Saturday 20 January 2018

Soccer In Brief

Barton steals point for QPR

QPR missed the chance to go top of the Championship when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Reading, who stretched their unbeaten home record to eight matches.

After QPR had made a bright start, Reading went ahead midway through the second half as Chris Baird released Garath McCleary, who cut in from the left and unleashed a low shot that struck the foot of an upright and rolled past Rob Green in goal. Moments after Jordan Obita missed a glorious chance to put Reading two ahead, the visitors drew level when Joey Barton clipped in a wonderful free kick in the 78th minute.

CELTIC EXORCISE

AJAX DEMONS

Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk helped Celtic shrug off their Amsterdam hangover by inspiring them to a convincing 4-1 Scottish Premiership win over Ross County at the Global Energy Arena.

Van Dijk led the charge against the Staggies, heading an Emilio Izaguirre cross past County goalkeeper Mark Brown in the 41st minute after threatening on three earlier occasions and adding a second in the 52nd minute when he headed in a Charlie Mulgrew corner.

County substitute Ivan Sproule reduced the deficit in the 67th minute, but midfielder Joe Ledley helped himself to a brace of headers to underline what was an impressive response to their midweek disappointment.

COX ON MARK TO SHOCK FOXES

Simon Cox and Jamie Mackie scored the goals that gave Nottingham Forest a 2-0 win over Leicester in the Championship clash at the King Power Stadium.

Cox netted on the half-hour mark from close range before Mackie added a second three minutes before half-time, sending Leicester crashing to their first home defeat of the season. The Foxes had only themselves to blame after spurning several good chances, including a 69th-minute penalty put over the bar by David Nugent.

TROTTERS NOTCH FIRST HOME WIN

Bolton extended their unbeaten run to five games – and recorded their first home win of the season – with a 3-1 win at home over Millwall.

Former West Ham winger Rob Hall opened the scoring for Wanderers early on before Jermaine Easter levelled for the Lions. But Jermaine Beckford put the Trotters back in front before half-time and Andre Moritz got his first goal for the club to seal the win, which sees them leapfrog their opponents in the table.

INGS LATE SHOW

SAVES CLARETS

Championship leaders Burnley were grateful for a point on the return of former boss Eddie Howe to Turf Moor as a late Danny Ings equaliser secured a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth.

Tokelo Rantie looked to have secured a dream result for Howe with a superb 25-yard strike four minutes into the second half. But in-form Ings, a former Bournemouth striker whom Howe signed during his spell as Burnley boss, had the last say by heading home from close range in the 84th minute. The result leaves the Clarets still a point clear at the top of the league.

RONALDO DRIVES RAMPANT REAL

Cristiano Ronaldo netted another hat-trick in Real Madrid's 5-1 win over Real Sociedad yesterday as he extended his scoring run to nine goals in his last four games. Madrid's win pulled them to within three points of league leaders Barcelona.

PACESETTERS BAYERN CRUISE

BUNDESLIGA leaders and defending champions Bayern Munich beat Augsburg 3-0 yesterday to set a league record by completing their 37th match without defeat.

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund lost 2-1 to VfL Wolfsburg in their second defeat in four days. Bayern moved four points clear of Dortmund, who are level on 28 points with Bayer Leverkusen.

BLATTER: QATAR

ISSUES IN HAND

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says he is confident of resolving all issues with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar that has come under criticism by rights groups over conditions for workers building the venues. Blatter also said that after meeting with Qatar's emir the decision to award the tournament to the desert nation is "not reversible." There have been calls to move the tournament because of Qatar's intense heat.

BT SEAL €1BN

TV CONTRACT

UEFA has generated more than €1bn from a new British TV rights deal for the Champions League and Europa League. The BT Group has bought the exclusive rights for three seasons starting in 2015-16 to show 350 matches, paying €1.076bn in total – more than double the value of the existing three-year UK deal with BSkyB and terrestrial network ITV.

Sunday Independent

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