Barcelona 3 – 1 Arsenal – UEFA Champions League

Arsenal were left with a sense of injustice after seeing Robin van Persie controversially sent off as they were knocked out of the Champions League again by Barcelona in the Camp Nou following a 3-1 loss.The Dutchman was a shock inclusion for the Gunners, who led 2-1 from the first leg, having recovered quicker than expected from the knee injury he sustained in the Carling Cup final. Continue reading

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Bolton Wanderers 3 – 2 Aston Villa – Premier League

Ivan Klasnic clambered off the Bolton bench to snatch his side a stunning late win over Aston Villa after Ashley Young’s missed penalty cost the visitors dear.Klasnic rammed home the winner four minutes from time to wrap up a stirring comeback from the home side, who twice battled back from behind to take the points. But Villa were left to rue Young’s saved 70th-minute spot-kick which had he converted would have put Gerard Houllier’s men 3-1 up and surely home and dry. Continue reading

Wigan Athletic 0-4 Manchester United – Premier League

Bullish league leaders Manchester United tightened their grip on the title race after pushing aside Wigan to move four points clear of Arsenal.Relegation-threatened Wigan shone early on but Edwin van der Sar stood solid.Javier Hernandez cleverly clipped in rampant Nani’s cross after 17 minutes as the visitors gradually took control.Mexican striker Hernandez slotted a cool second 15 minutes from time before a Wayne Rooney tap-in, then substitute Fabio’s free shot, added a late gloss. Continue reading

Barcelona 5-0 Real Betis: Masterful Messi claims hat-trick

Lionel Messi celebrated being voted the world’s top player with a hat-trick as Barcelona all but secured their place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 5-0 win over Real Betis at Camp Nou. On Monday Messi became the inaugural winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or after scoring an astonishing 60 goals for club and country in 2010, and he was back amongst the goals tonight, netting in the 44th, 62nd and 73rd minutes to set Barca on their way to an impressive victory in the first leg of their quarter-final tie. Continue reading

Argentina’s Lionel Messi wins Fifa Ballon d’Or award

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been named the FIFA Men’s World Player of the Year for 2010.Messi was on a three-man shortlist with Barca team-mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta but, despite Spain’s World Cup triumph, the Argentina forward came out on top in the voting.He becomes the first winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or, which merges France Football magazine’s European Footballer of the Year prize with the FIFA World Player of the Year. The awards were based on the votes of the coaches and captains of national sides as well as global journalists. Continue reading

Real Madrid 4 – 2 Villarreal : Ronaldo hat-trick inspires Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick and set up another for Kaka as Real Madrid twice fought back from deficits to defeat Villarreal in an entertaining encounter at the Bernabeu.Villarreal led through goals from Cani and Marco Ruben during a hugely impressive first-half display, but they were pegged back each time by strikes from Ronaldo.The second half belonged almost entirely to Madrid and Ronaldo gave the home side the lead they deserved with his third of the match 10 minutes from time, and two minutes later he provided the pass for the fit-again Kaka to score his first goal of the season. Continue reading