Sat, Feb 09, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Caicedo leads resurgent Lazio to win over Empoli

AFP, ROME

Empoli’s Afriyie Acquah dribbles in their Serie A match against SS Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Thursday.

Photo: AP / ANSA

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.

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

AFP, PARIS

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

AFP, MADRID

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.

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