Monday, 25 February 2013

City beat Chelsea to stay 12 pts behind United

Defending champions Manchester City beat Chelsea 2-0 to get its first Premier League soccer win in a month and stay within 12 points of leader Manchester United.

Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez got second-half goals for City at Etihad Stadium yesterday after Frank Lampard, seeking his 200th goal for Chelsea, had his penalty kick saved by Joe Hart. United won 2-0 at last-place Queens Park Rangers two days ago to move to 68 points atop the standings with 11 games left.

"For us now it is not important to look at the table," City manager Roberto Mancini told reporters.

"Only to continue to work like today, to play well, to improve and to look at the table in one month, 40 days. In football, it is finished when it is finished, the last minute of the last game."

City beat United to the championship on the last day of the 2011-12 season with two stoppage-time goals against QPR.

City put Chelsea under pressure in the first half and Petr Cech had to save from Matija Nastasic.

Chelsea had a chance to take the lead from the penalty spot in the 51st minute after Hart brought down Demba Ba, although he wasn't shown a card by referee Andre Marriner. Hart dived low to his right to save Lampard's spot kick.

Sergio Aguero then dinked the ball over Cech only for his effort go just over the crossbar. Toure got the breakthrough in the 63rd minute, taking the ball into the penalty area before placing it right-footed past Cech and inside the far post.

Super sub Tevez sealed City's first league victory since January 19 in the 85th minute, slamming the ball past Cech from outside the area.

Swansea ease past Bradford to win first major trophy

Swansea City clinched their first-ever major trophy courtesy of an easy 5-0 Capital One Cup final win over Bradford City at Wembley.

The gulf in class between the two teams was evident from the very beginning as Swansea, having already put the Premier League's Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa to the sword, proved too good for the second division side.

Nathan Dyer's opener from close-range and Michu's clinical finish gave Michael Laudrup's side an early lead at HT before Dyer stroked home and Jonathan De Guzman scored from first the spot and then the near post to ensure that Laudrup laid claim to the first major silverware of the English season.

After being rested against Liverpool, the Swans' top scorer, Michu, and captain, Ashley Williams, were back in the starting XI along with Dyer, Angel Rangel and Wayne Routledge.

Also Ki Sung-Yueng was re-called as a makeshift centre-back.

For Bradford, Phil Parkinson made just one change to the side that started both legs of the semi-final against Aston Villa, with Garry Thompson replacing Zavon Hines.

The game quickly set into the pattern that was to define the entire games, with Swansea entirely dictating the match and ensuring that Laudrup won his first trophy in charge of a club that he successfully managed to transform this season.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Barcelona, Real play out thrilling draw

Barcelona and Real Madrid played out a exhilarating draw in Copa del Rey semifinal on Wednesday. 
As goalkeeper Iker Casillas was injured, Diego Lopez replaced him for the home side and Cristiano Ronaldo was given the captain's armband.

The first goal came as Lionel Messi intercepted a clearance and passed it to Cesc Fabregas, who calmly slot it home in the 50th minute.

He later said, "This is obviously a good result; we are in the Bernabeu, a very tough field, and we will have our own fans behind us for the return leg of the draw."

Raphael Varane though salvaged the match for Real, heading an equalizer in the 81st having saved three clear Barcelona chances earlier. "It's like a dream come true, incredible to score a goal like that against Barcelona at just 19," Varane said.

"The second leg will be evenly matched and we're going to play a good match there to win," her added.

The second leg will be played at the Camp Nou on Feb. 27.

It also ended Messi's run in which he had scored in his previous 16 starts.

Giroud, Walcott lead Arsenal's fightback against Liverpool

Arsenal came back after conceding a couple of goals at the Emirates to hold Liverpool in a Premier League encounter this Wednesday.

Liverpool were more impressive from the outset and looked set to seal 3 points with goals from Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson giving them a promising lead but Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott brought Arsenal right back in to the game.

Liverpool grabbed the lead after only 5 minutes as Bacary Sagna's mis-pass allowed Glen Johnson to find Daniel Sturridge who made Wojciech Szczesny pull out a super save, but the ball fell to Suarez and Liverpool's top scorer this season didn't disappoint.

The second goal for Liverpool came right at the hour mark as Jordan Henderson sneaked past 3 defenders, including Santos and Mertesacker. His initial shot was stopped by but it came back to him, who tapped it in to double Liverpool's advantage.

Being 2 goals down brought the Arsenal attach to the fore and Oliver Giroud rose highest to head home from Wilshere's free-kick to reduce the deficit. The Frenchman found plenty of space in the box left by Danny Agger and Jamie Carragher to power his header past the hapless goalkeeper.
Interestingly, it was his fifth goal this week.

It didn't take Arsenal long to seize the initiative as only 3 minutes later, they leveled through Theo Walcott. Santi Cazorla found Oliver Giroud inside Liverpool's D who passed it to Walcott, who in put a powerful strike past Pepe Reina for the equaliser.