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04-21-2016, 09:45 AM

Hertha Berlin 0-3 Borussia Dortmund: Castro, Reus & Mkhitaryan set up Bayern final



Borussia Dortmund will meet rivals Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal final after inflicting a comprehensive 3-0 defeat on Hertha Berlin in the semi-finals on Wednesday evening.

Thomas Tuchel's side put in a dominant performance at the Olympiastadion as goals from Marco Reus, Gonzalo Castro and Henrikh Mkhitaryan put paid to the hosts.

More than 76,000 watched on as Reus finished off a cross from Shinji Kagawa with a quarter of an hour to go after Castro - who had been forced off the field in the first half to have a head injury stitched up - fired Dortmund into the lead on 20 minutes.

The former Leverkusen man struck a superb swirling effort into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box in a first half which could have seen the away side three or four up.

Hertha had their outstanding keeper Rune Jarstein to thank for giving them a chance after a string of saves in the second half before Reus made it 2-0 and then turned creator for Mkhitaryan's late settler.

BVB were without their quarter-final hero Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed the game after chipping a bone in his toe in training, but his absence did not affect the away side in the end.

Bundesliga leaders Bayern - who are seven points ahead of Dortmund - booked their place in the DFB-Pokal final, which also takes place at the Olympiastadion, on Tuesday when Thomas Muller scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Werder Bremen.

Marcel Schmelzer, ex-Hertha striker Adrian Ramos and Reus all went close as Dortmund made a lively start.

But Castro made their dominance pay on 20 minutes, curling an effort into the top corner from the edge of the box after a blocked shot dropped at his feet following good work from the dangerous Mkhitaryan and Kagawa.

Dortmund should have doubled their lead just five minutes later when Schmelzer squared a bouncing ball into Reus, who, uncharacteristically, blasted over from 10 yards out.
Reus had a fierce effort palmed away by Hertha goalkeeper Jarstein, although Jens Hegeler ought to have equalised with the last kick of the half but he fired straight at Roman Burki.

Dortmund controlled the early exchanges of the second half, but missed the chance to go further ahead when Reus gave the ball away with Kagawa free in the box.

Hertha rallied and were inches away from equalising just after the hour mark when John Brooks flicked on a corner but Salomon Kalou could not make contact with the ball from a few yards out.

Ramos came close to inflicting further pain onto his old club on 67 minutes but his strike was pushed away by Jarstein, and the keeper pulled off a flying stop minutes later after Mkhitaryan struck a sweet volley which was heading into the corner of the net.

Hertha were made to pay minutes later when Kagawa broke down the right after Brooks had slipped and his cross was finished first time by Reus' swinging right-footed strike.

And Reus provided Mkhitaryan with a simple tap-in with time running out, as Dortmund booked their return to Berlin in style and set up a mouth-watering final with Bundesliga rivals, and title favourites, Bayern.
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04-21-2016, 09:46 AM

Genoa 1-0 Inter: De Maio sinks Mancini's men to blunt Champions League ambitions



Inter wasted the opportunity to increase pressure on Roma in the pursuit for the final Champions League spot in Serie A after a 1-0 defeat away to Genoa.

A close-range finish from defender Sebastian De Maio 13 minutes from time left Roberto Mancini's side frustrated after failing to convert a series of golden chances in the first half.De Maio was on hand to slam the ball into the roof of the net after a well-directed header from substitute Panagiotis Tachtsidis for his first league goal of the season.

Inter were left rueing their profligacy in front of goal during a frenetic opening period. Ivan Perisic was twice denied by Genoa goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna and top scorer Mauro Icardi had a header cleared off the line.The defeat leaves Inter seven points behind Roma with four games remaining.

Inter had not won at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris since 2011 and, with Genoa unbeaten in seven home games heading into Wednesday's match, it was always going to be a tough ask. But on the back of their victory over title-chasing Napoli at the weekend, Inter will feel this was a wasted opportunity to build momentum.

Inter started brightly and almost went ahead within the opening five minutes, when Perisic's looping header was deflected towards goal and acrobatically clawed away by Lamanna just under his crossbar. Marcelo Brozovic fired just over from the rebound.

A flurry of chances came Inter's way on the half hour, but they could not take advantage of any. First, Icardi's low header was hacked off the line by Ezequiel Munoz, and then Perisic again drew a smart save from Lamanna when he stooped low at the far post to meet a Brozovic free-kick.That stirred the home side into action and they almost took the lead themselves when Leonardo Pavoletti met a corner but Samir Handanovic was able to parry.

Genoa tightened up at the back in the second half, but Inter still carved out good opportunities to break the deadlock. Brozovic breached the offside trap after 65 minutes, but no Inter player could latch onto his low cross across the box.

Genoa edged their way back into the contest, first going close from a quick breakaway and then were rewarded when De Maio broke the deadlock, much to the delight home supporters. Tachtsidis' cushioned headed following a cross from the right found De Maio and he applied an emphatic finish.

Inter almost salvaged a point right at the death when substitute Eder found half a yard in the area, but his left-footed effort was dragged just wide of the far post.
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04-21-2016, 09:47 AM

West Ham 3-1 Watford: Noble's penalty double keeps Hammers in the hunt for Europe



West Ham maintained their push for European qualification and set a club record as they avoided defeat for the 15th home game in a row, beating Watford 3-1.

Andy Carroll set the hosts on their way in the early stages with a neat volley past Heurelho Gomes but the Hornets' propensity for conceding penalties continued as the game got away from them.

Mark Noble scored two of them, the first after a foul on Diafra Sakho by Jose Holebas just before half-time and the second a calamitous foul by Almen Abdi not long after the break, Gomes unable to pull off the heroic saves of the visitors' last game.

Though Sebastian Prodl got one back for Quique Sanchez Flores's side by volleying home after a free kick, Watford could not muster the huge comeback required and even saw Troy Deeney have a stoppage-time penalty saved by Adrian for good measure.

Watford face Crystal Palace in their FA Cup semi-final on Sunday and Flores made seven changes in anticipation of that but the hosts took full advantage and Nordin Amrabat ruled himself out of the Wembley game thanks to a second yellow card at the death.

Dimitri Payet's set-piece delivery gave Gomes a bit of early work to do but the keeper's next task was to pick the ball out of the net. It was Payet who cut in off the left and swung in a ball for the in-form Carroll to steer a measured first-time finish beyond the Brazilian, who might have been quicker off his line.

Jose Manuel Jurado sought a swift response and forced Adrian into his first save of the match in the 17th minute, the Hammers goalkeeper parrying his compatriot's stinging strike.

The irrepressible Payet then curled a dangerous effort narrowly over the crossbar and Sakho's low drive brought a smart stop from Gomes as the hosts continued to enjoy the better of the contest.

A second goal arrived on the stroke of half-time when Cheikhou Kouyate was fouled by the out-of-sorts Jose Holebas and Noble did what vexed West Brom striker Saido Berahino could not by beating Gomes from the spot.

Manuel Lanzini had a glorious opportunity to add another just a minute later but skewed his shot wide from inside the box, while Sakho was similarly wasteful a matter of seconds into the second half.

Abdi endured a dreadful 60 seconds as first he diverted Jurado's teasing cross over the target and then fouled Michail Antonio in the area, allowing Noble to convert the penalty straight down the middle.

Prodl's stunning half-volleyed finish did give the visiting fans some cause for celebration in the 64th minute but hopes of a dramatic revival ahead of Watford's first FA Cup semi-final since 2007 were scuppered when Adrian brilliantly kept out substitute Deeney's penalty, with Amrabat getting a second yellow soon after.
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04-21-2016, 09:48 AM

Luis Suarez sets new La Liga record after running rampant for Barcelona



Luis Suarez has set a new La Liga record following his barnstorming display in Barcelona’s 8-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday evening.

Following a run three straight defeats, last season’s treble winners got back on track in emphatic fashion.

Suarez found the net on four occasions, while Ivan Rakitic, Lionel Messi, Marc Bartra and Neymar also got on the scoresheet.

Along with his four goals, Suarez also registered three assists and he becomes the first La Liga player in the 21st century to have a hand in seven goals in a single game.

Barca's victory keeps them top of La Liga, although Atletico Madrid remain level on points following their 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao.
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04-21-2016, 09:49 AM

OFFICIAL: Neymar to miss Copa America



Barcelona have confirmed that Neymar will represent Brazil at the Olympic Games but not the Copa America this summer.

Earlier this month, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) announced they would fight the European champions' insistence that the forward would only be available for one tournament.Now, however, Barca claim that CBF president Marco Polo del Nero has agreed that Neymar will be called up solely for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

A club statement reads: "FC Barcelona thanks the Brazilian Football Confederation and its president, Marco Polo del Nero, for having accepted the proposal the club made so that Neymar would only play the Olympic Games that take place between August 3 and 21.

"As a result, Neymar Jr will be exempted from playing the Copa America that takes place in United States between June 3 and 26."

The Copa America is taking place for a second consecutive year to mark the centenary of Conmebol and the first tournament in 1916.It will be hosted outside of South America, in the United States, for the first time and features an expanded field of 16 teams including six Concacaf representatives.

Neymar was sent off at the end of Brazil's second match of last summer's Copa America in Chile, resulting in a four-match ban which ruled him out of the rest of the tournament.
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04-21-2016, 09:50 AM

Darmian hails 'massive victory' after hitting Manchester United winner



Matteo Darmian hailed Manchester United's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace as "massive" as they aim to snatch a top-four Premier League finish.

The Italy international forced the opening goal at Old Trafford as his low cross was turned into his own net by Damien Delaney, and he smashed in a superb strike just after half-time to secure the three points for the home side.

United are now just a point behind fourth-placed Arsenal, having played a game more, and are two shy of Manchester City in the race to finish in the Champions League places.With an FA Cup semi-final on Saturday to come, Darmian believes Wednesday's win could be a vital confidence boost.

"It was important, a massive victory," he told reporters afterwards. "We have to be focused on the next game against Everton, we want to reach the final.

"It will increase our confidence, so we have to continue. We need to win all our games and see where we can get."It will be a difficult game but it's a big game, a semi-final of the FA Cup at Wembley. It's a really good chance for us to win that trophy."

Darmian was delighted to open his United account in front of the Stretford End.
"It was special. At the Stretford End, in front of the fans, it was a big goal," he added.
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04-21-2016, 09:50 AM

Darmian ge goal 1ka patta
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04-21-2016, 09:51 AM

Van Gaal admits Rashford is forcing Rooney into deep role



Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was delighted with Wayne Rooney's display in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, but admits the form of Marcus Rashford means the captain must settle for a deeper role.

United started with the same 4-1-4-1 system that they used in Saturday's victory against Aston Villa, with Rooney deployed in a more central playmaking position behind the teenage striker.

Van Gaal insists he was pleased with the way Rooney performed against Palace, and suggested the England skipper will continue to play in a similar position as long as Rashord's form continues.

"I didn't say that [Rooney should show more]," he said afterwards. "I said in the first half he played well and in the second half he got tired and that is why we changed him. I hope you quote me in the right way.

"Now he has played 75 minutes so I'm building his capacity for the games, as I've done with other players, like Marcos Rojo. He was the player who switched the play and I liked that very much.

"No player has a fixed position. I use a player where I think they can give a contribution in that game. It was more of a midfield role also because of the way Crystal Palace was playing. I don't want to change Rashford so I have to look for another position for Wayne. He played there also last year. I am very happy with the way he performed."

Matteo Darmian sealed the win with a stunning goal after forcing Damien Delaney to turn the ball into his own net in the first half, and Van Gaal admitted he has been surprised by the defender's recent shooting skills in training.

"Darmian was surprising me on Monday in the training session," he said. "We did a sort of finishing session and he was the top scorer in that time, and we tried to exercise with his left and right foot and he did it also with his left foot, like he did. I am very happy.

"I have told my players after the match that it was a good game and the only remark that we didn't score too many goals, because it was a 5-0 match, I think.But I am pleased with the way we have played. We have created a lot of chances in the first half and the second half and we didn't give any away."

Van Gaal, who revealed that both Rashford and Chris Smalling suffered knocks that will need to be assessed in the coming days, is now eager for his players to continue their winning run in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton.

"We have to work very hard to reach this level because we have a very full season," he added. "We have played in three competitions. It is unbelievable, much more matches than last year and also a new selection with a lot of youngsters so we have to work very hard to reach this level, and also we have to recover a lot.
"When we survive Everton, I shall give the players a lot of days off."
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04-21-2016, 09:52 AM

Torres: Confidence is growing at Atletico



Fernando Torres claimed confidence is growing at Atletico Madrid after a 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao kept them level with Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

Torres scored the decisive goal in the game, finishing Antoine Griezmann's cross with a neatly placed header in the first half, and Diego Simeone's side withstood a barrage of late pressure from Athletic to hold on for a vital three points.Athletic have now failed to beat Atletico in six attempts in La Liga, but Torres insisted the victory at San Mames was hard fought.

He told reporters: "It was the game we knew it would be. We worked really hard, and we knew they'd push us back.

"We were fortunate enough to score in first half. We had to suffer a lot in the second and it was really difficult. Athletic are a great team."We're very proud of the game we played. Bilbao are in a great moment, and it's really positive to come here and win.

"We keep believing and hoping that we can do great things this season."The result marked Atletico's eighth win in nine La Liga outings and ensured they are level on 79 points with Barca with four games left this season.

Torres underlined the ambition Atletico have to emerge with the title, and looked forward to the challenge of taking on Malaga at home this weekend. He said: "The most important things is that the team wins, but everyone feels more confident. We're getting closer to the aim for this season.

"Against Malaga it's going to be a difficult game. They've been playing well recently, but we've been getting some good results at the Calderon."This win will help us go into that game with confidence. We just have to win."
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04-21-2016, 09:52 AM

Simeone happy with Atletico improvement



Diego Simeone was in a happy mood after Atletico Madrid exceeded last season's La Liga points tally with four matches remaining.Fernando Torres scored the only goal of the game in the 38th minute as Atletico edged Athletic Bilbao 1-0 on Wednesday.

Torres' first-half strike maintained the pressure on title holders Barca, with the two teams level on 79 points, a point more than Atletico collected throughout the 2014-15 campaign as they finished third last term.

"The dressing room is happy," Simeone said via the club's official website."Exceeding the numbers of last season with four rounds to go is a very important step with the competition that we have with ourselves and our own requirement to continuously improve ourselves.

"To surpass the numbers of last year makes us happy."Regarding the match, we made a great effort. You cannot end up winning without the effort we have made, especially in the second half, where Athletic intensified the pressure more than in the first."Of Torres, who has now scored in his past five games in all competitions, Simeone added: "The moment he is living is important.

"He is helping the team to continue competing for the best. It was a great play, a great goal and a great finish. This will surely strengthen the team and himself for what’s to come."
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