La Liga: Valencia's winless run continues with Real Sociedad defeat

Kieran Canning 03:39 11/01/2016
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Match-winner: Jonathas (right).

Valencia manager Gary Neville is trying to remain positive despite now going five games without a win in La Liga as Jonathas’s late double handed Real Sociedad a 2-0 triumph in San Sebastian.

Neville’s men had shown promising signs in holding Real Madrid 2-2 last weekend and a 4-0 thrashing of Granada in the Copa del Rey in midweek, but have now gone two months without a league win to almost certainly end their hopes of reaching the Champions League.

“It’s a blow, we needed momentum, but we played well below the expectations we have set ourselves,” said Neville. “We have to snap out of it and start winning. I can only ask the fans to be patient. The dressing room is disappointed, as am I, but tomorrow is a fresh start and we have to get the fans to believe.”

Valencia ‘keeper Jaume Domenech was at fault as he flapped at Carlos Martinez’s deflected cross and Jonathas bundled home from close range 12 minutes from time.

The same two players combined for the second four minutes later as the Brazilian this time thumped home the full-back’s cross with a bullet header into the corner.

Elsewhere, Cedric Bakambu struck twice as Villarreal moved to within three points of Barcelona with a 2-0 win over Sporting. Roberto Soldado provided the ammunition for both his strike partner’s goals with crosses that Bakambu clinically dispatched either side of half-time.

Eibar boosted their European hopes by beating Espanyol 2-1 for a third consecutive win. Takashi Inui had given Eibar a 15th-minute lead but it was quickly cancelled out by Joan Jordan only for Borja’s penalty 16 minutes from time to seal the victory.

Malaga’s four-match winning run ended with a 1-1 draw against Las Palmas in Gran Canaria. Roque Santa Cruz rescued a point for the visitors after Pedro Tana had opened the scoring

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Pochettino insists Tottenham deserve replay with Leicester

Mark Bryans 03:19 11/01/2016
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Saviour: Harry Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino insists his Tottenham side were not lucky to remain in the FA Cup as Harry Kane’s controversial late penalty earned a third-round replay against Leicester.

Kane had started the match on the bench at White Hart Lane but was called upon as the Foxes looked to be on course for another famous victory in their impressive season.

Christian Eriksen had fired the hosts ahead on eight minutes before Marcin Wasilewski levelled and substitute Shinji Okazaki struck moments after coming on to turn the game – only for Kane to thrash home an 89th minute penalty, and his 50th Tottenham goal, to secure a 2-2 draw.

Nathan Dyer conceded the untimely spot-kick having been adjudged to have handled the ball as Danny Rose broke into the Leicester penalty area and Kane, who had not had a chance until that point, emphatically finished to set up a replay.

It means Tottenham and Leicester will meet three times inside a fortnight as next week’s replay is preceded by a league clash between the pair on Wednesday night.

Asked if his side were lucky to get a replay, Pochettino replied: “Lucky? No. You must never give up. I didn’t see if it was or not. But sometimes the decisions are for you sometimes they are against you. If I watch it again I can give a better opinion.

“It’s true we are happy and very pleased to get the draw at the end. It’s important for us to stay alive in the competition. But if we analyse, the first half, we deserved more.

“We dominated the whole game. But I’m happy. The performance was good. We have another chance.”

Both sides made wholesale changes as Tottenham made seven alterations to Leicester’s eight – with Kane only on the Spurs bench and his fellow England forward Jamie Vardy not involved for the Foxes after minor groin surgery.

The replay adds to an already congested month of fixtures but Pochettino has backed his squad to prove its strength in depth as they embark on an important January.

Another trip to north London on Wednesday could see Leicester finish the evening top of the table, with current leaders Arsenal facing a tricky trip to Liverpool.

Claudio Ranieri is hopeful of having top goalscorer Vardy back for the game.

“Today he was 50/50,” the Foxes boss said of Vardy’s fitness. “Tomorrow he starts with us in the warm-up and Tuesday we will do the last training session and if he is okay, he will play.”

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Late Wayne Rooney penalty gets Manchester United through in FA Cup

Sport360 staff 23:50 09/01/2016
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match winner: Wayne Rooney.

Wayne Rooney’s stoppage-time penalty spared Manchester United from an embarrassing goalless draw as they edged third-tier Sheffield United 1-0 in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

Holders Arsenal and Manchester City both had little trouble reaching round four, but United looked destined for an unwanted replay until Rooney struck in the 93rd minute after a foul on substitute Memphis Depay.

It was only the second shot on target that United had mustered, against a team 47 places below them in the English league system, and it is unlikely to save manager Louis van Gaal from criticism.

United’s fans made their feelings plain with mocking applause whenever their team registered an effort at goal and Van Gaal was being loudly goaded by Sheffield United’s fans until the late drama.

His side seemed to have turned a corner last weekend when they beat Swansea City 2-1 to end an eight-game winning run, but they looked desperately short of ideas on their return to Old Trafford.

It took them 69 minutes to hit the target, Matteo Darmian shooting tamely at George Long, but with injury time ebbing away, Dean Hammond was penalised for lunging in on Depay.

The United winger reacted with an exaggerated dive, but there had been contact and Rooney made no mistake by sending Long the wrong way from the spot.

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