Daily Archives: February 6, 2017

Barca leapfrogs Sevilla to close in on Real

Published by:

With a strong 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao, defending Spanish champions FC Barcelona sends a message to Real Madrid that they are not to take comfort in their table leader position.

Their victory at Camp Nou meant that they are now second place in La Liga and within one point from Real, leapfrogging Sevilla, who failed to defeat Villareal on home ground.

With Luis Suarez rested, Paco Alcacer made a rare starting appearance and scored his first La Liga goal for Barcelona when he turned home Neymar’s cross from 10 yards.

Lionel Messi put Barca in a comfortable position five minutes before half-time, doubling the Catalans’ lead when he beat Athletic keeper Gorka Iraizoz at his near post from a right-wing free-kick.

Aleix Vidal sealed the victory after an inspiring individual run past several defenders.

His goal meant that Barca is now the first European team to score 100 times in all competitions this season, with Ligue club Monaco also reaching the landmark later in the afternoon.

While Barca is now just a point within Real Madrid, the European champions still have two games in hand after their scheduled match away to Celta Vigo was postponed due to storm damage to the Balaidos stadium.

Sevilla, two points behind Barca after failing to win against Villareal, could also rise past Real if Los Blancos fail to win at Osasuna next week.

Juventus flashes scudetto credentials with win over Inter

Published by:

Juventus, the defending champions of Serie A defeated in-form Internazionale by 1-0, once again showing that the scudetto — their sixth consecutive Italian top flight title — is virtually in the bag.

28-year old Colombian Juan Cuadrado scored the only goal in the game for the Turin club, with a powerful 25-yard strike just before half-time.

But both sides had managed to serve up a brilliant showdown in the first half, with Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic hitting the crossbar for the hosts, who also found Inter’s keeper, Samir Handanovic, in inspired form.

Inter also had their chances, but Juve took the lead two minutes before half-time when a corner was cleared to the edge of the area. Meeting the loose ball in his stride, fired a magnificent rising shot into the net.

While Handanovic continued his brilliant saves to keep Juve out for the rest of the game despite conceding, substitute Eder wasted Inter’s best hope of an equaliser when, with two players free, he failed to pass and ran into a crowd of defenders.

The game ended in heated arguments after Inter’s last ditch offensive effort resulted in a free-kick being awarded to Juventus and the Inter forward Ivan Perisic being sent off.

At 54 points after their 28th consecutive home league win, Juventus are on an virtually unassailable position on top of the Italian top flight — six above of second-placed Napoli with a game in hand against them, and seven above Roma — who face Fiorentina later today.

Leicester City condemned to fierce relegation dogfight

Published by:

Leicester City has been condemned to a fierce dogfight near the Premier League relegation zone after their devastating 3-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United.

The Red Devils scored twice within two first half minutes at the King Power Stadium to ruthlessly reduce any Leicester hopes to ashes.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan latched onto Chris Smalling’s flick-on and raced on goal past a hapless Robert Huth before beating Kasper Schmeichel with a clinical finish.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic then took advantage of terrible Leicester marking to side-foot home his 15th Premier League goal of the season, becoming the oldest player in the Premier League to reach that tally.

Leicester’s miserable day was topped off with Juan Mata’s finish after a series of uninterrupted one-two with Mkhitaryan.

It was telling that the Foxes were never truly in the game, as they registered just a single shot on target from Wilfred Ndidi.

The result also meant that Leicester, without a single goal and win in the League since the turn of the year, could face one of the fiercest relegation dogfights in history yet.

They are level on 21 points with Middlesbrough and Swansea City and linger just one place above the relegation zone, but could be easily leapfrogged by teams in the relegation zone with a win; Crystal Palace and Sunderland, both bottom in the League are at 19 points, while Hull City rose to 20 after a shock victory over Liverpool.