Author Topic: BARCELONA, Spain -- Atletico Madrid moved one step closer to its first Spanish l  (Read 505 times)

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BARCELONA, Spain -- Atletico Madrid moved one step closer to its first Spanish league title in 18 years on Sunday with a 1-0 victory at Valencia, while Lionel Messi completed an emotional 3-2 comeback win for Barcelona at Villarreal two days after the death of former coach Tito Vilanova. Morgan Fox Jersey . Atletico midfielder Raul Garcia scored with an impressive header in the 43rd minute, and its defence did the rest as it gave Valencia no chance to rally at its Mestalla Stadium. Diego Simeones side moved six points clear of Real Madrid, which has a game in hand, while Barcelona remained within four points after coming from two goals down to beat Villarreal in its first game since the death of Vilanova. Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets wept as the two teams gathered at the centre circle before kickoff at El Madrigal Stadium to observe a minutes of silence for Vilanova, who died on Friday after a battle with cancer, having led Barcelona to the league title last season. Vilanova was honoured similarly across Spains first division this weekend. Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta said his team had been "very affected" by Vilanovas death, who was honoured this weekend by more than 50,000 people who attended a memorial site at Camp Nou. "It has touched all of us," Iniesta said. "I will take with me the example he set for us, both when he was with us and after." Ruben "Cani" Gracia and Manuel Trigueros scored from counterattacks for Villarreal to go 2-0 up by the 55th minute. But Villarreal then self-destructed with own goals by Gabriel Armando in the 65th and Mateo Musacchio in the 78th, both redirecting passes by Dani Alves into their teams net. Messi finally beat goalie Sergio Asenjo after Busquets and Cesc Fabregas combined to set the forward up to net his 27th league goal of the campaign and reach the 40-goal mark in all competitions for the fifth straight season. Earlier, Garcias ninth goal of the league season kept Atletico on course for its first league title since 1996. With a better head-to-head record against Madrid, Atletico can clinch the domestic crown by winning two of its remaining three games. It first plays at Levante, then hosts Malaga, and finally travels to Barcelona. "We have two very powerful teams behind us that will surely win all their games and we cant relax for even one day," Simeone said. "I ask my team to go forward with the same sense of calm knowing the importance of each result." Atletico can now focus on the Champions League semifinals as it travels to Chelsea on Wednesday after a 0-0 draw in the first leg. Again, Atletico snuffed out their opponents attack for a ninth straight victory. The pacesetters have only conceded one goal during their winning run while scoring 14. Atletico resisted Valencias early push and then went forward in search of an opening goal that came just before halftime. Garcia used an exquisite flick of the head -- with his back to goal -- to lift Gabi Fernandezs lobbed pass over goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and bouncing in off the post. Atletico defender Juanfran Torres was shown a direct red card for tackling Pablo Piatti in stoppage time. Also, Athletic Bilbao routed 10-man Sevilla 3-1 at home to deal a blow to its main rival for fourth place and Spains last Champions League berth, while Almeria fought back for a 2-1 win at nine-man Espanyol to move to within two points of safety. Forward Markel Susaeta got the Basques rolling in the fifth minute by scoring a rarely seen goal directly from a corner kick, curling the ball from the corner flag inside the near post to beat goalkeeper Antonio "Beto" Bastos. Right back Andoni Iraola then served two crosses for Iker Muniain to volley in the 54th and Ander Herrera to head home moments after Sevillas Diogo Figueras picked up a second booking in the 72nd. Kevin Gameiro scored Sevillas consolation goal in the 79th. The win lifted Bilbao six points clear of fifth-placed Sevilla. "This win over Sevilla is huge, but this isnt over," said Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde. "We are knocking on the door. We are three points away from the Champions League, which would be a dream for everyone." Alex Bachman Jersey . The Philadelphia left fielder clubbed a tiebreaking, solo home run in the seventh inning, and the Phillies edged the Red Sox, 2-1, in the middle test of a three-game interleague series at Citizens Bank Park. Bryce Hager Jersey . The Detroit Tigers slugger fell short in his bid to become the first player to win the Triple Crown in successive seasons. http://www.cheapramsjerseyschina.com/natrez-patrick-jersey/ . Bjoerndalen, who had failed to win any major race for two years before Sochi, writes in a Facebook entry that he is "full of energy and inspiration" after winning the 10-kilometre sprint and mixed relay at last months Olympics. KITCHENER, Ont. -- John Morris Kelowna, B.C., rink and Renee Sonnenberg, of Grande Prairie, Alta., were the first two teams to advance to the Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials at the Road to the Roar pre-trials on Saturday. Morris, along with his squad of Jim Cotter, Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky, drew to the button in the 10th end to edge Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.s Brad Jacobs 5-4 to be the first of four teams -- two from the mens side and two from the womens -- to head to the Olympic trials in Winnipeg. The event runs from Dec. 1 to 8. Sonnenberg and her team of Lawnie MacDonald, Cary-Anne McTaggart and Rona Pasika, shook off an early defeat at the hands of Kelly Scott and beat the previously undefeated Kelowna foursome 12-4 in the womens A final to advance. Morris team went undefeated during the week, but the skip says they didnt play to their potential in the final. He says his foursome played a patient game and didnt want to be too aggressive. "This game wasnt our best and I dont think it was Jacobs best," Morris said. "It was a bit of cat and mouse. When the games that tight, no one really has to push the envelope too much. You just have to manage. "But we hung tough. Thats one of the first major championship big games weve really been in all year. Im proud of the guys for hanging tough and Jim made some key shots late that really picked us up." Both teams traded points starting in the second end, with each scratching back from one-point deficits before heading into the final end tied 4-4. Jacobs had two guards protecting his rock in the eight-foot ring, but Cotter, the fourth on Morris team, slid a shot gently between both rocks for the win. Jacobs didnt mince words about his teams performance with a chance at the Olympic trials on the line. "That was, quite frankly, terrible curling and quite embarrassing, some of the shot-making that we had in that last game," said Jacobs, the reigning Brier champion, who quickly stripped out of his curling jacket after the match and headed for the door. "No one was out there shooting the lights out like I thought we might be. No one went for the jugular. Everyone took their misses out there on both sides, thats why it was 4-4 game. Otherwise, if they would have been on, they probably would have clobbered us." Jacobs added: "Flat out, if were going to curl like that, were not going to come out of this thing. We need to bounce back and come back with a much better performance in our next one." Despite the loss, Jacobs gets another shot to make the finals tomorrow night when he faces the winner of the morning match between 2006 Olympic gold medallist Brad Gushue and 2003 world junior champion Steve Lay****, of Saskatoon. "Us losing that game is very ttypical of our team . Buy Cheap Rams Jerseys. . and weve always bounced back," Jacobs said. "Im really hoping that tomorrow well show a lot of resilience and play a lot better." Morris will go up against former skip Kevin Martin. Despite winning a world championship in 2008 and Olympic gold in 2010 with Martin, Morris had a fiery relationship with his fourth, and left the team after gaining an automatic berth in Winnipeg. "Is he in that bonspiel?" Morris joked. "Im sure well have a great match against Kev. Well both be gunning for each other and that was a tough break at the end of last year, but it had to happen. Im sure were going to have a barnburner." Though the mens final had some drama to the last shot, Sonnenberg erased any chance of that in the sixth end with three of her rocks surrounding one of Scotts. She used the hammer to squeeze the stone out of the cluster to score four for a 7-3 lead. Despite Scott getting one back in the seventh end, Sonnenberg added three in the eighth and two in the ninth before Scott conceded. Sonnenberg acknowledged that the sixth end started the inevitable end of the match. "That made a huge difference for our team, but at that point we werent going to let up one inch. Weve seen a million comebacks this week," Sonnenberg said. She added that in her earlier loss to Scott she wasnt comfortable with the ice and never really got used to it how "swingy" it was. This time, the ice swung her way. "It may have been an advantage that we played the B final there. We knew what side was a little straighter and the other side swung a whole bunch. But the girls played great and we put our rocks in good position today." Scott on the other hand, admitted she was baffled by the sheet and her rocks, and was never comfortable during the game. "We did not enjoy that performance on our behalf," Scott said. "We had moments of looking at what we are doing out there, but there wasnt really one end where we put all eight shots together." Scott gets a second chance at an Olympic trial spot tomorrow afternoon against Edmontons Val Sweeting, who staved off elimination by beating 2010 Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard 9-7 Saturday morning. "We know the Sweeting team is very good," Scott said. "They are a young and up and coming team and (we are) going to have to be sharp tomorrow. "We bounce (back) pretty good. We said that coming into our game, that regardless of the outcome of tonights game, lets not let it rattle us. Given the outcome of our performance, I think thats one we just want to park." Sonnenberg, on the other hand, cant wait to get back out west for the trials. "I just love curling in Winnipeg," she said. 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