Eastleigh’s run ends as Newport secure Manchester United glamour tie

By Sports Desk January 16, 2024

Newport set up a fairytale tie with Manchester United with a 3-1 FA Cup third-round win at non-league Eastleigh.

Goals from James Clarke and Will Evans sent the Welsh side through after Paul McCallum briefly levelled for the fifth-tier Spitfires following Aaron Wildig’s early opener.

The Exiles will host 12-time cup winners United at Rodney Parade on January 28.

There was a shock at Ashton Gate where Championship club Bristol City overcame 10-man West Ham 1-0.

Tommy Conway, who earned the Robins a replay with the equaliser in a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium on January 7, claimed the early winner after capitalising on a defensive mistake.

A disappointing evening for the Premier League Hammers was compounded by Said Benrahma’s 51st-minute red card, with City going on to host either Nottingham Forest or Blackpool.

Matheus Cunha struck an extra-time winner from the penalty spot as Wolves progressed to a Black Country derby at West Brom by twice coming from behind to beat Brentford 3-2.

Ex-Wanderers defender Nathan Collins gave the Bees a 13th-minute lead at Molineux before Nelson Semedo levelled.

Neal Maupay restored Brentford’s advantage only for Nathan Fraser to force an additional 30 minutes, which was decided by Cunha’s spot-kick following Shandon Baptiste’s foul on Pedro Neto.

Luton avoided an upset by hitting back to beat Bolton 2-1.

Dion Charles gave the League One Trotters an 11th-minute advantage but the top-flight visitors overturned the deficit thanks to Tahith Chong and Chiedozie Ogbene to earn a trip to either Crystal Palace or Everton.

In Tuesday evening’s other replay, Tony Mowbray registered his first win as Birmingham boss after a last-minute strike from substitute Koji Miyoshi secured a 2-1 success over Hull.

Jason Lokilo’s first Tigers goal edged his side ahead at St Andrew’s but Jay Stansfield levelled before Miyoshi’s dramatic finish earned Blues a trip to Championship rivals Leicester.

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    Roberto De Zerbi insisted he does not have another job lined up after overseeing his final game as Brighton and Hove Albion boss on Sunday.

    One day after surprisingly announcing De Zerbi's departure, Brighton ended their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 home loss to Manchester United.

    That meant they slipped below rivals Crystal Palace to finish 11th in the table, their first bottom-half placing since finishing 16th in 2020-21.

    De Zerbi has been linked with several big clubs since leading Brighton to European qualification last season, with Bayern Munich, Milan and Napoli touted as possible landing spots for the former Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk coach.

    However, De Zerbi says he has not reached an agreement with any other club, telling reporters: "There isn't any club – no-one offered me anything. At the moment, nothing.

    "I hope to work in the Premier League again. I don't know where or when, but it was an honour to work in the Premier League."

    Sunday's defeat was De Zerbi's 70th Premier League game in charge of Brighton, with his top-flight win percentage of 37 per cent (26/70) the highest of any boss in the Seagulls' history.

    Battling a lengthy injury list for much of 2023-24, Brighton made a total of 143 changes to their starting lineup throughout the course of the campaign, with only Manchester City in 2019-20 (144) ever making more in a single Premier League season.

    Asked by BBC Match of the Day if there was a particular reason for his exit, the Italian added: "We didn't find the agreement to move on. I want to keep my way. 

    "I know very well what I want to do and I know I am a coach and I have to accept the policies of the club.

    "They gave me an incredible chance. They gave me the possibility to know incredible people, to play and to work in the Premier League, to play in the Europa League. They gave me the opportunity to know this club, this city, these fans and that I cannot forget."

    Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna and Nice coach Francesco Farioli have both been tipped as possible contenders to replace De Zerbi, with Brighton having a reputation for excellent succession planning under owner Tony Bloom.

    Asked about the search for a replacement on Sunday, Bloom said: "We always try and have a plan. We have got a plan. We now need to execute that plan."

  • Walker: Man City driven on by creating history Walker: Man City driven on by creating history

    Kyle Walker believes Manchester City were spurred on by creating history to a fourth straight Premier League title.

    A Phil Foden double and a Rodri strike saw City beat West Ham 3-1 on Sunday as they claimed a fourth consecutive Premier League crown, finishing two points above Arsenal.

    In doing so, City became the first team ever to win England's top division four times in a row, and Walker feels that was one of the key motivations behind the team finishing top of the Premier League pile yet again.

    When asked if creating history had driven him and his team-mates on, Walker told Sky Sports: "I think so, I think so. We went out of the Champions League, got into the FA Cup final, but to do this, make it four in a row, it made it something special.

    "It has been spoken about all year what we can achieve and the history we can make. But it is about the finer details. It was down to just one game and that game was West Ham United. We get past that then we make history, but more importantly we claim the Premier League again.

    "It is a very, very tough league to win. I looked at the Italian league, German league, Spanish league, the winners are 10, 15 points clear. Fair play to Arsenal and Liverpool for what they have done throughout the season, making sure they push us right to the limit."

    Walker turns 34 later this month but has shown little signs of slowing down, playing an integral role again this season on his way to a sixth Premier League title of his decorated career.

    Walker still feels he is capable of playing at the top level, saying: "I feel young. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I feel young, I feel great, I still have my pace.

    "I come to training every day wanting to learn. Once that goes then it is probably time to pack up, but this group of lads keeps you on your toes. They keep on you to keep improving every day."

    Walker has been City's captain this season, making his 300th appearance for the club in the title-securing win over West Ham.

    The defender was keen to emphasise that it has been a collective effort this term, though, explaining: "I am the man at the front and I wear the armband, but I don't put myself above anyone else. We are a team.

    "There are four captains including myself, and we all pull our weight. I am just the man they've picked to wear the armband which I am very grateful for. To be able to lift the trophy in this scenario, the four in a row, it is a dream come true."

  • Ancelotti focused on fitness and rhythm despite Villarreal comeback against Madrid Ancelotti focused on fitness and rhythm despite Villarreal comeback against Madrid

    Carlo Ancelotti was unbothered by Real Madrid's failed attempt to defend a three-goal lead against Villarreal, instead focusing on avoiding injuries and keeping their rhythm.

    A double from Arda Guler, as well as goals from Joselu and Lucas Vazquez, had Madrid in control at 4-1 up away to Villarreal on Sunday.

    Yet Alexander Sorloth, who pulled a goal back earlier on, managed three goals in eight minutes to salvage a 4-4 draw for the hosts against the LaLiga champions.

    Despite faltering to a late comeback, Ancelotti was more than pleased with his side's efforts, ahead of the upcoming Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund on June 1 at Wembley Stadium.

    "The target was not the points because we don't need them, the target was to play a good game with rhythm, intensity, avoiding injuries. Everything went perfectly," he told a post-match press conference.

    "I'm not worried ahead of the Champions League final, this was an open game.

    "Maybe we conceded more goals than necessary but that's okay, it doesn't change anything about what the final has to be. In attack, we played well."

    Villarreal are set to finish eighth in the LaLiga table, unable to be caught by any team below and incapable of reaching seventh-placed Real Betis.

    Sorloth may end with an individual award, though, after scoring his league-leading 23rd goal of the season with the fourth of his quartet of strikes.

    "It was a match with a lot of goals, the kind that the fans like," Villarreal forward Gerard Moreno, who provided three assists, told Movistar. 

    "I'll take the reaction in the second half. We will try to go to Europe next year.

    "I hope Sorloth ends up top scorer. He's a fantastic teammate. He deserves it. We're going to try to help him. He's had an incredible season."

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