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Press Association The home side went into the game buoyed by a much-improved display against Liverpool, but knowing a 3-1 defeat had done nothing to improve their situation, and they could hardly have got off to a better start. United defenders Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic contrived between them to allow Craig Gardner to fire his side into a fifth-minute lead, and it was one they managed to protect with some comfort until the break. Indeed, the Black Cats could have gone in with an even bigger advantage had it not been for a superb save from David De Gea to keep out an Emanuele Giaccherini header and a glaring miss from the Italy international. Having turned in a muted display before the break, the visitors returned in determined mood and, as their hosts tired, they assumed control. However, it took 18-year-old winger Adnan Januzaj to get them out of jail with a classy double. He levelled after 55 minutes when, after playing the ball out to Patrice Evra, he made ground to convert the full-back’s cross when it arrived. But his winner was even more noteworthy as he unleashed a picture-book left-foot volley across goalkeeper Keiren Westwood and into the bottom corner. The disappointment in the home dressing room on the final whistle was a measure of the strides Sunderland have taken during a traumatic fortnight, but there is also an acceptance that results need to improve markedly and very quickly if they are to avoid another unseemly scrap for top-flight survival. For his part, Ball hopes to discover over the next couple of days whether he will have a further role to play in that process. Asked about his immediate future, he said: “No idea at the moment. I don’t know whether they are going to give me a ring, speak to me or anything like that. “But I am sure in the next couple of days, they will do something.” Ball said: “What I have said to them in there is that has got to be the minimum in future they do for themselves. Irrespective of who the manager is, that’s the minimum they have got to do. “They have got to keep building on that and building on that and building on that, adding bits of the game that we would like to see them improve on and hopefully results will come then.” Ball was asked to take over the reins temporarily following Paolo Di Canio’s departure a fortnight ago, and a Capital One Cup victory over Peterborough has been followed by creditable performances in defeat against Liverpool and United. However, the statistics make for painful reading and they have now collected just one point from a possible 21 this season and are already six adrift of safety. Owner Ellis Short saw the latest instalment of Ball’s reign in person and whether he has seen enough to consider appointing him – a decision which would go down well in the dressing room – remains to be seen. But what is clear is that the former Black Cats midfielder has received a response from his players. Asked if he had seen enough to convince him that Sunderland can get themselves out of trouble, Ball said: “What I have seen is a lot of players who are fully committed to the cause, and so they should be. “The players should give themselves a lot of credit, but like I keep saying to them – I keep emphasising this – what is important now is they keep doing it, irrespective of what happens, they keep doing it because it’s vitally important to this club.” Kevin Ball has urged Sunderland to build on the foundations they have lain during his spell in charge, irrespective of whether or not he remains at the helm. The 48-year-old hopes to discover this week if he is to stay in interim charge at the Stadium of Light, be handed the job on a permanent basis or return to his role as the club’s senior professional development coach. But whoever sends out the team at Swansea on October 19, he insists they must perform to the standards they set on Saturday as they very nearly pulled off a shock against reigning Barclays Premier League champions Manchester United.
“We did the same against Liverpool, we didn’t start that well but we ended up coming into the game,” Ledley said. “They had a good start but from there I thought it was 50-50 and on another day we could have gone on and nicked it on the counter-attack. “It was a good point for us and that’s what we needed after beating Liverpool. “But everyone’s determined and works their socks off here – the back four, midfield, wingers and strikers. “Everyone in the team knows they’ve got to put a shift in or they’ll be off, so every week we need to go out there and perform.” Palace’s fightback means Swansea have now lost 13 points from winning positions this season but defender Neil Taylor insists that worrying trait has not damaged dressing-room morale. “This is football, it always has to go one way,” Taylor said. “This is a stat that people can talk about but this is the way it can go. “You just carry on, it’s not the fact of managing the game. “We’ve just scored early and we should have made it two or three, but we didn’t and that’s it.” Swansea are at home again on Tuesday night when they entertain a Queens Park Rangers side who climbed off the bottom of the league on Saturday with a 3-2 victory over Leicester. “If we play well and win then this result is forgotten about,” Taylor said. “It won’t be an easy game but it’s a home game and hopefully we can go one better than this one. “Our play in the first half was unbelievable and if we’d finished a couple of those chances we would have been out of sight. “We need to capitalise on our chances because at 1-0 games are never finished and you have to try and get another one.” Socceroos skipper Jedinak paid his own personal tribute to compatriot Hughes before Palace’s 1-1 draw at Swansea on Saturday when he carried out a cricket bat, which he placed along with a ball and a pair of caps on the touchline. Hughes, 25, died on Thursday after being struck in the neck by a ball while batting for South Australia in a Sheffield Shield game in Sydney. Joe Ledley hailed the courage of his Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak following the death of Australian Test batsman Phillip Hughes. Press Association Jedinak made the poignant pre-match tribute and then scored from the penalty spot – his fifth goal in eight games – as Palace fought back to earn a prized Barclays Premier League point at the Liberty Stadium. “Everyone in Australia is devastated by what happened, especially Mile being the captain of the Australia football team,” said Jedinak’s midfield colleague Ledley. “That goal obviously meant a lot to Mile and we’re all behind him. “It’s been a difficult time for him but to go out there and play like he has done is fantastic. “He’s determined as ever and it didn’t affect his performance at all. “He’s done exactly the same in training because he’s a strong guy and personality and he’s been strong all week.” Palace endured a torrid opening spell when Swansea’s superiority was complete and finally reflected on the scoreline after 15 minutes when Wilfried Bony netted his sixth goal in seven Premier League games with a sharp shot on the turn. But Palace levelled 10 minutes later when Jonjo Shelvey’s clumsy challenge on Marouane Chamakh allowed Jedinak to score from the spot and Neil Warnock’s side grew into the game after that.
No. 12 Syracuse (8-2, 6-2 Atlantic Coast) plays it’s first Top 15 matchup in 21 years on Saturday against No. 3 Notre Dame (10-0). The Orange and Irish are set for kickoff at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Yankee Stadium. Our beat writers predict their winner in Saturday’s matchup below. Andrew Graham (8-2)Notre Dame’s uniformsNotre Dame 38, Syracuse 27AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNo. 12 Syracuse has exceeded, I think, every realistic expectation to be had. A blemish at Pittsburgh is the difference from a Top 10 spot, currently. So Dino Babers is right that this weekend’s game is a “freebie.” No one had any realistic expectation that SU could beat No. 3 Notre Dame before the season, so the fact that there’s a chance now speaks to something. But it’s a good thing this one is a freebie, because the undefeated Irish, save for a bad first half against Pitt, have played near-perfect football this season. With quarterback Ian Book back in the lineup, UND’s offense will hum along and the defense will make few, if any, mistakes. That’s what playoff teams do, and that’ll be too much for Syracuse to overcome. Matt Liberman (8-2)Happy New YearsSyracuse 31, Notre Dame 28As Andrew mentioned, Syracuse would be a Top 10 team if it weren’t for one blip against Pittsburgh, a team that I think would probably be ranked seventh in the nation. This Syracuse team is good, but not that good. That said, under Dino Babers, Syracuse typically plays to the level of its opponent, as it did earlier this season in Death Valley against Clemson. Plus in recent years, Notre Dame has always had one game every season where the wheels fall off. I think this could be that game. I think if Syracuse can come out and defend the run well on the first three possessions and looks to spread the ball out on offense, this is certainly a winnable game. SU gets the job done and catapults into the Top 10. Josh Schafer (9-1)Close only counts in horseshoes Notre Dame 41, Syracuse 31Syracuse enters Saturday’s matchup against No. 3 Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium 8-2 and ranked 12th in the College Football Playoff. In August, that statement would’ve seemed laughable. But make no mistake about Syracuse’s Top 10 offense, special teams and top-tier pass rush have legitimized the Orange. Syracuse hasn’t slipped since Week 6 at Pittsburgh and this weekend will be no different. Notre Dame is simply a better, more well-rounded and battle-tested team than Syracuse. The Orange can battle with the Irish for most of the game but if Notre Dame’s defense gets the few stops the number says it should, Syracuse’s defense will likely struggle to answer. In year’s past and earlier this season, when Syracuse has played higher ranked opponents close on the road, the fourth quarter has done in the Orange. Notre Dame, like those other highly ranked opponents, is deeper and can cycle in more players than Syracuse. In a war of attrition, that’s what wins the Irish the game in the fourth quarter. Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on November 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm