Sport Soccer

Friday 22 September 2017

Soccer in brief

Scoring touch deserts QPR

QPR missed the chance to pull clear at the top of the Championship after a lacklustre 0-0 draw against Blackburn.

Harry Redknapp's side dropped points at home for only the second time this season and are now behind new leaders Burnley on goal difference.

This season Rangers have developed a happy knack of grinding out 1-0 victories from similarly uninspiring matches, but their goal touch for once deserted them. Their best chance fell to Charlie Austin, who was denied by a combination of the woodwork and Rovers goalkeeper Simon Eastwood in the second half. Rovers also had their opportunities and will feel they could have left Loftus Road with only their second away win of the campaign.

"It was a game of few opportunities but we had two really good ones and obviously it's a different game if we take them," said QPR assistant manager Kevin Bond. "We are a very attacking team but we found it difficult to break them down."

Kightly keeps

Clarets on roll

Michael Kightly netted the only goal of the game as Burnley returned to the top of the Championship with a 1-0 win over managerless Barnsley.

The Clarets were third at the start of the day and Kightly's 65th-minute strike at Turf Moor, along with results around them, ensured they took the second-tier lead once more. Barnsley almost stole a point through Tomasz Cywka but goalkeeper Tom Heaton produced a fantastic save.

"It was a marvellous moment of quality that won the game for us. It was a fantastic goal from Michael," said Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

"On our day we can match anyone in this division. We just needed to work out a way to win the second half, and we got there in the end."

Barnes sparks

Gulls victory

Ashley Barnes scored twice and Craig Conway hit the other as Brighton upset high-riding Leicester with a 3-1 victory at the Amex Stadium.

The Foxes' Andy King had reduced the score to 2-1 in the second half but a thumping penalty from Barnes put the result to bed as Leicester slipped to their second successive defeat in the Championship.

Martin shines in Rams rout

Chris Martin's first ever league hat-trick helped Derby cruise to a 5-1 home victory over Blackpool. Isaiah Osbourne headed Blackpool in front but that was as good as it got for Paul Ince's side, whose indiscipline proved costly as they finished the game with nine men.

A Martin double, the first a penalty, and another effort from Craig Bryson put the Rams in control. Martin took his tally for the season to 13 goals as he completed his treble with another spot-kick – an incident which saw Neal Bishop sent off. Captain Richard Keogh completed the rout for the Rams in injury-time.

"In the second half we totally dominated and finally got our rewards, and it was probably the best 90 minutes we've put together," Derby boss Steve McClaren said.

Home horror for Reading

Reading's unbeaten nine-match home run came to an abrupt end as they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to lowly Bournemouth at the Madejski Stadium. Two first-half goals from Lewis Grabban and Matt Ritchie gave Bournemouth the win.

Play-off hopefuls Reading had started the match well but they could not recover and were only able to net a late consolation through Adam Le Fondre.

Ribery leads Bayern blitz

Unbeaten Bayern Munich cruised to a 7-0 rout at Werder Bremen for the side's 13th win from 15 games in the Bundesliga yesterday.

Franck Ribery marked his return from three weeks out with a cracked rib in style by scoring two marvellous goals and setting up two more as the irresistible league leaders continued their domestic march.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen's Son Heung-min scored the winning goal against Borussia Dortmund to put them four points behind the leaders and extend their lead over third-placed Dortmund to six.

Both teams ended with 10 men, Emir Spahic sent off for the visitors in the 80th minute and Sokratis Papastathopoulos seeing red in the 90th minute.

Balotelli brace boosts Milan

Mario Balotelli scored twice and also hit the crossbar but AC Milan still had to scramble for a 2-2 draw at promoted Livorno in Serie A.

Balotelli put Milan aheadseven minutes in after redirecting a cross from Kaka, then scored the equaliser in the 82nd minute with a splendid free kick over a Livorno wall.

Balotelli nearly produced a winner in the 89th minute but his long-distance effort banged off the underside of the crossbar and bounced in front of the goal. Livorno's Luca Siligardi had made it 1-1 and Paulinho put the hosts ahead by finishing off a counter-attack.

Sunday Independent

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