Midweek Football Review

Leicester City put the heat back on leaders Arsenal with a 1-0 win at Tottenham while Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace 1-0 to end a nightmare 19-game winless streak in the English Premier League. Liverpool and Arsenal produced a thrilling 3-3 draw and so did Newcastle United and Manchester United.

Thabo Matlaba scored a superbly-taken goal early in the second half before Sifiso Myeni added a second late on to hand the Buccaneers just their fourth league victory in 13 games and lift them to 10th place on the log table.

The Spanish La Liga presented the Copa del Rey which saw holders Barcelona cruised into the King’s Cup quarter-finals when a side missing several regulars beat city rivals Espanyol 2-0, with Munir El Haddadi netting both goals in a thumping 6-1 aggregate success on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi, fresh from collecting a fifth Fifa Ballon d’Or award on Monday, sent El Haddadi clear to round goalkeeper Francesco Bardi with a deft finish in the 32nd minute at Espanyol’s Cornella-El Prat stadium.

Aston Villa 1-0 Crystal Palace
Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace 1-0 to end a nightmare 19-game winless streak in the English Premier League on Tuesday with defender Joleon Lescott the hero of the hour.

With empty claret and blue seats visible all around Villa Park, rock bottom Villa went into their 21st game of the season on just eight points having won only once all season, on the opening weekend against Bournemouth.

Bournemouth 1-3 West Ham
Enner Valencia scored twice as West Ham United came from behind to win 3-1 at Bournemouth and climb to fifth place in the Premier League table. Bournemouth gave a full debut to £10 million record signing Benik Afobe and took a 17th-minute lead through midfielder Harry Arter.

Newcastle 3-3 Manchester United
Left-back Paul Dummett eclipsed two-goal Wayne Rooney with a last-minute equaliser as Newcastle United secured a pulsating 3-3 home draw against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United.

Rooney appeared to have settled the game with a magnificent 79th-minute strike from the edge of the area after Memphis Depay’s run and shot ended with the ball ricocheting off Dummett into the path of the forward.

Chelsea 2-2 West Brom
James McClean’s late equaliser denied Chelsea the chance to record back to back league victories for the first time this season as Guus Hiddink’s side were held 2-2 at home by West Bromwich Albion. Chelsea twice took the lead through Cesar Axpilicueta and then again through an own-goal from Gareth McAuley after Craig Gardner had levelled.

Manchester City 0-0 Everton
Manchester City wasted a chance to close the gap in the Premier League title race as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Everton at Eastlands on Wednesday. A week after losing 2-1 at Everton in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal, City were once again frustrated by the Merseysiders.

Southampton 2-0 Watford
Shane Long and Dusan Tadic scored in each half as Southampton steadied the ship with a 2-0 home win over dangerous Watford in the Premier League on Wednesday. Ronald Koeman’s side had won just one of their previous eight league games, losing six, and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Stoke City 3-1 Norwich City
Swashbuckling Stoke City beat 10-man Norwich City 3-1 at the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League on Wednesday as Mark Hughes’s side continue to impress.

Goals from Stoke’s John Walters and Joselu were capped by an astonishing own goal from Ryan Bennett late on, while the visitors scored through Jonathan Howson.

Swansea City 2-4 Sunderland
Jermain Defoe hit a crucial hat-trick as Sunderland boosted their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League with a 4-2 victory at fellow strugglers Swansea on Wednesday. Defoe’s first Premier League treble since November 2009 gave Sunderland their second successive league win and first at Swansea since November 1963.

Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal
Joe Allen’s last-gasp equaliser earned Liverpool a thrilling 3-3 draw with Arsenal as the Premier League leaders wasted a chance to consolidate pole position at Anfield.

Arsene Wenger’s side twice come from behind to take a second half lead but, in the dying seconds, Jordan Henderson’s long punt was headed down by substitute Christian Benteke and fellow replacement Allen volleyed home a deserved equaliser.

Tottenham 0-1 Leicester City
Robert Huth’s late header enhanced Leicester City’s hopes of a top-four Premier League finish — and potentially more – as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday. Claudio Ranieri’s side are now eight points clear of fifth place, with only goal difference keeping them below leaders Arsenal, and the chase for Champions League qualification is back on after a three-game winless run.

Absa Premiership
Only two matches were played on Wednesday as Orlando Pirates eased the pressure on under-fire coach Eric Tinkler with a 2-0 win over University of Pretoria in an Absa Premiership match at Orlando Stadium.

Meanwhile, Franklin Cale or Ajax Cape Town denied Golden Arrows the full three points with a late equalizer as both teams played to a 1-1 draw at the King Zwelithini Stadium.

Copa Del Rey
Barcelona cruised into the King’s Cup quarter-finals when a side missing several regulars beat city rivals Espanyol 2-0, with Munir El Haddadi netting both goals in a thumping 6-1 aggregate success.

Athletic Bilbao, whose 23 Spanish Cup triumphs are only bettered by Barca’s 27, also progressed when forward Inaki Williams struck to secure a 1-0 win at Villarreal and a 4-2 victory over the two legs.

Third-tier Cadiz, who went through to the last 16 after Real Madrid were expelled for fielding an ineligible player, fell 2-0 at Celta Vigo and were eliminated 5-0 on aggregate.

Las Palmas beat Eibar 3-2 at home in the Canary Islands last week and won by the same scoreline in the Basque country to advance 6-4.

Sevilla knocked out city rivals Real Betis and second-division Mirandes, the only non-La Liga side left in the competition, eliminated Deportivo La Coruna on Tuesday. — Supersport.

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