Torres keeps Liverpool in the hunt after Chelsea suffer at the hands of Mike Riley; Stalemate in the Tyne-Wear derby; Messi leads Barca

Liverpool 2 – Chelsea 0 (Premier League, February 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) (MOTD highlights here and interviews and analysis here.)  Xabi Alonso warmed the palms of Petr Cech in the early exchanges with a super strike from 25-yards. A poor half then transpired with Chelsea offering nothing up-front, and the Blues were lucky to see Ashley Cole’s deflection go wide of the post after Riera had tested Cech. Chelsea continued to look sloppy after the break, Alex almost contrived to give a simple goal away to Dirk Kuyt. Referee Mike Riley made a horrible decision sending off Frank Lampard after the Chelsea captain clearly won the ball in a tackle with Alonso. Liverpool continued the pound the Chelsea goal, Alonso’s deflected strike striking the bar and Yossi Benayoun forced another great save from Cech. Eventually the pressure paid off, Fernando Torres headed home Aurelio’s cross at the near post. And a poor mistake from Cole let in Benayoun, the ball fell to Torres and the Spaniard scored into the empty net.

Newcastle 1 – Sunderland 1 (Premier League, February 1, 2009) Sunderland struck first in the Tyne-Wear derby, Dean Whitehead’s dinked ball forward fell to Djibril Cisse who scored on the second attempt past Steve Harper. The Toon drew level midway through the second half, Taylor was pushed over in the box by Malbranque and Shola Ameobi rifled home the penalty.

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Wolves 3 – Watford 1 (Championship, January 31, 2009) Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Andrew Keogh put Wolves in the ascendancy, and although Adrian Mariappa pulled one back for Watford, Sam Vokes clinched the victory with a close-range header in the final minute.

Walsall 1 – Leeds 0 (League One, January 31, 2009) Sofiene Zaaboub delivered a great cross into the box and Troy Deeney headed his third goal in as many games.

Dagenham & Redbridge 0 – Darlington 1 (League Two, January 31, 2009) Pawel Abbott latched on to a long ball over the top after 74 minutes, and with Daggers screaming for an offside call, he confidently tucked his shot under Tony Roberts.

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Inverness CT 0 – Celtic 0 (SPL, February 1, 2009) Inverness and Celtic played out a tight and dull first half (highlights here) at Caledonian Stadium.

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Sporting Gijon 1 – Sevilla 0 (La Liga, February 1, 2009) Castro’s first header header was the difference between the sides.

Valencia 3 – Almeria 2 (La Liga, February 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Joaquin volleyed Valencia in the lead five minutes in, but Negredo pulled Almeria level getting on the end of a cross. David Villa put Valencia back in the lead from the spot. (First half highlights here.) David Villa extended Los Che lead with a fine low drive, only for Alvaro Negredo to pull a goal back three minutes later.

Racing Santander 1 – Barcelona 2 (La Liga, February 1, 2009) The shock was momentarily on the cards in Santander after Nikola Zigic fired Racing ahead of Barca from the spot. Barca quickly dragged themselves level, Xavi header crashed against the bar and Leo Messi was on hand to score. Leo Messi then won the game for Barca with a brilliant right-foot volley from the diminutive Argentine.

Atletico Madrid 1 – Valladolid 2 (La Liga, February 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Prieto’s deflected shot gave Valladolid the lead at Atletico Madrid. Atletico equalised when Diego Forlan’s shot was deflected into his own net by Calvo, but the visitors rallied and regain the lead through Victor.

Osasuna 1 – Mallorca 0 (La Liga, February 1, 2009) Three minutes after kick off Walter Pandiani opened the scoring with a far post header following a sweet cross from Masoud Shojaei. Mallorca, rock-bottom of the table, lost their heads after the break with David Navarro and Dudu Aouate seeing red, while Javad Nekounam was sent off for the hosts late on.

Real Betis 2 – Getafe 2 (La Liga, February 1, 2009) Juanma opened after eight minutes and two minutes later Mark Gonzalez doubled Betis’ lead. (Both goals here.) But Getafe hit back in the second half, Ikechukwu Uche scoring a brace to earn the visitors a point. (Uche’s first and second goals.)

Deportivo La Coruna 3 – Villarreal 0 (La Liga, February 1, 2009) Lafita opened for Depor in the first half, and Lafita bagged a second after the break. Riki sealed the win with the third.

Espanyol 1 – Recreativo Huelva 1 (La Liga, February 1, 2009) Espanyol took the lead through Nicolas Pareja, but after Carlos Kameni earned red for bringing down Marco Ruben in injury-time, Recre sub stepped up to slot home from the spot.

Gimnastic 0 – Tenerife 1 (Segunda Division, February 1, 2009)

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Lazio 0 – AC Milan 3 (Serie A, February 1, 2009) The David Beckham fairytale continued at AC Milan at Lazio, Goldenballs delivered an inch-perfect cross to Alexandre Pato for the Duck to score after 41 minutes. Beckham almost set up a second in injury time of the first half up Pato was just offside when he headed the ball in. Beckham notched his second assist of the night immediately after the restart, sending over a corner that Massimo Ambrosini headed home. In the final ten minutes Seedorf combined with Kaka to seal the win.

Inter Milan 1 – Torino 1 (Serie A, February 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Julio Cruz forced a Sereni into brilliant one-handed save as Inter and Torino played out a goalless first half. And Torino capitalised after the break, Ronaldo Bianchi producing a fabulous header from Rosina’s pin-point cross. But Inter soon levelled, Nicolas Burdisso bravely put hit head between the keeper and defender to score from a corner.

Reggina 2 – Roma 2 (Serie A, February 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) After having been hauled to the ground by Mexes, Bernardo Corradi put Reggina ahead from the spot. But David Pizarro levelled 2 minutes later with a bullet into the top corner. Roma then took the lead when Pizarro converted the rebound after his initial penalty was saved. Francesco Cozza salvaged a point for Reggina with a late toe-poke in the box.

Atalanta 1 – Catania 0 (Serie A, February 1, 2009) After several failed attempts from the Catania defence to clear their lines, Tiberio Guarente fired Atalanta ahead with a shot that made its way through a field of bodies.

Siena 1 – Lecce 2 (Serie A, February 1, 2009) Simone Tiribocchi got behind the Siena backline to give Lecce a 15th minute lead. Despite losing Giacomazzi before the break, Lecce pulled further ahead through Castillo’s near post header. Ghezzal Abdel’s towering header was no more than a consolation.

Chievo 1 – Sampdoria 1 (Serie A, February 1, 2009) New Samp recruit Giampaolo Pazzini broke his duck with a beauty, controlling the ball on his chest before firing over the keeper. But the Flying Donkeys needed just two minutes to level through Luca Rigoni.

Genoa 1 – Palermo 0 (Serie A, February 1, 2009) Fourth placed Genoa had to be patient to beat Palermo, Bosko Jankovic squared the ball to Domenico Criscito to tap into the unguarded net with two minutes remaining.

Bologna-Fiorentina (Serie A, February 1, 2009) Match was postponed because of snow.

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Werder Bremen 1 – Arminia Bielefeld 2 (Bundesliga, February 1, 2009) After falling behind to a goal from Arminia’s Thorben Marx, Hugo Almeida almost ripped a hole in the net blasting in a free-kick for Werder just before the break. Minutes after the restart the visitors retook the lead as leading marksman Artur Wichniarek coolly finished after being set free in the inside right channel.

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Bordeaux 2 – Lille 2 (Ligue 1, February 1, 2009) David Bellion opened the scoring for Bordeaux on 15 minutes before Ludovic Obraniak struck for the visitors to restore parity. Adil Rami then put Lille 2-1 up, but the highly-rated Yoann Gourcuff ensured both sides went away with a point as he netted on 61 minutes.

Lyon 1 – St. Etienne 1 (Ligue 1, February 1, 2009) Lyon fell behind when Kevin Maralas scored for the visitors on 50 minutes. But Juninho restored parity three minutes later with a free-kick before Frederic Piquionne was sent off for the hosts soon afterwards for a second bookable offence.

Sochaux 1 – Marseille 0 (Ligue 1, February 1, 2009) The only goal of the game was scored midway through the first half by Turkish striker Mevlut Erding who rounded France international goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and tapped the ball into an empty net.

Rennes 0 – Toulouse 0 (Ligue 1, January 31, 2009) Rennes and Toulouse lost ground in the Ligue 1 title race with a dour stalemate in Brittany.

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De Graafschap 0 – PSV Eindhoven 3 (Eredivisie, February 1, 2009) After coming close on several occasions, Ibrahim Afelley broke the deadlock for PSV with a cool finish after 15 minutes. Ola Toivonen scored a PSV’s second, although the goal arguably should have been disallowed who an apparent push in of a home player into the hoardings. Ibrahim Afelley sowed up the win with the third.

Sparta 0 – AZ Alkmaar 2 (Eredivisie, February 1, 2009) Moussa Dembele broke the deadlock on 65 minutes and Mounir El Hamdaoui made the points safe five minutes from time to stretch AZ’s lead at the top of the table to a whopping nine points.

NEC 1 – Feyenoord 0 (Eredivisie, February 1, 2009) Milano Koenders’ last-gasp goal gave NEC a narrow win over Feyenoord, whose dismal away record continues.

Twente 0 – Utrecht 0 (Eredivisie, February 1, 2009) Twente wasted a chance to move into second place, substitute Theo Janssen hit the post with a 79th minute header for Twente while Peter Wisgerhof had a close-range effort blocked by Utrecht goalkeeper Michel Vorm four minutes later.

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Belenenses 1 – Porto 3 (Superliga, February 1, 2009) Hulk and Rodriguez put Porto 2-up in three minutes before Saulo pulled a goal back for the hosts. Gonzalez made sure of the points with an 86th minute winner.

Braga 2 – Pacos Ferreira 0 (Superliga, February 1, 2009)

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Kortrijk 1 – Anderlecht 3 (Jupiler League, January 31, 2009) Kortrijk took the lead through Sven Kums after 11 minutes, but Anderlecht recovered in the second half. Stanislav Vlcek equalised in the 51st minute, Roland Juhasz netted a second in the 62nd and Mbark Boussoufa added the third in injury-time.

Standard Liege 3 – Roeselare 0 (Jupiler League, January 31, 2009) Milan Jovanovic netted the opener on 26 minutes, Axel Witsel doubled the advantage shortly before the break and Leon Benko hit a third in added time as Standard held on to top spot.

Club Brugge 3 – Tubize 1 (Jupiler League, January 31, 2009) Club Brugge needed 44 minutes to take the lead through Daniel Chavez. Nabil Dirar made it 2-nil and Koen Daerden scored the host’s third. Tubize got a consolation goal through Valery Sorokin near full time.

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Besiktas 1 – Antalyaspor 0 (Super Lig, February 1, 2009) Rodrigo Tello won the match with a magical strike from 25-yards out on the angle.

Fenerbahce 1 – Gaziantepspor 1 (Super Lig, February 1, 2009) Both goals arrived in the final ten minutes in a grandstand finish, Erman Ozgur’s run went unchecked by the Fener backline and the number 19 volleyed the visitors in front. Fener needed just two minutes to equalise with one of the goals of the weekend, Alex de Souza walloping a back-post volley into the roof of the net to make it a point apiece.

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AEK Athens 0 – Olympiakos 1 (Greek Super League, February 1, 2009) Luciano Galletti scored his ninth goal of the season after just five minutes, following a through ball from Brazilian striker Diogo.

Levadiakos 1 – Panathinaikos 2 (Greek Super League, February 1, 2009)

PAOK 2 – Ergotelis 0 (Greek Super League, February 1, 2009)

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AEK Larnaca 1 – Apollon 5 (Cypriot First Division, February 1, 2009)

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Boca Juniors 2 – River Plate 0 (Torneo de Verano, February 1, 2009) Pablo Mouche opened the scoring in first-half injury time for Carlos Ischia’s side before River midfielder Nicolas Domingo was sent off in the 69th minute. Eight minutes later, 21-year-old defender Facundo Roncaglia secured the victory after turning home a Rodrigo Palacio cross.

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Venezuela 2 – Colombia 1 (South American Under-20 Championships, January 31, 2009) The Colombians took the lead when Elkin Blanco fired a shot over the head of keeper Romo in the 13th minute. Jonathan Del Valle equalised from the spot and Venezuela went on to win the match on the hour mark thanks to Carlos Fernandez’s second.

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Honduras 1 – El Salvador 0 (UNCAF Nations Cup, February 1, 2009)

Costa Rica 0 – Panama 0* (Pens. 3-5) (UNCAF Nations Cup, February 1, 2009)