Tag: Football

League 1: Bristol City promoted to Championship

League One leaders Bristol City thumped Bradford City to seal promotion to the Championship after a two-year absence.

The away side dominated from the start, with James Tavernier’s toe-poke and Joe Bryan’s far-post header putting them in command at the break.

Luke Ayling fired in from long range and Aden Flint nodded in as the Robins ran riot in the second half.

Tavernier’s slotted finish and Aaron Wilbraham’s strike completed a memorable evening.

Now 10 points clear of second-placed Preston North End, the Ashton Gate outfit need to win only one of their remaining three games to be certain of securing the League One title.

Under boss Steve Cotterill, the Robins have been in imperious form since the very start of the season, winning at fellow promotion contenders Sheffield United on the opening day and remaining unbeaten until mid-November.

Having lifted the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley last month,Bristol City’s latest undefeated run in the league stretches 12 matches and leaves them strong favourites to complete a lower-league double.

This campaign also represents a remarkable turnaround for a club who, when Cotterill was appointed 16 months ago, were languishing in 23rd in the table and in danger of suffering successive relegations.

The former Cheltenham, Burnley and Portsmouth manager’s summer recruitment has been key to their success, with the arrival of Luke Freeman from Stevenage as significant as any.

Already the division’s leading assist maker, the 23-year-old was again the orchestrator as the visitors bossed the opening period, setting Tavernier clear for their first and crossing for Bryan to head in the second.

But, while Bristol City enjoyed the better of the first half, they produced an emphatic display of attacking football in the second to seal promotion in style.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Atletico Madrid 0-0 Real Madrid

Gareth Bale missed a glorious chance as Atletico Madrid held rivals Real Madrid to a goalless draw in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Wales forward Bale was through on goal in the third minute, but was thwarted by Jan Oblak, who was impressive for the home side throughout.

The goalkeeper also made a crucial save from James Rodriguez, as Mario Suarez missed a late chance for Atletico.

The sides meet again in the second leg at the Bernabeu on 22 April.

Real are aiming to become the first team to win back-to-back European Cups since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990, having defeated Atletico in last season’s final.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men have now not beaten their opponents in seven meetings since claiming La Decima – their 10th European Cup – which includes a 4-0 La Liga thumping in February.

Read more at BBC Sport

Championship: Reading 0-1 Bournemouth

Callum Wilson’s 22nd goal of the season edged Bournemouth closer to the Premier League after a tense win at Reading.

Wilson tapped home from close range after Andrew Surman’s initial shot had bounced back off the post.

Bournemouth needed a stunning one-handed save by Artur Boruc from Jamie Mackie’s volley to help seal a vital three points.

The Cherries have a one-point lead and superior goal difference at the top of the Championship with three games left.

Norwich stay second, although Watford can join them on 82 points if they beat Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.

Middlesbrough also have not given up the chase for automatic promotion, with their victory over Wolves moving them to 81 points.

The race for the top flight remains extraordinarily tight and although victory confirmed a place in the play-offs at the very least for Bournemouth, manager Eddie Howe’s side have their sights set on the league title.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle

Raheem Sterling, Joe Allen provide goals as Liverpool ease by Newcastle

Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen scored as Liverpool kept their Champions League qualification hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Newcastle on Monday night.

With striker Daniel Sturridge unavailable following a knock against Blackburn last week, Sterling provided the opener in the ninth minute by skipping through the Newcastle defence and sending a curler into the top corner.

Liverpool controlled most of the game, but Newcastle did have two good chances in the first half.

Referee Lee Mason denied a major penalty shout when Ayoze Perez appeared to be tripped up in the box, and shortly afterward Simon Mignolet was called into action to make a diving save from an Ayoze header just before the break.

Joe Allen pounced on a loose ball in the 70th minute to double Liverpool’s advantage.

The points were sealed when Moussa Sissoko was sent off with a second yellow card in the 83rd minute for a dangerous tackle on Lucas Leiva that could have been given as a straight red.

Liverpool are four points back of Manchester City in fourth with six games to play.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Man Utd 4-2 Man City

Manchester United ended a dismal derby sequence and piled the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini as his Manchester City side were well beaten at Old Trafford.

City, attempting to recover from successive away defeats at Liverpool, Burnley and Crystal Palace, made a blistering start and took an early lead through Sergio Aguero.

It was all downhill from then on for the fading Premier League champions as Ashley Young and the revitalised Marouane Fellaini put United in front before half-time.

Louis van Gaal’s side never looked like surrendering the advantage as they secured a sixth straight Premier League win with further goals from Juan Mata and Chris Smalling.

The victory put them four points ahead of City and firmly on course for a return to the Champions League next season.

As for City, this was the sort of capitulation that never reflects well on any manager and Liverpool could narrow the gap to Pellegrini’s side to just four points if they beat Newcastle United at Anfield on Monday.

Missing out on the Champions League is the unthinkable scenario for City and Pellegrini, who had won the previous four Manchester derbies – including three at Old Trafford – before his side declined alarmingly after a perfect start.

And to illustrate the turnaround in fortunes, it was only just over a year ago that City’s 3-0 win here effectively signalled the end of David Moyes’ United reign and put City 15 points ahead of their rivals having played two games fewer.

United are now the team that looks rejuvenated, while City are in serious need of reconstruction as the defensive frailties and fluctuating form that have characterised their season were exposed once more.

City can take solace from having four of their last six games at home but their defence of the title is in ruins and the speculation surrounding Pellegrini will continue ,especially if they miss out on the top four.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: QPR 0-1 Chelsea

Cesc Fabregas struck with three minutes to go as leaders Chelsea ground out a win against QPR at Loftus Road.

The midfielder arrived late into the box and fired home from 16 yards after Eden Hazard and Oscar capitalised on a poor kick out by QPR’s Rob Green.

Chelsea had not registered a single shot on target until then but did enough to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points.

QPR forced saves from Thibaut Courtois but remain two points adrift of safety.

It would not have been undeserved if Chris Ramsey’s side had taken all three points – Belgian keeper Courtois denying Charlie Austin and the impressive Matt Phillips twice.

Chelsea’s pass completion in this game was 70%, their lowest in a Premier League game this season, and the leaders struggled to deal with some intense Rangers pressing – midfielder Joey Barton catching the eye as he drove the hosts forward at every opportunity.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Burnley 0-1 Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey’s early goal was enough for Arsenal to close the gap on leaders Chelsea to four points with a hard-earned victory at Turf Moor.

The Gunners have played two games more than Jose Mourinho’s men,who play QPR on Sunday, so talk that they are now in a two-horse title race remains premature.

But they are undoubtedly putting more pressure on the Blues than anyone else after securing their eighth straight league win, becoming the first top-flight team to manage that feat this season.

That impressive form has also put them four points clear in second place and means they now look almost certain of securing Champions League football for an 18th consecutive season under Arsene Wenger.

They also showed again that they have added the kind of discipline to their game that they have lacked in previous seasons.

Arsenal’s latest win was not down to the kind of incisive attacking and explosive finishingthat demolished Liverpool last weekend.

Instead it was earned by exactly the kind of considered and controlled defensive performance needed to keep an energetic Burnley side at arms length.

The composure that Wenger’s side demonstrated was in complete contrast to Burnley, who did not lack urgency or effort but paid a heavy price for the poor passing that littered their display.

Ramsey’s 12th-minute goal came after Jason Shackell gave the ball away to Francis Coquelin on the halfway line and, after Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil both had shots saved, the Welshman blasted home.

Read more at BBC Sport

League 1: Yeovil 1-1 Notts County

Yeovil suffered relegation from League One after drawing with fellow strugglers Notts County in Paul Sturrock’s first match as Glovers boss.

Sam Foley’s free-kick was headed in to his own net by County defender Haydn Hollis to give the home side the lead.

But County, with new boss Ricardo Moniz in his first match, equalised through Garry Thompson following good work by Jamal Campbell-Ryce.

The result means the Glovers have now suffered back-to-back relegations.

Yeovil are still without a win in their last seven games in League One, whilst Notts County are winless in their last eight league games and one point adrift of safety.

It will seem a long time ago for Glovers fans since their team beat Brentford in the League One play-off final in May 2013 to reach their first ever season in the Championship, only to suffer immediate relegation with defeat at Brighton in April 2014.

Under the management of Gary Johnson, the Glovers were expected to challenge for promotion back to the second tier, but he was sacked in early February with the club in the relegation zone.

Acting manager Terry Skiverton was put in charge of the Glovers following Johnson’s departure, but he was unable to change the fortunes of the club which led to the appointment of Sturrock this week.

Despite ending a sequence of six consecutive losses, Yeovil have become the first team to be relegated from League One this season.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Southampton 2-0 Hull

Striker Graziano Pelle claimed his first Premier League goal in 15 matches to help lift Southampton up to fifth place in the table and add to Hull’s relegation worries.

Substitute James Ward-Prowse opened the scoring from the penalty spot after former Hull striker Shane Long had been fouled by Tigers defender Alex Bruce.

James Chester almost equalised but his header was cleared off the line.

Pelle then drove home his 13th goal of the season as Hull stayed in 17th spot.

Ronald Koeman’s side have now matched their Premier League record of 56 points which they achieved last season when finishing eighth under Maurico Pochettino.

They have won their last three home games, while Hull’s losing run now stretches to three matches and they remain only two points above the relegation places.

Hull face a tough run-in with games to come away to Crystal Palace, home to Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley, away to Tottenham and then at home to Manchester United on the final day.

Southampton, also chasing a highest top-flight finish since they came fifth in 1985, have been short of goals in recent weeks with just five in their last nine games.

But a return to form for Pelle, whose last goal came in the FA Cup in January, was another bonus on a positive afternoon for the Saints, who rested England international Nathaniel Clyne.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Swansea 1-1 Everton

A second-half penalty from Jonjo Shelvey earned Swansea a point as Everton’s three-game winning run in the Premier League came to an end.

Shelvey, who had a spectacular first-half effort disallowed following a foul in the build-up, slotted home after Seamus Coleman had carelessly handled.

On-loan winger Aaron Lennon had fired Everton ahead from a James McCarthy cross four minutes before the break.

Swansea equalled their record Premier League points tally of 47.

Everton, who had lost 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium in the League Cup earlier this season, are still the only side Swansea have never beaten in the league.

Having won their previous three league games, the Toffees’ manager Roberto Martinez kept faith with the team which beat Southampton in their last game.

Everton top-scorer Romelu Lukaku was still missing through injury and Swansea were soon without their leading striker too, as Bafetimbi Gomis was taken off after just 16 minutes clutching his hamstring.

Read more at BBC Sport