Tag Archives: decisive

Aston Villa 0 Manchester City 1: Carlos Tevez scores winner

Aston Villa 0 Manchester City 1: Mancini's men made to toil for victory over strugglers

PUBLISHED:

21:53 GMT, 4 March 2013

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 4 March 2013

Carlos Tevez scored the decisive goal as Manchester City kept their title hopes hanging by a thread with a win at Aston Villa.

After a solid start from Villa, the visitors took control of the game. Edin Dzeko pounced on a Ciaran Clark error to slide the ball into Tevez, who rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home on the stroke of half-time.

City struck the upright twice after through Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta, but couldn't increase their lead to kill the game off.

One up: Carlos Tevez (right) put Manchester City 1-0 up against Aston Villa

One up: Carlos Tevez (right) put Manchester City 1-0 up against Aston Villa

One up: Carlos Tevez (right) put Manchester City 1-0 up against Aston Villa
MATCH FACTS

Aston Villa: Guzan, Clark, Bennett, Baker, Lowton, N'Zogbia (Holman 65), Westwood (El Ahmadi 86), Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke, Weimann (Dawkins 84)

Subs not used: Given, Lichaj, Sylla, Bowery

Booked: Benteke, Delph

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Clichy, K Toure, Nastasic, Milner, Garcia, Rodwell (Dzeko 25), Silva (Barry 90), Y Toure, Tevez (Nasri 75)

Subs not used: Pantilimon, Lescott, Kolarov, Sinclair

Goal: Tevez 45

Referee: Mike Dean

More to follow…

Relief: City celebrate their goal on the stroke of half-time from the Argentina international

Relief: City celebrate their goal on the stroke of half-time from the Argentina international

Aerial battle: Edin Dzeko gets above Ciaran Clark (right) to win a header

Aerial battle: Edin Dzeko gets above Ciaran Clark (right) to win a header

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Up for it: Christian Benteke (left) made a nuisance of himself for City's back four

Up for it: Christian Benteke (left) made a nuisance of himself for City's back four

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Tussle: Fabian Delph (right) pursues City playmaker David Silva

Tussle: Fabian Delph (right) pursues City playmaker David Silva

Running the show: Yaya Toure (left) struck the post midway through the second half

Running the show: Yaya Toure (left) struck the post midway through the second half

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Out of this world: Two Aston Villa fans dress up to show their support for Christian Benteke

Out of this world: Two Aston Villa fans dress up to show their support for Christian Benteke

Out of this world: Two Aston Villa fans dress up to show their support for Christian Benteke

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Injury curse: Jack Rodwell was marking his 11th appearance for Manchester City since his summer arrival from Everton

Injury curse: Jack Rodwell was marking his 11th appearance for Manchester City since his summer arrival from Everton

Blow: Rodwell was replaced by Edin Dzeko after suffering an apparent hamstring injury

Blow: Rodwell was replaced by Edin Dzeko after suffering an apparent hamstring injury

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Expressive: Frustrations boil over for Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini

Expressive: Frustrations boil over for Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini

West Ham latest: Winston Reid agrees new two-year deal

Reid all about it! A good sign for West Ham as Toon target agrees new two-year deal

By
Simon Jones

PUBLISHED:

10:29 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 15 January 2013

EXCLUSIVE

Winston Reid has agreed a new two-year extension to his West Ham contract to see off interest from Barclays Premier League heavyweights, including Newcastle.

Reid, the Hammers' best player this season, was out of contract in the summer and that alerted top-flightt vultures.

But Sportsmail has learned West Ham have invoked a two-year extension clause in his deal and club sources will renegotiate further in the summer with the lure of a five-year deal.

Promising signs: New Zealand defender Winston Reid has agreed a new two-year deal with West Ham

Promising signs: New Zealand defender Winston Reid has agreed a new two-year deal with West Ham

So impressed have the east London club been with Reid, they want him to become an Upton Park stalwart.

'There was never any chance of us letting him go,' said a club insider. 'We want to build for the future and Winston has a key role to play going forward.'

New Zealand centre half Reid has become a popular figure at West Ham and is rated highly by manager Sam Allardyce, who has built his defensive strategy around him.

Reid, 24, moved to Denmark when he was 10 and received Danish citizenship but always wanted to play for his native New Zealand.

Fans' favourite: Winston Reid won the acclaim of Hammers supporters after his decisive goal against arch-rivals Millwall last season at Upton Park

Fans' favourite: Winston Reid won the acclaim of Hammers supporters after his decisive goal against arch-rivals Millwall last season at Upton Park

West Ham signed Reid from FC Midtjylland and he was a mainstay of their promotion season – and even scored an important goal against Millwall for which he is revered for by the fans.

He was rested for the third-round FA Cup draw with Manchester United but may return to the side for the replay with James Collins injured. It could see Reid up against Robin van Persie, the hottest striker in the Premier League.

West Ham sources believe this deal is a sign of their ambition as they look to build on the squad through the transfer window. The club are looking for a left back to join Reid in the back four.

Everton 1 Chelsea 2: Frank Lampard double helps Blues to victory

Everton 1 Chelsea 2: Lampard delivers again as Blues recover from early blow to move back into third place

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UPDATED:

21:50 GMT, 30 December 2012

Frank Lampard has made a habit of being in the right place at the right time over his years at Chelsea.

How peculiar, then, that from the end of this season, he will probably be somewhere else entirely.

Of all the bizarre events that have characterised Chelsea’s recent history, the apparent decision to jettison one of their most important players next summer is among the more perplexing.

At the double: Lampard celebrates his second and decisive goal

At the double: Lampard celebrates his second and decisive goal

MATCH FACTS

Everton: Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Naismith (Vellios 76), Osman, Hitzlsperger (Barkley 78), Pienaar (Oviedo 80), Anichebe, Jelavic.
Subs not used: Mucha, Gueye, Duffy, Browning.
Goal: Pienaar 1.
Bookings: Distin, Pienaar.

Chelsea: Cech (Turnbull 46), Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Luiz, Lampard, Mata (Oscar 85), Torres, Hazard (Moses 74).
Subs not used: Ferreira, Marin, Piazon, Ake.
Goals: Lampard 42, 72.
Bookings: Cole, Luiz, Cahill.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

Lampard has made almost 400 Barclays
Premier League appearances for Chelsea as the club have established
themselves as one of the best in Europe. He has been a cornerstone of
all that has been achieved in the Roman Abramovich years. However, those
who suggest that Lampard should be rewarded for his loyalty with a new
contract miss the point.

He should be invited to stay at
Stamford Bridge not out of sentiment but simply because he still has
something to offer a squad that needs continuity more than most others.

Lampard’s two goals at Goodison Park
yesterday were certainly timely. They enabled his team to recover from a
second-minute Everton goal to continue their impressive recent
progress and they also provided a reminder of his enduring worth as a
footballer. At 34, Lampard may not be as mobile or as dynamic as he once
was. Time has inevitably diminished him.

Nevertheless, the England midfielder’s ability to pass and read and anticipate play remains undimmed.

One senses that Rafael Benitez
recognises this and it is a shame that it is someone else other than the
club’s interim manager who would appear to be making the decisions
about players at Chelsea.

Certainly, yesterday, Benitez will have been grateful.

Giving Everton the Blues: Lampard scores Chelsea's winner

Giving Everton the Blues: Lampard scores Chelsea's winner

Heads up: Frank Lampard scores Chelsea's first half equaliser

Heads up: Frank Lampard scores Chelsea's first half equaliser

Chelsea fell behind after only 63
seconds and then had to withstand something of a blitz from David
Moyes’s progressive Everton team.

That they did so says much for the
manner in which Benitez has organised his team and the confidence that
has come from recent victories.

Putting eight goals past a poor Aston
Villa team at home is one thing but moving forward to win at Norwich and
then here on Merseyside is arguably more impressive.

Get in there, Frank: Lampard is congratulated after scoring

Get in there, Frank: Lampard is congratulated after scoring

Are you listening, Roman A Chelsea fan holding up a special banner at Goodison Park

Are you listening, Roman A Chelsea fan holding up a special banner at Goodison Park

The first half-hour belonged to
Everton. Unfortunately for the home side, it brought them only one goal.
Ultimately, that proved critical.

A good goal it was, though, as Everton
took advantage of Eden Hazard’s misplaced early pass to sweep down the
right through Phil Jagielka.

The emergency right back’s cross was a
good one, and it enabled Victor Anichebe to climb above Cesar
Azpilicueta — with the help of a shove in the back — and head powerfully
against the post. If Chelsea thought the danger had passed, they were
wrong. Steven Pienaar was lurking 12 yards from goal and the technique
he showed in drilling the ball low past Petr Cech was exemplary.

What a start: Steven Pienaar fires Everton in front after just a minute

What a start: Steven Pienaar fires Everton in front after just a minute

Pure delight: Pienaar celebrates his goal

Pure delight: Pienaar celebrates his goal

A goal to the good so quickly, Everton
were effervescent and inventive. For a while, Chelsea had no answer.
The likes of Lampard, David Luiz and Juan Mata were slow into the game,
and they were almost invisible as the hosts swept forward.

Moyes’s players created chances but
couldn’t take them. Nikica Jelavic struck a free-kick against the post
with Cech stranded before Anichebe headed over after a throw-in was
flicked on from the right.

Perhaps the turning point arrived in
the 24th minute, though, as another Jagielka cross reached the
impressive Leon Osman and Cech somehow managed to smuggle a fierce low
drive past his left-hand post.

Had Chelsea fallen two goals behind at
this point, there might have been no way back. They really had offered
very little at this point.

As it was, though, Cech touched a
Jelavic cross-shot wide after a superb Pienaar pass, and Chelsea sprung
forward to equalise just before half-time.

The goal hadn’t exactly been coming, but Chelsea had been improving quietly as time went on.

Making his point: Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez (right) and Everton boss David Moyes on the sidelines

Making his point: Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez (right) and Everton boss David Moyes on the sidelines

Battle: Sylvain Distin clashes with Fernando Torres

Battle: Sylvain Distin clashes with Fernando Torres

In the 34th minute, Ashley Cole had
been an inch away from diverting a low Azpilicueta cross into the net at
the far post, and they equalised when Fernando Torres ran the ball down
the right, fed Ramires and watched the Brazilian drop a right-foot
cross on the forehead of Lampard eight yards from goal. He simply wasn’t
going to miss.

No doubt relieved to be level, Chelsea
began the second half the stronger, even though they had lost
goalkeeper Cech at half-time to an ankle injury.

With Luiz, Mata and Ramires now
looking more like themselves, a Luiz chipped pass deserved better than a
poor Torres touch while Chelsea’s centre forward found a much better
contact in bringing a superb save from Tim Howard in the 67th minute.

At the other end, Everton’s threat was
by now more sporadic, but they remained very much in the game and
superb work from Leighton Baines down the left enabled Jelavic to head
against the bar as the game hung in the balance with 20 minutes left.

Moyes was later to rue his team’s failure to follow up rebounds.

It was pertinent, then, that Chelsea
won the game just minutes later when a superb move involving Ramires,
Torres, Mata and Hazard ended with Lampard bundling the ball in from
close range after Howard had saved.

Still there was time for Jelavic to
dawdle over a late chance after another Baines cross, and perhaps
Everton would have deserved a point.

Chelsea, though, are threatening to become as ruthless on the field as they are off it.

Frank Lampard knows this well.

Fan-tastic: Everton supporters watch the action unfold on the final Sunday of 2012

Fan-tastic: Everton supporters watch the action unfold on the final Sunday of 2012

Where do Aston Villa and Paul Lambert go from here?

After their drubbing by Wigan, where do Aston Villa and Lambert go from here

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 30 December 2012

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There would be few prizes for guessing the topic of conversation as Aston Villa’s decision makers gathered for a summit meeting yesterday.

Owner Randy Lerner, chief executive Paul Faulkner and manager Paul Lambert would have but one subject in mind: where on earth do we go from here

Oh, to have been a fly-on-the-wall at Lerner’s converted farmhouse in the north Warwickshire countryside as the latest depressing episode in Villa’s history was dissected.

What now It was a case of it never rains but it pours for Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert as they slumped to a dire 3-0 defeat by Wigan on Saturday

What now It was a case of it never rains but it pours for Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert as they slumped to a dire 3-0 defeat by Wigan on Saturday

Fifteen goals conceded in three matches. The heaviest defeat in the club’s history at Chelsea. Back-to-back home reversals to Spurs on Boxing Day and relegation rivals Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

In 2010, as Gerard Houllier fought with Villa’s senior players, Lerner was backed into a corner and stumped up 18million with 6m add-ons to purchase Darren Bent and guarantee Premier League survival.

Twelve months ago the situation was not as desperate. But Alex McLeish still asked for, and received, temporary assistance in the shape of Robbie Keane. Villa limped over the line to safety, the club damaged by the bitterness surrounding a misguided managerial appointment.

After a change of policy to bringing in young and hungry players under Lambert, the club once more find themselves at a crossroads.

Several senior players are currently sidelined through injury. Another clutch of first-teamers have been marginalised at the manager’s discretion and there is a third group whose top-flight experience extends to half a season. The situation is crying out for decisive action.

Rock bottom: Villa's Stephen Ireland (left) and Chris Herd don't know where to look as Wigan take control of the match

Rock bottom: Villa's Stephen Ireland (left) and Chris Herd don't know where to look as Wigan take control of the match

Bizarrely, it is little more than two weeks since Villa won 3-1 at Anfield. It was in the week building up to that game that Lambert’s team defeated Norwich City to confirm a spot in the League Cup semi-finals against Bradford City. Incredibly, Wembley beckons.

But so, on the form of the past week, does relegation.

Of course, Lambert can do little about the series of injuries that have befallen key players.

Ron Vlaar, Gabby Agbonlahor, Charles N’Zogbia and Darren Bent are all on the treatment table.

The problem for Lambert is that these absences are recent. Villa were hardly pulling up any trees in the Premier League with their help.

And Bent finds himself in two groups. First, among those senior players who are missing through injury. However, he can also count himself among those who have been marginalised. When Lambert arrived, he did so with a promise to get the club’s star striker firing again.

Grim outlook: Some embarrassed faces on the Villa bench as they lose to Wigan

Grim outlook: Some embarrassed faces on the Villa bench as they lose to Wigan

He promptly made him captain.

Suddenly, Bent was dropped. Not just from the team, but from the squad. What happened

Lambert had tried to replicate what he had done with his previous club, Norwich City. When the former Champions League winner (as a midfielder with Borussia Dortmund) arrived at Carrow Road, he identified Grant Holt as the man who could keep order in the dressing room and set a good example.

When Lambert asked Bent to do the same at Villa, the club’s manager was disappointed with the response.

He was then faced with a dilemma. Should he allow the England international to continue in a role to which he clearly wasn’t suited Or does he exert his managerial authority and teach Bent a lesson

Too easy: Wigan's Ivan Ramis celebrates opening the scoring after three minutes

Too easy: Wigan's Ivan Ramis celebrates opening the scoring after three minutes

With so many young professionals, Lambert chose the second option. Bent is now recovering from a hamstring injury. And the Scot is under severe pressure. His honeymoon is over. The issue remains.

In fairness, Villa supporters have bestowed the most generous of mandates on Lambert to produce winning football.

‘We’ve had some really heavy defeats,’ said Brett Holman, who is as straight-talking as his Australian background would suggest, ‘we are in a dip.

‘People might say we lack Premier League experience, but they weren’t saying it after we beat Liverpool at Anfield.

‘It could help if you have a couple of players who have 200-300 league games behind them.’

Just a dip: Brett Holman (centre) defended Villa's young team

Just a dip: Brett Holman (centre) defended Villa's young team

And so to yesterday’s meeting. Lerner is reluctant to keep footing the bill for huge losses but appreciates he may need to dig deep to avoid a relegation battle once more.

Lambert wants an experienced centre half, an energetic, ball-winning midfielder and another striker. All preferably with Premier League experience.

But which player, of any experience and quality, is going to see Aston Villa as a good career move

Of course, Villa could always do nothing. Tough it out.

But with three cup-ties in January, not to mention home games against fellow relegation candidates Southampton and Newcastle, it would be a bold gamble.

Arsenal target Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa wants Manchester United move

My dream is to play for United! Arsenal target Yanga-Mbiwa would rather Old Trafford move

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UPDATED:

16:12 GMT, 29 December 2012

Arsenal target Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has admitted he dreams of playing in the Premier League – but for Manchester United.

The Montpellier central defender has said United are his preferred choice and his career ambition is to play for the league leaders.

Gunner get ya! Yanga-Mbiwa is wanted by Arsenal, but dreams of playing for Man United

Gunner get ya! Yanga-Mbiwa is wanted by Arsenal, but dreams of Man United

'My dream is to play wearing the shirt
(of United) at Old Trafford,' he told France Football. My favourite
club, without a doubt, is United.'

'In my dreams, I am sliding on my knees towards the corner at the stadium. I am scoring a decisive goal from a corner, a header. That would be alright!'

The 23-year old was linked with a move to the Emirates in the summer, after lifting the Ligue 1 title with Montpellier, but a deal failed to materialise.

Montpellier meanwhile are barely recognisable from their phenomenal season last term, despite having managed to claw themselves from 16th to 11th in the table.

Losing Yanga-Mbiwa would represent a colossal blow for the champions, who have already lost defender Cyril Jeunechamp to a year-long ban, for striking L’Equipe journalist Jose Barroso in the face, after he took offence to an article Barroso published in November.

On the move The defender would love to switch to the Premier League

On the move The defender would love to switch to the Premier League

Nigel Adkins proud of Southampton

Adkins proud of brave Saints after victory over Reading lifts them out of drop zone

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UPDATED:

20:18 GMT, 8 December 2012

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins is proud of the way his players rose to the challenge against fellow strugglers Reading today to move out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory.

Saints came into the match a place, and three points, better off than their opponents, who pipped the Hampshire side to the npower Championship title last season.

Adkins' side exacted revenge for that today, with Jason Puncheon's solitary goal enough to secure victory and propel Southampton up to 15th in the Barclays Premier League standings.

Delight: Jason Puncheon scored the decisive goal

Delight: Jason Puncheon scored the decisive goal

'It is a good three points for us,' the Saints boss said. 'It is important to win our home games, especially against the teams close to us in the league.

'I thought we thoroughly deserved the victory today and, in fact, I would have liked us to have scored some more goals from the opportunities we created.

'All-in-all, we've got to be happy with the clean sheet and three points. The players stepped up to the mark.

'There might be talk [of pressure] on the outside, but the players deserve all the credit.

'They work really hard on the training ground and there is a great togetherness about them.

'They've gone out and put on a very good performance. I think if we can keep concentrating on our performances and what we want to do, we give ourselves an opportunity to go and win.'

Right-winger Puncheon was the standout player for Southampton and Adkins felt he should have had two goals today, having seen a first-half header chalked off.

'It was a great goal, I am delighted with it,' Adkins said of the goal that did stand.

Eyes on the prixe: Adam Lallana looks to control the ball

Eyes on the prixe: Adam Lallana looks to control the ball

Struggle: Both Reading and Southampton are near the foot of the table

Struggle: Both Reading and Southampton are near the foot of the table

'Jason could have had a few more. He had a few opportunities and a perfectly good goal disallowed as well.

'But the goal is off the training ground and we have a midfield player dropping out in between the defender and the full-back.

'We get somebody in the pocket, our full-back playing up high and wide player coming inside. Good quick play and an excellent goal.'

Asked if he thought the disallowed goal was one of a number of decisions to have gone against Saints recently, Adkins retorted: 'Yes, but it will change.

'We will keep grafting, we won't whinge about it and we will get on with it.'

While there were many positives for Southampton today, including a second Premier League clean sheet, they did lose captain Adam Lallana to injury in the first half.

'We've got him in a brace and he is on crutches at the moment,' Adkins said. 'That is standard procedure.

'He has got a knee injury and what we will do is assess that over the next 24 to 48 hours and that will give us a better prognosis to how long potentially he will be out for.

'It could be short, it could be longer. We don't know so we won't guess at the moment.'

Southampton fans will hope the two-week break they now have due to scheduled opponents Chelsea's Club World Cup commitments will allow Lallana time to recover.

Proud: Nigel Adkins was delighted with the result

Proud: Nigel Adkins was delighted with the result

Adkins also revealed that the period should be enough for Argentinian goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga to return to training from a shoulder injury.

While Southampton can relax, starting with their Christmas party tomorrow night, Reading face a quick turnaround.

Brian McDermott's side were second best at St Mary's today as they slumped to a fourth successive defeat – hardly ideal preparation for a trip to Sunderland on Tuesday.

'We are disappointed,' the Reading boss said. 'We had an opportunity [to win] in the first half and hit the post.

'That first goal was always going to be really, really important. They got it.

'In the second half I didn't really feel we stepped on the way we needed to get three points, never mind one.

Ouch: Adkins hopes that the two weeks off they have will give Lallana time to recover

Ouch: Adkins hopes that the two weeks off they have will give Lallana time to recover

'I think it is hard to look and reflect straight after the game. At the moment, you would imagine there would be a lot of doom and gloom around the place after a loss like that.

'I understand that completely because the second half we did not really do ourselves justice, especially with the ball.

'We know we have to be better than that and we now have another game on Tuesday to pick ourselves up.'

David Beckham farewell ends with victory for LA Galaxy over Houston Dynamo

From cynicism to people's champion, Beckham heads back to Europe after his American adventure more acclaimed than ever

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UPDATED:

00:23 GMT, 2 December 2012

What began amid cynicism and courted controversy and suspicion along the way, ended here in California tonight with a standing ovation. David Beckham’s American journey is over and he heads back to Europe as a winner.

It was six years ago that Beckham moved to Los Angeles at the age of 31 to play football. It seemed a peculiar thing to do for a man still with so many years ahead of him. The MLS was not a great league and LA Galaxy were a club – or a ‘franchise’ – in a bit of a mess.

But as Beckham took his leave a minute before the end of his team’s 3-1 win in the MLS Cup Final here today, few would contest his own view that America has been as good to him as, eventually, he has been to America.

Fond farewell: David Beckham has crowned his six year spell in the United States and the Los Angeles Galaxy with another MLS Cup victory, after they beat Houston Dynamo 3-1

Fond farewell: David Beckham has crowned his six year spell in the United States and the Los Angeles Galaxy with another MLS Cup victory, after they beat Houston Dynamo 3-1

Here's the punchline: Beckham celebrates after Omar Gonzalez had brought the match level at 1-1 early in the second half

Here's the punchline: Beckham celebrates after Omar Gonzalez had brought the match level at 1-1 early in the second half

Family man: Beckham lines up with his sons, Brooklyn (left), Romeo (middle) and Cruz before kick-off

Family man: Beckham lines up with his sons, Brooklyn (left), Romeo (middle) and Cruz before kick-off

Trailing by a goal at half-time, it looked for a while as though Beckham’s big day was about to collapse around his sparkling pink football foots. Galaxy had been the better team but had been hit by a sucker punch from Houston just before the interval.

In the second half, though, Beckham wrote his name all over this contest. He was the game’s best player and by full-time he had made many of the decisive contributions.

Beckham may not be able to run like he once could. It will be this, in all likelihood, that ultimately prevents him landing a contract at one of Europe’s bigger clubs as he looks to extend his remarkable career yet further in the coming weeks.

As a football technician, though, he remains almost unparalleled. Here today, some of his passing was reminiscent of his salad days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. Playing deep in the centre of midfield, the 37-year-old found the time and space to deliver telling passes with familiar regularity.

Still got it: Beckham produced a number of superlative, hallmark passes during the final

Still got it: Beckham produced a number of superlative, hallmark passes during the final

Hair-raising: Beckham challenged Houston's Ricardo Clark to the ball

Hair-raising: Beckham challenged Houston's Ricardo Clark to the ball

Indeed the one 80-yard first-time pass he played with his right foot to Robbie Keane on the hour will not be bettered anywhere this weekend. It was classic Beckham.

With the Home Depot Center awash with Beckham t-shirts and banners – “Take us with you, Becks” read one popular shirt – this day was somewhat different to the difficult early ones when the former England captain’s commitment to his team was questioned by supporters and colleagues alike.

Ultimately, it was just a shame that he was denied a fitting finale.

Much loved: Beckham's departure was mourned by LA Galaxy fans, who made a number of tribute banners for his farewell

Much loved: Beckham's departure was mourned by LA Galaxy fans, who made a number of tribute banners for his farewell

Memento: This Galaxy fan wanted the shirt of Beckham's back

Memento: This Galaxy fan wanted the shirt of Beckham's back

With Galaxy awarded a penalty with seconds remaining, Beckham and team-mate Landon Donovan – the regular taker – seemed to agree that the Englishman would take it. He seemed set to end his career here with a goal.

Keane had other ideas, however, and the Irishman didn’t even look at his team-mate as he placed the ball and slotted it in to the net for the third goal.

As Keane celebrated, though, it was Beckham who was mobbed. Moments earlier he had sunk to his knees. His final mission had been accomplished.

As he left the field soon after, 30,000 people rose to applaud him. He merely waved to his three sons in the crowd and took his place on the bench.

Beckham’s visit to America is over and he ends it with another trophy. Has he been a success over here Try telling the Galaxy otherwise.

West Brom 0 Stoke 1 match report – Dean Whitehead scores winner

West Brom 0 Stoke 1: Whitehead strikes late to further dent Baggies' flying start

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UPDATED:

17:32 GMT, 1 December 2012

Stoke continued their dominance against West Brom as substitute Dean Whitehead scored a late winner in the Barclays Premier League clash at The Hawthorns.

Whitehead converted a cross from fellow substitute Michael Kightly to earn the Potters their first away league win since January.

Tony Pulis' side have taken 13 points from the last five games, while for the fifth-placed Baggies it was a second setback in the space of 72 hours following Wednesday night's 3-1 loss at Swansea.

Job done: Dean Whitehead scores the decisive goal for Stoke

Job done: Dean Whitehead scores the decisive goal for Stoke

Chase is on: Markus Rosenberg (right) attempts to hold off Ryan Shotton

Chase is on: Markus Rosenberg (right) attempts to hold off Ryan Shotton

MATCH FACTS

West Brom: Myhill, Reid, Olsson, Popov, McAuley, Yacob (Brunt 81), Dorrans, Mulumbu, Gera (Odemwingie 64), Rosenberg (Lukaku 64), Long

Subs not used: Daniels, Ridgewell, Tamas, Morrison

Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Shotton, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam (Whitehead 65), Etherington (Kightly 59), Jones, Walters

Subs not used: Sorensen, Upson, Wilkinson, Palacios, Edu

Booked: Huth, Shawcross, Adam

Goal: Whitehead 75

Referee: Friend

Attendance: 24,739

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

Stoke's victory means Albion have
failed to defeat them in front of their own fans for nine years and they
have triumphed only twice in the last 30 league meetings.

They have won all four Premier League encounters at The Hawthorns without conceding a goal.
Kenwyne Jones made his first Premier League start of the season in place
of the injured Peter Crouch and was a constant threat to the West Brom
defence.

Albion drew a blank at home for the
first time this season and seldom looked like finding a way through the
Stoke back four in which skipper Ryan Shawcross was outstanding.

Youssouf Mulumbu gave his usual solid display in midfield while defender Gareth McAuley made several crucial challenges.

But Albion lacked their usual spark
in the attacking third of the pitch as they missed the opportunity to
reclaim third spot after Chelsea's lunchtime defeat against West Ham.

West Brom head coach Steve Clarke
made six changes from the side beaten at Swansea in midweek and handed a
debut to Sweden striker Markus Rosenberg.

Sliding in: Ryan Shawcross goes in hard on Graham Dorrans

Sliding in: Ryan Shawcross goes in hard on Graham Dorrans

Battle: Robert Huth (left) attempts to take the ball from the feet of Shane Long

Battle: Robert Huth (left) attempts to take the ball from the feet of Shane Long

Tussle: Dorrans tries to find a way past Steven N'Zoni at The Hawthorns

Tussle: Dorrans tries to find a way past Steven N'Zoni at The Hawthorns

ones came close to breaking the deadlock in the 14th minute after a quiet opening to the game.
The Trinidad & Tobago international got on the end of a cross from
Geoff Cameron and directed his header back across goal and only inches
wide of the post.

Shawcross produced a fine tackle to
halt the run of Graham Dorrans on the edge of the Stoke box after a
reverse pass from Rosenberg.

Robert Huth blocked a fierce drive
from Mulumbu after Dorrans had found him in space but neither goalkeeper
had a save to make in the opening half-hour.

Huth became the first player to be yellow-carded after 35 minutes for bringing down Shane Long.
Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic had to back-pedal to parry a speculative dipping 40-yard attempt from Steven Reid over the bar.

Charlie Adam became the second Stoke player to be booked a minute before half-time for a foul on Zoltan Gera.

Goal-den boy: Tony Pulis puts his arm around his goalscorer

Goal-den boy: Tony Pulis puts his arm around his goalscorer

Wheeling away: Whitehead (left) and Jon Walters (right) celebrate

Wheeling away: Whitehead (left) and Jon Walters (right) celebrate

Shawcross followed him into referee Kevin Friend's notebook shortly after the restart after bringing down Long.

Begovic dealt comfortably with Jonas
Olsson's looping header from Long's cross as clear-cut chances continued
to be at a premium.

Pulis replaced Matthew Etherington with former Wolves winger Michael Kightly after 59 minutes.
Clarke then brought on forward players Romelu Lukaku and Peter Odemwingie for the ineffective Rosenberg and Gera.

Hounded: Goran Popov (right) is pursued by Walters

Hounded: Goran Popov (right) is pursued by Walters

Come here: Youssouf Mulumbu (right) leaves Charlie Adam in his wake

Come here: Youssouf Mulumbu (right) leaves Charlie Adam in his wake

McAuley produced a superb tackle inside the Baggies box to halt Jones in full flight.

But after 75 minutes Stoke broke the deadlock after a rare mistake by Jonas Olsson.

The centre-back tried to keep the
ball in play when challenging Jones but only succeeded in finding
Kightly. He ran unopposed into the Albion area and his low cross was
turned home by Whitehead.

Begovic parried a Dorrans drive but Stoke held out with relative ease for the three points.

Video: Ryan Giggs best 11 goals for Manchester United

Video: Happy birthday, Ryan… the Welsh wizard's top 10 goals for Manchester United

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UPDATED:

13:36 GMT, 29 November 2012

Ryan Giggs is celebrates his 39th birthday today and the Manchester United winger has played in every Premier League season since its inception in 1992. To celebrate the No 11's birthday, Sportsmail looks back at his best 10 goals over his glittering career.

Arsenal, April 1999

The greatest Giggs goal of all. United fans will never forget that run from inside his own half, that left-foot finish from a tight angle and that hairy chest. It wasn’t just the goal but the part it played in settling a titanic FA Cup semi-final replay and defining United’s Treble season.

Coventry City, December 1992

There seemed to be little danger when Coventry cleared the ball to the edge of their own penalty box but, with his back to goal, Giggs took it down with the first touch of his left foot and turned to fire a magnificent swerving shot into the top corner of Jonathan Gould’s goal.

Tottenham, September 1992

The floppy-haired teenager truly announced his arrival on the big stage by taking the ball from one Spurs defender, nutmegging another, going round goalkeeper Ian Walker and lashing a shot past a third defender desperately trying to cover the near post.

Blackburn Rovers, May 1993

The night United celebrated their first Premier League title and what a way to do it. Blackburn were threatening to spoil the party when Giggs stepped up to take a freekick 30 yards from goal and sent it soaring over the wall and into the top corner with Bobby Mimms helpless.

Queens Park Rangers, February 1994

Poor old Ray Wilkins had no chance as Giggs took the ball away from the veteran midfielder and left Darren Peacock flat on his backside. Four QPR defenders pursued the youngster and were left strewn about the penalty box as he lifted the ball over Jan Stejsdal.

Juventus, October 1997

Giggs scored the decisive goal in five against a Juventus side featuring Zidane and Del Piero, running onto a pass from Teddy Sheringham in the 89th minute of a Champions League tie at Old Trafford and bursting past his marker before leaving Angelo Peruzzi grasping at air with another fantastic left-foot finish.

Chelsea 21st October 1995

Setting off from the halfway line, Giggs teased three Chelsea defenders before jinking his way into the penalty box, leaving them staggering in his wake. Dmitri Kharin came out to try and narrow the angle but Giggs was there first to prod the ball home.

Coventry City, January 1997

United's attack appeared to have broken down when Dennis Irwin was tackled 25 yards from goal. But Giggs won the ball back with a perfect sliding challenge and then instinctively curled a wonderful effort with his weaker right foot beyond Steve Ogrizovic and into the top corner.

Manchester City, April 1996

Twice City had pegged United back in the Manchester derby at Maine Road when Eric Cantona slipped the ball into Giggs. Keith Curle made the fatal mistake of not closing him down, and the young winger hammered a shot inside Eike Immel’s near post. The United fans didn’t even realise Giggs had scored until he wheeled away backwards in celebration.

Barnsley, October 1997

United were already well on their way to a 7-0 thrashing of the Premier League newcomers at Old Trafford when Giggs cut infield past two Barnsley defenders and despatched an unstoppable effort that gave the keeper no chance. Another demonstration that he’s half decent with his right foot as well.

Real Betis 1 Real Madrid 0: Match report

Real Betis 1 Real Madrid 0: Mourinho's band of superstars suffer yet another title setback

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UPDATED:

00:06 GMT, 25 November 2012

Etxebarria Benat's first-half strike dealt a heavy blow to Real Madrid's defence of their Primera Division title as Real Betis claimed a famous win.

Jose Mourinho's men dominated throughout yet they could not find a way through Betis' defence and goalkeeper Adrian in particular after they had fallen behind to Benat's first-half strike from 25 yards.

The defeat was Madrid's first in nine league matches and they remain eight points adrift of leaders Barcelona, who could stretch their lead even further at sixth-placed Levante on Sunday.

Dejection: Sergio Ramos (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo (right) could not make a breakthrough for Real Madrid

Dejection: Sergio Ramos (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo (right) could not make a breakthrough for Real Madrid

Betis, meanwhile, made significant
amends for their 5-1 humiliation at the hands of local rivals Sevilla
last week and they moved up to fifth.

There were no signs of an upset in
the early stages as Madrid, who were on the right side of a 5-1 result
last week against Athletic Bilbao, settled nicely, with Cristiano
Ronaldo's left-foot strike palmed away by Betis goalkeeper Adrian.

Germany international Sami Khedira
fired wide from the edge of the area but the visitors were stunned when
Benat put Betis ahead against the run of play with their first foray on
goal.

The midfielder collected the ball 30 yards from goal and dribbled past Khedira before drilling low into the left corner.

Mobbed: Benat Etxebarria (right) scored the decisive goal

Mobbed: Benat Etxebarria (right) scored the decisive goal

Another one: Ronaldo did not score against Manchester City or Betis

Another one: Ronaldo did not score against Manchester City or Betis

And Mourinho's men could have been
two down had it not been for a superb save from Iker Casillas, who
tipped over Ruben Castro's strike from the left side of the penalty
area.

Yet it was Madrid who continued to
control the tempo of proceedings and Angel Di Maria spurned two decent
chances to level in quick succession.

First, the Argentinian's effort from
close range was tipped over by Adrian and the winger then latched onto
Karim Benzema's ball into the area before lifting the ball onto the roof
of the net.

Benzema thought he had grabbed the
equaliser after converting Xabi Alonso's free-kick but was ruled offside
while Di Maria beat the offside to go clean through on goal but flashed
his effort wide from a narrow angle.

The visitors continued to lay siege
to Betis' goal after the break and Kaka's shot from distance forced a
spectacular save from Adrian and only Jose Antonio Dorado's last-gasp
clearance denied Benzema from converting Ronaldo's low cross into the
area.

Whack: Jose Maria Callejon and Ronaldo are wiped out by a challenge

Whack: Jose Maria Callejon and Ronaldo are wiped out by a challenge

Ronaldo, who had only scored once in
his last five appearances before tonight, set out to end his
mini-drought but his powerful free-kick was tipped over by Adrian, who
then pushed Benzema's close-range header wide.

Madrid continued to push numbers
forward as they sought to avoid their third league defeat on the road
this season but it was all in vain as the hosts valiantly held on to
secure a valuable three points.

Malaga earlier registered their first league win in five games as they hammered Valencia 4-0 at La Rosaleda to move back into the top four ahead of Levante's game on Sunday.

The margin of victory could have been even greater for the hosts, who controlled the game from the off and went ahead just eight minutes in when Francisco Portillo curled home from Eliseu's cut-back.

Javier Saviola made it 2-0 15 minutes from time – a goal that was quickly followed by a third from Roque Santa Cruz.

Valencia were then reduced to 10 men as Adil Rami saw a second yellow card and Isco rounded off a fantastic evening for Malaga with a fourth in stoppage time.

Middle man: Luka Modric could not penetrate for Real

Middle man: Luka Modric could not penetrate for Real

Not tonight: Barcelona could stretch their lead to 11 points at Levante

Not tonight: Barcelona could stretch their lead to 11 points at Levante

Elsewhere, Real Valladolid stretched their unbeaten home run to six games as Manucho's second-half strike secured a 1-0 victory over Granada.

The Angolan had come close to breaking the deadlock in the first half with an overhead kick but made no mistake just after the hour when he was played in by Oscar Gonzalez and sent a fierce shot beyond Tono into the top corner.

Finally, Rayo Vallecano left it late to see off out-of-form Real Mallorca 2-0 in an awful game this afternoon.

A match utterly devoid of excitement looked headed for a goalless draw until Leo Baptistao broke the deadlock with a goal totally out of keeping with what had gone beforehand, firing home low from 30 yards.

He then turned provider as substitute Andrija Delibasic got a second in the 90th minute to keep the hosts well placed in the top half and condemn the visitors to a seventh defeat in eight league games.

Elsewhere: Malaga hammered Valencia

Elsewhere: Malaga hammered Valencia

Elsewhere: Malaga hammered Valencia