Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 5th 2017 Contents A44 sports
guardian.co.tt Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Atletico Madrid stays 3rd
MADRID--- Atletico Madrid
took another step toward se-
curing a spot in the Champions
League next season by defeat-
ing Real Sociedad 1-0 yester-
day for its fifth win in a row in
the Spanish league.
Filipe Luis scored for the sec-
ond straight match and Atletico
opened up a three-point gap on
fourth-place Sevilla, which plays
Barcelona at the Camp Nou on
Atletico is now 10 points in front
of fifth-place Villarreal, the first
team out of the qualification zone
for the Champions League. The
third-placed team automatically
qualifies to the competition next
year, while the fourth-place club
has to go through a playoff.
Real Sociedad dropped from
fifth to seventh in the standings.
It could have reduced its gap to
Atletico to six points had it won
at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
Real Sociedad hasn't won in four
Atletico was in control from the
start and Luis found the net from
close range in the 28th minute af-
ter a quick exchange of passes with
Antoine Griezmann and Fernando
Luis had also scored in the
team's 2-0 victory at Malaga
over the weekend. The Brazilian
left back had not yet scored this
Real Sociedad improved in the
second half but it was Atletico
which had most of the scoring
chances, including great ones with
Torres and Angel Correa.
Atletico has won eight of its last
10 league matches and is enjoying
its best run of the season. Diego
Simeone's defense has been work-
ing well again, conceding only
once in the last five league games.
Atletico overtook Sevilla for
third place last weekend af-
ter having dropped to as low as
sixth in the standings earlier in
Leader Real Madrid plays at
Leganes on Wednesday to defend
its two-point lead over Barcelona.
Madrid still has a game in hand.
ATHLETIC BILBAO 2,
Aritz Aduriz scored twice in the
first half to move Athletic closer
to a Europa League spot.
The veteran striker converted a
17th-minute penalty and sealed
the victory in the 37th to give Ath-
letic its fourth win in five matches.
The result moved Athletic to
sixth place, the last spot to se-
cure a berth in the second-tiered
European competition next year.
Aduriz has scored four goals in
the last three league games with
Espanyol stayed in ninth place.
REAL BETIS 0, VILLARREAL 1
Forward Adrian Lopez scored
early in the second half to give Vil-
larreal an away victory that keeps
it in contention for a Champions
Real Betis, which nearly equal-
ized when Dani Ceballos' shot
struck the woodwork deep in
stoppage time, remains in 14th
place and still isn't clear of rel-
Moyes stays as Sunderland
boss after 'slap' remark
land--- David Moyes will
remain manager of Premier
League club Sunderland de-
spite telling a female reporter
that she might get a "slap."
Sunderland commented pub-
licly on the matter for the first
time yesterday, saying Moyes'
remarks were "wholly unac-
ceptable and such actions are not
condoned or excused in any way."
The club, which is in last place
in England's top division, said it
"continues to fully support Da-
vid in his role as manager."
Moyes, the former Manches-
ter United and Everton coach,
was being interviewed by BBC
reporter Vicki Sparks after a
Premier League match against
Burnley on March 18 when he
said: "You were just getting a
wee bit naughty at the end there,
so just watch yourself. You still
might get a slap even though
you're a woman. Careful the
next time you come in."
Moyes and Sparks were laugh-
ing during the exchange, which
has been published by British
newspaper The Daily Star, and
the reporter did not make a com-
The 53-year-old Moyes said
Monday that his comments
were "in the heat of the moment"
and that Sparks had accepted his
"The matter was treated with
the utmost seriousness from the
outset," the Sunderland state-
ment read, "and the swift and
decisive action taken by the club
and the manager at the time en-
sured that it was resolved to the
satisfaction of the reporter and
the BBC, which was the priority."
The English Football Associ-
ation will write to Moyes to ask
for his observations on the in-
cident. Moyes could be charged
as a result.
Sunderland plays at Leicester
in the Premier League yesterday.
With Messi back, Barcelona
faces free-falling Sevilla
MADRID--- Lionel Messi is
back, and just in time.
Fully rested after the international
break and a yellow-card suspension,
Messi returns to Barcelona's team
for the decisive Spanish league
match against Sevilla today.
Messi will be playing his first
game in nearly two weeks when
Barcelona resumes its pursuit of
league leader Real Madrid at the
Camp Nou. Barcelona is two points
behind Madrid, which plays at Le-
ganes later Wednesday.
"We saw Messi practice at the
highest level," Barcelona coach Luis
Enrique said. "The mini break that
he had was very positive."
Messi's last game was on March
23 with Argentina in World Cup
qualifying, a 1-0 win over Chile
with a penalty kick converted by
the playmaker. But he didn't play
in the national team's 2-0 loss to
Bolivia five days later because of a
four-game suspension for insulting
a linesman, then missed Barcelo-
na's 4-1 win at Granada over the
Messi is the Spanish league's
leading scorer with 25 goals and
has 41 overall this season from 40
The 29-year-old Argentine has
not gone two consecutive games
without scoring since early Sep-
tember. He has scored 10 times in
his last nine league games.
Neymar and Luis Suarez, who
led Barcelona against Granada, are
also expected to play on Wednesday,
when Barcelona will try to win its
sixth straight match against Sevilla.
Sevilla enters the match endur-
ing its worst moment of the season,
coming off five consecutive games
without a win. Among the setbacks
was the disappointing elimination
to Leicester in the last 16 of the
"It's not easy. We all thought that
we were going to get past Leices-
ter. It's difficult for us to accept it,"
Sevilla forward Stevan Jovetic said.
"We have to find a way to recover.
We are the same team that we
were five matches ago, when we
were in second place. We need to
win a match by two or three goals
to regain our confidence."
Sevilla was fighting for the league
title not long ago, but now it sees
itself 10 points off the lead, in fourth
place and already having to worry
about qualifying for the top Euro-
pean club competition next season.
"Maybe the elimination against
Leicester affected them," Luis En-
rique said. "It's not their best mo-
ment, not their best dynamic, but
they remain a difficult rival."
Madrid, which has a game in
hand, faces a Leganes squad that has
drawn its last three matches and is
struggling to avoid returning to the
second division next season.
It is 17th in the 20-team stand-
ings, only one spot above the rele-
"No one should think that we will
easily beat Leganes, that doesn't
exist in football," Madrid coach
Zinedine Zidane said.
Madrid has won four in a row in
the league and has scored at least a
goal in its last 50 games in all com-
FC Barcelona's Neymar, right, Lionel Messi, center, and Luis Suarez, back,
attend a training session at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan
Gamper in Sant Joan Despi, Spain, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Sunderland manager David Moyes issues
instructions to team members, during their
game against Watford during their English
Premier League soccer match at Vicarage
Road in Watford, England on Saturday. AP
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