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21 February 2024

Champions League: Barcelona, Man City shocks set-up tasty clash

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, left, is thwarted by Wigan's Emmerson Boyce, centre, as Ivan Ramis looks on during their English FA Cup quarterfinal soccer match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP)

By Agencies

Barcelona's shock 1-0 defeat at struggling Valladolid allowed Real Madrid to open up a three-point lead in La Liga as Manchester City were upset by Wigan Athletic in the English FA Cup for the second successive season.

City  travel to the Nou Camp on Wednesday with their own mountain to climb after goals from Lionel Messi and Dani Alves gave Barcelona a commanding advantage midway through the tie.

Manchester City's task against Barcelona is every bit as difficult and they will have to do it without manager Manuel Pellegrini who will be serving the first game of a two-match touchline ban at the Camp Nou on Tuesday.

The Chilean was punished after remarks he made about Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson, claiming some of the official's decisions in the first leg were "not impartial".

His comments related to Eriksson's decision to award a penalty and send off City's Martin Demichelis despite his challenge on Messi appearing to take place outside the box.

The 60-year-old reluctantly accepted the ban and turned his attention to Wednesday where "revenge" is on the agenda for Pellegrini and City.

"We will try to make a good match against Barcelona to try to have our revenge and continue in the Champions League," he said.


Real Madrid punished Barcelona's shock reverse at lowly Real Valladolid with a 3-0 win at home to 10-man Levante on Sunday that put Carlo Ancelotti's in-form side three points clear at the top.

Cristiano Ronaldo, the leading scorer in Spain this season, took his tally to 24 goals when he headed the opener from Angel Di Maria's corner in the 11th minute and Marcelo added a second from Ronaldo's assist four minutes after the break.

David Navarro was harshly shown a straight red card in the 64th minute for an innocuous-looking tackle on Ronaldo and fellow Levante defender Nikos Karampelas put the ball into his own net nine minutes from time.

Real, unbeaten in 29 matches in all competitions, have 67 points with 11 matches left, with Atletico Madrid three behind in second after they won 2-0 at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Champions Barca, who play at Real in the La Liga ‘Clasico’ in two weeks time, turned in one of their worst performances of the campaign at Valladolid, who are battling relegation, and slipped to third on 63 points.


FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic pulled off another massive upset when they won 2-1 at Premier League title-chasing Manchester City to reach the semi-finals.

Second-tier Wigan, who shocked City in the final at Wembley last year, stormed into a 2-0 lead at the Etihad Stadium and although Samir Nasri pulled one back for the hosts they could not force an equaliser and their hopes of a quadruple of trophies this season were left in tatters.

Arsenal beat Everton 4-1 on Saturday and they and Wigan were joined in the last four by Sheffield United, who became the first third-tier team to reach the semis since 2001, and Hull City.

Substitute Demba Ba scored two late goals as Chelsea crushed Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 on Saturday to move seven points clear of Liverpool and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table.

Chelsea have played a game more than their closest challengers and three more than City who are nine points adrift of the leaders in fourth.

Champions Manchester United won 3-0 at West Bromwich Albion to climb to sixth.


A stunning first-half strike by Kwadwo Asamoah gave Serie A leaders Juventus a 1-0 win over Fiorentina as they maintained their 100 percent home record in the league.

Juve have won all 14 home games, although it was a close call as Fiorentina substitute Ryder Matos headed against the crossbar with 10 minutes to go.

Juventus have 72 points from 27 games, 14 clear of second-placed AS Roma who were beaten 1-0 by a late Jose Callejon goal at third-placed Napoli. Napoli are on 55 points.


Bayern Munich continued their march towards the Bundesliga title in spectacular fashion with a 6-1 demolition of VfL Wolfsburg that also led them to set a league record with their 16th successive win.

Thomas Mueller and Mario Mandzukic scored two goals each as Bayern exploded in the second half with a five-goal 17-minute spell that saw them protect their massive 20-point lead at the top with 10 games left to play.

Injury-plagued Borussia Dortmund were far less convincing but edged past Freiburg 1-0 courtesy of captain Sebastian Kehl's first goal in almost two years to go four points clear in second place.

Bayer Leverkusen drew 1-1 at Hanover 96 to remain third with Schalke 04, 4-0 winners over Hoffenheim thanks to a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hat-trick, joining them on 44 points.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic was again the chief tormentor as French champions Paris St Germain won 3-0 at Bastia to stay eight points clear at top of the Ligue 1.

Ibrahimovic headed into the top corner in the sixth minute before his clever backheel set up Ezequiel Lavezzi for the second goal 13 minutes later. The Sweden international set up Lavezzi again for the third two minutes from time.

The result put PSG on 67 points from 28 games.

Second-placed Monaco beat second-bottom Sochaux 2-1.


Olympiakos Piraeus's hopes of clinching a 41st Super League title were put on hold for at least one more week after they were beaten 2-1 by PAOK Salonica.

A week after suffering their first league defeat of the season, a 3-0 loss to Panathinaikos, the Reds put in another poor performance.

Greece left back Giorgos Tzavellas scored PAOK's winner from long range six minutes from the end.

The result left PAOK and Atromitos tied in second place, 16 points behind Olympiakos, with six matches left.


Goals by Luisao and Rodrigo helped leaders Benfica to record their fifth league win in a row with a 2-0 win over Estoril.

Benfica, who have 55 points from 22 games, moved seven clear of Sporting, who drew 2-2 at Vitoria Setubal after both teams converted penalties in the last five minutes.

Third-placed Porto beat Arouca 4-1, helped by two goals from Ricardo Quaresma.