Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 26th 2015 Contents A61
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt April 26, 2015
MANCHESTER---Manchester City s disap-
pointing season looks like ending with the
consolation prize of Champions League
qualification after an unconvincing win over
Aston Villa opened a nine-point gap to the
fading chasers for the English Premier
League s top four yesterday.
An 89th-minute goal by Fernandinho
earned City a 3-2 victory that moved the
soon-to-be-deposed champions provisionally
into second place --- above Arsenal and Man-
chester United, who both play on Sunday.
More importantly, City was nine points ahead
of fifth-place Liverpool and sixth-place Tot-
tenham with four games remaining after their
Liverpool drew 0-0 at West Bromwich
Albion, and Spurs twice came from behind
to draw 2-2 at Southampton. For two teams
looking to reel in what increasingly appears
a locked-in top four, a point isn t enough at
"It ll be very difficult now," said Liverpool
manager Brendan Rodgers, whose team was
runner-up last season.
Leicester and Hull enjoyed significant away
wins at the bottom of the standings, dropping
Sunderland into the relegation zone in what
looks like a fight to the final day for survival.
Watford sealed promotion to the Premier
League after an eight-year absence by guar-
anteeing a top-two finish in the second-tier
League Championship with a 2-0 win at
City secured a fifth straight home win by
edging past Villa, but its performance against
a side struggling to avoid relegation again
underlined the champions regression.
Sergio Aguero s third-minute opener---fol-
lowing a goalkeeping error by Brad Guzan---
and a 66th-minute free kick by Aleksandar
Kolarov should have seen City coast to vic-
However, the swagger of last season has
gone, and goals by Tom Cleverley and Carlos
Sanchez---both following misjudgments by
City goalkeeper Joe Hart---drew Villa level by
There was still time for a City corner to
drift through a crowded penalty box to mid-
fielder Fernandinho, who chested the ball
down before finding the net from eight metres.
"It was one of our worst games in posses-
sion," under-pressure City manager Manuel
Pellegrini said. "It was strange to see the
important number of passes we lost."
Liverpool failed to mark Steven Gerrard s
500th league appearance for the club with a
victory at The Hawthorns, with Jordon Ibe
going closest when his deflected shot hit the
There was more entertainment at St Mary s
Stadium, where Tottenham manager Mauricio
Pochettino returned for the first time since
leaving Southampton last summer.
Southampton twice took the lead through
Graziano Pelle, but goals from Erik Lamela
and Nacer Chadli kept Spurs a point above
With the title race and the fight for Cham-
pions League qualification virtually wrapped
up, the battle to avoid relegation looks like
going to the final day.
The biggest game at the bottom of the
standings came at Turf Moor, where Leicester
scraped a huge win in a match that turned
on two incidents that occurred in the space
of 60 seconds.
After Matt Taylor struck a penalty against
the post for Burnley, Leicester went down
the other end on a counterattack that ended
with Jamie Vardy tapping in a rebound after
goalkeeper Tom Heaton prevented a cross
from being deflected into his net.
From being apparent certainties for the
drop a month ago, Leicester s stunning run
has allowed it to climb out of the bottom
three, a point above Sunderland. Burnley is
last and five points behind Leicester.
Sunderland dropped into the relegation
zone by drawing 1-1 at Stoke after failing to
capitalize on going ahead after 59 seconds
through Connor Wickham. Charlie Adam
equalized for Stoke in the 27th.
Queens Park Rangers stayed next to last,
four points from safety, after drawing at home
to West Ham. Charlie Austin had a penalty
saved for QPR.
Hull s survival chances improved thanks
to a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace, with striker
Dame N Doye scoring twice in the second
Also in the Premier League, Swansea con-
signed Newcastle to a club record of seven
straight league defeats by winning 3-2 at St
Tranmere Rovers was relegated from the
fourth tier and into the non-leagues for the
first time in 94 years after a loss at Plymouth.
Every match in England was preceded by
a one-minute s silence to honour the 56 people
who died in a fire at Bradford City s Valley
Parade stadium in May 1985. The 30th-
anniversary tribute coincided with Bradford s
final home game of the season in the third
City wins as CL places
look set in England
BERLIN---Bastian Schweinsteiger scored
with 10 minutes remaining for Bayern
Munich to beat Hertha Berlin 1-0 and move
even closer to the Bundesliga title yester-
Mitchell Weiser eluded four Hertha defend-
ers and cut the ball back for Schweinsteiger
to score with a fine strike to the top corner.
Bayern will claim its 25th German title toay
if second-place Wolfsburg fails to beat Borussia
Despite dominating possession, Bayern
struggled to create chances in an uneventful
The best chance fell to Nico Schulz early
in the second, but the Hertha midfielder was
denied by Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer
in a one-on-one situation.
Bayern increased the pressure in the final
15 minutes, with Robert Lewandowski forcing
a smart save from reserve Hertha keeper
Sascha Burchert and Schweinsteiger hitting
the post before Weiser s decisive run.
"I think it s a deserved win for Bayern.
Compliments on the German championship,"
Hertha coach Pal Dardai said.
The 18-year-old Sinan Kurt played the sec-
ond half in his competitive debut for Bayern.
Bayern next has a home semifinal against
Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup on
Tuesday. Two games against Barcelona await
Guardiola s team in the Champions League
Earlier, Pierre-Michel Lasogga scored twice
as Hamburger SV boosted its chances of avoid-
ing relegation with a 3-2 win over Augsburg.
Ivica Olic scored Hamburg s first goal in
seven games in the 11th minute and Lasogga
headed in the second eight minutes later, only
for Raul Bobadilla to pull one back for the
visitors six minutes after that.
Tobias Werner equalised with a precise
effort inside the left post in the 69th, but
Lasogga answered two minutes later with a
fierce effort to the roof of the net for Ham-
burg s first win in 10 games.
Hamburg climbed off the bottom to the
relegation playoff place. It s one point above
Stuttgart---which drew 2-2 at home with
Freiburg---and one below Hannover, which
lost 2-1 at home to Hoffenheim.
Paderborn slipped to last place but has to
play Werder Bremen on Sunday.
Only four rounds remain after the weekend s
Dortmund moved three points behind Augs-
burg in the last Europa league qualification
place by defeating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 at
home and third-place Bayer Leverkusen drew
1-1 in the Rhine derby at Cologne.
"It s a great point because it ensures that
we finish at least in fourth place," Leverkusen
coach Roger Schmidt said of the Champions
league playoff place. Third ensures direct
qualification for Europe s premier competi-
PARIS---Paris Saint-Germain bounced
back from its lackluster performance
against Barcelona by thrashing Lille 6-1
to move three points ahead of Lyon at the
top of the French league yesterday.
Lyon still has a marginally better goal
difference and can move back to the top
if it wins away at Reims today.
Winger Ezequiel Lavezzi grabbed a hat
trick and striker Edinson Cavani scored
twice in what midfielder Blaise Matuidi
called PSG s "best performance of the sea-
League Cup winner PSG remains on
course for an unprecedented domestic tre-
ble, and will be looking to plunder more
goals on Tuesday when it plays its game
in hand at home to 19th-place Metz.
PSG was comprehensively beaten 5-1 on
aggregate by Barcelona in the Champions
League quarterfinals, but against a very
poor Lille side scored twice inside the first
Left back Maxell scored after 24 seconds
when he turned in Serge Aurier s cross from
the right with a neat first-time shot for
the quickest goal in PSG s league history---
two seconds faster than Zlatan Ibrahimovic s
goal two seasons ago.
Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac s
goal after 20 seconds against Evian is the
quickest this season.
Attacking midfielder Javier Pastore then
played Cavani through with a superb pass,
and the forward s brilliant lob from the
edge of the penalty area sailed over goal-
keeper Vincent Enyeama.
Cavani missed good chances in the first
leg of PSG s 3-1 defeat against Barcelona
in the Champions League quarterfinal, and
was totally anonymous in the second leg
on Tuesday, but he ran Lille s defence
Midfielder Thiago Motta picked out
Cavani galloping down the right in the 29th,
and he squared the ball to Lavezzi for the
Lavezzi grabbed his second in the 44th
with Cavani and Matuidi combining to set
him up for a close-range volley.
PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu limped
off injured shortly after, replaced by Nicolas
Douchez, and right back Serge Aurier---
only recently back from injury---also went
off with a thigh injury just before the inter-
val.Defender Marko Basa pulled a goal back
when he headed in from a corner in the
59th, but the visitors finished the match
with ten players after right back Sebastian
Corchia was sent off for fouling Lavezzi in
Cavani converted the penalty and Lavezzi
completed his hat trick in the 77th, drilling
a low shot past Enyeama after running onto
another pass from the irrepressible Pas-
Even the normally indifferent Ibrahimovic
applauded from the stands.
In other matches, it was Bordeaux 1, Metz
1; Caen 0, Guingamp 2; Evian 1, Bastia 2;
Rennes 2, Nice 1; and Toulouse 1, Nantes
1. Teenage striker Francois Kamano s two
goals moved Bastia well clear of the rele-
Third-place Monaco visits last-place
Lens, and fifth-place Saint-Etienne takes
on Montpellier in today s other games. (AP)
Bayern beats Hertha to put Bundesliga title on ice
Manchester City's Fernandinho, second left,
celebrates with teammates after scoring the
winning goal during the English Premier
League football match between Manchester
City and Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium,
Manchester, England, yesterday. Manchester
won 3-2. AP PHOTO
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