Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund 1 Bayern Munich 1

4 May 2013 20:44

Borussia Dortmund and 10-man Bayern Munich drew 1-1 in an ill-tempered match at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.

First-half goals from Kevin Grosskreutz and Mario Gomez ensured the sides earned a point apiece. The hosts, though, could have secured a victory from the penalty spot in a second-half marred by Rafinha’s sending off, but Robert Lewandowski’s effort was saved.

Jurgen Klopp made five changes from the side that lost to Real Madrid in midweek, with Marco Reus and Mats Hummels being the most notable absentees, while seven of the Bayern Munich players who beat Barcelona 3-0 were rested.

Bayern enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, but it was Dortmund who took the lead after 11 minutes as Jakub Blaszczykowski crossed from the left and Grosskreutz arrived at the far post to volley past Manuel Neuer.

Three minutes later, Dortmund felt they should have been awarded a penalty as Ilkay Gundogan went down under pressure from Jerome Boateng, but the referee gave nothing before the German midfielder was replaced by Moritz Leitner due to an injury.

The visitors appeared to lack urgency in the final third, but it did not take long for them to draw level as Gomez headed Rafinha’s cross into the far side of the goal after pulling away from Neven Subotic 23 minutes in.

Robert Lewandowski had a quiet first half-hour, but soon after he sparked into life as he surged down the left, holding off Rafinha as he ran before beating Boateng and shooting for goal, but Neuer rushed out and deflected the Pole’s shot behind for a corner.

Bayern should have added a second in the closing stages of the first-half as David Alaba beat two players in the centre and slipped the ball through to Gomez, but his shot squirmed under Roman Weidenfeller and bounced over the bar.

The second-half began at fierce pace as Blaszczykowski sliced a left-footed shot wide from inside the Bayern area, while, at the other end, Claudio Pizarro had a penalty shout turned down after being brought down by Subotic.

Just before the hour mark the hosts were given the chance to retake the lead from the penalty spot as Nuri Sahin’s shot struck the hand of Boateng, but Neuer got down to his left and denied Lewandowski from 12 yards.

Bayern were the recipients of more bad news four minutes later as Rafinha received a red card for elbowing Blaszczykowski in the face. To make matters worse, the Brazilian did not leave the pitch quietly as a brawl ensued before Klopp exchanged words with both the right-back and a member of Bayern’s coaching staff.

Further petulance followed as Lewandowski and Boateng went head-to-head just outside the penalty area, but on this occasion the referee decided against issuing any cards.

Julian Schieber had a great chance to grab a winner late on as he got on the end of Marco Reus’ pass, but his first touch was poor, giving Neuer the chance to collect, while Sahin headed wide in stoppage time as the Champions League final rehearsal ended level.

Premier League: QPR 0 Arsenal 1

4 May 2013 20:30

Theo Walcott scored after 20 seconds as Arsenal beat QPR 1-0 at Loftus Road on Saturday.

It was the fastest goal of the season in the Premier League and the quickest Arsenal have ever scored since the competition was formed in 1992, as they extended their unbeaten league run to eight games.

The game was settled by Walcott’s strike, when he picked up a Mikel Arteta pass inside the area to fire beyond Rob Green. The England man twice came close to adding to his tally when in the first half he hit the post and in the second forced a good save from Green.

QPR made four changes to their starting line-up, with Tal Ben-Haim, Andros Townsend, Ji-Sung Park and Bobby Zamora coming in. Arsenal made one enforced change, as Nacho Monreal replaced the injured Kieran Gibbs.

Arsenal had never beaten QPR in the Premier League but they made the perfect start with Walcott’s opener. Tomas Rosicky created space on the right-hand side, his cross found its way to Mikel Arteta on the edge of the area and the Spaniard played an intricate throughball, giving Walcott plenty of time to force his effort past Rob Green.

Despite having plenty of the ball, Arsenal struggled to fashion much after that opener in terms of opportunities, but in the 26th minute Rosicky found Walcott on the right-hand side of the box. He turned sharply but saw his effort turned onto the post by Green.

The home side had a great chance to level soon afterwards when a quick counter-attack led to the lively Townsend finding Park in the box, but he put his effort well over the crossbar when he should have at least hit the target.

Neat footwork by Zamora then led to another Park opportunity, although this time he could only force a corner.

The away side continued to dominate possession but they were almost caught out by a fierce 20-yard strike by Ben-Haim. Wojciech Szczesny made the save.

Townsend then bent a free-kick from the left of the area wide of the right-hand post.

QPR began the second half with greater intent and twice went close to drawing level. First, Townsend cut in from the right before unleashing a thunderous effort that Szczesny palmed to safety before Loic Remy turned inside Bacary Sagna but hit a tame effort at the goalkeeper.

Arsene Wenger’s side were struggling to make much of their possession, but Arteta should have done better when he found space in the box only to hit his effort straight at Green.

Walcott then came close to doubling his tally, as he outmuscled Ben-Haim before producing a low drive from the left of the box that Green got down early to stop and force the corner.

Zamora felt that he should have had a penalty in the 78th minute when he controlled the ball facing away from goal and, after jostling for position with Laurent Koscielny, fell to the ground – although it appeared the striker had simply lost his balance.

Szczesny then produced to a terrific save to keep the scores level. The ball found its way to Remy on the left-hand side of the area and he hit a curling first-time effort that was destined for the far corner, but the Pole made a brilliant save to his left.

Arsenal hung on for a victory to move into third position as they look to claim a UEFA Champions League position.

Hughton laments Norwich defensive display

4 May 2013 20:22

Norwich manager Chris Hughton criticised his defence following their 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa.

Hughton’s side fell to their fourth defeat in their last six matches as a late second goal from Gabriel Agbonlahor clinched the points for the visitors after Grant Holt had cancelled out the Villa forward’s earlier strike.

The Carrow Road outfit are now just three points above the Premier League relegation zone, and Hughton was quick to blame his side’s defensive lapses for the defeat.

He said: “I’m annoyed and frustrated because there was no way we should have lost or deserved to lose. We were the better side over 90 minutes but Villa have pace on the counter-attack and we have conceded two poor goals.”

However, the former Newcastle boss also vented his frustration at referee Kevin Friend, who he feels should have dismissed Villa defender Joe Bennett when he gave away the penalty that resulted in the hosts’ equaliser.

“Joe Bennett shouldn’t have been on the park – he was on a yellow card when he conceded the penalty and had two or three fouls after that. I find it incredible that he was still on the park,” he added.

Hughton accepts his side are now in the thick of a relegation dogfight but feels that their fate is still firmly in their own hands.

“We’re in a battle, we know that. This was a game we wanted to get something from – this is a game that we wanted to win and we haven’t done that,” Hughton continued.

“Next week’s game against West Brom becomes a bigger game. We will need a better performance but we can’t concede the goals we conceded here and expect to win football matches.

“We’ve put ourselves in this position but it’s still in our hands, it always has to be in your hands – if we were to get a win next Sunday then that changes things again.”

Adkins praises four-goal Reading after first win in charge

4 May 2013 20:01

Reading manager Nigel Adkins has praised his side’s effort in his short tenure after their 4-2 win over Fulham on Saturday.

Adkins has only been in the job since the end of March, with the victory at Craven Cottage his first in charge of the club.

Hal Robson-Kanu’s double and further goals from Adam Le Fondre and Jem Karacan gave Reading all three points, with Bryan Ruiz on target twice for the home side.

The result left former Southampton manager Adkins happy with how his new charges have taken on board the way in which he wants to play the game.

“The attitude and application of the players since I joined the club has been first class and again [against Fulham] we’ve seen another steady progression in what we’ve wanted to do over a short space of time,” said Adkins.

Having already being relegated from the Premier League, Adkins has urged his team to build on the impressive four-goal display against Fulham in their remaining top-flight games.

“To score four goals away from home in the Premier League is no mean feat,” he said.

“We’ve got that winning mentality back among ourselves, which is important, and again it’s the progression of moving forward that we’re looking to build on.

“It’s down to the players and the hard effort they’ve put in, buying into what we’re asking them to do and they’re certainly working hard and they want to take it on board.”

Jol slams Fulham after Reading defeat

4 May 2013 19:56

Fulham boss Martin Jol has criticised his side after they were soundly beaten by relegated Reading at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

The hosts showed spirit to battle back when 2-0 and 3-1 down. but were ultimately undone by poor defensive play and went down 4-2, something which angered the Dutchman.

Jol said: “The first half was not good enough by our standards.

“We wanted to

take the initiative. We gave away easy and cheap goals and we have to

change that. Although they played better we were still in it.”

After the defeat, Fulham sit in 11th place in the Premier League but are just five points off Wigan, who occupy the final relegation place and Jol warned his side they are not safe in the Premier League just yet.

The remaining two Premier League fixtures for Fulham this season see Jol’s men entertain Liverpool and travel to Swansea and he believes that his side need to secure more points if they are to avoid the drop.

He explained: “We haven’t been that good recently since getting the 40

points. Today Reading was the game to gain something and get safe.

“We

have to get some more points. We said our goal difference was probably a

point but that has changed in the last few weeks so we need a couple

more points.”