Saturday 3 December 2016

Knee injury puts Messi out for two months

in brief

soccer

Published 27/09/2015 | 02:30

Lionel Messi has been ruled out for seven to eight weeks after suffering a torn ligament in his left knee in Barcelona's 2-1 win over Las Palmas as Luis Suarez scored a brace to lift the defending Spanish champions.

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The club's all-time leading scorer asked to be substituted in the eighth minute after he had tried to return to the match following a collision with Las Palmas' Diego Bigas.

With Messi gone, Suarez took charge of the hosts' attack. The Uruguay striker headed in Barcelona's first goal in the 25th minute before he struck again in the 54th minute.

Celtic make up ground despite failing to fire

Celtic passed up a series of chances against Hearts in a goalless Scottish Premiership draw at Parkhead.

The result took the champions to within four points of Aberdeen, who lost 2-1 at Inverness, but Ronny Deila's side should have capitalised on the league leaders' defeat to a greater extent. Indeed, it could have been worse for the champions. Had defender Efe Ambrose not sacrificed himself by being sent off for denying Sam Nicholson a clear goalscoring opportunity in the third of three added minutes, the visitors might have grabbed an undeserved winner.

Battling Rovers move out of relegation zone

Sligo Rovers moved out of the relegation places thanks to a battling 3-2 defeat of Bray at the Showgrounds last night.

Goals from Dinny Corcoran, Sander Puri and Morten Nielsen secured the win, despite David Cassidy and substitute Dave Scully netting for the visitors.

Cassidy opened the scoring but Corcoran responded immediately. Puri and Nielsen edged Rovers in front in the second half, but Scully's injury-time goal left the hosts hanging on.

St Pat's hit three to end losing streak

Goals from Christy Fagan, James Chambers and Aaron Greene ended a four-match losing run in the league for St Pat's at the City Calling Stadium.

Liam Buckley's side remain fourth in the table, five points behind Shamrock Rovers with a game in hand, as Longford look nervously over their shoulders in their battle to stay up.

Striker Fagan marked his starting return from injury when turning smartly to rifle home Greene's cross to give St Pat's a fourth minute lead.

The visitors doubled their lead from James Chambers' free kick on 24 minutes and Greene sealed it for St Pat's on 75 minutes.

Dundalk close in on another league title

DUNDALK are one win away from retaining the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title after coming from behind to beat Limerick 3-1 at Markets Field last night.

Three goals in the final 15 minutes wore down Limerick's resistance after the home side took a second-minute lead through Dean Clarke.

Dundalk had been struggling to create chances in the second half until, with 15 minutes to go, Towell finished from inside the box to draw the visitors level. Towell doubled his tally for the night shortly afterwards and then substitute Ciaran Kilduff made the points secure for Dundalk.

Cregan hat-trick helps seal Ireland's progress

THE Republic of Ireland under 17 side produced a comprehensive display to beat Malta 6-0 in Lohja, Finland, to seal their qualification for the UEFA under 17 Championships Elite Qualifying Round.

Mohan's side are guaranteed one of the two automatic spots with a game to spare. They face Sweden on Tuesday. A hat-trick from Stevenage FC's Michael Cregan helped the teenagers bag the three points.

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