Barca routs Espanyol to move 11 points clear at the top

Updated 08 January 2013
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Barca routs Espanyol to move 11 points clear at the top

LONDON: Barcelona routed city rivals Espanyol 4-0 to move 11 points clear at the top of La Liga on Sunday night.
In Italy, 19-year-old Argentine Mauro Icardi scored twice as leaders Juventus suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by lowly Sampdoria and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was again the villain of the piece in the FA Cup third round.
The Uruguayan striker appeared to handle before scoring to help Liverpool avoid embarrassment and edge to a nervy 2-1 win over minor league Mansfield Town.
Olympique Lyon became the first French Cup holders to be eliminated in the round of 64 in 15 years, suffering a shock loss on penalties to third division Epinal.

SPAIN
Leaders Barcelona moved 11 points clear at the top of La Liga with a 4-0 rout of city rivals Espanyol as second-placed Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 at Real Mallorca.
With coach Tito Vilanova back in the dugout at the Nou Camp after his throat operation, Pedro scored twice and Xavi and world player of the year Lionel Messi bagged one apiece, the latter notching his 27th league goal of the campaign.
Second-placed Atletico Madrid missed suspended top scorer Radamel Falcao in a 1-1 draw at Real Mallorca in which Kevin Garcia grabbed a late equalizer for the hosts after Raul Garcia had put the visitors in front.
Real were five points further back in third after surviving a sixth-minute red card for reserve keeper Antonio Adan, chosen ahead of Iker Casillas again, with a 4-3 win over Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu.
Xabi Prieto netted a hat-trick for the visitors but Karim Benzema, Sami Khedira and a second-half double from Cristiano Ronaldo secured the points and eased the pressure on coach Jose Mourinho after three games without a win in all competitions.

ITALY
Leaders Juventus suffered a shock 2-1 loss at home to lowly Sampdoria despite taking a 24th-minute lead through a Sebastian Giovinco penalty.
Sampdoria had Gaetano Berardi sent off in the 31st minute but won thanks to two second-half goals from Argentine 19-year-old Mauro Icardi.
Juve’s lead was cut to five points over Lazio, who beat Cagliari 2-1, as the 38-match Serie A campaign reached the halfway mark.
Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani scored a hat trick to lead Napoli to a 4-1 win over AS Roma, which took them into third place ahead of Fiorentina and Inter Milan who both lost.

ENGLAND
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie showed his brilliance once again as he came off the bench to finish clinically and rescue a 2-2 draw against West Ham United in the FA Cup third round.
New signing Demba Ba scored twice on his debut as Chelsea routed fellow Premier League club Southampton 5-1 and Tottenham Hotspur eased past 1987 Cup final opponents Coventry City 3-0 thanks to two goals from Clint Dempsey.
Liverpool beat minor league opponents Mansfield Town 2-1 on Sunday with a controversial second goal from Luis Suarez who clearly handled before smashing home.
There were three goals in the final nine minutes as Arsenal and Swansea City drew 2-2 in another all-Premier League clash.

FRANCE
Olympique Lyon became the first French Cup holders to be eliminated in the round of 64 in 15 years when they suffered a shock loss on penalties at third division Epinal after a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Four other Ligue 1 teams lost to lower division sides, with fourth-tier Plabennec grabbing the headlines by dumping out Stade Reims 1-0 while Ajaccio, Stade Rennes and Bastia were also defeated.
Ligue 1 leaders Paris St. Germain won 4-3 at fifth-division amateurs Arras and will face Toulouse in the standout tie of the draw for the last 32.
Andre-Pierre Gignac scored twice to help Olympique Marseille labor to a 2-1 home win over second tier Guingamp.

PORTUGAL
Champions Porto and fierce rivals Benfica both won to keep the two-horse race going at the top of the Portuguese Premier League with Porto three points behind the Lisbon club with a game in hand before the pair clash in Lisbon next Sunday.
Colombia striker Jackson Martinez headed in Porto’s winner from a corner as the hosts scraped a 1-0 win over Madeira island side Nacional despite a lackluster performance.
Benfica eased past Estoril 3-1 away with Argentine winger Nicolas Gaitan opening the scoring with a neat backheel and setting up another. The Lisbon club are on 35 points after 13 matches with Porto on 32 from 12.


Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

Updated 23 April 2018
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Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

  • Young Scottish star was very impressive during Liverpool's 5-1 aggregate destruction of Man City in last-eight clash.
  • Robertson refuses to take Roma lightly after their shock victory over Barcelona in the last round.

LIVERPOOL: With a desire stoked in the stands of Parkhead, Andrew Robertson is now fired up to fulfil a childhood dream.
While following the fortunes of Celtic, the defender’s first Champions League final memory was when Zinedine Zidane volleyed Real Madrid to success in 2002 as the contest was staged in Robertson’s home city of Glasgow. He was just eight years old.
While Robertson was deemed too small to play for his boyhood idols, released at 15 with a future uncertain, he has grown to prove his worth on Europe’s biggest club stage with Liverpool.
Now, with a semifinal encounter against AS Roma after beating Premier League champions Manchester City in the last eight, he wants to emulate those Reds heroes who lifted the trophy five times before.
“I was a big Celtic fan growing up and my heroes were Henrik Larsson and Co,” Robertson told Arab News ahead of tonight’s first-leg clash 
at Anfield.
“But these heroes who have won the European Cup and Champions League for Liverpool, you have to look up to them — and we want to emulate them and hopefully get a winner’s medal too.
“The club’s won it five times and the history of the club has always been this, the Champions League, where the fans create a special atmosphere and the club challenges for the trophy. It would be unbelievable to be a part of that history.
“This is the highlight for me so far and an incredible feeling, but it just makes you hungry for more. I don’t want it to end.
“As a kid, you sit back and watch how great it would be to play in this competition, let alone in the final.
“I always used to go to Celtic and we didn’t progress very far in the Champions League, but the occasions at Parkhead were always unbelievable.
“The fans at Celtic are incredible, world renowned, but Anfield was unbelievable against Man City and we have another chance for them to create that same atmosphere and hopefully we can put in another great performance.”
Having beaten Pep Guardiola’s City so convincingly, 5-1 over two gripping games, Liverpool will start favorites against Roma.
That is despite the Italians upsetting Barcelona in the previous round with an epic 3-0 win in the second leg after a 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp.
But Robertson will take nothing for granted against a Roma side who last reached the final in 1984 where they were beaten by Liverpool in a penalty shootout at their Stadio Olimpico home.
“Barca are an unbelievable team,” added the Scotland left-back, 24. “But let’s not kid ourselves. For Roma to score three goals against Barcelona, that’s special.
“They’ve been unbelievable this season too in the Champions League and deserve to be in the semifinals. It will definitely not be an easy game.
“But once you get to the semis, the fear of who you are playing has gone because you know how good the teams are.
“It’s like you look forward to the possibility of playing in the final, that’s what drives you forward. We will have fire in our bellies because we are so close to getting there.”
Jurgen Klopp’s men will no doubt be looking to Mohamed Salah to conjure more magic against the club he left in the summer for £36.9 million ($51.5 million).
But Robertson insisted Liverpool are no one-man team and the Egyptian, crowned PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night after scoring 41 goals in an unforgettable campaign, epitomizes a team united and ambitious in their quest for glory.
“He’s just unbelievable,” said Robertson of the frontman.
“In the first half (of the second leg) against Man City we struggled to get him in the game and he wasn’t quite at it. But the second half he was different class and pops up with a goal to help us win it. That’s what he does.
“His goals have been incredible and long may that continue. He’s a great guy, so humble, and for someone who has done so much this season he’s so down to Earth.
“That’s credit to our squad because we don’t let anyone get ahead of themselves.
“Mo is no different, he’s a lovely person and stands for what we are as a team.”

 

HEART OF GOLD

Five years ago Andrew Robertson was playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football with Queen’s Park and earning extra money by selling concert tickets in the corporate offices at Hampden Park.
Last summer he suffered relegation from the Premier League with Hull City before Liverpool signed him for £10 million ($13.9 million).
In a career fraught with setbacks and hardships, he has been grateful, supporting foodbanks that help those in need.
“It’s all about giving something back to the less fortunate,” said Robertson.
“I’m in a fortunate position where I do a job I love and get paid well and it’s nice to give something back, especially in my hometown. I’ll always do that.
“It’s been a great journey for me in my career, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. But I don’t forget where I came from. Maybe it is rare, but a lot more people are doing it now and I hope even more will.”