EFL

West Brom 0-1 Stoke City: Championship leaders' slump stretches to sixth winless game

By Sports Desk January 20, 2020

West Brom's slump continued with a shock 1-0 defeat at home to struggling Stoke City, with the Championship leaders now without a win in six league games.

The Baggies were boosted by being able to give Grady Diangana his first start in over a month, but he lasted only four minutes and the hosts failed to make the most of their chances as Tyrese Campbell's early goal proved decisive.

West Brom gave the ball away in midfield and Stoke pounced in the ninth minute, as Nick Powell released Tom Ince and he squared to Campbell, who beat Sam Johnstone from 12 yards.

Campbell was then forced off injured a 14 minutes later and Stoke unsurprisingly struggled in attack without him, though West Brom failed to get past Jack Butland at the other end, with Matheus Pereira guilty of a couple of suspect misses.

Victory lifts Stoke four points above the bottom three, while the Baggies remain only a point clear of Leeds United at the summit and five above third-place Fulham, with their game in hand now gone.

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    Milan must take responsibility for their draw against 10-man Fiorentina, says Stefano Pioli, but the coach was convinced his side should not have had a late penalty awarded against them.

    Ante Rebic's goal put Milan ahead after 56 minutes in Saturday's Serie A clash, with Fiorentina's chances diminished further when Dalbert was sent off after a VAR check.

    But Fiorentina rallied late on and were given a penalty when Alessio Romagnoli was deemed to have fouled ex-Rossoneri striker Patrick Cutrone, even though the defender seemed to have got the ball.

    Erick Pulgar converted beyond Asmir Begovic – who had replaced the injured Gianluigi Donnarumma early in the second half – and Milan were ultimately fortunate to come away with a point after Martin Caceres and Dusan Vlahovic missed late chances.

    Though Pioli acknowledged his side had slipped up in failing to retain their lead, he was sure Romagnoli was unfairly penalised.

    "We have to take full responsibility, as we had the game in hand, did everything we needed to do, but then stopped playing once Fiorentina went down to 10 men and assumed the game was over," he told DAZN.

    "There are regrets, we certainly shoulder responsibility, because we made errors.

    "As for the penalty, there are no doubts, it was not a penalty. You could tell from the bench that the ball moved when Romagnoli went in.

    "I do not understand why technology is not used in these situations. I do not understand it. I thought and had taken it for granted that VAR helped a referee change an incorrect decision, but apparently that is not the case.

    "It's difficult to accept, because we've had some strange incidents going against us. We shoulder a lot of the responsibility, because we made mistakes, but on the other situation, there's nothing we can do to control that."

    While Milan will leave Florence feeling hard done by, Cutrone – who clapped the travelling support after the game – insisted he had no intention to celebrate if he had been on spot-kick duties.

    "Milan will never be an opponent for me. I thank them for all they gave me and the applause at the end," Cutrone told DAZN.

    "I am happy with the point, I thank the Viola fans for their support and the Milan fans for their salute. If I had taken the penalty, I never would have celebrated because I respect Milan so much and I would never do that to them.

    "I have to thank Fiorentina for believing in me. I have to repay the club with performances and I hope many goals."

  • Levante 1-0 Real Madrid: Morales stuns Los Blancos as Hazard is hurt before crucial week Levante 1-0 Real Madrid: Morales stuns Los Blancos as Hazard is hurt before crucial week

    Real Madrid slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat at Levante thanks to Jose Luis Morales' stunning late winner, as Los Blancos produced a toothless display and lost Eden Hazard to injury ahead of a pivotal week.

    Zinedine Zidane's men created the better chances in Valencia but were wasteful in front of goal, and Morales' glorious strike means Madrid head into next weekend's Clasico trailing leaders Barcelona – who thrashed Eibar 5-0 earlier on Saturday – by two points and possibly without the injured Hazard.

    Karim Benzema was particularly culpable in the first 45 minutes, spurning a glorious opportunity early on, while Hazard – who was withdraw with what appeared to be a calf issue in the second period – also squandered a presentable chance after half-time.

    Levante became a more prominent threat going forward following the interval and ultimately sealed an unlikely win through Morales' fierce effort 11 minutes from time, with Madrid heading into the first leg of their Champions League last-16 encounter against Manchester City on the back of a woeful result.

    Madrid rarely looked worried at the back in the first half, though going forward they lacked a killer instinct.

    That was clearest in the 11th minute when Benzema should have put them in front, but he shot straight at Aitor Fernandez with only the goalkeeper to beat.

    Fernandez was alert again just before half-time, this time parrying Luka Modric's stinging drive.

    It was the same story after the break.

    The previously ineffective Hazard had the opportunity to make a decisive impact in the 53rd minute when released through on goal, but he could not get the bouncing ball fully under control and his eventual effort was scuffed harmlessly at the approaching Fernandez.

    Hazard had to be withdrawn in the 67th minute due to an apparent calf strain seemingly suffered while attempting a backheel, and Levante netted soon after.

    Morales chased a long ball down the left flank on the break and caught it sweetly as it bounced up, beating Thibaut Courtois at his near post with the venomous strike as Madrid dropped points for a second successive LaLiga game after last weekend's 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo.

  • Fiorentina 1-1 Milan: Pulgar penalty salvages draw for 10-man Viola Fiorentina 1-1 Milan: Pulgar penalty salvages draw for 10-man Viola

    Erick Pulgar's late penalty salvaged a 1-1 Serie A draw for 10-man Fiorentina against Milan on Saturday.

    Fiorentina were heading for defeat at Stadio Artemio Franchi, but Asmir Begovic – on in place of the injured Gianluigi Donnarumma – was unable to keep out a Pulgar spot-kick five minutes from time after Alessio Romagnoli was adjudged to have fouled former Patrick Cutrone.

    Pulgar's penalty cancelled out Ante Rebic's second-half opener, with the Croatia forward having netted his sixth goal in his last six Serie A appearances.

    Matters looked even bleaker for Fiorentina when Dalbert was shown a red card for a foul on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but ultimately it was Milan who were left hanging on, Dusan Vlahovic and Martin Caceres missing late chances to win it.

     

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