Archive for January 5, 2020

Sunday 5th January 2020

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on January 5, 2020 by bishshat

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Middlesbrough 1 Spurs 1

Spurs stuttering form continued as they began a spell without Harry Kane with a 1-1 draw at Championship club Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third round.

Jose Mourinho’s side now face an unwanted replay against the Teesiders after goals from Ashley Fletcher and Lucas Moura left honours even in a drab encounter at the Riverside Stadium. Mourinho had promised to end Mauricio Pochettino’s policy of indifference towards the domestic cups and he made just three changes from the 1-0 defeat at Southampton, with Heung-min Son returning from a three-match ban to replace Kane, who is set to be sidelined until March with a torn hamstring, and Eric Dier and Harry Winks also coming in.

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Dier joined a back-three, as Mourinho looked for just a second clean sheet since succeeding Pochettino in November, while Son and Lucas Moura took turns to deputise for Kane up-front. In the absence of the England captain, Spurs looked short of a cutting edge in a poor first half, wasting a number of promising positions against Jonathan Woodgate’s dogged side.
Christian Eriksen, starting a third game running despite links to Inter Milan, had a tame effort saved by Tomas Meijas, while Boro came closest to breaking the deadlock when Paul Gazzaniga was forced into a brilliant double-save to deny Dael Fry and George Saville. A second Saville effort was cleared off the line by Toby Alderweireld as the visitors clung on.

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Within five minutes of the restart, Boro got their goal as Spurs were undone by a simple forward pass, just as they were on New Year’s Day at St. Mary’s.

Jan Vertonghen was caught flat-footed from Saville’s ball and Fletcher raced through to finish past Gazzaniga. The striker appeared to be played onside by Dier, who stepped up a fraction too late, and with no VAR to police the finest of margins, Fletcher could celebrate in comfort. Mourinho responded by replacing Ryan Sessegnon and Harry Winks with Erik Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso, and switching to a back-four. The double change had the desired impact, with Lo Celso quickly finding a yard of space and releasing Aurier down the right. Lucas cleverly drifted away from Jonny Howson and Djed Spence and nodding home the Ivorian’s superb cross at the back post.

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The goal did not bring a Spurs onslaught and Fletcher had an effort saved by Gazzaniga after a poor mistake by Vertonghen, who had switched to left-back and looked every one of his advancing years. Lamela, who was jostling for space among Spurs’ host of No.10s, then extended Meijas with an effort from range as Spurs looked to complete the comeback.

The Boro goalkeeper was busy again with nine minutes remaining when Lucas stepped inside on his and whacked a fierce effort toward the top corner, which Meijis helped round the post acrobatically, and he rushed off his line to clear Eriksen’s pass from the onrushing Lo Celso soon after. As Spurs searched for a breakthrough, Mourinho resisted making a third substitution and the cheer at the final whistle was from the Boro fans. Their team will now head to London for a replay.

Eagles 9 Seahawks 17

It was not pretty, and it was probably far more difficult than it should have been, given the circumstances, but the Seattle Seahawks went on the road and beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the final game of the wild card round, prevailing by a 17-9 score.

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Seattle took an early lead but never really extended it far enough to put the Eagles away, despite the fact that Philadelphia was working without so many injured players on both defense and offense — including Carson Wentz, who was concussed during the first quarter. The Seahawks struggled to run the ball all game, yet insisted on running it often. They also took 11 penalties, allowing the Eagles to stay in a game they probably had no business competing in once Wentz went down.

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In the end, two players made the difference in the game: Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf. Wilson did his usual thing, making something out of nothing often. But it was Metcalf’s breakout game that truly stood out. He scored what ended up being the game-winning touchdown on a 53-yard strike from Wilson. He sealed the game with a similarly-placed 36-yard catch down the field, skying over two Eagles defensive backs to haul it in and allow his team to run out the clock. He ended the game with seven catches for 160 yards and the aforementioned score.

You can listen to the latest episode, where the Superfriends discuss the Eagles-Seahawks game, in the player below, and you can subscribe to the show right here.

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The Seattle defense held Philadelphia to just three points, holding Wentz to 1 of 4 passing for three yards before his exit, then sacking Josh McCown six times on 34 dropbacks and pressuring him far more often. Seattle ended the game with seven total sacks, nine QB hits, and 11 tackles for loss. They held the Eagles to 3 of 11 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth, and 0 of 3 on their red zone trips.

Good quarterback play, explosive wide receiver play, and solid defense is as good a recipe for playoff success as there is in the NFL, and that’s what the Seahawks got on Sunday. They’ll need it again to win in Green Bay next week.