Monthly Archives: May 2015

Sunderland’s Jordi Gómez spot on against Southampton to boost hopes

jordi gomez

Two subtle, yet ruthlessly incisive, swipes of Jordi Gómez’s left boot were sufficient to offer Sunderland renewed hope of escaping relegation. Combined with a slightly contentious red card for Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse and another catalytic midfield performance from Lee Cattermole, Gómez’s superbly taken penalties re-acquainted Wearsiders with something called optimism.

Sunderland remain third bottom but they are one point behind Leicester and Hull and two in arrears of Newcastle and Aston Villa. Tricky, potentially hazard laden trips to Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea lie ahead but much may hinge on the remaining home game against Leicester.

Dick Advocaat was asked if he had “enough in his dressing room” to stay up. The Dutchman smiled broadly. “Yes, definitely,” he said. “I’m there – and 18 players.”

His cause here was helped by the reality that, until Ward-Prowse’s second-half dismissal, Southampton had done a passable impression of a team day-dreaming about impending summer holidays. Although the red card shocked them into life, their hopes of European qualification received a severe dent.

As befits two old friends and compatriots Ronald Koeman and Advocaat were all jokes and embraces but the latter had no compunction about quite possibly denying his Southampton counterpart a few continental excursions. “I was really happy when the final whistle went,” the former Holland manager said.

Just before that whistle he must have had his heart in his mouth as Costel Pantilimon made a brilliant reflex save to deny Graziano Pellè what had seemed a certain goal, but Advocaat remained adamant Sunderland merited victory. “It was a real team performance to get a result we deserved. We worked so hard,” he said. “Southampton have a very good side and we had to fight for the points. My team are really knackered now.”

Danny Graham, whose indomitable industry proved emblematic of the wider collective effort, swiftly set the upbeat tone by winning an early penalty. When he and José Fonte challenged for a dropping ball, the Southampton defender raised his boot, catching Graham and sending him crashing to the floor. Gómez stepped forward to take the penalty, evading Kelvin Davis’s reach with a thoroughly assured, kick, directed low into the bottom corner.


RFK Stadium schedules football game 1 day before United match

Events DC, the convention and sports authority overseeing RFK Stadium, announced Friday that Howard and Hampton will play in the annual AT&T Nation’s Football Classic on Sept. 18, just one day before D.C. United’s MLS regular season match against the Columbus Crew.

Typically, in order to allow the grass field to recover, Events DC provides a buffer of several days to a week between Howard’s annual game at RFK and United’s next match. However, numerous scheduling issues led to hosting back-to-back events, said Erik Moses, the group’s senior vice president and managing director for sports and entertainment.

The initial plan was to stage the football game Sept. 12 while United is at Colorado, but the date did not work for the universities. Events DC then asked if United could move the Sept. 19 MLS match to the 12th, but the Denver trip was already set.

“By the time we got it figured out, this was the only matchup we could do,” Moses said. “It was either do it this day or go a year without a [football] game and try to revive it after a year.”

Asked about the football-soccer arrangement in a 24-hour window, he said: “It’s not going to be pretty, but we’re going to do some things to try to mitigate any issues,” such as fewer painted graphics in the end zones and the possibility of painting over yard lines.

As for the quality of the field, Moses said stadium supervisors and groundskeepers “assured me the playing surface will be fine.”

Often, the most wear and tear is along the football sidelines where players stand. That area is part of the playing surface in soccer. Inclement weather could also threaten to damage the field.

The Sept. 19 match is United’s only one at home (regular season) that month.

Through a spokesman, United executives said they did not want to comment, but behind the scenes, the organization was disappointed that, as the stadium’s only full-time tenant for many years, its interests did not outweigh the football game. Last year’s college game, between Howard and Morehouse, drew 13,178. This year’s event promises to attract a bigger crowd because of Hampton’s proximity to Washington and the conference rivalry between the schools.


Newcastle left in relegation battle


Newcastle boss John Carver suspected defender Mike Williamson of deliberately getting himself sent off as the Magpies’ 3-0 loss atLeicester left them in the thick of a Barclays Premier League relegation battle.

Wins for fellow strugglers Sunderland and Aston Villa left Carver’s men teetering just two points above the drop zone while the Foxes gave their own survival prospects another shot in the arm.

Two goals from Leonardo Ulloa – the first after just 38 seconds – and one from Wes Morgan consigned the visitors to their eighth straight defeat which was made worse by the late dismissals of both Williamson and Daryl Janmaat.

Carver was raging after Williamson saw red for an unnecessary 62nd minute lunge on Jamie Vardy while Dutchman Janmaat followed in injury time for a foul on the same man.

Intimating Williamson may not have the stomach for a relegation dogfight, Carver said: “There was no need to do it. I am not accepting that, especially in the situation we are in. I thought he meant that and I have told him so. I have actually said this to his face.”

The Magpies’ day was destined to get even worse as north-east rivalsSunderland relied on two Jordi Gomez penalties to earn three potentially priceless points in a 2-1 win over Southampton at the Stadium of Light.

Gomez put his side in front in the 21st minute after Jose Fonte fouled Danny Graham but the lead lasted less than 10 minutes before Sadio Mane took advantage of a mix-up between Sebastian Coates and Costel Pantilimon to equalise.

But for once the home side did not capitulate and regained their lead 10 minutes into the second half when James Ward-Prowse was sent off for a foul on Jermain Defoe in the box and Gomez stepped up to fire home.

The win was not enough to lift Dick Advocaat’s side out of the bottom three butVilla‘s impressive 3-2 win over Everton took Tim Sherwood’s men above Carver’s Magpies into 14th place.

Christian Benteke underlined his return to form by heading home a Fabian Delph cross in the 10th minute and he added a second in the 45th minute after a Jack Grealish ball from the right.

Romelu Lukaku briefly reduced the deficit from the penalty spot on the hour before Tom Cleverley effectively sealed the win for Villa when he lobbed Tim Howard four minutes later.

Everton defender Phil Jagielka pulled a goal back in a last-minute goalmouth scramble but the hosts held out for another well-deserved win.

The revival above them made grim news forQPR and Burnley who appear doomed for the drop after painful defeats away to Liverpool andWest Ham respectively.

Rangers’ travails at Anfield were put in perspective by the tragic news earlier of the death of defender Rio Ferdinand’s wife Rebecca Ellison following a short battle with cancer.

Steven Gerrard grabbed a late winner on his penultimate appearance at Anfield after seeing an earlier penalty saved by Robert Green.

Philippe Coutinho had put the hosts in front in the 19th minute before Leroy Fer threatened to add to the recent frustration at Anfield by lashing home an equaliser from Joey Barton’s 73rd minute corner.

Gerrard failed to convert a 79th minute spot-kick which followed Nedum Onuoha’s sending-off for a foul on Martin Skrtel – but the Reds captain recovered to rocket home a header three minutes from time and seal a 2-1 win.

Rock-bottom Burnley are now eight points adrift of safety after Mark Noble’s early penalty gave West Ham a 1-0 win at Upton Park.

Noble converted from the spot in the 23rd minute after Michael Duff was somewhat harshly red-carded for a foul on Cheikhou Kouyate in the box.

Jason Shackell spurned a good chance to equalise for the visitors but Burnley keeper Tom Heaton had to work hard to keep out efforts from Enner Valencia and Morgan Amalfitano.

Jonjo Shelvey inspired a 2-0 win for Swansea over Stoke at the Liberty Stadium.

Gylfi Sigurdsson missed two early chances before the deadlock was finally broken when Jefferson Montero headed home a pinpoint Shelvey cross in the 76th minute.

Stoke were reduced to 10 men when Marc Wilson was sent off for a foul on Montero before Ki Sung-yueng converted another Shelvey cross four minutes into injury time.

Manchester United gave Liverpool more than a glimmer of hope in their push for Champions League qualification as Louis van Gaal’s team slipped to a damaging 1-0 defeat to West Brom in the late kick-off.

The Baggies had looked in danger of slipping back into the relegation dog fight when other results went against them earlier in the day.

But Tony Pulis’ side are seven points above the bottom three with three matches to go thanks to their second successive win at Old Trafford. The last time the club won back to back victories at United was in 1959.

Chris Brunt’s second-half free-kick hit Jonas Olsson and flew past David de Gea to secure a win that was accompanied by an impressive defensive display from the Midlanders.

Weekend football preview special

chelseaThis weekend’s Barclays Premier League action gets started with a big game in the race to avoid the drop as in-form Leicester host struggling Newcastle.

There are then five Premier League matches at 1500, including Liverpool against QPR and Aston Villa v Everton.

Saturday Night Football sees Manchester United host West Brom.

And there are two big games on the Super Sunday schedule this week as Tottenham host Manchester City and Chelsea look to wrap up the title with victory over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

It’s also a crucial weekend in the Sky Bet Football League – the final day of the regular season with promotion, play-off and relegation issues all to be decided. The Sky Bet Championship is up first on Saturday lunchtime, with Sky Bet League 2 action at 3pm on Saturday and the League 1 finale on Sunday.

The action also continues across Europe’s top leagues, with selected matches from La Liga – including Sevilla v Real Madrid – available for live streaming on your mobile device with no bet required!

Below are the details of our top coverage for the weekend’s action, including the 12/1 Sporting Life Accumulator and our tips across England and Scotland.