Liga Sagres wrap: Martinez, Porto continue goal glut

3 February 2013 02:15

Colombian striker Jackson Martinez has continued his phenomenal scoring run with a hat-trick as FC Porto thrashed Vitoria Guimaraes 4-0.

Martinez racked up his sixth goal in Porto’s past three Liga Sagres matches and has now hit the back of the net 12 times in as many games across all competitions for the Portuguese league-leaders.

French defender Eliaquim Mangala started the rout for Porto with a towering header from a corner in the 14th minute and Martinez ensured a 2-0 score at half-time when he scored in similar fashion eight minutes before the break.

Martinez’s second goal came in the 56th minute when he ran onto Fernando’s clever chip from around the half-way line and finished smartly past Guimaraes goalkeeper Douglas Jesus.

Porto’s main man up front completed his hat-trick in the 73rd minute after a string of passes opened up the home side’s defence before Silvestre Varela placed his cross on Martinez’s head for a relatively easy finish.

Saturday’s result was Porto’s fourth win in a row and takes them to 45 points, three clear of main title rivals Benfica, who play Vitoria Setubal on Sunday, while Guimaraes remain sixth.

Elsewhere, Rio Ave came from behind to win 2-1 at home against Sporting Lisbon, continuing the capital club’s poor season.

Rio Ave increased their gap on Guimaraes to four points, while Sporting remain ninth with just 19 points, a whopping 23 points behind arch-rivals Benfica.

La Liga wrap: Granada stun Real

3 February 2013 02:05

Cristiano Ronaldo’s maiden own goal has handed Granada a 1-0 win and consigned Real Madrid to their fifth loss of the La Liga season.

Ronaldo put the ball into his own net for the first time in his professional career on Saturday as Granada continued their mid-season revival to move six points clear of the relegation zone.

Granada failed to register a shot on target for the entire 90 minutes, while Real did not manage to test the hosts’ goalkeeper Tono until after half-time.

The hosts took the lead in the 22nd minute from a corner when Ronaldo got to ball first, only to flick it past Real’s goalkeeper Diego Lopez into the net.

While Granada only had 28 percent possession for the match, they held on against Real with Tono denying Ronaldo on a couple of occasions.

The visitors’ best chance for an equaliser came in the 84th minute when Tono burst off his line to thwart Jose Callejon and the ball spilled free but Karim Benzema could only shoot wide when presented with an empty net.

Granada have now moved to 14th in La Liga with 26 points, while Real remain third, 15 points behind leaders Barcelona, who will have the opportunity to extend that margin when they travel to Valencia on Sunday.

Espanyol also picked up a crucial win on Saturday as they defeated eighth-placed Levante 3-2 with Christian Stuani making the difference off the bench for the victors.

The Uruguayan forward replaced Samuele Longo at half-time with Espanyol ahead 1-0 in front of their home fans and while Levante equalised in the 47th minute, Stuani and Sergio Garcia combined to devastating effect to clinch the win for the hosts.

Garcia set up Stuani in the 67th minute to put Espanyol 2-1 in front and then the Uruguayan returned the favour two minutes later as the home team built a two-goal cushion.

Levante’s Obafemi Martins ensured a nervous finish for Espanyol when he scored in the 87th minute but the Barcelona-based club held on for their third win in four games.

In other La Liga results, Getafe crushed Deportivo La Coruna 3-1 and Osasuna triumphed 1-0 against Celta de Vigo.

Serie A wrap: Napoli join Juve at top

3 February 2013 01:51

Napoli have moved level with Juventus at the top of Serie A after Marek Hamsik inspired them to a 2-0 triumph over Catania.

Hamsik scored Napoli’s first goal at the Stadio San Paolo and then set up Paolo Cannavaro to double the home side’s lead before Catania fought back after half-time to ensure a nervy finish.

Saturday’s win sees Napoli join Juventus on 49 points, although the Turin-based club stay top on goal difference and have a game in hand.

Catania headed to Napoli looking for a club-record fourth straight league victory but Hamsik struck a blow against the Sicilian visitors when he scored in the 31st minute.

Camilo Zuniga’s shot was deflected across goal and Hamsik slammed the ball home having been left unmarked at the back post.

With half-time looming, Hamsik created Napoli’s second goal, collecting the ball on the left-hand side of the penalty area after Catania failed to properly clear a corner and then passing to Cannavaro, who finished smartly from inside the six-yard box.

Catania put the ball in the net just after half-time but the referee denied the goal for a foul by Gonzalo Bergessio on Zuniga and although Napoli increasingly sat back in the second half, the home side held on for their fifth win in six matches.

In the other Serie A match on Saturday, Torino were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Sampdoria.

Patience pays off for Bayern

3 February 2013 01:36

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm has lauded his team’s patient approach after they claimed a 3-0 victory away to Mainz.

The Bundesliga leaders headed to Mainz on Saturday knowing it would be a tough clash as the home side had not lost in four games across all competitions.

Having risen to fifth spot in Germany’s top flight, Mainz hosted Bayern keen to tighten their hold on one of the Bundesliga’s Europa League berths but the Bavarian giants ground the home side down with two second-half goals from Mario Mandzukic wrapping up the victory.

“We knew what was coming, an aggressive team which defends from the front and also plays tough sometimes but we adjusted well to that,” Lahm said after Bayern extended their unbeaten Bundesliga run to 11 games.

“We knew that it would be difficult to get scoring opportunities in the first half an hour but we played patiently and went 1-0 up at the right time.”

Thomas Mueller gave Bayern the lead in the 41st minute before Mandzukic struck twice in the opening 12 minutes after half-time.

Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger claimed Mainz could not keep up after the break.

“The first goal by Thomas was very important but we played well,” Schweinsteiger said.

“We let the game flow but so did the opponent.

“You saw in the second half, the opponent sometimes couldn’t play the pass, because all the running was very exhausting for them in the first half.

“We used that and also showed that you can score when you have more space.”

Bayern’s victory sees them move to 51 points, 14 clear of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen.

Eredivisie wrap: PSV shoot clear

3 February 2013 00:31

Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven have given their already-healthy goal difference a boost after thumping ADO Den Haag 7-0.

After Georginio Wijnaldum gave PSV an early lead in Eindhoven, the home side scored six second-half goals to completely destroy Den Haag and move four points clear at the top of the Eredivisie, although second-placed Twente have a game in hand.

Wijnaldum and Dries Mertens both scored twice with the latter also adding a pair of assists in a man-of-the-match performance.

The hosts took the lead in the ninth minute when Wijnaldum finished Atiba Hutchinson’s cross at the back post but PSV had to wait another 48 minutes for the second goal on Saturday.

In an unfortunate moment for Den Haag, goalkeeper Gino Coutinho punched Jeremain Lens’ cross into Den Haag defender Christian Supusepa and the ball rebounded into the net.

The own goal broke Den Haag and Mertens made it 3-0 in the 64th minute with a fine curling free-kick.

The 25-year-old Belgian cleverly set up Lens two minutes later and then provided his second assist of the match in the 80th minute for Jurgen Locadia to score.

Mertens completed his brace in the 85th minute to make it 6-0 for PSV before Wijnaldum scored in second-half injury time to join the Belgian on two goals for the match.

The huge win takes PSV to 46 points and a goal difference of plus 51, four points and 30 goals ahead of Twente.

In Kerkrade, Christian Dorda’s late own goal denied Heracles the chance to move into the Europa League play-off spots as they were held to a 3-3 draw by Roda JC.

Roda JC went ahead in the first minute in front of their home fans thanks to a goal from Sanharib Malki but Heracles looked in complete control when they scored the next three goals.

Marko Vejinovic equalised for the visitors with a 15th-minute header before Ninos Gouriye gave Heracles the lead just before half-time with a classy volley.

Gouriye leapt high at the far post to meet Dorda’s long-ball in the 41st minute and volleyed the ball from a tight angle.

When Dario Vujicevic scored in the first minute after half-time, Heracles looked on track for victory.

But Roda JC hit back in the 57th minute through Danilo Pereira and eventually stole a point when Dorda headed the ball into his own net in the first minute of second-half injury time.

The draw left Heracles in ninth on 24 points, one point behind Den Haag, who sit in the last of four Europa League play-off positions.

In other Eredivisie results on Saturday, Groningen defeated 10-man AZ Alkmaar 1-0 and NAC Breda won 3-0 against PEC Zwolle.