Barca thrash Betis to stay ahead of rampant Madrid

Barca thrash Betis to stay ahead of rampant Madrid
Barcelona's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski kicks the ball during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Real Betis at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 29, 2023. (AFP)
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Updated 30 April 2023
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Barca thrash Betis to stay ahead of rampant Madrid

Barca thrash Betis to stay ahead of rampant Madrid
  • Edgar Gonzalez’s early dismissal made it an easy night for Xavi Hernandez’s side to protect their lead with six games remaining

BARCELONA: Barcelona thrashed 10-man Real Betis 4-0 on Saturday to move a step closer to winning La Liga for the first time since 2019.
Real Madrid beat Almeria 4-2 to cut the gap to eight points earlier on but Barcelona triumphed to restore their 11 point advantage.
Andreas Christensen, Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha struck for Barca at Camp Nou with Guido Rodriguez netting a late own goal to round off the rout.
Edgar Gonzalez’s early dismissal made it an easy night for Xavi Hernandez’s side to protect their lead with six games remaining.
With his side comfortably winning, Xavi brought on 15-year-old forward Lamine Yamal to become the club’s youngest ever player to debut in La Liga.
Betis also brought on veteran Joaquin Sanchez, 41, for his final appearance at Camp Nou before he retires at the end of the season, and he was afforded a standing ovation by Barcelona supporters.
The Catalans bounced back from a 2-1 defeat by Rayo Vallecano in midweek.
“We generated a reaction,” said Xavi. “We improved a lot, it was a very good reaction from the whole team.
“We went 1-0 up and after the red card, it was in our favor.”
Xavi brought Christensen into the starting line-up after injury and he made a quick impact on his return.
Raphinha whipped in a vicious ball which Ronald Araujo narrowly missed but Christensen followed in behind to power a header home.
Betis were set back further when defender Edgar was dismissed for two bookings after half-an-hour.
Lewandowski pounced soon after to net his 19th league goal of the season after Jules Kounde set him up with a low cross.
The Pole, La Liga’s top scorer, reacted after Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema earlier netted a hat-trick to move within one of his tally.
Three minutes later Raphinha struck the third, making a clever run in behind the defense and finishing from Sergio Busquets’ chipped pass.
Xavi brought on Ousmane Dembele with little over 15 minutes to go, with Camp Nou delighted to see the winger back.
Rodriguez deflected in Ansu Fati’s cross as Barcelona added a fourth goal in the 82nd minute.
Almost 90,000 home supporters were also treated to 15-year-old Yamal’s debut in the final stages, and the winger came close to scoring with a shot repelled by Rui Silva.
“We were talking about this on the bench, when I was at 15 I think I was playing for my neighborhood team,” added Raphinha.
“And seeing him come on in this stadium, with all these people, is incredible.”
Benzema climbed to 17 goals in La Liga this season with his treble, now two behind Lewandowski.
Benzema netted his treble in the first half and Rodrygo added the fourth early in the second for Madrid, while Lazaro and Lucas Robertone struck for the visitors, 15th.
Almeria coach Rubi made several changes to his regular side, clearly unconvinced his team could take points from the Santiago Bernabeu — the visit of Elche on Tuesday should be more profitable in their survival bid.
Madrid played with freedom in attack during an entertaining game, albeit one low on tension with their hopes of retaining the title minimal.
“In attack the team is very dangerous, with the quality of Karim, Vini, Rodrygo, with the ball we play very well,” coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters.
“There are games where the offensive level looks very good, like today.”
Vinicius Junior teed up Benzema for a tap-in to break the deadlock early on.
Rodrygo’s assist for Benzema’s second goal was one of the highlights of the game, with the forward backheeling the ball to himself to escape Samuel Costa.
“I think it was a pass to myself, I didn’t have anywhere to go, it was a nice pass to myself with my heel,” Rodrygo told DAZN.
The 35-year-old Benzema completed his hat-trick after 42 minutes from the penalty spot after Largie Ramazani clumsily fouled Lucas Vazquez.
Benzema’s strikes helped him move two goals ahead of former Madrid attacker Hugo Sanchez to become the fourth top scorer in La Liga of all time, on 236 goals.
Vinicius made way in the final stages after taking a knock but Ancelotti said the winger would be fit to play in the Copa del Rey final next weekend.
Bottom side Elche survived relegation for the time being with a 4-0 win over Rayo Vallecano, who were reduced to 10 men in the first half.


Bayern beat Cologne to delay Leverkusen title party

Bayern beat Cologne to delay Leverkusen title party
Updated 48 sec ago
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Bayern beat Cologne to delay Leverkusen title party

Bayern beat Cologne to delay Leverkusen title party
  • Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel made seven changes to his side ahead of Wednesday’s quarter-final second leg against Arsenal
  • Mueller added a second to seal the result in the third minute of stoppage time

MUNICH: Bayern Munich defender Raphael Guerreiro struck a brilliant second-half goal and Thomas Mueller scored late to beat Cologne 2-0 on Saturday, delaying Bayer Leverkusen’s Bundesliga title party to Sunday at the earliest.
Bayern’s win means Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen, who are 13 points clear of the Bavarians, need to beat Werder Bremen at home on Sunday to lift the Bundesliga trophy for the first time.
Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel made seven changes to his side ahead of Wednesday’s quarter-final second leg against Arsenal, with Harry Kane and Mathys Tel hitting the woodwork in the first half.
Former Borussia Dortmund player Guerreiro, starting at left-back ahead of Alphonso Davies, unleashed a curling shot from outside the box which broke the deadlock after 65 minutes.
Mueller added a second to seal the result in the third minute of stoppage time.
Dortmund and RB Leipzig continued their battle for fourth place — the final guaranteed Champions League spot — with both winning to stay level on points ahead of their clash in Saxony in late April.
Dortmund were reduced to 10 men and made to hold on to a 2-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach after Karim Adeyemi was sent off after picking up a second yellow with 35 minutes remaining.
Dortmund were in control after a first-half brace from Marcel Sabitzer, the second from the penalty spot, gave them a two-goal lead after 28 minutes.
Gladbach pulled one back late in the first half when Maximilian Woeber took advantage of some sleepy Dortmund defending from a corner.
Adeyemi, who won a penalty on 48 minutes but had it overturned by VAR, was dismissed seven minutes later after tripping Stefan Lainer.
Leipzig, who sit ahead of Dortmund on goal difference, won 3-0 at home over Wolfsburg thanks to goals from Dani Olmo, Benjamin Sesko and Lois Openda.
The victory came just days after surprisingly poaching Wolfsburg’s sporting director Marcel Schaefer, who won the title with the Wolves as a player in 2009.
Mainz boosted their chances of beating the drop, coming from behind to beat Hoffenheim 4-1 with four second-half goals to pull one point behind Bochum, who drew 1-1 at home with Heidenheim.
Bochum sit in 15th, the final safe spot, after Keven Schlotterbeck scored an own goal but then headed in the equalizer for the hosts in the final minute.
Later on Saturday, Stuttgart can draw level on points with second-placed Bayern with a win when they host Eintracht Frankfurt.


Griezmann strikes twice as Atletico sink Girona

Griezmann strikes twice as Atletico sink Girona
Updated 13 April 2024
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Griezmann strikes twice as Atletico sink Girona

Griezmann strikes twice as Atletico sink Girona
  • Girona took the lead in Madrid with a fourth-minute goal from close range by Artem Dovbyk that took him on to a league-leading 17 goals.
  • Griezmann responded by converting a 34th-minute penalty

MADRID: Atletico Madrid on Saturday completed a good four days as they followed their Champions League quarter-final first-leg victory over Borussia Dortmund with a 3-1 Spanish La Liga victory over third-placed Girona.
Antoine Griezmann scored twice as Diego Simeone’s men moved to within four points of their opponents and pulled five clear of fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao in the race for Champions League qualification.
The Basques play Villarreal on Sunday.
Atletico won the home leg of their European tie 2-1 on Wednesday and visit Dortmund for the second leg on Tuesday.
Girona took the lead in Madrid with a fourth-minute goal from close range by Artem Dovbyk that took him on to a league-leading 17 goals.
Griezmann responded by converting a 34th-minute penalty.
Angel Correa then gave the home side the lead six minutes into added time at the end of the first half.
Griezmann extended his lead five minutes into the second half, taking advantage of a defensive error to fire home his 13th league goal of the season.
With an eye on the game in Germany, the France attacker was then replaced shortly after the hour mark by Marcos Llorente.
Girona’s fifth defeat away from home, gives Barcelona, buoyed by their midweek 3-2 Champions League win at Paris Saint-Germain, the chance to tighten their grip on second when they visit struggling Cadiz in the last game of the day.
Real Madrid, eight points clear at the top, play at Mallorca later on Saturday.


Newcastle hit Tottenham for four to enliven Champions League race

Newcastle hit Tottenham for four to enliven Champions League race
Updated 13 April 2024
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Newcastle hit Tottenham for four to enliven Champions League race

Newcastle hit Tottenham for four to enliven Champions League race
  • Spurs’ lead over the Magpies is cut to 10 points with six games remaining, but Newcastle have a far easier run-in
  • Eddie Howe was forced into a switch to a back three due to Newcastle’s abundance of injuries in defense

NEWCASTLE, United Kingdom: Newcastle stormed into the Premier League’s top six as Alexander Isak scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham to rekindle their outside hopes of a place in next season’s Champions League.
Spurs’ lead over the Magpies is cut to 10 points with six games remaining, but Newcastle have a far easier run-in.
Tottenham conceded five times in the opening 21 minutes of a 6-1 humiliation on their last visit to St. James’ Park and were outmuscled and outclassed once more on Tyneside.
Eddie Howe was forced into a switch to a back three due to Newcastle’s abundance of injuries in defense.
But the home side’s makeshift backline was rarely troubled after Timo Werner skewed an effort wide in a bright start by the visitors.
The game swung decisively in Newcastle’s favor thanks to two goals in two minutes thanks to two errors from Micky van de Ven midway through the first half.
The Dutch center-back has been one of the signings of the season for Spurs, but had an afternoon to forget.
Van de Ven’s first slip allowed Isak to smash home from Anthony Gordon’s pass to open the scoring.
Straight from kick-off, Van de Ven fell over again as he tried to reach Pedro Porro’s backpass and Gordon took full advantage to score his 10th Premier League goal of the campaign.
Newcastle could have had more before the break as Destiny Udogie’s last-ditch challenge denied Isak a second before the Swedish striker headed over from a corner.
But any doubt over the outcome was dismissed six minutes into the second period when Isak again beat Van de Ven to Bruno Guimaraes’ long ball over the top and slotted home.
Isak is now only two behind Erling Haaland’s 19 Premier League goals in the race to win the Golden Boot.
Ange Postecoglou showed his dismay with the Spurs display as captain Son Heung-min was hauled off in a triple substitution before the hour mark.
The visitors also lost right-back Porro to injury to rub salt into the wounds of what could be a damaging day for their hopes of a return to the Champions League next season.
A poor week for English clubs in European competitions means that a place in the top four may be needed to qualify for the Champions League.
Spurs slip behind fourth-placed Aston Villa on goal difference.
But Tottenham have all three of the title contenders — Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City — to play in their final six games, while Villa face both Arsenal and Liverpool.
Postecoglou warned on the eve of the game that Newcastle’s struggles this season show how the demands of European football can drain a squad’s resources.
Yet they could still sneak back into the top four with a strong end to the campaign.
Fabian Schar inflicted the final blow when he rose highest to power in Gordon’s corner three minutes from time.


Football’s brightest stars will bounce back, says Ancelotti

Football’s brightest stars will bounce back, says Ancelotti
Updated 13 April 2024
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Football’s brightest stars will bounce back, says Ancelotti

Football’s brightest stars will bounce back, says Ancelotti
  • All four quarterfinal first leg matches thrilled supporters this week but some of the brightest names in the game were below their best on the biggest stage
  • Real Madrid visit Mallorca on Saturday looking to extend their eight-point lead in La Liga before second-placed Barcelona play at Cadiz later in the day

MADRID: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti predicted Friday that Kylian Mbappe and football’s other brightest young stars would bounce back strongly after disappointing showings in the Champions League.

All four quarterfinal first leg matches thrilled supporters this week but some of the brightest names in the game were below their best on the biggest stage.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Mbappe was frustrated in Barcelona’s 3-2 win in the French capital, while Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger shackled Manchester City forward Erling Haaland.

Madrid’s top goalscorer Jude Bellingham also struggled to make an impact in his team’s white-knuckle 3-3 draw with the English champions at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Calm down, calm down, maybe in the first legs they were below their best, but new games are coming and watch out, watch out for the three (of them),” Ancelotti told a news conference.

Real Madrid visit Mallorca on Saturday looking to extend their eight-point lead in La Liga before second-placed Barcelona play at Cadiz later in the day.

Ancelotti said England international Bellingham, 20, was fulfilling his role, even though his early season goal spree has come to an end.

Bellingham has 20 goals across all competitions for Madrid but just three in his last 13 games.

“Bellingham’s goal output is down, but that was a surprise,” said the coach.

“He’s doing his job, which is more as a midfielder, but in a footballing sense he’s doing very well, not missing anything, just goals, which sooner or later will return.”

The coach said forward Rodrygo Goes, who missed training on Friday, would be fit to face Mallorca.


NUFC stars Trippier, Burn invite youngsters from Newcastle’s deaf community to be mascots for Spurs match

NUFC stars Trippier, Burn invite youngsters from Newcastle’s deaf community to be mascots for Spurs match
Updated 12 April 2024
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NUFC stars Trippier, Burn invite youngsters from Newcastle’s deaf community to be mascots for Spurs match

NUFC stars Trippier, Burn invite youngsters from Newcastle’s deaf community to be mascots for Spurs match
  • Young fans met their football idols who shared the exciting news with them during a kickabout
  • The mascots will wear innovative haptic technology shirts for the game

NEWCASTLE: Several young members of the deaf community in Newcastle were on Friday invited by Newcastle United stars Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn to be mascots during the club’s Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
On Thursday, NUFC’s front-of-shirt sponsor, Sela, said they will introduce the haptic shirts — which allow deaf fans and fans with hearing loss to experience the live atmosphere — during Saturday’s match against Spurs at St. James’ Park. Haptic shirts use a technology that transforms the noise of the stadium into real-time touch sensations.
During a visit to meet young fans from the deaf community to invite them to come to the Tottenham game, Burn revealed to the youngsters: “For the Tottenham game you’re all going to be mascots. So, you get to walk out with us in front of the crowd.”


Trippier added: “To walk out in the Royal National Institute for Deaf shirts is special, and we had a good kickabout with the kids as well.”
The youngsters met their football idols at the Newcastle United Foundation where Burn and Trippier shared the exciting news with them during a friendly kickabout.
In addition to acting as mascots, the youngsters will also wear the innovative haptic technology shirts to enhance their matchday experience.
Sela has donated its front-of-shirt sponsorship rights for Saturday’s clash to RNID, a national UK charity that supports 12 million people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by sela | صلة (@sela)


“The kids were teaching us a goal celebration, so watch out for it. I’ll probably get a few more before the end of the season,” added Burn. The children also taught the players how to sign “love the fans.”
One of the youngsters said: “I was so happy to see Kieran and Dan, it’s the best day of my life.”
Some Newcastle fans will be wearing haptic shirts with the RNID logo for the first time during the Tottenham game, while the branding will be on display around St. James’ Park and on the big screen to raise awareness of the institute’s work.
Teri Devine, associate director of inclusion at RNID, said: “We’re really grateful to Sela and to Newcastle for doing this. It’s absolutely fantastic that the players take time out to come and meet the kids, and actually get to see the barriers that deaf children face.”