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#1 Posted by Dogcat250 8 months 6 days ago
Dogcat250
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MADRID, Spain -- Diego Costa and David Villa delivered again for Atletico Madrid, whose Spanish league title charge continued to gain strength Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao. Villa enjoyed Atleticos best opportunities at the Vicente Calderon Stadium and put the hosts ahead after 32 minutes by volleying Juanfrans headed-on cross through the crowded area into goal. Nine minutes later, Koke delivered a perfect ball to Costa, who the cut back to dribble around Erik Moran and fire a low shot beyond goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz for his joint league-leading 13th goal of the season. Bilbao rarely threatened and was reduced to 10 men in the 81st when Moran was shown a second yellow. "The team showed great rhythm right from the start and from the first 15 minutes on we dominated the game," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. Atleticos 11th win in 12 rounds left it one point behind leader Barcelona, which has 34 points following its 1-0 win over Espanyol on Friday. Real Madrid, which beat Rayo Vallecano 3-2 on Saturday, is third in the standings with 28 points. "Were not frustrated that Barcelona keeps winning. Were just happy to keep competing with them after so many rounds," Simeone said. Also on Sunday, Valencia lifted some of the pressure of coach Miroslav Djukic with its first win in five rounds, a 1-0 victory at Getafe. Granada scored in stoppage time for a 1-0 win at Levante, while Malaga also needed an injury time winner from a late substitute to beat Real Betis 3-2. Costa, the Brazilian-born, naturalized Spaniard, has spearheaded Atleticos title credentials so far this season. But it was captain Gabi who first tested Iraizoz in the 18th, and the Basque goalie made an outstanding reaction save to a low drive. Costa then showed how dangerous he is when given space in front of goal as he moved freely down the left side to poke a shot past Iraizoz, but also beyond the far post. Atletico controlled a physical game and was inching closer to an opener as Iraizoz made another reaction save to deny Villas powerful half-volley in the 26th. But Iraizoz couldnt keep up with the Spanish strikers shot from almost the same spot moments later, as Villas sixth goal of the season made it 1-0. Koke has been instrumental in Costas scoring run and the Spain midfielder again set up the striker to add the second, putting him even with Cristiano Ronaldo atop the scoring chart. "Hes such a great player who is growing in every area," Simeone said of Costa, who had chances to score several more over the closing stages. "Hes getting better in every aspect, from recovering the ball, controlling it, his movement, and that is helping the team play better." Valencia had lost three straight before the game at the Alfonso Perez Stadium but an impressive first-half strike from Dorlan Pabon sealed the morale-boosting victory. The Colombian striker unleashed a powerful shot from 30 metres in the 40th minute that flew beyond goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya into the left corner. Athletic is fifth with 20 points, one more than Getafe. Levante is on 17 points, while crosstown club Valencia has 16. Levante had a penalty in the 25th, but midfielder Nabil El Zhar saw his spot kick saved by Roberto Fernandez. That left the game scoreless until Keylor Navas was beaten by Pitis free kick, although Granada teammate Manuel Iturra likely distracted the Levante goalkeeper as he stood alone between him and the defensive wall as the ball spun over and in. Meanwhile, Roque Santa Cruz and Eliseu put Malaga ahead in each half only for Joan Verdu to cancel out the opener with a 33rd-minute free kick, and Jordi Figueras to equalize again with an angled header in the 61st. But Malaga substitute Samuel Sanchez scored in the fourth minute of added time by volleying in a rebound after Francisco Portillos effort came off the crossbar. 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Kerry, In Mondays Habs/Bruins game, there were three questionable/brutal calls against the Habs late in the game - Tomas Plekanec, then Douglas Murray, then Brendan Gallagher.GREEN BAY, Wis. - Eddie Lacy and Aaron Rodgers powered the Green Bay Packers to another big first half in a home victory.But the Atlanta Falcons furious late rally provided the Packers potential playoff foes some hope.Maybe Lambeau Field wont be that impenetrable after all in the post-season.Lacy ran for a touchdown and caught one of Rodgers three TD passes, and Green Bay built a 24-point halftime lead before holding on for a 43-37 victory Monday night.The Packers (10-3) earned their fifth consecutive victory to stay a game up on Detroit in the NFC North. They remained tied with Arizona for the NFCs best record.Theres been some ups and downs on both sides of the ball all season, Rodgers said. But were really getting this home-field advantage thing going, with the crowd noise, with the footing, with the way were playing being really balanced on offence.Rodgers acknowledged there may have been a slight relaxation at halftime up 24.What matters most in the end to Green Bay is that it held on for a victory, even though this win didnt go quite according to the script the Packers had written earlier this year against NFC foes.Defensively, a tale of two halves. You have to give Atlantas offence a lot of credit, coach Mike McCarthy said. We have plenty to clean up.The Falcons dropped to 5-8, but remained in a first-place tie with New Orleans in the woeful NFC South.Julio Jones had a career-best 259 yards receiving for the Falcons before leaving with a hip injury. Jones had a 22-yard touchdown catch in a 20-point fourth quarter that helped Atlanta cut into Green Bays big lead.Matt Ryans 2-yard touchdown pass to Harry Douglas with 2:15 left got Atlanta within six.But the Packers recovered the ensuing onside kick, and backup running back James Starks effectively ended Atlantas upset hopes with a 41-yard run to the Falcons 6 with 1:37 left.The Falcons had won three of four coming into the game. They havent lost hope that they can still make the playoffs.Yeah, absolutely. We scored 37 points tonight. If you cant believe in that, then you dont need to be in this locker room, we need to cut some people, receiver Roddy White said.Coach Mike Smith said it was difficult to lose Jones late. But the Falconns did damage even with their No.dddddddddddd 1 receiver hobbling on the sideline.Ryan threw for 375 yards and four scores, including a 1-yard touchdown catch by White with 6:20 left that trimmed Green Bays lead to 40-30. Jones didnt come out for Atlantas failed 2-point conversion attempt.Difficult. Theres probably never a good time for an injury, but thats part of the game, Ryan said.Mason Crosby kicked a 53-yard field goal with 4:37 left, helping the Packers withstand Atlantas final punch.Rodgers finished 24 of 36 for 327 yards. Lacy had 73 yards on 13 carries, and 33 yards on five catches.The tough running back wiggled from side to side to celebrate his 1-yard touchdown reception with 4:20 left in the second quarter. The score was set up by safety Morgan Burnetts interception.Later, Rodgers sidestepped his way out of a late blitz by Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann and found Jordy Nelson in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds left in the half. Rodgers and Nelson connected on a 60-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.Nelson finished with eight catches for 146 yards.Jones was even better, catching 11 of the 17 passes thrown in his direction. His 79-yard catch-and-run to the Packers 3 on the first play of the third quarter set up a 5-yard touchdown catch by Eric Weems on fourth down.It was a sign of things to come in the second half before Green Bay was able to hang on at the end.We cant play one half or three quarters or anything like that, linebacker Julius Peppers said. Weve got to finish games.NOTES: Lacy was pulled in the fourth quarter with a hip injury. He said he thought he would be OK, though he was sidelined as a precaution. Asked when the injury occurred, Lacy joked, Whenever I ran into the two big dudes. ... Starks finished with 75 yards on 10 carries. ... McCarthy tied Vince Lombardi with 98 career victories, second on the franchise list behind Curly Lambeau (209). ... S Dwight Lowery had a team-high 13 tackles and a forced fumble for Atlanta.___Online:AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL(The previous version of this story incorrectly identified Falcons receiver Eric Weems last name as Weeks.) Cheap Buffalo Sabres Gear Wholesale Calgary Flames Jerseys Cheap Adidas Colorado Avalanche Jerseys Montreal Canadiens Outlet Store [url=http://www.
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