Felipe Caicedo on Thursday scored from the spot as SS Lazio moved fourth and into the UEFA Champions League places with a 1-0 win over struggling Empoli in Serie A.
Ecuador international Caicedo forced a penalty just before the break and converted from the spot for his second goal in as many games, as Lazio warm up for their UEFA Europa League tie against Sevilla and a Coppa Italia semi-final against AC Milan.
The Roman side had lost ground after back-to-back defeats to Juventus and SSC Napoli, but after last week’s win over Frosinone now have 38 points from 23 games, overtaking AC Milan, who dropped two points behind in fifth before they play Cagliari tomorrow.
Photo: AP / ANSA
Eusebio di Francesco’s AS Roma were yesterday to head to AC Chievo Verona looking to build momentum before their Champions League clash against Porto.
Behind runaway leaders Juventus, who have 60 points from 22 games, and second-placed Napoli, nine points behind, the remaining two tickets for the Champions League and the Europa League berths remain up for grabs with 10 teams in the running.
Inter, in third, are still looking for their first win of this year after being held by US Sassuolo, and defeats against Torino and Bologna with no goals scored.
Luciano Spalletti’s side have 40 points, but are now just two ahead of Lazio.
COUPE DE FRANCE
Former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele on Thursday continued his strong run of form with the opening goal as Olympique Lyonnais saw off En Avant de Guingamp 2-1 to reach the Coupe de France quarter-finals.
Lyon, who are looking for a first major trophy since 2012, are to face Stade Malherbe Caen in the last eight in three weeks.
The visitors backed up their 2-1 win over runaway Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain last weekend by beating the top flight’s bottom club, Guingamp.
Dembele put Bruno Genesio’s side ahead in the seventh minute by latching onto a long ball forward and slotting home his fifth goal in six games, having scored and won a penalty against PSG.
Maxwel Cornet volleyed in Ferland Mendy’s cross four minutes after halftime as Guingamp’s Coupe de France run ended with a late consolation from Alexandre Mendy.
COPA DEL REY
Valencia on Thursday staged another late Copa del Rey comeback as Kevin Gameiro’s injury-time strike snatched a 2-2 draw with Real Betis Balompie in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final at the Estadio Benito Villamarin.
Betis, playing in the last four for the first time since lifting the trophy in 2005, grabbed the lead in the semi-final first leg when Loren nodded home after a short corner routine on the stroke of halftime.
The Seville outfit looked to be closing in on a home final against either Barcelona or Real Madrid when 37-year-old former Spain winger Joaquin scored directly from a corner, but Denis Cheryshev pulled one back for Valencia with 20 minutes to play.
Visitors Valencia, having scored twice in injury-time to edge out Getafe in the quarters, leveled in the 92nd minute as substitute Gameiro diverted in Rodrigo’s low cross.
The two teams are to meet again at the Mestalla on Feb. 28.
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to
Taiwan’s Jason Jung was knocked out of the first round of the French Open in straight sets on Sunday, while Andy Murray said it was going to be “difficult” for the former world No. 1 to reach his level of old after he also fell to a lopsided defeat by fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. Jung fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Argentina’s Federico Coria in 3 hours, 19 minutes at Roland Garros, despite hitting 55 winners. Jung served for both the first and second sets, then failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in
Taiwan Steel on Sunday took sole possession of the top of the Taiwan Football Premier League standings for the first time this season after a 9-2 thrashing of Taipower in a title showdown in which man-of-the-match Marc Fenelus scored four goals and provided two assists. In a match billed as the season’s key battle between the league’s two leading teams, both on 36 points, Taipower’s players wilted under the pressure and got blown away by an outstanding display from Taiwan Steel, who cruised to their ninth consecutive victory. Taiwan Steel opened the scoring within five minutes in the rain in Taoyuan when
Michael Schumacher’s son Mick said that the prospect of Lewis Hamilton equaling the Ferrari great’s all-time record of 91 wins has given him something to aim for when he gets to Formula One. Hamilton, who replaced Michael Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013, can take his 91st victory in today’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi — a race he has won four times previously. “One sentence my dad always used to say was: ‘Records are there to be broken.’ It’s everybody’s aim in this sport to do that,” Formula Two championship leader Mick Schumacher said on Friday. “I think Lewis had a very, very