Thursday 18 December 2014

McClean on fire for Wigan

Published 16/03/2014 | 02:30

CARDIFF, WALES - FEBRUARY 15:  Wigan player James McClean in action during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic at Cardiff City Stadium on February 15, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wigan's James McClean: Two goals

James McClean scored twice as Wigan made it eight straight wins in all competitions to beat Ipswich Town 3-1 at Portman Road.

The FA Cup semi-finalists kept their dream of an instant return to the Premier League well and truly alive.

Tommy Smith had given the home side the lead, but it lasted a little over two minutes as McClean equalised before Leon Barnett put Wigan ahead at the interval.

McClean made the points safe in the 76th minute, finishing off a well-worked move, to round off a great week for Uwe Rosler's men.

"The games are very busy at the minute but I am not thinking about the FA Cup, I am just thinking about selecting the right team, the right players and the right tactics," said Rosler.

"I am only dreaming about getting two points per game, which would get us into the play-offs. We have won eight games, and six have been away from home. I am very happy with everyone."

BAYERN ON THE BRINK OF TITLE

Runaway leaders Bayern Munich made it 50 Bundesliga matches without defeat when they beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 yesterday to open a 23-point gap at the top.

Mario Mandzukic headed Bayern in front just before half-time and Bastian Schweinsteiger curled in a 30-metre free kick in the 52nd minute to give the brilliant Bavarians their 17th consecutive league win.

Stefan Kiessling scored a late consolation for Leverkusen, the last team to beat Bayern in the league when they won 2-1 in October 2012.

Bayern have 71 points from 25 games and need only two more wins to wrap up their second successive title. Second-placed Borussia Dortmund lost 2-1 at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.

RONALDO LIFTS SLOPPY MADRID

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his league-leading 25th goal to give Real Madrid a lacklustre 1-0 win at Malaga yesterday, with the pacesetters extending their unbeaten run to 30 consecutive matches in all competitions.

A tired Madrid side were fortunate Malaga failed to muster a comeback in the final 10 minutes, but nevertheless they extended their lead over Atletico Madrid to six points.

Third-place Barcelona will enter today's match against Osasuna seven points behind Madrid with the two powerhouses set to clash in the Spanish capital next weekend. Madrid's win was tarnished by the loss of striker Karim Benzema to an apparent leg injury.

FOXES BRUSH 'POOL ASIDE

Leicester came from a goal down to beat Blackpool 3-1 and stretch their unbeaten run to 16 games at the King Power Stadium.

Although they dominated the first half, City fell behind in the 41st minute when they failed to clear a long throw-in and David Goodwillie scored from close range.

But the Foxes stormed to their 25th win of the season with second-half goals from Riyad Mahrez, Wes Morgan and Kevin Phillips to take another step towards promotion. It was their fourth win in a row and took them 17 points clear of Derby in third.

MORRISON HITS ANOTHER BRACE

Ravel Morrison grabbed another brace as QPR got back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Yeovil.

The on-loan West Ham midfielder, whose two goals against Birmingham last weekend earned Rangers their first win in six attempts, repeated the trick against the lowly Glovers. Forgotten striker Bobby Zamora also got in on the act with his first goal in more than a year as Harry Redknapp's side bounced back from their midweek defeat at Brighton.

The scoreline was harsh on Yeovil who went close through Tom Lawrence.

SETBACK FOR WASTEFUL RAMS

Derby's hopes of automatic promotion suffered a setback when they were held to a goalless draw by Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

It was the Rams' fourth match without a win this month, while Reading's play-off chances were not helped by the draw; they have failed to win their past four home games.

FOREST FALTER IN PLAY-OFF RACE

Doncaster returned to haunt Nottingham Forest as the relegation battlers came close to snatching all three points at the City Ground and left the Reds holding onto their place in the top six by their fingertips.

The home side needed a composed performance from 'keeper Karl Darlow to ensure they emerged with a point and claim a 0-0 draw. Billy Davies' Forest have not won in their last seven outings with their push for automatic promotion faltering – while they have now only won one of their last seven games with Rovers at the City Ground.

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