Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 12th 2014 Contents MADRID---Atletico Madrid and
Barcelona showed the battle for
the title would be a long, drawn-
out affair after the Spanish co-
leaders drew 0-0 in their first
league meeting of the season yes-
Both teams finished the first half
of the season tied on 50 points after
an exciting, back-and-forth show-
down at Vicente Calderon Stadium
yielded no winner.
Barcelona was troubled by Atleti-
co pair Diego Costa and Arda Turan
throughout, while second-half sub-
stitute Lionel Messi enjoyed the vis-
itors' best chances as the Barcelona
forward headed wide before forcing
goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois into a
clutch stop in the 81st.
Neymar also came on in the sec-
ond half for Barcelona but the Brazil
striker made little impact as the
teams played out their third straight
draw following the summer Spanish
Super Cup series.
"It was like a game of chess,"
Atletico coach Diego Simeone said.
"The game reflected where these
two teams are in the standings."
Atletico will remain encouraged
about winning its first title since
1996 and dislodging the Barcelona-
Real Madrid monopoly that has
been broken only by Deportivo La
Coruna and Valencia since. Real
Madrid travels to Espanyol today
knowing a victory will move it to
within three points of the leaders.
While Barcelona counted on its
squad of regulars, Atletico's lineup
was relatively unchanged down to
Simeone's all-black suit and jack-
et.The hosts started more brightly
as Turan's short cross along the
goal-line was headed just over for
the game's opening chance four
The physical Diego Costa forced
goalkeeper Victor Valdes---back from
a two-month injury hiatus for his
first league start---into a save before
awkward positioning kept him scor-
ing from a headed-on corner in the
Barcelona braved Atletico's early
surge and its choking pressure up
the field with its passing game, with
Pedro Rodriguez heading over goal
in the 33rd before Courtois saved
Gerard Pique's long, low shot. With
Cesc Fabregas playing as a "false
9" Barcelona had trouble breaking
through in attack.
Tension was building as the
action moved end-to-end in the
hard-fought, energetic match with
Simeone warned by the referee to
cool down just before the break.
Andres Iniesta hurt his left knee
and gave way to Messi to start the
second half but it was Diego Costa
who continued to prowl Barcelona's
goal only to shoot wide in the 59th.
Messi perhaps showed some rust
from a two-month injury layoff
when he headed Jordi Alba's cross
wide from the penalty spot at the
other end. Alba and Daniel Alves
made little impact in attack as the
Barcelona fullbacks were cut off by
Atletico looked set to break
through in the 79th but Turan
volleyed a looping ball straight at
Valdes, moments before Courtois
denied Messi's hard-taken shot from
the left. AP)
January 12, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Bologna held Lazio to a goalless draw
in Serie A yesterday in Davide Bal-
lardini's first match in charge of the
Ballardini, who coached Lazio for
half a season, replaced the sacked
Stefano Pioli on Wednesday and
immediately steered Bologna to only
its second point in five matches.
Lazio, which beat Inter Milan 1-0
in Edy Reja's first match in charge,
had the best chance of the match in
the 70th minute when talented teen
Keita Balde picked out Antonio Can-
dreva but his cross was blasted over
the bar by Miroslav Klose from six
Both sides struggled to carve out
opportunities and Bologna's only real
chance came following a well-worked
team move, but Lazio goalkeeper Etrit
Berisha did well to keep out Rolando
Bianchi's back-heeled flick.
Lazio did not have a single shot on
target in a poor game.
Boos rang out at Stadio Renato
Dall'Ara at the end of the match with
Bologna fans clearly not happy. An
enormous banner hung from the
stands read "Enough shameful per-
formances. You are wearing the
Bologna moved provisionally two
points clear of the relegation zone.
Livorno was three points behind
Bologna after losing 3-0 at home to
Parma for a fourth consecutive defeat.
Parma had never won at Livorno
but got off to the perfect start. With
less than two minutes on the clock,
Jonathan Biabiany went past a
defender and crossed to the far side
of the penalty area for Raffaele Pal-
ladino to volley low into the bottom
Palladino, who spent a season on
loan at Livorno, almost doubled his
tally in similar circumstances 15 min-
utes later but volleyed narrowly past
the right post.
Amauri sealed the match three
minutes from time, firing home the
rebound after Massimo Gobbi's effort
crashed off the right upright.
Former Juventus striker Amauri
scored his third goal in two matches
with an unstoppable penalty into the
bottom right corner after Emerson
fouled Pedro Mendes.
Livorno's best chance came at the
end of the first half when Paulinho's
free kick was blocked by Parma goal-
keeper Antonio Mirante. (AP)
Bologna holds Lazio
to 0-0 in Serie A
champion Paris Saint-Germain
moved five points clear at the top of
the French league after a hard-fought
2-1 win at last-place Ajaccio yester-
day, coach Laurent Blanc was far
from happy with the overall per-
Argentina winger Ezequiel Lavezzi
and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi
scored, with star striker Zlatan Ibrahi-
movic setting up both despite having
a poor game by his high standards.
Forward Eduardo gave Ajaccio the
lead in the sixth minute after being
set up by right winger Benjamin
Andre, and the Corsican side looked
comfortable in the first half, with the
lively Johan Cavalli causing problems
with his probing runs from midfield.
Lille can overtake Monaco and
move into second place if it beats
Reims at home today.
After striker Edinson Cavani missed
two chances, PSG cut through Ajac-
cio's defense easily for the equalizing
goal in the 41st.
Cavani collected the ball in midfield
from Ibrahimovic, turned and passed
to Matuidi, whose pass released
Ibrahimovic behind the defense and
his cross from the right gave Lavezzi
a comfortable finish from close range.
Ibrahimovic made a sloppy start to
the second half, and it was a rare sight
to see him casually giving possession
away several times, even failing with
one easy cross from the left as he let
the ball slip away from him.
Ajaccio almost regained the lead in
the 68th when Cavalli's fine pass
released Eduardo, and his shot from
the right side of the penalty area
forced goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu into
a low save.
Shortly after, Blanc made two
changes to spark some life into his
listless team---taking off center half
Alex and bringing on playmaker Javier
Pastore, and replacing Lavezzi with
winger Lucas Moura. Blanc switched
to a 4-4-2 formation and Cavani
moved in from the right to join Ibrahi-
movic in attack.
Moments later, PSG scored after a
brilliant piece of skill from Pastore.
The Argentine dragged the ball back
and turned to hit a swerving pass over
the Bastia defense. Ibrahimovic rose
at the back post to head the ball down
and Matuidi sprinted in to nod the
ball past goalie Guillermo Ochoa.
In other games, Saint-Etienne held
onto fourth place despite a 0-0 draw
at mid-table Guingamp, and fifth-
place Bordeaux slipped to a 1-0 home
defeat to Toulouse in an ill-tempered
Garonne derby that saw one player
sent off from each team in the first
half. Denmark forward Martin Braith-
waite scored the winner in the 53rd.
Also, it was: Lyon 2, Sochaux 0;
Rennes 0, Nice 0, and Valenciennes
3, Bastia 2.
France midfielders Yoann Gourcuff
and Clement Grenier had a goal each
as Lyon moved up to ninth place.
In today's other games, Marseille
goes to Evian and Nantes faces Lori-
PSG moves 5 points clear
after 2-1 win at Ajaccio
Atletico, Barcelona draw
0-0 in Spanish league
Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas, centre, in action with Atletico's Miranda,
right, during a Spanish La Liga football match between Atletico de
Madrid and FC Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid,
Spain, yesterday. The match ended in a goalless draw. AP PHOTO
John Sutton scored the only
goal against former club Hearts
yesterday to secure Motherwell's
sixth consecutive Scottish Pre-
miership victory - their longest
winning run in the top flight for
The striker finished from a tight
angle five minutes before the end
of the first half to claim his 11th
goal of the season - exactly the
total he hit in two seasons at
Tynecastle before leaving the
administration-hit club in the sum-
The last time Motherwell sealed
a sixth consecutive win in Scot-
land's top division they inflicted
Celtic's record defeat, an 8-0 win
in the 1936-37 season, and they
created enough chances to put this
game out of sight before half-time.
But Hearts rallied against the
odds in the final half hour to give
Motherwell goalkeeper Gunnar
Nielsen some uncomfortable
moments, and they were applauded
off the park by the home crowd
despite falling 20 points adrift fol-
lowing Ross County's draw with
Partick were denied their first
Scottish Premiership home victory
of the season as County debutant
Filip Kiss secured a 3-3 draw with
an impressive double.
The on-loan Cardiff midfielder
put the Staggies in front at Firhill
against the run of play after caress-
ing a 23rd-minute opener past
Scott Fox in the Thistle goal.
But the Maryhill men responded
in style as a double from new strik-
er Lyle Taylor and Stevie Lawless'
close-range effort early in the sec-
ond half looked to have put them
on course for their first league vic-
tory in Glasgow since beating Mor-
ton last April.
However, County left-back Ben
Gordon immediately pulled one
back before Kiss capitalised on Jags'
jitters to slide home the equaliser
with a quarter of an hour left.
County had to play the last six
minutes with 10 men, though, after
substitute Stuart Kettlewell was
shown a straight red less then a
minute after coming on.
The draw means Derek Adam's
11th-placed Highlanders remain
just a point behind Partick as they
both battle to avoid an end-of-
season play-off survival fight.
Second-half goals from Murray
Davidson and Stevie May gave St
Johnstone a deserved 2-0 Scottish
Premiership win over a lifeless St
Mirren at McDiarmid Park.
The home side dominated the
first half, with top-scorer May and
skipper Dave Mackay both hitting
the woodwork, but they eventually
forged ahead in the 70th minute
when midfielder Davidson headed
in from close range following a
David Wotherspoon corner.
May made sure of the points
when he curled the ball in from 20
yards three minutes later, but in
the end it turned out to be as com-
fortable a victory as Tommy
Wright's side would have had all
Sutton returns to hurt Hearts
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