Copa del Rey: Sevilla 2 Atletico Madrid 2 (agg 3-4)

28 February 2013 00:57

Atletico Madrid have set up a grudge match Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid after drawing 2-2 with Sevilla on Wednesday.

At the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Atletico held off a late charge from Sevilla to advance to the competition’s decider through a 4-3 aggregate scoreline over the semi-final’s two legs.

Holding a 2-1 lead after the first encounter in Andalucia, Atletico wasted little time in extending their advantage as Diego Costa opened the scoring in the sixth minute.

In an impressive effort, Costa held off Sevilla defender Alberto Botia as he slipped a low shot into the back of the net for his seventh cup goal this season.

Sevilla came close to pulling a goal back but when Gary Medel nodded wide with virtually an empty net beckoning, that was the cue for Atletico to step up the attack once again as they made it 4-1 on aggregate in the 29th minute.

Not surprisingly it was main man Radamel Falcao that did the damage as the Colombian forward started a swift counter-attack, delivering a long ball for Costa on the left before the Brazilian striker crossed back for Falcao to finish.

Jesus Navas gave Sevilla a lifeline as he curled the ball in six minutes before the break and they continued to attack throughout the second half as both sides created chances.

But Sevilla were struck a nasty blow as Medel was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 75th minute and while they drew level on the night through Ivan Rakitic’s late strike, it was not enough to prevent Atletico advancing to the final.

Geoffrey Kondogbia was also sent off for Sevilla late on.

KNVB Beker wrap: AZ, PSV reach final

28 February 2013 00:43

Jozy Altidore’s double has seen AZ Alkmaar stun Ajax to set up a clash with PSV Eindhoven in the KNVB Beker final.

In a dramatic conclusion to the match in Amsterdam, Altidore scored twice in the last 16 minutes to help AZ to a 3-0 win over Ajax in their semi-final on Wednesday.

Altidore took advantage of Adam Maher’s good work to score his side’s first goal in the 74th minute before the American striker set up Johann Berg Gudmundsson to double the advantage with two minutes remaining.

And Altidore finished off his fine outing with his third goal during injury time as AZ, 13th in the Eredivisie, proved too good for second-placed Ajax to set up a date with PSV Eindhoven in the final on May 9.

PSV had little trouble in their clash with newly promoted club PEC Zwolle, as Juergen Locadia struck a hat-trick in the 3-0 win.

Normally a substitute for PSV, Locadia was promoted to the starting line-up for this match after Tim Matavz fell ill and he responded in fine style with his second treble for the club.

Locadia opened the scoring with a close-range finish in the 16th minute before the impressive Georginio Wijnaldum set up Locadia’s second just after the half hour.

The speedy striker sealed his hat-trick five minutes from time as he burst past the Zwolle defence to nail his third and send PSV into the final.

Belgian First Division: Anderlecht 0 Zulte-Waregem 1

28 February 2013 00:23

Zulte-Waregem have boosted their title chances with a 1-0 win over Anderlecht in the Belgian First Division on Wednesday.

In a top-of-the-table clash, second-placed Zulte made it 16 matches without a loss as Franck Berrier scored the only goal of the match with 18 minutes remaining off Jens Naessens’ assist.

It was a shock win but a deserved one for Zulte as they produced an intelligent tactical match that unsettled reigning Belgian champions Anderlecht, who slumped to their first loss at home this season.

Anderlecht maintain top spot but their lead over second-placed Zulte has now been cut to just six points.

And Zulte can cut that gap even further as they have a game in hand over Anderlecht – to be played against mid-table Sporting Charleroi.

Benitez takes aim at Chelsea fans, board

28 February 2013 00:17

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the season, slamming their fans and the board.

The Spaniard delivered an astonishing post-match tirade after witnessing the travelling Chelsea support chanting: “Rafa Benitez, we know what you are,” during their 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Wednesday.

Benitez was an unpopular appointment to replace Roberto Di Matteo in November and has been unable to win over the fans after a series of inconsistent performances.

In a remarkable rant after his team moved into the FA Cup quarter-finals, Benitez took aim at the fans, who he said had an ‘agenda’.

“I am a professional, I am doing my job. What I want to do is win every single game for Chelsea Football Club,” he told BBC Radio.

“At the end of the season I will leave, they don’t have to worry about me.

“All they have to do is to support the team, support the players. It is a group of people who have an agenda. They have to realise the rest of the fans want to see the team in the Champions League next year.

“It’s not about whether I’m right or wrong. We have to see the team in the Champions League next year.

“They have to support the team. At the end of the season I will leave, they don’t have to worry about me.”

The Chelsea board also came in for criticism from the former Liverpool manager, who was unhappy with the ‘interim’ title handed to him.

Benitez said it was a ‘massive mistake’ and urged the fans to support the team rather than continually question his position.

“I’m a little bit disappointed with a group of fans singing, and I think they are not doing any favours for the team,” the Spaniard said.

“They have to support the team instead of wasting time making banners and singing songs, and create a good atmosphere at Stamford Bridge.

“They have to support the players. I am an experienced manager, and I will do my best until the last day.

“They gave me the title of ‘interim manager’. It’s a massive mistake. I’m the manager, and I will manage the team until the end, every single minute.

“If they want to carry on wasting time because they have an agenda, they have to accept responsibility when something is wrong.

“It’s not just ‘We blame this one or that one’. They have to support the team. If we stick together, we can achieve what we want to achieve – the Champions League. If not, they can carry on singing but it will be in the Europa League.

“They have to realise they are not doing any favours for the rest of the fans, and also to the players.”

Coupe de France wrap: PSG ease through

27 February 2013 23:50

Paris Saint-Germain have won their way through to the Coupe de France quarter-finals as Lorient and Nancy also advanced to the last eight.

On a Wednesday that saw tempers fray several times in the French capital, PSG proved too good for Marseille in a 2-0 result at the Parc des Princes.

David Beckham made his first start in midfield for PSG and the former England captain created a good chance early in the encounter after being fouled by compatriot Joey Barton.

Kevin Gameiro failed to control Beckham’s quality free-kick and the chance went begging but PSG kept up the attack and eventually took the lead through Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 35th minute.

The move started with a classy through ball from Clement Chantome that allowed Ibrahimovic to steam past Marseille’s defence and find the back of the net.

Ibrahimovic then completed the scoring in the 64th minute as he won and converted a penalty.

At the Stade Yves Allainmat, Lorient produced a dominant second half to brush aside Brest in a 3-0 result.

All of the goals came after half-time as Bruno Ecuele Manga opened the scoring in the 64th minute before a late brace from Jeremie Aliadiere completed the result.

Elsewhere, penalties were needed as Bordeaux narrowly advanced to the last eight after scores were locked at 2-2 in their clash with French fourth division club Raon l’Etape.

Ludovic Obraniak opened the scoring for Bordeaux 13 minutes into the second half but the Ligue 1 club were stunned when Jean-Philippe Dje levelled proceedings at the end of regular time before Amara Keita gave Raon hope with an extra-time goal.

However, with seven minutes remaining in the added period, Cheick Diabate equalised for Bordeaux from the spot, with the Ligue 1 side going on to advance 5-3 on penalties.

And struggling Nancy returned to winning ways on Wednesday as they defeated French fifth division side Venissieux 2-0.

It was no walk in the park for Nancy though, as they needed extra time to complete the win with Benjamin Moukandjo and Tomas Ayasse scoring during extra time.