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La Liga: Barca beat Atletico, Real Madrid and Girona both win

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MADRID, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — FC Barcelona moved back to third place in La Liga on Sunday night after a 1-0 win at home to Atletico Madrid.

Joao Felix, playing on loan at Barca from Atletico, scored the game’s only goal, as Barca produced their best first half performance in several weeks.

Atletico had the better of the second 45, but despite playing most of the game in Barca’s half, the only difficult save Barca keeper Inaki Pena had to make was from a Memphis Depay free kick.

On Saturday, Real Madrid stayed top of La Liga after an easy 2-0 win at home to struggling Granada, with Brahim Diaz in the right place to poke home after Jude Bellingham’s shot was saved in the first half and Rodrygo netting the second.

Granada weren’t helped by an early injury to goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, but failed to get a shot on target in Alexander Medina’s debut as coach.

Girona produced another late comeback to win 2-1 at home to Valencia, after Hugo Duro put Valencia ahead in the 57th minute.

Substitutes Cristhian Stuani and Yan Couto combined twice for the striker to latch onto crosses from Couto from the right in the 82nd and 88th minutes to turn the game around.

Rayo Vallecano had only conceded three goals away from home before Saturday, but were stunned by an excellent display from Athletic Bilbao who ran out 4-0 winners.

Gorka Guruzeta opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, and the home side doubled their lead in the 47th minute when Inaki Williams’ cross was deflected in by Rayo defender Alfonso Espino.

Inaki scored Athletic’s third after an excellent team move, and his brother Nico celebrated his new contract by adding a spectacular fourth as Athletic ran riot.

Mallorca and Alaves drew a close game of few chances 0-0, with a result that will probably please the visitors more than the home side, who had the better of the game but have now failed to win any of their last 10 league games.

Bottom outfit Almeria gave one of their best performances of the season, but still failed to beat a Real Betis side reduced to 10 men after Hector Bellerin’s 27th-minute red card.

Almeria are still looking for their first win despite trying 20 shots, as Betis keeper Rui Silva kept out everything the home side could produce.

Sevilla coach Diego Alonso is on the brink of losing his job after his side were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Villarreal to leave them without a league win since he took charge.

Kike Salas put Sevilla ahead in the 76th minute with a powerful header, but Jose Luis Morales kept up his scoring run with his sixth goal in two weeks to make it 1-1 just a minute later.

It could have been worse for Sevilla after VAR ruled out Ben Brereton Diaz’s header that would have given Villarreal all three points.

Osasuna and Real Sociedad shared the points in their derby, with Moi Gomez opening the scoring for the home side in the second minute, before Umar Sadiq leveled with a thundering drive into the top corner three minutes before halftime.

Las Palmas began the weekend with a 2-0 win at home to Getafe on Friday night.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Haaland scores five as Man City beat Luton for FA Cup quarters

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LONDON, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) — Erling Haaland scored five times as FA Cup holders Manchester City booked their place in the quarterfinals of the competition with a 6-2 win away to Luton Town.

Kevin de Bruyne showed his importance to Pep Guardiola’s side with assists for the goals after three, 18 and 40 minutes, before Jordan Clark showed Luton’s fighting spirit with goals in the 45th and 52nd minutes.

Haaland made it 4-2 almost immediately after another De Bruyne assist and then scored his fifth of the night in the 58th minute after a pass from Bernardo Silva.

Mateo Kovacic made it 6-2 with 18 minutes left to play and the only setback for City was a first-half injury suffered by Jack Grealish.

Bournemouth and Championship leaders Leicester City exchanged over 30 shots in 90 minutes, with both sides hitting the woodwork, but no goals after 90 minutes took the game into extra time.

Leicester booked their quarterfinal place thanks to Abdul Fatawu’s 25-meter thunderbolt in the 105th minute, and although Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers got a hand to it, he couldn’t keep it out.

Anthony Gordon gave Newcastle a 71st-minute lead away to Blackburn Rovers, but Sammie Szmodics leveled after Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka had tipped a shot from Dilan Markanday onto the bar.

Extra time failed to produce any more goals and Dubravka was Newcastle’s hero with two saves in the penalty shootout as his side went through 4-3.

Wednesday’s matches see Chelsea at home to Leeds United, while Liverpool entertain Southampton, Wolverhampton face Brighton, and Nottingham Forest are at home to Manchester United.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Gov’t announces ongoing development of tennis complex in Hulhumale’

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Minister of Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Abdulla Rafiu has announced the ongoing development of a world-class tennis complex in Hulhumale’.

The complex will ne located near the synthetic athletics track in Hulhumale’. The project is being funded by Honorary President of the Tennis Association of Maldives Ahmed Nazeer, who laid the foundation stone in March last year.

Speaking to PSM News, Minister Rafiu expressed the significance of the complex in hosting top-tier tournaments, highlighting the government’s intervention with the Housing Development Corporation Limited (HDC) after a year of stagnation. He praised Honorary President Nazeer’s dedication to expediting the construction at his own expense, acknowledging his substantial contributions to the sport.

Additionally, Minister Rafiu addressed the challenge of Maldivian athletes transitioning from outdoor to indoor competitions. He also underscored the government’s commitment to establishing new sports complexes to mitigate the issue.

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s Week 14 Roadmap emphasises the development of sports facilities, particularly focusing on football and netball complexes. Land allocation for these projects has already been completed, with the netball complex slated for Hulhumale’ Phase I and the football complex for Hulhumale’ Phase II. The initiatives mark the inception of five stadium complexes in the Maldives, designed to accommodate various sporting events.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Real Madrid beat Sevilla, while Barca move second in La Liga

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MADRID, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) — Real Madrid beat Sevilla 1-0 in La Liga on Sunday night to move eight points clear of FC Barcelona and nine in front of Girona thanks to an 81st-minute goal from Luka Modric.

Modric fired home an unstoppable effort from outside the area to end stubborn resistance from the visitors, who had ex-Madrid captain Sergio Ramos at the heart of their much-improved defense.

Ramos received a homage from Real Madrid for his 671 matches at the club, before he and his Sevilla teammates went close to frustrating the fans in the Bernabeu.

Modric’s strike came after the ball had been only half-cleared, although Sevilla complained the original ball into their area had been aimed at Antonio Rudiger, who was in a clear offside position.

Both keepers made decent saves to keep the score at 0-0 until Modric’s goal.

FC Barcelona produced arguably their best performance this season to beat Getafe 4-0 on Saturday

Goals from Raphinha, Joao Felix, Frenkie de Jong and Fermin Lopez beat a below-par Getafe to move Barca ahead of Girona, who play on Monday.

Atletico Madrid, who were without the injured Antoine Griezmann, could only draw away to bottom-of-the-table Almeria, for whom Luka Romero scored spectacular brace to cancel out goals from Angel Correa and Rodrigo de Paul.

Athletic Bilbao, who play Atletico in the Copa del Rey semifinal on Thursday, were unable to take advantage of Atletico’s slip-up as they lost 3-1 away to Real Betis on a day when everything seemed to go wrong for them.

Chimy Avila put Betis ahead with his first goal for the club, and it was 2-0 when Unai Simon made a save only for the ball to rebound off Yuri Berchiche and end up in the net.

Nico Williams was then sent off for the visitors after sarcastically applauding the referee, and Yuri had to leave the pitch with a hamstring injury.

Gorka Guruzeta pulled a goal back for Athletic with a header in first-half injury time, but Johnny Cardoso’s 67th-minute shot made the points safe for Betis.

Osasuna and Las Palmas drew a mid-table match 1-1, with Unai Garcia opening the scoring for the home side with a 48th-minute volley, only for Kirian Rodriguez to smash home from just outside of the area in the 52nd minute to assure a point.

Darwin Machis scored a 99th-minute goal that saw Cadiz come back from 2-0 down at home to Celta Vigo to claim a point that maintains their chances of avoiding relegation.

Things looked grim for Cadiz when goals from Iago Aspas and Williot Swedberg made it 2-0 for the visitors, but Juanmi pulled a goal back with a smart finish and Machis saved a vital point in the ninth minute of added time following a corner.

Alaves and Mallorca drew 1-1 with a result that keeps the home side well clear of the relegation zone and leaves the visitors in trouble.

Carlos Benavidez headed Alaves in front after 75 minutes of a close match, but Matija Nastasic gave Mallorca a morale boost ahead of Tuesday’s Copa del Rey semifinal return leg when he nodded home an equalizer two minutes from time.

On Friday night, Santi Comesana scored twice as Villarreal won 3-1 away to Real Sociedad, with a goal from former Real Sociedad forward Alexander Sorloth rubbing salt in the wounds for the home side, who are dropping a lot of points at home.

The scheduled game between Granada and Valencia was postponed because of a fire in Valencia on Thursday which claimed 10 lives.

Source(s): Xinhua

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