Sat, Jan 21, 2017 - Page 16


Senegal defeat Zimbabwe

Senegal on Thursday put a string of disastrous Africa Cup of Nations campaigns behind them by beating Zimbabwe 2-0 and becoming the first qualifiers for this year’s quarter-finals. The Group B match was all but over as a contest after only 13 minutes in Franceville after Liverpool star Sadio Mane and Henri Saivet scored. Since finishing fourth in 2006, Senegal have suffered a horrific run in the premier African soccer competition, failing to get past the group stage three times and not even qualifying twice. Now they are guaranteed to top Group B — whatever the result of their final fixture against Algeria on Monday. Tunisia recovered impressively from a first-match beating by Senegal to defeat Algeria 2-1 and become favorites to finish runners-up and also secure a last-eight place. A draw with Zimbabwe in Gabon’s capital, Libreville, in a fixture scheduled to start at the same time as Senegal against Algeria, would clinch second spot.


Barca end Sociedad drought

Copa del Rey holders Barcelona on Thursday beat Real Sociedad 1-0 in their quarter-final first-leg match to end a nine-and-a-half-year barren spell at the Basque side, while Atletico Madrid crushed Sociedad Deportiva Eibar. Brazil forward Neymar won and scored a penalty in the 21st minute after being tripped by Aritz Elustondo to decide the game, but spurned two clear chances after the break that would have given Barca a more comfortable lead in the tie. Earlier, Atletico Madrid put one foot in the semi-finals as they eased to a 3-0 win over Eibar thanks to goals from Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa and Kevin Gameiro. Griezmann headed Atletico in front in the 28th minute, after Stefan Savic had an earlier effort ruled out for offside and Argentine winger Correa doubled their advantage on the hour by sweeping the ball home after a run by Yannick Carrasco. Substitute Gameiro stretched Atletico’s lead by heading in from close range in the 67th after replacing Correa to give Eibar little chance of turning the tie around in the second-leg match at their Ipurua Municipal Stadium on Thursday next week.


Roma crush Sampdoria 4-0

Radja Nainggolan on Thursday scored a brace, the first a magnificent volley, to lead AS Roma to a 4-0 win over UC Sampdoria in their Coppa Italia last-16 tie. The Belgian struck six minutes before halftime when Sampdoria defender Matias Silvestre miskicked an attempted clearance straight at Nainggolan, who scored with a dipping shot from outside the penalty area. Both sides hit the woodwork before then, with Luis Muriel striking the foot of the post for Sampdoria in the third minute and Leandro Paredes volleying against the underside of the crossbar for Roma. Stephan El Shaarawy set up Edin Dzeko for Roma’s second two minutes into the second half and scored the third himself with a neat lob over Christian Puggioni in the 61st minute. Nainggolan headed in El Shaarawy’s cross in the 90th minute for the fourth to increase the pressure on Sampdoria’s beleaguered coach Marco Giampaolo. Roma’s quarter-final opponents are to be Cesena, the only second-tier team in the last eight after their 2-1 win at US Sassuolo on Wednesday.