Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

La Liga: Barcelona still unbeaten after Alcacer brace (video)

Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ PREMIER LEAGUE: Saturday roundup | Sunday preview ]

Barcelona 2-1 Sevilla

It took a Paco Alcacer brace — not to mention, a bit of patience and resolve — but Barcelona outlasted Sevilla and picked up a 2-1 victory at the Camp Nou, thus continuing their unbeaten start (one draw) to the 2017-18 La Liga season. Alcacer scored the opener in the 23rd minute, after Sergio Escudero’s calamitous error left him one-on-one with David Soria. The 24-year-old Spaniard touched the ball around the goalkeeper for 1-0.

1-0 was the score until just before the hour mark, when Guido Pizarro rose above Gerard Pique to head home Ever Banega’s corner kick in the 59th minute.

Six minutes later, Alcacer struck again, poking home Ivan Rakitic’s menacing cross to the near post. In just is fourth league appearance this season, Saturday’s goals were the first and second of the campaign for Alcacer, who was expected to be heavily relied upon after Neymar’s departure in the summer.

Valencia 3-0 Leganes

As for the title race, Valencia have shown no signs of going quietly into the night, as Marcelino Garcia Toral’s side picked up its seventh straight win and maintaining its own unbeaten start by beating eighth-place Leganes handily.

Daniel Parejo opened the scoring after only 14 minutes. Los Che held onto that 1-0 scoreline for the next 57 minutes, until Rodrigo’s Moreno’s seventh goal of the season made it 2-0 and all but put the game to bed. Santi Mina converted from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute, and Villarreal were within a point of Barca for eight hours.

Deportivo La Coruña 0-1 Atletico Madrid

For 90-plus minutes, Atletico Madrid couldn’t find a way through Deportivo La Coruña’s disciplined defense. Diego Simeone’s side looked headed for another disappointing result — it would have been their fourth draw in five games — until Thomas Partey smashed a scripted restart sequence around the wall and into the top corner. The victory keeps Atleti perfectly paced alongside their capital rivals, Real Madrid, with the defending champions set to take on Las Palmas on Sunday.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Alaves 1-0 Espanyol

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Levante vs. Girona — 6 a.m. ET
Celta Vigo vs. Athletic Bilbao — 10:15 a.m. ET
Real Sociedad vs. Eibar — 12:30 p.m. ET
Villarreal vs. Malaga — 12:30 p.m. ET
Real Madrid vs. Las Palmas — 2:45 p.m. ET

Tunisian player who collapsed in Spain regains consciousness

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Spanish third-division club Toledo says a Tunisian player who collapsed from heart failure during practice 10 days ago has regained consciousness.

The club says doctors removed sedative medication and Lassad Nouioui was responding well to treatment on Monday.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

They will consider removing the 32-year-old Nouioui from the intensive care unit if his condition keeps improving. Nouioui has played for a number of clubs during his 14-year professional career, notably a four-year stay at Deportivo La Coruna and a one-year spell with Celtic.

Nouioui collapsed on April 14.

The game against Real Madrid B the following day was postponed because of the problem with Nouioui.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
1 Comment

GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.