Barcelona move 11 points clear of Real Madrid

first_img0Shares0000Barcelona’s forward Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Spanish league football match against Deportivo de la Coruna December 17, 2017 © AFP / JAVIER SORIANOMADRID, Spain, Dec 18 – Barcelona opened up an 11-point La Liga lead over Real Madrid ahead of next weekend’s Clasico between the Spanish giants as Luis Suarez and Paulinho each scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Deportivo la Coruna on Sunday.Lionel Messi also saw a penalty saved and hit the woodwork three times as Barca regained their six-point lead over Atletico Madrid in second place. Real remain down in fourth, but do have a game in hand on their rivals as they missed out on domestic action this weekend to win the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.“I know people fixate on the difference between us and Real Madrid, but Atletico are just six points behind,” said Barca boss Ernesto Valverde.“No matter what happens on Saturday, there is still a world of a way to go in La Liga.”The only drawback for Barca as they extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 24 games since they were beaten by Real on their last visit to the Santiago Bernabeu in the Spanish Super Cup back in August, was a muscle injury to Paco Alcacer that will keep the forward out for three weeks.Messi paraded his fourth golden boot award — after being the leading scorer in Europe last season — before kick-off and could barely believe his luck as he failed to add to his 18 goals already this term.The Argentine has now hit the woodwork 14 times this season, but still had a huge role to play in three of Barca’s four goals.Only a series of saves from Ruben Martinez to deny Messi and Aleix Vidal delayed Barca until the 29th minute from going in front when Messi presented Suarez with an early Christmas present to tap in from close range.– More goal-line controversy –Messi then smashed against the bar, but the woodwork wasn’t so forgiving for Deportivo when Messi’s next attempt came off the post and into Paulinho’s path to make it 2-0 before half-time.Suarez thought he had his second of the night moments later when the ball looked to have crossed the line.However, for the second time in less than a month Barca were foiled by La Liga’s lack of goal-line technology as the goal wasn’t awarded.“I could see clearly from my position after shooting because I was right by the goal line,” Suarez told BeIN Sports Spain.The Uruguayan, though, had to wait just two minutes into the second half to net his fourth goal in three games by sweeping home Sergi Roberto’s cross.Messi hit the woodwork for a third time and then saw Martinez brilliantly save his effort from the spot after Suarez was upended inside the area.But Martinez was helpless as Paulinho profited from a repeat of his first goal when he rolled into an empty net on the rebound after Jordi Alba also hit the frame of the goal.Earlier, Villarreal bounced back from three straight defeats as Pablo Fornals grabbed the only goal in a 1-0 win at Celta Vigo.Victory allowed Villarreal to leapfrog back above Girona into sixth after the Catalans had edged the battle of the high-flying newly-promoted sides over Getafe 1-0 thanks to Cristhian Stuani’s early goal.Managerless Las Palmas struck twice in the last 10 minutes to snatch a 2-2 draw with Espanyol, but remain rooted to the foot of the table.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Bruins back in recovery mode

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre UCLA responded with a 44-31 defeat of Washington. The 14-point Notre Dame debacle? The Bruins upset then-No. 10 California, 30-21, in their next game. So, on the heels of the 20-point Palouse fiasco last week? UCLA, the country’s most famous roller coaster this side of Coney Island’s Cyclone, gives its answer today when it visits Arizona. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UCLA has responded well after defeats in 2007. By Brian Dohn Staff Writer TUCSON, Ariz. – The 38-point Utah embarrassment? “I told some of the guys, let’s be real with each other. We are an inconsistent football team,” UCLA senior middle linebacker Christian Taylor said. “If somebody calls us that, I’m not going to cuss them out. There’s truth in that. The first step to healing is admittance, so I’m admitting it. We’re inconsistent.” It’s the second step that can be a doozy for UCLA. UCLA’s problem isn’t admittance, it’s adhering to its much-chirped-about “1-0 every week” mantra, which is why Athletic Director Dan Guerrero turned up the heat on fifth-year coach Karl Dorrell early in the week by saying, “I will be very interested to see how we finish the season this year.” The Bruins are 5-3 overall, with losses to a couple of the not-so-good teams in the nation. Utah, Notre Dame and Washington State are a combined 7-15 against schools not located in Westwood. But the Bruins also are 4-1 and in second place in the Pacific-10 Conference. Games with No. 6 Arizona State, No. 4 Oregon and USC follow this foray in the desert, where the Bruins were beaten by 38 points two years ago. Taylor, as well as many of his teammates, say they have no idea why the inconsistency that has been a part of the last few seasons has turned into a full-blown epidemic, especially since it is a veteran team. “I’m going to try and figure out a solution, and the only thing I know we can do is what I’ve been taught, and what I’ve learned,” Taylor said. “You just got to work, and if it’s not working, you work harder. You put your head down and keeping working.” Much of UCLA’s problems are traced to an ineffective offense, which has been hit hard by injuries and victimized by erratic play, including dropped passes, missed blocks, poor passes, poor quarterback play and turnovers. UCLA’s turnover margin (minus-4) is tied for second-worst in the Pac-10. Quarterback Ben Olson, tailback Kahlil Bell, fullback Michael Pitre and receiver Marcus Everett (all starters) will not play today because of injury. Continuity on the offensive line is another issue. With Aleksey Lanis scheduled to start at left tackle, UCLA will have its sixth combination of starters on the offensive line in nine games, despite having only left guard Shannon Tevaga miss a start because of injury. “As an offense, we’ve just been looking at the film and watching all the missed opportunities we have had,” UCLA receiver Terrence Austin said. “You don’t really see all the missed opportunities we had when the game is played, but when you come back and watch (the film), it definitely is something you see.” Were the mistakes different in any of the losses? “No,” Austin said. “Same exact stuff.” UCLA right tackle Brian Abraham said he believes the solution to playing better is to execute better in practice. “You do it bad in practice, over and over again without fixing it, it’s going to be bad in the game,” Abraham said. “We have to come out (in practice) and if something’s wrong, we have to fix it (in practice) and get it done before the game.” Prior to the losses to Utah and Washington State, effort and/or focus in practice were issues. While players said the intensity of practice was high this week, Dorrell held back on what that would mean. “We’ll see Saturday,” Dorrell said. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more