x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

European football round-up: Pogba on target for Juventus again

The former Manchester United teenager secured victory for Juventus to extend their unbeaten run to 49 games, while Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid both enjoyed comfortable Copa del Rey wins.

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring the winner for Juventus against Bologna
Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring the winner for Juventus against Bologna

SPAIN

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid enjoyed comfortable wins in the Copa del Rey fourth round tonight, but it was a disappointing evening for another capital club.

Real substitute Jose Rodriguez added the gloss to a 4-1 victory at Segunda Division B side Alcoyano, after a brace from Karim Benzema and a goal from Kaka had done enough to make Javi Lara's response irrelevant.

Earlier in the evening, Atletico extended their winning run to 13 matches in all competitions with a 3-0 victory at Jaen, who had Dani Torres sent off.

Diego Torres opened the scoring from the penalty spot after his namesake's dismissal, with Adrian and Raul Garcia ensuring a tricky return leg for Jaen in a month's time.

Rayo Vallecano, though, will have to overturn a 1-0 deficit back in Madrid at the end of November as Thievy's strike led Las Palmas to victory in Gran Canaria.

High-flying Malaga were involved in a topsy-turvy encounter against lower-league opposition in the shape of Cacereno, who eventually lost 4-3.

Oguchi Onyewu got the ball rolling, with Roque Santa Cruz soon doubling their lead, but Juan Jaraiz and Alberto Chapi dragged the Spanish minnows back into contention.

Malaga regrouped after the break, though, Duda scoring from the penalty spot before Santa Cruz completed his brace.

There was still time for Jaraiz to score a last-gasp third, but Manuel Pellegrini's men stood firm.

A solitary goal from Carlos Aranda means Primera Division side Granada will need to win back at home, with Real Zaragoza triumphing 1-0 at La Romareda.

Elsewhere, Celta Vigo had no response to goals from Almeria's Jonathan and Abel Molinero as the Segunda Division side ran out 2-0 winners in Andalusia.

 

ITALY

Paul Pogba scored with a stoppage time header to give Serie A leaders and title-holders Juventus a 2-1 win over Bologna on Wednesday and extend their unbeaten league run to 49 games.

Far from convincing, Juventus went ahead early in the second half when Pogba chipped the ball into the area and Emanuele Giaccherini headed the ball into the path of Fabio Quagliarella to score from close range.

Bologna equalised when an attempted clearance by Paolo De Ceglie landed at the feet of Saphir Taider who fired a low shot past Gianluigi Buffon from just outside the area.

Nineteen-year-old former Manchester United midfielder Pogba maintained Juventus' 100 per cent home record when he stooped to head in Sebastian Giovinco's inswinging cross in the second minute of injury-time.

AS Roma, involved in a row on Tuesday after a train was diverted from its normal route to drop the team off at Parma, lost 3-2 in heavy rain as they continued their topsy-turvy season.

Zdenek Zeman's side have the best attacking and worst defensive record in the league with 22 goals scored and 19 against in 10 games.

Roma, who came from two goals down to beat Genoa 4-2 10 days ago and did the opposite in a 3-2 defeat to Bologna at the weekend, this time scored first through Argentine Erik Lamela.

On a barely-playable pitch, Parma replied through Ishak Belfodil, later sent off in the 85th minute, and Marco Parolo in a three-minute spell before halftime and Cristian Zaccardo extended their lead in the 65th minute.

Francesco Totti pulled one back, scoring at the second attempt after his penalty was saved by Antonio Mirante.

Roma travelled by train to the match but other passengers were not amused when it made a diversion to Parma on its way to Milan, causing a 40-minute delay.

Consumer watchdog Codacons lodged a complaint and operator Trenitalia, who said that it had announced the change of route beforehand, offered passengers a partial refund.

Inter Milan moved into second place after second-half goals from Diego Milito (penalty), Rodrigo Palacio and Fredy Guarin gave them a 3-2 win at home to Sampdoria while Napoli lost 1-0 at Atalanta and dropped to third.

A spectacular volley by Chile midfielder Carlos Carmona was enough for Atalanta to beat Napoli, who were missing Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani through injury and again suffered away from home.

Napoli have a 100 per cent home record but have managed only two wins in five games on their travels.

Irrepressible 35-year-old Antonio Di Natale scored twice for Udinese, a penalty and a last-gasp equaliser, in a 2-2 draw with Catania, taking his tally to six in the league.

Juventus have taken 28 points from a possible 30 and are four ahead of Inter, with Napoli on 22.

 

GERMANY

Bayern Munich crushed second division Kaiserslautern 4-0 with two goals each from Claudio Pizarro and Arjen Robben to book a spot in the German Cup round of 16 and bounce back from their first league defeat last week.

A second string team, with nine changes from the side that was beaten by Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, needed some time to adjust but Peru striker Pizarro settled the nerves after he fired them into a 12th minute lead following a fine pass from Robben.

The roles were reversed in the 49th minute when Pizarro, in his second spell at Bayern after joining in the close season, headed on for the Dutchman, who only days ago came back from injury.

"A 4-0 might look easy but it was hard for us," Robben told reporters. "We worked very well together and I am proud of the team."

Keeper Manuel Neuer's replacement Tom Starke did well to deny the visitors in the 24th minute.

But Robben's goal four minutes after the restart put them in complete control and Pizarro, the Bundesliga's all time top foreign scorer, crowned his best performance since his return with a trademark powerful header for Bayern's third goal.

Robben sealed their victory by drilling in from 10 metres in the 88th.

Improving VfB Stuttgart also advanced with a confident 3-0 victory over St Pauli.

Two goals in two minutes from Ibrahima Traore and Vedad Ibisevic put Stuttgart, who have won three of their last four league games after a rocky start, in the driving seat. Tamas Hajnal sealed their win before the break.

Bayer Leverkusen had to work much harder and needed a goal in the first half of extra time by Andre Schuerrle to break the resistance of third division Arminia Bielefeld and win 3-2.

VfL Wolfsburg made it two wins out of two matches since the sacking of coach Felix Magath last week, beating FSV Frankfurt 2-0.

Brazilian Diego, who had fallen out of favour with Magath, was in sparkling form and tapped in from close range for Wolfsburg. Dutchman Bas Dost added another.

Fortuna Duesseldorf scored in extra time to beat Borussia Moenchengladbach, who have only themselves to blame after squandering a bagful of chances, 1-0.

Hanover 96 goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler saved two spot kicks to hand his team a 4-3 victory over second tier Dynamo Dresden on penalties.

Holders Borussia Dortmund booked their spot in the next round on Tuesday with a 4-1 win over second tier VfR Aalen while 2011 winners Schalke 04 also advanced after beating Sandhausen.

 

FRANCE

Paris St Germain's domestic dominance continued when the Qatar-backed club qualified for the League Cup quarter-finals by knocking out holders Olympique Marseille with a 2-0 win at the Parc des Princes.

Thiago Silva converted a spot kick after OM were reduced to 10 men before the break and Jeremy Menez wrapped it up in the second half as PSG smoothly advanced with striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic being rested.

Carlo Ancelotti's side took full advantage after Marseille defender Rod Fanni was shown a straight red card in the 28th minute for a foul on Menez in the box.

Thiago Silva converted the resulting penalty by wrong footing Steve Mandanda and OM, who won the last three editions of the competition, barely bothered the hosts.

Menez made it 2-0 five minutes into the second half, firing home from close range after collecting a brilliant Javier Pastore through-ball.

Marseille had a chance to reduce the arrears in the closing stages but Benoît Cheyrou's low free kick from 30 metres smashed against Nicolas Douchez's left post.

PSG were joined in the last eight by Montpellier and Nice on Wednesday.

French champions Montpellier needed just a Jonathan Tinhan goal on the hour to prevail 1-0 at home to Girondins Bordeaux, who failed to level the match after Cyril Jeunechamps was sent off for the hosts eight minutes from time.

Olympique Lyon were knocked out 3-1 at Nice, conceding three goals in the opening 15 minutes.

Bafetimbi Gomis cancelled out Valentin Eysseric's opener, only for Mahamane Traore and Renato Civelli to score for Nice in the ninth and 15th minutes respectively after some awful defending by the visitors.

The Bastia v AJ Auxerre game was called off because of bad weather, with the French League having yet to set another date.

 

SCOTLAND

Manager Ally McCoist admits Rangers got what they deserved as they crashed out of the Scottish Communities League Cup at the hands of Inverness tonight.

On the day the old incarnation of the club was put into liquidation, the new version - reborn in Scottish football's lowest tier at the start of the season - was hammered 3-0 by Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Ibrox.

Goals from Andrew Shinnie, Gary Warren and a Graeme Shinnie penalty secured the victory for Inverness.

New Dundee United signing Rudi Skacel was denied the chance to take a penalty against his former side as Hearts claimed victory in a shoot-out at Tannadice.

Callum Paterson put the visitors in front after 20 minutes and hit a post in the second half after Johnny Russell's 35th-minute equaliser.

The teams remained level after the regulation five penalties apiece and after Hearts captain Marius Zaliukas converted the 13th spot-kick, Dillon stepped up to fire wide, sending the visitors into the last four alongside Celtic, Inverness and St Mirren.