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Result: Record-breaking Liverpool beat Cardiff City to regain top spot

Liverpool beat Cardiff City 2-0 to regain top spot in the table and set a new club record for highest points tally in the Premier League era. Liverpool have regained top spot in the Premier League table courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City in South Wales this afternoon. Jurgen Klopp‘s side patiently toiled in the sunny conditions during the first half, but Georginio Wijnaldum broke the deadlock shortly before the hour mark and James Milner made sure of the points with a late penalty. The Reds had been knocked off the summit by Manchester City’s narrow win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, but the champions must now beat Manchester United at Old Trafford in Wednesday’s derby to retain control of the topsy-turvy title race. Regardless of whether they win the title ...

Result: Middlesbrough beat Stoke City to regain playoff spot

Britt Assombalonga‘s 14th goal of the season lifted Middlesbrough back into the Sky Bet Championship’s top six by securing a 1-0 win over Stoke at the Riverside Stadium. Assombalonga’s predatory flick in the second minute proved enough to ensure Boro made it three wins in a row for the first time since August and keep hopes of promotion alive. Boro boss Tony Pulis’ former club kept plugging away in search of an equaliser but found no way through to leave the Teesside crowd delighted. Stoke caused problems but they are already planning for next season under Nathan Jones. For Boro – in the midst of a defensive crisis following injuries to George Friend, Daniel Ayala and Dael Fry – Bristol City’s draw with Reading earlier in the day meant a win would mean climbin...

Philippe Coutinho ‘will keep Barcelona spot for Manchester United clash’

Philippe Coutinho will reportedly keep his spot in the Barcelona XI for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg with Manchester United. Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde will reportedly keep faith with Philippe Coutinho for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg with Manchester United at Camp Nou. Coutinho started the first leg at Old Trafford – which Barca won 1-0 – but struggled to make an impact, which has been the story of the Brazil international’s season. Ousmane Dembele made his return from a hamstring injury in Saturday’s goalless draw with Huesca, leading to suggestions that the Frenchman could be handed a spot alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in attack. However, according to The Mirror, Valverde will keep faith with...

Dean Smith backs Aston Villa to clinch playoff spot

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith is backing his team to maintain their current progress and win a place in the Championship play-offs after their 2-1 home win over Bristol City. Tammy Abraham broke the stalemate with a 55th-minute penalty – his 24th goal of the season – and Conor Hourihane added a second in the 66th minute before Famara Diedhiou pulled one back for the visitors eight minutes later. However, there was no equaliser and Villa could not be denied their eighth successive win, equalling a record last achieved in April 1975 – and they achieved promotion on that occasion. Smith, who congratulated each Villa player as they left the pitch, said: “The chances we created were excellent and the only thing missing were more goals. “Bristol City contributed to the game and they we...

Result: Exeter Chiefs battle past Bath to seal Premiership semi-final spot

Exeter guaranteed themselves a place in the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals with a hard-fought 29-10 victory over Bath. It is the fourth year in succession the Chiefs have earned a play-off spot, with the league leaders securing their berth after outscoring their West Country rivals by four tries to one at Sandy Park. Ollie Devoto, Olly Woodburn and Jack Yeandle all crossed to add to a penalty try award, with Joe Simmonds converting two as well as slotting over a penalty. Bath had the lion’s share of possession but they only could manage a single try from Nathan Catt and five points from the boot of Rhys Priestland. Gareth Steenson was a late withdrawal for Exeter with a calf injury so Simmonds was promoted from the bench to replace him. Chiefs soon suffered a further setback when ...

Tom Heaton pushing for England no. 1 spot

Tom Heaton is more interested in Jordan Pickford’s outstanding international performances than his club troubles, although the Burnley goalkeeper’s determination to usurp him as England number one is clear. Having gone to Euro 2016 and established himself as part of the Three Lions squad, Heaton’s World Cup hopes were derailed at the start of the 2017-18 season by a nasty shoulder injury. The 32-year-old watched on as Burnley understudy Nick Pope broke into the England set-up and capped a fine season by heading to Russia, with club competition then increased by Joe Hart’s summer arrival. It meant that the former Manchester United youth prospect had to bide his time on the sidelines, although his impressive return to the fold at Turf Moor brought an international recall for this month’s Eur...

Oli McBurnie confident of Scotland starting spot

Oli McBurnie believes he is in a much better position to stake a claim for a Scotland striking role following his breakthrough campaign for Swansea. McBurnie has a real chance of featuring in the opening European Championship qualifiers against Kazakhstan and San Marino amid the absence of Steven Naismith, Steven Fletcher and Leigh Griffiths. The 22-year-old has scored 18 goals in 35 appearances for Swansea this season and is looking for his seventh cap and first international goal in Astana on Thursday. McBurnie first came into the Scotland squad during a goalscoring spree on loan with Barnsley in Alex McLeish’s first games in charge against Costa Rica and Hungary, but he feels much more prepared to make an impact a year on. Oli McBurnie ready to stake his claim for Scotland after h...

Result: Liverpool regain top spot after surviving late Fulham scare

James Milner scores a late penalty to seal a crucial 2-1 win for Liverpool at Fulham which takes Jurgen Klopp’s side back to the top of the Premier League table. Liverpool needed a late James Milner penalty to beat Fulham 2-1 and return to the top of the Premier League table this afternoon. It looked as though the Reds would be on course for a routine victory when Sadio Mane continued his fine recent scoring form to give the title hopefuls the lead in the first half. However, they failed to build on that and a calamitous misunderstanding between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker – two pillars of their title challenge – gifted Fulham an equaliser 16 minutes from time as Ryan Babel stole in to score against his former club. Liverpool responded within seven minutes as Fulha...

Result: Warriors become first Western Conference team to claim play-off spot

The Golden State Warriors became the first team in the Western Conference to clinch a play-off spot with a 110-88 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Steph Curry scored 33 points for the Warriors, who were still missing an injured Kevin Durant, but Klay Thompson was on hand to provide the back-up with 23 points. The win means the Warriors – who cannot finish any worse than in eighth place – move into their seventh straight play-off berth. Clinched. ✅ pic.twitter.com/q15VOLhCwh — Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 17, 2019 The San Antonio Spurs extended their winning run to eight games as they overcame the Portland Trail Blazers 108-103. DeMar DeRozan finished with 21 points for the Spurs but there was further disappointment for Portland after CJ McCollum exited the court in the third ...

Result: Messi nets brace as Barca secure spot in quarter-finals

Barcelona book their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League courtesy of a 5-1 win over Lyon in the second leg of their last-16 tie. Barcelona have booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League courtesy of a 5-1 win over French outfit Lyon in the second leg of their last-16 tie at Camp Nou. The contest was delicately poised following a goalless draw in the first leg, but Ernesto Valverde‘s side were far too strong for Lyon in the second leg, scoring through Lionel Messi (2), Philippe Coutinho, Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele. Barca have not won the Champions League since 2015, but they will be present in Friday’s draw and their performance on Wednesday night would have sent out a strong message to the rest of the competition. © Reuters The headline...

Bielsa refuses to feel comfortable as Leeds return to second spot

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa refused to get carried away after Patrick Bamford’s early goal had kept Leeds firmly on course for automatic promotion from the Sky Bet Championship. With Sheffield United having won their early kick-off against Rotherham, Bielsa’s men needed all three points at Ashton Gate to retain second place behind leaders Norwich. It is looking increasingly like a three-way battle to go up automatically. But Bielsa declined to admit as much, despite being more than satisfied with the way his side saw off play-off chasers City in a rousing, but error-strewn match. He said: “It is a risk talking about even being safe in the top three at this stage. There are so many tough matches ahead. “Today ended up a 50-50 game. In the first hour we could have scored more, but in the final...

Result: Watford ride their luck to book spot in quarter-finals

Watford progressed to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a hard-earned 1-0 victory over QPR, despite being outplayed at Loftus Road. Although their team selection again appeared to show a club for whom the competition is not a priority, Etienne Capoue’s gift of a goal put Watford to within one victory of reaching the final four at Wembley — after their Championship hosts had wasted enough chances to build a convincing lead. Against a near full-strength team that had lost their past five league fixtures, Watford manager Javi Gracia made five changes to his starting XI from the weekend win over Everton, resting Ben Foster, Craig Cathcart, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Gerard Deulofeu and Adrian Mariappa. He had previously made 11 when winning against Newcastle and Woking in previous rounds. An ofte...

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