Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 22nd 2013 Contents A53
December 22, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
BARCELONA---Diego Costa scored his
Spanish league-leading 18th and 19th goals
to help Atletico Madrid come back to beat
a feisty Levante 3-2 yesterday in Spain and
provisionally move to the top of the table.
Atletico leads Barcelona by three points
before its game at Getafe today, when the
defending champion will be without the
injured Lionel Messi, Xavi Herandez, Victor
Valdes and suspended striker Neymar.
Diego Costa moved two goals ahead of
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo in their
scoring duel. The Brazilian-born striker
whom Spain plans on taking to the World
Cup has scored in all 11 of Atletico s wins
at Vicente Calderon Stadium this season.
Levante stunned the hosts by scoring less
than a minute into the match when Andreas
Ivanschitz finished off a team buildup.
Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was
called into action to repel David Barral s
hard strike in the 10th, after which he railed
at his defense.
His teammates promptly responded by
pushing Levante into its area, and the equal-
izer came on the half-hour when defender
Diego Godin rose up to powerfully head
Juanfran Torres short cross past goalie
Diego Costa put his team ahead two min-
utes after the break by fending off his marker
to volley in a lobbed free kick from Gabi
Levante wasn t done and Pedro Rios made
it 2-2 in the 56th with a solo effort to win
the ball, sprint forward and score from dis-
Diego Costa, however, restored Atletico s
advantage for good in the 77th by stepping
up to convert a penalty after Juanfran Torres
was fouled by Ruben Garcia on the edge of
"It was tough. Levante is the best team
that has come through the Calderon this
season," Juanfran said.
Levante finished with 10 men after Juan-
fran Garcia was shown a red card in the
90th after colliding with Filipe Luis while
awaiting a corner kick.
Also, 10-man Sevilla won 2-1 at Villarreal
as it rebounded from its humbling exit from
the Copa del Rey with a fourth win in five
rounds, while Almeria won 1-0 to keep Real
Betis bottom of the table and winless in 10
Sevilla was shocked by third-division side
Racing Santander in the Copa on Wednes-
day, but Ivan Rakitic returned to the squad
to help deal Villarreal just its second loss at
El Madrigal Stadium this season.
Rakitic found defender Juan "Cala" Torres
with a long pass to head Sevilla in front in
the 24th. Striker Carlos Bacca was denied
by the woodwork before he scored his eighth
league goal from a pass by Rakitic in the
Villarreal s Jeremy Perbet converted a
penalty in the 89th after Cala received a
red card for fouling Jaume Costa in front
of the net.
Villarrreal coach Marcelino Garcia was
ejected from the dugouts one minute from
halftime for repeatedly complaining to the
He watched the rest of the match from
a private box in the stadium s upper level.
"This victory is important beyond our
elimination from the Copa, but it is still
just another step forward," Sevilla coach
Unai Emery said. "It s true we had a painful
start to the season. The team is settling
down and this win will boost our confi-
Almeria midfielder Ramon Azeez netted
what proved to be the winner four minutes
in when his long strike took a deflection
off Betis defender Paulao to fool goalkeeper
Almeria goalie Esteban Suarez did the
rest, making several saves to further infuriate
Betis disgruntled fans.
Betis has shown no improvement under
new coach Juan Carlos Garrido. It has lost
both league matches and struggled to get
by minnow Lleida Esportiu in the Copa
since Garrido replaced the fired Pepe Mel.
In the late match, Real Sociedad extended
its winning streak after beating Granada,
Atletico's Diego Costa, right, competes with Nikos Karampelas from Greece, left, during a
Spanish La Liga football match between Atletico de Madrid and Levante at the Vicente
Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, yesterday. Costa scored a double in Atletico's 3-2 win.
Diego Costa nets 2,
Atletico beats Levante 3-2
MILAN---Napoli missed a chance to move
provisionally level with second-placed
Roma as it was held to 1-1 at Cagliari in
Serie A yesterday.
Earlier, Udinese picked up a valuable 2-
1 win at fellow struggler Livorno in the final
round of Italian league fixtures before the
Napoli was brimming with confidence
after beating Inter Milan 4-2, but it was
Cagliari which started the brighter and the
Sardinian side took the lead in the ninth
Davide Astori dispossessed Italy defender
Christian Maggio and cut back for the
unmarked Nene to fire home. The Brazilian
thought he scored moments earlier but he
was booked for firing at goal after the referee
Gonzalo Higuain leveled 10 minutes later
with a powerful penalty after Goran Pandev
was fouled by Astori.
Jose Maria Callejon had a spectacular vol-
ley ruled out in the 73rd after the assistant
referee spotted that the ball took the slightest
of touches off Pandev, who was in an offside
Napoli remains third but could find itself
10 points behind leader Juventus if the two-
time reigning champion beats Atalanta on
Sunday. Roma plays Catania and would
move five points ahead of Napoli with a
AC Milan plays city rival Inter in a highly
In Livorno, Udinese coach Francesco
Guidolin handed a surprise start to Nico
Lopez, who claimed the opener in the 11th
The Uruguay Under-20 star won the ball
off Emerson and raced into the left of the
area before unleashing an angled drive into
the far bottom corner.
Luca Siligardi leveled for Livorno shortly
after the half hour as he feinted past Mau-
rizio Domizzi and drilled across into the
bottom left corner.
Thomas Heurtaux scored the winner in
the 65th minute. Livorno goalkeeper
Francesco Bardi did brilliantly to keep out
Danilo s volley from an Antonio Di Natale
corner but Heurtaux rushed in to tap in the
It was the defender s fourth goal of the
season and makes him joint top goalscorer
at the club with star striker Di Natale.
Udinese also hit the woodwork in first-
half stoppage time when Bardi fingertipped
Allan s deflected cross onto the crossbar.
Livorno, which has lost five of its past
six matches, remained a point off safety
ahead of the rest of the weekend games.
Napoli held to 1-1 at Cagliari in Serie A
FRANKFURT---Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia
Dortmund both lost in the Bundesliga yesterday,
leaving Bayern Munich the biggest beneficiary
even though the defending champion wasn t
even in the country.
With Bayern playing the Club World Cup final
in Morocco, Leverkusen and Dortmund could have
gained some ground on the undefeated leader.
But Leverkusen went down 1-0 at Werder Bre-
men and Dortmund lost 2-1 at home to Hertha
Berlin, leaving Bayern seven points ahead of Lev-
erkusen and 12 ahead of Dortmund, with one
match in hand. Leverkusen lost its second straight
and Dortmund its third consecutive at home as
the two Champions League last-16 teams continued
Dortmund, which has won only one of its last
six matches and lost four of them, could drop
from third place if Borussia Moenchengladbach
beats Wolfsburg today.
Elsewhere on the final day before the winter
break, Shinji Okazaki scored twice for Mainz to
win 3-2 in Hamburg, Eintracht Braunschweig
edged Hoffenheim 1-0 and Freiburg beat Hannover
2-1. The defeat could cost Hannover coach Mirko
Slomka his job. Freiburg got a brace from Admir
Mehmedi to beat Hannover, which pulled one back
through Leonardo Bittencourt in stoppage time.
Hannover finished the first half of the season
without a single point away from home.
Hamburg and Braunschweig both finished their
matches with 10 men.
In the late match, Nuremberg drew 0-0 with
Schalke to remain winless in the first half of the
Saint-Etienne overcame a poor pitch to make up
ground in the race for a European spot by defeat-
ing Nantes 2-0 in the French league yesterday.
Benjamin Corgnet fired into the bottom corner
in the 24th minute and Mevlut Erding converted
a penalty in the 83rd.
Saint-Etienne provisionally climbed to fourth
place with a game in hand while Nantes slipped
"The pitch is not good, that s for sure," Saint-
Etienne coach Christophe Galtier said. "That s not
funny because it s a pitch that generates injuries."
Also, Reims thrashed Ajaccio 4-1 to go level on
points with Nantes, Sochaux edged Rennes 2-1 to
leave the last spot to Ajaccio, and Nice rallied past
Evian for a third straight win in all competitions.
Montpellier extended its winless streak to 11 games
in all competitions by drawing 0-0 with Bastia
while Toulouse also split the points with Guingamp,
in a goalless draw.
On Friday, Valenciennes upset second-place
Today, leader Paris Saint-Germain hosts third-
place Lille, Bordeaux visits Marseille and Lyon
faces Lorient. (AP)
GLASGOW---Celtic stretched its unbeaten run
in the Scottish Premiership to 16 games after
the defending champion beat Hearts 2-0 thanks
to goals from Kris Commons and James Forrest
Commons scored in the 63rd minute with a
powerful drive and he cleared off the line near the
end before Forrest scored in stoppage time against
Celtic has a 10-point lead over Dundee United,
which beat Ross County 1-0, and Inverness, which
lost 4-2 to Aberdeen. (AP)
lose in Bundesliga
Celtic beats Hearts 2-0
downs Nantes 2-0
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