Pulis slams referee over Adam dismissal

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has voiced his frustration after Charlie Adam was sent-off in their narrow 2-1 defeat to Tottenham.

The Scottish midfielder was dismissed after being shown two yellow cards either side of half-time by referee Kevin Friend.

Tottenham’s numerical advantage eventually told, with Emmanuel Adebayor netting the winner seven minutes from time after Clint Dempsey had cancelled out Steven N’Zonzi’s early opener.

However, Pulis does not believe Adam deserved to receive a red card, stressing his belief that many greater offences have gone unpunished during other games.

“I thought the first one, Charlie has gone in and I think he’s touched (Jan) Vertonghen at the back post, he’s gone in with his foot high but he’s gone in to connect with the ball coming across the box and that was disappointing as I don’t think that’s a booking,” Pulis said.

“On the second one Charlie has made a mistake by sliding in and again I don’t think he touches Vertonghen.

“You see some challenges in some games that don’t get bookings and then you see two like that which receive yellow cards and the player is sent-off and that disappoints you.”

The Stoke boss also bemoaned his side’s luck after seeing a deflection play Dempsey onside before the American supplied the killer pass for the Spurs’ winner.

He added: “The lads kept their shape and we’re disappointed with the second goal, it was a ball forward, it’s a deflection that gets the lad (Dempsey) in.

“If it doesn’t get deflected he’s offside, but it does get deflected and it goes to a player who is onside, so that was a little bit of a luck that maybe we needed that we didn’t get.”

Scholes: This time I will retire for good

12 May 2013 19:06

Paul Scholes is “convinced” that this time he is retiring for good after calling time on his Manchester United career for a second occasion.

Having first announced in 2011 that he was hanging up his boots, the talismanic former England midfielder was subsequently persuaded by United boss Alex Ferguson to return to the game a year later.

Now, after announcing his retirement for a second time earlier this week, Scholes says he is not about to make another U-turn.

“I think this is it. I’m sure this is it. It’s probably not the season I would have liked to go out on, but the last four months have been quite difficult with injury, with my knee and trying to get back fit again,” he told Sky Sports.

“I’m totally convinced. I was convinced last time to be honest with you. At the time you are but I know now in my head that I have gone as far as I possibly can physically.

“This is the end. Again.”

Scholes’ last game will come against West Brom next Sunday, the club’s final game of the 2012/13 Premier League season.

The United midfielder’s retirement has been overshadowed somewhat by the departure of Ferguson as manager and the controversy surrounding the future of team-mate Wayne Rooney.

But having kept a low media profile in his career, Scholes is happy to go out under the radar.

He added: “It couldn’t be any better could it?

“Wayne Rooney asking for a transfer – there’s not much else that can go well for me. Yeah, it’s the perfect weekend for me. [My] last game and I will just slip under the radar and off I go.”

CSL Wrap: Hangzhou win as Guangzhou Evergrande stay top

Wang Song continued his hot scoring streak with a double in Hangzhou’s 2-1 Chinese Super League win over Shanghai SIPG on Sunday.

The midfielder has now

scored four goals in as many matches for Hangzhou, who are unbeaten in their

last three games.

The 29-year-old’s

initial involvement in the club’s latest success came from the penalty spot, as

he netted from 12 yards on the stroke of half-time.

Shanghai SIPG – who

lost 2-1 to rivals Shanghai Shenhua last week – managed to create an equaliser

with 18 minutes remaining though, making the home fans at the Yellow Dragon

Sports Center nervous.

Li Yunqiu got them

back level, setting up an exciting end to the match, but Song ensured his side

would take all three points when he netted the winner with nine minutes left as

the seventh-placed Hangzhou continued their impressive form.

Sunday’s other match

saw Guizhou Renhe claim a 1-0 win at strugglers Changchun Yatai.

Guizhou entered the

match on the back of a six-game unbeaten streak in all competitions and

although they left it late, Lei Gong’s side claimed another victory.

Chinese Taipei

international Chen Xavier got the winner with just three minutes to play, his

first goal for the club since joining from Mechelen in the off-season.

Earlier in the round,

Guangzhou Evergrande had kept up their charge at the top of the table with a

comfortable 3-0 win over Shanghai Shenhua on Friday.

Two

goals from Lin Gao and one from Linpeng Zhang ensured that the visitors

maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

The result saw them

retain a gap at the top of the table, while there were also victories for Liaoning Whowin, Shanghai Shenxin and Guangzhou R and F.

Jiangsu Sainty came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw

with Tianjin Teda as Carmelo Valencia’s own goal after 56 minutes ensured the points were shared.

Premier League: Norwich 4 West Brom 0

12 May 2013 18:16

Norwich secured Premier League football for 2013-14 with a 4-0 win over West Brom at Carrow Road on Sunday.

Goals from Robert Snodgrass, Grant Holt and Jonny Howson, as well as a Gareth McAuley own goal, were enough for the home side as they won only their third game in 2013 and ended a run of two straight defeats.

After Aston Villa’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday, Norwich are now one point ahead of Villa and six ahead of Wigan, with the latter having two games left to play.

But with those two sides meeting in the final game of the season next Sunday, only one is able to reach the 41-point mark Norwich already have.

Chris Hughton made one change to the Norwich side with John Ruddy making his return to the side after five months out with a thigh injury.

West Brom manager Steve Clarke made five changes to the side that lost against Manchester City 1-0 on Tuesday, with Ben Foster, Steven Ried, Goran Popov, Gareth McAuley and Shane Long returning to the team.

Knowing a win would guarantee Premier League survival, Norwich started the game the far brighter of the sides and forced West Brom to defend well in the opening exchanges.

Robert Snodgrass caused Popov problems down the Norwich right and nearly set up Grant Holt after skipping past his man, but his cross was blocked at the back post.

The Norwich midfield five was finding space in the West Brom half and Anthony Pilkington almost found Holt again but his cross was over hit.

Despite Norwich’s dominance, Romelu Lukaku was a threat to the home side’s defence with his pace and strength but his final ball lacked quality.

Pilkington forced Foster into a save midway through the half having found space in the box, and from the resulting half-cleared corner Snodgrass smashed the ball into the back of the net from a tight angle six yards out, after Foster had saved a Wes Hoolahan effort.

The goal woke up the away side and Lukaku continued to cause problems for the home defence but Sebastien Bassong and Ryan Bennett held firm.

However it was Norwich who had a great chance to double their lead, forcing Foster into another great save with Hoolahan firing from 30 yards out and the West Brom keeper tipping it over the bar.

Lukaku went close in the dying minutes of the first-half but his shot went wide of Ruddy’s far post.

A double substitution at half-time by Clarke saw Chris Brunt and Billy Jones replace Markus Rosenberg and Steven Ried, and it nearly paid off immediately as Lukaku found space but put his chance just wide.

The Belgium international was causing big problems for the home defence, but it was Norwich who almost added a second as Hoolahan fired a volley wide from 20 yards.

It was the home side who continued to press forward and Foster was forced into a number of saves as West Brom hung in the game.

An inspired Snodgrass was almost the architect of the second as he found Holt in the box but his header flew over the bar.

Foster, who had kept West Brom in the game then had a nightmare moment as he scuffed a clearance into the path of Holt who tapped into the empty net from close range.

Norwich added a third quickly after, as West Brom defender McAuley inadvertently headed a Snodgrass free-kick past Foster into his own net.

West Brom tried to get a goal back but England international keeper Ruddy look assured in the Norwich goal as they kept possession with some lovely two-touch passing.

Foster made a great save from Pilkington late on, redeeming himself after his error earlier, but could do nothing as Norwich wrapped it up in the 89th minute when Jonny Howson curled the ball past the keeper after a neat one-two with substitute Luciano Becchio.

Norwich can now head to Manchester City next weekend knowing survival is secure.

Premier League: Fulham 1 Liverpool 3

12 May 2013 18:04

Daniel Sturridge’s hat-trick helped Liverpool to a convincing 3-1 Premier League win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

The former Chelsea man was the star of the show with all three goals for his side to once again prove his value, as the Anfield outfit ran out convincing victors.

Dimitar Berbatov had opened the scoring for the hosts 12 minutes before the interval, but they were almost immediately pegged back by Sturridge’s powerful shot inside the box.

And the 23-year-old subsequently grabbed his second with a cool side-footed finish in the second half before, after missing a host of good chances to secure a third, he finally rounded off the result with a clever lob late on.

Fulham boss Martin Jol made three changes following his side’s embarrassing defeat to Reading, with Aaron Hughes, Kieran Richardson and Alexander Kacaniklic replacing John Arne Riise, Philippe Senderos and Urby Emanuelson.

Brendan Rodgers matched his counterpart in terms of changes, as Jose Enrique, Daniel Agger and Steven Gerrard made way for young trio Andre Wisdom, Sebastian Coates and Jonjo Shelvey.

In keeping with the theme of youth, 17-year-old centre-back Lloyd Jones also earned a place on the bench for the visitors.

Fulham came into the game having lost their last four Premier League fixtures and, after Philippe Coutinho tested Mark Schwarzer with a powerful effort, Richardson’s withdrawal due to injury a few seconds later seemed to indicate it would not be the hosts’ day.

But after half-an-hour in which both sides fall to assert their dominance, Fulham went ahead by finishing the best chance of the opening stages. Sascha Riether looked marginally offside as he found space on the right-hand side but the full-back seemed unconcerned as he curled in a perfect cross for Berbatov to nod in unmarked.

The game had been a largely even encounter until the opening goal, and a minute later Liverpool ensured it would remain that way.

A simple long ball out of the visitors’ defence caught Fulham by surprise and allowed Sturridge to jink past Aaron Hughes before smashing the ball into the roof of the net with his right foot.

Berbatov’s flicked effort five minutes from half-time, which was well blocked by Wisdom, was the best Fulham could create in response before the break.

Rodgers clearly felt his team’s lack of control in the first half was significant enough to warrant a change of approach, as Enrique was introduced in place of Wisdom before the restart. And the Spaniard almost made an immediate impact, only for Sturridge to head his cross from the left over the crossbar.

The former Chelsea forward did better with a chance on the hour mark, however, as he collected Coutinho’s deflected shot brilliantly in the box and calmly passed the ball beyond Schwarzer into the far corner of the net.

Sturridge should have grabbed his hat trick on two occasions in the immediate aftermath but he was denied by Schwarzer twice when, particularly with the latter chance, he should perhaps have picked out a team-mate.

But he eventually got his rewards for an excellent all-round performance as he clipped the ball over Schwarzer following a pin-point Coutinho with five minutes left to seal the points.