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Vargas shines as AEK wins Greek Cup

first_imgATHENS, Greece (AP) — Midfielder Ronald Vargas set up a goal in each half for AEK Athens to beat Olympiakos 2-1 and win the Greek Cup on Tuesday, ending a tournament marred by violence and administrative disputes.The final was played without fans at Athens’ Olympic Stadium, and followed repeated match date delays.AEK kept the Greek league champion in check, and Vargas picked out Pantalos Mantalos for a header in the 39th minute. Six minutes into the second half, he led a counterattack that saw Rafik Djebour fire past goalkeeper Roberto.Alejandro Dominguez got one back with a shot from distance in the 85th.Cup games were canceled by the government in March following fan violence at a semifinal. It later reversed the decision, under the threat of an international ban from FIFA.Although fans were forced to stay away, the win came as a huge relief for supporters who remained loyal to the Athens club after it collapsed financially three years ago and clawed its way back from the amateur leagues.“We are extremely happy tonight,” Vargas said. “We had a goal: Win the league or win the cup. We’ve won the cup and it feels great. … It doesn’t matter if you help the team by scoring or by helping teammates score. Everyone is overjoyed.” TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Report: Eibar 0 Barcelona 2

first_imgEIbar 0 Barcelona 2: Suarez and Alba seal points as Orellana sees red Dom Farrell Last updated 1 year ago 01:08 2/18/18 LuisSuarez - cropped Getty Images Barcelona were made to fight at 10-man Eibar, where Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba scored the goals and Fabian Orellana was sent off. Luis Suarez’s 17th LaLiga goal of the season helped Barcelona return to winning ways with a hard-earned 2-0 win at 10-man Eibar.On the back of consecutive league draws against Espanyol and Getafe, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde resisted the urge to shuffle his pack and named an XI it would be no surprise to see line up for Tuesday’s Champions League match at Chelsea.It was just as well, with Barca forced to repel wave after wave of attacks from Jose Luis Mendilibar’s relentlessly high-pressing side. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Respite arrived courtesy of Suarez’s well-taken 16th-minute goal, which was beautifully created by Lionel Messi’s left boot.Messi hit the post after Eibar’s Fabian Orellana struck an effort against the crossbar, although the gifted but temperamental Chilean right-winger undermined the hosts’ efforts by receiving his third red card in 12 appearances against Barca midway through the second half.Remarkably, that did not check Eibar’s ambition but Jordi Alba was able to seal the points two minutes from time.Valverde’s team have now equalled a club record by going 31 LaLiga games unbeaten and enjoy a 10-point lead at the summit, at least until Atletico Madrid host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.Half-time in Ipurua!#EibarBarça (0-1) @LuisSuarez9 #ForçaBarça pic.twitter.com/TToQDgOxpu— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 17, 2018Eibar went straight for Barcelona from kick-off, with Jose Angel heading over from Ruben Pena’s cross inside the first minute.The hosts’ bold approach left room for the league leaders at the other end and Alba had a shot blocked after Suarez rounded goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic.There was still no escaping the fact Mendilibar’s men were making the sharper start, with Orellana and Kike Garcia finding room in behind left-back Alba to fire goalwards in quick succession.It meant the opening goal came both against the run of play and with a touch of genius, as Messi’s sumptuous throughball left centre-back Anaitz Arbilla splayed on the turf and Suarez skipped past Dmitrovic more effectively on this occasion to finish.Eibar were not cowed and lively right winger Orellana unleashed a dipping effort against the bar before Joan Jordan dragged wastefully wide from the edge of the box.To repeat the theme of his afternoon, the wandering Dmitrovic found himself rounded by Suarez again in the 36th minute and cut the ball back for Messi to rattle the far post.A deft flick from Pape Diop sent Orellana into space down the right in the 55th minute and Takashi Inui lashed wide from his cutback.Barcelona were struggling to halt Eibar’s rumbling momentum, only for Orellana to foolishly do it for them.The 32-year-old previously received red cards versus Barca while playing for Xerez and Celta Vigo and, having made a rash lunge on Andres Iniesta inside the opposition penalty area, he punched the ball away in frustration when Diop was punished for a 66th-minute foul on Sergio Busquets and received a second booking for dissent.Mendilibar was furious, initially it seemed with his player, and continued haranguing the officials before being sent to the stand himself.His players continued to push in vain despite the deck being stacked against them, ambition that contributed to a game-sealing second.Philippe Coutinho – who will be cup-tied in midweek – picked out fellow substitute Aleix Vidal with a superb cross-field ball and, although Dmitrovic denied Messi from a cushioned pass into the box, Alba was on hand to slot home. KEY OPTA STATS- Luis Suárez has scored in his last five games against Eibar in La Liga (seven goals)- Lionel Messi is Luis Suárez’s  top assistant in all competitions for Barcelona (25 assists)- Jordi Alba has been involved in eight goals in La Liga this season, the most for a defender in the competition (two goals & six assists). – Barcelona have won their eight La Liga games against Eibar (3.5 goals per game), the only side which have won all their games in La Liga against Eibar alongside Atletico (seven). – Barcelona have kept 26 clean sheets in 40 games in all competitions this season (65%). read morelast_img read more