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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Roma warm up for Liverpool clash with win

Football Briefs: Roma warm up for Liverpool clash with win

Last updated on: April 22, 2018 00:00 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field 

Roma

IMAGE: Roma's Konstantinos Manolas celebrates. Photograph: Alberto Lingria/Reuters

Roma enjoyed a perfect dress rehearsal for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie with Liverpool when Radja Nainggolan and Patrick Schick struck after a Francesco Vicari own goal to give them a 3-0 win at SPAL in Serie A on Saturday.

 

The result left Roma third on 67 points from 34 games, three ahead of city rivals Lazio and four ahead of Inter Milan who both have a game in hand in the three-way battle for two Champions League slots.

With one eye on Tuesday’s clash with Liverpool at Anfield, Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco left the bulk of his regular starters on the bench and the makeshift side delivered with a classy performance at relegation-threatened SPAL.

After a cagey opening half-hour, Vicari fired Roma ahead in the 33rd minute when he poked the ball into his own net from seven metres in an attempt to divert a Lorenzo Pellegrini pass to the advancing Kevin Strootman.

SPAL keeper Alex Meret made two fine saves before halftime but was powerless in the 52nd minute, when Nainggolan unleashed a swerving volley into the bottom right corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Pellegrini provided another superb assist in the 59th for Schick to head home from close range as Roma turned on the heat, with Stephan El Shaarawy missing several chances including a diving header which hit the post.

Roma keeper Alison Becker was rarely called into action but made two good saves to deny Alberto Paloschi and Mirko Antenucci, leaving SPAL in 17th place on 29 points from 34 games, one ahead of Crotone who have a game in hand.

In the day’s other matches, Sassuolo are at home to Fiorentina (1600 GMT) while AC Milan take on bottom team Benevento in the evening kick-off (1845 GMT).

The round’s stand-out fixture is Sunday’s potential title showdown as champions and leaders Juventus (85 points) take on second-placed Napoli (81) at home.

Strugglers Hamburg beat Freiburg to get Bundesliga lifeline

Struggling Hamburg SV battled past Freiburg 1-0 in their relegation derby on Saturday to earn a lifeline in their desperate bid to stay up with three matches left.

The former European champions, who are the only Bundesliga team to have played in the top division in every season since the league's creation in 1963, are in 17th place on 25 points, five behind Freiburg who are in the relegation playoff spot in 16th.

Hamburg had their keeper Julian Pollersbeck to thank for keeping a clean sheet in the first half but Lewis Holtby snatched the winner before Freiburg were left with 10 men when Caglar Soyuncu was dismissed with a very harsh second yellow card.

Vfl Wolfsburg, who lost 3-0 at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday, are also on 30, the same as Mainz 05 who are in action at Augsburg on Sunday.

Bayern Munich, already crowned champions, never hit top form in their 3-0 victory at Hanover 96 as they prepare to face Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals next week.

They had to wait almost an hour to break the deadlock with substitute Thomas Mueller firing in from a Juan Bernat cross. Fellow substitute Robert Lewandowski added another with a header in the 73rd and Sebastian Rudy completed a comfortable afternoon for the champions.

Hoffenheim's Mark Uth scored twice in his side's 5-2 demolition of RB Leipzig to climb above their opponents and into fifth place on 49. Leipzig are sixth on 47.

Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen take on Borussia Dortmund, fourth on goal difference, later on Sunday as they battle to secure spots in next season's Champions League group stage.

Marseille hammer Lille to stay in Champions League race

Olympique de Marseille’s Florian Thauvin and Konstantinos Mitroglou both scored twice as they hammered Lille 5-1 at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday to stay in the hunt for France’s third Champions League qualification place.

The win put Marseille level on 69 points with third-placed Olympique Lyonnais, who beat Dijon 5-2 on Friday and are ahead of Marseille on goal difference.

Struggling Lille are second from bottom on 29 points, a point adrift of the safety zone.

Thauvin stole in front of his marker at the front post to open the scoring early in the first half by heading Bouna Sarr’s cross home from a tight angle. On the half-hour mark he scored from the spot after Dimitri Payet was fouled in the box.

Striker Mitroglou netted a third in the 35th minute, rising high to steer Jordan Amavi’s cross in at the far post, and he scored his second three minutes later with a close-range volley to put his side 4-0 up at the break.

Lille playmaker Yassine Benzia reduced the deficit by drilling a low left-foot shot into the net in the 54th minute, but winger Lucas Ocampos made it 5-1 with a powerful strike 14 minutes later.

Source:
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