Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 9th 2014 Contents BARCELONA---Barcelona s title
defense took a blow when it stum-
bled to a 1-0 defeat at Valladolid,
missing the chance to move top of
the Spanish standings yesterday
ahead of its Champions League clash
with Manchester City at Camp Nou.
Atletico Madrid took advantage of
Barcelona s latest slip by winning 2-
0 at Celta Vigo courtesy of David
Villa s two goals in a three-minute
span to move ahead of Barcelona and
level on points with Real Madrid at
the top of the standings.
Once the league pacesetter,
Barcelona has won just two of its last
seven away league games and trails
its title rivals by one point before
Madrid hosts Levante on Sunday.
Lionel Messi was the only Barcelona
player who looked sharp, while his
teammates were plagued by unchar-
acteristic passing errors and again
proved brittle at the back.
Valladolid outplayed the defending
champions early and midfielder Fausto
Rossi netted the winner in the 17th
minute. The relegation-threatened
side then did well to protect three
points against the star-studded visitors
for the remainder.
After its strong start this season
under first-year coach Gerardo Mar-
tino, Barcelona has dropped points
in five of the last nine rounds.
"As long as it is mathematically
possible we will keep fighting," said
Martino, whose team visits Madrid
in two weeks. "We are not in our best
form, and we have to rediscover it
within 15 days. We are worried because
the league title is being decided right
Before the clasico, however, Martino
will have to regroup his team against
City on Wednesday. Barcelona will
be looking to protect its 2-0 lead in
the second leg of their Champions
League last-16 tie.
Valladolid started the round in the
drop zone, but the big win---only its
fifth in 27 league games this season
---provisionally pulled it out of dan-
"It s an incredible result," said Rossi,
who was at Valladolid on loan from
Juventus. "All together we can save
Also, last-place Real Betis gave a
boost to its slim hopes of staying up
by beating Getafe 2-0 in Seville.
Betis won thanks to first-half goals
from forwards Leo Baptistao and
Ruben Castro to keep the hapless
Getafe winless in 12 consecutive
rounds and only one point from rel-
After Barcelona lost 3-1 at Real
Sociedad in its last league away match,
Martino aligned his best 11 available
without Andres Iniesta, who didn t
travel with the team for undisclosed
Even so, Barcelona lacked its regular
cool composure from the start and
failed to dominate possession until it
was trailing in the score. Holding mid-
fielder Sergio Busquets, usually so
sure with the ball, erred on three pass-
es before the 25-minute mark.
By that time Valladolid had threat-
ened Barcelona s area and taken the
lead when Rossi finished off a rebound
after both his first attempt and Javi
Guerra s follow-up had hit defenders.
Messi s solo effort saved by goal-
keeper Diego Marino in the 10th was
all the visitors could muster in the
first half hour. Barcelona then
improved and Messi and Cesc Fab-
regas forced Marino to make three
more saves before halftime.
Messi, who showed no signs of his
apparent vomiting from Argentina s
0-0 draw against Romania this week,
used a burst of speed to break free in
the 48th, only to be denied again by
Messi got little help. Neymar had
a quiet match and sailed his only scor-
ing chance over the bar before he was
Atletico was without leading scorer
Diego Costa, playmaker Arda Turan
and centerback Diego Godin, all three
due to suspension.
That meant Villa, who was recently
dropped from Spain s squad for its
friendly with Italy, got the nod up
front. And after a dull first half, the
former Barcelona striker notched his
12th and 13th league goals of the cam-
Villa first pounced on a poor pass
by Celta s Jonathan Castro, dodged
Andreu Fontas last-ditch tackle, and
drilled the ball beyond goalkeeper Yoel
Rodriguez in the 62nd. He slotted in
his second goal to seal the victory two
Atletico hosts AC Milan on Tuesday
in the last-16 of the Champions
League after winning 1-0 in their first
March 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
MILAN---AC Milan lost 1-0
at Udinese in the Italian
league yesterday and failed
to boost its confidence for
the Champions League clash
at Atletico Madrid next week.
Antonio Di Natale scored
the only goal in the 66th
minute, finishing off a great
team move by Udinese.
"We re disappointed,"
Milan coach Clarence Seedorf
said. "You re never happy
when you lose and certainly
more so when certain mis-
takes could have been avoid-
ed. The lads tried tonight and
gave what they could but we
need to be more clinical in
front of goal.
"We have to keep in mind
our good performances and
not forget all that we have
done well up until now. It s a
football match on Tuesday
and we can win it, we are
convinced. Everyone saw the
first leg and we have to pick
up from that performance."
Milan remained provision-
ally 10th after its second suc-
cessive league defeat. Udinese
moved to 13th with its first
win in four matches.
"It s a fantastic victory
against a great club like Milan,"
Di Natale said. Being Inter-
national Women s Day, he
dedicated the win to his wife
"and all the women."
Milan enjoyed the best
opportunities in the first half
and forced teenage goalkeeper
Simone Scuffet into several
fine saves, notably denying
Giampaolo Pazzini from close
range with one hand.
Cristian Zapata should have
given Milan the lead moments
earlier but headed a corner
wide after being left unmarked
at the far post.
Scuffet also made a superb
diving save shortly after half-
time to parry Robinho s header
from point-blank range.
Milan goalkeeper Christian
Abbiati---who made his league
debut when Scuffet was only
two years old---pulled off a
brilliant save to deny Roberto
Pereyra early on.
Udinese improved after the
break and took the lead when
Pereyra released Bruno Fer-
nandes, who crossed for an
unmarked Di Natale to slot
Substitute Mario Balotelli
blasted over the bar shortly
afterwards for Milan, while
Allan curled an effort narrowly
past the top corner for Udi-
Catania drew 1-1 at home to
Matias Vecino broke the
deadlock in the 53rd minute
but Catania leveled nine min-
utes later when Gonzalo
Bergessio nodded in Francesco
Lodi s curling free kick at the
far post. (AP)
Jesus Rueda for the ball
during a Spanish La Liga
football match at the Jose
Zorrilla stadium in Valladolid,
Spain, yesterday. Barcelona
lost 1-0. AP PHOTO
Barcelona loses 1-0 at Valladolid
AC Milan loses 1-0 at Udinese in Italian league PARIS---Paris Saint-Ger-
main thrashed Bastia 3-0 in
the French league to keep an
eight-point lead over Mona-
co, which edged Sochaux 2-
Zlatan Ibrahimovic notched
his 23rd league goal with a
header in the sixth minute.
Ezequiel Lavezzi made it 2-
0 with a side-footed finish in
the 19th before sealing the win
in the 88th.
The defending champion
was unbeaten in its last 12
league games but PSG coach
Laurent Blanc was quick to
downplay title speculation.
"We must be careful," Blanc
said. "Every team can have a
poor run of form."
In Monaco, Bulgarian striker
Dimitar Berbatov converted a
cross from Layvin Kurzawa in
the sixth minute for his first
goal in the league.
Colombia midfielder James
Rodriguez doubled the lead
from the penalty spot in the
55th after Sochaux defender
Julien Faussurier fouled Berba-
tov.Sochaux substitute Edouard
Butin pulled one back in the
83rd. But the visitors hopes
of salvaging a draw were dealt
a blow in the 84th when Jordan
Ayew was red-carded for kick-
ing Monaco defender Andrea
Elsewhere, Wissam Ben
Yedder fired home a low strike
in the 88th to give mid-table
Toulouse a 3-2 win over Reims.
Valenciennes kept alive its
hopes of safety by edging
Rennes 2-1 with goals from
Mathieu Dossevi in the 54th
and Majeed Waris in the 76th.
Cedric Cambon scored with a
close-range header in the 49th
to help Evian beat Guingamp
1-0 and stay five points above
the relegation zone.
Sigamary Diarra netted in
the third minute of stoppage
time to earn a point for last-
place Ajaccio in a 2-2 draw
In Corsica, PSG nearly took
the lead after only 15 seconds.
Lavezzi intercepted a sloppy
pass from Bastia defender
Francois-Joseph Modesto and
squared the ball back for Lucas
Moura, whose low strike was
cleared off the line by Modesto.
Ibrahimovic was more clin-
ical a few minutes later, out-
jumping midfielder Yannick
Cahuzac at the far post to head
into the top corner a cross from
The Sweden striker created
the second goal by playing
Lavezzi in with an acrobatic
backheel flick. Lavezzi held off
Modesto to beat goalkeeper
Jean-Louis Leca with a low
Today, third-place Lille hosts
Montpellier, Saint-Etienne vis-
its Lorient and Lyon faces Bor-
PSG beats Bastia 3-0
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