Section: La Liga

La Liga: Valencia 2-1 Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s club record 22-match winning run was ended,  as Valencia came from behind to secure a famous victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty put Real in front, his 33rd goal of the season.

But Valencia made it 1-1 seven minutes into the second half through Antonio Barragan’s deflected shot.

Otamendi then powered the ball in from a corner but Madrid stayed top of La Liga thanks to Barcelona’s 1-0 defeat to David Moyes’s Real Sociedad.

It was Real’s first defeat since they lost to city rivals and La Liga champions Atletico Madrid on 13 September.

The result lifted Valencia, beaten just once at home all season, into the Champions League places.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side would not have envisaged that scenario when they took an early lead through Ronaldo.

After Gareth Bale had been fouled, a free-kick from Tony Kroos was flicked on by Bale against the arm of on-loan Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo.

Ronaldo converted from the spot but then missed an excellent chance to double Real’s lead when he rounded goalkeeper Diego Alves but, from a tight angle, shot into the side netting.

Valencia had five players booked in a niggly first half but struck a post through a deflected Andre Gomes shot in stoppage time.

And they were the better side in the second half, levelling when former Liverpool player Barragan scored his first league goal for the club with a shot which was diverted past Iker Casillas by defender Pepe.

Bale was then denied by an excellent Otamendi tackle at the other end before the Argentina international won it with a towering header with 25 minutes to go.

Negredo impressed for Valencia, who could have spared themselves some anxious late moments, notably when Isco’s close-range header was saved by Alves, had Barragan not wasted another excellent chance when he shot wide with just Casillas to beat.

Holders Real will now be looking to bounce back against their local rivals in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie on Wednesday night, when Fernando Torres could make his first appearance since re-joining Atletico on loan.

Read more at BBC Sport

La Liga: Barcelona transfer ban appeal rejected by Court

Barcelona will not be allowed to sign any players in 2015 after their appeal against a transfer ban was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Spanish club was handed a 14-month ban in April after being found guilty of breaching Fifa’s rules on the transfer of players aged under 18.

Fifa rejected an appeal in August but the pending appeal to Cas allowed Barca to sign players including Luis Suarez.

Barcelona has expressed its “utter nonconformity with the resolution”.

The players concerned in the infringement of Fifa rules were registered and participated in competitions with Barcelona between 2009 and 2013.

Cas said: “The panel found in particular that FC Barcelona had breached the rules regarding the protection of minors and the registration of minors attending football academies.

“Accordingly, the Fifa decision is confirmed in full and the sanction remains in force.

“In view of the need to issue a decision before the opening of the next transfer window, the panel has issued its decision without the grounds. The full arbitral award, with the reasons for the panel’s decision, will be issued as soon as possible.”

A Barcelona statement added: “The errors that the club might have committed, and which have been recognised and argued before the corresponding authorities, are, in all cases, of an administrative nature and to a large extent have been caused by the existing conflict between the Fifa regulations and Spanish legislation, along with the club’s conviction that it was acting correctly.

“Therefore, FC Barcelona considers the sanction to be completely disproportionate as it supposes an excessive punishment for the club, when considering its trajectory and the circumstances of this specific case.”

Barca went on a summer spending spree this year while the suspension went on hold during the appeals process, splashing out more than 150m euros (£117.5m) on Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Thomas Vermaelen, Claudio Bravo, Jeremy Mathieu and Alen Halilovic.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Apoel Nicosia 0-4 Barcelona

Lionel Messi became the record Champions League goalscorer and Luis Suarez opened his account for Barcelona as the Catalan giants cruised to a 4-0 win over Apoel Nicosia.

Suarez put Barca ahead with his first goal for the club since his £64million summer move from Liverpool before Messi took centre-stage with a hat-trick – all with his less-favoured right foot.

The first of those saw him break former Real Madrid striker Raul’s tally of 71 to make the Argentina superstar the leading scorer in the competition’s history.

It was the second notable scoring record that Messi had broken in the space of three days, with the 27-year-old having also become the all-time leading Primera Division marksman at the weekend with his hat-trick against Sevilla.

That treble moved Messi onto 253 La Liga goals and broke Telmo Zarra’s 59-year-old mark of 251.

As well as being a memorable night for Messi and Suarez, the victory keeps Barcelona in with a chance of pipping Paris St Germain to top spot in Group F.

Both teams had already qualified for the last 16 but PSG stayed a point clear of Barca with their win over Ajax.

Messi moved level with Raul’s European record with a brace in Barca’s previous match at Ajax, and he could have broken it inside three minutes on Tuesday only to see APOEL goalkeeper Rafael Urko do well to block his effort.

Messi was running the show early on and he set up good chances for Suarez and Jordi Alba, neither of which were taken.

It was Suarez who made the breakthrough, though, and in the process get on the scoresheet for the first time in Barcelona colours.

The Uruguay international created the chance with a superb bit of skill to turn his marker on the edge of the box and he beat Urko with a side-footed finish, albeit with the aid of a deflection.

That was in the 27th minute, and 11 minutes later Messi made it 2-0 and secured himself yet another spot in the history books when he stuck out his right foot to deflect Rafinha’s shot into the net.

Dominant Barca picked up where they left off after the break and Pedro Rodriguez almost made it 3-0 with a low drive in the 51st minute.

A third goal was not much longer in arriving, however, with Messi moving onto 73 Champions League goals in 91 games when he picked up Dani Avles’ pinpoint pass into the area and dinked a shot in off the far post.

Further Barca goals looked on the cards, but it was actually APOEL who came closest to netting next with a Tomas De Vincenti effort that produced a superb one-handed save by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The home side then received a further boost when Barca forward Rafinha was shown a second yellow card with 20 minutes to go, but the dismissal did little to change the flow of the game with Luis Enrique’s visitors still looking to attack.

Suarez was denied his second by the feet of Urko before APOEL lost their numerical advantage when Joao Guilherme picked up his second booking for a foul on Pedro in the 84th minute.

All that was left after that was for Messi to notch up yet another hat-trick, the Barca captain knocking home Pedro’s cut-back to cap a record-breaking evening for the Catalan outfit.

Read more at ESPN

La Liga: Messi breaks La Liga goalscoring record

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi broke Telmo Zarra’s all-time La Liga goal-scoring record of 251 goals with a hat trick in the 5-1 win over Sevilla.

Messi opened the scoring on 21 minutes to equal Zarra’s feat before netting again on 72 minutes to make it 252 Liga goals in 289 appearances and take him beyond the former Athletic Bilbao forward.

The key goal was a sliding tap in with his right foot from Neymar’s cross and Messi, 27, was subsequently congratulated by his team-mates and the crowd.

He then completed his hat trick with 12 minutes remaining, meaning his total now stands at 253 Liga strikes.

Barcelona’s 5-1 win against Sevilla took them back to within two points of Liga leaders Real Madrid, who beat Eibar 4-0 earlier in the day.

Read more at ESPN

La Liga: Ferguson told Moyes to take Sociedad job

David Moyes has revealed how he took the Real Sociedad job after advice from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Moyes was dubbed the Chosen One after Ferguson selected the then-Everton manager to take over at Manchester United when he retired last year.

That move failed in spectacular fashion after Moyes was sacked just 10 months into a six-year contract at Old Trafford, with United floundering in seventh in the Premier League table.

Moyes was announced as Sociedad manager on Thursday and revealed that Ferguson told him to take the opportunity to rebuild his reputation abroad.

“I phoned Sir Alex about coming out and he spoke about the job and the opportunity, which he thought was a great one for me,” he told the Daily Mail. “He thought it would be a good chance and something very few British managers get the opportunity to do.”

The revelation would suggest Moyes harbours no ill feeling towards Ferguson after his dismissal from United, even after an updated version of the latter’s autobiography contained passage that were less than complimentary about his successor’s time at Old Trafford.

Moyes however, still insists he was the right man for the job at United, claiming he was not given enough time to shape the squad in his image.

He called on club officials to offer that time to his replacement, Louis van Gaal, who has presided over United’s worst start to a season since 1986.

“I still stand by what I said at the time that I was not given enough time at United to succeed or fail,” Moyes said. “I think there was nothing wrong with how we worked and everyone can see that whoever is in charge at Manchester United, it is quite a long job to do things. Nine months would never be enough time for any manager.

“I do think that most real football people understood that there would be a period of transition at Manchester United when you take over from Sir Alex. I always believed I was the right person for the job and I still believe that is the case. But Van Gaal now has to be given the time to do the job.”

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

A much-changed Liverpool fought hard but came up short against Real Madrid as Karim Benzema scored the only goal in their Champions League match.

The Frenchman turned in Marcelo’s low cross after Simon Mignolet had done well to keep out efforts from Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez.

Liverpool threatened briefly after the break as Adam Lallana fired just wide.

But Real remained in control and Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling’s arrival off the bench could not turn the tide.

Despite the slimmer margin of victory, the game petered out in a similarly low-key style to when Real enjoyed a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture at Anfield a fortnight ago.

In possibly the biggest gamble of his managerial career, Brendan Rodgers made seven changes to the starting XI that lost to Newcastle at the weekend, with Mario Balotelli and Jordan Henderson joining Gerrard and Sterling on the bench.

Instead, Kolo Toure, who has seen less than a minute of Premier League action this season, started in defence, behind a midfield trio of Emre Can, Lucas and Joe Allen, with the willing Fabio Borini in attack.

Liverpool’s line-up seemed to suggest damage limitation, rather than a revenge mission, at the Bernabeu.

If minimising their losses was Rodgers’s aim, he succeeded, but some will struggle to understand his approach to such a big game.

The result, and team selection, will be thrown into even starker light should Liverpool fail to get a result at home to Chelsea on Saturday, when some of their rested first-choice players are likely to return.

And promising performances from several of Rodgers’s second string will not alter the maths of Group B, in which Liverpool find themselves three points behind second-placed Basel with two games to play.

Their line-up may have seemed more in keeping with the Capital One Cup than the Champions League, but the changes initially appeared to unsettle in-form Real.

Liverpool made a similarly promising start at Anfield, though, and Mignolet was still required to make sharp stops from Rodriguez and Ronaldo.

Read more on BBC Sport

Champions League: Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid

Liverpool were given a painful lesson in how far the Champions League has moved on in their absence as they were completely outclassed by holders Real Madrid at Anfield.

Television screens inside Anfield’s lounges relived Liverpool’s 4-0 win against Real in the last 16 in 2009 in an attempt to set the mood before kick-off – but there was never any hope of a repeat.

Cristiano Ronaldo led Real’s charge with a superb opener after 23 minutes and Karim Benzema added two before the interval to leave the hosts facing a desperate exercise in damage limitation.

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Rodgers bemoans ‘sloppy’ Liverpool

It was the first time Liverpool had been three down at half-time at Anfield in their long and glorious European history – a fact no doubt noted by Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was in charge of AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005 when the Reds claimed the Champions League after facing a similar heavy deficit at the interval.

Here, in contrast, the Italian was able to enjoy a comfortable second half as Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’s brave pre-match words about not being underdogs were put into context.

With just three points from their opening three games, Liverpool’s ambitions of reaching the knockout stage of a competition they cherish so much are in real peril.

And the performance of Mario Balotelli meant it was another night that left question marks over Liverpool’s decision to pay £16m for a striker who simply does not deliver when it matters.

Read more on BBC Sport

 

Champions League: PSG 3-2 Barcelona

PSG beat Barcelona in five-goal thriller

David Luiz produced a man-of-the-match performance as Paris Saint-Germain beat Barcelona 3-2 at the Parc des Princes to go top of Group F.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique had picked Jeremy Mathieu to partner Javier Mascherano at the heart of a defence that had not conceded a goal in their previous seven matches this season.

But without the height and reassuring presence of Gerard Pique, they conceded their first goal in 11 hours and 21 minutes of football as Luiz turned Mascherano in the box to score following a Lucas free-kick.

Barcelona hit back within two minutes, a brilliant one-touch team goal finished off by Lionel Messi as the Argentine netted his 68th goal in the Champions League.

The French champions went 3-1 up through goals from Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi, and Neymar’s 56th minute strike set up a great final third of the match.

But Barcelona could not break down a PSG defence superbly marshalled by Luiz, as the French champions extended their unbeaten home record in European football to 30 matches.

 Read more on Yahoo Sport

Premiership: Swansea: Jose Canas moves to Espanyol

Swansea City midfielder Jose Canas has joined Spanish side Espanyol on a three-year deal.

The 27-year-old is moving back to La Liga on a free transfer after just over 12 months at the Liberty Stadium.

Canas was signed by Michael Laudrup on a free transfer in June 2013 after his contract with Real Betis had expired.

He made 23 appearances for the Swans in 2013-2014 and his last competitive match for the club came in the 3-2 defeat at Everton in March.

The Betis youth academy product was one of a number of Spanish players to join Swansea in recent seasons along with Angel Rangel, Chico Flores, Pablo Hernandez, Jordi Amat, Alejandro Pozuelo and Michu.

With Canas’s departure, only 31-year-old defender Rangel and 22-year-old Jordi Amat remain in south Wales from the Spanish contingent.

Flores, 27, joined former boss Laudrup in Qatar when he signed for Lekhwiya SC, 29-year-old Pablo Hernandez also moved to the Middle East country when he joined Al-Arabi.

Striker Michu, 28, is on a season-long loan at Serie A club Napoli and fellow countryman Pozuelo, 22, was sold to Rayo Vallecano in July after just one season at Swansea.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old midfielder Kris Scott has joined Leicester City on a free transfer.

The USA Under-20 cap has been involved in the Swansea Under-21 side since arriving at the Liberty Stadium from Stoke City.

Read More on BBC Sport

Football: Luis Suarez loses appeal against four-month biting ban but clear to train

Luis Su¡rez has been cleared to make his debut for Barcelona on Monday after being allowed to train with his new team-mates and play in friendlies.

Although the court of arbitration for sport (Cas) has upheld the striker’s ban and fine for biting the Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup, Su¡rez has won a victory of sorts after the punishment was softened.

The 27-year-old remains ineligible to play in competitive matches during the four-month ban period, and his nine-game international suspension stays in place, but he will participate in training on Friday.

Su¡rez, who has been forced to train alone in a hidden area of Catalonia, can also now, belatedly, be presented as a Barcelona player when the club take on Mexico’s Club Le³n in a pre-season friendly at Camp Nou.

“The sanctions imposed on the player by Fifa have been generally confirmed,” Cas said in a statement, meaning the earliest the striker can return for Barcelona in a competitive fixture is 26 October when, as fate would have it, the club face Real Madrid at the Bernab©u in the firstcl¡sico of the season.

“However, the four-month suspension will apply to official matches only and no longer to other football-related activities (such as training, promotional activities and administrative matters).”

Read More on The Guardian