Slick Arsenal return to form against Burnley; Everton progress past Boro to the FA Cup semis

Arsenal 3 – Burnley 0 (FA Cup, March 8, 2009) (Longer highlights here and extended ITV highlights here.) The fifth round FA Cup match at the Emirates started at a pedestrian pace with Kieron Gibbs firing a volley wide on the quarter hour, but 25 minutes in Arsenal pounced. Arshavin slipped a ball to Carlos Vela who weaved his way into the box and produced a cute chipped finish for the opener. (First half highlights here.) Arsenal pressed home their advantage of the break as Eduardo da Silva timed a run to perfection before expertly volleying home a Song cross. The Gunners, who could have scored at least six, added a third at the death as Emmanuel Eboue benefitted from Song’s neat backheel to fire home the third. (Second half highlights here.)

Everton 2 – Middlesbrough 1 (FA Cup, March 8, 2009) (Extended ITV highlights here.) Middlesbrough looked to upset the Everton apple cart as they wrestled the lead on the stroke of halftime, Matthew Bates picked up a loose clearance on the right and his cross was converted by David Wheater. (First half highlights here.) The Toffees levelled at the start of the second half, Cahill swung in a cross from the right and Marouane Fellaini used his massive head to beat Robert Huth to the ball and guide his effort over a wandering Brad Jones. And Boro’s failure to cut out crosses cost them dear as they conceded another after Pienaar teed up Louis Saha for a second.

The FA Cup semi-final draw can be seen here.

***

Plymouth 2  – Reading 2 (Championship, March 7, 2009) Paul Sturrock’s revitalised Pilgrims looked to be making more progress as they twice went in front through Paul Gallagher (20) and a stunner from Jamie Mackie (56). But the Royals, who saw Wolves and Birmingham both claim victories, twice levelled through Alex Pearce (22) and Jimmy Kebe (80).

Cardiff 3 – Doncaster 0 (Championship, March 7, 2009) Michael Chopra scored his third since returning to Cardiff before Jay Bothroyd volleyed home the second. Eddie Johnson then bagged his first Cardiff goal on the hour to seal a comfortable win.

Bristol Rovers 2 – Leeds 2 (League One, March 7, 2009) Jeff Hughes’s opening volley for Rovers was wiped out by a Luciano Becchio and a fine Robert Snodgrass free-kick. But Rovers refused to lose, and Jo Kuffour controlled expertly before firing in an last minute equaliser.

***

Getafe 1 – Malaga 2 (La Liga, March 8, 2009) Malaga did their European hopes a world of good with an impressive away victory, Eliseu and Baha put them 2-up, Contra pulled one back for the hosts in a game that saw no fewer than 13 yellow cards and 2 reds.

Deportivo La Coruna 5 – Racing Santander 3 (La Liga, March 8, 2009) Jonathan handed Racing the lead after just one minute but Juan Rodriguez equalised for Depor on 25 minutes. Nikola Zigic then restored Racing’s advantage before a brace from substitute Riki sandwiched a strike from Angel Lafita to hand Depor the edge. Joan Verdu bagged a fifth for the home side before Jesus Berrocal came off the bench for Racing to net a consolation.

Mallorca 3 – Betis 3 (La Liga, March 8, 2009) Mallorca came from a remarkable three goals down to secure a point. Mark Gonzalez, Sergio Garcia and Arturo Arzu handed Betis a resounding lead with Mallorca seemingly dead and buried. But substitutes Gonzalo Castro and Pierre Webo pulled two back for Mallorca before a second from Castro salvaged a dramatic draw.

Sevilla 2 – Almeria 1 (La Liga, March 8, 2009) Sevilla exploited slack Almeria defending after just five minutes as Romaric’s cross flew over the defence and Freddie Kanoute was able to control and score. On the hour mark Reneto scored a clumsy second for Sevilla but Negredo got Almeria back in the game with a penalty.

Recreativo 2 – Valladolid 3 (La Liga, March 8, 2009) Goals from Jonathan Sesma and Nenok Goitom put Valladolid ahead before Perez Colunga pulled one back for Recre from the penalty spot. Goitom netted his second of the game after the break before receiving his marching orders. Recre’s Javier Camunas then bagged another but the comeback never materialised despite Rubio Alvaro also being dismissed in the latter stages.

Osasuna 1 – Sporting Gijon 2 (La Liga, March 8, 2009) Sporting raced into a 2-nil lead inside 20 minute with goals from Barral and a Diego Castro stunner. Nekounam pulled a goal back from the spot but Osasuna could not find the equaliser.

Numancia 2 – Valencia 1 (La Liga, March 8, 2009) Numancia dented Valencia’s European hopes after coming from behind to keep Los Che out of the top six. Vicente had fired Valencia into a 10th minute lead, but Carlos Aranda and a sweet Barkero free-kick turned the match in the hosts’ favour.

Alicante 2  – Tenerife 2 (Segunda Division, March 7, 2009)

Elche 1 – Real Murcia 1 (Segunda Division, March 7, 2009)

Zaragoza 2 – Hercules 2 (Segunda Division, March 7, 2009)

***

AC Milan 3 – Atalanta 0 (Serie A, March 8, 2009) It took AC Milan just six minutes to move ahead of Atalanta, Jankulovski whipped in a pacey low cross from the left and Pippo Inzaghi spun on a sixpence and crashed home the opener. (First half highlights here.) As the match headed into the final stages Milan cashed in with two quick-fire goal. Inzaghi skipped past the keeper after being free through the middle to claim the second, and a fabulous one-two between Jankulovski and Zambrotta gifted Super Pippo his hat-trick goal.

Catania 0 – Siena 3 (Serie A, March 8, 2009) Massimo Maccarone scored a brilliant solo effort after nine minutes to give Siena the lead as the former Boro forward carried the ball up-field before releasing a 20-yard bullet into the top corner. And after Catania thumped Palermo 4-nil last weekend, they were served up some of their own medicine as Ghezzal and Jarolim added late goals for Siena.

Napoli 0 – Lazio 2 (Serie A, March 8, 2009) A second half brace from Tommaso Rocchi earned Lazio the points, Rocchi’s first arrived after 56 minutes before his struck home a second from the edge of the box.

Fiorentina 0 – Palermo 2 (Serie A, March 8, 2009) Fiorentina trail AC Milan by four points in the race for a Champions League spot after being sunk by second half goals from Simplicio and Miccoli.

Bologna 3 – Sampdoria 0 (Serie A, March 8, 2009) Marco Di Vaio was the hero for Bologna bagging a hat-trick to down Samp.

Chievo 1 – Cagliari 1 (Serie A, March 8, 2009) Jeda’s close-range finish put Cagliari in front on 28 minutes, but Chievo earned a point on 56 minutes when Stephen Makinwa drove home.

Lecce 0 – Reggina 0 (Serie A, March 8, 2009) Lecce and bottom side Reggina played out a disappointing draw that failed to really help either side in their relegation dogfight.

All the goals from Sunday afternoon’s action in Serie A can be seen here.

***

Bayer Leverkusen 1 – Bochum 1 (Bundesliga, March 8, 2009) Bochum took the lead at Leverkusen as Christophe Dabrowski headed home a delicious Fuchs free-kick but the hosts equalised midway through the second half through a Patrick Helmes penalty.

***

St. Etienne 2 – Nantes 1 (Ligue 1, March 8, 2009) In a blistering start, Ivan Klasnic headed Nantes into  fourth minute lead only for Ilan to draw the hosts level with an 11th minute penalty. And Araujo Ilan capped a thrilling first half with a ripper on the half hour mark that arrowed into the top corner.

Rennes 2 – Auxerre 0 (Ligue 1, March 8, 2009) Carlos Bocanegra headed in a cross from Mickael Pagis to put Rennes ahead in the ninth minute, and Jimmy Briand tucked home another cross from Pagis to double the lead in the 36th.

Le Havre 2 – Sochaux 1 (Ligue 1, March 8, 2009) Jacques Faty diverted in a free-kick to open the scoring for Sochaux in the 12th, but Amadou Alassane levelled four minutes later. Olivier Davidas netted the winner for Le Havre after being put clear through on goal and slipping the ball past the keeper.

***

NEC 0 – AZ Alkmaar 1 (Eredivisie, March 8, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) AZ’s march towards the title gathered further momentum thanks to a win at NEC, Kew Jaliens grabbing the only goal six minutes into the second half.

Twente 1 – PSV 1 (Eredivisie, March 8, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) PSV took the lead on 63 minutes through Balazs Dzsudzsak, but Blaise N’Kufo pounced in injury-time to earn Steve McClaren’s men a point.

ADO Den Haag 1 – Ajax 1 (Eredivisie, March 8, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) After a goalless first half (highlights here) both goals arrived minutes after each other in the second. Rob Wielaert fired Ajax in front with a volley from the edge of the box before Wesley Verhoek was brought off the bench and equalised inside 60 seconds.

NAC Breda 1 – Feyenoord 2 (Eredivisie, March 8, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Donny Gorter gave NAC the lead at the break with a 42nd minute penalty but the visitors levelled early in the second half when Georginio Wijnaldum struck from just inside the box. Feyenoord stole the points late on courtesy of a Jon Dahl Tomasson winner.

Volendam 1 – Vitesse 0 (Eredivisie, March 8, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Bottom side FC Volendam registered just their fifth win of the season after a Jack Tuyp goal proved enough to see off Vitesse.

Roda 0 – Utrecht 0 (Eredivisie, March 8, 2009) (Longer highlights here.)

***

Naval 1 – Benfica 2 (Superliga, March 8, 2009) Pablo Aimar set Benfica on the way their to a first away win for three months by firing home in the third minute after the Naval defense failed to clear a free-kick by Jose Antonio Reyes. Naval equalised in the 53rd minute through Marcelinho’s angled shot, only for Katsouranis to head home following another Reyes free-kick in the 74th.

Amadora 2 – Braga 2 (Superliga, March 8, 2009) Jardel’s first half header was cancelled out by Paulo Cesar’s scrappy equaliser early in the second half. Jardel restored the hosts’ lead with a fierce second just three minutes later but Braga’s wonderkid Orlanda Sa converted a late penalty to leave it honours even.

Vitoria Guimaraes 3 – Belenenses 1 (Superliga, March 8, 2009) Gregory opened the scoring for Guimaraes in the 39th minute to send last-place Belenenses towards its 11th defeat of the season. Although Jose Pedro equalised for Belenenses in the 47th, the home team added goals through Joao Alves in the 66th and Yves Desmarets in the 74th.

***

Kayserispor 0 – Fenerbahce 2 (Super Lig, March 8, 2009) Fener remain in the title hunt after picking up another three points. The goals came from Semih Senturk and Alex while keeper Volkan Demirel was sent off on 54 minutes.

Sivasspor 1 – Ankaraspor 1 (Super Lig, March 8, 2009) The hosts took an early lead when Kurtulus’ third minute free-kick missed everyone to nestle in the net. But Ankaraspor drew level in the second half through Sozen to earn a share of the spoils.

***

PAOK 0 – Olympiakos 0 (Greek Super League, March 8, 2009) Olympiakos went a man down when Kostas Mendrinos picked up a second yellow card on 61 minutes, but PAOK failed to take advantage and had Joe Bizera sent off themselves close to full time.

Panserraikos 1 – AEK Athens 5 (Greek Super League, March 8, 2009) AEK’s lethal forward Ismael Blanco needed just six minutes to score at Panserraikos. Nastja Ceh pulled the hosts level from the spot before AEK ran wild with Djebbour cashing in with a double, Blanco bagged his second and Scocco hit a fifth on the stroke of halftime.

Xanthi 1 – Panthrakikos 0 (Greek Super League, March 8, 2009)

***

Lech Poznan 1 – Jagiellonia Bialystok 0 (Ekstraklasa, March 8, 2009) Robert Lewandowski slotted home the winner in the 48th minute.

***

Young Boys 3 – Bellinzona 0 (Swiss Super League, March 8, 2009)

***

Anorthosis 1 – APOEL 2 (Cypriot First Division, March 8, 2009) Despite taking the lead through Frousos, Anorthosis fell to a shock defeat with Zewlakow and Morais.

***

FC Midtjylland 1 – Brondby 1 (Superligaen, March 8, 2009)

***

Hajduk Split 1 – Sesvete 0 (1. HNL, March 8, 2009)

***

FC Lviv 1 – Metalist Kharkiv 1 (Vyscha Liga, March 8, 2009)

Zorya 0 – Arsenal Kiev 1 (Vyscha Liga, March 8, 2009)

***

River Plate 3 – Arsenal Sarandi 1 (Clausura, March 8, 2009) Luciano Leguizamon put Arsenal ahead with a penalty in first-half injury time after a foul by Nicolas Sanchez, who was sent off. River replied with a Radamel Falcao Garcia header and a delightful chip from Gallardo. Arsenal had Sergio Sena sent off in the 73rd minute and River sub Rodrigo Archubi, who had only been on for 10 minutes, followed immediately for lashing out at an opponent. Gallardo added a third in the 77th minute before Arsenal had Anibal Matellan sent off for a second bookable offence.

Independiente 2 – Boca Juniors 0 (Clausura, March 8, 2009) Boca were reduced to 10 men after 23 minutes when Pablo Mouche was booked for a bad tackle and dissent in quick succession. Independiente’s Daniel Montenegro scored 10 minutes after halftime before Montenegro added the second from a 78th minute penalty. Boca’s frustration boiled over when Sebastian Battaglia was dismissed for lashing out at a player.

***

Palmeiras 1 – Corinthians 1 (Campeonato Paulista, March 8, 2009) Ronaldo sent Corinthians wild netting his first goal for the club, a 90th minute header that drew the visitors level after Diego Souza’s 38th minute opener.