Sport Soccer

Sunday 24 September 2017

Soccer in brief

Celtic extend winning run

Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic stretched their league unbeaten run to 16 games with a 2-0 win over bottom side Hearts at Parkhead thanks to goals from Kris Commons and James Forrest.

The Hoops remained patient after early Hearts resistance and got their rewards after the break when Commons scored in the 63rd minute with a powerful drive and the 30-year-old also cleared off the line near the end before Forrest grabbed a second late on.

"Obviously there is not going to be any more European football this season, so we have to set new targets and incentives for the players," said Celtic assistant boss Johan Mjallby.

"Being unbeaten is going to be very important for us and the target is to go 20 games unbeaten, then take it from there."


Leicester moved into third place in the Championship as Jamie Vardy's fine strike condemned QPR to a 1-0 defeat, their first home loss of the campaign.

QPR were made to pay for a series of missed opportunities four minutes before half-time, as David Nugent flicked on a long ball and Vardy struck home from an acute angle. Joey Barton was sent off as the game -- and QPR's 10-match unbeaten home run -- ended.

"We felt at times this season that we've not come out of those sort of games with probably what we deserve and it just nice to start this Christmas period with a very important win," said Leicester boss Nigel Pearson.



Wigan claimed a 2-1 victory over Reading but had to withstand a fierce late onslaught as the Royals battled back.

Early goals from Chris McCann and Nick Powell put Wigan firmly in charge. Reading squandered the chance to reduce the gap when Billy Sharp blazed over a second-half penalty but Pavel Pogrebnyak nodded home to give them hope. Wigan were rattled as Reading poured forward for the equaliser but despite a flurry at the end, Reading slipped to their second home defeat in a row.


Danny Wilson made an encouraging start to his second stint as Barnsley boss as the Tykes' 10 men kept Leeds scoreless in a 0-0 draw.

Leeds had a numerical advantage from the 84th minute when striker Marcus Tudgay was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Marius Zaliukas. The home side looked the more likely but couldn't make the breakthrough.


European champions Bayern Munich added the Club World Cup to their collection of trophies when they comfortably swept past Raja Casablanca 2-0 in the final in Morocco last night.

Defender Dante and Thiago Alcantara scored in the first 22 minutes as Bayern followed up the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble they won last season.

Meanwhile, they stayed seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga after title rivals Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen lost their final matches before the winter break, Dortmund falling to their third straight home loss to Hertha Berlin, while second-placed Leverkusen lost 1-0 to Bremen.


Diego Costa scored twice as Atletico Madrid came from behind to beat Levante 3-2 at home to go three points clear at the top of La Liga.

Atletico fell behind in the first minute when sloppy defending allowed Andreas Ivanschitz to score.

The home side settled and Diego Godin headed them level in the 30th minute with Costa volleying home two minutes after the break.

Pedro Rios scored on the counter-attack to make it 2-2, but Atletico got their winner when Juanfran Torres was fouled in the box by Ruben Garcia and Costa converted the penalty for his 19th goal of the season.


Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has reiterated Xabi Alonso's importance to the club but accepts they may lose him at the end of the season if he refuses to sign a new deal.

Alonso is in the final year of his contract at the Bernabeu and has so far stalled on signing a new deal. The 32-year-old's financial demands are believed to be the sticking point.

From January 1 he will be free to negotiate with other clubs, and several Premier League sides are understood to be vying for his services.

"I don't need to convince anyone of the importance of him to the team," Ancelotti said.

"He is one of the best midfielders in the world and that is why we are pushing for him to stay."

Irish Independent

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