Sport Soccer

Wednesday 13 December 2017

In Brief: We must be sharp - Lennon

Neil Lennon watched his Celtic side comfortably beat Kilmarnock 5-2 in the Scottish Premiership at Rugby Park but knows they will have to start sharper against Barcelona on Tuesday night.

The visitors looked off the pace in the early stages but came to life with a Kris Commons strike and a Georgios Samaras double. Kilmarnock midfielder Sammy Clingan reduced the deficit and defender Sean Clohessy made it 3-2 just before the break.

Samaras sealed his hat-trick in the 87th minute with a header before substitute Amido Balde, on for Teemu Pukki, scored a fifth two minutes later.

Looking ahead to the Champions League Group H clash with the Catalan giants at Parkhead on Tuesday night, Lennon is confident his players will be raring to go.

The Hoops boss said of his team's last outing before Barcelona come to town: "I thought we were sloppy at times. After the first goal the reaction was superb and I thought the second and third goals were quality.

"I thought the second-half performance was superb. But I don't think we will (start slowly against Barcelona)."

MESSI INJURY MARS VICTORY

Lionel Messi suffered his second leg injury of the season in Barcelona's 2-0 win at Almeria yesterday, leaving him doubtful for the upcoming Champions League match at Celtic.

The club said on its official Twitter account that "Messi has a muscle injury in his right thigh" and he is due to undergo more tests today.

Messi gave Barcelona the lead in the 21st minute but asked coach Gerardo Martino to be substituted eight minutes later. He spent the rest of the match on the bench and watched Adriano seal the win in the second half.

BARTON STRIKES EARLY FOR QPR

First-half goals from Joey Barton and Charlie Austin secured a straightforward 2-0 Championship win for QPR over Middlesbrough. Barton scored after only four minutes and striker Austin netted from the penalty spot to put Harry Redknapp's side firmly in control.

Danny Simpson's right-wing cross was not dealt with and the ball broke to Barton, who fired through a crowded penalty area from near the edge of the box.

QPR continued to dominate and the second goal arrived 10 minutes before the break. The Boro 'keeper kept out Austin's shot and the loose ball dropped to Gary O'Neil, whose follow-up was handled by Ben Gibson. Austin converted the penalty.

CLOUGH GETS DERBY CHOP

Derby have parted company with manager Nigel Clough. The club made the announcement just hours after the Rams' 1-0 defeat to bitter east midlands rivals Nottingham Forest.

The loss at the City Ground was the third in the space of eight days for Clough, who followed in his late father Brian's footsteps when he took the job at Derby County in January 2009.

DALY INSPIRES RANGERS ROMP

Jon Daly netted four goals as Rangers romped to an 8-0 win over Stenhousemuir in the Scottish League One.

The striker proved to be in unstoppable form for the league leaders. Daly started the rout after two minutes with a header beyond the grasp of goalkeeper Chris Smith. The forward should have doubled his tally just moments later.

Nicky Law released Little down the left flank and he squared for the onrushing Daly who stabbed just wide from close range.

However, the Irishman had the net bulging again after 16 minutes after an attempted clearance by Sean Higgins was diverted into the path of Daly to nod home. And Daly was waiting at the back post with a diving header to complete his hat-trick after 51 minutes.

He then helped himself to his fourth of the day after 82 minutes, this time meeting Nicky Clark's pass from the left and slotting home.

LEEDS SLUMP AT MILLWALL

Martyn Woolford and Scott Malone's second-half efforts were enough to give Millwall victory over bitter rivals Leeds United at the New Den.

Woolford struck after 65 minutes and Malone 11 minutes later to give the Lions their third successive Championship victory and condemn Leeds to their third league loss in as many games.

LEWANDOWSKI LEADS ROUT

Borussia Dortmund hammered hapless 10-man Freiburg 5-0 and Bayern Munich scraped past VfL Wolfsburg 1-0 as the two rivals stayed level on points at the top of the Bundesliga.

Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski both scored twice for Dortmund and Jakub Blaszczykowski added the fifth, while winless Freiburg had Fallou Diagne sent off just before half-time.

Sunday Independent

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