Reading 1-2 West Bromwich Albion

West Brom capitalized on Leeds United’s slip-up to go six points clear at the top of the Championship table with a dozen games left to play. The Baggies fell behind on an early penalty, but fought back into the game before halftime and went ahead for good shortly thereafter.

George Puscas put Reading ahead after 11 minutes, but Matheus Pereira put home his own rebound to make it 1-1 in the 26th and Kyle Bartley completed the comeback with a looping header to the far post four minutes into the second half.

West Brom have spent the vast majority of the season occupying either first or second place in the table, and appear headed for a return to the PL after two seasons of regrouping in the second division.

[ MORE: Report: Chelsea closing in on Hakim Ziyech deal ]

Millwall 1-1 Fulham

No side had more to gain from Leeds’ draw with fourth-place Brentford than Fulham, who entered Wednesday a point back for the second automatic promotion place. A win would have seen the Cottagers into second place ahead of a critical stretch of their schedule (five of their next seven opponents currently reside in the top-10).

Alas, it was a disappointing, largely listless display from both sides at The Den as Millwall held the promotion hopefuls to a 1-1 draw.

Aleksandar Mitrovic fired Fulham ahead after just three minutes but Millwall were level through Jon Dadi Bodvarsson just four minutes later, and that was all the scoring there would be in east London. Rather than going two points clear of third, Fulham remain third and sit two points clear of fourth.

Elsewhere in the Championship

Stoke City 0-2 (6th) Preston North End
(7th) Bristol City 3-2 Derby County
Huddersfield Town 0-3 (10th) Cardiff City
Luton Town 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Iker Casillas considering a run for Spanish FA presidency

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According to a report by ESPN FC, former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has decided to run for the Spanish FA presidency.

Casillas, now 38 years old, is still playing for FC Porto, where he has been since leaving Real Madrid at 2015. However, he has not made an appearance yet this season after suffering a heart attack in May of 2019, and he has already transitioned out of his playing days by working in a liason role for the Portuguese club during his recovery.

The current president, Luis Rubiales, was elected in 2018 and is likely to run for reelection as the incumbent in this year’s election set for this fall. According to the ESPN report, Casillas met with Spanish officials in Madrid over the past few days to lay out his plans for a run at the position.

The report states that Casillas would have the backing of La Liga president Javier Tebas who has been at odds with Rubiales. Casillas would reportedly also have the support of Association of Spanish Footballers president David Aganzo, although Aganzo’s support would be “discreet initially” in the event Casillas decides to withdraw his candidacy.

In order to secure a run for president, Casillas would need the official endorsement of 15% of the 140 members of the assembly. Should he achieve candidacy, he would need a simple majority in the general election to secure the position of president.

Transfer Tracker: Every January done deal in Premier League

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Below are all the completed incoming and outgoing first-team transfers by Premier League teams this winter. This January transfer tracker will be updated in real time to reflect completed transfers that make it through to confirmation before the window shuts.

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

Player names with clickable links will send you to the story for that particular signing.

ARSENAL

IN
Pablo Mari – loan, Flamengo
Cedric – loan, Southampton

OUT
Konstantinos Mavropanos – loan, Nurnberg
Emile Smith-Rowe – loan, Huddersfield Town

ASTON VILLA

IN
Mbwana Samatta – $15.7m, KRC Genk
Danny Drinkwater – loan, Chelsea
Pepe Reina – loan, AC Milan
Borja Baston – undisclosed, Swansea City

OUT
Jonathan Kodija – $4.4m, Al Gharafa
Scott Hogan – loan, Birmingham City

BOURNEMOUTH

IN
[none]

OUT
Asmir Begovic – loan, AC Milan

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION

IN
Aaron Mooy – $9m, Huddersfield Town
Tariq Lamptey – undisclosed, Chelsea

OUT
Anders Dreyer – undisclosed, FC Midtjylland

BURNLEY

IN
Josh Brownhill – $11.8m, Bristol City

OUT
Nahki Wells – $6.6m, Bristol City

CHELSEA

IN
[none]

OUT
Danny Drinkwater – loan, Aston Villa
Victor Moses – loan, AC Milan
Michael Hector – $8.8m, Fulham
Tariq Lamptey – undisclosed, Brighton

CRYSTAL PALACE

IN
Cenk Tosun – loan, Everton

OUT
[none]

EVERTON

IN
[none]

OUT
Cenk Tosun – loan, Crystal Palace

LEICESTER CITY

IN
Ryan Bennett – loan, Wolves

OUT
Andy King – loan, Huddersfield Town

LIVERPOOL

IN
Takumi Minamino – $12.7m, RB Leipzig

OUT
Rhian Brewster – loan, Swansea City

MANCHESTER CITY

IN
[none]

OUT
Patrick Roberts – loan, Middlesbrough
Lukas Nmecha – loan, Middlesbrough

MANCHESTER UNITED

IN
Bruno Fernandes – $88m, Sporting CP
Nathan Bishop – undisclosed, Southend United
Odion Ighalo – loan, Shanghai Shenhua

OUT
Ashley Young – loan, Inter Milan
Marcos Rojo – loan, Estudiantes

NEWCASTLE UNITED

IN
Nabil Bentaleb – loan, Schalke
Valentino Lazaro – loan, Inter Milan
Danny Rose – loan, Tottenham Hotspur

OUT
Ki Sung-yeung – Release
Rolando Aarons – loan, Motherwell

NORWICH CITY

IN
Ondrej Duda – loan, Hertha Berlin
Lukas Rupp – $747k, Hoffenheim

OUT
Carlton Morris – loan, MK Dons
Denis Srbeny – undisclosed, Paderborn

SHEFFIELD UNITED

IN
Sander Berge – $26m, Genk
Jack Rodwell – unattached
Jack Robinson – undisclosed, Nottingham Forest

OUT
Callum Robinson – loan, West Bromwich Albion

SOUTHAMPTON

IN
Kyle Walker-Peters – loan, Tottenham Hotspur

OUT
Josh Sims – loan, New York Red Bulls
Cedric – loan, Arsenal
Maya Yoshida – loan, Sampdoria

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

IN
Steven Bergwijn – $44.8m, PSV Eindhoven
Gedson Fernandes – loan, Benfica
Giovani Lo Celso – triggered option to buy at $35m, Real Betis

OUT
Christian Eriksen – $22.8 million, Inter Milan
Kyle Walker-Peters – loan, Southampton
Cameron Carter-Vickers – loan, Luton Town

WATFORD

IN
Ignacio Pussetto – $12m, Udinese
Joao Pedro – $5.9m, Fluminense

OUT
Marvin Zeegelaar – $3m, Udinese
Dimitri Foulquier – loan, Granada

WEST HAM UNITED

IN
Darren Randolph – $7m, Middlesbrough
Tomas Soucek – loan, Slavia Prague
Jarrod Bowen – $24m, Hull City

OUT
Roberto – loan, Alaves

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

IN
Daniel Podence – $29.2m, Olympiakos
Leonardo Campana – free, Barcelona
Enzo Loiodice – loan, Dijon

OUT
Patrick Cutrone – loan, Fiorentina
Ivan Cavaleiro – trigger option to buy $17.6m, Fulham
Rafa Mir – loan, Huesca
Jesus Vallejo – loan, Granada
Ryan Bennett – loan, Leicester City

Bundesliga wrap: Schalke GK gets karate red card; Gladbach loses

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Borussia Monchengladbach failed in its bid to reclaim the top spot on the Bundesliga table, and Schalke overcame an eye-widening red card on Sunday.

[ MORE: Klinsmann gets 1st win ]

That means RB Leipzig ends the weekend in first.

Schalke 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie suffered a painful injury and was stretchered off the pitch, but that wasn’t the most painful looking incident of the day.

That honor goes to this Alexander Nubel red card intervention on Mijat Gacinovic, who — you’re not gonna believe this — did not finish the game.

Schalke won the match anyway, riding Benito Raman’s 53rd goal to the win. David Wagner‘s men are now just five points off the table lead, a point above Bayern Munich and a point below Borussia Dortmund.

Wolfsburg 2-1 Borussia Monchengladbach

Wolfsburg got a much-needed win to deprive Gladbach of a return to the top of the table.

The hosts started the season unbeaten in nine matches but had lost four of five to fall well off the title pace.

Wolfsburg’s Xaver Schlager and Gladbach’s Breel Embolo traded goals two minutes apart in the first quarter hour, but Maximilian Arnold struck in stoppage time to send Wolfsburg eighth.

American center back John Brooks went 90 minutes in the win.

Heck of a volley for the winner.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 15 10 3 2 42 16 26 4-2-1 6-1-1 33
 Mönchengladbach 15 10 1 4 31 18 13 6-1-1 4-0-3 31
 Borussia Dortmund 15 8 5 2 37 19 18 5-2-0 3-3-2 29
 FC Schalke 04 15 8 4 3 26 18 8 4-3-1 4-1-2 28
 Bayern Munich 15 8 3 4 41 21 20 5-1-2 3-2-2 27
 SC Freiburg 15 7 4 4 24 18 6 4-2-1 3-2-3 25
 Bayer Leverkusen 15 7 4 4 22 20 2 3-4-1 4-0-3 25
 VfL Wolfsburg 15 6 5 4 17 15 2 3-3-2 3-2-2 23
 1899 Hoffenheim 15 6 3 6 21 27 -6 3-1-4 3-2-2 21
 1. FC Union Berlin 15 6 2 7 19 20 -1 5-0-3 1-2-4 20
 FC Augsburg 15 5 5 5 24 28 -4 3-2-2 2-3-3 20
 Eintracht Frankfurt 15 5 3 7 24 23 1 4-3-1 1-0-6 18
 Hertha BSC Berlin 15 4 3 8 21 29 -8 3-0-4 1-3-4 15
 FSV Mainz 05 15 5 0 10 20 38 -18 3-0-4 2-0-6 15
 Werder Bremen 15 3 5 7 23 35 -12 1-2-4 2-3-3 14
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 15 3 3 9 16 32 -16 2-1-4 1-2-5 12
 1. FC Köln 15 3 2 10 14 30 -16 2-1-4 1-1-6 11
 SC Paderborn 15 2 3 10 18 33 -15 1-1-6 1-2-4 9

USMNT vet Williams signs for Cypriot side Pafos FC

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USMNT midfielder Danny Williams is taking his terrific career down an unusual path.

The 30-year-old center midfielder became a free agent after Huddersfield Town was relegated from the Premier League, and opted to join Cypriot new boys Pafos FC. Pafos was formed in 2014 by the merger of AEK Kouklia and AEP Paphos.

[ MORE: USMNT strengths and weaknesses ]

Surely there’s a lot of money involved, but the five-year old project has attracted plenty of attention. Pafos also has Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako, Stephen Sunday, and Adam Nemec on the books.

Williams becomes their highest profile non-Cypriot player, and they’ll count on him if they have any hope of bettering their league-best finish of eighth. APOEL Nicosia has won the last seven titles, while Apollon Limassol, AEL Limassol, and AEK Larnaca are well-established.

He made 25 appearances over two years in the Premier League after a transfer from Reading, where played 156 times. Prior to that, the 23-times capped American spent time with Hoffenheim and Freiburg.

The German-born Williams may not find his way back to the USMNT due to this move and his age, but we’ll always have this banger in a blowout loss to Brazil.