Getty Images

Barcelona 4-0 Man City: Messi bags hat trick; Bravo blunders

Leave a comment

Barcelona beat Manchester City 4-0 on Wednesday night at the Nou Camp as a moment of madness from Claudio Bravo proved decisive in the Group C UEFA Champions League encounter.

[ MORE: UCL scores, stats ]

Before the game Pep Guardiola said he’d find out where his new team were at after facing his former club Barcelona. City showed signs of promise but that man Lionel Messi, Guardiola’s protege, tore them apart once again.

Messi gave the Spanish champions the lead in the first half and after Bravo was sent off for a calamitous red card early in the second half, Messi grabbed another as City were their own worst enemies.

Despite a promising spell either side of half time, Guardiola left his old stomping ground with his tail between his legs as Messi completed his hat trick and Neymar added a goal to put some extra gloss on the scoreline.

The win moves Barca to nine points from their opening three group games, while City remains on four points.

[ VIDEO: Sanchez wonder-goal ]

Early on Barca were dealt a blow as Jordi Alba hobbled off injured and Lucas Digne replaced him.

After a bright start City were then caught out by Messi (who else?) as he ghosted into the box after an unfortunate slip by Fernandinho and scored his 10th goal in his last eight Champions League games.

Before the game all the talk had been about Messi and how Guardiola wanted to try and sign him, if he ever decided to leave Barca, and it was the Argentine wonder who added the killer blow whenever the Catalan club needed it.

City’s uphill task just got more difficult after Messi’s first and they could’ve been 2-0 down had both Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic finished better in the box.

Guardiola’s boys felt the heat for a few moments following the opening goal but, overall, City responded well to going behind with Raheem Sterling getting some space on the right then Nolito got free down the left but Marc-Andre ter Stegen denied him.

Moments later ter Stegen was called into action again as Ilkay Gundogan drove into the box and he should’ve done better with his finish after skipping past three Barca defenders.

Before half time Gerard Pique had to come off injured as Luis Enrique was forced into yet another defensive reshuffle with Jeremy Mathieu coming on.

Messi played in Suarez before the break and he was clean through but Bravo blocked his first effort and then tipped the looping ball over.

City had a penalty shout for handball in the box before the break as Sterling’s cross appeared to hit Digne on the hand but nothing was given and Kevin De Bruyne slammed the loose ball into the side-netting.

Despite trailing 1-0 at half time, Guardiola would’ve have been encouraged by City’s response to going behind.

Man City started the second half brightly, too, with De Bruyne getting in behind and David Silva pulling the strings but then a moment of madness swung the game in Barcelona’s favor.

Before the game City’s players talked about having to be “perfect” to get anything at Barcelona. Bravo was far from that as he first miscued his attempted pass to give the ball straight to Suarez who chipped goalwards for what have been a certain second goal, bur then Bravo pushed the ball away with his hands while stood outside his box.

The Chilean goalkeeper was correctly shown a straight red card on his return to the Nou Camp less then two months after leaving Barca for Man City.

It was a nightmare scenario for Guardiola as Pablo Zabaleta was also injured in the play. City were down to 10 men with Willy Caballero and Gael Clichy subbing on.

It got worse moments later as Messi slotted home his second of the game and 88th UCL goal with a simple finish. 2-0.

City kept plugging away as De Bruyne raced through and drilled low by ter Stegen saved and they put on some pressure from set pieces but Barca managed to clear.

Barca then proceeded to pick City off on the counter and a mistake from Gnndogan let in Suarez who put it on a plate for Messi to grab a hat trick. 3-0. That’s now 89 UCL goals for Messi.

It wasn’t all good news for Barca as sub Mathieu was sent off late in the game for two yellow cards as he scythed down Sterling. Although the game ended level in terms of men on the pitch, 10-10, it was a convincing win for Barcelona as Neymar also missed a PK but then slotted home stylishly in the final minute. 4-0.

Welcome back to Barca, Pep…

Bilbao’s Williams: ‘I suffered racist insults’ at Espanyol

Getty Images
Leave a comment

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams says that he was a victim of racial abuse from fans while playing at Espanyol in a Spanish league game on Saturday.

Williams said after the 1-1 draw that “I suffered racist insults, something that no one wants to hear and has no place here.”

Williams, who is black, played 82 minutes of the match before being substituted.

“People should come to enjoy themselves, to help their team. This is a sport about friendship,” Williams said.

More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

FA Cup: Chelsea survive trip to Hull, advance to 5th round (video)

Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With their 2-1 victory away to EFL Championship side Hull City, Chelsea joined Leicester City, Sheffield United and Norwich City as Premier League sides to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

[ FA CUP ROUNDUP: West Ham bounced; Sheff Utd, Norwich advance ]

Frank Lampard‘s side got off to a flying start courtesy of Michy Batshuayi‘s deflected finish in the 6th minute, and the Blues were well on their way to a first half of total dominance.

Hull looked more prepared for a fight after halftime, but it mattered very little after Fikayo Tomori was gifted a free header two yards off the goal line. Ross Barkley‘s free kick was well placed at the back post and there was nothing that anyone could do to stop it.

[ MORE: Report: Spurs, Inter close to deal for Christian Eriksen ]

Hull pulled the game back to 2-1 in the 78th minute, and they were more than a little fortunate in how they managed to do so. Kamil Grosicki smacked a free kick with plenty of power and got the deflection of all deflections to wrong-foot Willy Caballero and find the back of the net.

The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.

FA Cup roundup: West Ham bounced; Sheff Utd, Norwich advance (video)

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round (early) action…

[ MORE: Saints hit Spurs late to force 4th-round replay ]

The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.

West Ham United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

West Ham were the lone Premier League side to be knocked out by a lower-division side on Saturday, as David Moyes‘ side failed to find the back of the net and were beaten 1-0 by EFL Championship leaders West Brom.

Conor Townsend scored the game’s only goal in the 9th minute, and though the Hammers controlled possession the rest of the way, they created very little in terms of scoring chances and finished the game with just three shots on target. West Brom finished the game with 10 men, but West Ham could do nothing with their 18-minute advantage following Semi Ajayi‘s second yellow card in the 72nd minute.

Millwall 0-2 Sheffield United

Sheffield United’s dream season continued with a comfortable 2-0 victory away to Championship side Millwall. Both goals came inside the final half-hour, but the Blades were unquestionably the better side even before breaking the deadlock.

That came in the 62nd minute, when Muhamed Besic placed a stunning curler inside the far post for 1-0. Not long before full-time, in the 84th, Oliver Norwood drove his effort hard and low and into the corner to make it 2-0.

Burnley 1-2 Norwich City

Norwich and Burnley were largely inseparable for the majority of Saturday’s clash at Turf Moor, save for a four-minute period early in the second half in which Norwich scored twice and booked their place in the fifth round.

Grant Hanley made it 1-0 in the 53rd and Josip Drmic added to the advantage in the 57th minute. Erik Pieters pulled Burnley back to within a goal in the 73rd, but that’s as close as the Clarets would get.

FA Cup fourth-round scoreboard

Southampton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur — FULL RECAP
Newcastle United 0-0 Oxford United
Portsmouth 4-2 Barnsley
Coventry City 0-0 Birmingham City
Reading 1-1 Cardiff City

RB Leipzig beaten, Bundesliga title race thrown wide open

Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BERLIN (AP) Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Bundesliga leader RB Leipzig 2-0 to throw the title race wide open on Saturday.

[ MORE: Report: Spurs, Inter close to deal for Christian Eriksen ]

Frankfurt defender Almamy Toure scored a brilliant goal just after the break and Filip Kostic sealed the win in injury time to deal Leipzig its first defeat since a 2-1 loss at home to Freiburg in October.

Borussia Monchengladbach cut the gap at the top to two points with a 3-1 win at home over Mainz, thanks largely to goals in each half from French striker Alassane Plea.

Bayern Munich has the chance to cut the gap to one point with a win at home over Schalke in the late game.

[ FA CUP: Saints hit Spurs late to force 4th-round replay ]

Borussia Dortmund is just four points off the top after its 5-1 win over Cologne on Friday.

Also Saturday, Union Berlin defeated Augsburg 2-0 at home, Hertha Berlin came from behind to win 2-1 at Wolfsburg, and Paderborn moved off the bottom with a 2-0 win at Freiburg.