Sport Soccer

Thursday 8 December 2016

In brief: Ronaldo breaks goals record

Published 22/05/2011 | 05:00

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice against Almeria last night in an 8-1 win to set a Spanish league record of 40 goals in a single season.

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On-loan Manchester City striker Adebayor scored a hat-trick. Ronaldo poked in Sergio Ramos' header at the far post after four minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu to set a new total. Ronaldo shared the previous mark of 38 with Athletic Bilbao's Telmo Zarra (1950/51) and Madrid's Hugo Sanchez (1989/90).

The Portuguese star danced with his team-mates in celebration of his 52nd goal of the season overall and 10th in four games. Ronaldo and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi are the first Spanish league players to score at least 50 goals in all competitions in one season.

Dalglish stoic

on Euro hopes

Kenny Dalglish could cap a successful first five months in charge since returning as Liverpool manager by qualifying for Europe today.

A place in the Europa League seemed a distant hope when he succeeded Roy Hodgson in January with the team 12th in the Premier League, but if they can get a better result at Aston Villa than Tottenham do at home to relegation-threatened Birmingham, then a 12th successive season of European football will be secured.

Last week's defeat to Spurs put the Londoners in pole position to claim the final Europa League spot as they now lead by a point, although they have a worse goal difference. Tottenham will be expected to win at home but Dalglish said that game was of little concern to him and his players.

"We'll concentrate on our own game and see if we get any favours from somewhere else," he said. "The most important thing for us is to win the game and see where it takes us. If we're in the Europa League we're in it, if we're not we just have to get on with it."

Aston Villa v Liverpool,

Setanta Ireland, 4.0

Third spot key for Mancini

Although the true excitement of 'Survival Sunday' is going on elsewhere, City's short trip to Bolton today is hardly meaningless. Victory will ensure Mancini's men finish in third spot, the first time they have been so high since they were runners-up to Liverpool in 1977.

Far more importantly, it would mean they qualify automatically into the group stage of the Champions League rather than find themselves in a qualifier. Just two European campaigns in the last five years mean that, almost certainly, City would not be seeded, and the presence of Bayern Munich and Villarreal, already among the teams who will be seeded, emphasises why a win at the Reebok is so sought-after.

"This game is very important," said Mancini. "If we can do a normal pre-season and can prepare properly before the Community Shield and start of the Premier League, everything is fine. But if we also have qualifying games, it is different for us."

Woodgate's future on line

Fit-Again Jonathan Woodgate could play his last match of a troubled spell at Tottenham against Birmingham today, with manager Harry Redknapp admitting that he is no closer to deciding whether to offer the injury-plagued defender a new contract when his current one expires this summer.

Redknapp would be reluctant to let go of a man he considers as one of the most talented defenders in the league, but he admits his injury-prone career makes it difficult to justify offering him a new deal.

"It's a difficult one with Woody. His contract is up and he hasn't played for two years," Redknapp said. "If we don't keep him then he is worth a gamble for someone on a pay-as-you-play deal because if you can get him fit you will have one of the best centre-halves anywhere."

Spurs v Birmingham,

Sky Sports 2, 4.0

Doyle brace sinks Galway

The league's top scorer Eoin Doyle made it seven goals in three games with a brace as Sligo Rovers easily disposed of Galway United 3-0 at the Showgrounds last night.

Doyle struck in either half to bring his tally to 10, with John Russell also claiming his first league goal of the season to give the Bit O'Red a deserved victory.

Sligo: Kelly, Keane, Peers, McGuinness, Davoren, Greene (Cretaro 80), Ndo, Ryan, Russell (Dillon 74), Kirby, Doyle (McGoldrick 69)

Galway: Fleming, Shaun Kelly, Sinnott, Keogh, Eduardo, Cash, Sean Kelly, Moore (Gartland 63), Ryan, E Curran (Gilmore 49), Murphy (Duggan 71)

Referee: R Rogers

Juventus sack boss Del Neri

Juventus coach Luigi Del Neri has been sacked and will leave after today's final game of the season against Napoli.

"The club told me of their decision during the week," said Del Neri, whose side lie seventh in Serie A after a second season of woe, told a news conference yesterday. "Good luck to whoever replaces me."

The twice European Cup winners, Italy's best supported and most decorated club domestically, also finished seventh last term and have only an outside chance of overhauling sixth-placed AS Roma and sealing a Europa League spot. Former Juve midfielder Antonio Conte, who led Siena to promotion to Serie A this term, is the favourite to take over.

Di Canio proves costly choice

A leading trade union has decided to end its sponsorship of Swindon Town in protest at the appointment of Paolo di Canio as manager.

The GMB said the Italian former player, who was named manager yesterday, had previously voiced right- wing views of which it strongly disapproved.

"Our local branch has decided to end its association with Swindon following the appointment of Paolo Di Canio," a GMB spokesman said.

"He has openly voiced support for Mussolini so it beggars belief that Swindon could have appointed him, given the multi-ethnic nature of the team and the town."

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