Friday 27 April 2018

Real run halted by classy Barca

A superb diving header from Cesc Fabregas crowned a stunning 3-1 comeback for Barcelona at Real Madrid last night that lifted the champions above their bitter rivals to the top of La Liga.

Real drew first blood in the opening 'Clasico' of the campaign when Karim Benzema punished a mistake by Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes to score after only 23 seconds at the Bernabeu.

A trademark weaving run from Lionel Messi created Barca's equaliser for Alexis Sanchez in the 30th minute before Xavi's deflected strike on his 600th appearance for Barca made it 2-1 eight minutes into the second half.

Daniel Alves galloped down the right wing and sent over a deep cross for former Arsenal captain Fabregas to nod in Barca's third in the 66th minute to put Barca on 37 points level with Real who have a game in hand. This defeat ended Real's run of 10 straight league wins and prevented them from breaking the club record of 15 consecutive victories in all competitions.

Fenlon 'pleased' despite defeat

Hibernian's new manager Pat Fenlon declared himself pleased with his side's performance despite defeat against Rangers.

"I was pleased with a lot of it. I thought we played quite well and kept Rangers at bay for a long time,'' said Fenlon afterwards.

Nikica Jelavic scored twice as Rangers claimed a 2-0 SPL victory at Easter Road,

Following a poor opening 45 minutes, the striker converted from the penalty spot before sealing the win with his second of the day.

Reflecting on his first full 90 minutes, Fenlon said: "I enjoyed it bar the result. There was some positives for us. We conceded two goals from set-pieces so we're disappointed with that.''

Fenlon's Hibs managerial debut was cut short last week when the game at Motherwell was abandoned at half-time.

Wanyama hits Celtic winner

Victor Wanyama's first goal for Celtic was enough to beat Hearts and take the Hoops back to within four points of SPL leaders Rangers but it took a late Fraser Forster penalty save to seal it.

Anthony Stokes hit the bar with a header after the break before Wanyama broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute with a drive from the edge of the box. Two minutes from time, though, Wanyama conceded a penalty but Forster dramatically saved Eggert Jonsson's spot-kick.

'Keeper error

costs Saints

A dreadful blunder from goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski cost Championship leaders Southampton their proud home record as they were held to a 2-2 draw at St Mary's.

Saints were looking for their 22nd successive win at home, but an horrendous gaffe from the former Poland under 21 international, starting his first league match in two years, allowed Blackpool to become the first team to take a point from the south coast in 2011.

Rickie Lambert gave Saints the lead on the half-hour before Chris Basham headed an equaliser before half time.

Bialkowski then gifted the visitors a second when he let Callum McManaman's weak shot dribble through his legs and into the net. But his blushes were in part spared by Lambert, who struck in the fifth minute of stoppage time to salvage a point for his side.

Allardyce: We lost control

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce bemoaned his side's indiscipline after they crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Reading.

The Hammers, who slipped three points behind Championship leaders Southampton as a result, had substitute Joey O'Brien and Jack Collison sent off at the Madejski Stadium as Reading cruised to victory through Alex Pearce's opener and a Simon Church brace.

"Unfortunately a loss of control by the players that I haven't seen before in my time here, particularly Joey O'Brien, cost us,'' said Allardyce. "It's not like him.''

Meanwhile, Robert Snodgrass scored a last-minute penalty as Leeds salvaged a 1-1 draw against Watford.

Wolves loanee Michael Kightly opened the scoring after 28 minutes before the hosts should have put the result beyond doubt near the end, but Marvin Sordell saw his spot-kick saved by Alex McCarthy. Snodgrass struck deep into injury-time to seal a vital late point for Leeds.

Andrews stirs Tractor Boys

Keith Andrews' double was the catalyst for a stirring second-half fightback that saw Ipswich score five goals to defeat Barnsley 5-3.

Barnsley scored two first half goals, thanks to a Craig Davies penalty and Ricardo Vaz Te's diving header.

But Ipswich stunned Oakwell in the second half, with Andrews scoring with a volley and then a near post header.

Further goals came from a Danny Collins header, a clinical Michael Chopra finish and a Jason Scotland effort before a free-kick from Davies added a consolation in the dying minutes.

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