Mon, May 07, 2018 - Page 10 News List

West Brom safe for now; Stoke relegated

AFP, LONDON

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri hides his tears after their loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday in Stoke-on-Trent, England, confirmed their relegation from the Premier League.

Photo: Reuters

Jake Livermore on Saturday kept alive West Bromwich Albion’s slender hopes of avoiding relegation, as his last-gasp strike clinched a dramatic 1-0 win over Tottenham, while Stoke were relegated after a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.

Albion knew only three points at the Hawthorns would be enough to stave off relegation for a few hours at least.

With Darren Moore’s side just minutes away from relegation, Livermore sparked wild celebrations when the midfielder prodded home after a goal-mouth scramble two minutes into stoppage time.

Incredibly, Albion were on the brink of relegation again just hours later, when fellow strugglers Southampton took a second-half lead through Nathan Redmond at Everton.

However, with just seconds left in stoppage time, Tom Davies’ deflected strike rescued a 1-1 draw for Everton and saved West Brom from being relegated for now.

West Brom are two points from safety with one game left.

Albion’s last game of the season is at Palace on Sunday, but they will go down if there is a winner between third-bottom Swansea City and fourth-bottom Southampton at Liberty Stadium tomorrow.

A draw would take the relegation battle down to the last weekend.

“We have been on this road for four, nearly five weeks. We wanted to get some pride and commitment back,” Moore said.

Huddersfield, two points above the bottom three, are also in trouble, as they are to face Manchester City on Sunday.

Stoke had hope of staying up, when Xherdan Shaqiri scored with a 43rd-minute free-kick, but James McArthur equalized in the 68th minute and Patrick van Aanholt hit the winner with four minutes left.

Paul Lambert’s side are on the bottom, three points from safety, with only one game remaining.

Stoke have spent 10 seasons in the Premier League, but a run of 13 games without a victory ensured that streak would come to an end.

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland was in tears at the final whistle and City fans were just as emotional as the realization of their team’s relegation sank in.

Hundreds left in the closing minutes before those who remained sang City ’til I Die in a defiant rallying cry.

The blame for Stoke’s predicament lies jointly with Lambert and Mark Hughes, who was sacked in January after a wretched run that culminated with an embarrassing FA Cup third-round defeat against fourth-tier Coventry.

Hughes could suffer the indignity of having a role in two relegations in one season, as his Southampton side are in trouble themselves.

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