BY DAN KARELL
Tottenham Hotspurs kept their hot run of form going on Thursday evening, when they defeated French club Lyon 2-1 at White Hart Lane.
Gareth Bale, as he has so many times this season, played the hero, scoring two tremendous free kick goals, the second coming in the third minute of extra time to win the game for the North London club. Spurs manager Andres Villas-Boas gushed about the Welsh winger’s play, comparing him to Real Madrid winger Cristiano Ronaldo
Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti cancelled out Bale’s 45th minute goal with a firecracker of his own, depositing the ball into the upper 90 in the 55th minute, before the 22-year-old’s heroics gave Tottenham the important first-leg win.
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ATLETICO MADRID SUFFER STUNNING DEFEAT
Atletico Madrid suffered their first defeat of the season at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, after Russian side Rubin Kazan recorded a 2-0 victory on Thursday night over last year’s Europa League champion.
Kazan took the lead in the 6th minute from midfielder Gokdeniz Karadeniz, and despite going down a man just before halftime, the visitors were able to hold on for the important three points. Even worse for Atleti, the final goal was scored after ‘keeper Sergio Asenjo went up the pitch for a corner kick, and after it was cleared, could not make it back to his net in time to stop Rubin midfielder Pablo Orbaiz from scoring an all-important second away goal.
Here’s a rundown of the other scores across the Europa League:
Zenit St. Petersburg 2, Liverpool 0
Anzhi Makhachkala 3, Hannover 96 1
BATE Borisov 0, Fenerbahce 0
Levante 3, Olympiacos 0
Dynamo Kiev 1, Bordeaux 1
Benfica 1, Bayer Leverkusen 0
Ajax 2, Steaua Bucuresti 0
Chelsea 1, Sparta Prague 0
Viktoria Plzen 3, Napoli 0
Inter Milan 2, CFR Cluj 0
Newcastle United 0, Metalist Kharkiv 0
Stuttgart 1, Genk 1
Basel 2, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 0
Borussia Mönchengladbach 3, Lazio 3
CHELSEA, ROMA, INTERESTED IN PELLEGRINI
Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini is a hot commodity these days, with his side in the Champions League round-of-16 despite financial issues.
Both Chelsea and Roma, who currently have interim bosses in charge, have inquired about the availability of the Chilean manager, according to Pellegrini’s agent Jesus Martinez. There is speculation that the 59-year-old could leave Malaga this summer, after UEFA banned his side from European competition next season.
According to the report, Roma’s offer has been rejected already, but Martinez has stated that no official decisions will be made until the end of the season.
NEWELL’S OLD BOYS, PALMEIRAS, OPEN UP LIBERTADORES CAMPAIGNS WITH WINS
The Copa Libertadores second stage continued on Thursday night, with Lionel Messi’s favorite club Newell’s Old Boys of Argentina recording an impressive 3-1 win over Paraguayan side Olimpia in Group 7.
Old Boys scored two goals within six minutes in the second half, before finishing off the game with a Maxi Rodriguez goal in the 90th minute of the match. Fredy Bareiro scored the lone goal for Olimpia.
Around the continent, in Group 2, Brazilian side Palmeiras took down Peru’s Sporting Cristal 2-1, while in Group 3, Bolivian squad The Strongest defeated Arsenal de Sarandi of Argentina 2-1. Colombian side Deportes Tolima continued their good run of form with a 2-1 win over Paraguayan club Cerro Porteño in Group 6, and in Group 8, debutant side Huachipato of Chile recorded a 2-1 win of their own over Gremio of Brazil.
Former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires believes that Andres Iniesta is better than teammate Lionel Messi. (REPORT)
Paris Saint-Germain is putting up new signing David Beckham in a €17,000 per-night hotel for the duration of his stay in Paris. (REPORT)
A group of Liverpool fans in St. Petersburg for the Europa League tie between the two cities’ clubs were attacked while leaving a pub. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you see Tottenham keeping their run of form? Do you believe that Bale is as good as Ronaldo? Do you see Atletico Madrid advancing to the next round?
Share your thoughts below.