Tag Archives: tally

Crystal Palace 4 Middlesbrough 1 match report

Crystal Palace 4 Middlesbrough 1: Zaha puts on show for England boss Hodgson

PUBLISHED:

17:35 GMT, 16 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:04 GMT, 16 February 2013

Glenn Murray took his goals tally to 27 for the season with a brace as Crystal Palace maintained their promotion push by brushing aside Middlesbrough.

But it was Wilfried Zaha who stole the show again as the Manchester United-bound winger turned in a man of the match performance in front of England manager Roy Hodgson.

Pointing the way: Glenn Murray scored twice as Crystal Palace beat Middlesbrough 4-1 at Selhurst Park to maintain their strong promotion challenge

Pointing the way: Glenn Murray scored twice as Crystal Palace beat Middlesbrough 4-1 at Selhurst Park to maintain their strong promotion challenge

Star man: Murray (right) took his season goal tally to 27 with a brace

Star man: Murray (right) took his season goal tally to 27 with a brace

Crystal Palace 4 Middlesbrough 1

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Richards, Delaney, Ramage, Parr, Zaha, Jedinak, Dikgacoi (Butterfield 76), Williams (K Phillips 70), Dobbie (Bolasie 81), Murray

Substitutes: Price, Wilbraham, Moxey, O'Keefe

Scorers: Murray 9, 57; Ramage 48, K Phillips 84

Middlesbrough: Steele, Parnaby (Dyer 58), Bikey, Friend, Halliday, McEachran (Miller 60), Leadbitter, Rhys Williams, Haroun, Jutkiewicz (Bailey 59), Carayol

Substitutes: Leutwiler, McManus, Emnes, Ledesma

Scorer: Haroun 80

Booked: Williams

Referee: Oliver Langford (W Midlands)

Attendance: 17, 213

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE

Afterwards Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway said: 'In front of the England manager, I thought Wilf was excellent.

We have a few who make a difference. He is one of them. This was as good as he has played since I have been here.

'He is literally as good as any chef I have seen. And he has roasted their full-backs all day and they will be glad to see the back of him.'

He added: 'I thought we moved the ball too slowly in the first half and told them that at half-time.

'I told them they were boring me.

'We upped the pace of doing things.

'We are getting stronger and the challenge is, can we get another 14 of them (wins) That would be good, wouldn't it We have to aim for the stars.'

Former Brighton forward Murray opened
the scoring early on, but missed two more chances to complete a
first-half hat-trick as Palace struggled to make their dominance count.

However,
just after the interval, Murray set up Peter Ramage to double his
side's advantage before the in-form striker's spectacular drive and
Kevin Phillips' effort ensured Palace extended their unbeaten league run
at Selhurst Park to 15 matches.

Faris Haroun netted a late consolation when Boro were three down and the visitors are clinging on to the final npower Championship play-off place after a fifth consecutive away league defeat.

Boro had the first effort on goal in the fourth minute when on-loan Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran brought a fine save from Julian Speroni.

But it was Palace who broke the deadlock just five minutes later when Wilfried Zaha, with England manager Roy Hodgson watching on, beat a couple of defenders and delivered a cross that Murray converted from close range.

The Palace pair almost combined again midway through the half, but Murray failed to get a touch to the lively England international's cross before heading over the top.

The home side's dominance continued as Damien Delaney fluffed his lines from a well worked corner before George Friend's excellent tackle denied Murray a clear run on goal.

Stephen Dobbie, signed on loan from Championship rivals Brighton last month, almost opened his Palace account on the half-hour, half-volleying goalkeeper Jason Steele's clearance just wide from 35 yards.

Boro almost got back on level terms against the run of play, though, with Ramage having to spectacularly clear Haroun's effort off the line after Speroni was beaten.

McEachran ended the half as he started it with a shot at goal, but this time he fired wide.

Hard to stop: Murray is challenged by Middlesbrough players Faris Haroun (left) and Andrew Halliday

Hard to stop: Murray is challenged by Middlesbrough players Faris Haroun (left) and Andrew Halliday

On the attack: Wilfried Zaha carries Palace forward

On the attack: Wilfried Zaha carries Palace forward

Foot in: Middlesbrough's George Friend beats Kagisho Dikgacoi to the ball

Foot in: Middlesbrough's George Friend beats Kagisho Dikgacoi to the ball

Palace finally got their second three minutes after half-time when Murray's header across goal was taken down on the chest by Ramage, who then hooked the ball into the net.

And things got better for Palace when Murray unleashed a left-foot rocket into the top corner nine minutes later.

Dobbie failed to connect with Murray's cross before the former Swansea midfielder let Boro off the hook by opting to shoot rather than pass in a promising position.

Hurdle: Murray skips over the challenge of George Friend

Hurdle: Murray skips over the challenge of George Friend

Taking a fall: Lukas Jutkiewicz wins the ball from Palace players Peter Ramage and Jazz Richards

Taking a fall: Lukas Jutkiewicz wins the ball from Palace players Peter Ramage and Jazz Richards

The Mask: Palace captain Mike Jedinak took to the field in protective head gear

The Mask: Palace captain Mike Jedinak took to the field in protective head gear

Boro were restricted to long-range efforts as Speroni saved shots from Andrew Halliday and Mustapha Carayol.

However, they pulled a goal back 10 minutes from time when Haroun took on Ishmael Miller's flick and slotted under Speroni.

Substitute Phillips' clever back heel was saved by Steele before the veteran forward got his goal, coolly finishing Zaha's through-ball in the 84th minute.

Craig Mackail-Smith wanted by Norwich City

Norwich preparing 3m swoop for Brighton striker Mackail-Smith

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 29 December 2012

Norwich manager Chris Hughton will go back for 3m Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith after missing out on him in the summer.

Hughton is keen to boost his side’s goal tally with Grant Holt having scored only four times this season.

Mackail-Smith, 28, has reached double figures in the Championship.

Wanted man: Brighton striker Mackail-Smith (left)

Wanted man: Brighton striker Mackail-Smith (left)

Theo Walcott believes Arsenal contract "will be sorted"

Walcott says Arsenal contract 'will be sorted' and he's shown Wenger his striking potential

|

UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 29 December 2012

Theo Walcott turned up the pressure on Arsenal in his ongoing contract negotiations with a stunning hat-trick in an extraordinary win over Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium.

Walcott, whose representatives are due to meet Arsenal’s chief negotiator, Dick Law, in the coming days, took his goal tally for the season to 14 in a frenzied second half which saw eight goals scored.

The 23-year-old England forward continues to thrive in the central striker’s role he covets and has made a major part of his contract negotiations.

Sign him up: Arsene Wenger is hoping Theo Walcott will commit his future to Arsenal

Sign him up: Arsene Wenger is hoping Theo Walcott will commit his future to Arsenal

Walcott said: ‘Talks are ongoing and I
am sure something will be sorted. I’ve been saying that I want to play
up front and I am showing the manager what I can do. I believe I will be
a striker and it’s about taking the opportunity when I get it.

‘I enjoy playing in whatever position but it was just telling the manager to give me the opportunities to play up front.

‘I’m not saying I’m always going to
play there but it’s just showing what I can do. Hopefully, I’ve opened a
few eyes and it’s provided a different option.’

With just six months left on his
current deal and Walcott free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a
foreign club on New Year’s Day, Arsenal will be expected to fix a firm
date for talks and to increase the 75,000-a-week offer that is on the
table.

Walcott departed the Emirates Stadium
yesterday with the match-ball held above his head and the crowd chanting
‘Sign him up’. After his side moved into fifth place in the Barclays
Premier League, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reiterated his desire to
keep the in-form forward at the club.

‘I think he loves the club and the club love him and reciprocity in love is the most difficult thing to find,’ said Wenger.

‘The intensity of my desire is exactly
the same as before the game. My desire is to extend the contract and I
think that he belongs here and, hopefully, we can do it.

‘Commitment to a club is a long-term
process. I don’t think it should depend on one game. If he had a
disastrous game today, it would not have altered my determination to
extend his contract and to sign him. That does not depend on one game.’

The most positive sign is that Wenger
has now trusted Walcott in the central striking role, something the
London-born player was keen to establish before he confirmed his
continued commitment to the club.

Walcott has benefitted from
practising alongside Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, who is currently
training with Arsenal and is expected to sign a short-term loan deal
from the New York Red Bulls next month.

Walcott said: ‘I’ve learned a lot
from Thierry and just to have him around in training is great. You
learn from the best. He showed great qualities on loan here last season
so, hopefully, that can be sorted out.’

It must be love: The Arsenal manager was impressed with Walcott's performance against Newcastle

It must be love: The Arsenal manager was impressed with Walcott's performance against Newcastle

It was Arsenal's fourth consecutive Barclays Premier League win, which lifts them up to fifth, and midfielder Jack Wilshere insists they have not been stung by recent criticism.

'We just get on with it. We know we've got great players here and we showed it today,' he said.

'Theo was great and okay we conceded three and we're not happy about that and we'll look at that but to score seven in any game in the Premier League is a great achievement.'

Wenger was also quick to hail Newcastle's resilience, although he lamented his side's slow start.

'It was not as comfortable as the score indicated,' he added. 'We played against a good team. They were always a threat going forwards, they gave us many problems.

'I believe we started a bit nervous, not completely relaxed, and at half-time 1-1 was a fair result.

'Second half we were on the ball higher up and were much more dangerous but they always came back.'

Options: Wenger also likes to pick Olivier Giroud (right) through the middle

Options: Wenger also likes to pick Olivier Giroud (right) through the middle

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew admitted his side had no energy left in the final 20 minutes of the game.

Despite scoring three goals apiece away at Manchester United on Boxing Day and today at the Emirates Stadium, Pardew's side have come away empty-handed on both occasions.

And the former West Ham and Charlton boss is aware some of his side's defending has been unacceptable.

'The last 15-20 minutes was a fresh team against a tired team and perhaps a bit of inexperience on our bench resulted in the scoreline,' he said.

'We're just so disappointed that we didn't get something out of it before then.

'The goals we conceded before then were not, not good and that's been our problem.

'For 70 minutes it was pretty tight, I thought we were giving a good account of ourselves but their freshness and the brightness towards the end of the game was just too much for us and we couldn't cope.

'The game really hurt us today but we know at the back we need to do better.'

Lionel Messi stretches calendar year record over Gerd Muller after taking tally to 88 goals

88 and counting… Messi can't stop scoring as Barca striker doubles up to further exceed Muller's record

|

UPDATED:

23:13 GMT, 12 December 2012

Lionel Messi simply can’t stop scoring. The Barcelona talisman increased his record tally of goals scored in a calendar year to 88, after netting twice against FC Cordoba to secure a 2-0 win in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey tie.

The Argentina striker equalled and
surpassed Muller’s 1972 record of 85 goals in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over
Real Betis when he scored another brace.

But he doesn’t seem content with beating the great German hitman, as he marched on with another two goals this evening.

You again: Lionel Messi (right) scored his 87th and 88th goals of 2012 against FC Cordoba

You again: Lionel Messi (right) scored his 87th and 88th goals of 2012 against FC Cordoba

The 25-year-old was the difference once again for Barcelona, fresh from breaking the record at the weekend.

He scored his first of the match
after just 11 minutes with a routine tap in, and expertly slotted home
as the match drew to a close to kill the game off at the Estadio Nuevo
Arcangel.

The Barca No 10 should really have
bagged a hat-trick at Cordoba, but he failed to capitalise when Gerard
Pique put him through on goal with 20 minutes left to play.

Familiar sight: Messi surpassed Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals on Sunday after scoring twice against Betis

Familiar sight: Messi surpassed Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals on Sunday after scoring twice against Betis

Swing and a miss: Messi could have had a hat-trick if he converted Gerard Pique's through ball

Swing and a miss: Messi could have had a hat-trick if he converted Gerard Pique's through ball

Reaching triple figures in 2012 may be a bridge too far for Messi though. Especially with La Liga’s winter break.

The prolific forward will only play
twice more before 2013 kicks in, meaning he’ll have to average six goals
per game if he wants to reach 100 goals for the year.

Stranger things have happened…

Impossible Messi is unlikely to reach the milestone of 100 goals

Impossible Messi is unlikely to reach the milestone of 100 goals

Smashed: Gerd Muller held the record for most goals in a calendar year with 85 for Bayern Munich

Smashed: Gerd Muller held the record for most goals in a calendar year with 85 for Bayern Munich

All in all it was a great night for Messi, and everyone affiliated with Barcelona.

Especially as arch rivals Real Madrid lost their first leg of the Copa Del Rey last 16 tie away at Celta Vigo.

Despite having avoided defeat away at Celta for 10 years, Jose Mourinho's side were outplayed and lost the match 2-1.

Real rekindled realistic hopes of progression after Cristiano Ronaldo popped up late in the game to claw a goal back.

They will remain optimistic that they can progress to the next round when Celta travel to the Bernabeu in the New Year.

Hopeful: Real Madrid were beaten 2-1 in their first leg match away at Celta Vigo

Hopeful: Real Madrid were beaten 2-1 in their first leg match away at Celta Vigo

First in a long time: Real have not lost away to Celta Vigo for ten years

First in a long time: Real have not lost away to Celta Vigo for ten years

Fernando Torres scores goals against Sunderland for Chelsea

At last! Torres breaks Premier League drought by doubling up with super volley and penalty

|

UPDATED:

16:18 GMT, 8 December 2012

Fernando Torres broke his Barclays Premier League goal drought with an exceptional volley against Sunderland before adding another from the penalty spot.

The Spanish striker had not scored in the top flight since October 6 in Chelsea's 4-1 victory over Norwich – a total of 12 hours and 30 minutes of game time.

Eden Hazard, who has also been off-colour in recent weeks, laid on the first goal with a superb assist – just like he did for Torres' second against Nordsjaelland in the Champions League.

Pouncing: Fernando Torres volleys home superbly to open the scoring against Sunderland

Pouncing: Fernando Torres volleys home superbly to open the scoring against Sunderland

Spot on: Fernando Torres strokes home from the spot but not before debating with David Luiz over who got to take it

Spot on: Fernando Torres strokes home from the spot but not before debating with David Luiz over who got to take it

Fire in his belly: Torres contesting for the rights to take the spot kick with defender Luiz - who scored one in midweek

Fire in his belly: Torres contesting for the rights to take the spot kick with defender Luiz – who scored one in midweek

Then he converted his first ever Premier League penalty to double Chelsea's lead and his own goal tally.

Seb Larsson needlessly took down Ramires and the Spaniard surprised a few people by stepping up to the spot and expertly dispatching the penalty.

But he has a history of taking penalties at Sunderland's ground.

Happy times: Victor Moses celebrates with Torres who played with more conviction than of late

Happy times: Victor Moses celebrates with Torres who played with more conviction than of late

It was at the Stadium of Light he scored from the spot in the final of the European U16 Championships, 11 years ago.

In the quarter final he also scored from the spot – at the same stadium – as Spain drew 1-1 with Italy. And guess what He also scored the winning penalty in the subsequent shoot-out.

So it's no wonder he felt comfortable enough to put himself forward today.

He even got an assist for Juan Mata's goal – his shot rebounding off the frame of the goal for his compatriot to fire home.

That's more like it: Recently Torres has not caused the keepers much trouble - but he's certainly bothering Simon Mignolet here

That's more like it: Recently Torres has not caused the keepers much trouble – but he's certainly bothering Simon Mignolet here

Credit: Has Rafael Benitez sparked something in Torres or is it just chance

Credit: Has Rafael Benitez sparked something in Torres or is it just chance

In between his goal at Norwich and
today's efforts the striker scored just three times in 11 games, two
coming against the hapless Danish side which Chelsea beat 6-1 on
Wednesday.

The other goal was also in Europe –
the ball rebounding off him and into the net as he closed down Shakhtar
Donetsk's goalkeeper.

Relief: Torres celebrates after scoring his first goal for 750 minutes

Relief: Torres celebrates after scoring his first goal for 750 minutes

Relief: Fernando Torres scored his first Premier League goal for two months

Many
believe Rafael Benitez, a man widely disliked by the Stamford Bridge
faithful, was brought in by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to get the
Spaniard firing like he did at Liverpool.

Whether
or not he is going to be able to restore the striker to his former
glory remains to be seen, but the conviction he attacked Hazard's cross
with has been missed in recent months.

And Torres has often overlooked the chance to take penalties in the past – something he has been criticised for – so has Benitez given him some much needed belief

Smiling: Torres was much happier than when he netted in midweek

Smiling: Torres was much happier than when he netted in midweek

Liverpool are still feared without Luis Suarez, says West Ham boss Sam Allardyce

It's foolish to think Liverpool are nothing without Suarez, claims Hammers chief Allardyce

|

UPDATED:

13:23 GMT, 7 December 2012

Sam Allardyce has dismissed the concept that Liverpool are a one-man team as West Ham prepare to host the Anfield club who are without the suspended Luis Suarez.

The Uruguay international, who has scored 10 Barclays Premier League goals this term, will miss the trip to Upton Park through suspension.

After beating London rivals Chelsea last weekend, the Hammers are tipped to see off the challenge from Liverpool who sit three places beneath them in 11th in the table. But Allardyce insists his side won't 'underestimate' Liverpool.

Missing: Suarez is suspended for Liverpool's trip to West Ham

Missing: Suarez is suspended for Liverpool's trip to West Ham

'People are suggesting Sunday's game against Liverpool at Upton Park should be pretty straightforward for us with Luis Suarez being suspended,' Allardyce wrote in his Evening Standard column.

'I accept that Suarez is an important player for them but believing Liverpool are a one-man team would be incredibly foolish.

'Put it this way – we were without Andy Carroll, George McCartney, Yossi Benayoun, Ricardo Vaz Te, Jack Collison and Alou Diarra against Chelsea last weekend but still beat them 3-1. Missing that many players was far more damaging than Liverpool without Suarez.

Hammer time: West Ham ran out 3-1 winners over Chelsea on Saturday

Hammer time: West Ham ran out 3-1 winners over Chelsea on Saturday

'We cannot and will not underestimate Liverpool. They're playing well, their points tally is increasing and we will need to replicate that second-half spectacular against Chelsea, if we are to do well. I have often said we have to be at 100 per cent to win a Premier League game. If you'll excuse the exaggeration, I thought we were 110 per cent in that second 45 minutes against Chelsea.'

Meanwhile, Allardyce is confident the atmosphere at the Olympic Stadium will be better than Upton Park if West Ham's move goes ahead.

The club were selected as the preferred organisation to move into the Olympic Stadium following its vacation after the London 2012 Games.

Upton Park – now officially named the Boleyn Ground – has been the home of West Ham football club since 1904.

Moving house: The Olympic Stadium could become West Ham's new home

Moving house: The Olympic Stadium could become West Ham's new home

But after more than a century there they are now close to a move to the 80,000-capacity stadium.

And Allardyce said: 'There was a wonderful atmosphere at Highbury. There is a better atmosphere at the Emirates. There is a wonderful atmosphere at Upton Park. There will be an better atmosphere at the Olympic Park.'

Yesterday vice-chairman Karen Brady emailed the club's Supporters Advisory Board to make it clear the fans would be consulted before any move went ahead.

In the email she said: 'It is important to understand that while the decision represents a huge step forward, as we have stated throughout, preferred bidder status does not mean that West Ham United have at this stage agreed to the move.

Net gains: Upton Park has been West Ham's home for over 100 years

Net gains: Upton Park has been West Ham's home for over 100 years

'It remains the case that we will only do so if the final proposal is right for the club and our supporters. This includes the necessity of agreeing a Stadium design specification that is acceptable to us in terms of its ability to host world- class football matches.This is the time for supporters to have their voices heard and a more intensive consultation process will commence immediately.'

And Allardyce believes it can only be a good thing for the future of the club.

The 58-year-old added: 'I think it is outstanding news for the club although there is still a long way to go. We are in the driving seat. It will be a fantastic venue for the future of West Ham United.'

Altrincham 0 Burton 2 – match report

Altrincham 0 Burton 2: Robins fail to produce upset… but 70k Cup cash eases pain

|

UPDATED:

22:17 GMT, 15 November 2012

Non-League Altrincham departed the FA Cup 70,000 richer but still bemoaning their luck after giving League Two high-flyers Burton Albion another first-round scare at Moss Lane.

Thwarted by a Calvin Zola equaliser in the final minute of added time at the Pirelli Stadium, Blue Square Bet Conference North side Altrincham again took the game to Burton with a slick passing style that belied their relatively modest league status.

Prolific marksman Damian Reeves almost added to his 20-goal tally in only the eighth minute of a lively replay, miscuing a Scott Leather cutback and seeing his close-range effort spin over the bar.

Gone for a Burton: Albion were comfortable winners in the end

Gone for a Burton: Albion were comfortable winners in the end

Jake Moult cleared the bar after being set up by livewire teenager Duncan Watmore in the 20th minute, and, after having much the better of an enthralling first half, there was no sign of any let-up in the Conference side’s quest for an upset.

They created the clearest opportunity so far in the 57th minute and would have gone ahead but for a sprawling save by Mark Oxley from James Lawrie’s low drive.

But as the part-time team began to tire, Burton took full advantage and went ahead with a 64th-minute free-kick from Chris Palmer that caught keeper Stuart Coburn by surprise as it crept inside the near post.

Down and out: But the Robins can console themselves with Cup cash

Down and out: But the Robins can console themselves with Cup cash

Burton finally saw off Altrincham’s brave challenge, and booked a second-round trip to Crewe, with a second goal in the 76th minute, as a slip by Luca Havern allowed Zola to slot home a low cross from Cleveland Taylor.

It was hard on Altrincham, though a 31,900 cheque from ESPN that boosted their Cup takings to around 70,000 provided some consolation.

Steven Gerrard to give dad 100th England shirt for Christmas

Gerrard is Father Christmas! Skipper's dad to get shirt from 100th game as present

|

UPDATED:

10:57 GMT, 15 November 2012

Steven Gerrard will give the England shirt he wore when winning his 100th cap as a Christmas present to his father Paul.

Three Lions captain Gerrard achieved the milestone during 4-2 defeat against Sweden in the Friends Arena.

He became only the sixth England player to reach a century of appearances.

Centurion: Steven Gerrard won his 100th England cap in the friendly defeat against Sweden

Centurion: Steven Gerrard won his 100th England cap in the friendly defeat against Sweden

Gerrard said: 'To get there was a very proud moment for me. I have been really touched by all the support and all the good wishes I have had – from family, friends and everyone in the game.

'The shirt I wore during the game, I will give it to my dad. It will be a nice Christmas present for him.

'He has been with me since day one, shown me fantastic support. My dad has watched me kick a ball since I was seven.

'He always gave me the advice “you get out of your career what you put into it” and I've always taken that on board.

Leader: Gerrard (right) and his England team-mates take to the pitch at the Friends Arena

Leader: Gerrard (right) and his England team-mates take to the pitch at the Friends Arena

'All the way through, I've made sacrifices and tried to work hard and, every time I go onto the pitch, I give it everything I've got.'

Gerrard insists he still has plenty more to offer his country at the age of 32 – 12 years after making his debut.

He said: 'Are there more caps to go Yes, I feel good, I feel fit, I'm happy with my form in an England shirt so on I go and I'm looking forward to the next game.'

Gerrard believes England can take plenty of positives from their performance in a game where six players were handed their debut.

England led 2-1 before Zlatan Ibrahimovic took centre stage with three late goals to take his tally in the match to four.

Middle man: Gerrard put in a fine shift before coming off with quarter of an hour left

Middle man: Gerrard put in a fine shift before coming off with quarter of an hour left

Gerrard said: 'I thought we were terrific for large chunks of the game. There were a lot of positives.

'We did well for three quarters of the match and then we collapsed and fell away towards the end.

'I'm sure the manager will be happy with the character and the belief we showed even when we went behind. “We kept fighting and got ourselves in front against a tough team who were well organised in front of their crowd. “For three quarters of the game we were in control.

'The substitutes disrupted us but that happens in friendlies. I think overall it was a positive outcome. “There is more reason to be optimistic with some of the individual performances of the night.'

Cheers boss: Gerrard is congratulated by England manager Roy Hodgson after coming off

Cheers boss: Gerrard is congratulated by England manager Roy Hodgson after coming off

Gerrard admitted the newly-laid surface in the Friends Arena was far from perfect.

He said: 'I think we had trouble all night with our footing and controlling the ball, waiting for the ball to settle before you could pass it.

'But I think they are having teething problems with the surface like we had at Wembley to start with.

'I'm sure they will get it right but it is the same for both teams. We can't look at the surface as an excuse.

Fan-tastic: Gerrard signed a few autographs for supporters at England's friendly clash in Sweden

Fan-tastic: Gerrard signed a few autographs for supporters at England's friendly clash in Sweden

'We've got to hold our hands up and say an individual performance from Ibrahimovic won them the game but there is no reason to be down.'

Gerrard looked at home in the holding role as England hit back to lead 2-1 through goals from Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker before Ibrahimovic's superb contribution.

He said: 'I was really happy with how it went for me personally. I thought I did well. “I was asked to play the holding role and felt comfortable.'

Richard Hughes crowned champion jockey

Hughes is champion after his years of frustration

|

UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 10 November 2012

Richard Hughes, four times a runner-up in the race to be crowned Britain's champion flat jockey, was celebrating at last after landing the 2012 title.

Hughes, accompanied to the podium by his son, Harvey, to receive his trophy at Doncaster, said: 'It's a great feeling, much better than runner-up!'

Daddy cool: Richard Hughes and his son Harvey

Daddy cool: Richard Hughes and his son Harvey

A stream of winners from Richard Hannon consistently boosted Hughes, 39, on the way to the top with multiple winners Libranno, Havana Gold and Toronado contributing to his final tally of 172 winners – 41 more than second-placed Silvestre de Sousa.

Peter Odemwingie will put Nigeria before West Brom

Odemwingie hoping for Super Eagles glory in African Cup of Nations

|

UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 6 November 2012

Peter Odemwingie will put his country before club in the New Year after electing to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

West Brom's striker is eager to make himself available for what might be his last chance of glory with Nigeria.

With the Baggies' victory over Southampton pushing the club up to the giddy heights of fifth, the forward has therefore pushed himself forward for selection.

Running hot: Peter Odemwingie and West Brom are doing well

Running hot: Peter Odemwingie and West Brom are doing well

'It's hard not to go for this,' he said, 'it could be my last one and it is a different situation now from the first two years at the club. My goals here were very important.

'Now any player can play well. We have good players who can play well for a whole month and I'm sure the club will do well without me.

'I have a few things to clarify with the Nigeria manager because he substituted me in his first game, very early in the second-half.

'But after speaking to him, he said it was nothing personal that the whole team was playing badly and unfortunately for me, he started by taking me off.

'Everything has settled down now. He says that if I want to play, I'm welcome. So, of course, it's my country which I love and I'm going to play for them.

'I will put the country and fans before anything.'

West Brom's head coach Steve Clarke will also miss midfield kingpin Youssouf Mulumbu who has been one of the Baggies' star performers this season.

Mulumbu is due to play with the DR Congo at the same time and Odemwingie feels West Brom have the depth of squad to cope.

Boom: Odemwingie powers home a header against Southampton

Boom: Odemwingie powers home a header against Southampton

'Youssouf is also a very important player for us in the middle but we have good numbers of players,' added the striker who took his tally to the season to three with a brace against Southampton on Monday night.

'We have Yassine El Ghanassay who is still waiting his chance to show something from one of the wings.

'We also have Chris Brunt, James Morrison and George Thorne. We have players who can play at this level and Albion took that into consideration when recruiting players. They knew a few of us might go.

'I know it's going to be a bit of a loss us leaving for a couple of weeks but we hope the players there can follow the team's performance.'