EUROPEAN FOOTBALL ROUND-UP
FA Cup: Everton compounded more misery on Chelsea’s torrid season by knocking them out of their only realistic title this season on penalties. After having dominated the match over 90 minutes, the defending champions went ahead through mid-field talisman Frank Lampard only for Everton to equalise through a wonderful free kick from Leighton Baines.
In the dreaded penalty shoot-out, Chelsea lost their nerve and thus the tie 4-3 on penalties. Birmingham and Stoke City both had easy 3-0 wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton respectively. Captain on the day, Wes Brown scored the only goal for United in an unconvincing display against a spirited Crawley Town. Manchester City crushed Notts County 5-0 in their fourth round replay while Ivan Klasnic’s strike enabled Bolton to progress in a 1-0 victory. Arsenal will have to do a replay as they drew 1-1 in their fifth round tie against Leyton Orient.
Premiership: In the only league match of the weekend, Carlos Vela came on to score a stoppage time equaliser in West Brom’s 1-1 draw with Wolves. Wolves took the lead through a superb strike from loan signing Jamie O’Hara but were unable with withstand the home team’s pressure.
The Great One
La Liga: Jose Mourinho has now gone nine years without a home defeat after Real Madrid proved too strong for Levante. First half strikes from Karim Benzema and Ricardo Carvalho sealed the victory as Los Blancos in a 2-0 win to keep the pressure at the feet at Barcelona. Kun Aguero scored his first goal in two months to lead Atletico Madrid to a 1-0 win over Zaragoza. Aguero’s goal ended Atletico’s recent run of four consecutive defeats. Valencia played out to a surprising 0-0 draw with Sporting Gijon while Racing and Sevilla both had 1-0 victories over Getafe and Hercules respectively.
Villarreal versus Malaga and Deportivo versus Almeria both ended in 1-1 draws. Osasuna produced the shock of the round with the 4-0 humbling of Espanyol. It was a fine all-round display as the goals came from four different players. Superstars David Villa and Lionel Messi proved to be the difference as Barcelona overcame a stubborn Bilbao side to win 2-1.
Pato to the rescue
Serie A: AC Milan kept their title ambitions alive with a close 2-1 win over Chievo Verona. A Brazilian connection inspired Milan to victory, as Robinho and Alexandre Pato scored the goals for the league leaders. Defending champions Inter, Bologna, high-flying Napoli and Lazio all had 1-0 victories over Cagliari, Palermo, Catania and Bari respectively. Roma threw away a three-goal lead to lose 4-3 away to Genoa and leave Coach Claudio Ranieri’s job seemingly hanging by a thread. Fiorentina against Sampdoria and Udinese versus Brescia all ended in a goalless draw with second from bottom Cesena drawing 2-2 with Parma. Lecce moved four points clear of the relegation zone with an impressive 2-0 over an inconsistent Juventus side.
Back to winning ways
Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund continued their march towards the title with a comfortable 2-0 home win against St Pauli. In-form striker Lucas Barrios put the league leaders ahead before an own-goal by Ralph Gunesch made safe all three points. Hoffenheim were held 1-1 at home while Wolfsburg troubles continue as they went down 2-1 to Freiburg.
Hamburg, Hannover and Bayern Munich all had easy 4-0, 3-0 and 3-1 wins over Werder Bremen, Kaiserslautern and Mainz respectively. Bayer Leverkusen scored two late goals to overcome a stubborn Stuttgart outfit 4-2 and regain second place while Schalke 04 were beaten 2-1 by Borussia Monchengladbach.