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Juventus beats 10-man Lazio 1-0 in Serie A


ROME (AP)Simone Pepe scored in the 87th minute to give Juventus a 1-0 win over 10-man Lazio on Monday in a Serie A match between two clubs desperate to secure a place in Europe next season.

Pepe, who missed a large portion of this season due to injury, scored with an angled shot that deflected in off a defender.

Six minutes earlier, Lazio midfielder Cristian Ledesma was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for tripping Felipe Melo to stop a Juventus counterattack.

Lazio remained in fourth place—which carries the final Champions League berth—but is only one point in front of both Udinese and Roma. Juventus, which is seventh, moved within four points of Lazio with three matches remaining in the Italian league.

“This is a great satisfaction. It was a tough match and this is a big result,” Pepe said.

Lazio had dominated until Ledesma was sent off.

Lazio midfielder Christian Brocchi missed close chances in the 27th and 43rd and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon blocked a long shot from Hernanes in the 69th.

In the 66th, Lazio players argued they should have been awarded a penalty and replays showed they may have been right, with Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini making contact with Sergio Floccari inside the area.

Source :

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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Soccer, Sport

 

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Barca has advantage over Madrid with final on line


BARCELONA, Spain (AP)—Barcelona holds the advantage heading into Tuesday’s return-leg semifinal against Real Madrid as the Spanish giants’ hostile four-match series closes with a spot in the Champions League final on the line.

Barcelona is the clear favorite after goals from Lionel Messi secured a 2-0 victory at Madrid, which is without suspended defenders Sergio Ramos and Pepe, along with coach Jose Mourinho, who is banned after being sent off in the first leg.

Madrid will have to abandon the defensive tactics used in the three prior meetings in just over two weeks, during which Madrid won the Copa del Rey final after a 1-1 league draw.

UEFA threw out those charges on Monday and will focus on the six original charges against the pair—five for Madrid, one for Barcelona—including two for Mourinho who made offensive comments to match officials and said UEFA actively helped Barcelona reach Champions League finals. Mourinho also hit out at counterpart Pep Guardiola while Madrid alleged Barcelona players feigned injuries to provoke bookings in the first leg.

“It’s sad,” Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez said on Monday. “It would be nice to talk about football and not all these pitiful details.

“We try our best not to let all of this tension affect us. It’s almost impossible, but we try.”

Mourinho also criticized the second-leg referee Frank de Bleeckere, suggesting the official favored Barcelona in last year’s semifinal with Inter Milan, which the Italian club won on the way to the trophy. After Mourinho’s comments, UEFA on Sunday appointed de Bleeckere to handle the return match.

“We are lucky that tomorrow finishes everything. Tomorrow it ends,” Guardiola said. “We’ll try to forget it and try to focus on what we did in first game. We try to prepare (for) the second game, just focus on the second game, that’s all.”

Off-field issues aside, the return leg offers a big test for Mourinho, who said the series was finished following the first leg result.

The Portuguese coach must show his mettle and hope his team at least scores twice to force extra time. He certainly has enough talent with Cristiano Ronaldo rested in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Zaragoza.

“We see football in another light. We like to control the ball, to dominate and control the game. We don’t know how else to play,” Xavi said. “A lot of teams play like Madrid has, looking to crowd the back, but Barcelona doesn’t have that philosophy and I don’t think our fans would enjoy it or forgive us for playing like that.”

Barcelona’s injury concerns lessened Monday after midfielder Andres Iniesta was included in the squad along with defender Eric Abidal, a surprise inclusion after having been sidelined since undergoing surgery to remove a liver tumor in March.

Defender Gabriel Milito is out with a leg injury from Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Real Sociedad, while Barcelona remains without a recognized left back with both Maxwell and Adriano out.

Barcelona’s first league loss in seven months stopped its unbeaten run at 31, leaving it one game shy of matching the longest streak in league history.

Madrid players acknowledged as much after losing to lowly Zaragoza, though they remained optimistic even though Mourinho will be banned from the touchline.

“We’ve been criticized a lot but these are ways of winning, ways of playing,” said assistant coach Aitor Karanka, who spoke at Monday’s news conference in place of Mourinho, who refused to speak despite being allowed to. “What matters now is to reach the final at Wembley.”

Mourinho can expect a hostile reception if he takes his place in the stands of the Camp Nou, where he spent four years as an assistant coach but has since become a hate figure following bitter Champions League matches with Chelsea and Inter prior to Madrid.

The winner heads to the May 28 final at Wembley and is expected to be joined by Manchester United after the English club won 2-0 at German opponent Schalke.

Source :

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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Soccer, Sport

 

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