Premier League: Fulham 2 Newcastle United 1

10 December 2012 23:19

Fulham overcame a spirited display from Newcastle to clinch a 2-1 win in an end-to-end Premier League encounter at Craven Cottage on Monday.

The hosts took the lead in the first half courtesy of Steve Sidwell’s deflected strike from inside the penalty area.

Newcastle equalised shortly after the break through a lobbed effort from outside the box from Hatem Ben Arfa, with Mark Schwarzer wrong-footed following another deflection.

Hugo Rodallega then proved the match winner, prodding home Damien Duff’s free kick.

After a high-tempo start that saw both sides pour resources forward, it was the hosts who took the lead through Sidwell in the 18th minute, the Englishman’s effort deflecting in off Mike Williamson with Tim Krul sent the wrong way.

Fulham could have added a second moments later when Dimitar Berbatov latched on to a sloppy pass from Vurnon Anita before racing through one-on-one, but Krul did well to stay balanced and palm the Bulgarian’s effort away.

Berbatov went close again on the half-hour mark after a superb run and cross by Sascha Riether down the right which saw the former Manchester United’s acrobatic effort cleared off the line.

Riether then rose highest to nod Fabricio Coloccini’s powerful header from a corner away off the goal-line and blocked a sweetly-struck shot on goal from Demba Ba just before half-time.

This prompted a response from Newcastle and they grabbed the equaliser in the 54th minute courtesy of a sensational strike from Ben Arfa from outside the area on the right which caught the bar on its way in.

Fulham regained the lead in the 63rd minute after Rodallega buried a header at the near post, beating Coloccini in the air after Duff delivered a precise free-kick from the right flank.

With the game opening up and both defences looking vulnerable, Coloccini struck the bar with a magnificent curling effort from inside the box after a rampaging run forwards.

Despite both sides pushing for another goal, Fulham were able to hold on to their lead and secure their first league win in over a month.

Pastore improvement pleases Ancelotti

10 December 2012 22:31

Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti is pleased with Javier Pastore’s improved form for his side.

The 23-year-old Pastore has endured an inconsistent season and has been linked with a move away from Parc de Princes.

But his recent performances and surge in confidence has drawn plaudits from Ancelotti, who said a change in attitude from the Argentine has prompted the upturn.

“He has changed his attitude. He has regained confidence and it has helped him,” Ancelotti told RMCsport.

“Maybe his new position has given him a sense of freedom. He has played the last two games and done very well.

“Pastore has never thought of leaving, he is an important player for the club. In football, there are difficult times and the important thing is the reaction.

“His response to the situation has, to his credit, been very good.”

Pastore has made 12 Ligue 1 appearances this term and featured in all of his side’s Champions League games.

The attacking midfielder joined the club from Palermo in 2011.

Montolivo hails Milan victory

10 December 2012 22:13

AC Milan midfielder Riccardo Montolivo has expressed his delight with his side’s 4-2 triumph at Torino in Serie A on Sunday.

Milan recovered from an early deficit to win the match in convincing fashion, and the Italy international is pleased with the response his side provided.

“It was really enjoyable going away from home and scoring four goals, especially at a difficult place like Torino,” the 27-year-old said.

Montolivo’s team-mate Nigel de Jong, however, suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during the clash, and is expected to miss the rest of the season with the injury.

“We were all happy with the win, but sad for Nigel and the injury he suffered. I want to wish Nigel good luck – I hope he is back playing for us soon,” Montolivo said.

Milan sit seventh in Serie A and are preparing for Thursday’s Coppa Italia match against Reggina.

Falcao world´s best, says Atletico chief

10 December 2012 22:02

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo believes that Radamel Falcao is currently the best striker in the world.

The 26-year-old striker scored five of his side’s goals in Sunday’s 6-0 La Liga win over Deportivo La Coruna, and the club supremo is delighted with his star striker’s recent form.

“(Falcao) is best striker in the world,” the 64-year-old said at a presentation at the Vicente Calderon.

“It is the first time I have seen a player get five goals here. I have seen others like Christian Vieri or Milinko Pantic do four, but neither of them did five.”

Falcao’s sensational form has reportedly ignited the interest of major European clubs.

Cerezo has stated that Atletico have not received official enquiries for Falcao, but also admitted the club might not be able to hold on to him beyond the January transfer window.

Coleman delights in Everton progress

10 December 2012 21:50

Seamus Coleman has praised Everton’s ‘massive’ win over Tottenham on Sunday, which moved his side into fourth place in the Premier League.

Everton fell behind to a deflected Clint Dempsey strike before Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic scored two quick-fire goals to seal a 2-1 victory in injury time.

Coleman was relieved that his side’s profligacy did not cost them three points, with his cross for Pienaar’s equaliser helping prevent a slip down the table.

“It was a big game and a massive few points,” the Republic of Ireland international told the club’s official website.

“Before the game I was at home looking at the table and it occurred to me that a win could really put us up there but with a defeat we were looking at maybe dropping down to ninth.

“I thought during the first half, ‘here we go again’. We were making chances and not taking them.

“I got into a few good positions myself and probably didn’t get the cross in I’d have liked, so that’s why in the end I was pleased I got my head up and picked out Pienaar.

“When we were making cross after cross and chance after chance I was thinking, ‘someone please just score’.”

Coleman returned from injury for the first time since suffering defeat against Reading and now hopes to build on what has been an impressive start to the 2012/13 campaign, both individually and as club.

“I was really pleased to be back and involved in the goal,” he said.

“I thought I’d be fit for last week but unfortunately wasn’t, so it was good to be back in the team.

“I thought I had done it again in the first half but fortunately I got up and ran it off. I felt good in the end.”