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Six Nations 2013: Manu Tuilagi vs Mathieu Bastareaud

When Tuilagi clashes with opposing centre Bastareaud… the noise will be heard from space

By
Chris Foy

PUBLISHED:

22:19 GMT, 18 February 2013

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UPDATED:

06:05 GMT, 19 February 2013

As Stuart Lancaster's England prepare to face off against France in the RBS Six Nations match this weekend, Sportsmail examines one of the key clashes to look out for at Twickenham.

England centre Manu Tuilagi has a contrasting style to his opposite number Mathieu Bastareaud, but the fact that both of these magnificent players relishes the rough and tumble makes this a clash of the titans.

Battering ram: Manu Tuilagi

Clash of the titans: Mathieu Bastareaud

Clash of the titans: Mathieu Bastareaud (right) and Manu Tuilagi (left) are set to go head-to-head

Manu Tuilagi

Story: Born in the village of Fatausi-Fogapoa, but bred in the Leicester Tigers academy. Was forced to play with older kids for fear of injuring those his age.

They just weren't big enough.

Style: Brings the beaches of Samoa to west London. Seeks contact like a homing missile and relishes physicality.

If there is an easy way round he will find a way through. Most dangerous when smiling.

Danger man: Tuilagi relishes the physical battles in the centre of the field

Danger man: Tuilagi relishes the physical battles in the centre of the field

Head to head

Weakness : Reputation for indiscipline in defence. Not the world's slickest passer. Refuses to roll up his socks.

Controversy: The fifth and final act of England's World Cup meltdown came when Tuilagi decided to jump off a ferry in Auckland after a day out 'celebrating' with the boys.

Mathieu Bastareaud

Story: Born into a football family but quickly became the star of the youth academy at French third division side SU Massy.

Style: Fleet-footed step and change of pace belies his massive frame and many chins. Capable of enormous defensive hits and more mobile than he should be.

Weakness : Would be a front-row prop in any other era so fades in the final minutes and his defence on his outside foot can be exploited.

In the mix: Bastareaud powers through his France team-mates during training

In the mix: Bastareaud powers through his France team-mates during training

Controversy: Caused a diplomatic incident in 2009 when he claimed he was assaulted by five men in Wellington, forcing the Prime Minister to apologise.

It turned out he was drunk in his hotel room and injured his face when he fell over.

West Ham injury crisis: Sam Allardyce bans full-contact training over Christmas

Allardyce bans injury-hit Hammers from full-contact training over Christmas

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UPDATED:

14:03 GMT, 23 December 2012

West Ham's injury crisis has become so bad that Sam Allardyce has been forced to ban full-contact training over Christmas.

Hammers boss Allardyce insisted he could not risk losing any more players during the festive period as he faced up to the prospect of Carlton Cole being banned for three matches after Saturday's controversial 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat to Everton.

Referee Anthony Taylor infuriated Allardyce and West Ham's fans by sending off Cole for catching Leighton Baines with a raised boot while making what appeared an innocent attempt to control a dropping ball.

Down to the bare bones: Sam Allardyce is suffering an injury headache at West Ham

Down to the bare bones: Sam Allardyce is suffering an injury headache at West Ham

Taylor completed his conversion to pantomime villain by dismissing Everton's Darron Gibson for a similar offence in stoppage-time, Hammers supporters pouring scorn on what looked to them an obvious attempt to even up the score.

Allardyce and opposite number David Moyes confirmed they would appeal their players' red cards but the former was equally concerned about how to manage the rest of his depleted squad.

Andy Carroll, Mohamed Diame, Yossi Benayoun and Ricardo Vaz Te were joined on the sidelines by the ill Guy Demel yesterday, with Allardyce forced to select an 80 per cent fit Gary O'Neil in his starting line-up and long-term injury victims Alou Diarra and Jack Collison on the bench.

Seeing red: Carlton Cole was controversially sent off by Anthony Taylor during West ham's 2-1 defeat by Everton

Seeing red: Carlton Cole was controversially sent off by Anthony Taylor during West ham's 2-1 defeat by Everton

'We had 10 players who were fit and one was about 80 per cent fit and that was all we had,' Allardyce said.

'We had Jack Collison, who hasn't kicked a ball since the play-off final and Alou Diarra, who hasn't kicked a ball in three months, that is how bare bones we are at the moment.'

West Ham's Boxing Day match at Arsenal has been postponed because of a planned tube strike, with their next game at Reading on Saturday, and

Allardyce added: 'Medical staff are busier than us as coaches at the moment.

'We can't afford any more contact or any more injuries, so we can't even do any training.

'If we try to do any training and try to do any shape or build-up for Reading, we will get contact between players and, if you get contact between players, you risk injury and we can't do that.

'We can't even get out on the field and do a bit of coaching at the moment.'

Karl Henry blasts referees after red card decisions

They have zero understanding of the game! Henry slams red-card refs who need to be 'exposed'

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UPDATED:

11:38 GMT, 23 December 2012

Wolves midfielder Karl Henry has blasted Premier League referees and says some have 'zero understanding' of football.

Henry, known for his combative nature on the pitch, said he was appalled by some of the red cards produced this weekend.

He said that bad referees need to be 'exposed' and questioned whether the tests required to be an official were stringent enough.

Ranting: Karl Henry complained about referees' decisions this weekend

Ranting: Karl Henry complained about referees' decisions this weekend

'Some of the red cards i've seen this weekend are an absolute joke!! Some referees have zero understanding of the game of football,' he tweeted.

'Important matches are ruined when under-qualified refs make game changing WRONG decisions. What is the criteria to become a top level ref

'To make it worse, tv pundits sit on the fence saying things that like, “That was harsh' or 'It's a controversial one”.

'You're on tv to give football fans your expert views. Bad refs need to be exposed and pundits that sit on the fence should be fired!!'

Henry has been sent off once and booked five times this season, in 18 games.

It is likely Henry is referring to the two red cards shown by Anthony Taylor in the West Ham v Everton match on Saturday.

Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson were both dismissed for offences which the clubs' managers Sam Allardyce and David Moyes both agreed did not merit red cards.

The players were sent off for dangerous play after catching opponents while raising their legs in respective attempts to control and win the ball.

Allardyce and his opposite number Moyes each confronted Taylor after the final whistle, confirming they would appeal the dismissals.

The West Ham boss accused Taylor of being trigger-happy, saying: 'It is how quickly the referee got the red card out, he couldn't wait, he didn't deliberate over the decision or anything.

You're gone: Anthony Taylor sends off Carlton Cole controversially

You're gone: Anthony Taylor sends off Carlton Cole controversially

'There is nothing much we can do about the result but we can appeal the decision and hopefully we can get Carlton down to a yellow card and get him off.'

Moyes added: 'I will appeal it. I'll have a word with Sam as well, because I don't think you could put the word frivolous next to that appeal.

'Because I think you would say there was genuine reason why maybe you could appeal that.

Unhappy: Both Sam Allardyce and David Moyes will appeal the cards

Unhappy: Both Sam Allardyce and David Moyes will appeal the cards

'Now, you don't want to go and appeal and find out that maybe you get an extra game on it. That's what you don't want to do.'

Allardyce was planning more than an appeal, however.

'I spoke to the ref but that is between me and him,' he said.

'We will go through the channels of 'reporting' that the system has in place and I will take that up and pursue it quite vigorously.

'If he is not getting the right feedback or coaching and is told it was okay and 'Carry on' then we have got a big problem.'

India v England: Monty Panesar and James Anderson turn the screw in third Test at Eden Gardens

Anderson and Panesar turn the screw on India as only Sachin knock stands between England and paradise at Eden Gardens

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UPDATED:

11:04 GMT, 5 December 2012

Even India's back-to-form greatest batsman Sachin Tendulkar was unable to stop England grinding out an advantageous position on day one of the third Test at Eden Gardens.

Veteran Tendulkar (76) remains without a Test century in his last 29 innings dating back to early 2011 – but he and opener Gautam Gambhir (60) did manage to salvage a stumps total of 273 for seven.

On a pitch already offering some uneven bounce to the spinners, and some carry and swing for the seamers with the new and old ball, England could easily have been more significantly-rewarded for their disciplined and determined efforts.

James Anderson (three for 68) thought he had Yuvraj Singh lbw for nought, but could not convince umpire Rod Tucker ball had hit pad in line, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni was within inches of holing out at midwicket off Graeme Swann first ball.

Instead, Nos 6 and 7 each went on to frustrate England – the former in a stand of 79 with Tendulkar – in this pivotal match of a four-Test series level at 1-1.

The signs were ominous for England after Alastair Cook lost his third successive toss of the series at a ground where India have declared with more than 600 on the board in the first innings of their last three Tests.

Cook's opposite number Dhoni had predicted a modicum of help for the pace bowlers in the first hour, and so it proved for Anderson and Steven Finn.

Rearguard: Sachin Tendulkar was not at his best but still hit 76 in Kolkata

Rearguard: Sachin Tendulkar was not at his best but still hit 76 in Kolkata

It came to nothing, though, as Gambhir and Virender Sehwag approached a 50 stand – until their running between the wickets failed them.

Sehwag clipped the first ball of the 11th over to midwicket. But Samit Patel saved the boundary with a diving stop, and Finn's race from mid-on in support paid off handsomely when he threw in over the stumps to comfortably run out Sehwag after he was sent back for a third.

It was hardly the way England might have envisaged taking the first wicket, but proved the value of all their attention to detail and painstaking training.

Monty Panesar's first success came in more conventional, indeed classical, fashion.

He had worked hard to draw Cheteshwar Pujara forward several times, and then surprised him on the back foot with an arm ball which snaked through the defence to hit middle-stump.

Masterclass: James Anderson took two wickets despite unhelpful conditions

Masterclass: James Anderson took two wickets despite unhelpful conditions

Gambhir, joined by Tendulkar to the obligatory raucous crowd reception at this cavernous stadium, appeared unperturbed by a failure from India's prolific new No 3.

The left-handed opener had hit 10 fours and duly completed his 81-ball half-century with a scampered single before lunch.

But he was first to go in the afternoon, laying back to cut after losing the strike against Panesar and edging a sharp chance to slip which Jonathan Trott just about clung on to.

Tendulkar scratched his way to his first 20, regularly playing and missing at Finn and then Anderson as Cook operated the two seamers in tandem with Panesar.

Finn's fine spell was in vain, but Anderson got a deserved breakthrough when Virat Kohli edged low to Swann at second slip.

Swann had bowled only three overs at that stage, but was called into the attack to give Panesar a rest after 21 unchanged.

Jump for joy: Monty Panesar dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara and Gautam Gambhir

Jump for joy: Monty Panesar dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara and Gautam Gambhir

Yuvraj began tentatively, but two driven fours off Swann gave him confidence – and after tea, he immediately went up the wicket to Panesar and struck him for a straight six.

England were toiling by the time Yuvraj lost concentration and poked a catch to cover off Swann, and it might have been two in two next ball when Dhoni's attempt to dominate from the outset brought only a thick inside-edge just short of Patel at midwicket.

Tendulkar began to live up to his billing, increasingly fluent in a 155-ball innings which contained 13 fours but ended in anti-climax – and no 101st international hundred – when he followed some Anderson outswing and was well-caught behind by Matt Prior, diving low to his right.

England then had an obvious chance to run out Ravichandran Ashwin for just a single, he and Dhoni contriving another India mix-up only for Finn to fumble at mid-on when another accurate return to the striker's end would have done the trick.

Anderson, however, ensured it was unarguably England's day when he broke another handy stand by getting through Ashwin's defences with the new ball in the penultimate over.

Picture Dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies. MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Dimitar Berbatov outshines Fernando Torres

Woeful Torres form continues as lethargic Berbatov outshines striker for Fulham

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UPDATED:

00:13 GMT, 29 November 2012

Dimitar Berbatov is one of the most languid strikers in the league, but the Bulgarian was busy at the sharp end of Fulham's attack, comfortably outplaying Fernando Torres.

The Spaniard's woeful form continued, with Berbatov having almost twice as many touches (see pitch map below) as the lone Chelsea striker. He outpassed Torres too, 47-23.

Chelsea have now won only two games in their last 10 – a record that threatens to wreck their season.

Scroll down to see the players' touch maps

More of the same: Fernando Torres could not get on the scoresheet and was outclassed by Dimitar Berbatov

More of the same: Fernando Torres could not get on the scoresheet and was outclassed by Dimitar Berbatov

Holding him off: Dimitar Berbatov battles with Oscar (right)

Holding him off: Dimitar Berbatov battles with Oscar (right)

No-one exemplifies Chelsea's plight more than Torres who, barring a fluke goal, has not found the net for almost two months.

'It wasn't easy for him, or [Eden] Hazard or Oscar,' said Benitez.

'We were on top of them [Fulham], regaining the game higher up the pitch, and might have won it in the last minute.'

For all their pressure, Chelsea barely tested the opposition goalkeeper as they record two straight goalless draws for the first time since Roman Abramovich bought the club.

Benitez admitted Torres was lacking 'confidence', something that could not be said for opposite number Berbatov.

Fulham boss Martin Jol said: 'Berbatov was almost unplayable and linked our play, and we had a few chances.

'After the game, everyone said Berbatov was fantastic, and he was, but the other players worked every so hard.'

Fernando Torres touches against Fulham at Stamford Bridge

Dimitar Berbatov touches against Fulham at Stamford Bridge

Outshone: Dimitar Berbatov's touch map (right) shows how he outclassed Fernando Torres (left) with his contribution to his side's plight at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 0 Fulham 0 – match report: Rafa Benitez"s men fire blanks again

Chelsea 0 Fulham 0: Rafa's men fire blanks again as Benitez can't inspire Torres and co

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 28 November 2012

Rafael Benitez was booed off instead of on to the field tonight after Chelsea produced a second straight bore draw in the west London derby against Fulham.

Three days after Benitez's first game in charge of the Blues saw him endure a savage reception from his new club's supporters, he was unable to turn the jeers into cheers as they slipped further off the pace in the Barclays Premier League.

And, as on Sunday against Manchester City, they could have easily lost against a Fulham side who had the better of the chances and a striker in Dimitar Berbatov who completely outshone opposite number Fernando Torres.

Frustration: Chelsea striker Fernando Torres (right) gestures to referee Anthony Taylor

Frustration: Chelsea striker Fernando Torres (right) gestures to referee Anthony Taylor

Shadow of his former self: Torres (second left) gets in a weak shot on goal

Shadow of his former self: Torres (second left) gets in a weak shot on goal

Match facts

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole, Romeu, Ramires, Hazard (Marin 82), Oscar, Bertrand (Mata 63), Torres.

Subs not used: Turnbull, Mikel, Moses, Ferreira, Cahill.

Booked: Ivanovic, Romeu, Luiz

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Senderos, Hughes, Riise, Duff, Diarra (Baird 64), Sidwell, Karagounis (Frei 73), Rodallega (Petric 83), Berbatov.

Subs not used: Etheridge, Kelly, Kasami, Dejagah.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Attendance: 41,707

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/11/28/article-2239930-16425393000005DC-592_634x457.jpg” width=”634″ height=”457″ alt=”Protests: Chelsea fans make their feeling known about new boss Rafa Benitez once again” class=”blkBorder” />

Protests: Chelsea fans make their feeling known about new boss Rafa Benitez once again

Rafa out: A Chelsea fan in the stands shows his disgust at the appointment of interim manager Benitez

Rafa out: A Chelsea fan in the stands shows his disgust at the appointment of interim manager Benitez

David Luiz's skied free-kick was the
first shot at goal after 25 minutes, the creativity of the rested Juan
Mata becoming more and more conspicuous by its absence.

Some speedy football from Oscar
finally created a real chance just before the half hour but Torres's
weak shot on the turn from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross was straight at
Mark Schwarzer.

Benitez said yesterday Torres needed
to get down the gym and he was given a lesson in brute power moments
later by Berbatov, who forcefully shrugged off the recalled Oriol Romeu.

Torres' flimsiness aside, Chelsea were
beginning to get round the back and more than one cross prompted more
than one desperate lunge.

And after a goalless first half, there
was another crucial tackle shortly after the restart when Mahamadou
Diarra stopped Oscar finishing off Hazard's pass.

But Chelsea could have fallen behind
twice in quick succession inside 10 minutes, an errant offside flag
rescuing them after Berbatov perfectly timed his run on to Diarra's
flighted ball, and Petr Cech saving from John Arne Riise following a
flowing breakaway.
Under the microscope: Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez took charge of Chelsea for the second time

Under the microscope: Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez took charge of Chelsea for the second time

Powerless: Benitez grows more animated on the sidelines as Chelsea failed to find the target

Powerless: Benitez grows more animated on the sidelines as Chelsea failed to find the target

Ramires and Giorgios Karagounis both
sent shots too close to either goalkeeper before Mata finally arrived,
Ryan Bertrand making way.

Fulham sent on Chris Baird for Diarra
before Mata showed Chelsea what they had been missing with a corner
glanced wide by Branislav Ivanovic.

An increasingly-frustrated Ivanovic
was booked for disputing a free-kick, while Torres's travails continued
to the extent that supporters began venting their frustration.

Crowded out: Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard (centre) and Steve Sidwell (right) battle for the ball

Crowded out: Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard (centre) and Steve Sidwell (right) battle for the ball

Over the top: Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov skips away from the challenge of Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu

Over the top: Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov skips away from the challenge of Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu

He, Oscar and Hazard wasted a great
chance to strike after fine harrying from Azpilicueta, with Romeu
following Ivanovic into the book for upending Berbatov.

The Bulgarian's coolness helped win a
dangerous free-kick that got Luiz cautioned before more composed play
set up Riise for a fierce drive Cech only just repelled.

In between that, Kerim Frei replaced Karagounis.

Tussle: Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand (right) is closed down by Giorgos Karagounis

Tussle: Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand (right) is closed down by Giorgos Karagounis

Torres finally found some space with
just over 10 minutes remaining but his angled volley after good chest
control was cleared by Aaron Hughes and may have been going wide anyway.

Frei had a dubious penalty appeal
turned down before Marko Marin was handed his Premier League debut in
place of Hazard and Mladen Petric came on for Hugo Rodallega.

With time running out, the crowd finally turned their anger on Benitez, who was urging his team forward.

Dutifully, they spent the closing
moments camped in the Fulham box but despite a succession of blocked
shots and other near misses, they could not force a breakthrough.

Chance: The ball is played into Torres inside the box...

Chance: The ball is played into Torres inside the box…

... but the striker's volley flies harmlessly wide of Mark Schwarzer's goal

… but the striker's volley flies harmlessly wide of Mark Schwarzer's goal

More misery: Torres is left to rue another missed chance as his goalless run continued

More misery: Torres is left to rue another missed chance as his goalless run continued

Fulham 1 Sunderland 3 – match report

Fulham 1 Sunderland 3: Black Cats punish 10-man hosts with second-half treble

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 18 November 2012

Sunderland picked up their first win since late September as they threw off the shackles to down 10-man Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The Black Cats have been the division's most lacklustre in front of goal this season, but scored three times in 20 second-half minutes to punish their hosts.

Fulham captain Brede Hangeland was sent off in the first-half for a reckless lunge on opposite number Lee Cattermole, making anything other than a draw a big ask for Martin Jol's team.

And so it proved. Steven Fletcher grabbed the first five minutes after the break, but substitue Mladen Petric levelled things up seven minutes later from close range.

However, it was Sunderland who reacted the best, taking the lead through Carlos Cuellar, and adding a spectacular third through Stephane Sessegnon's first goal of the season.

More to follow…

On song: Sunderland ended a winless run dating back to September after Brede Hangeland was sent off

On song: Sunderland ended a winless run dating back to September after Brede Hangeland was sent off

On song: Sunderland ended a winless run dating back to September after Brede Hangeland was sent off

MATCH FACTS

FULHAM: Schwarzer, Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Riether, Sidwell, Karagounis (Senderos 35), Duff, Kacaniklic (Rodallega 27), Berbatov, Ruiz (Petric 59). Subs not used: Stockdale, Kelly, Smith, Dejagah,

Booked: Sidwell

Sent off: Hangeland 31

Goal: Petric 62

SUNDERLAND: Mignolet, Bardsley, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose, Cattermole, Larsson (McClean 70), Colback (Vaughan 79), Johnson, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs not used: Westwood, Kilgallon, McClean, Campbell, Wickham, Saha

Booked: O'Shea, Johnson

Goals: Fletcher 50, Cuellar 65, Sessegnon 70

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XX

Classy: Steven Fletcher got the ball rolling with a brilliantly taken strike early in the second half

Classy: Steven Fletcher got the ball rolling with a brilliantly taken strike early in the second half

Classy: Steven Fletcher got the ball rolling with a brilliantly taken strike early in the second half

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Blackburn 1 Birmingham 1: match report

Blackburn 1 Birmingham 1: Berg still in search of first win after tense draw on home debut

Press Association

PUBLISHED:

17:51 GMT, 10 November 2012

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UPDATED:

17:51 GMT, 10 November 2012

Henning Berg is still waiting for his first win as Blackburn boss as his home debut ended all square after an enthralling encounter against Birmingham.

Berg enjoyed many a battle with opposite number Lee Clark during their top-flight playing days and they went head-to-head in the dugout at Ewood Park in front of 14,919 fans – only 1,000 up on average from games under Steve Kean and caretaker boss Eric Black this term.

The Norwegian started his Rovers reign with one point from two away games and a draw this afternoon was the right result on the balance of play.

Waiting game: Henning Berg (right) is still searching for his first win as Blackburn boss

Waiting game: Henning Berg (right) is still searching for his first win as Blackburn boss

MATCH FACTS

Blackburn: Robinson, Henley, Dann, Grant Hanley, Martin Olsson,
Formica, Etuhu, Murphy (Lowe 84), Markus Olsson (Nunes 71), Rochina (Vukcevic 61), Rhodes.

Subs Not Used: Kean, Orr, Pedersen, Nuno Gomes.

Goals: Rochina 13 pen.

Birmingham: Butland, Spector, Caldwell, Robinson, Murphy,
Burke (Ambrose 90), Morrison, Mullins, Elliott, Zigic (Redmond 75), King.

Subs Not Used: Doyle, Ibanez, Lovenkrands, Hancox, Diop.

Booked: Morrison, Spector.

Goals: King 17.

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield).

Attendance: 14,919

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Spaniard Ruben Rochina handed Rovers a
deserved early lead from the penalty spot after David Murphy felled
Mauro Formica but, crucially, Birmingham pulled level almost immediately
courtesy of Marlon King's ninth goal of the season from close range.

Both sides could indeed have clinched
all three points but it was not to be, with Birmingham now 19 attempts
without victory at Ewood Park stretching back to 1968.

Blackburn were undoubtedly the dominant side from the off.

Blues skipper Steven Caldwell denied
Jordan Rhodes after Jack Butland had raced out of his area
unnecessarily, before Rochina fired wide from 12 yards when well placed.

It was no real surprise when the hosts took the lead after 13 minutes.
Full-back Murphy brought down Formica in the area and Rochina stepped up to send Butland the wrong way from the spot.

But Birmingham pulled level almost immediately with their first real attack.

Chris Burke's cross was met by a
combination of former City defender Scott Dann and Wade Elliott and the
ball fell to Nikola Zigic, whose effort came back off a post and King
was on hand to tap home from two yards.

The goal inspired the visitors and Ravel Morrison brought a save out of Paul Robinson before King fired narrowly wide.

Rovers passed up a great chance to
retake the lead from Rochina's corner as the game flowed from end to
end, with Blues very much now in proceedings.

Danny Murphy struck the side-netting
from distance on the half-hour mark before both sides saw goals
rightfully ruled out for offside.

Catch me if you can: Ruben Rochina tries to find a way past Hayden Mullins

Catch me if you can: Ruben Rochina tries to find a way past Hayden Mullins

Markus Olsson was presented with a
clear opportunity to put Blackburn in front on the stroke of half-time
but he could only fire wide.

Zigic headed wide from Burke's cross
at the start of the second half when the towering 6ft 8in Serbian should
really have done better.

Rhodes was next to threaten at the
other end as his header was cleared off the line by Blues defender Paul
Robinson in impressive fashion.

His Blackburn namesake got down well
to deny marauding City full-back Murphy, while Rovers were being
constantly dogged by the offside flag in the final third.

Formica brought a good save out of
England prodigy Butland with former Three Lions stopper Robinson showing
what he could do to turn away Burke's effort from distance.

Robinson then tipped over Hayden
Mullins' 81st-minute strike from 30 yards before substitute Nuno Gomes'
impressive effort flew over amid a breathless conclusion to proceedings.

Dann came within inches of a late winner against his former employers but a point apiece was just reward.

Stoke 1 QPR 0 – match report

Stoke 1 QPR 0: Adam piles more pressure on Hughes as Rangers lose away again

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UPDATED:

17:23 GMT, 10 November 2012

Charlie Adam's first goal for Stoke earned his side all three points against QPR to further increase the pressure on Mark Hughes.

Midfielder Adam, a summer signing from Liverpool, opened his Potters account in the 52nd minute at the Britannia Stadium, tucking the ball away after it had been nodded his way by Jon Walters from a free-kick.

It proved enough to see off QPR, for whom Adel Taarabt failed to convert a good opportunity in the first half.

Pressure's on: Charlie Adam grabbed a goal just after half-time for Stoke to take the lead

Pressure's on: Charlie Adam grabbed a goal just after half-time for Stoke to take the lead

MATCH FACTS

Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam (Whitehead 77), Etherington (Kightly 71), Walters, Crouch (Jones 74),

Subs not used: Sorensen, Upson, Palacios, Jerome

Booked: Nzonzi, Whitehead

Goal: Adam 52

Queens Park Rangers: Julio Cesar, Traore, Ferdinand, Nelsen, Bosingwa, Diakite, Taarabt, Granero, Faurlin (Zamora 78), Cisse, Hoilett

Subs not used: Green, Hill, Onuoha, Derry, Wright-Phillips, Mackie

Booked: Diakite, Traore, Granero

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Attendance: 27,529

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Esteban Granero brought an excellent
save out of Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic after Adam's goal, but the
visitors could not find the equaliser which was the very least they
needed.

They are still without a win in the
Barclays Premier League this term in a sequence that now extends to 11
matches, and have sunk back to the foot of the table.

The heat is truly on their manager
Hughes, while his opposite number Tony Pulis will be relieved to see his
side – up to 12th – register what was only their second win of the
campaign.

Both teams looked eager to make an
early impression and after QPR full-back Jose Bosingwa had lashed high
and wide and Djibril Cisse miscued an attempted volley from an Armand
Traore cross, Adam's shot from outside the area deflected wide at the
other end.

The visitors were first to really
settle into a rhythm and Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross made a couple of
good interceptions, one with his legs to block a Junior Hoilett strike
and another with his head to clear Granero's floated delivery aimed for
Cisse.

Embattled: Jonathan Walters had to be bandaged up after receiving a nasty cut on his head during the game

Embattled: Jonathan Walters had to be bandaged up after receiving a nasty cut on his head during the game

Embattled: Jonathan Walters had to be bandaged up after receiving a nasty cut on his head during the game

A succession of poorly executed
attempts on goal followed, with QPR's Alejandro Faurlin and Stoke's
Peter Crouch similarly skewing well off-target before the latter's
knock-down was sent over the bar on the turn by Walters.

In the 26th minute Granero tried to
dink the ball over the onrushing Begovic, but it only found the
side-netting thanks to a combination of the goalkeeper and Matthew
Etherington, who picked up an injury and received treatment before
playing on.

Stoke enjoyed a period on top, with
Walters nodding wide from a sweeping Geoff Cameron pass and Crouch then
seeing his shot go just the wrong side of the other post having taken a
nick off a QPR man.

Tussle: Adam and Junior Hoilett fight for possession at the Britannia

Tussle: Adam and Junior Hoilett fight for possession at the Britannia

Not again: Mark Hughes watched his side lose their third game in five at Stoke

Not again: Owner Tony Fernandes watched his side lose their third game in five at Stoke

Not again: Mark Hughes (left) and owner Tony Fernandes (right) watched QPR lose their third game in five

It was the away side who passed up one
of the best chances yet to open the scoring just before the interval,
though, when the Potters gave away possession.

QPR broke forward and Hoilett squared to Taarabt, who wastefully chipped the ball over.

Looking to make amends, Taarabt drove a further effort towards goal moments later which flashed wide.

The Rs fans in the stadium might well
have been looking forward to the second period with considerable
optimism, but just seven minutes after the restart their team was
behind.

Come here: Andy Wilkinson (right) lunges in to win the ball

Come here: Andy Wilkinson (right) lunges in to win the ball

Under fire: Mark Hughes is still looking for his first league win this season

Under fire: Mark Hughes is still looking for his first league win this season

Respect: The players and fans took part in a minute's silence before the match for Remembrance Sunday

Respect: The players and fans took part in a minute's silence before the match for Remembrance Sunday

Robert Huth's free-kick from the left
was flicked on by Walters, and with QPR failing to react the ball
bounced past Crouch and through to Adam, who slammed it home.

The visitors swiftly went in search of
a response and Begovic had to be alert to tip over a deflected shot
from Taarabt, who then twice dragged the ball across goal from useful
positions.

The Moroccan did better in the 70th minute to set up Granero, whose strike brought a great save out of Begovic.

The leveller would not come for the
west London side, though, and they might have finished with a heavier
defeat had Julio Cesar not done well to get down to deny substitute
Michael Kightly in the closing stages.

HERE'S BOBBY! GLUM ZAMORA GETS CHANCE TO SHINE

Bobby Zamora

Mark Hughes was desperate for a win to alleviate a little pressure.

Queens Park Rangers have failed to win a league game this season and, after losing their third in five on Saturday, find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table.

After Stoke's Charlie Adam broke the deadlock in the second half, Rangers improved their play and pressed for an equaliser, to no avail.

Hughes turned to Bobby Zamora (right), a man who earlier this week said confessed to falling out of love with football.

Zamora told the Mail on Sunday last week: 'For so many years football has been your life and it’s all everyone wants to talk about, everywhere you go.

'I don’t like talking about it. I’m not a massive football fan, really. Quite a lot more players than let on are the same.

'I don’t watch games on an evening or anything like that. A lot of people find it strange [that I don’t like football].

'I’m not sure what I want to do after I finish playing but if it means watching football then I don’t want to get involved.'

Alejandro Faurlin was the man to make way, and Zamora had all of eleven minutes to try to turn things round for QPR.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the former Tottenham and Fulham striker made little impact and failed to grab that crucial goal to salvage a point for Hughes and QPR.

Peter Crouch and his team-mates wore shirts promoting the Poppy Appeal before the match

Referee Martin Atkinson also wore the shirt promoting the Poppy Appeal before the match

Solidarity: Peter Crouch (left), his team-mates and referee Martin Atkinson (right) wore shirts promoting the nationwide Poppy Appeal ahead of Remembrance Sunday tomorrow

Shall not pass: Jose Bosingwa is held off by Ryan Shawcross

Shall not pass: Jose Bosingwa is held off by Ryan Shawcross

Nani needs more support from Sir Alex Ferguson says Braga coach

Fergie needs to give Nani more support, insists Braga coach Peseiro

|

UPDATED:

00:29 GMT, 7 November 2012

Nani is suffering on the fringes at Manchester United and needs more support from Sir Alex Ferguson to convince the Portugal winger he still has a future at Old Trafford.

That's the verdict of Braga coach Jose Peseiro, Ferguson's opposite number in the Estadio Municipal de Braga on Wednesday night and the man who gave Nani his senior debut at Sporting Lisbon seven years ago.

United bought him for 17million in July 2007 but it looks increasingly likely that the 25-year-old will leave after failing to agree terms over a new contract and seeing his relationship with Ferguson grow increasingly strained.

Support: Braga's coach says Nani needs more backing from Sir Alex Ferguson

Support: Braga's coach says Nani needs more backing from Sir Alex Ferguson

Watching on from a distance: Jose Peseiro thinks Nani is not being treated in the optimum way

Watching on from a distance: Jose Peseiro thinks Nani is not being treated in the optimum way

The Old Trafford boss took the unusual step of publicly criticising Nani for his error in the build-up to Chelsea's equaliser when United lost in the Capital One Cup last week, and is still furious over a training ground bust-up in September in which he punched young teammate Davide Petrucci.

It is understood that Nani has refused to apologise to Petrucci with Ferguson's assistant Mike Phelan forced to step in and act as a mediator.

Peseiro knows Nani better than most after Sporting plucked the player from poverty on the streets of Santa Filomena outside Lisbon and turned him into a star.

The Braga boss believes his former charge will not be happy until he is playing again.

'After Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester, he had two or three fantastic seasons and Manchester depended on him,' said Peseiro.

'At this moment it isn't the same but Nani can improve more. But a player can only play at the maximum level when he's happy. If he's not happy, he can't.

'I know him. If he doesn't play, it is not easy for him. He doesn't feel well when he doesn't play.

'I don't know why Nani doesn't play now. I know the team is good. Manchester United doesn't just have 11 players but 20 at the similar top level and it's hard. I don't know if the problem is that he doesn't sign another contract, if the coach has less confidence in him or if he just doesn't feel right at this moment.

Blamed: Nani was criticised after the Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea

Blamed: Nani was criticised after the Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea

'I hope he finishes the season well because it is important for him, the national team and important for me because I took Nani from the Under-18s and put him in the first team at Sporting.' Peseiro believes the foreigners in the Premier League need more reassurance and support than English players, and that Nani is no exception.

'All players have a different personality,' he added. 'Some need an embrace and support, others don't need any support.

Back in business: Chris Smalling training on Tuesday

Back in business: Chris Smalling training on Tuesday

'Sure, the English players don't need too much support, but the Portuguese, Brazilian and Spanish players need more emotional contact.

'When Nani arrived at Manchester United he needed to forget this situation because he needed to play to the maximum and to fight for his place against others.

'Sir Alex Ferguson can't speak differently to him than to the others, but I know some players need more. Nani needs more, I think.'

Special treatment: Does Nani need to be handed differently

Special treatment: Does Nani need to be handed differently

Part two: Braga gave United a fine match in their first encounter

Part two: Braga gave United a fine match in their first encounter