Chelsea’s unlikely treble remains alive as the Blues edge Arsenal in the FA Cup; Sunderland leapfrog Hull with huge 1-nil victory; Stoke win big against falling Rovers

Arsenal 1 – Chelsea 2 (FA Cup semi-final, April 18, 2009) Poor goalkeeping from Fabianski, running out of his goal and not collecting, almost gifted Didier Drogba an opener but an alert Kieran Gibbs cleared the ball off the goalline. Arsenal then struck first in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, Adebayor and Gibbs combined well down the Gunners left and Theo Walcott volleyed home the cross – although questions will be asked against Petr Cech’s efforts to make the save. After the Gunners had made most of the running in the early stages Chelsea hit back just after the half hour, Frank Lampard’s raking pass was brought down by Florent Malouda on the left-side and, after cutting inside Eboue, the Frenchman beat Fabianski at the near post. Abou Diaby then had his blushers spared after he lost possession to Nicklas Anelka but the Chelsea striker saw his shot rebound off the far post. The second half was a pulsating affair with both sides having opportunities to bag a second. But seven minutes from time it was Chelsea who struck as Didier Drogba latched onto a long Lampard punt ahead of Fabianski (why was the keeper again so far outside his goal?), and with the goal gaping the Ivorian scored the winner.

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Sunderland 1 – Hull 0 (Premier League, April 18, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) The Stadium of Light went bananas on the stroke of halftime as Djibril Cisse converted Andy Ried’s cross to give the Black Cats the lead over Hull.

Stoke 1 – Blackburn 0 (Premier League, April 18, 2009) The match was settled 15 minutes from time, Danny Higginbotham whipped over a cross from the left, James Beattie knocked the ball down to Liam Lawrence who cut inside Gael Givet and rifled his shot through a helpless Paul Robinson.

Middlesbrough 0 – Fulham 0 (Premier League, April 18, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) Boro failed to pose an attacking threat for much of the game and it was Fulham who came closest to breaking the deadlock when striker Andy Johnson’s first half shot came back off the inside of the post. Boro remain in the relegation zone, three points adrift of Blackburn.

Aston Villa 1 – West Ham 1 (Premier League, April 18, 2009) (Longer highlights here, MOTD highlights here.) Playing strangely in white because of a late kit clash spotted by the ref, Aston Villa took ten minutes before breaking the deadlock with West Ham as James Milner’s cross was slotted home by Emile Heskey. Villa controlled the match for large periods without ever netting the second, and they were made to pay inside the final ten minutes when Diego Tristan managed to flick on a stray Kieron Dyer shot.

Portsmouth 1 – Bolton 0 (Premier League, April 18, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) A goal twelve minutes from time from Nwankwo Kanu steered Pompey further away from the drop zone in a game that they had dominated.

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Celtic 2 – Aberdeen 0 (SPL, April 18, 2009) Celtic took the lead over Aberdeen just before the break when Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink scored following a Nakamura corner. Good link up play between Hesselink and Scott McDonald saw the Aussie grab the game’s second early in the second half.

Motherwell 0 – St. Mirren 2 (SPL, April 18, 2009) Motherwell suffered a body blow when poor defending allowed Steven Thomson the simple task of netting his first Saints goal after 77 minutes. The match was settled by a magnificent 30-yard lob from Andy Dorman that dropped into the net just below the crossbar.

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Getafe 0 – Barcelona 1 (La Liga, April 18, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Lionel Messi finished off a move involving Eto’o and Xavi to put Barcelona into the lead at Getafe. Later in the first half Thierry Henry missed a one-on-one chance to double the scoreline.

Recreativo Huelva  0 – Real Madrid 1 (La Liga, April 18, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Marcelo ran onto Gago’s precise through pass in the 49th minute to seal victory for Real and keep alive their hopes of overhauling their rivals as the season draws to a close.

Athletic Bilbao 0 – Deportivo La Coruna 1 (La Liga, April 18, 2009) Pablo Alvarez’s 86th minute shot deflected off a defender to land in goal and leave Athletic at the bottom of the standings.

Malaga 1 – Mallorca 1 (La Liga, April 18, 2009) Following a largely forgettable first half with few chances for either side, Malaga took the lead after 53 minutes through Apono. Mallorca hit back just six minutes later with a free-kick from captain Juan Arango and held on nervously at the end to move a point closer to survival.

Atletico Madrid 3 – Numancia 0 (La Liga, April 18, 2009) Ever Banega, Diego Forlan and Sabrosa Simao scored second half goals, for Atletico to tie fourth-place Valencia.

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Juventus 1 – Inter Milan 1 (Serie A, April 18, 2009) Midway through the second-half a lightning break from Inter claimed the only goal with Mario Balotelli finishing after great play from Ibrahimovic and a fine cross from Muntari. Despite being down to ten men after the sending off of Tiago, Juve salvaged a draw with a late equaliser from Grygera.

Genoa 0 – Lazio 1 (Serie A, April 18, 2009) Genoa’s Champions League hopes were dented by a home defeat to Lazio, Mauro Zarate once again getting on the scoresheet with a low shot into the far corner.

Livorno 2 – Parma 2 (Serie B, April 18, 2009) Tavano’s penalty gave Livorno the lead but midway through the second half Alessandro Lucarelli rose to nod in Leon’s cross against his former club. Danilevicius came off the bench to restore Livorno’s lead 30 seconds later with his header from a corner, but Paloschi sealed the draw when Castellini’s shot came off the upright.

Bari 3 – Rimini 0 (Serie B, April 18, 2009) The Galletti had several chances to open the scoring before Kutuzov’s diving header from a corner on 32 minutes. Guberti’s splendid strike with the outside of his right foot beat the goalkeeper on the bounce for the second, while Donda spotted Agliardi off his line to delicately lob in the third.

Vicenza 1 – Brescia 2 (Serie B, April 18, 2009) Caracciolo held up the ball for Rispoli to open the scoring. Seven minutes later Gorzegno had made it 2-0 by nodding in a corner. The Rondinelle held out, although Bjelanovic got one back in the second half by tapping in from close range.

Empoli 2 – Treviso 1 (Serie B, April 18, 2009)

Salernitana 4 – Albinoleffe 2 (Serie B, April 18, 2009)

Avellino 1 – Piacenza 1 (Serie B, April 18, 2009)

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Wolfsburg 2 – Bayer Leverkusen 1 (Bundesliga, April 18, 2009) At home to Leverkusen, who made all the early running, Wolfsburg benefited from a controversial penalty decision for a foul on Grafite, with the striker taking personal responsibility to convert from the spot. Leverkusen rallied after the break and netted a deserved equaliser when Bayern-loanee Toni Kroos claimed his first goal for Bayer with a clinical strike from Rolfes pass. For the majority of the second half it appeared the it would be the visitors would would score again, only for Grafite to side-foot in a 82nd winner that suggested that Wolfsburg may well become champions after riding their luck.

Arminia Bielefeld 0 – Bayern Munich 1 (Bundesliga, April 18, 2009) From a 64th minute short corner, Franck Ribery’s crossed for Luca Toni to head in the only goal of the match.

Bochum 0 – Borussia Dortmund 2 (Bundesliga, April 18, 2009) Borussia Dortmund continued their recent good fortune at Bochum early doors, Patrick Owomoyela heading home a corner after 11 minutes. Nelson Valdez grabbed a 54th minute second with a stunner, curling an inch-perfect shot into the top right-hand corner of the net.

Cologne 0 – Stuttgart 3 (Bundesliga, April 18, 2009) Mario Gomez handed Stuttgart a 16th minute lead at Cologne connecting with a Hilbert cross at the near post. Stuttgart doubled their lead in the 55th minute through Mario Gomez’s second after Cacau had done all the hard work beating two defenders and playing in the forward to score into an open net. Mario Gomez wrapped up a personal triumph with his hat-trick goal.

Karlsruhe 2 – Hoffenheim 2 (Bundesliga, April 18, 2009) Looking to recover from a terrible 2009 to-date, Hoffenheim moved ahead when Sejad Salihovic curled in a beauty from outside the box. But the Village Team could not hold onto their lead as Sebastian Freis drew Karlsruher level five minutes later. Back came the visitors at the start of the second half, Selim Teber brilliantly heading home a Salihovic left-wing cross. Again the visitors could not protect their lead, Giovanni Federico equalising with an excellent shot from the edge of the box.

Eintracht Frankfurt 4 – Monchengladbach 1 (Bundesliga, April 18, 2009) A powerful header from Frankfurt’s Alexander Meier gave the hosts the lead over Gladbach minutes before the interval. Immediately after the restart it was two, Nikos Liberopoulos doubling the lead with a snap-shot just inside the Gladbach box. Filip Daems pulled a goal back from the spot before the hosts put the game to bed with late goals from Marco Russ and Michael Fink.

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Saint-Etienne 2 – Lille 1 (Ligue 1, April 18, 2009) Strike partners Araujo Ilan and Bafetimbi Gomis got a goal each in the second half to put Les Verts 2-0 up, but a late goal from Lille striker Nicolas Fauvergue ensured a nervy finish for Saint-Etienne.

Caen 1 – Nancy 2 (Ligue 1, April 18, 2009) Youssouf Hadji opened the scoring in the first minute of the game from close range, and Sambou Yatabare equalised for the home side just before halftime when he fired a missile of a shot into the top corner. (First half goals here.) Geoffrey Adjet restored his team’s lead with five minutes to go with a glorious winner.

Grenoble 1 – Toulouse 0 (Ligue 1, April 18, 2009) Laurent Courtois converted a spot-kick six minutes before the break to dent Toulouse’s Champions League hopes.

Nantes 2 – Nice 0 (Ligue 1, April 18, 2009) Nantes moved two points clear of the drop zone after first Cameroon international Christian Bekamenga and then French-born Malian Mamadou Bagayoko earned the club a vital win.

Sochaux 0 – Auxerre 1 (Ligue 1, April 18, 2009) Thomas Kahlenberg broke Sochaux fans’ heart when he scored the 85th minute winner at Stade Abbey-Deschamps.

Valenciennes 0 – Le Mans 2 (Ligue 1, April 18, 2009) Gregory Cerdan’s missile from 30 yards gave Le Mans the lead, and former Liverpool flop Anthony le Tallec scored his second goal in as many games to seal the win.

Monaco 3 – Rennes 1 (Ligue 1, April 18, 2009) After a goalless opening half, Lucien Aubey was sent off for the visitors for a dangerous tackle which gifted Jerko Leko the chance to score from spot after 77 minutes. Pino burst forward to rifle past Nicolas Douchez with eight minutes left before Rennes replied through Bruno Cheyrou’s free-kick. Monaco clinched all three points two minutes into injury-time when Pino put the ball into an empty net after all 11 Rennes players went up field in search of a last-gasp goal from a corner.

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AZ Alkmaar 1 – Vitesse 2 (Eredivisie, April 18, 2009) All had seemed to be going to plan for AZ to win the title when Mounir El Hamdaoui opened the scoring in the 19th minute. But Ricky van Wolfswinkel restored parity for the visitors nine minutes from time and then substitute Alexander Buttner struck an 83rd minute winner to silence the home crowd.

Feyenoord 1 – FC Twente 0 (Eredivisie, April 18, 2009) A penalty in the second half by Roy Makaay proved the difference between Feyenoord and nine-man FC Twente. The home side finished the game with 10 men when Giovanni van Bronckhorst was sent off on the stroke of full-time. Douglas and Cheik Tiote had already been dismissed for the visitors.

NEC 1 – Roda 1 (Eredivisie, April 18, 2009) NEC’s pursuit of a Europa League place took a blow as they were held to a draw by struggling Roda. NEC needed a Bas Sibum equaliser nine minutes from time after Sekou Cisse had put the visitors from Kerkrade ahead.

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Mouscron 0 – Standard Liege 3 (Jupiler League, April 18, 2009) Oguchi Onyewu scored the opening goal on 14 minutes and Wilfried Dalmat added a second just after the interval. Onyewu then went on to make it 0-3 five minutes after the hour.

Club Brugge 3 – Mons-Bergen 2 (Jupiler League, April 18, 2009)

Tubize 3 – Charleroi 1 (Jupiler League, April 18, 2009)

Zulte-Waregem 5 – Kortrijk 1 (Jupiler League, April 18, 2009)

Lokeren 1 – Germinal Beerschot 0 (Jupiler League, April 18, 2009)

KV Mechelen 0 – Cercle Bruges 1 (Jupiler League, April 18, 2009)

Genk 2 – Gent 2 (Jupiler League, April 17, 2009) Anele Ngcongca gave Genk a 10th minute lead but Gent responded through Christophe Grondin (33) and Adnan Custovic (63). Genk earned a point when Stein Huysegems levelled nine minutes later.

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Vitoria Guimaraes 1 – Sporting Lisbon 2 (Superliga, April 18, 2009) The home side did take the lead through Roberto in the 56th minute but Lisbon saved the best for last and equalised through Derlei in the 81st minute. The winning goal came from Liedson with just a minute left to play in regular time.

Nacional 1 – Braga 1 (Superliga, April 18, 2009) Luis Aguiar put the visitors ahead 10 minutes before the break, but Nene (who can’t stop scoring at present) levelled just past the hour for Nacional, who had Alonso dismissed after 70 minutes.

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Ankaraspor 1 – Fenerbahce 0 (Super Lig, April 18, 2009) Mehmet Cakir scored the only goal for the capital club with 16 minutes to go.

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Spartak Moscow 2 – Terek Grozny 0 (Russian Premier League, April 18, 2009) Managerless Spartak won the match late on with strikes from Vladimir Bystrov and Weliton.

Saturn 0 – FC Moscow 1 (Russian Premier League, April 18, 2009)

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Maccabi Petah Tikva 0 – Beitar Jerusalem 2 (Ligat ha’Al, April 18, 2009) Beitar got back to form with a convincing 2-nil victory, Idan Tal scored Beitar’s first goal in the 9th minute, and Barak Itzhaki put the game away with his score in the 76th minute.

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Brondby 5 – Sonderjylland 1 (SAS Ligaen, April 18, 2009) Alexander Farnerud set the hosts on their way with the opener in the second minute and doubled their advantage in the 24th.Michael Krohn-Delhi made it three 12 minutes after the interval and, although John Jairo Mosquera briefly gave the visitors hope, a late double from Ousman Jallow – the second from the penalty spot – sealed the rout.

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Red Star Belgrade 0 – Vojvodina Novi Sad 1 (Serbian Super Liga, April 18, 2009)

Partizan Belgrade 1 – Javor 0 (Serbian Super Liga, April 18, 2009)

Rad 1 – Hajduk Kula 1 (Serbian Super Liga, April 18, 2009)

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Urawa Red Diamonds 1 – Kyoto Sanga FC 0 (J-League, April 18, 2009) Edmilson’s seventh minute lob was enough to send Urawa second.

Kashiwa Reysol 1 – Nagoya Grampus Eight 2 (J-League, April 18, 2009) Kashiwa remain without a win after seven matches, falling to third-place Nagoya. Minoru Suganuma equalised a Davi opener, only for Davi to sealed the points with a 90th minute winner.

Albirex Niigata 3 – Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3 (J-League, April 18, 2009) The visitors took the lead after 15 minutes through Hisato Sato, but Pedro Junior struck back with a hat-trick before half-time with goals in the 22nd, 30th and 43rd minutes. But all their hard work came undone in the second half as Yosuke Kashiwagi pulled one back for Sanfrecce after 55 minutes before the visitors tied the game with 18 minutes to play thanks to a Mitsuru Nagata own goal.

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San Jose Earthquakes 1 – LA Galaxy 1 (MLS, April 18, 2009) The Earthquakes took a 5th minute when Chris Leitch sent a long pass down the middle to Pablo Campos, who got behind the Galaxy defense to score. The Galaxy equalised 15 minutes from time when Landon Donovan cross for Bryan Jordan to head home.

Chicago Fire 2 – KC Wizards 2 (MLS, April 18, 2009) Brian McBride opened in the 13th minute, mopping up some poor KC defending to score from 20 yards out. McBride scored again in the 20th minute to hand Chicago a 2-nil advantage. Josh Wolff reduced the deficit in the 78th minute with a goal from close range before Wolff equalised in the 89th minute to earn the Wizards a point.

Chivas USA 2 – Seattle Sounders 0 (MLS, April 18, 2009) Seattle defender James Riley put the ball into his own net in the 32nd minute, and Chivas’ Chukwudi Chijindu scored his first career goal in the 84th minute to seal the win for the hosts.

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Velez Sarsfield 2 – Arsenal Sarandi 0 (Clausura, April 18, 2009) Rodrigo Lopez put Velez ahead when he collected Gaston Diaz’s cross from the right and fired in from close range on the stroke of halftime. Joaquin Larrivey had a penalty saved by Arsenal keeper Campestrini in the 71st minute but Velez made sure of the points when Leandro Coronel capitalised on an incisive pass from Roberto Nanni in the 90th minute.

Gimnasia LP 1 – Rosario Central 1 (Clausura, April 18, 2009)

Racing Club 1 – Banfield 0 (Clausura, April 18, 2009) Adrian Lucero scored the winner in the ninth minute after a one-two with Pablo Luguercio to lift Racing to seventh.

Huracan 4 – Argentinos Jrs 1 (Clausura, April 18, 2009)

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Kano Pillars 1 – Al Ahly 1 (African Champions League, third round first leg, April 18, 2009)